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About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-463-9

    Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of King Lear.
    2355Darnell, and all the idle weedes that grow
    In our sustaining Corne. A Centery send forth;
    Search euery Acre in the high-growne field,
    And bring him to our eye. What can mans wisedome
    In the restoring his bereaued Sense; he that helpes him,
    2360Take all my outward worth.
    Gent. There is meanes Madam:
    Our foster Nurse of Nature, is repose,
    The which he lackes: that to prouoke in him
    Are many Simples operatiue, whose power
    2365Will close the eye of Anguish.
    Cord. All blest Secrets,
    All you vnpublish'd Vertues of the earth
    Spring with my teares; be aydant, and remediate
    In the Goodmans desires: seeke, seeke for him,
    2370Least his vngouern'd rage, dissolue the life
    That wants the meanes to leade it.
    Enter Messenger.
    Mes. Newes Madam,
    The Brittish Powres are marching hitherward.
    2375Cor. 'Tis knowne before. Our preparation stands
    In expectation of them. O deere Father,
    It is thy businesse that I go about: Therfore great France
    My mourning, and important teares hath pittied:
    No blowne Ambition doth our Armes incite,
    2380But loue, deere loue, and our ag'd Fathers Rite:
    Soone may I heare, and see him. Exeunt.

    Scena Quarta.

    Enter Regan, and Steward.
    Reg. But are my Brothers Powres set forth?
    2385Stew. I Madam,
    Reg. Himselfe in person there?
    Stew. Madam with much ado:
    Your Sister is the better Souldier.
    Reg. Lord Edmund spake not with your Lord at home?
    2390Stew. No Madam.
    Reg. What night import my Sisters Letter to him?
    Stew. I know not, Lady.
    Reg. Faith he is poasted hence on serious matter:
    It was great ignorance, Glousters eyes being out
    2395To let him liue. Where he arriues, he moues
    All hearts against vs: Edmund, I thinke is gone
    In pitty of his misery, to dispatch
    His nighted life: Moreouer to descry
    The strength o'th'Enemy.
    2400Stew. I must needs after him, Madam, with my Letter.
    Reg. Our troopes set forth to morrow, stay with vs:
    The wayes are dangerous.
    Stew. I may not Madam:
    My Lady charg'd my dutie in this busines.
    2405Reg. Why should she write to Edmund?
    Might not you transport her purposes by word? Belike,
    Some things, I know not what. Ile loue thee much
    Let me vnseale the Letter.
    Stew. Madam, I had rather----
    2410Reg. I know your Lady do's not loue her Husband,
    I am sure of that: and at her late being heere,
    She gaue strange Eliads, and most speaking lookes
    To Noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosome.
    Stew. I, Madam?
    2415Reg. I speake in vnderstanding: Y'are: I know't,
    Therefore I do aduise you take this note:
    My Lord is dead: Edmond, and I haue talk'd,
    And more conuenient is he for my hand
    Then for your Ladies: You may gather more:
    2420If you do finde him, pray you giue him this;
    And when your Mistris heares thus much from you,
    I pray desire her call her wisedome to her.
    So fare you well:
    If you do chance to heare of that blinde Traitor,
    2425Preferment fals on him, that cuts him off.
    Stew. Would I could meet Madam, I should shew
    What party I do follow.
    Reg. Fare thee well. Exeunt

    Scena Quinta.

    2430Enter Gloucester, and Edgar.
    Glou. When shall I come to th'top of that same hill?
    Edg. You do climbe vp it now. Look how we labor.
    Glou. Me thinkes the ground is eeuen.
    Edg. Horrible steepe.
    2435Hearke, do you heare the Sea?
    Glou. No truly.
    Edg. Why then your other Senses grow imperfect
    By your eyes anguish.
    Glou. So may it be indeed.
    2440Me thinkes thy voyce is alter'd, and thou speak'st
    In better phrase, and matter then thou did'st.
    Edg. Y'are much deceiu'd: In nothing am I chang'd
    But in my Garments.
    Glou. Me thinkes y'are better spoken.
    2445Edg. Come on Sir,
    Heere's the place: stand still: how fearefull
    And dizie 'tis, to cast ones eyes so low,
    The Crowes and Choughes, that wing the midway ayre
    Shew scarse so grosse as Beetles. Halfe way downe
    2450Hangs one that gathers Sampire: dreadfull Trade:
    Me thinkes he seemes no bigger then his head.
    The Fishermen, that walk'd vpon the beach
    Appeare like Mice: and yond tall Anchoring Barke,
    Diminish'd to her Cocke: her Cocke, a Buoy
    2455Almost too small for sight. The murmuring Surge,
    That on th'vnnumbred idle Pebble chafes
    Cannot be heard so high. Ile looke no more,
    Least my braine turne, and the deficient sight
    Topple downe headlong.
    2460Glou. Set me where you stand.
    Edg. Giue me your hand:
    You are now within a foote of th'extreme Verge:
    For all beneath the Moone would I not leape vpright.
    Glou. Let go my hand:
    2465Heere Friend's another purse: in it, a Iewell
    Well worth a poore mans taking. Fayries, and Gods
    Prosper it with thee. Go thou further off,
    Bid me farewell, and let me heare thee going.
    Edg. Now fare ye well, good Sir.
    2470Glou. With all my heart.
    Edg. Why I do trifle thus with his dispaire,
    Is done to cure it.
    Glou. O you mighty Gods!
    This world I do renounce, and in your sights