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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    Ere they shall make vs weepe?
    Weele see e'm staru'd first: come. Exit.
    Bast. Come hither Captaine, hearke.
    2970Take thou this note, go follow them to prison,
    One step I haue aduanc'd thee, if thou do'st
    As this instructs thee, thou dost make thy way
    To Noble Fortunes: know thou this, that men
    Are as the time is; to be tender minded
    2975Do's not become a Sword, thy great imployment
    Will not beare question: either say thou'lt do't,
    Or thriue by other meanes.
    Capt. Ile do't my Lord.
    Bast. About it, and write happy, when th'hast done,
    2980Marke I say instantly, and carry it so
    As I haue set it downe. Exit Captaine.

    Flourish. Enter Albany, Gonerill, Regan, Soldiers.

    Alb. Sir, you haue shew'd to day your valiant straine
    And Fortune led you well: you haue the Captiues
    2985Who were the opposites of this dayes strife:
    I do require them of you so to vse them,
    As we shall find their merites, and our safety
    May equally determine.
    Bast. Sir, I thought it fit,
    2990To send the old and miserable King to some retention,
    Whose age had Charmes in it, whose Title more,
    To plucke the common bosome on his side,
    And turne our imprest Launces in our eies
    Which do command them. With him I sent the Queen:
    2995My reason all the same, and they are ready
    To morrow, or at further space, t' appeare
    Where you shall hold your Session.
    Alb. Sir, by your patience,
    I hold you but a subiect of this Warre,
    3000Not as a Brother.
    Reg. That's as we list to grace him.
    Methinkes our pleasure might haue bin demanded
    Ere you had spoke so farre. He led our Powers,
    Bore the Commission of my place and person,
    3005The which immediacie may well stand vp,
    And call it selfe your Brother.
    Gon. Not so hot:
    In his owne grace he doth exalt himselfe,
    More then in your addition.
    3010Reg. In my rights,
    By me inuested, he compeeres the best.
    Alb. That were the most, if he should husband you.
    Reg. Iesters do oft proue Prophets.
    Gon. Hola, hola,
    3015That eye that told you so, look'd but a squint.
    Rega. Lady I am not well, else I should answere
    From a full flowing stomack. Generall,
    Take thou my Souldiers, prisoners, patrimony,
    Dispose of them, of me, the walls is thine:
    3020Witnesse the world, that I create thee heere
    My Lord, and Master.
    Gon. Meane you to enioy him?
    Alb. The let alone lies not in your good will.
    Bast. Nor in thine Lord.
    3025Alb. Halfe-blooded fellow, yes.
    Reg. Let the Drum strike, and proue my title thine.
    Alb. Stay yet, heare reason: Edmund, I arrest thee
    On capitall Treason; and in thy arrest,
    This guilded Serpent: for your claime faire Sisters,
    3030I bare it in the interest of my wife,
    'Tis she is sub-contracted to this Lord,
    And I her husband contradict your Banes.
    If you will marry, make your loues to me,
    My Lady is bespoke.
    3035Gon. An enterlude.
    Alb. Thou art armed Gloster,
    Let the Trmpet sound:
    If none appeare to proue vpon thy person,
    Thy heynous, manifest, and many Treasons,
    3040There is my pledge: Ile make it on thy heart
    Ere I taste bread, thou art in nothing lesse
    Then I haue heere proclaim'd thee.
    Reg. Sicke, O sicke.
    Gon. If not, Ile nere trust medicine.
    3045Bast. There's my exchange, what in the world hes
    That names me Traitor, villain-like he lies,
    Call by the Trumpet: he that dares approach;
    On him, on you, who not, I will maintaine
    My truth and honor firmely.

    3050Enter a Herald.

    Alb. A Herald, ho.
    Trust to thy single vertue, for thy Souldiers
    All leuied in my name, haue in my name
    Tooke their discharge.
    3055Regan. My sicknesse growes vpon me.
    Alb. She is not well, conuey her to my Tent.
    Come hither Herald, let the Trumper sound,
    And read out this. A Tumpet sounds.
    Herald reads.
    3060 If any man of qualitie or degree, within the lists of the Ar-
    my, will maintaine vpon Edmund, supposed Earle of Gloster,
    that he is a manifold Traitor, let him appeare by the third
    sound of the Trumpet: he is bold in his defence. 1 Trumpet.
    Her. Againe. 2 Trumpet.
    3065Her. Againe. 3 Trumpet.
    Trumpet answers within.

    Enter Edgar armed.
    Alb. Aske him his purposes, why he appeares
    Vpon this Call o'th'Trumpet.
    3070Her. What are you?
    Your name, your quality, and why you answer
    This present Summons?
    Edg. Know my name is lost
    By Treasons tooth: bare-gnawne, and Canker-bit,
    3075Yet am I Noble as the Aduersary
    I come to cope.
    Alb. Which is that Aduersary?
    Edg. What's he that speakes for Edmund Earle of Glo- (ster?
    Bast. Himselfe, what saist thou to him?
    3080Edg. Draw thy Sword,
    That if my speech offend a Noble heart,
    Thy arme may do thee Iustice, heere is mine:
    Behold it is my priuiledge,
    The priuiledge of mine Honours,
    3085My oath, and my profession. I protest,
    Maugre thy strength, place, youth, and eminence,
    Despise thy victor-Sword, and fire new Fortune,
    Thy valor, and thy heart, thou art a Traitor:
    False to thy Gods, thy Brother, and thy Father,
    3090Conspirant 'gainst this high illustirous Prince,
    And from th'extremest vpward of thy head,
    To the discent and dust below thy foote,