Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    If that her breath will mist or staine the stone,
    Why then she liues.
    Kent. Is this the promis'd end?
    3225Edg. Or image of that horror.
    Alb. Fall and cease.
    Lear. This feather stirs , she liues: if it be so,
    It is a chance which do's redeeme all sorrowes
    That euer I haue felt.
    3230Kent. O my good Master.
    Lear. Prythee away.
    Edg. 'Tis Noble Kent your Friend.
    Lear. A plague vpon you Murderors, Traitors all,
    I might haue sau'd her, now she's gone for euer:
    3235Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha:
    What is't thou saist? Her voice was euer soft,
    Gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman.
    I kill'd the Slaue that was a hanging thee.
    Gent. 'Tis true (my Lords) he did.
    3240Lear. Did I not fellow?
    I haue seene the day, with my good biting Faulchion
    I would haue made him skip: I am old now,
    And these same crosses spoile me. Who are you?
    Mine eyes are not o'th'best, Ile tell you straight.
    3245Kent. If Fortune brag of two, she lou'd and hated,
    One of them we behold.
    Lear. This is a dull sight, are you not Kent?
    Kent. The same: your Seruant Kent,
    Where is your Seruant Caius?
    3250Lear. He's a good fellow, I can tell you that,
    He'le strike and quickly too, he's dead and rotten.
    Kent. No my good Lord, I am the very man.
    Lear. Ile see that straight.
    Kent. That from your first of difference and decay,
    3255Haue follow'd your sad steps.
    Lear. Your are welcome hither.
    Kent. Nor no man else:
    All's cheerlesse, darke, and deadly,
    Your eldest Daughters haue fore-done themselues,
    3260And desperately are dead
    Lear. I so I thinke.
    Alb. He knowes not what he saies, and vaine is it
    That we present vs to him.

    Enter a Messenger.
    3265Edg. Very bootlesse.
    Mess. Edmund is dead my Lord.
    Alb. That's but a trifle heere:
    You Lords and Noble Friends, know our intent,
    What comfort to this great decay may come,
    3270Shall be appli'd. For vs we will resigne,
    During the life of this old Maiesty
    To him our absolute power, you to your rights,
    With boote, and such addition as your Honours
    Haue more then merited. All Friends shall
    3275Taste the wages of their vertue, and all Foes
    The cup of their deseruings: O see, see.
    Lear. And my poore Foole is hang'd: no, no, no life?
    Why should a Dog, a Horse, a Rat haue life,
    And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
    3280Neuer, neuer, neuer, neuer, neuer.
    Pray you vndo this Button. Thanke you Sir,
    Do you see this? Looke on her? Looke her lips,
    Looke there, looke there. He dies.
    Edg. He faints, my Lord, my Lord.
    3285Kent. Breake heart, I prythee breake.
    Edg. Looke vp my Lord.
    Kent. Vex not his ghost, O let him passe, he hates him,
    That would vpon the wracke of this tough world
    Stretch him out longer.
    3290Edg. He is gon indeed.
    Kent. The wonder is, he hath endur'd so long,
    He but vsurpt his life.
    Alb. Beare them from hence, our present businesse
    Is generall woe : Friends of my soule, you twaine,
    3295Rule in this Realme, and the gor'd state sustaine.
    Kent. I haue a iourney Sir, shortly to go,
    My Master calls me, I must not say no.
    Edg. The waight of this sad time we must obey,
    Speake what we feele, not what we ought to say:
    3300The oldest hath borne most, we that are yong,
    Shall neuer see so much, nor liue so long.
    Exeunt with a dead March.