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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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
    225Bur. Pardon me Royall Sir,
    Election makes not vp in such conditions.
    Le. Then leaue her sir, for by the powre that made me,
    I tell you all her wealth. For you great King,
    I would not from your loue make such a stray,
    230To match you where I hate, therefore beseech you
    T'auert your liking a more worthier way,
    Then on a wretch whom Nature is asham'd
    Almost t'acknowledge hers.
    Fra. This is most strange,
    235That she whom euen but now, was your obiect,
    The argument of your praise, balme of your age,
    The best, the deerest, sh}ould in this trice of time
    Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
    So many folds of fauour: sure her offence
    240Must be of such vnnaturall degree,
    That monsters it: Or your fore-voucht affection
    Fall into taint, which to beleeue of her
    Must be a faith that reason without miracle
    Should neuer plant in me.
    245Cor. I yet beseech your Maiesty.
    If for I want that glib and oylie Art,
    To speake and purpose not, since what I will intend,
    Ile do't before I speake, that you make knowne
    It is no vicious blot, murther, or foulenesse,
    250No vnchaste action or dishonoured step
    That hath depriu'd me of your Grace and fauour,
    But euen for want of that, for which I am richer,
    A still soliciting eye, and such a tongue,
    That I am glad I haue not, though not to haue it,
    255Hath lost me in your liking.
    Lear. Better thou had'st '
    Not beene borne, then not t haue pleas'd me better.
    Fra. Is it but this ? A tardinesse in nature,
    Which often leaues the history vnspoke
    260That it intends to do: my Lord of Burgundy,
    What say you to the Lady? Loue's not loue
    When it is mingled with regards, that stands
    Aloofe from th'intire point, will you haue her?
    She is herselfe a Dowrie.
    265Bur. Royall King,
    Giue but that portion which your selfe propos'd,
    And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
    Dutchesse of Burgundie.
    Lear. Nothing, I haue sworne, I am firme.
    270Bur. I am sorry then you haue so lost a Father,
    That you must loose a husband.
    Cor. Peace be with Burgundie,
    Since that respect and Fortunes are his loue,
    I shall not be his wife.
    275Fra. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being poore,
    Most choise forsaken, and most lou'd despis'd,
    Thee and thy vertues here I seize vpon,
    Be it lawfull I take vp what's cast away.
    Gods, Gods! 'Tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect
    280My Loue should kindle to enflam'd respect.
    Thy dowrelesse Daughter King, throwne to my chance,
    Is Queene of vs, of ours, and our faire France:
    Not all the Dukes of watrish Burgundy,
    Can buy this vnpriz'd precious Maid of me.
    285Bid them farewellCordelia, though vnkinde,
    Thou loosest here a better where to finde.
    Lear. Thou hast her France, let her be thine, for we
    Haue no such Daughter, nor shall euer see
    That face of hers againe, therfore be gone,
    290Without our Grace, our Loue, our Benizon:
    Come Noble Burgundie. Flourish. Exeunt.
    Fra. Bid farwell to your Sisters.
    Cor. The Iewels of our Father, with wash'd eies
    Cordelia leaues you, I know you what you are,
    295And like a Sister am most loth to call
    Your faults as they are named. Loue well our Father:
    To your professed bosomes I commit him,
    But yet alas, stood I within his Grace,
    I would prefer him to a better place,
    300So farewell to you both.
    Regn. Prescribe not vs our dutie.
    Gon. Let your study
    Be to content your Lord, who hath receiu'd you
    At Fortunes almes, you haue obedience scanted,
    305And well are worth the want that you haue wanted.
    Cor. Time shall vnfold what plighted cunning hides,
    Who couers faults, at last with shame derides:
    Well may you prosper.
    Fra. Come my faire Cordelia. Exit France and Cor.
    310Gon. Sister, it is not little I haue to say,
    Of what most neerely appertaines to vs both,
    I thinke our Father will hence to night. (with vs.
    Reg. That's most certaine, and with you: next moneth
    Gon. You see how full of changes his age is, the ob-
    315seruation we haue made of it hath beene little; he alwaies
    lou'd our Sister most, and with what poore iudgement he
    hath now cast her off, appeares too grossely.
    Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age, yet he hath euer but
    slenderly knowne himselfe.
    320Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath bin but
    rash, then must we looke from his age, to receiue not a-
    lone the imperfections of long ingraffed condition, but
    therewithall the vnruly way-wardnesse, that infirme and
    cholericke yeares bring with them.
    325Reg. Such vnconstant starts are we like to haue from
    him, as this of Kents banishment.
    Gon. There is further complement of leaue-taking be-
    tweene France and him, pray you let vs sit together, if our
    Father carry authority with such disposition as he beares,
    330this last surrender of his will but offend vs.
    Reg. We shall further thinke of it.
    Gon. We must do something, and i'th'heate. Exeunt.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter Bastard.
    335Bast. Thou Nature art my Goddesse, to thy Law
    My seruices are bound, wherefore should I
    Stand in the plague of custome, and permit
    The curiosity of Nations, to depriue me?
    For that I am some twelue, or fourteene Moonshines
    340Lag of a Brother? Why Bastard? Wherefore base?
    When my Dimensions are as well compact,
    My minde as generous, and my shape as true
    As honest Madams issue? Why brand they vs
    With Base? With basenes Barstadie? Base, Base?
    345Who in the lustie stealth of Nature, take
    More composition, and fierce qualitie,
    Then doth within a dull stale tyred bed
    Goe to th'creating a whole tribe of Fops
    Got 'tweene a sleepe, and wake ? Well then,
    350Legitimate Edgar, I must haue your land,
    Our Fathers loue, is to the Bastard Edmond,
    As to th'legitimate: fine word: Legitimate.