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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.
    Enter Bastard, and Curan, seuerally.
    Bast. Saue thee Curan.
    Cur. And your Sir, I haue bin
    930With your Father, and giuen him notice
    That the Duke of Cornwall, and Regan his Duchesse
    Will be here with him this night.
    Bast. How comes that?
    Cur. Nay I know not, you haue heard of the newes a-
    935broad, I meane the whisper'd ones, for they are yet but
    ear-kissing arguments.
    Bast. Not I: pray you what are they?
    Cur. Haue you heard of no likely Warres toward,
    'Twixt the Dukes of Cornwall, and Albany?
    940Bast. Not a word.
    Cur. You may do then in time,
    Fare you well Sir. Exit.
    Bast. The Duke be here to night? The better best,
    This weaues it selfe perforce into my businesse,
    945My Father hath set guard to take my Brother,
    And I haue one thing of a queazie question
    Which I must act, Briefenesse, and Fortune worke.
    Enter Edgar.
    Brother, a word, discend; Brother I say,
    950My Father watches: O Sir, fly this place,
    Intelligence is giuen where you are hid;
    You haue now the good aduantage of the night,
    Haue you not spoken 'gainst the Duke of Cornewall?
    Hee's comming hither, now i'th'night, i'th'haste,
    955And Regan with him, haue you nothing said
    Vpon his partie 'gainst the Duke of Albany?
    Aduise your selfe.
    Edg. I am sure on't, not a word.
    Bast. I heare my Father comming, pardon me:
    960In cunning, I must draw my Sword vpon you:
    Draw, seeme to defend your selfe,
    Now quit you well.
    Yeeld, come before my Father, light hoa, here,
    Fly Brother, Torches, Torches, so farewell.
    965Exit Edgar.
    Some blood drawne on me, would beget opinion
    Of my more fierce endeauour. I haue seene drunkards
    Do more then this in sport; Father, Father,
    Stop, stop, no helpe?
    970Enter Gloster, and Seruants with Torches.
    Glo. Now Edmund, where's the villaine?
    Bast. Here stood he in the dark, his sharpe Sword out,
    Mumbling of wicked charmes, coniuring the Moone
    To stand auspicious Mistris.
    975Glo. But where is he?
    Bast. Looke Sir, I bleed.
    Glo. Where is the villaine, Edmund?
    Bast. Fled this way Sir, when by no meanes he could.
    Glo. Pursue him, ho: go after. By no meanes, what?
    980Bast. Perswade me to the murther of your Lordship,
    But that I told him the reuenging Gods,
    'Gainst Paricides did all the thunder bend,
    Spoke with how manifold, and strong a Bond
    The Child was bound to'th'Father; Sir in fine,
    985Seeing how lothly opposite I stood
    To his vnnaturall purpose, in fell motion
    With his prepared Sword, he charges home
    My vnprouided body, latch'd mine arme;
    And when he saw my best alarum'd spirits
    990Bold in the quarrels right, rouz'd to th'encounter,
    Or whether gasted by the noyse I made,
    Full sodainely he fled.
    Glost. Let him fly farre:
    Not in this Land shall he remaine vncaught
    995And found; dispatch, the Noble Duke my Master,
    My worthy Arch and Patron comes to night,
    By his authoritie I will proclaime it,
    That he which finds him shall deserue our thankes,
    Bringing the murderous Coward to the stake:
    1000He that conceales him death.
    Bast. When I disswaded him from his intent,
    And found him pight to doe it, with curst speech
    I threaten'd to discouer him; he replied,
    Thou vnpossessing Bastard, dost thou thinke,
    1005If I would stand against thee, would the reposall
    Of any trust, vertue, or worth in thee
    Make thy words faith'd? No, what should I denie,
    (As this I would, though thou didst produce
    My very Character) I'ld turne it all
    1010To thy suggestion, plot, and damned practise :
    And thou must make a dullard of the world,
    If they not thought the profits of my death
    Were very pregnant and potentiall spirits
    To make thee seeke it. Tucket within.
    1015Glo. O strange and fastned Villaine,
    Would he deny his Letter, said he?
    Harke, the Dukes Trumpets, I know not wher he comes.;
    All Ports Ile barre, the villaine shall not scape,
    The Duke must grant me that: besides, his picture
    1020I will send farre and neere, that all the kingdome
    May haue due note of him, and of my land,
    (Loyall and naturall Boy) Ile worke the meanes
    To make thee capable.
    Enter Cornewall, Regan, and Attendants.
    1025Corn. How now my Noble friend, since I came hither
    (Which I can call but now,) I haue heard strangenesse.
    Reg. If it be true, all vengeance comes too short
    Which can pursue th'offender; how dost my Lord?
    Glo. O Madam, my old heart is crack'd, it's crack'd.
    1030Reg. What, did my Fathers Godsonne seeke your life?
    He whom my Father nam'd, your Edgar?
    Glo. O Lady, Lady, shame would haue it hid.
    Reg. Was he not companion with the riotous Knights
    That tended vpon my Father?
    1035Glo. I know not Madam, 'tis too bad, too bad.
    Bast. Yes Madam, he was of that consort.
    Reg. No maruaile then, though he were ill affected,
    'Tis they haue put him on the old mans death,
    To haue th'expence and wast of his Reuenues :
    1040I haue this present euening from my Sister
    Beene well inform'd of them, and with such cautions,
    That if they come to soiourne at my house,
    Ile not be there.
    Cor. Nor I, assure thee Regan;
    1045Edmund, I heare that you haue shewne yout Father
    A Child-like Office.
    Bast. It was my duty Sir.
    Glo. He did bewray his practise, and receiu'd
    This hurt you see, striuing to apprehend him.
    1050Cor. Is he pursued?
    Glo. I my good Lord.
    Cor. If he be taken, he shall neuer more
    Be fear'd of doing harme, make your owne purpose,
    How in my strength you please: for you Edmund,
    1055Whose vertue and obedience doth this instant
    So much commend it selfe, you shall be ours,
    Nature's of such deepe trust, we shall much need:
    You we first seize on.
    Bast. I shall serue you Sir truely, how euer else.
    1060Glo. For him I thanke your Grace.
    Cor. You know not why we came to visit you?
    Reg. Thus out of season, thredding darke ey'd night,
    Occasions Noble Gloster of some prize,
    Wherein we must haue vse of your aduise.
    1065Our Father he hath writ, so hath our Sister,
    Of differences, which I best though it fit
    To answere from our home: the seuerall Messengers
    From hence attend dispatch, our good old Friend,
    Lay comforts to your bosome, and bestow
    1070Your needfull counsaile to our businesses,
    Which craues the instant vse.
    Glo. I serue you Madam,
    Your Graces are right welcome. Exeunt.Flourish.