Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)

The Historie of King Lear.
Glost. No, what needes then that terribe dispatch of it into
your pocket, the qualitie of nothing hath not such need to hide
it selfe, lets see, come if it bee no370thing I shall not neede specta-
Ba. I beseech you Sir pardon me, it is a letter from my brother,
that I haue not all ore read, for so much as I haue perused, I find it
not fit for your liking.
375Glost. Giue me the letter sir.
Bast, I shall offend either to detaine or giue it, the contents
as in part I vnderstand them, are too blame.
Glost. Lets see, lets see?
380Bast. I hope for my brothers iustification, he wrot this but
as an essay, or tast of my vertue. A Letter.
Glost. This policie of age makes the world bitter to the best
of our times, keepes our fortunes from vs till our oldnes cannot
relish them, I begin to find an idle 385and fond bondage in the op-
pression of aged tyranny, who swaies not as it hath power, but as
it is suffered, come to me, that of this I may speake more, if our
father would sleepe till I wakt him, you should inioy halfe his
reuenew for euer, and liue the beloued of your brother Ed-
390 Hum, conspiracie, slept till I wakt him, you should enioy halfe
his reuenew, my sonne Edgar, had hee a hand to write this, a
hart, and braine to breed it in, when came this to you, who
brought it?
Bast. It was not brought me my Lord, ther's the 395cunning of
it, I found it throwne in at the casement of my closet.
Glost. You know the Caractar to be your brothers?
Bast. If the matter were good, my Lord I durst sweare it were
his but in respect, of that I would faine thinke it 400were
Glost. It is his?
Bast. It is his hand my Lord, but I hope his heart is not in
the contents.
Glost. Hath he neuer heretofore soũded you in this busines?
405Bast. Neuer my Lord, but I haue often heard him maintaine
it to be fit, that sons at perfit age, & fathers declining, his father
should be as ward to the sonne, and the sonne mannage the re-