Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Michael Best
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)

The Historie of King Lear.
defuse, my good intent may carry through it selfe to that full is-
sue for which I raz'd my likenes, now banisht Kent, 535if thou canst
serue where thou dost stand condem'd, thy maister whom thou
louest shall find the full of labour.
Enter Lear.
Lear. Let me not stay a iot for dinner, goe get it readie, 540how
now, what art thou?
Kent. A man Sir.
Lear. What dost thou professe? what would'st thou with vs?
Kent. I doe professe to be no lesse then I seeme, to serue 545him
truly that will put me in trust, to loue him that is honest, to con-
uerse with him that is wise, and sayes little, to feare iudgement,
to fight when I cannot chuse, and to eate no fishe.
Lear. What art thou?
550Kent. A very honest harted fellow, and as poore as the king.
Lear. If thou be as poore for a subiect, as he is for a King, thar't
poore enough, what would'st thou?
Kent. Seruice. Lear. 555Who would'st thou serue?
Kent. You. Lear. Do'st thou know me fellow?
Kent. No sir, but you haue that in your countenance, which
I would faine call Maister.
560Lear. Whats that? Kent. Authoritie.
Lear. What seruices canst doe?
Kent. I can keepe honest counsaile, ride, run, mar a curious
tale in telling it, and deliuer a plaine message 565bluntly, that
which ordinarie men are fit for, I am qualified in, and the best
of me, is diligence.
Lear, How old art thou?
Kent. Not so yong to loue a woman for singing, nor so old to
dote on her for any thing, I haue yeares on 570my backe fortie
Lear. Follow mee, thou shalt serue mee, if I like thee no
worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet, dinner, ho din-
ner, wher's my knaue, my foole, goe you and call my foole he-
ther, you sirra, whers my daughter?
575Enter Steward.
Steward. So please you,
Lear. What say's the fellow there, call the clat-pole backe,