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  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 1, 1608)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • Textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1608)

    The Historie of King Lear.
    like a riotous Inne, epicurisme, and lust make more like a tauerne
    or brothell, 755then a great pallace, the shame it selfe doth speake
    for instant remedie, be thou desired by her, that else will take the
    thing shee begs, a little to disquantitie your traine, and the re-
    mainder that shall still depend, 760to bee such men as may besort
    your age, that know themselues and you.
    Lear. Darkenes, and Deuils! saddle my horses, call my traine
    together, degenerate bastard, ile not trouble thee, 765yet haue I left
    a daughter.
    Gon. You strike my people, and your disordred rabble, make
    seruants of their betters. Enter Duke.
    Lear. We that too late repent's, O sir, are you come? 770is it your
    will that wee prepare any horses, ingratitude! thou marble har-
    ted fiend, more hideous when thou shewest thee in a child, then
    the Sea-monster, 775detested kite, thou list my traine, and men of
    choise and rarest parts, that all particulars of dutie knowe, and
    in the most exact regard, support the worships of their name, O
    most small fault, 780how vgly did'st thou in Cordelia shewe, that
    like an engine wrencht my frame of nature from the fixt place,
    drew from my heart all loue and added to the gall, O Lear. Lear!
    beat at this gate that let thy folly in, 785and thy deere iudgement
    out, goe goe, my people?
    Duke, My Lord, I am giltles as I am ignorant.
    Leir. It may be so my Lord, harke Nature, heare deere God-
    desse, 790suspend thy purpose, if thou did'st intend to make this
    creature fruitful into her wombe, conuey sterility, drie vp in hir
    the organs of increase, and from her derogate body neuer spring
    795a babe to honour her, if shee must teeme, create her childe of
    spleene, that it may liue and bee a thourt disuetur'd torment to
    her, let it stampe wrinckles in her brow of youth, with accent
    teares, fret channels in her cheeks, 800turne all her mothers paines
    and benefits to laughter and contempt, that shee may feele, that
    she may feele, how sharper then a serpents tooth it is, to haue a
    thanklesse child, goe, goe, my people?
    Duke. Now Gods that we adore, 805whereof comes this!
    Gon. Neuer afflict your selfe to know the cause, but let his
    disposition haue that scope that dotage giues it.
    810Lear. What, fiftie of my followers at a clap, within a fortnight?