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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    1160Kent. No contraries hold more, antipathy,
    Then I and such a knaue.
    Duke. Why dost thou call him knaue, what's his offence.
    Kent. His countenance likes me not.
    1165Duke. No more perchance does mine, or his, or hers.
    Kent. Sir tis my occupation to be plaine,
    I haue seene better faces in my time
    That stands on any shoulder that I see
    Before me at this instant.
    1170Duke. This is a fellow who hauing beene praysd
    For bluntnes doth affect a sawcy ruffines,
    And constraines the garb quite from his nature,
    He cannot flatter he, he must be plaine,
    He must speake truth, 1175and they will tak't so,
    If not he's plaine, these kind of knaues I know
    Which in this plainnes harbour more craft,
    And more corrupter ends, then twentie silly ducking
    Obseruants, that stretch their duties nisely.
    1180Kent. Sir in good sooth, or in sincere veritie,
    Vnder the allowance of your graund aspect.
    Whose influence like the wreath of radient fire
    In flitkering Phoebus front.
    Duke. What mean'st thou by this?
    1185Kent. To goe out of my dialogue which you discommend so
    much, I know sir, I am no flatterer, he that beguild you in a plain
    accent, was a plaine knaue, which for my part I will not bee,
    though I should win your displeasure, to intreat mee too't.
    1190Duke. What's the offence you gaue him?
    Stew. I neuer gaue him any, it pleas'd the King his maister
    Very late to strike at me vpon his misconstruction,
    When he coniunct and flattering his displeasure
    1195Tript me behind, being downe, insulted, rayld,
    And put vpon him such a deale of man, that,
    That worthied him, got prayses of the King,
    For him attempting who was selfe subdued,
    And in the flechuent of this dread exploit,
    1200Drew on me here againe.
    Kent. None of these roges & cowards but AIax is their foole.