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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    Whose reuerence euen the head-lugd beare would lick.
    Most barbarous, most degenerate haue you madded,
    Could my good brother suffer you to doe it?
    A man, a Prince, by him so benifited,
    2303.15If that the heauens doe not their visible spirits
    Send quickly downe to tame the vild offences, it will(come
    Humanity must perforce pray on it self like monsters of (the deepe.
    Gon. Milke liuerd man
    2305That bearest a cheeke for bloes, a head for wrongs,
    Who hast not in thy browes an eye deseruing thine honour,
    From thy suffering, that not know'st, fools do those vilains pitty
    2307.1Who are punisht ere they haue done their mischiefe,
    Wher's thy drum? France spreds his banners in our noyseles land,
    With plumed helme, thy state begin thereat
    Whil'st thou a morall foole sits still and cries
    2307.5Alack why does he so?
    Alb. See thy selfe deuill, proper deformity shews not in the
    fiend, 2310so horid as in woman.
    Gon. O vaine foole!
    2311.1Alb. Thou changed, and selfe-couerd thing for shame
    Be-monster not thy feature, wer't my fitnes
    To let these hands obay my bloud,
    They are apt enough to dislecate and teare
    2311.5Thy flesh and bones, how ere thou art a fiend,
    A womans shape doth shield thee.
    Gon. Marry your manhood mew---
    Alb. What newes. Enter a Gentleman.
    Gent. O my good Lord the Duke of Cornwals dead, slaine by
    his seruant, going to put out 2315the other eye of Gloster.
    Alb. Glosters eyes?
    Gen. A seruant that he bred, thrald with remorse,
    Oppos'd against the act, bending his sword
    To his great maister, who thereat inraged
    2320Flew on him, and amongst them, feld him dead,
    But not without that harmefull stroke, which since
    Hath pluckt him after.
    Alb. This shewes you are aboue you Iustisers,
    That these our nether crimes 2325so speedely can venge.