Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Pervez Rizvi
Not Peer Reviewed

King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)

The History of King Lear.
That are to censure them.
Cor. We are not the first,
Who with best meaning haue incurr'd the worst:
2945For thee oppressed King am I cast downe,
My selfe could else out-frowne false fortunes frowne.
Shall we not see these daughters, and these sisters?
Lear. No, no, come let's away to prison,
We two alone will sing like birds i'th cage:
2950When thou dost aske me blessing, Ile kneele downe
And aske of thee forgiuenesse: so weell liue,
And pray, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded Butterflies, and heare poore Rogues
Talke of Court newes, and weel talke with them too,
2955Who looses, and who wins; whose in, whose out;
And take vpon's the mystery of things,
As if we were Gods spies: and weel weare out
In a walld prison, packes and sects of great ones,
That ebbe and flow by the Moone.
2960Bast. Take them away.
Lear. Vpon such sacrifices my Cordelia
The gods themselues throw incense. Haue I caught thee?
He that parts vs shall bring a brand from heauen,
2965And fire vs hence like Foxes, wipe thine eyes,
The good shall deuoure em, fleach and fell,
Ere they shall make vs weepe? Weele see em starue first. Exit
Bast. Come hither Captaine, hearke.
Take thou this note, go follow them to prison,
One step I haue aduancst thee, if thou dost as this instructs thee,
Thou dost make thy way to Noble fortunes:
Know thou this, that men are as the time is;
To be tender minded does not become a sword,
2975Thy great employment will not beare question,
Either say thout do't, or thriue by other meanes.
Cap. Ile doot my Lord.
Bast. About it, and write happy when thou hast done,
2980Marke I say instantly, and carry it so
As I haue set it downe.