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  • Title: King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)
  • Editor: Pervez Rizvi
  • 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: Pervez Rizvi
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Quarto 2, 1619)

    M. William Shake-speare
    History, of King Lear.
    Enter Kent, Glocester, and Bastard.
    I Thought the King had more affected the Duke of
    5Albeney then Cornewall.
    Glost. It did alwaies seeme so to vs, but now in
    the diuision of the Kingdomes, it appeares not
    which of the Dukes he values most, for equalities
    are so weighed, that curiosity in neither, can make choise of ei-
    10thers moytie.
    Kent. Is not this your sonne, my Lord?
    Glost. His breeding sir hath beene at my charge. I haue so of-
    ten blusht to acknowledge him, that now I am braz'd to it.
    15Kent. I cannot conceiue you.
    Glost. Sir, this young fellowes mother could, whereupon she
    grew round wombed, and had indeed Sir a sonne for her Cra-
    dle, ere she had a husband for her bed, do you smell a fault?
    20Kent. I cannot wish the fault vndone, the issue of it being so
    Glo. But I haue sir a sonne by order of Law, some yeare elder
    then this, who yet is no deerer in my account, thogh this knaue
    came something sawcely into the world before he was sent for,
    25yet was his mother faire, there was good sport at his making, &
    the whoreson must be acknowledged, do you know this noble
    gentleman, Edmund?
    Bast. No my Lord.
    30Glo. My Lord of Kent, remember him heereafter as my ho-
    nourable friend.
    Bast. My seruices to your Lordship.
    Kent. I must loue you, and sue to know you better.
    Bast. Sir, I shall study deseruing.
    35Glo. He hath beene out nine yeares, and away he shall again,
    the King is comming.
    Sound a Sennet, Enter one bearing a Coronet, then Lear, then the
    Dukes of Albany and Cornwall, next Gonorill, Regan, Corde-
    38.1lia, with followers.
    Lear. Attend my Lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
    40Glost. I shall my Leige.
    Lear. Meane time we will expresse our darker purposes,
    The Map there; know we haue diuided
    In three our Kingdome; and tis our first intent,
    To shake all cares and businesse of our state,
    45Confirming them on younger yeares,
    50The two great Princes, France and Burgundy,
    Great Riuals in our youngest daughters loue,
    Long in our Court haue made their amorous soiourne,
    And here are to be answer'd; tell me my daughters,
    Which of you shall we say doth loue vs most,
    That we our largest bounty may extend,
    Where merit doth most challenge it:
    Gonorill our eldest borne, speake first.
    60Gon. Sir, I do loue you more then words can wield the matter.
    Dearer then eye-sight, space, or liberty,
    Beyond what can be valued rich or rare,
    No lesse then life; with grace, health, beauty, honour,
    As much a childe ere loued, or father friend,
    65A loue that makes breath poore, and speech vnabl[e],
    Beyond all manner of so much I loue you.
    Cor. What shall Cordelia do, loue and be silent.
    Lear. Of all these bounds, euen from this line to this,
    With shady Forrests, and wide skirted Meads,
    We make thee Lady, to thine and Albanies issue,
    Be this perpetuall. What saies our second daughter?
    Our deerest Regan, wife to Cornwall, speake.
    Reg. Sir I am made of the selfe-same mettal that my sister is
    75And prize me at her worth in my true heart,
    I finde she names my very deed of loue, onely shee came short,
    That I professe my selfe an enemy to all other ioyes,
    Which the most precious square of sence possesses,
    80And finde I am alone felicitate in your deere highnesse loue.
    Cor. Then poore Cordelia, and yet not so, since I am sure
    My loue's more richer then my tongue.
    85Lear. To thee and thine hereditary euer
    Remaine this ample third of our faire kingdome,
    No lesse in space, validity, and pleasure,
    Then that confirm'd on Gonorill; but now our ioy,
    Although the last, not least in our deere loue,
    What can you say to win a third, more opulent
    Then your sisters.
    Cor. Nothing my Lord.
    Lear. How, nothing can come of nothing, speake againe.
    Cor. Vnhappy that I am, I cannot heaue my heart into my
    mouth, I loue your Maiesty according to my bond, nor more
    nor lesse.
    100Lear. Go too, go too, mend your speech a little,
    Least it may marre your fortunes.
    Cord. Good my Lord,
    You haue begot me, bred me, loued me,
    I returne those duties backe as are right fit,
    105Obey you, loue you, and most honour you,
    Why haue my sisters husbands, if they say they loue you all,
    Haply when I shall wed, that Lord whose hand
    Must take my plight, shall carry halfe my loue with him,
    Halfe my care and duty, sure I shall neuer
    110Marry like my sisters, to loue my father all.
    Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
    Cor. I good my Lord.
    Lear. So young and so vntender?
    Cor. So young my Lord, and true.
    115Lear. Well let it be so, thy truth then be thy dower,
    For by the sacred radience of the Sunne,
    The mistresse of Heccat, and the might,
    By all the operation of the Orbes,
    From whom we do exsist and cease to be,
    120Heere I dissclaime all my paternall care,
    Propinquity and property of bloud,
    And as a stranger to my heart and me,
    Hold thee from this foreuer, the barbarous Scythian,
    Or he that makes his generation
    125Messes to gorge his appetite,
    Shall be as well neighbour'd, pittied and releeued,
    As thou my some-time daughter.
    Kent. Good my Liege.
    Lear. Peace Kent, come not betweene the Dragon and his (wrath
    I lou'd her most, and thought to set my rest
    On her kinde nursery, hence and auoid my sight:
    So be my graue my peace as heere I guie,
    Her fathers heart from her; call France, who stirres?
    135Call Burgundy, Cornwall, and Albany,
    With my two daughters dower digest this third,
    Let pride, which she cals plainnesse, marry her:
    I do inuest you ioyntly in my power,
    Preheminence, and all the large effects
    140That troope with Maiesty, our selfe by monthly course
    With reseruation of an hundred Knights,
    By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
    Make with you by due turnes, onely we still retaine
    The name and all the additions to a King,
    145The sway, reuenue, execution of the rest,
    Beloued sonnes be yours, which to confirme,
    This Coronet part betwixt you.
    Kent. Royall Lear,
    Whom I haue euer honor'd as my King,
    150Loued as my Father, as my Master followed,
    As my great Patron thought on in my praiers.
    Lear. The bow is bent and drawne, make from the shaft.
    Kent. Let it fall rather,
    Though the forke inuade the region of my heart,
    155Be Kent vnmannerly, when Lear is mad,
    What wilt thou do old man, think'st thou that duty
    Shall haue dread to speake, when power to flattery bowes,
    To plainnesse honours bound, when Maiesty stoops to folly,
    Reuerse thy doome, and in thy best consideration
    Checke this hideous rashnesse, answer my life,
    My iudgement, thy yongest daughter does not lo[u]e thee least,
    Nor are those empty hearted, whose low sound
    Reuerbs no hollownesse.
    165Lear. Kent, on thy life no more.
    Kent. My life I neuer held but as a pawne
    To wage against thy enemies, nor feare to lose it,
    Thy safety being the motiue.
    Lear. Out of my sight.
    170Kent. See better Lear, and let me still remaine
    The true blanke of thine eie.
    Lear. Now by Appollo ---------
    Kent. Now by Appollo, King thou swear'st thy Gods in vaine.
    175Lear. Vassall, recreant.
    Kent. Do, kill thy Physition,
    And the fee bestow vpon the foule disease,
    Reuoke thy doome, or whilst I can vent clamour
    180From my throat, ile tell thee thou dost euill.
    Lear. Heare me, on thy alleigeance heare me;
    Since thou hast sought to make vs breake our vow,
    Which we durst neuer yet; and with straied pride,
    To come betweene our sentence and our power,
    185Which, nor our nature, nor our place can beare,
    Our potency make good, take thy reward,
    Foure dayes we do allot thee for prouision,
    To shield thee from diseases of the world,
    And on the fift to turne thy hated backe
    190Vpon our kingdome; if on the tenth day following,
    Thy banisht trunke be found in our Dominions,
    The moment is thy death, away,
    By Iupiter, this shall not be reuokt.
    Kent. Why fare thee well King, since thou wilt appeare,
    195Friendship liues hence, and banishment is here;
    The Gods to their protecction take the maid,
    That rightly thinkes, and hath most iustly said,
    And your large speeches may your deeds approue,
    That good effects may spring from words of loue:
    200Thus Kent, O Princes, bids you all adew,
    Hee'l shape his old course in a Country new.
    Enter France and Burgundy with Glocester.
    Glo. Heer's France and Burgundy, my noble Lord.
    205Lear. My Lord or Burgundy, we first addresse towards you,
    Who with a King hath riuald for our daughter,
    What in the least will you require in present
    Dower with her, or cease your quest of loue?
    210Burg. Roiall Maiesty, I craue no more then what
    Your Highnesse offered, nor will you tender lesse?
    Lear. Right noble Burgundy, when she was deare to vs,
    215We did hold her so, but now her price is fallen;
    Sir, there she stands, if ought within that little
    Seeming substance, or all of it with our displeasure peec'st,
    And nothing else may fitly like your Grace,
    Shee's there, and she is yours.
    220Burg. I know no answer.
    Lear. Sir, will you with those infirmities she owes,
    Vnfriended, new adopted to our hate,
    Couered with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
    Take her or leaue her.
    225Burg. Pardon me royall sir, election makes not vp
    On such conditions.
    Lear. Then leaue her sir, for by the power that made me,
    I tell you all her wealth. For you great King,
    I would not from your loue make such a stray,
    230To match you where I hate, therefore beseech you,
    To auert your liking a more worthier way,
    Then on a wretch whom Nature is asham'd
    Almost to acknowledge hers.
    Fra. This is most strange, that she that euen but now
    235Was your best obiect, the argument of your praise,
    Balme of your age, most best, most deerest,
    Should in this trice of time commit a thing
    So monstrous, to dismantle so many foulds of fauour,
    Sure her offence must be of such vnnaturall degree,
    That monsters it, or you for voucht affections
    Falne into taint, which to beleeue of her
    Must be a faith that reason without miracle
    Could neuer plaint in me.
    245Cord. I yet beseech your Maiesty,
    If for I want that glib and oily Art,
    To speake and purpose not, since what I well intend,
    Ile do't before I speake, that you may know
    It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulenesse,
    250No vncleane action or dishonoured step
    That hath depriu'd me of your grace and fauour,
    But euen for want of that, for which I am rich,
    A still soliciting eye, and such a tongue,
    As I am glad I haue not, though not to haue it,
    255Hath lost me in your liking.
    Lear. Go to, goe to, better thou hadst not bene borne,
    Then not to haue pleas'd me better.
    Fran. Is it no more but this, a tardinesse in nature,
    That often leaues the history vnspoke that it intends to do,
    260My Lord of Burgundy, what say you to the Lady?
    Loue is not loue when it is mingled with respects that stands
    Aloofe from the entire point, will you haue her?
    She is her selfe and dower.
    265Burg. Royall Lear, giue but that portion
    Which your selfe propos'd, and here I take
    Cordelia by the hand, Dutchesse of Burgundy.
    Lear. Nothing; I haue sworne.
    270Burg. I am sorry then you haue so lost a father,
    That you must lose a husband.
    Cord. Peace be with Burgundy, since that respects
    Of fortune are his loue, I shall not be his wife.
    275Fran. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being poore,
    Most choise forsaken, and most loued despis'd,
    Thee and thy vertues heere I seize vpon,
    Be it lawfull I take vp what's cast away.
    Gods, Gods! tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect,
    280My loue should kindle to enflam'd respect,
    Thy dowrelesse daughter King, throwne to thy chance,
    Is Queene of vs, of ours, and our faire France:
    Not all the Dukes in watrish Burgundy,
    Shall buy this vnpriz'd precious maid of me,
    285Bid them farwell Cordelia, though vnkinde
    Thou losest heere, a better where to finde.
    Lear. Thou hast her France, let her be thine,
    For we haue no such daughter, nor shall euer see
    That face of hers againe, therefore be gone,
    290Without our grace, our loue, our benizon: come noble Bur- (gundy.
    Exit Lear and Burgundy.
    Fran. Bid farwell to your sisters.
    Cord. The Iewels of our Father,
    With washt eyes Cordelia leaues you, I know you what you are,
    295And like a sister am most loth to call your faults
    As they are named, vse well our Father,
    To your professed bosomes I commit him,
    But yet alasse, stood I within his grace,
    I would preferre him to a better place;
    300So farwell to you both.
    Gonorill. Prescribe not vs our duties.
    Regan. Let your study be to content your Lord,
    Who hath receiu'd you at Fortunes almes,
    You haue obedience scanted,
    305And well are worth the worth that you haue wanted.
    Cord. Time shall vnfold what pleated cunning hides,
    Who couers faults, at last shame them derides:
    Well may you prosper.
    Fran. Come faire Cordelia. Exit France and Cord.
    310Gon. Sister, it is not a little I haue to say,
    Of what most neerely appertaines to vs both,
    I thinke our father will hence to night.
    Reg. That's most certaine, and with you, next month with vs.
    Gon. You see how full of changes his age is, the obseruation
    315we haue made of it hath not beene little; he alwaies loued our
    sister most, and with what poore iudgement hee hath now cast
    her off, appeares too grosse.
    Reg. Tis the infirmity of his age, yet he hath euer but slen-
    derly knowne himselfe.
    320Gono. The best and soundest of his time hath bin but rash,
    then must we looke to receiue frõ his age, not alone the imper-
    fection of long ingrafted condition, but therwithal vnruly wai-
    wardnes, that infirme and cholericke yeares bring with them.
    325Reg. Such vnconstant stars are we like to haue from him, as
    this of Kents banishment.
    Gono. There is further complement of leaue taking between
    France and him, pray lets hit together, if our Father cary autho-
    rity with such dispositions as he beares, this last surrender of
    330his will but offend vs.
    Regan. We shall further thinke on't.
    Gon. We must do something, and it'h heate. Exeuent.