Internet Shakespeare Editions

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  • Title: John Higgins (Selection)
  • Editor: Andrew Griffin

  • Copyright Queen's Men Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: John Higgins
    Editor: Andrew Griffin
    Not Peer Reviewed

    John Higgins (Selection)

    My grandsire Bladud hight, that found the baths by skill,
    A feathered king that practiced high to soar,
    Whereby he felt the fall, God wot against his will,
    And never went, rode, reigned, nor spake, nor flew no more.
    40After whose death my father Leir therefore
    Was chosen king, by right apparent heir,
    Which after built the town of Leircèstere.
    He had three daughters, first and eldest hight Gonerell,
    Next after her his younger Ragan was begot:
    45The third and last was I the youngest, named Cordell.
    Us all our father Leir did love too well God wot,
    But minding her that loved him best to note,
    Because he had no son t'enjoy his land,
    He thought to guerdon most where favour most he found.
    50What though I youngest were, yet me judged more wise
    Than either Gonerell, or Ragan more of age,
    And fairer far, wherefore my sisters did despise
    My grace and gifts, and sought my wreck to wage.
    But yet though vice on virtue die with rage,
    55It cannot keep her underneath to drown,
    For still she sits above, and reaps renown.
    My father thought to wed us unto princely peers,
    And unto them and theirs divide and part the land.
    For both my sisters first he called (as first their years
    60Required) their minds, and love, and favor t'understand.
    Quod he, "All doubts of duty to aband',
    I must assay your friendly faiths to prove:
    My daughters, tell me how you do me love."
    Which when they answered him they loved their father more
    65Than they themselves did love, or any worldly wight:
    He praised them, and said he would therefore
    The loving kindness they deserved in fine requite.
    So found my sisters favour in his sight,
    By flattery fair they won their father's heart,
    70Which after turned him and me to smart.