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LEAR, King of Britain.
An OFFICER, employed by Ed. KING OF FRANCE.
mund. DUKE OF BURGUNDY.
GENTLEMAN, Attendant on Cor. DUKE OF CORNWALL.
delia. DUKE OF ALBANY.
EARL OF KENT.
SERVANTS to Cornuall.
EARL OF GLOSTER.
EDGAR, Son to Gloster.
EDMUND, Bastard Son to Gloster. REGAN, Daughters to Lear.
CURAN, a Courtier.
OLD MAN, Tenant to Gloster.
KNIGHTS attending on the King,
OFFICERS, MESSENGERS, SOL-
OSWALD, Steward to Goneril.
DIERS, and ATTENDANTS.
SCENE I.-A Room of State in King LEAR's Palace.
Enter KENT, GLOSTER, and EDMUND.
Kent. I thought, the king had more affected the duke of
Albany, than Cornwall.
Glo. It did always seem so to us: but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for equalities are so weigh'd, that curiosity* in neither can make choice of
either's moiety.t Kent. Is not this your son, my lord ? Glo. His breeding, Sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.
Kent. I cannot conceive you.
Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed; and had, indeed, Sir, a son for her cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper. I
Glo. But I have, Sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, * Scrupulous nicety.
and the whoreson must be acknowledged.–Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund ?
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.
Edm. My services to your lordship.
Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better.
Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again: -The king is coming.
[Trumpets sound within. Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN,
CORDELIA, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
Glo. I shall, my liege. [Esceunt GLOSTER and EDMUND. Lear. Meantime we shall express our darker* purpose. Give me the map there.-Know, that we have divided, In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intentt To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Our son of Cornwall, And you, our no less loving son of Albany, We have this hour a constant will I to publish Our daughters several dowers, that future strife May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy, Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love, Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn, And
here are to be answer'd.—Tell me, my daughters
(Since now we will divest us, both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state),
Which of you, shall we say, doth love us most ?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where merit doth most challenge it.-Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.
Gon. Sir, I
Do love you more than words can wield the matter;
Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty ;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour :
As much as child e'er loved, or father found.
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much 1 love you.
Cor. What shall Cordelia do ? Love, and be silent. [Aside.
Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains || rich’d,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue
Be this perpetual. What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall ? Speak.
Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister, * Not as yet divulged.
• Firm purpose. Beyond all definable quantity.
| Open plains.
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find, she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short, -*that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious squaret of sense possesses ;
And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
Cor. Then poor Cordelia !
And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love 's
More richer than my tongue.
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom;
No less in space, validity, and pleasure,
Than that confirm'd on Goneril.-Now, our joy,
Although the last, not least; to whose young love
The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy,
Strive to be interess'd: what can you say, to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters ? Speak.
Cor. Nothing, my lord.
Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak again.
Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more, nor less.
Lear. How, how;Cordelia ? mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes.
Cor. Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say,
They love you, all ? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care, and duty :
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Cor. Ay, good my lord.
Lear. So young, and so untender?
Cor. So young, my lord, and true.
Lear. Let it be so. --Thy truth, then, be thy dower:
For, by the sacred radiance of the sun;
The mysteries of Hecate, and the night;
By all the operations of the orbs,
From whom we do exist, and cease to be;
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee, from this,|| for ever. The barbarous Scythian,
Made happy. $ Value.
From this time.
Or he that makes his generation* messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and relieved,
As thou my sometime daughter.
Kent. Good my liege,
Lear. Peace, Kent!
Come not between the dragon and his wrath :
I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery.-Hence, and avoid my sight!
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Her father's heart from her!--Call France ;-Who stirs ?
Call Burgundy,-Cornwall, and Albany,
With my two daughters' dowers digest this third :
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty: Ourself, by monthly course,
With reservation of a hundred knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain
The name, and all the additionst to a king;
Revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part between you.
[Giving the crown. K’ent. Royal Lear, Whom I have ever honour'd as my king, Loved as my father, as my master follow'd, As my great patron thought on in my prayers,
Lear. The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft. Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man? Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak, When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour 's bound, When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom; And, in thy best consideration, check This hideous rashness : answer my life, my judgment, Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least: Nor are those empty-hearted, whose low sound Reverbs no hollowness.
Lear. Kent, on thy life, no more.
Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thine enemies; nor fear to lose it,
Thy safety being the motive.
Lear. Out of my sight!
Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain
The true blank g of thine eye.
Lear. Now, by Apollo,
* His children.
# All other business.
Kent. Now, by Apollo, king,
Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
Lear. O, vassal! miscreant ! [Laying his hand on his sword,
Alb. Cor. Dear Sir, forbear.
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift;
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,
I'll tell thee, thou dost evil.
Lear. Hear me, recreant !
On thine allegiance hear me !
Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow
(Which we durst never yet), and, with strain’d pride,
To come betwixt our sentence and our power
(Which nor our nature nor our place can bear),
Our potency make good, * take thy reward.
Five days we do allot thee, for provision
To shield thee from diseases of the world;
And, on the sixth, to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day following:
Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death: Away! By Jupiter,
This shall not be revoked.
Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.
The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, [To CORDELIA.
That justly think'st, and has most rightly said !--
And your large speeches may your deeds approve,
[To REGAN and GONERIL. That good effects may spring from words of love. Thus Kent, o princes, bids you all adieu ; He'll shape his old course in a country new.
| Exit. Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and Attendants.
Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.
Lear. My lord of Burgundy,
We first address towards you, who with this king
Hath rivalid for our daughter; What, in the least,
Will you require in present dower with her,
Or cease your quest of love ?
Bur. Most royal Majesty,
I crave no more than hath your highness offer'd,
Nor will you tender less.
Lear. Right noble Burgundy,,
When she was dear to us, we did hold her so;
But now her price is fall’n: Sir, there she stands;
If aught within that little seeming, substance,
Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced,
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and she is yours.
Bur. I know no answer.
* Our power still availing to this purpose.