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Lear. Hear me, recreant! On thine allegiance hear me


The argument of your praise, balm of your
Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of favour! Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree, [tion
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affec-
Fall into taint:t which to believe of her,
Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.

Since thou hast sought to make us break our [pride, (Which we durst never yet,) and, with strain'd 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 follow-(If fort I want that glib and oily art, [intend,


Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions, The moment is thy death: Away! By Jupiter, This shall not be revok'd.

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.

Cor. I yet beseech your majesty,

To speak and purpose not; since what I well
I'll do't before I speak,) that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,
That hath depriv'd me of your grace and
But even for want of that, for which I am
A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue [it,
That I am glad I have not, though not to have
Hath lost me in your liking.
Lear. Better thou

Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd me better.

France. Is it but this? a tardiness in nature, Which often leaves the history unspoke, That it intends to do?-My lord of Burgundy, What say you to the lady? Love is not love, When it is mingled with respects, that stand Aloof from the entire point. Will you have She is herself a dowry. [her?

Bur. Royal Lear,

Give but that portion which yourself propos'd, Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble And here I take Cordelia by the hand,


Lear. My lord of Burgundy,

We first address towards you, who with this



Hath rivall'd for our daughter; What, in the Will you require in present dower with her, Or cease your quest of love?t

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 piec'd,
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and she is yours.

Bur. I know no answer.
Lear. Sir,

Will you, with those infirmities she owes,
Unfriended, new adopted to our hate,
Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with
our oath,

Take her, or leave her?

Bur. Pardon me, royal Sir; Election makes not up on such conditions. Lear. Then leave her, Sir; for, by the power that made me,

I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king, [TO FRANCE.

I would not from your love make such a stray, To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you

To avert your liking a more worthier way,
Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd
Almost to acknowledge hers.
France. This is most strange!


That she, that even but now was your best ob

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Duchess of Burgundy.

Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm. Bur. I am sorry then, you have so lost a That you must lose a husband.


Cor. Peace be with Burgundy!
Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.

France. Fairest Cordelia, thou art most rich, being poor [spis'd Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, deThee and thy virtues here I seize upon : Be it lawful, I take up what's cast away. Gods, gods! 'tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect

My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,

Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of wat'rish Burgundy
Shall buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me.-
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be

thine; for we

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see That face of hers again:-Therefore be gone, Without our grace, our love, our benison.¶— Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants. France. Bid farewell to your sisters. Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes [are; Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you And, like a sister, am most loath to call Your faults, as they are nam'd. Use well our father:

To your professed bosoms I commit him:
But yet, alas! stood I within his grace,

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I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.

Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Reg. Let your study


Be, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd
At fortune's alms. You have obedience scant-

And well are worth the want that you have
Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited* cun-
ning hides;

Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
Well may you prosper!

France. Come, my fair Cordelia.

[Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA. Gon. Sister, it is not a little I have to say, of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.

Reg. That's most certain, and with you;

next month with us.

Gon. You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little he always loved our sister most; and with what poor judgement he hath now cast her off, appears too grossly.

Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.

Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but therewithal, the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment. Gon. There is further compliment of leavetaking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together: If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.

Reg. We shall further think of it.
Gon. We must do something, and i'the heat.
SCENE II-A Hall in the Earl of GLOSTER'S

Enter EDMUND, with a Letter.

Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law


My services are bound: Wherefore should I
Stand in the plagues of custom; and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base,
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality,
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
Got 'tween asleep and wake?-Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land':
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund,
As to the legitimate: Fine word,-legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper :-
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd his
Confin'd to exhibition! All this done [power!
Upon the gad!‡- -Edmund! How now?
what news?

Edm. So please your lordship, none.
[Putting up the Letter.
Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up
that letter?

Edm. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. What paper were you reading?
Edm. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No? What needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: Come, if it be nothing, I shall not need spectacles.

Edm. I beseech you, Sir, pardon me : it is a letter from my brother, that I have not all o'erread; for so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for your over-looking.

Glo. Give me the letter, Sir.

Edm. I shall offend, either to detain or give The contents, as in part I understand them, are to blame.


Glo. Let's see, let's see.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay or taste of my virtue.

Glo. [Reads.] This policy, and reverence of age, makes the world bitter to the best of our times, keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness cannot relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond || bondage in the oppression of aged tyranny; who sways, not as it hath power, but as it is suffered. Come to me, that of this I may speak more. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.-Humph --Conspiracy!-Sleep till I waked him you should enjoy half his revenue,—My son Edgar! Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brain to breed it in?-When came this to you? Who brought it?

Edm. It was not brought me, my lord, there's the cunning of it; I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.

Glo. You know the character to be your brother's?

Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swear it were his; but, in respect of that, I would fain think it were not.

Glo. It is his.

Edm. It is his hand, my lord; but, I hope, his heart is not in the contents.

Glo. Hath he never heretofore sounded you in this business?

Edm. Never, my lord: But I have often heard him maintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age, and fathers declining, the father should be as ward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.

Glo. O villain, villain !-His very opinion in the letter!-Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested, brutish villain! worse than brutish! -Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll apprehend him :Abominable villain !-Where is he?

Edm. I do not well know, my lord. If it shall please you to suspend your indignation against my brother, till you can derive from him better testimony of his intent, you shall run a certain course; where, if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. choler parted!


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I dare pawn down my life for him, that he

* Yielded, surrendered. + Allowance.


| Weak and foolish.

↑ Suddenly, ¶ Whereas

hath writ this to feel my affection to your hon-
our, and to no other pretencet of danger.
Glo. Think you so?

Edm. If your honour judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very evening.

Glo. He cannot be such a monster.
Edm. Nor is not, sure.

Glo. To his father, that so tenderly and entirely loves him.-Heaven and earth!-Edmund, seek him out; wind me into him, I pray you: frame the business after your own wisdom: I would unstate myself, to be in a due resolution.

Edm. I will seek him, Sir, presently; conveys the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishmen of friends, dissipation of cohorts,* nuptial breaches, and I know not what.

Edg. How long have you been a sectary astronomical?

Edm. Come, come; when saw you my father last?

Edg. Why, the night gone by.
Edm. Spake you with him?
Edg. Ay, two hours together.

Edm. Parted you in good terms? Found you no displeasure in him, by word or countenance? Edg. None at all.

Edm. Bethink yourself, wherein you may have offended him and at my entreaty, forbear his presence, till some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure; which at this instant so rageth in him, that with the Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon mischief of your person it would scarcely allay. portend no good to us: Though the wisdom of Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong. nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a finds itself scourged by the sequent effects: continent forbearance, till the speed of his love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide:rage goes slower; and, as I say, retire with in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly palaces, treason; and the bond cracked be- bring you to hear my lord speak: Pray you, tween son and father, This villain of mine go; there's my key:-If you do stir abroad, go comes under the prediction; there's son against armed. father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best: go the best of our time: Machinations, hollowness, armed; I am no honest man, if there be any treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us good meaning towards you: I have told you disquietly to our graves!-Find out this villain, what I have seen and heard, but faintly; noEdmund, it shall lose thee nothing; do it care-thing like the image and horror of it: Pray fully-And the noble and true hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty!-Strange! strange!


Edm. This is the excellent foppery of the world! that, when we are sick in fortune, (often the surfeit of our own behaviour,) we make guilty of our disasters, the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools, by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predomi nance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was under ursa major ;** so that it follows, I am rough and lecherous.-Tut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing. EdgarEnter EDGAR.

and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy: My cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O, these eclipses do portend these divisions! Fa, sol, la,


Edg. How now, brother Edmund? What serious contemplation are you in?

Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I read this other day, what should follow these eclipses.

Edg. Do you busy yourself with that? Edm. I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily; as of unnaturalness between the child and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in + Design. Give all that I am possessed of, to be certain of the Manage. Following. Traitors. **Great bear, the constellation so named. ++ These sounds are unnatural and offensive in music.

The usual address to a lord.


Edg. Armed, brother?

you, away.

Edg. Shall I hear from you anon?
Edm. I do serve you in this business.-
[Exit EDGAR.
A credulous father, and a brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
That he suspects none; on whose foolish hon-

My practices ride easy!--I see the business.—
Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:
All with me's meet, that I can fashion fit.

[Exit. SCENE III.-A Room in the Duke of ALBANY'S Palace.

Enter GONERIL and STEWARD. Gon. Did my father strike my gentleman for chiding of his fool?

Stew. Ay, madam.

Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; He flashes into one gross crime or other, every hour

That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it:


His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids
On every trifle :-When he returns from hunt-
I will not speak with him; say, I am sick :—
If you come slack of former services,
You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.
Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him.
[Horns within.
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you
You and your fellows; I'd have it come to
If he dislike it, let him to my sister,
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
Not to be over-rul'd. Idle old man,
That still would manage those authorities,
That he hath given away!-Now, by my life,
Old fools are babes again; and must be us'd
With checks, as flatteries,-when they are seen
Remember what I have said.

For cohorts some editors read courts. + Temperate.

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Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech diffuse,* my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue

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Knight. My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my judgement, your highness is not entertain'd with that ceremonious affection as you were wont; there's a great abatement of kindness appears, as well in the general dependants, as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.

Lear. Ha! say'st thou so?

Knight. I beseech you, pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be si

For which I raz'dt my likeness.-Now, ban-lent, when I think your highness is wrong'd.

ish'd Kent,

If thou canst serve where thou dost stand [lov'st, (So may it come!) thy master, whom thon


Shall find thee full of labours.

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Kent. Authority.

Lear. What services canst thou do?

Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualify'd in; and the best of me is diligence.

Lear. How old art thou?

Kent. Not so young, Sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.

Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me; if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.-Dinner, ho, dinner!- Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither:

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Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own

conception; I have perceived a most faint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretencer and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't.-But where's my fool! I have not seen him these two days.

Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, Sir, the fool hath much pined away.

Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well. -Go you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her.-Go you, call hither my fool.-Re-enter STEWARD.

(), you Sir, you Sir, come you hither: Who am I, Sir?

Stew. My lady's father.

Lear. My lady's father! my lord's knave: you whoreson dog! you slave! you cur! Stew. I am none of this, my lord; I beseech you, pardon me.

Lear. Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?

[Striking him. Stew. I'll not be struck, my lord. Kent. Nor tripped neither; you base football player. [Tripping up his Heels. Lear. I thank thee, fellow; thou servest me, and I'll love thee.

Kent. Come, Sir, arise, away; I'll teach you differences; away, away: If you will measure your lubber's length again, tarry: but away: go to; Have you wisdom? so.

[Pushes the STEWARD out. Lear. Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee: there's earnest of thy service.

[Giving KENT Money.

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my coxcombs myself: There's mine; beg an-
other of thy daughters.

Lear. Take heed, Sirrah; the whip.
Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel? he
must be whipp'd out, when Lady, the brach,"
may stand by the fire, and stink.

Lear. A pestilent gall to me!

Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech.
Lear. Do.

Fool. Mark it, nuncle:

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,t
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,‡
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And keep in-a-door,

And thou shalt have more

Than two tens to a score.
Lear. This is nothing, fool.


Fool. Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you gave me nothing for't: Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?

Lear. Why, no, boy; nothing can be made
out of nothing.

Fool. Pr'ythee, tell him, so much the rent of
his land comes to; he will not believe a fool.

Lear. A bitter fool!

Fool. Dost thou know the difference, my boy,
between a bitter fool and a sweet fool?
Lear. No, lad; teach me.

Fool. That lord, that counsel'd thee

To give away thy land,
Come place him here by me,-
Or do thou for him stand:
The sweet and bitter fool
Will presently appear;
The one in motley here,

The other found out there.
Lear. Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Fool. All thy other titles thou hast given
away; that thou wast born with.

Kent. This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool. No, 'faith, lords and great men will
not let me; if I had a monopoly out, they
would have part on't: and ladies too, they will
not let me have all fool to myself; they'll be
snatching.-Give me an egg, nuncle, and I'll
give thee two crowns.

Lear. What two crowns shall they be?

Fool. Why, after I have cut the egg i'the middle, and eat up the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i'the middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thine ass on thy back over the dirt: Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown, when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let him be whipp'd that first finds it so.

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Then they for sudden joy did weep, [Singing
And I for sorrow sung,

That such a king should play bo-peep,
And go the fools among.

Pr'ythee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that
can teach thy fool to lie; I would fain learn to

Lear. If you lie, Sirrah, we'll have you whipp'd.

Fool. I marvel, what kin thou and thy daughters are: they'll have me whipp'd for speaking truc, thou❜lt have me whipp'd for lying; and, sometimes, I am whipp'd for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind of thing, than a fool: and yet I would not be thee, nuncle; thou hast pared thy wit o'both sides, and left nothing in the middle: Here comes one o'the parings.


Lear. How now, daughter! what makes that frontlet* on? Methinks, you are too much of late i'the frown.

Fool. Thou wast a pretty fellow, when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning; now thou art an O+ without a figure: I am better than thou art now; I am a fool, thou art nothing. Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face [To GoN.] bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum,


He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.-
That's a sheal'd peascod. [Pointing to LEAR.
Gon. Not only, Sir, this your all-licens'd
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel; breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endured riots. Sir,
I had thought, by making this well known un-
to you,
To have found a safe redress; but now grow
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course, and put it on
By your allowance; which if you should, the
Would not 'scape censure, nor the redresses
Which, in the tender of a wholesome weal,||
Might in their working do you that offence,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.


Fool. For you trow, nuncle,

The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, That it had its head bit off by its young. So, out went the candle, and we were left darkling.

Lear. Are you our daughter?

Gon. Come, Sir, I would, you would make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught; and put away these dispositions, which of late transform you from what you rightly are.

Fool. May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?--Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

not Lear: does Lear walk thus? speak thus?
Lear. Does any here know me?-Why this is
Where are his eyes? Either his notion weak-
ens, or his discernings are lethargied.-Sleep-
ing or waking?-Ha! sure 'tis not so.--Who is
I would learn that; for by the marks of sove-
it that can tell me who I am?-Lear's shadow?
false persuaded I had daughters.-
reignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be

Fool. Which they will make an obedient fa-

* Part of a woman's head-dress, to which Lear compares her frowning brow. + A cypher.

↑ A mere husk which contains nothing.


Well-governed state.

¶ Stored

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