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KING LEAR.

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.

Room of State in King Lear's Palace.

2

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. 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. Do you smell a fault?

Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.

Glo. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: -Do

you know this noble gentleman, Ed. mund ?

Edm. No, my lord.

Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.

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'Most scrupulous nicety.

2 Part or division.

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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.

[Exeunt GLOSTER and EDMUND. Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker

purpose. Give me the map there. — Know, that we have di

vided, In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent 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 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 daugh

ters,
(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, ho

nour : As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found. A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable Beyond all manner of so much I 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 3 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 daugh

ter, Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall ? Speak.

Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister, 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

sense

possesses ; And find, I am alone felicitates In your dear highness' love. Cor.

Then poor Cordelia ! [Aside. And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love 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,

squarex of

3 Open plains.

5 Made happy

4 Comprehension,

6 Value.

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?
Cor. Nothing
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, lov'd 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

7 Kindred.

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Hold thee, from this *, for ever. The barbarous

Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation' messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd,
As thou my sometime daughter.
Kent.

Good my liege, -
Lear. Peace, Kent !
Come not between the dragon and his wrath :
I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery.

Hence, and avoid my sight!

[To CORDELIA. 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 an 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 additions' to a king;

The sway,

Revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved

sons, be yours : which to confirm, This coronet part between you. [Giving the Crown. Kent.

Royal Lear, Whom I have ever honour'd as my king, Lov'd 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

8 From this time,

9 His children.

1 Titles,

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