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THE TRAGEDY OF
SCENE I. KING LEAR'S Palace.
Enter KENT, GLOUCESTER, and EDMUND.
KENT. I thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall.
GLOU. 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?
GLOU. His breeding, Sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am braz'd to 't.
KENT. I cannot conceive you.
GLOU. Sir, this young fellow's mother could; whereupon she grew round-womb'd, 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.
GLOU. But I have a son, Sir, by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came something saucily into the World before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair, there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledg'd. Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund ? EDм. No, my Lord.
GLOU. 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. 30
GLOU. He hath been out' nine years, and away he shall
Sennet. Enter KING LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants. LEAR. Attend the Lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.
GLOU. I shall, my Liege.
[Exeunt GLOUCESTER and EDMUND.
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
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?
Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.
I love you more than words can wield the matter;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable:
LEAR. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
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
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear Highness' love.
Then poor Cordelia !
LEAR. To thee and thine hereditary ever
My heart into my mouth: I love your Majesty
LEAR. How, how, Cordelia! mend your speech a little,