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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 the kingdom, 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.2

Kent. Is not this your son, my lord?

Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.

(1) Most scrupulous nicety. (2) Part or division.

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.

An Officer, employed by Edmund.
Gentleman, attendant on Cordelia.
A Herald.

Servants to Cornwall.

Goneril,

Regan,
Cordelia,

(3) Handsome.

daughters to Lear.

Knights attending on the King, Officers, Messengers, Soldiers, and Attendants.

Scene, Britain.

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 hus-Long band for her bed. Do you smell a fault?

Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.3

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, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.-Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund?

Enter Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Goneril, Regan,
Cordelia, and Attendants.

Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.

Glo. I shall, my liege. [Exe. Glo. and Edm. Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker4 purpose. Give me the map there.-Know, that we have divided,

In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intents
To shake all cares and business from our age;
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Our son of Corn-
wall,

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,

Gon.

Sir, I

Edm. No, my lord.

Do love you more than words can wield the matter,

Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereaf- Dearer than eye-sight, space and liberty; ter as my honourable friend. Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;

Edm. My services to your lordship.

No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour:

better.

Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you 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 si-
lent.
[Aside.
Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line
to this,
(4) More secret.

Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
in our court have made their amorous so-
journ,
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.

(5) Determined resolution.

stirs?

With shadowy forests and with champains' rich'd, || Her father's heart from her!-Call France ;-Who
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,
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 square2 of sense possesses;
And find, I am alone felicitate3

In your dear highness' love.
Čor.
Then poor Cordelia! [Aside.
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.

1

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 additions9 to a king;
The sway,

Revenue, execution of the rest,10
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 The region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad. What would'st thou do, ald man?

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,5 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.
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,

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

Kent.

(1) Open plains. (3) Made happy. Perhaps.

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 y.-Hence, and avoid my sight!—
[To Cordelia.
So be my grave my peace, as here I give

(2) Comprehension.
(4) Value.
(6) Kindred.

Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak,
When power to flattery bows? To plainness hon-
our's bound,

When majesty stoops to folly: Reverse thy doom;
And, in thy best consideration, check
This hideous rashness: answer my life my judg

ment,
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.

Ay, good my lord. Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.

Lear.

Lear.

Out of my sight!
Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain
The true blank 12 of thine eye.
Lear. Now, by Apollo,-
Kent.

Now, by Apollo, king,

O, vassal! miscreant!
[Laying his hand on his sword
Alb. Corn, Dear sir, forbear.
Kent. Do;

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'

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

(7) From this time. (8) His children.
(9) Titles. (10) All other subjects.

(11) Reverberates. (12) The mark to shoot at.

Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt || A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
That I am glad I have not, though not to have it,
Hath lost me in your liking.
Lear.

appear, Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, [To Cordelia. That justly think'st, and hast 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 course1 in a country new. [Ex. Re-enter Gloster; with France, Burgundy, and

Attendants.

Lear. My lord of Burgundy,

We first address towards you, who with this king
Hath rivall'd for our daughter; What, in the least
Will you require in present dower with her,
Or cease your quest of love?2

Royal Lear,

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

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, seeming3 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.

I know no answer.

Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Bur. I am sorry then, you have so lost a father,
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;

Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd!
Thee 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

Bur.

Lear. Sir,

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.-

Will you, with those infirmities she owes,4
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,

Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better wherell to find.

Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine;
for we

oath,

Take her, or leave her?

Bur.
Pardon me, royal sir;
Election makes not ups 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 object,
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
So many folds of favour! Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd' affection
Fall into taint:8 which to believe of her,
Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.

Cor.
I yet beseech your majesty
(If for9 I want that glib and oily art,
To speak and purpose not; since what I well
intend,

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 favour:
But even for want of that, for which I am richer;

Better thou

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

better.

(1) Follow his old mode of life.

(2) Amorous expedition. (3) Specious.
(4) Owns, is possessed of. (5) Concludes not.
(6) Turn.
(7) Former declaration of.

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 her?
She is herself a dowry.
Bur.

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again :-Therefore be gone,
Without our grace, our love, our benizon. 12
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
Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are;
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,
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 you'
At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you have wanted.
Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited 13 cunning
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.

(8) Reproach or censure.

(9) Because.

6

(10) Who seeks for aught in love but love alone!" (11) Place. (12) Blessing. (13) Folded, doubled.

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 it. 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 essays or taste of my virtue. Glo. [Reads.] This policy, and reverence of age,

Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alene the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but therewithal, the unruly way-makes the world bitter to the best of our times; wardness that infirm and choleric years bring with keeps our fortunes from us, till our oldness canthem. not relish them. I begin to find an idle and fond9 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?

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

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

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 judgment he hath now cast her off, appears too grossly.

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

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.2

[Exeunt.
SCENE II-A hall in the Earl of Gloster's
castle. Enter Edmund, with a letter.
Edm. Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound: Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague3 of custom; and permit
The curiosity4 of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, 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; 1 prosper :-
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Enter Gloster.

Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in choler
parted!

And the king gone to-night! subscrib'd5 his power!
Confin'd to exhibition 6 All this done
Upon the gad!7-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. 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.

(1) Qualities of mind.

(2) Strike while the iron is hot. (3) The injustice.

(4) The nicety of civil institution.

(5) Yielded, surrendered. (6) Allowance.

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. 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,10 if you violently proceed against him, mistaking his purpose, it would make a great gap in your own honour, and shake in pieces the heart of his obedience. I dare pawn down my life for him, that he hath writ this to feel my affection to your honour, and to no other pretence12 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
and
satisfaction;
your
that without any further delay than this very
evening.

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

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

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 let-business after your own wisdom: I would unstate ter from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read;

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

myself, to be in a due resolution.13

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?

(7) Suddenly. (8) Trial.

(9) Weak and foolish. (10) Whereas. (11) The usual address to a lord. (12) Design. (13) Give all that I am possessed of, to be certain of the truth.

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