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- King Lear - 1/22 -


The Tragedie of King Lear

Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.

Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmond.

Kent. I thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany, then Cornwall

Glou. It did alwayes seeme so to vs: But now in the diuision of the Kingdome, it appeares not which of the Dukes hee valewes most, for qualities are so weigh'd, that curiosity in neither, can make choise of eithers moity

Kent. Is not this your Son, my Lord? Glou. His breeding Sir, hath bin at my charge. I haue so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am braz'd too't

Kent. I cannot conceiue you

Glou. Sir, this yong Fellowes mother could; wherevpon she grew round womb'd, and had indeede (Sir) a Sonne for her Cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault? Kent. I cannot wish the fault vndone, the issue of it, being so proper

Glou. But I haue a Sonne, Sir, by order of Law, some yeere elder then this; who, yet is no deerer in my account, though this Knaue came somthing sawcily to the world before he was sent for: yet was his Mother fayre, there was good sport at his making, and the horson must be acknowledged. Doe you know this Noble Gentleman, Edmond? Edm. No, my Lord

Glou. My Lord of Kent: Remember him heereafter, as my Honourable Friend

Edm. My seruices to your Lordship

Kent. I must loue you, and sue to know you better

Edm. Sir, I shall study deseruing

Glou. He hath bin out nine yeares, and away he shall againe. The King is comming.

Sennet. Enter King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Gonerill, Regan, Cordelia, and attendants.

Lear. Attend the Lords of France & Burgundy, Gloster

Glou. I shall, my Lord. Enter.

Lear. Meane time we shal expresse our darker purpose. Giue me the Map there. Know, that we haue diuided In three our Kingdome: and 'tis our fast intent, To shake all Cares and Businesse from our Age, Conferring them on yonger strengths, while we Vnburthen'd crawle toward death. Our son of Cornwal, And you our no lesse louing Sonne of Albany, We haue this houre a constant will to publish Our daughters seuerall Dowers, that future strife May be preuented now. The Princes, France & Burgundy, Great Riuals in our yongest daughters loue, Long in our Court, haue made their amorous soiourne, And heere are to be answer'd. Tell me my daughters (Since now we will diuest vs both of Rule, Interest of Territory, Cares of State) Which of you shall we say doth loue vs most, That we, our largest bountie may extend Where Nature doth with merit challenge. Gonerill, Our eldest borne, speake first

Gon. Sir, I loue you more then word can weild y matter, Deerer then eye-sight, space, and libertie, Beyond what can be valewed, rich or rare, No lesse then life, with grace, health, beauty, honor: As much as Childe ere lou'd, or Father found. A loue that makes breath poore, and speech vnable, Beyond all manner of so much I loue you

Cor. What shall Cordelia speake? Loue, and be silent

Lear. Of all these bounds euen from this Line, to this, With shadowie Forrests, and with Champains rich'd With plenteous Riuers, and wide-skirted Meades We make thee Lady. To thine and Albanies issues Be this perpetuall. What sayes our second Daughter? Our deerest Regan, wife of Cornwall? Reg. I am made of that selfe-mettle as my Sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart, I finde she names my very deede of loue: Onely she comes too short, that I professe My selfe an enemy to all other ioyes, Which the most precious square of sense professes, And finde I am alone felicitate In your deere Highnesse loue

Cor. Then poore Cordelia, And yet not so, since I am sure my loue's More ponderous then my tongue

Lear. To thee, and thine hereditarie euer, Remaine this ample third of our faire Kingdome, No lesse in space, validitie, and pleasure Then that conferr'd on Gonerill. Now our Ioy, Although our last and least; to whose yong loue, The Vines of France, and Milke of Burgundie, Striue to be interest. What can you say, to draw A third, more opilent then your Sisters? speake

Cor. Nothing my Lord

Lear. Nothing? Cor. Nothing

Lear. Nothing will come of nothing, speake againe

Cor. Vnhappie that I am, I cannot heaue My heart into my mouth: I loue your Maiesty According to my bond, no more nor lesse

Lear. How, how Cordelia? Mend your speech a little, Least you may marre your Fortunes

Cor. Good my Lord, You haue begot me, bred me, lou'd me. I returne those duties backe as are right fit, Obey you, Loue you, and most Honour you. Why haue my Sisters Husbands, if they say They loue you all? Happily when I shall wed, That Lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry Halfe my loue with him, halfe my Care, and Dutie, Sure I shall neuer marry like my Sisters

Lear. But goes thy heart with this? Cor. I my good Lord

Lear. So young, and so vntender? Cor. So young my Lord, and true

Lear. Let it be so, thy truth then be thy dowre: For by the sacred radience of the Sunne, The misteries of Heccat and the night: By all the operation of the Orbes, From whom we do exist, and cease to be, Heere I disclaime all my Paternall care, Propinquity and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me, Hold thee from this for euer. The barbarous Scythian, Or he that makes his generation messes To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosome Be as well neighbour'd, pittied, and releeu'd, As thou my sometime Daughter

Kent. Good my Liege

Lear. Peace Kent, Come not betweene the Dragon and his wrath, I lou'd her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery. Hence and avoid my sight: So be my graue my peace, as here I giue Her Fathers heart from her; call France, who stirres? Call Burgundy, Cornwall, and Albanie, With my two Daughters Dowres, digest the third, Let pride, which she cals plainnesse, marry her: I doe inuest you ioyntly with my power, Preheminence, and all the large effects That troope with Maiesty. Our selfe by Monthly course, With reseruation of an hundred Knights, By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode Make with you by due turne, onely we shall retaine The name, and all th' addition to a King: the Sway, Reuennew, Execution of the rest, Beloued Sonnes be yours, which to confirme, This Coronet part betweene you

Kent. Royall Lear, Whom I haue euer honor'd as my King, Lou'd as my Father, as my Master follow'd, As my great Patron thought on in my praiers

Le. The bow is bent & drawne, make from the shaft

Kent. Let it fall rather, though the forke inuade The region of my heart, be Kent vnmannerly, When Lear is mad, what wouldest thou do old man? Think'st thou that dutie shall haue dread to speake, When power to flattery bowes? To plainnesse honour's bound, When Maiesty falls to folly, reserue thy state, And in thy best consideration checke


King Lear - 1/22

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