Page images
[blocks in formation]

SCENE I. A Room of State in King
Lear's Palace.

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 weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety t.

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.

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 husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault? Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so propert.

RIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, & Attendants.
Lear. Attend the lords of France and Bur-

Glo..I shall, my liege.

Lear. Mean-time we shall express our
darker purpose.
Give me the map there.-Know, that we have
In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent ||
To shake all cares and business from our age;
Conferring them on younger strengths,whilewe
Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Our son of

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


here are to be answer'd.-Tell me, my daughters,

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 some-(Since now we will divest us, both of rule, what saucily into the world before he was sent Interest of territory, cares of state,) for, yet was his mother fair; there was good Which of you, shall we say, doth love us most? sport at his making, and the whoreson must That we our largest bounty may extend be acknowledged. Do you know this noble Where merit doth most challenge it.-Goneril, gentleman, Edmund? Our eldest-born, speak first. Gon. Sir, I [matter, Do love you more than words can wield the Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty; Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare; No less than life, with grace, health, beauty,

Edm. No, my lord.

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

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.

Most scrupulous nicety.
› More secret.


As much as child e'er loved, or father found.
A love that makes breath poor, and specch
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

+ Part or division.

Determined resolution.

Cor. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent. [Aside. Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this, [rich'd, With shadowy forests and with champains* With plenteous rivers and wide skirted meads, We make thee lady: To thinc 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, [sesses;
Which the most precious square † of sense pos-
And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
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
Although the last, not least; to whose young
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. Nothing?
Cor. Nothing.

Lear. Nothing can come of nothing: speak
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
Lest it may mar your fortunes. [speech a little,
Good my lord,

You have begot me, bred me, loved me: 1
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
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

[ocr errors]

Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Ay, good my lord.
Lear. So young, and so untender?
Cor. So young, my lord, and true. [dower:
Lear. Let it be so,-Thy truth then be thy
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 bar.
barous Scythian,

* Open plains. + Comprehension.
Kindred. ** From this time.

Or he that makes his generationtt messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and relieved,
As thou my sometime daughter.
- Kent.
Good my liege,-

Lear. Peace, Kent!

Come not between the dragon and his wrath: I loved 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
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects [course,
That troop with majesty.-Ourself, by monthly
With reservation of an hundred knights,
By yon to be sustain'd, shall our abode [tain
Make with you by due turns. Only we still re-
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.
Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
Loved 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

[blocks in formation]

Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork inThe region of my heart: be Kent unmannerly When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, [speak, Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's bound, [doom; When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy And, in thy best consideration, check This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment,

[ocr errors]

Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least;
Nor are those empty hearted, whose low sound
Reverbs no hollowness.
Kent, on thy life, no more.
Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thine enemies; nor fear to
Thy safety being the motive.
[lose it,
Lear. Tha
Out of my sight!
Kent. See better, Lear, and let me still re-
The true blank TT of thine eye.
Lear. Now, by Apollo,-

Now, by Apollo, king,

[blocks in formation]

+ His children. Titles. T¶ The mark to shoot at.

Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift;
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,
I'll tell thee, thou dost evil.
Hear me, recreant!
On thine allegiance hear me!--
Since thou hast sought to make us break our
(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 fol-

To match you where I hate; therefore beseech

To avert your liking a more worthier way,
Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed
Almost to acknowledge hers.
This is most strange!
That she,thát 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, [tion
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd** affec-
Fall into taint tt: which to believe of her,
Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.


Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death: Away! By Jupiter,
I yet beseech your majesty,
This shall not be revoked. [wilt appear, (If for I want that glib and oily art, [tend,
Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou To speak and purpose not; since what I well in-
Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here. I'll do't before I speak,) that yon make known
The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid, It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
[To CORDELIA. No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,
That justly think'st,and hast most rightly said! That hath deprived me of your grace and favour:
And your large speeches may your deeds ap-But even for want of that, for which I am richer;
prove, To REGAN and GONERIL. A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue [it,
That good effects may spring from words of That I am glad I have not, though not to have
Hath lost me in your liking.
Better thou [me better.
Hadst not been born, than not to have pleased
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 55.
Will you
She is herself a dowry.
[have her?
Royal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself proposed,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adien;
He'll shape his old course in a country new.
Re-enter, GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BUR-
GUNDY, and Attendants.,

Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my no-
Lear. My lord of Burgundy, [ble lord.
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 lovef?
Most royal majesty,
I crave no more than hath your highness
Nor will you tender less.
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 pieced,
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and she is yours.


I know no answer.
Lear. Sir,
Will you, with those infirmities she owes ý,
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with
Take her, or leave her?
[our oath,
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,
I would not from your love make such a stray,

Follow his old mode of life.


Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.
Bur. I am sorry then, you have so lost a
That you must lose a husband. [father,
Peace be with Burgundy!
Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.
[being poor;

France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich,
Most choice,forsaken; and most loved,despised!
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

[ocr errors]

My love should kindle to inflamed respect.-
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my

Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of wat'rish Burgundy
Shall buy this unprized precious maid of me.-
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where to find.
Lear. Thon hast her, France: let her he
thine; for we

+ Amorous expedition.


Owns, is possessed of. Concludes not. ¶ Turn. ** Former declaration of. Because. 95" Who seeks for aught in love but love alone!"

+ Reproach or censure.


Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see That face of her's again:-Therefore be gone, Without our grace, our love, our benizon*.Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants.

France. Bid farewell to your sisters. [eyes Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are; And, like a sister, am most loath to call [father: Your faults, as they are named. Use well our 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 received you At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted, And well are worth the want that you have wanted. [ning hides; Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited+ cunWho cover faults, at last shame them derides. Well may yon 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 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.

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-ingrafted 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.

For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon.
[base ?
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 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. Igrow; I prosper :-
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Glo. Kent banish'd thus! And France in
choler parted!
And the king gone to-night! subscribed** his
Confined to exhibition tf! All this done
Upon the gad!-Edmund! How now? what
Edm. So please your lordship, none. [news?
[Putting up the Letter.
Glo. Why so earnestly seek you to put up
Edm. I know no news, my lord. [that letter?
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'er-read; 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 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 be gin 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. SCENE II. A Hall in the Earl of Glos-If our father would sleep till I waked

Reg. We shall further think of it. Gon. We must do something, and i'the heats. [Exeunt.

ter'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 plague of custom; and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me,

him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother, Edgar.-Humph-Conspiracy!-Sleep till 1 waked him-you should enjoy half his rerenue,-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?

• Blessing. + Folded, donbled. Qualities of mind. The nicety of civil institution. Suddenly. $$ Trial.

The injustice.

tt Allowance.

§ Strike while the iron's hot. ** Yielded, surrendered. Weak and foolish.

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?

lowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves!-Find out this villain, Edmund, it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully:-And the noble and true. hearted Kent banished! his offence, honesty!

Edm. If the matter were good, my lord, I-Strange! strange! 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, 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 honourt, and to no other pretence 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; convey the business as I shall find means, and acquaint you withal.

Glo. These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us: Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent ¶ effects: love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide in cities, mutinies; in countries, dis. cord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked between son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction; there's son against father: the king falls from bias of nature; there's father against child. We have seen the best of our time: Machinations, hol

• Whereas.


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 predominance; drunkards, liars, and adul terers, 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. Edgar

Enter EDGAR.

and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the old comedy: My cue is villanous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-0, these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mitt.

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

Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a predic tion 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 state, menaces and maledictions against king and nobles; needless diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation of cohorts ý, 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 mischief of your person it would scarcely allay. Edg. Some villain hath done me wrong.

+ The usual address to a lord. Give all that I am possessed of, to be certain of the truth. ** Traitors. tt Great bear, the constellation so named. and offensive in music.. $$ For cohorts some

[blocks in formation]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »