The Tragedie of King Lear


William Shakespeare

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The Tragedie of King Lear Page 01

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

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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