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The worth that learned charity aye wears.
For wicked Cleon and his wife, when fame
Had spread their cursed deed, and honour'd

name

Of Pericles, to rage the city turn;
That him and his they in his palace burn.

The gods for murder seemed so content
To punish them; although not done, but meant.
So on your patience evermore attending,
New joy wait on you! Here our play has end
ing.
Frit Gower

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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.

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?

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Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants.

Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster. Glo. I shall, my liege.

[Exeunt Gloster and Edmund. Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker purpose.

Give me the map there.-Know, that we have divided,

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

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 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?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where merit doth most challenge it.-Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.

Gon. Sir, I

Do love you more than words can wield the matter,

Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
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 un-
able;

Beyond all manner of so much I love you. Cor. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent. [Aside. Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,

With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd, With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads, We make thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.-What says our second daugh

ter,

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 square of sense pos

sesses;

And find, I am alone felicitate In your dear highness' love. Cor. Then poor Cordelia !

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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. 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, 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. Ay, good my lord.

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

Kent. 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 nursery.-Hence, and avoid my
sight!.
[To Corúcial.
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, [Aside. With my two daughters' dowers digest this third:

Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her. | (Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,)
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Pre-eminence, and all the large effects,

Our potency made good, take thy reward.
Five days we do allot thee, for provision

That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly.To shield thee from diseases of the world;

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Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak,

When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's bound,

When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy
doom;

And, in thy best consideration, check
This hideous rashness: answer my life my
judgment,

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 Towage against thine enemies; nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive.

Lear. Out of my sight!

Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain

The true blank of thine eye.

Lear. Now, by Apollo,Kent. Now, by Apollo, king, Thou swear'st thy gods in vain. Lear. O, vassal! miscreant!

And, on the sixth, to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day follow-

ing,

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

Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou
wilt 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 Goverd.

That good effects may spring from words of
love.-

Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;
He'll shape his old course in a country new.

[Exit.

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least,

Will you require in present dower with her,
Or cease your quest of love?

Bur. Most royal majesty,

I crave no inore 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, seeming 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.

Bur. I know no answer.

Lear. Sir,

Will you, with those infirmities she owes,
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our
oath,

[Laying his hand on his sword. Take her, or leave her?

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'd pride,

To come betwixt our sentence and our power;

Bur. 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, a
[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 ashain'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: 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 for 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;
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. Better thou

That face of hers again:-Therefore be gone,
Without our grace, our love, our benizon.—
Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish. Exeunt Lear, Burgundy, Corn-
wall, 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 cunning
hides;

Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.

Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd Well may you prosper!

me better.

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. Royal Lear,

Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

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

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, that 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

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.-
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

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

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see

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 longengrafted 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.

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

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