Графични страници
PDF файл

LEAR King of Britain.


EDGAR, Som to Gloster.

EDMUND, Bastard Son to Gloster

CURAN, a Courtier.

Old Man, Tenant to Gloster.




OSWALD, Steward to Goneril.
An Officer, employed by Edmund.
Gentleman, Attendant on Cordelia.
A Herald.

Servants to Cornwall.

SCENE I-A Room of State in King Lear's

SCENE, Britain.


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 weigh'd that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.2


Kent. Is this your son, my lord? Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge; I lave so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now

I am brazed to it.

Most scrupulo as nicety.

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 proper.

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 ?

[blocks in formation]

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. Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, iloster.

2 Part or division.


Sir, I

Do love you more than words can wield the matter,
Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich, or rare;

Edm. No, my lord.

Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor:
as my honorable friend.
As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found.
A love that makes breath poor, and sper ch unable:

Edm. My services to your lordship.

Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
Čor. What shall Cordelia do? love, and be silent.
Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to
With shadowy forests and with champains3 rich'd,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
Be this perpetual.-What says our second daughter,

Reg. I am made of that self metal as in sister
■ Open plains

Glo. I shall, my hege.

[Exeunt GLOSTER and EDMUND. Lear. Meantime we shall express our darker 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

We have this hour a constant will to publish
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife
May be prevented now. The princes, France and
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 daugh

(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.

[ocr errors]


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
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
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,6 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


Lest it may mar your fortunes.


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 honor you. Why have my sisters husbands, if they say, They love you all! Haply, when I shall wed, Thatlord,whose hand must takemy plight,shallcarry 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?
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 forever. The barbarous

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


Lear. Peace, Kent!

Good my liege,

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 [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 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


With reservation of an 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 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 honor'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.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

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;
(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,
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,
That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!—
And your large speeches may your deeds approve,
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.
Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and

[blocks in formation]

Owns, is possessed of.

Pardon me, royal sir; such conditions.

The mark to shoot at.

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,
To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you
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, 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 favor! 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.


I yet beseech your majesty, (If for3 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 dishonor'd step, That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favor: 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.


Better thou

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


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 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

My love should kindle to inflamed 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;

Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides;

for we

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again :-Therefore be gone,
Without our grace, our love, our benizon.6-
Come, noble Burgundy.

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 named. 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.

Let your study
Re, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd you
At fortune's alins. You have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you have

⚫ Blessing.

Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
Well may you prosper!

Come, my fair Cordelia. [Exeunt FRANCE and CORDELIA. Gon. Sister, it is not a little I bave to say, o' 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 lov'd 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-engrafted condition, but therewithal, the unruly way. wardness that infirm and choleric years bring with


[blocks in formation]

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, 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; I prosper:Now, gods, stand up for bastards!


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

Contined to exhibition!! All this done
And the king gone to-night! subscribed his power!

Upon the gad!2-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. I know no news, my lord.
Glo. What paper were you reading?
Em. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No! What needed then that terrible despatch of it into your pocket? the quality or nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let's see: Court, 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: 100 so much as I have perused, I find it not fit for you* 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 tɔ blame.


Qualities of mind. Yielded, surrendered.

The nicety of cistitution. Allowance. Suddenly

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Glo. Let's see, let's see.

Edm. I hope, for my brother's justification, he wrote this but as an essay3 or taste of my virtue. Gle. [Reads.] This policy, and reverence of age, makes the world bitter to the best of our times; keeps our fortunes from us, fill our oldness cannot relish them. I begin 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. If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue forever, 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?

Elm. 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? Elm. 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.

[blocks in formation]

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 honor, 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 honor, and to no other pretence of danger.

Glo. Think you so?

Edm. If your honor judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us conter of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction; and that without any further delay than this very


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, discord; 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, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us fisquietly to our graves!-Find out this villain, Edmund, it shall lose thee nothing; do it carefully: -And the noble and true-hearted Kent banished! nis offence, honesty!-Strange! strange! Exit. 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 pherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary in• Whereas,

Weak and foolish. 1 Following.

• Traitors.

3 Trial. • Manage.

fluence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: An admirable evasion of whoremas ter man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mothe under the dragon's tail; and my nativity was un der 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. EdgarEnter EDGAR.

and pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the oll comedy: My cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o'Bedlam.-O. these eclipses do portend these divisions! fa, sol, la, mi.9

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

read this other day, what should follow these Edm. I am thinking, brother, of a prediction I 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, 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. tinent forbearance, till the speed of his rage goes Edm. That's my fear. I pray you, have a conslower; and, as I say, retire with me to my lodging, from whence I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak: Pray you, go; there's iny key:-If you do stir abroad, go armed.

Edg. Armed, brother?

Edm. Brother, I advise you to the best: go armed; I am no honest man, if there be any good meaning towards you: I have told you what I have seen and heard, but faintly; nothing like the image and horror of it: Pray you, away. Edg. Shall I hear from you anon? Edm. I do serve you in this business.[Exit EDGAR.

A credulous father, and a brother noble,
Whose nature is so far from doing harms,
That he suspects none; on whose foolish honesty
My practices ride easy!-I see the business.-
Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:
All with me's meet, that I can fashion fit. [Exit.
SCENE III-A Room in the Duke of Albany's

[merged small][ocr errors]

Stew. Ay, madam.

Gon. By day and night! he wrongs me; every hour,

He flashes into one gross crime or other,
That sets us all at odds: I'll not endure it:
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
On every trifle:-When he returns from hunting,
I will not speak with him; say, I am sick :---
If you come slack of former services,
You shall do well; the fault of it I'll answer.
Stew. He's coming, madam; I hear him.
[Horns within.
Gon. Put on what weary negligence you please,
You and your fellows; I'd have it come to question:
If he dislike it, let him to my sister,
Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,
9 These sounds are unnatural and offensive in music.
For cohorts some editors read courts. 2 Temperate.

Not to be overruled. Idle old man,
That still would manage those authorities,
That he hath given way!-Now, by my life,
Old fools are babes again; and must be used
With checks, as flatteries,-when they are seen

Remember what I have said.


Very well, madam. Gon. And let his knights have colder looks among you:


What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so: I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak.-I'll write straight to my sister, To hold my very course:-Prepare for dinner.


SCENE IV.-A Hall in the same.
Enter KENT, disguised.

Kent. If but as well I other accents borrow,
That can my speech diffuse,3 my good intent
May carry through itself to that full issue
For which I raz'd my likeness.-Now, banish'd


Ifthou canst serve where thou dost stand condemn'd, (So may it come!) thy master, whom thou lov'st, Shall find thee full of labors.

Horns within. Enter LEAR, Knights, and Attendants.

Lear. Let me not stay a jot for dinner: go, get it ready. [Exit an Attendant. How now, what

art thou?

Kent. A man, sir.

Lear. What dost thou profess? What wouldst

thou with us?

Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly, that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight, when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.

Lear. What art thou?

Kent. A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.

Lear. If thou be as poor for a subject, as he is for a king, thou art poor enough. What wouldst thou?

Kent. Service.

Lear. Who wouldst thou serve?

Kent. You.

Lear. Dost thou know me, fellow?

Kent. No, sir; but you have that in your countenance, which I would fain call master.

Lear. What's that?

Kent. Authority.

Lear. What services canst thou do?

Kent. I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly: that which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in; and the best of me is diligence." Lear. How old art thou?

Kent. Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing; nor so old, to dote on her for any thing: I have years on my back forty-eight.

Lear. Follow me; thou shalt serve me: if I like thee no worse after dinner, I will not part from thee yet.-Dinner, ho, dinner!-Where's my knave? my fool? Go you, and call my fool hither:

Enter Steward.

You, you, sirrah, where's my daughter?

Stew. So please you,


Lear. What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back.--Where's my fool, ho?-I think the world's asleep.-How now, where's that mongrel? Knight. He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.

Lear. Why came not the slave back to me, when I call'd him?

Knight. Sir, he answer'd me in the roundest manner, he would not.

Lear. He would not!


I be mistaken; for my duty cannot be silent, when I think your highness is wrong'd.

Lear. Thou but remember'st me of mine own conception; I have perceived a most taint neglect of late; which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity, than as a very pretence," and purpose of unkindness: I will look further into't But where's my fool? I have not seen him this two days.

Knight. Since my young lady's going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.

Lear. No more of that; I have noted it well.-Go, you, and tell my daughter I would speak with her.-Go you, call hit er my fool.—

Re-enter Steward.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Enter Fool. Fool. Let me hire him too;-Here's my coxcomb. [Giving KENT his Cap. Lear. How now, my pretty knave! how dost thou? Fool. Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb. Kent. Why, fool?

Fool. Why, for taking one's part that is out of favor: Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly: There, take my coxcomb: Why, this fellow has banish'd two of his daughters, and did the third a blessing against bis will; if thou follow him, thou must needs wear my coxcomb.-How now, nuncle? Would I had two coxcombs, and two daughters!

Lear. Why, my boy?

Fool. If I gave them all my living. I'd keep my coxcombs myself: There's mine: beg another of thy daughters.

Lear. Take heed, sirrah; the whip.

Fool. Truth's a dog that must to kennel; be must be whipp'd out, when Lady, the brach, may stand by the fire and stink.

Lear. A pestilent gall to me!

Fool. Sirrah, I'll teach thee a speech. Lear. Do.

Fool. Mark it, nuncle:

[blocks in formation]
« ПредишнаНапред »