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THE

HISTORY

OF

King L E A R.

ACT I..

Enter Bastard folus.

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Baft.

HOU. Nature art my Goddefs ; to,

thy Law T

My. Services are bound; why am I

then
Depriv'd of a Son's Right, because

I came not
In the dull Road that Custom has prescrib'd ?
Why Bastard, wherefore Base, when I can boasti
A Mind as gen'rous, and a Shape as true
As honeft Madam's Issue? Why are we
Held Base, who in the lufty Stealth of Nature -
Take fiercer Qualities than what compound
The scanted Births of the Itale Marriage bed.

Well

Well then, legitimate Edgar, to thy Right
Of Law I will oppose a Bastard's Cunning.
Our Father's Love is to che Bastard Edmund
As to legitimate Edgar ; with Success
I've practis'd yet on both their ealy Natures :
Here comes the old Man, chaf’d with th' Information
Which last I forg'd againit my Brother Edgar ;;
A Tale fo plausible, so boldiy utter'd,
And heighten'd by such lucky Accident,
That now the slightest Circumstance confirms him,
And base-born Edmund spight of Law inherits.

Enter Kent and Gloster.
Glof. Nay, good my Lord, your Charity
O'ershoots itself, to plead in his Behalf;
You are yourself a Father, and may feel"
The Sting of Disobedience from a Son.
First-born and best-belov'd : O Villain Edgar !

Kent. Be not too rash; all may be Forgery,
And Time yet clear the Duty of your

Son. Gloft. Plead with the Scas, and reason down the Winds... Yet Thalt thou ne'er convince me: I have seen His foul Designs through all a Father's Fondness :: But be this Lighe and thou my Witnesses, That I discard him here from

my Poffessions, Divorce him from my Heart, my Blood, and Name,

Baft. It works as I cou'd with ; I'll thew myself.

Gloft. Ha ! Edmund! welcome Boy. Q Kent, see here Inverted Nature, Glofier's Shame and Glory : This By born, the wild Sally of my Youth, Pursues me with all filial Offices ; Whilft Edgar, beg'd of Heaven, and born in Honour, Draws Plagues' on my white Head, that

urge

me ftill To curse. in Age the Pleasure of

my

Youch. Nay, weep not, Edmund, for thy Brother's Crimes.. O generous Boy! thou sharit but half his Blood, Yet lov'st beyond the Kindness of a Brother : But I'll reward thy Virtuc.. Follow me. My Lord, you wait the King, who comes resolvid To quit the Toils of Empire, and divide His Realms amongst his Daughters. Heaven succeed it ;-: But much I fear the Change,

Kinta

Kent. I grieve to fee him
With fach wild Stars of Passion hourly seiz’d,
As render Majesty between itself.

Gloft. Alas ! 'tis the Infirmity of his Age :
Yet has his Temper ever been unfixt,
Chol'rick and sudden ; hark, they approach.

Exeunt Gloft. and Baft. Flourish. Enter Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Burgundy, Edgar, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, Edgar speaking to Cordelia at Entrance.

Edgar. Cordelia, Royal Fair, turn yet once more,
And e'er successful Burgundy receive
The Treasure of thy Beauties from the King,
E’er happy Burgundy for ever fold Thee,
Caft back one pitying Look on wretched Edgar.

Card. Alas ! what wou'd the wretched Edgar with
The more unfortunate Cordelia,
Who in Obedience to a Father's Will
Flies from her Edgar's Arms to Burgundy's ?

Ļear. Attend my Lords of Albany and Cornwall,
With Princely Burgundy.

Alb. We do, my Liege.

Lear. Give me this Map Know, Lords, we have In Three our Kingdom, having now resolv'd [divided To disengage from our long Toil of State, Conferring all upon your younger Years ; You Burgundy, Cornwall and Albany, Long in our Court have made your amorous Sojourn, And now are to be answer'd. Tell me, my Daughters, Which of you loves us moft, that we may place Our largest Bounty with our largest Merit. Goneril, our Eldest-born, speak first.

Gon. Sir, I do love you more than Words can utter, Beyond what can be valu'd Rich, or Rare ; Nor Liberty, nor Sight, Health, Fame, or Beauty, Are half so dear ; my Life for you were vile ; As much as Child can love the best of Fathers.

Lear. Of all these Bounds, e'en from this Line to this, With Nady Forests, and wide-fkirted Meads, We make thee Lady ; to thine and Albany's Itsue Be this perpetual. What says our second Daughter?

Rego

Reg. My Sister, Sir, in Part, expreft my Love ;
For such as hers, is mine, though more extended :
Sense has no other Joy that I can relish,
I have my All in my dear Liege's Love.

Lear. Therefore to thee and thine Hereditary
Remain this ample Third of our fair Kingdom.

Cor. Now comes my Trial, how am I dittrest! [ Afiden That must with cold Speech tempt the Cholrick King Rather to leave me Dowerless, than condemn me To loath'd Embraces.

Lear. Speak now our last, not least in our dear Love, So ends my Talk of State -Cordelia, speak. What canit thou say to win a richer Third Than what thy Sisters gain'd?

Cord. Now must my Love in Words, fall short of theirsg. As much as it exceeds in Truth -Nothing, my Lord.

Lear. Nothing can come of Nothing, speak again.

Cord. Unhappy am I that I cannot diffemble :
Sir, as I ought, I love your Majesty,
No more, nor less,

Lear. Take heed, Cordelia ;
Thy Fortunes are at stake, think better on't,
And mend thy Speech a little.

Cord. O my Liege !
You gave me Being, bred me, dearly love me,
And I return my Duty as I ought ;
Obey you, love you, and most honour you ;
Why have my Sisters Husbands, if they love you All ;
Haply when I shall wed, the Lord whose Hand
Shall take my Plight, will carry half my Love;
For I shall never marry

like

my Sisters, To love my Father all.

Lear. And goes thy Heart with this ?
'Tis said that I am Chol'rick. Judge me, Gods,
Is there not cause ? Now, Minion, I perceive
The Truth of what has been suggested to us ;
Thy Fondness for the Rebel Son of Glofter,
Falie to his Father, as thou art to my Hopes :
And oh! take heed, rash Girl, left we comply
With thy fond Wishes, which thou wilt too late
Repent; for know our Nature cannot brook,
A Child so young, and so ungentile..

Cori's

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