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Lear, king of Britain.
gers, Soldiers, and Attendants.
SCENE I.-A room of state in King Lear's palace. Enter Kent, Gloster, and Èdmund.
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 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, sír, 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.3
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 raucily
(1) Most scrupulous nicety.
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 ?
Edin. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter 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. Enter Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Goneril, Regan,
Cordelia, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
Glo. I shall, my liege. [Exe. Glo. and Edm. Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker)
purpose. Give me the map there.—Know, that we have di
vided, In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent2 To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Ourson of Corn
wall, 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 daugh
ters, (1) More secret. (2) Determined resolution.
(Since now we will divest us, both of rule,
That we our largest bounty may extend
Aside. Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line
to this, With shadowy forests and with champainsi 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 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, Which the most precious square2 of sense possesses, And find, I am alone felicitate3 In your dear highness' love. Cor.
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,
(1) Open plains. (2) Comprehension. (3) Made Happy. 5) Value.
Than that confirm'd on Goneril.-Now, our joy,
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
Lear. But goes this with tlay heart?
Ay, good my lord.
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 disclaini all iny paternal care, Propinquity2 and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me
(1) Perhaps. (2) Kindred.