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ACT I. SCENE I.
SCENE A Palace, Enter Kent, Glo'fter, and Edmund the Bastard. Kent. 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 qualities are so weigh'd, 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 blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am braz'd to't,
Kent. I cannot conceive you. Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could; whereupon the grew round-womb'd, 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 a son, Sir, by order of law, some years elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account; though this knave came somewhat sawcily into the world before he was fent for, yet was his mother fair, there was good Sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledg'd. Do you know this nobleman, Edmund ? Baff. No, my Lord.
Glo, My Lord of Kent ;
Baft. My services to your Lordship.
Albany, Gonerill, Regan, Cordelia, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the Lords of France and Burgundy. Glo. Į shall, my Liege. .
:: [Exit. Lear. Mean time we shall express our darker purpose, Give me the Map here. Know, we have divided In three, our kingdom; and 'tis our intent, To shake all cares and business from our age, Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburden'd crawl tow'rd death. Our fon of Cornwall, And you, our no less loving son of Albany, We have this hour a constant will to publish Our daughters sev'ral Dow'rs, that future ftrife May be prevented. The Princes France and Burgundy, Great rivals in our younger daughter's love, Long in our Court have made their am'rous sojourn, And here are to be answer'd. Tell me, daughters, Since now we will diveft us, both of rule, Int'rest of territory, and cares of state; Which of you shall we say doth love us moft? That we our largeft bounty may extend · Where nature doth with merit challenge. Gonerill Our eldest born, speak first. : .'
Gon. I love you, Sir, Dearer than eye-fight, 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 unable, Beyond all manner of so much I love you."
Cor. What shall Cordelia do ? love and be filent? [Afide.
Lear. Of all these bounds, ev'n from this line to this, With Mhadowy forests and with champions rich'd,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,"
Reg. I'm made of that felf-metal as my fifter,
(Afde. And yet not so, since I am sure my love's More pond'rous than my tongue.
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Cor. Nothing, my Lord.
Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot beave
Lear. How, how, Cordelia ? mend your speech a little, Left you may mar your fortunes.
Cor. Good my Lord, i You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me. I Return those duties back as are right fit,' Obey you, love you, and moft honour you. .. Why have my lifters husbands, if they say..? They love you all ? hap’ly when I shall wed, That Lord whose hand muft take my plight, shall carry Half my love with him, half my care and dutý.
Sure I shall never marry like my fifters,
Lear. But goes thy heart with this ?
Lear. Let it be so, thy truth then be thy dowre:
Keng. Good my Liege
Lear. Peace, Kent ! Come not between the dragon and his wrath. I lov'd her most, and thought to set my reft On her kind nurs'ry. Hence, avoid my fight ! - [To Cor. So be my grave my peace, as here I give Her father's heart from her ; call France; who stirs ? Call Burgundyco Cornwall and Albany, With my two daughters do wres, digeft the third. Let pride, which the calls plainness, marry her. I do inveft you jointly with my power, Preheminence, and all the large effects That troop with Majesty. Ourself by monthly course, With reservation of an hundred Knights, By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode Make with you by due turns: only retain The name and all th' addition to a King; The fway, revenue, execution, Beloved fons, be yours; which to confirm This Coronet part between you. [Giving ibe Crown. Kent. Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour'd as my King, .
Lear. The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft.
Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn
Kent. See better, Lear, and let me ftill remain
Lear. Now by Apollo
[Laying bis band on his sword.
Lear. Hear me, recreant !