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KI N G L E A R.
A C. T I. SCEN E 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 moft; 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
smell a fault ?
Kent. I cannot with 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 sent 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 ? Baft. No, my Lord.
Glo, My Lord of Kent;
Baft. My services to your Lordship.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he fall again.
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 fhake all cares and business from our age, Conferring them on younger ftrengths, 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 publisk 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 divest us, both of rule,: 1 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 loy'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? [Alide.
Lear. Of all these bounds, ev'n from this line to this, With Madowy forests and with champions rich'd,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
Reg. I'm made of that self-metal as my fifter,
Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Cor. Nothing, my Lord.
Lear. How, how, Cordelia ? mend your speech a little,
Cor. Good my Lord,
Sure I shall never marry like my lifters,
Lear. But goes thy heart with this?
Lear. Let it be so, thy truth then be thy dowre;
Kent. Good my Liege
Lear. Peace, Kent ! Come not between the dragon and his wrath. I lov'd her moft, and thought to set my rest 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 Burgundy -Cornwall and Albany, With my two daughters dowres, digest the third. Let pride, which the calls plainnels, marry her. I do invest 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 sway, revenue, execution, Beloved sons, be yours; which to confirm This Coronet part between you.
[Giving ebe Crown, Kent. Royal Leary
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 The region of my heart; be Kent unmannerly, When Lear is mad; what would'st thou do, old man? Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak When pow'r to flate’ry bows ? to plainness Honour le bound, when Majesty to folly falls. Reserve thy State ; with better judgment check This hideouş rashness; with my life I answer, Thy youngest daughter does not love thee leaft, 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 To wage against thy foes nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive.
Lear. Out of my fight!
Kent. See better, Lear, and let me ftill remain The true blank of thine eye.
Lear. Now by Apollo
Kent. Now by Apollo, King, Thou swear'ft thy Gods in vain. Lear. O vaflal! miscreant !
(Laying his band on his sword. ' Alb. Corn. Dear Sir, forbear.
Kent, Kill thy physician, and thy fee bestow
Lear. Hear me, recreant !