Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 square? of sense possesses;
And find, I am alone felicitate 8
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,
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.
Leur. 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,

7 Comprehension.

8 Made happy.

9 Value:

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 carry
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?
Cor.

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,3 for ever. The barbarous

Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation 4 messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd,
As thou my sometime daughter.
Kent.

Good my liege,
Lear. Peace, Kent !
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 sight!-

[To CORDELIA.

3 From this time.

4 His children.

i Perhaps.

2 Kindred. VOL. IX.

A A

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 course,
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 s to a king ;

The sway,

6

Revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part between you. [Giring the Crown.
Kent.

Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour'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. 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 power to flattery bows ? To plainness honour's

bound, When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom; And, in thy best consideration, check

[blocks in formation]

This hideous rashness: answer

my
life

my judgment,
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least;
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 thine enemies; nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive, Lear.

Out of my sight!
Kent. See better, Lear; and let me still remain
The true blank 8 of thine eye.

Lear. Now, by Apollo,-
Kent.

Now, by Apollo, king, Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.

O, vassal! miscreant!

[Laying his Hand on his Sword. . Alb. Corn. Dear sir, forbear.

Kent. Do;
Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift ;
Or, whilst I can vent clamour from

my

throat, I'll tell thee, thou dost evil. Lear.

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.

Lear.

7 Reverberates.

8 The mark to shoot at.

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,

[To CORDELIA. That justly think’st, and hast most rightly said !And your large speeches may your deeds approve,

[To Regan and GONERIL. 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 Attendants.

Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

Lear. My lord of Burgundy, We first address towards you, who with this king Hath rivall’d for our daughter; What, in the least,

Will you require in present dower with her, '. Or cease your quest of love ?" Bur.

Most royal majesty, I crave no more than hath your bighness offer'd, Nor will you tender less. Lear.

Right noble Burgundy,

9 Follow his old mode of life.

1 Amorous expedition.

« PreviousContinue »