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whereupon she grew round-wombed, 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.

Glou. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in 20 my account: though this knave came something saucily 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 ? Edm. No, my lord.

Glou. 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 30 better.

Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.

Glou. He hath been out nine years, and away

he shall again. The king is coming.

Sennet. Enter one bearing a coronet, KING LEAR,
CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN,
CORDELIA, and Attendants.

Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy,
Gloucester.

Glou. I shall, my liege.

[Exeunt Gloucester and Edmund. Lear. Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.

Give me the map there. Know that we have divided

In three our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent

18. proper, goodly.

20. some year, a year or so. 37. darker, more secret.

To shake all cares and business from our age,
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburthen'd crawl toward death. Our son of
Cornwall,

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.

daughters,

Tell me, my

Since now we will divest us, both of rule,

Interest of territory, cares of state,

Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.

Gon. Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;

Dearer than eye-sight, 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 loved, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

Cor. [Aside] What shall Cordelia do? Love,
and be silent.

Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,

40. from our age; so Ff. 'Of our state,' Qq.

50, 51. These two lines are not in Qq.

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40

50

60

that of birth.' Qq 'Where merit most doth challenge it.'

56. wield the matter, express. 62. all manner of so much, all possible comparison.

63. do; so Qq. Ff 'speak.'

With shadowy forests and with champains 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, 70
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

In your dear highness' love.

Cor.
[Aside] Then poor Cordelia !
And yet not so, since, I am sure, my love's
More ponderous 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 conferr'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.

Lear. Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

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80

90

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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, loved 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
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 thy heart with this?

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 operation 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 for ever. The barbarous

Scythian,

Or he that makes his generation messes

To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom

Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and relieved,

102. all, exclusively.

119. generation, offspring.

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As thou my sometime daughter.

Kent.

Lear. Peace, Kent!

Good my liege,

Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
I loved her most, and thought to set my rest
On her kind nursery. Hence, and avoid my sight!
So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Her father's heart from her! Call France.

stirs ?

Call Burgundy. Cornwall and Albany,

Who

With my two daughters' dowers digest this third: 130
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 to a king;
The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm,
This coronet part betwixt you.

Kent.
Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honour'd as my king,
Loved 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 wilt thou do, old man?
Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,

125. set my rest (in the game of primero, to stake all upon the cards in one's hand), entrust

myself absolutely.

126. nursery, nursing.
138. additions, titles.

140

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