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To plainness

- 150

When power to flattery bows?

honour's bound,

When majesty stoops to folly.

Reverse thy doom,

And in thy best consideration check

This hideous rashness: answer my life my judge

ment,

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 thy 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 160 The true blank of thine eye.

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Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow

Upon thy foul disease. Revoke thy doom;
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 between our sentence and our power,

151. stoops; so Qq. Ff 'falls.' ib. Reverse thy doom; so Qq.

Ff reserve thy state.'

170

156. Reverbs, reverberates. 161. blank, lit. the white centre of the target.

Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,
Our potency made good, take thy reward.
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 revoked.

Kent. Fare thee well, king: sith thus thou wilt
appear.

Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.
[To Cordelia] The gods to their dear shelter take
thee, maid,

That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!
[To Regan and Goneril] And your large speeches
may your deeds approve,

That good effects may spring from words of love.
Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;

180

He'll shape his old course in a country new. [Exit. 190

Flourish.

Re-enter GLOUCESTER, with FRANCE,
BURGUNDY, and Attendants.

Glou. 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 what your highness offer'd,

175. potency, royal authority. 176. Five; so Ff. Qq 'four.' Similarly in 178, respectively 'sixth' and 'fifth.'

177. diseases, discomforts.

191. This line is given to Cordelia in Ff.

Right noble Burgundy,

Nor will you tender less.

Lear.

When she was dear to us, we did hold her so;

But now her price is fall'n. Sir, there she stands : 200
If aught within that little seeming substance,
Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced,

And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and she is yours.

Bur.

I know no answer.

Lear. Will you, with those infirmities she owes, Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,

Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our

oath,

Take her, or leave her?

Bur.

Election makes not up on such conditions.

Lear. Then leave her,

that made me,

Pardon me, royal sir ;

sir; for, by the power

210

I tell you all her wealth. [To France] For you,

great king,

I would not from your love make such a stray,
To match you where I hate; therefore beseech

you

To avert your liking a more worthier way

Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed
Almost to acknowledge hers.

This is most strange,

France. That she, that even but now was your best object, The argument of your praise, balm of your age, Most best, most dearest, should in this trice of time Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle

199. so, i.e. 'dear,' of high price.

207. stranger'd with our oath, made a stranger by our oath.

209. makes not up, does not decide. "There is no possible

choice.'

220

212. make such a stray, stray so far. 'I would not act so unamiably towards you.'

217. your best object, the delight of your eye.'

So many folds of favour. Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,

That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
Fall'n into taint: which to believe of her,

Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.

Cor.

I yet beseech your majesty,

If for I want that glib and oily art,

To speak and purpose not, since what I well
intend,

I'll do 't before I speak,—that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action, or dishonour'd step,
That hath deprived me of your grace and favour;
But even for want of that for which I am richer,
A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue

As I am glad I have not, though not to have it
Hath lost me in your liking.

Lear.

Better thou

Hadst not been born than not to have pleased me better.

France. Is it but this,- —a tardiness in nature
Which often leaves the history unspoke

That it intends to do? My lord of Burgundy,
What say you to the lady? Love's not love
When it is mingled with regards that stand
Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.

Bur.

Royal Lear,

Give but that portion which yourself proposed,

And here I take Cordelia by the hand,

Duchess of Burgundy.

Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm.

242. regards, considerations.

ib. stand aloof from the

230

240

entire point, have no relation to

that which is the object of ' entire' or pure love.

Bur. I am sorry then you have so lost a

father

That you must lose a husband.

Cor.

Peace be with Burgundy! 250

Since that respects of fortune are his love,

I shall not be his wife.

France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich,

being poor,

Most choice forsaken, and most loved despised,
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon :

Be it lawful I take up what's cast away.

Gods, gods! 'tis strange that from their cold'st neglect

My love should kindle to inflamed respect.

Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy
Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where to find.

Lear. Thou hast her, France: let her be thine;

for we

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see

That face of hers again. Therefore be gone
Without our grace, our love, our benison.

Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish. Exeunt all but France,
Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia.

France. Bid farewell to your sisters.

Cor. The jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes Cordelia leaves you: I know you what you are ; And like a sister am most loath to call

262. unprized, beyond price.

264. where (used substantively).

260

270

271. The jewels, etc. (in apposition to 'you').

271. with wash'd eyes, i.e. with tears.

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