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ACT I. SCENEI. A Room of State in King Lear's Palace.
Enter KENT, GLOSTER, and EDMUND. Kent. I 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 ibe kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for equalities 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 bave so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.
Kent. I cannot conceive you. Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could : whereupon she grew round-wombed; and had, indeed, sir, a sod 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, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account : though this knave came somewhat 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. Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him here. after as my honourable friend.
Edm. My services to your lordship.
Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better.
Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving. Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again :-The king is coming.'
[Trumpets sound within. Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, RE
GAN, CORDELIA, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster. Glo. I shall, my liege.
[Exeunt GLOSTER and EDMUND. Lear, Mean time 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 To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengtbs, while we Unburden'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 ainorous
sojourn, And here are to be answer'd.---Tell me, my
daughters (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 merit doth most challenge it.--Goneril, Our eldest-born, speak first.
Gon. Do 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 lov'd, or father found.
A love that makes breath poor, and speech un
able : Beyond all manner of so much I love you. Cor. What shall Cordelia do ? Love, and be silent.
[Aside. Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line
to this, With shadowy forests and with champains
rich'd, With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads, Wemake thee lady: To thine and Albany's issue Be this perpetual.-What says our second daugh
ter, Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister,
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,
Cor. Nothing, my lord.
a little, Lest it may mar your fortunes.
Good my lord,
and most honour you. Why have my sisters husbands, if they say, They love you, all? Haply, when I shall wed, Thai lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Ay, good my lord.
Good my liege,-
[To CORDELIA. 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 myiwo 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 Tbat troop with inajesty.--Ourself, by monthly
With reservation of a hundred knights,
be yours : which to confirm, This coronet part between you..
Giving 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 froin
the shaft. Kent. Let it fall rather, thongh 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
bonour's bound, When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy
doom; And, in thy best consideration, check Tbis' hideous rashness: answer my life my
judgment, Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least; Vor are those empty hearted, whose low sound Reverbs no hollowness. Lear.
Kent, on thy life, no more. Kent. My life I never beld but as a pawn To wage against thine enemies, nor fear to lose it, Thy safety being the motive.
Out of my sight! Kent. See better, Lear, and let me stiliremain The true blank of thine eye. Lear. Now, by Apollo, Keni.
Now, by Apollo, king, 'Thou swear'st thy gods in vain. Lear.
0, vassal! miscreant !
(Laying his Hand on his Sword. Alb. Corn. Dear sir, forbear. Kent. Do;