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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.


Hear me, 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 made 27 good, take thy reward.
Five days we do allot thee, for provision
To shield thee from diseases 28 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,

27 As you have with unreasonable pride come between our sentence and our power to execute it; that power shall be made good by rewarding thy contumacy with a sentence of banishment.' In Othello we have nearly the same language:-

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My spirit and my place have in them power

To make this better to thee.'

One of the quartos reads, ' make good.'

28 Thus the quartos. The folio reads, disasters. By the diseases of the world are the uneasinesses, inconveniences, and slighter troubles or distresses of the world. So in King Henry VI. Part 1. Act ii. Sc. 5:—

'And in that ease I'll tell thee my disease.'

The provision that Kent could make in five days might in some measure guard against such diseases of the world, but could not shield him from its disasters.

Kent. Fare thee well, king: since thus thou wilt


Freedom 29 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 30?


Most royal majesty,

I crave no more than hath your highness offer'd,

Nor will you tender less.

Right noble Burgundy,

Lear. When she was dear to us, we did hold her so; But now her price is fall'n: Sir, there she stands; If aught within that little, seeming 31 substance, Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd,

29 The quartos read, 'Friendship.' And in the next line, instead of dear shelter,' 'protection.'

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30 That is, your amorous pursuit.' A quest is a seeking or pursuit: the expedition in which a knight was engaged is often so named in the Faerie Queene.

31 Seeming here means specious. Thus in The Merry Wives of Windsor: Pluck the borrowed veil of modesty from the so seeming mistress Page.'

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


Lear. Sir,

I know no answer.

Will you, with those infirmities she owes 32,

Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,

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

Take her, or leave her?


Pardon me, royal sir;

Election makes not up` 33 on such conditions.

Lear. Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that

made me,

I tell you all her wealth.-For you, great king,

[TO FRANCE. 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 Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd 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 So many folds of favour! Sure, her offence Must be of such unnatural degree,

That monsters it 34, or your fore-vouch'd affection 32 i. e. owns, is possessed of.

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33 That is, Election is not accomplished upon such conditions,' I cannot decide to take her upon such terms.


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Such unnatural degree

That monsters it.'

In the phraseology of Shakspeare's age that and as were convertible words. So in Coriolanus:

But with such words that are but rooted in

Your tongue.'

See Julius Cæsar, Act i. Sc. 2, p. 283, note 15. The uncommon verb to monster occurs again in Coriolanus, Act ii. Sc. 2:--

To hear my nothings monster'd.

Fall into taint 35: which to believe of her,
Must be a faith, that reason without miracle
Could never plant in me.


I yet beseech your majesty (If for 36 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 37 action, or dishonour'd step,
That hath depriv'd 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

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


Better thou

Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd me


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 is not love, When it is mingled with respects 38, that stand Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her? She is herself a dowry.


Royal Lear,
Give but that portion which yourself propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.

35 Her offence must be monstrous, or the former affection which you professed for her must fall into taint; that is, become the subject of reproach. Taint is here only an abbreviation of


36 i. e. If cause I want,' &c.

37 The quartos read, ' no unclean action,' which in fact carries the same sense.

38 i. e. with cautious and prudential considerations. The folio has regards. The meaning of the passage is, that his love wants something to mark its sincerity::

Who seeks for aught in love but love alone.'

Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; I am firm. Bur. I am sorry then, you have so lost a father, That you must lose a husband.


Peace be with Burgundy!

Since that respects of fortune are his love,
I shall not be his wife.

France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being'

Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd! Thee and thy virtues here I seize


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 inflam'd respect.—
Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of wat'rish Burgundy

Shall buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me.—
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:
Thou losest here, a better where 39 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 benizon.—
Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish. Exeunt LEAR, BURGUNDY, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GLOSTER, and Attendants. 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

'Thou losest

39 Here and where have the power of nouns. this residence, to find a better residence in another place.' So in Churchyard's Farewell to the World, 1592:

'That growes not here, takes roote in other where.'

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