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Beloved sons, be yours which to confirm,
This coronet part between you.
Kent. Royal Lear,

[Giving the crown.

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 wouldst thou do, old man?
Think'st thou, that duty shall have dread to speak,
When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's

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

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;2 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 of thine eye. 3
Lear. Now, by Apollo,-
Kent. Now, by Apollo, king,
Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
Lear. 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 !

[1] Reverbs-this I presume to be a word of the poet's own making, meaning the same as reverberates. STEEVENS.

[2] i. e. I never regarded my life as my own, but merely as a thing of which I had the possession, not the property; and which was entrusted to me as a pawn or pledge to be employed in waging war against your enemies.


[3] The blank-is the white or exact mark at which the arrow is shot. "See better," says Kent," and keep me always in your view." JOHNS.

Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow,
(Which we durst never yet,) and, with strain'd pride, 4
To come betwixt our sentence and our power;
(Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,)
Our potency make good, take thy reward.5
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.7


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 highness offer'd,
Nor will you tender less.

Lear. Right noble Burgundy,

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 substance, s

[4] The old copy reads starved pride; that is, pride exorbitant; pride passing due bounds. JOHNSON.

[5] As a proof that I am not a mere threatener, that I have power as well as will to punish, take the due reward of thy demerits; hear thy sentence. The words, Our potency made good, are in the absolute case. MALONE. [6] Shakspeare makes Lear too much of a mythologist: he had Hecate and Apollo before. JOHNSON.

[7] He will follow his old maxims; he will continue to act upon the same principles. JOHNSON.

[8] Seeming means specious.


Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd,

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

Bur. I know no answer.

Lear. Sir,

Will you, with those infirmities she owes, 9
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,

Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
Take her, or leave her?

Bur. Pardon me, royal sir;

Election makes not up 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 FRA.
I would not from your love make such a stray,
To match you where hate; therefore beseech you
To avert your liking a more worthier way,

Than on a wretch, whom nature is asham'd
Almost to acknowledge hers.

France. This is most strange !

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, or your fore-vouch'd affection

Fall 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 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.

Lear. Better thou

[9] Owes-i. e. possessed of.


[1] Election comes not to a decision; in the same sense as when we say, "I have made up my mind on that subject."


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Hadst not been born, than not to have pleas'd 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 is not love,
When it is mingled with respects, 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 propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,

Duchess of Burgundy.

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.

Cor. Peace be with Burgundy !

Since that respects of fortune are his love,

I shall not be his wife.

Fra. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor; Most choice, forsaken; and most lov'd, despis'd!

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 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 to find.2

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. Exe. 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

Your faults, as they are nam'd. Use well our father:

To your professed bosoms I commit him :

[2] Here and where have the power of nouns. Thou losest this residence to find a better residence in another place.


But yet, alas! stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.

Gon. Prescribe not us our duties.
Reg. Let your study

Be, to content your lord; who hath receiv'd you
At fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you have wanted.
Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides ;3
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.

Well may you prosper!

Fran. Come, my fair Cordelia. [Exe. FRA. and COR. "Gon. Sister, it is not a little I have to say, of what most nearly appertains to us both. I think, our father will hence to-night.

Reg. That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.

Gon. You see how full of changes his ages is; the observation we have made of it hath not been little; he always loved our sister most; and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her off, appears too grossly.

Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.

Gon. The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash; then must we look to receive from his age, not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition, but, therewithal, the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.

Reg. Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him, as this of Kent's banishment.

Gon. There is further compliment of leave-taking between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together :5 If our father carry authority with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.

Reg. We shall further think of it.

Gon. We must do something, and i'the heat.6 [Exe.

[3] Plaited cunning-i. e. complicated, involved cunning. JOHNSON. [4] Of qualities of mind, confirmed by long habit. So, in Othello, "a wo man of so gentle a condition." MALONE.

[5] Hit-i. e. agree.


[6] I'the heat-i. e. We must strike while the iron's het. STEEVENS.

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