Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund
I thought the King had more affected the Duke of
Albany than Cornwall.
It did always seem so to us. But now in the
division of the kingdom it appears not which of the
Dukes he values most, for qualities are so weighed that
curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.
scrupulousness, fastidiousness, painstaking attention to detail
Is not this your son, my lord?
His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge.
I have so often blushed to acknowledge him that now I
am brazed to it.
I cannot conceive you.
Sir, this young fellow's mother could;
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?
I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being
But I have a son, sir, by order of law, some
year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account.
Though this knave came something saucily to the world,
before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there
was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be
sport (n.) 3
sexual recreation, intercourse, amorous dalliance
[son of a whore; serious or jocular term of abuse] fellow, bastard
acknowledged. Do you know this noble gentleman,
No, my lord.
My lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter
as my honourable friend.
My services to your lordship.
I must love you and sue to know you better.
Sir, I shall study deserving.
He hath been out nine years, and away he
shall again. The King is coming.
Sound a sennet. Enter one bearing a coronet
Enter King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Gonerill, Regan,
Cordelia, and attendants
Attend the lords of France and Burgundy,
I shall, my liege.
Exeunt Gloucester and Edmund
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
To shake all cares and business from our age,
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburdened 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
dowry, property or wealth given with a wife
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 answered. Tell me, my daughters,
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
the following set [of nouns - not restricted to two]
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. Gonerill,
Our eldest born, speak first.
Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter,
Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty,
space (n.) 3
freedom from captivity; or: possession of property
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.
What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent.
Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains riched,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady. To thine and Albany's issues
Be this perpetual. – What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall?
I am made of the self metal as my sister
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,
square (n.) 2
rule, canon; or: proper constitution, normal condition
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
Then poor Cordelia!
And yet not so, since I am sure my love's
More ponderous than my tongue.
To thee and thine hereditary ever
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom,
No less in space, validity, and pleasure
Than that conferred on Gonerill. – Now, our joy,
Although our last and least, to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interessed; what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters'? Speak!
Nothing, my lord.
Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.
Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty
According to my bond, no more nor less.
How, how, Cordelia! Mend your speech a little
Lest you may mar your fortunes.
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.
But goes thy heart with this?
Ay, my good lord.
So young, and so untender?
So young, my lord, and true.
Let it be so! Thy truth then be thy dower!
dowry, property or wealth given with a wife
For by the sacred radiance of the sun,
The mysteries of Hecat 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 neighboured, pitied, and relieved
As thou my sometime daughter.
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. (To Cordelia) Hence and avoid my sight! –
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 my two daughters' dowers digest the third.
dowry, property or wealth given with a wife
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 sustained, shall our abode
Make with you by due turn. Only we shall retain
The name and all th' addition to a king; the sway,
Revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved sons, be yours; which to confirm,
This coronet part between you.
Whom I have ever honoured as my king,
Loved as my father, as my master followed,
As my great patron thought on in my prayers –
The bow is bent and drawn; make from the shaft.
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 bound
When majesty stoops to folly. Reserve thy state,
And in thy best consideration check
This hideous rashness. Answer my life my judgement,
answer (v.) 4
suffer the consequences [for], be accountable [for]
Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least,
Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sounds
Reverb no hollowness.
Kent, on thy life, no more!
My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage against thine enemies; nor fear to lose it,
Thy safety being motive.
Out of my sight!
See better, Lear, and let me still remain
The true blank of thine eye.
Now by Apollo –
Now by Apollo, King,
Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
O, vassal, miscreant!
He makes to strike him
ALBANY and CORNWALL
Dear sir, forbear!
Kill thy physician and thy 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, recreant,
On thine allegiance hear me!
Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow,
Which we durst never yet, and with strained pride
To come betwixt our sentence and our power,
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 disasters of the world,
And on the sixth to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom. If on the tenth day following
Thy banished trunk be found in our dominions
The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter,
This shall not be revoked!
Fare thee well, King, sith thus thou wilt appear,
Freedom lives hence and banishment is here.
The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
That justly think'st and hast most rightly said.
(To Gonerill and Regan)
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;
He'll shape his old course in a country new.
Flourish. Enter Gloucester with France and Burgundy,
Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.
My lord of Burgundy,
We first address toward you, who with this king
Hath rivalled for our daughter: what in the least
Will you require in present dower with her
dowry, property or wealth given with a wife
Or cease your quest of love?
Most royal majesty,
I crave no more than hath your highness offered,
Nor will you tender less.
Right noble Burgundy,
When she was dear to us we did hold her so;
But now her price is fallen. Sir, there she stands;
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.
I know no answer.
Will you with those infirmities she owes,
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Dowered with our curse and strangered with our oath,
Take her or leave her?
Pardon me, royal sir,
Election makes not up in such conditions.
Then leave her, sir, for, by the power that made me,
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
T' avert your liking a more worthier way
Than on a wretch whom Nature is ashamed
Almost t' acknowledge hers.
This is most strange,
That she whom even but now was your best object,
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
The best, the 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-vouched affection
Fall into taint; 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 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 dishonoured 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.
lose (v.) 6
ruin the reputation of, destroy the credibility of
Hadst not been born than not t' have pleased me better.
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 stands
Aloof from th' entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.
Give but that portion which yourself proposed
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Duchess of Burgundy.
Nothing! I have sworn; I am firm.
I am sorry then you have so lost a father
That you must lose a husband.
Peace be with Burgundy!
Since that respect and fortunes are his love,
I shall not be his wife.
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.
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 Lear, Burgundy, Cornwall, Albany,
Gloucester, and attendants
Bid farewell to your sisters.
The jewels of our father, with washed eyes
Cordelia leaves you. I know you what you are;
And, like a sister, am most loath to call
Your faults as they are named. Love well our father!
To your professed bosoms I commit him.
But yet, alas, stood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewell to you both.
Prescribe not us our duty.
Let your study
Be to content your lord, who hath received you
At Fortune's alms. You have obedience scanted,
And well are worth the want that you have wanted.
Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides;
Who covers faults, at last with shame derides.
Well may you prosper!
Come, my fair Cordelia.
Exeunt France and Cordelia
Sister, it is not little I have to say of what most
nearly appertains to us both. I think our father will
That's most certain, and with you; next month
You see how full of changes his age is. The
observation we have made of it hath not been little. He
always loved our sister most; and with what poor judgement
he hath now cast her off appears too grossly.
'Tis the infirmity of his age. Yet he hath ever but
slenderly known himself.
The best and soundest of his time hath been
but rash. Then must we look from his age to receive not
alone the imperfections of long-ingraffed condition, but
therewithal the unruly waywardness that infirm and
choleric years bring with them.
Such unconstant starts are we like to have from
him as this of Kent's banishment.
There is further compliment of leave-taking
between France and him. Pray you, let us hit together.
If our father carry authority with such disposition as he
bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us.
We shall further think of it.
We must do something, and i'th' heat.