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Sc. I


You have begot me, bred me, lov'd 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.

LEAR. But goes thy heart with this?

Good my Lord,

Ay, good my Lord.

LEAR. So young, and so untender?
CORD. So young, my Lord, and true.

LEAR. Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower:

For, by the sacred radiance of the Sun,

The mysteries of Hecate, 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 neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd,
As thou my sometime daughter.

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Good my Liege

LEAR. Peace, Kent!

Come not between the dragon and his wrath:

I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest

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On her kind nursery: 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 digest1 this third: 130
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,

1 appropriate and divide.

With reservation of an hundred knights,
By you to be sustain'd, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only we still retain
The name, and all the additions to a King;
The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,
Beloved Sons, be your's; which to confirm,
This coronet part between you. [giving the crown.
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 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 would'st thou do, old Man?
Think'st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,
When power to flattery bows? To plainness honour's

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Sc. I


Sc. I

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 strain'd pride
To come between our sentence and our power
(Which nor our nature nor our place can bear,
Our potency made good)1 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 revok'd.

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 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.

That justly think'st, and hast most rightly said!
[to REGAN and GONERIL.] And your large speeches
may your deeds approve,

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?


Most royal Majesty,
I crave no more than hath your Highness offer'd,
Nor will you tender less.



Right noble Burgundy,

1 i.e. which I can suffer neither as a man nor as a king, and keep my power.

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,
Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd,
And nothing more, may fitly like your Grace,
She's there, and she is your's.

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?



Pardon me, royal Sir;
Election makes not up in such conditions.
LEAR. Then leave her, Sir; for by the power that made

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This is most strange,
That she, who 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-vouch'd affection
Fall'n into taint; which to believe of her,
Must be a faith that reason without miracle
Should 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 dishonour'd step,

That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour;




Sc. I

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Sc. I

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.


Better thou

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's not love
When it is mingled with regards that stands
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.

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 respect and fortunes 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 upon :

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

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


My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.

Thy dowerless daughter, King, thrown to my chance,

Is Queen of us, of our's, and our fair France:
Not all the Dukes of waterish Burgundy
Can buy this unpriz'd 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


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