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Lear. Peace, Kent! Come not between the dragon and his wrath. I lov'd her most, and thought to set my rest On her kind nursery. — Hence, and avoid my sight! —

[To Cordelia.

So be my grave my peace, as here I give

Her father's heart from her! Call Prance. Who stirs?

Call Burgundy. — Cornwall, and Albany,

With my two daughter's dowers digest the third:

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 sustain'd, shall our abode

Make with you by due turns. Only, we still retain

The name, and all th' additions to a king;1

The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,2

Beloved sons, be yourswhich 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 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 bound, When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom; And in thy best consideration check This hideous rashness: answer my life my judgment,3 Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least; Nor are those empty-hearted, whose low sound Reverbs'4 no hollowness.

Lear. Kent, on thy life, no more.

Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn5

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To wage against thine enemies; 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.1

Lear. Now, by Apollo, —

Kent. Now, by Apollo, king,

Thou swear'st thy gods in vain

Lear. O, vassal! recreant!

[Laying Ms hand upon his sioord.

Albany & 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.

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 good, take thy reward 2
Five days we do allot thee for provision
To shield thee from diseases 3 of the world.,
And on the sixth to turn thy hated back
Upon our kingdom: if on t^ie 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 Wd! — And your large speeches may your deeds approve,4

[To Regan and Goneril.

1. The blank is the white or exact mark at which the arrow is shot. See better and keep me always in your view.

2. i. e. They to whom I have yielded my power and authority, yielding

me the ability to dispense it in this instance, take thy reward.

3. Diseases, discomforts, hardships:tbe literal sense of the word, but now obsolete.

4. And may your deeds approve your large speeches.

That good effects may spring from words of love. —

Thus Kent, O princes! bids you all adieu;

He 'll shape his old course1 in a country new. [Exit.

Flourish. Re-enter GLOSTER; with FRANCE, BURGUNDY, and
Attendants.

Gloster. Here 's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

Lear. My lord of Burgundy,
We first address toward 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? 2

Burgundy. Most royal majesty,

I crave no more than hath your highness offer'd,
Nor will you tender less.

Lear. flight 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 seeming3 substance,
Or, all of it, with our displeasure piec'd,
And nothing more, may fitly like4 your grace,
She 's there, and she is yours.

Burgundy. I know no answer.

Lear. Will you, with those infirmities she owes,5
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our oath,
Take her, or leave her?'

Burgv^ndy. Pardon me, royal Sir;

Election makes not up6 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 T' avert your liking a more worthier way,

1. i. e. He will follow his old maxims; he will continue to act upon the same drinciples.

2. Quest of love, amorous expedition. The term originated from Romance: a quest was the expedition in which a knight was engaged.

3. Seeming, specious, beautiful.

4. Fitly like, reasonably please.

5. Owes, owns, is possessed of.

6. Makes not up, comes not to a decision: as we say, to make up one'* mind.

Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd
Almost t' acknowledge hers.

France. This is most strange.

That she, who 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:1 which to believe of her,
Must be a faith that reason, without miracle,
Could never plant in me.

Cordelia. I yet beseech your majesty,

(If for I want that glib and oily art,2
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, murder3, 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-soliciting4 eye, and such a tongue <
That 1 am glad I have not, though not to have it,
Hath lost me in your liking.

Lear. 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 is not love,
When it is mingled with respects,3 that stand

1. Either her ott'ence must be monstrous, or, if she has not committed any such offence, the affection which you always professed to have forhermust be tainted and decayed, and is now without reason alienated from her.

2. i. e. If this be my offence, that I am wanting in the glib and oily art.

3. For murder is frequently read nor other, a very plausible correction, the old orthography baing murther; but the original reading has been defended on the ground of the two preceding

speeches — where Lear says, "a wretch whom nature is ashamed almost to acknowledge hers," and France, "Sure her offence must be of such unnatural degree that monsters it," that is, it must be a crime of the most heinous description — making the term murder not appear out of place in the mouth of Cordelia.

4. Still - soliciting, ever covetous. Still, constant, continual.

5. Respects, cautious and prudential considerations, scruples.

Aloof from the entire point. Will you have her?
She is herself a dowry.

Burgundy. Royal king,

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

Lear. Nothing: I have sworn; 1 am firm.

Bur. I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father, That you must lose a husband.

Cordelia. 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 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! 't is 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 waterish Burgundy
Shall buy this unpriz'd precious maid of me. —
Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind:1
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 benisoo. —
Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish.- Exeunt Lear, Burgundy, Cornwall,
Albany, Gloster, and Attendants.

France. Bid farewell to your sisters.

Cor. The3 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. Love well our father:
To your professed bosoms I commit him;
But yet, alas! stood I within his grace,

1. TJnkind, unnatural.

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

'6. Some editors read, Te jewels, which may probably be right, it often being impossible, in old manuscripts, to distinguish this word from the abbreviation of the: Y».

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