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LEAR, King of Britain.
GONERIL, wife of Albany,
K. of France
Soldiers, and Attendants.
SCENE I.-King Lear's Palace.
Glo. 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.
Kent. Is not this your son, my lord ?
Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge : I have so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to't.
Kent. I cannot conceive you. Glo. 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 ?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.
Glo. 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 somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair ; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged.--Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund ?
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent : remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.
Edm. My services to your lordship.
Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better.
Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again.—The king is coming.
[Trumpets sound within.
Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, REGAN,
CORDELIA, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the lords of France and Bur
gundy, Gloster, Glo. I shall
, my liege. [Exeunt Glos. and EDM. Lear. 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 Unburden'd 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
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 so
journ, And here are to be answer'd.—Tell me, my
daughters, (Since now we will divest us, both of rule, 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.--
Goneril, Our eldest-born, speak first. Gon. Sir, I love you more than word can
wield the matter, Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty ; Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare ; Nó 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 un
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
Love, and be silent.
to this, With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd, 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 ?
Reg. I am made of that self-metal as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart