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King Lear, Act I, Scene 1

$CHAPTER 1. King Lear's Palace.
%xxx. Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund. [ Kent and Gloucester converse. Edmund stands back.]
% Kent. I thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany than
^ Cornwall.
%Glou. 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
^equalities are so weigh'd that curiosity in neither can make
^choice of either's moiety.
% Kent. Is not this your son, my lord?
%Glou. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge. I have so often
^blush'd to acknowledge him that now I am braz'd to't.
% Kent. I cannot conceive you.
%Glou. Sir, this young fellow's mother could; whereupon she grew
^round-womb'd, 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
%Glou. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than
^this, who yet is no dearer in my account. Though this knave came
^something 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,
%Edm. [comes forward] No, my lord.
%Glou. My Lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter as my honourable
%Edm. My services to your lordship.
% Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better.
%Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
%Glou. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again.
^[Sound a sennet.]
^The King is coming.
%xxx. Enter one bearing a coronet; then Lear; then the Dukes of Albany and Cornwall; next, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, with Followers.
%Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.
%Glou. I shall, my liege.
%xxx. Exeunt [ Gloucester and Edmund].
%Lear. Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.
^Give me the map there. Know 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
^Unburthen'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 sojourn,
^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 words can wield the matter;
^Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty;
^Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
^No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
^As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found;
^A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable.
^Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
%Cor. [aside] What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent.
%Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line 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 issue
^Be this perpetual.- What says our second daughter,
^Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.
%Reg. Sir, I am made
^Of the selfsame metal that my sister is,
^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,
^And find I am alone felicitate
^In your dear Highness' love.
%Cor. [aside] Then poor Cordelia!
^And yet not so; since I am sure my love's
^More richer than my tongue.
%Lear. To thee and thine hereditary ever
^Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom,
^No less in space, validity, and pleasure
^Than that conferr'd on Goneril.- Now, our joy,
^Although the last, not least; to whose young love
^The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
^Strive to be interest; what can you say to draw
^A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
%Cor. Nothing, my lord.
%Lear. Nothing?
%Cor. Nothing.
%Lear. Nothing can come of nothing. Speak again.
%Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
^My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty
^According to my bond; no more nor less.
%Lear. How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little,
^Lest it may mar your fortunes.
%Cor. Good my lord,
^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?
%Cor. Ay, good my lord.
%Lear. So young, and so untender?
%Cor. 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.
% Kent. 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
^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 digest this third;
^Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
^I do invest you jointly in my power,
^Preeminence, 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. The sway,
^Revenue, execution of the rest,
^Beloved sons, be yours; which to confirm,
^This coronet part betwixt you.
% 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 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 falls 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; 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.
%Lear. Now by Apollo-
% Kent. Now by Apollo, King,
^Thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
%Lear. O vassal! miscreant! [Lays his hand on his sword.]
%Alb. [with Cornwall] 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 between 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 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.
^[To Cordelia] The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,
^That justly think'st and hast most rightly said!
^[To Regan and Goneril] 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. Exit.
%xxx. Flourish. Enter Gloucester, with France and Burgundy; Attendants.
%Glou. 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?
%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,
^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. Will you, with those infirmities she owes,
^Unfriended, new adopted to our hate,
^Dow'r'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 pow'r 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 asham'd
^Almost t' 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'n into taint; which to believe of her
^Must be a faith that reason without miracle
^Should 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, murther, or foulness,
^No unchaste action or dishonoured 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
^As I 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 t' 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 th' 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.
% 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! 'tis strange that from their cold'st neglect
^My love should kindle to inflam'd respect.
^Thy dow'rless daughter, King, thrown to my chance,
^Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France.
^Not all the dukes in wat'rish 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
^That face of hers again. Therefore be gone
^Without our grace, our love, our benison.
^Come, noble Burgundy.
%xxx. Flourish. Exeunt Lear, Burgundy, [ Cornwall, Albany, Gloucester, 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;
^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 plighted cunning hides.
^Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
^Well may you prosper!
% France. Come, my fair Cordelia.
%xxx. Exeunt France and Cordelia.
%Gon. Sister, it is not 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 age is. The observation we
^have made of it hath not been little. He always lov'd 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-ingraffed condition, but therewithal
^the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with
%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's hit together. 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 on't.
%Gon. We must do something, and i' th' heat.
%xxx. Exeunt.

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