Act I, Scene 1
King Lear’s palace.
- Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund.
Kent1 - 2
- I thought the King had more affected the Duke of Albany than
Gloucester3 - 6
- 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 moi’ty.
- Is not this your son, my lord?
Gloucester8 - 9
- 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.
- I cannot conceive you.
Gloucester11 - 13
- 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?
Kent14 - 15
- I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so
Gloucester16 - 21
- 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 acknowledg’d. Do you know this
- noble gentleman, Edmund?
- No, my lord.
Gloucester23 - 24
- My Lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter as my honorable
- My services to your lordship.
- I must love you, and sue to know you better.
- Sir, I shall study deserving.
Gloucester28 - 29
- He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again.
- Sound a sennet.
- The King is coming.
- Enter one bearing a coronet, then King Lear, Cornwall,
- Albany, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, and Attendants.
- Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloucester.
- I shall, my lord.
- Exit with Edmund.
Lear32 - 50
- Mean time 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 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.
Goneril51 - 57
- 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, honor;
- 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.
- What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent.
Lear59 - 64
- 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 of Cornwall? Speak.
Regan65 - 72
- I am made of that 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,
- And find I am alone felicitate
- In your dear Highness’ love.
Cordelia73 - 75
- Then poor Cordelia!
- And yet not so, since I am sure my love’s
- More ponderous than my tongue.
Lear76 - 83
- 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 our last and least, to whose young love
- The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
- Strive to be interess’d, what can you say to draw
- A third more opulent than your sisters’? Speak.
- Nothing, my lord.
- Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.
Cordelia88 - 90
- Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
- My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty
- According to my bond, no more nor less.
Lear91 - 92
- How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little,
- Lest you may mar your fortunes.
Cordelia93 - 102
- 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 honor you.
- Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
- They love you all? Happily, 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.
Lear107 - 119
- Let it be so: thy truth then be thy dow’r!
- 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 forever. The barbarous Scythian,
- Or he that makes his generation messes
- To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
- Be as well neighbor’d, pitied, and reliev’d,
- As thou my sometime daughter.
- Good my liege—
Lear121 - 140
- 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.
- 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’ dow’rs 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 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.
Kent141 - 144
- Royal Lear,
- Whom I have ever honor’d as my king,
- Lov’d as my father, as my master follow’d,
- As my great patron thought on in my prayers—
- The bow is bent and drawn, make from the shaft.
Kent146 - 156
- Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
- The region of my heart; be Kent unmannerly
- When Lear is mad. What wouldest thou do, old man?
- Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak
- When power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound,
- When majesty falls to folly. Reserve thy state,
- 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 sounds
- Reverb no hollowness.
- Kent, on thy life, no more.
Kent158 - 160
- My life I never held but as a pawn
- To wage against thine enemies, ne’er fear’d to lose it,
- Thy safety being motive.
- Out of my sight!
Kent162 - 163
- See better, Lear, and let me still remain
- The true blank of thine eye.
- Now, by Apollo—
Kent165 - 166
- Now, by Apollo, King,
- Thou swear’st thy gods in vain.
- O vassal! Miscreant!
- Starts to draw his sword.
Both Albany and Cornwall168
- Dear sir, forbear.
Kent169 - 172
- Kill thy physician, and the fee bestow
- Upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift,
- Or whilst I can vent clamor from my throat,
- I’ll tell thee thou dost evil.
Lear173 - 186
- Hear me, recreant,
- On thine allegiance, hear me!
- That 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.
- 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 banish’d trunk be found in our dominions,
- The moment is thy death. Away! By Jupiter,
- This shall not be revok’d.
Kent187 - 194
- 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 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.
- Flourish. Enter Gloucester with France and Burgundy,
- Here’s France and Burgundy, my noble lord.
Lear196 - 200
- 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?
Burgundy201 - 203
- Most royal Majesty,
- I crave no more than hath your Highness offer’d,
- Nor will you tender less.
Lear204 - 210
- 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 piec’d,
- And nothing more, may fitly like your Grace,
- She’s there, and she is yours.
- I know no answer.
Lear212 - 215
- 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?
Burgundy216 - 217
- Pardon me, royal sir,
- Election makes not up in such conditions.
Lear218 - 225
- 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.
King of France226 - 236
- 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 favor. Sure her offense
- Must be of such unnatural degree
- That monsters it, or your fore-vouch’d affection
- Fall into taint; which to believe of her
- Must be a faith that reason without miracle
- Should never plant in me.
Cordelia237 - 247
- 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 dishonored step,
- That hath depriv’d me of your grace and favor,
- But even for want of that for which I am richer—
- A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue
- That I am glad I have not, though not to have it
- Hath lost me in your liking.
Lear248 - 249
- Better thou
- Hadst not been born than not t’ have pleas’d me better.
King of France250 - 256
- 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.
Burgundy257 - 260
- Royal King,
- Give but that portion which yourself propos’d,
- And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
- Duchess of Burgundy.
- Nothing. I have sworn, I am firm.
Burgundy262 - 263
- I am sorry then you have so lost a father
- That you must lose a husband.
Cordelia264 - 266
- Peace be with Burgundy!
- Since that respects of fortune are his love,
- I shall not be his wife.
King of France267 - 278
- 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 of 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.
Lear279 - 284
- Thou hast her, France, let her be thine, for we
- Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
- That face of hers again.
- To Cordelia.
- Therefore be gone,
- Without our grace, our love, our benison.—
- Come, noble Burgundy.
- Flourish. Exeunt all but France, Goneril, Regan, and
King of France285
- Bid farewell to your sisters.
Cordelia286 - 293
- 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 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.
Goneril295 - 298
- 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.
Cordelia299 - 301
- Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides,
- Who covers faults, at last with shame derides.
- Well may you prosper!
King of France302
- Come, my fair Cordelia.
- Exeunt France and Cordelia.
Goneril303 - 305
- Sister, it is not little I have to say of what most nearly
- appertains to us both. I think our father will hence
- That’s most certain, and with you; next month with us.
Goneril307 - 310
- 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.
Regan311 - 312
- ’Tis the infirmity of his age, yet he hath ever but
- slenderly known himself.
Goneril313 - 317
- 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-ingraff’d condition, but therewithal
- the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring
- with them.
Regan318 - 319
- Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him as this
- of Kent’s banishment.
Goneril320 - 323
- 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.