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Lear, King of Britain.
King of France.
Duke of Burgundy.
Duke of Cornwall.
Duke of Albany.
Earl of Kent.
Earl of Gloster.
Edgar, son to Gloster.
Edmund, bastard son to Gloster.
Curan, a courtier.
Old Man, tenant to Gloster.
Oswald, steward to Goneril.
An Officer, employed by Edmund.
Gentleman, attendant on Cordelia.
A Herald.
Servants to Cornwall.

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Knights attending on the King, Officers, Messengers,

Soldiers, and Attendants.

SCENE, Britain.



SCENE I. A Room of State in King Lear's Palace, Enter Kent, Gloster, and EDMUND,

Kent. I Thought, the king had more affected the duke of Albany, than Cornwall.

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 equalities are so weigh'd, 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 blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to it.

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.3

Glo. But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my ac

* Most scrupulous nicety, 2 Part or division.

3 Handsome.

count: 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,


he shall again :--The king is coming.

[Trumpets sound within.


Regan, CORDELIA, and Attendants. Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster. Glo. I shall, my liege.

[Exeunt Gloster and EDMUND. Lear. Mean-time we shall express our darker*

purpose. Give me the map there.—Know, that we have die

vided, In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intents To shake all cares and business from our age ; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburden'd crawl toward death.-Our son of Corna


And you, our no less loving son of Albany,

4 More secrets

s Determined resolution.

We have this hour a constant will to publish
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife
May be prevented now. The princes, France and

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 devest 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 merit doth most challenge it.-Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.

Sir, I Do love you more than words can wield the matter, Dearer than eye-sight, 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. What shall Cordelia do? Love, and be silent,

[Aside. 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, Qur dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall ? Speak.

Reg. I am made of that self metal as my sister,

• Open plains.

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