King Lear

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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 interess'd; 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 you 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!--[To Cordelia.] 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, 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 the additions to a king; The sway, Revenue, execution of the rest, Beloved sons, be yours; which to confirm, This coronet part betwixt 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 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 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 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!

[Laying his hand on his sword.]

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