King Lear

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Alb. and Corn. 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: 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.

[Exit.]

[Flourish. Re-enter Gloster, with France, Burgundy, and 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, Dower'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 power 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 To avert your liking a more worthier way Than on a wretch whom nature is asham'd Almost to acknowledge hers.

France. This is most strange, That she, who 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, murder, or foulness, No unchaste action or dishonour'd 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 to 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 the entire point. Will you have her? She is herself a dowry.

Bur. Royal king, 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.

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