King Lear By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 1

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.

BURGUNDY.
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.

BURGUNDY.
I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father
That you must lose a husband.

CORDELIA.
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 dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,
Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France:
Not all the dukes of waterish 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.

[Flourish. Exeunt Lear, Burgundy, Cornwall, Albany, Gloucester,
and Attendants.]

FRANCE.
Bid farewell to your sisters.

CORDELIA.
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. 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.

REGAN.
Prescribe not us our duties.

GONERIL.
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.

CORDELIA.
Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides:
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
Well may you prosper!

FRANCE.
Come, my fair Cordelia.

[Exeunt France and Cordelia.]

GONERIL.
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.

REGAN.
That's most certain, and with you; next month with us.

GONERIL.
You see how full of changes his age is; the observation we
have made of it hath not been little: he always loved our
sister most; and with what poor judgment he hath now cast her
off appears too grossly.

REGAN.
'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever but slenderly
known himself.

GONERIL.
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 them.

REGAN.
Such unconstant starts are we like to have from him as this of
Kent's banishment.

GONERIL.
There is further compliment of leave-taking between France and
him. Pray you let us hit together: if our father carry authority
with such dispositions as he bears, this last surrender of his
will but offend us.

REGAN.
We shall further think of it.

GONERIL.
We must do something, and i' th' heat.

[Exeunt.]

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