QueenʼsMen Editions

About this text

  • Title: The History of King Leir (Modern)
  • Editor: Andrew Griffin

  • Copyright Queen's Men Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Anonymous
    Editor: Andrew Griffin
    Peer Reviewed

    The History of King Leir (Modern)

    1228.1[Scene 16] [Video Sc.16]
    Enter the King of Gallia and Cordella
    When will these clouds of sorrow once disperse
    And smiling joy triumph upon thy brow?
    When will this scene of sadness have an end
    And pleasant acts ensue to move delight?
    When will my lovely queen cease to lament
    1235And take some comfort to her grievèd thoughts?
    If of thyself thou deignst to have no care,
    Yet pity me whom thy grief makes despair.
    Oh, grieve not you, my lord, you have no cause.
    Let not my passions move your mind a whit,
    1240For I am bound by nature to lament
    For his ill will that life to me first lent.
    If so the stalk be drièd with disdain,
    Withered and sere the branch must needs remain.
    But thou art now graft in another stock:
    1245I am the stock and thou the lovely branch,
    And from my root continual sap shall flow
    To make thee flourish with perpetual spring.
    Forget thy father and thy kindred now,
    Since they forsake thee like inhumane beasts.
    1250Think they are dead since all their kindness dies,
    And bury them where black oblivion lies.
    Think not thou art the daughter of old Leir,
    Who did unkindly disinherit thee,
    But think thou art the noble Gallian queen,
    1255And wife to him that dearly loveth thee.
    Embrace the joys that present with thee dwell;
    Let sorrow pack and hide herself in hell.
    Not that I miss my country or my kin,
    My old acquaintance or my ancient friends --
    1260Doth any whit distemperate my mind,
    Knowing you, which are more dear to me
    Than country, kin and all things else can be?
    Yet pardon me, my gracious lord, in this,
    For what can stop the course of nature's power?
    1265As easy is it for four-footed beasts
    To stay themselves upon the liquid air
    And mount aloft into the element
    And overstrip the feathered fowls in flight,
    As easy is it for the slimy fish
    1270To live and thrive without the help of water,
    As easy is it for the blackamoor
    To wash the tawny colour from his skin,
    Which all oppose against the course of nature,
    As I am able to forget my father.
    Mirror of virtue, Phoenix of our age!
    Too kind a daughter for an unkind father!
    Be of good comfort, for I will dispatch
    Ambassadors immediately for Britain,
    Unto the king of Cornwall's court, whereas
    1280Your father keepeth now his residence,
    And in the kindest manner him entreat
    That, setting former grievances apart,
    He will be pleased to come and visit us.
    If no entreaty will suffice the turn,
    1285I'll offer him the half of all my crown.
    If that moves not, we'll furnish out a fleet
    And sail to Cornwall for to visit him,
    And there you shall be firmly reconciled
    In perfect love, as erst you were before.
    Where tongue cannot sufficient thanks afford,
    The king of heaven remunerate my lord.
    Only be blithe and frolic, sweet, with me;
    This and much more I'll do to comfort thee.