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  • 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)

    397.1[Scene 5] [Video Sc.5]
    Enter the King of Cornwall and his man[, Servant 1,] booted and spurred; a riding wand and a letter in [Cornwall's] hand
    400 Cornwall
    But how far distant are we from the court?
    Servant 1
    Some twenty miles, my lord, or thereabouts.
    It seemeth to me twenty thousand miles;
    Yet hope I to be there within this hour.
    Servant 1
    [To himself] Then are you like to ride alone for me.
    405I think my lord is weary of his life.
    Sweet Gonorill, I long to see thy face,
    Which hast so kindly gratified my love.
    Enter the King of Cambria, booted and spurred with a wand and a letter, and his man[, Servant 2]
    [He looks at the letter.] Get a fresh horse, for, by my soul I swear,
    I am past patience longer to forbear
    The wished sight of my beloved mistress,
    Dear Ragan, stay and comfort of my life.
    Servant 2
    [To himself] Now what in God's name doth my lord intend?
    415He thinks he ne'er shall come at's journey's end.
    I would he had old Daedalus' waxen wings
    That he might fly, so I might stay behind;
    For ere we get to Troynovant, I see,
    He quite will tire himself, his horse, and me.
    420Cornwall and Cambria look one upon another and start to see each other there.
    Brother of Cambria, we greet you well,
    As one whom here we little did expect.
    Brother of Cornwall, met in happy time.
    425I thought as much to have met with the Sultan of Persia
    As to have met you in this place, my lord.
    No doubt it is about some great affairs
    That makes you here so slenderly accompanied.
    To say the truth, my lord, it is no less.
    430And, for your part, some hasty wind of chance
    Hath blown you hither thus upon the sudden.
    My lord, to break off further circumstances,
    For at this time I cannot brook delays,
    Tell you your reason, I will tell you mine.
    In faith, content; and, therefore, to be brief,
    For I am sure my haste's as great as yours:
    I am sent for to come unto King Leir,
    Who, by these present letters, promiseth
    His eldest daughter, lovely Gonorill,
    440To me in marriage and for present dowry
    The moiety of half his regiment.
    The lady's love I long ago possessed,
    But until now I never had the father's.
    You tell me wonders, yet I will relate
    445Strange news, and henceforth we must brothers call.
    Witness these lines: his honorable age,
    Being weary of the troubles of his crown,
    His princely daughter Ragan will bestow
    On me in marriage, with half his seigniories,
    450Whom I would gladly have accepted of
    With the third part, her complements are such.
    If I have one half and you have the other,
    Then between us we must needs have the whole.
    The hole! How mean you that? 'Sblood, I hope
    455We shall have two holes between us.
    Why, the whole kingdom.
    Ay, that's very true.
    What then is left for his third daughter's dowry,
    Lovely Cordella, whom the world admires?
    'Tis very strange. I know not what to think,
    Unless they mean to make a nun of her.
    'Twere pity such rare beauty should be hid
    Within the compass of a cloister's wall;
    But, howsoe'er, if Leir's words prove true,
    465It will be good, my lord, for me and you.
    Then let us haste, all danger to prevent,
    For fear delays do alter his intent.