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About this text

  • Title: The History of King Leir (Quarto, 1605)
  • 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 (Quarto, 1605)

    The true Chronicle Historie of King
    Leir and his three daughters.
    ACTVS I.

    1Enter King Leir and Nobles.

    THus to our griefe the obsequies performd
    Of our (too late) deceast and dearest Queen,
    5Whose soule I hope, possest of heauēly ioyes,
    Doth ride in triumph 'mōgst the Cherubins;
    Let vs request your graue aduice, my Lords,
    For the disposing of our princely daughters,
    For whom our care is specially imployd,
    10As nature bindeth to aduaunce their states,
    In royall marriage with some princely mates:
    For wanting now their mothers good aduice,
    Vnder whose gouernment they haue receyued
    A perfit patterne of a vertuous life:
    15Left as it were a ship without a sterne,
    Or silly sheepe without a Pastors care;
    Although our selues doe dearely tender them,
    Yet are we ignorant of their affayres:
    For fathers best do know to gouerne sonnes;
    20But daughters steps the mothers counsell turnes.
    A sonne we want for to succeed our Crowne,
    And course of time hath cancelled the date
    Of further issue from our withered loynes:
    One foote already hangeth in the graue,
    25And age hath made deepe furrowes in my face:
    The world of me, I of the world am weary,
    And I would fayne resigne these earthly cares,
    And thinke vpon the welfare of my soule:
    Which by no better meanes may be effected,
    30Then by resigning vp the Crowne from me,
    In equall dowry to my daughters three.
    Skalliger. A worthy care, my Liege, which well declares,
    The zeale you bare vnto our quondam Queene:
    And since your Grace hath licens'd me to speake,
    I cen-