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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 History of King Leir
    Reason to rage should not haue giuen place,
    340Nor poore Cordella suffersuch disgrace. Exit.
    Enter the Gallian king with Mumford, and three
    Nobles more.
    King. Disswade me not, my Lords, I am resolu'd,
    This next fayre wynd to sayle for Brittany,
    345In some disguise, to see if flying fame
    Be not too prodigall in the wondrous prayse
    Of these three Nymphes, the daughters of King Leir.
    If present view do answere absent prayse,
    And eyes allow of what our eares haue heard,
    350And Venus stand auspicious to my vowes,
    And Fortune fauour what I take in hand;
    I will returne seyz'd of as rich a prize
    As Iason, when he wanne the golden fleece.
    Mum. Heauens graūt you may; the match were ful of honor,
    355And well beseeming the young Gallian King.
    I would your Grace would fauour me so much,
    As make me partner of your Pilgrimage.
    I long to see the gallant Brittish Dames,
    And feed mine eyes vpon their rare perfections:
    360For till I know the contrary, Ile say,
    Our Dames in Fraunce are more fayre then they.
    Kin. Lord Mumford, you haue saued me a labour,
    In offring that which I did meane to aske:
    And I most willingly accept your company.
    365Yet first I will inioyne you to obserue
    Some few conditions which I shall propose.
    Mum. So that you do not tye mine eyes for looking
    After the amorous glaunces of fayre Dames:
    So that you do not tye my toung from speaking,
    370My lips from kissing when occasion serues,
    My hands from congees, and my knees to bow
    To gallant Gyrles which were a taske more hard,
    Then flesh and bloud is able to indure:
    Commaund what else you please, I rest content.
    375Kin. To bind thee from a thing thou canst not leaue,
    Were but a meane to make thee seeke it more: