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  • 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
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    The History of King Leir (Quarto, 1605)

    The History of King Leir
    King. The silly mouse, by vertue of her teeth,
    Releas'd the princely Lyon from the net.
    Cor. Kind Palmer, which so much desir'st to heare
    645The tragick tale of my vnhappy youth:
    Know this in briefe, I am the haplesse daughter
    Of Leir, sometimes King of Brittany.
    King. Why, who debarres his honourable age,
    From being still the King of Brittany?
    650Cor. None, but himselfe hath dispossest himselfe,
    And giuen all his Kingdome to the Kings
    Of Cornwall and of Cambria, with my sisters.
    King. Hath he giuen nothing to your louely selfe?
    Cor. He lou'd me not, & therfore gaue me nothing,
    655Only because I could not flatter him:
    And in this day of tryumph to my sisters,
    Doth Fortune tryumph in my ouerthrow.
    King. Sweet Lady, say there should come a King,
    As good as eyther of your sisters husbands,
    660To craue your loue, would you accept of him?
    Cor. Oh, doe not mocke with those in misery,
    Nor do not think, though fortune haue the power,
    To spoyle mine honour, and debase my state,
    That she hath any interest in my mind:
    665For if the greatest Monarch on the earth,
    Should sue to me in this extremity,
    Except my heart could loue, and heart could like,
    Better then any that I euer saw,
    His great estate no more should moue my mind,
    670Then mountaynes moue by blast of euery wind.
    King. Think not, sweet Nymph, tis holy Palmers guise,
    To grieued soules fresh torments to deuise:
    Therefore in witnesse of my true intent,
    Let heauen and earth beare record of my words:
    675There is a young and lusty Gallian King,
    So like to me, as I am to my selfe,
    That earnestly doth craue to haue thy loue,
    And ioyne with thee in Hymens sacred bonds.
    Cor. The like to thee did ne're these eyes behold;