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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
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    The History of King Leir (Quarto, 1605)

    and his three daughters.
    680Oh liue to adde new torments to my griefe:
    Why didst thou thus intrap me vnawares?
    Ah Palmer, my estate doth not befit
    A kingly mariage, as the case now stands.
    Whilome when as I liu'd in honours height,
    685A Prince perhaps might postulate my loue:
    Now misery, dishonour and disgrace,
    Hath light on me, and quite reuerst the case.
    Thy King will hold thee wise, if thou surcease
    The sute, whereas no dowry will insue.
    690Then be aduised, Palmer, what to do:
    Cease for thy King, seeke for thy selfe to woo.
    King. Your birth's too high for any, but a King.
    Cor. My mind is low ynough to loue a Palmer,
    Rather then any King vpon the earth.
    695King. O, but you neuer can indure their life,
    Which is so straight and full of penury.
    Cor. O yes, I can, and happy if I might:
    Ile hold thy Palmers staffe within my hand,
    And thinke it is the Scepter of a Queene.
    700Sometime ile set thy Bonnet on my head,
    And thinke I weare a rich imperiall Crowne.
    Sometime ile helpe thee in thy holy prayers,
    And thinke I am with thee in Paradise.
    Thus ile mock fortune, as she mocketh me,
    705And neuer will my louely choyce repent:
    For hauing thee, I shall haue all content.
    King. 'Twere sin to hold her longer in suspence,
    Since that my soule hath vow'd she shall be mine.
    Ah, deare Cordella, cordiall to my heart,
    710I am no Palmer, as I seeme to be,
    But hither come in this vnknowne disguise,
    To view th'admired beauty of those eyes.
    I am the King of Gallia, gentle mayd,
    (Although thus slenderly accompanied)
    715and yet thy vassayle by imperious Loue,
    and sworne to serue thee euerlastingly.
    Cor. What e're you be, of high or low discent,
    C3 All's