QueenʼsMen Editions

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)

    and his three daughters.
    Gon. What, do you feare, that I haue angred him?
    Hath he complaynd of me vnto my Lord?
    Ile prouide him a piece of bread and cheese;
    835For in a time heele practise nothing else,
    Then carry tales from one vnto another.
    Tis all his practise for to kindle strife,
    'Twixt you, my Lord, and me your louing wife:
    But I will take an order, if I can,
    840To cease th'effect, where first the cause began.
    Corn. Sweet, be not angry in a partiall cause,
    He ne're complaynd of thee in all his life.
    Father, you must not weygh a womans words.
    Leir. Alas, not I: poore soule, she breeds yong bones,
    845And that is it makes her so tutchy sure.
    Gon. What, breeds young bones already! you will make
    An honest woman of me then, belike.
    O vild olde wretch! who euer heard the like,
    That seeketh thus his owne child to defame?
    850Corn. I cannot stay to heare this discord sound.Exit.
    Gon. For any one that loues your company,
    You may go pack, and seeke some other place,
    Tosowe the seed of discord and disgrace. Exit.
    Leir. Thus, say or do the best that e're I can,
    855Tis wrested straight into another sence.
    This punishment my heauy sinnes deserue,
    And more then this ten thousand thousand times:
    Else aged Leir them could neuer find
    Cruell to him, to whom he hath bin kind.
    860Why do I ouer-liue my selfe, to see
    The course of nature quite reuerst in me?
    Ah, gentle Death, if euer any wight
    Did wish thy presence with a perfit zeale:
    Then come, I pray thee, euen with all my heart,
    865And end my sorrowes with thy fatall dart. He weepes.
    Per. Ah, do not so disconsolate your selfe,
    Nor dew your aged cheeks with wasting teares.
    Leir. What man art thou that takest any pity
    Vpon the worthlesse state of old Leir?
    D Per. One,