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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
    870Per. One, who doth beare as great a share of griefe,
    As if it were my dearest fathers case.
    Leir. Ah, good my friend, how ill art thou aduisde,
    For to consort with miserable men:
    Go learne to flatter, where thou mayst in time
    875Get fauour 'mongst the mighty, and so clyme:
    For now I am so poore and full of want,
    As that I ne're can recompence thy loue.
    Per.What's got by flattery, doth not long indure;
    And men in fauour liue not most secure.
    880My conscience tels me, if I should forsake you,
    I were the hatefulst excrement on the earth:
    Which well do know, in course of former time,
    How good my Lord hath bin to me and mine.
    Leir. Did I ere rayse thee higher then the rest
    885Of all thy ancestors which were before?
    Per. I ne're did seeke it; but by your good Grace,
    I still inioyed my owne with quietnesse.
    Leir. Did I ere giue thee liuing, to increase
    The due reuennues which thy father left?
    890Per. I had ynough, my Lord, and hauing that,
    What should you need to giue me any more?
    Leir. Oh, did I euer dispossesse my selfe,
    And giue thee halfe my Kingdome in good will?
    Per. Alas, my Lord, there were no reason, why
    895You should haue such a thought, to giue it me.
    Leir. Nay, if thou talke of reason, then be mute;
    For with good reason I can thee confute.
    If they, which first by natures sacred law,
    Do owe to me the tribute of their liues;
    900If they to whom I alwayes haue bin kinde,
    And bountifull beyond comparison;
    If they, for whom I haue vndone my selfe,
    And brought my age vnto this extreme want,
    Do now reiect, contemne, despise, abhor me,
    905What reason moueth thee to sorrow for me?
    Per . Where reason fayles, let teares confirme my loue,
    And speake how much your passions do me moue.