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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)

    and his three daughters.
    Of slaunder, scandall, and inuented tales,
    985That all the blame shall be remou'd from me,
    And vnperceiu'd rebound vpon himselfe.
    Thus with one nayle another Ile expell,
    And make the world iudge, that I vsde him well.
    Enter the Messenger that should go to Cambria,
    990With a letter in his hand.
    Gon. My honest friend, whither away so fast?
    Mes. To Cambria, Madam, with letters frō the king.
    Gon. To whom?
    Mess. Vnto your father, if he be there.
    995Gon. Let me see them. She opens them.
    Mess. Madam, I hope your Grace will stand
    Betweene me and my neck-verse, if I be
    Calld in question, for opening the Kings letters.
    Gon. 'Twas I that opened them, it was not thou.
    1000Mes. I, but you need not care: and so must I,
    A hansome man, be quickly trust vp,
    And when a man's hang'd, all the world cannot saue him.
    Gon. He that hangs thee, were better hang his father,
    Or that but hurts thee in the least degree.
    1005I tell thee, we make great account of thee.
    Mes. I am o're-ioy'd, I surfet of sweet words:
    Kind Queene, had I a hundred liues, I would
    Spend ninety nyne of them for you, for that word.
    Gon. I, but thou wouldst keepe one life still,
    1010And that's as many as thou art like to haue.
    Mes. That one life is not too deare for my good Queene; this
    sword, this buckler, this head, this heart, these hands, armes,
    legs, tripes, bowels, and all the members else whatsoeuer, are at
    your dispose; vse me, trust me, commaund me: if I fayle in any
    1015thing, tye me to a dung cart, and make a Scauengers horse of
    me, and whip me, so long as I haue any skin on my back.
    Gon.In token of further imployment, take that.
    Flings him a purse.
    Mes. A strong Bond, a firme Obligation, good in law, good
    1020in law: if I keepe not the condition, let my necke be the forfey-
    ture of my negligence.
    D3 Gon. I