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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)

    The History of King Leir
    Leir. Nay, rest on me, kind friend, and stay thy selfe,
    Thou art as old as I, but more kind.
    Per. Ah, good my Lord, it ill befits, that I
    1100Should leane vpon the person of a King.
    Leir. But it fits worse, that I should bring thee forth,
    That had no cause to come along with me.
    Through these vncouth paths, and tirefull wayes,
    And neuer ease thy faynting limmes a whit.
    1105Thou hast left all, I, all to come with me,
    And I, for all, haue nought to guerdon thee.
    Per. Cease, good my Lord, to aggrauate my woes,
    With these kind words, which cuts my heart in two,
    To think your will should want the power to do.
    1110Leir. Cease, good Perillus, for to call me Lord,
    And think me but the shaddow of my selfe.
    Per. That honourable title will I giue,
    Vnto my Lord, so long as I do liue.
    Oh, be of comfort: for I see the place
    1115Whereas your daughter keeps her residence.
    And loe, in happy time the Cambrian Prince
    Is here arriu'd, to gratify our comming.
    Enter the Prince of Cambria, Ragan and Nobles: looke
    vpon them, and whisper together.
    1120Leir. Were I best speak, or sit me downe and dye?
    I am asham'd to tell this heauy tale.
    Per. Then let me tell it, if you please, my Lord:
    Tis shame for them that were the cause thereof.
    Cam. What two old men are those that seeme so sad?
    1125Me thinks, I should remember well their lookes.
    Rag. No, I mistake not, sure it is my father:
    I must dissemble kindnesse now of force.
    She runneth to him, and kneeles downe, saying:
    Father, I bid you welcome, full of griefe,
    1130To see your Grace vsde thus vnworthily,
    And ill befitting for your reuerend age,
    To come on foot a iourney so indurable.
    Oh, what disaster chaunce hath bin the cause,
    To make your cheeks so hollow, spare and leane?