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  • 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
    1325Mes. Here are two hands, for eche of them is one.
    Rag. And for eche hand here is a recompence.
    Giue him two purses.
    Mes. Oh, that I had ten hands by myracle,
    I could teare ten in pieces with my teeth,
    1330So in my mouth yould put a purse of gold.
    But in what maner must it be effected?
    Rag. To morrow morning ere the breake of day,
    I by a wyle will send them to the thicket,
    That is about some two myles from the Court,
    1335And promise them to meet them there my selfe,
    Because I must haue priuate conference,
    About some newes I haue receyu'd from Cornwall.
    This is ynough, I know, they will not fayle,
    And then be ready for to play thy part:
    1340Which done, thou mayst right easily escape,
    And no man once mistrust thee for the fact:
    But yet, before thou prosecute the act,
    Shew him the letter, which my sister sent,
    There let him read his owne inditement first,
    1345And then proceed to execution:
    But see thou faynt not; for they will speake fayre.
    Mes.Could he speak words as pleasing as the pipe
    Of Mercury, which charm'd the hundred eyes
    Of watchfull Argos, and inforc'd him sleepe:
    1350Yet here are words so pleasing to my thoughts, To the purse.
    As quite shall take away the sound of his. Exit.
    Rag. About it then, and when thou hast dispatcht,
    Ile find a meanes to send thee after him. Exit.
    Enter Cornwall and Gonorill.
    1355Corn. I wonder that the Messenger doth stay,
    Whom we dispatcht for Cambria so long since:
    If that his answere do not please vs well,
    And he do shew good reason for delay,
    Ile teach him how to dally with his King,
    1360And to detayne vs in such long suspence.
    Gon. My Lord, I thinke the reason may be this:
    My father meanes to come along with him;