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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
    Per. I feare, we did mistake the place, my Lord.
    Leir. God graunt we do not miscarry in the place:
    I had a short nap, but so full of dread,
    1480As much amazeth me to think thereof.
    Per. Feare not, my Lord, dreames are but fantasies,
    And slight imaginations of the brayne.
    Mes.Perswade him so; but ile make him and you
    Confesse, that dreames do often proue too true.
    1485Per. I pray, my Lord, what was the effect of it?
    I may go neere to gesse what it pretends.
    Mes. Leaue that to me, I will expound the dreame.
    Leir. Me thought, my daughters, Gonorill & Ragan,
    Stood both before me with such grim aspects.
    1490Eche brandishing a Faulchion in their hand,
    Ready to lop a lymme off where it fell,
    And in their other hands a naked poynyard,
    Wherwith they stabd me in a hundred places,
    And to their thinking left me there for dead:
    1495But then my youngest daughter, fayre Cordella,
    Came with a boxe of Balsome in her hand,
    And powred it into my bleeding wounds,
    By whose good meanes I was recouered well,
    In perfit health, as earst I was before:
    1500And with the feare of this I did awake,
    And yet for feare my feeble ioynts do quake.
    Mes.Ile make you quake for something presently.
    Stand, Stand. They reele.
    Leir. We do, my friend, although with much adoe.
    1505Mes. Deliuer, deliuer.
    Per. Deliuer vs, good Lord, from such as he.
    Mes. You should haue prayed before, while it was time,
    And then perhaps, you might haue scapt my hands:
    But you, like faithfull watch-men, fell asleepe,
    1510The whilst I came and tooke your Halberds from you.
    Shew their Bookes.
    And now you want your weapons of defence,
    How haue you any hope to be deliuered?
    This comes, because you haue no better stay,