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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
    1705I brought him forth, whereas he had not bin,
    But for good will to beare me company.
    He left his friends, his country and his goods,
    And came with me in most extremity.
    Oh, if he should miscarry here and dye,
    1710Who is the cause of it, but only I?
    aMes. Why that am I, let that ne're trouble thee.
    Leir. O no, tis I. O, had I now to giue thee
    The monarchy of all the spacious world
    To saue his life, I would bestow it on thee:
    1715But I haue nothing but these teares and prayers,
    And the submission of a bended knee. kneele.
    O, if all this to mercy moue thy mind,
    Spare him, in heauen thou shalt like mercy find.
    Mes.I am as hard to be moued as another, and yet
    1720me thinks the strength of their perswasions stirres me
    a little.
    Per.My friend, if feare of the almighty power
    Haue power to moue thee, we haue sayd ynough:
    But if thy mind be moueable with gold,
    1725We haue not presently to giue it thee:
    Yet to thy selfe thou mayst do greater good,
    To keepe thy hands still vndefilde from blood:
    For do but well consider with thy selfe,
    When thou hast finisht this outragious act,
    1730What horrour still will haunt thee for the deed:
    Think this agayne, that they which would incense
    Thee for to be the Butcher of their father,
    When it is done, for feare it should be knowne,
    Would make a meanes to rid thee from the world:
    1735Oh, then art thou for euer tyed in chaynes
    Of euerlasting torments to indure,
    Euen in the hotest hole of grisly hell,
    Such paynes, as neuer mortall toung can tell.
    It thunders. He quakes, and lets fall the Dagger
    1740next to Perillus.
    Leir. O, heauens be thanked, he wil spare my friend.
    Now when thou wilt come make an end of me.