QueenʼsMen Editions

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
    You need not hither come to aske for him,
    You know where he is better then our selues.
    1935Am. Madam, I hope, not far off.
    Ra. Hath the young murdresse, your outragious Queen,
    No meanes to colour her detested deeds,
    In finishing my guiltlesse fathers dayes,
    (Because he gaue her nothing to her dowre)
    1940But by the colour of a fayn'd Ambassage,
    To send him letters hither to our Court?
    Go carry them to them that sent them hither,
    And bid them keepe their scroules vnto themselues:
    They cannot blind vs with such slight excuse,
    1945To smother vp so monstrous vild abuse.
    And were it not, it is 'gainst law of Armes,
    To offer violence to a Messenger,
    We would inflict such torments on thy selfe,
    As should inforce thee to reueale the truth.
    1950Am. Madam, your threats no whit apall my mind,
    I know my conscience guiltlesse of this act;
    My King and Queene, I dare be sworne, are free
    From any thought of such impiety:
    And therefore, Madam, you haue done them wrong,
    1955And ill beseeming with a sisters loue,
    Who in meere duty tender him as much,
    As euer you respected him for dowre.
    The King your husband will not say as much.
    Cam. I will suspend my iudgement for a time,
    1960Till more apparance giue vs further light:
    Yet to be playne, your comming doth inforce
    A great suspicion to our doubtful mind,
    And that you do resemble, to be briefe,
    Him that first robs, and then cries, Stop the theefe.
    1965Am. Pray God some neere you haue not done the like.
    Rag. Hence, saucy mate, reply no more to vs; She strikeshim.
    For law of Armes shall not protect thy toung.
    Am. Ne're was I offred such discourtesy;
    God and my King, I trust, ere it be long,
    1970Will find a meane to remedy this wrong, Exit Amb.
    Rag. How