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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
    For want of fresh meat and due sustenance.
    Per. Alack, my Lord, my heart doth bleed, to think
    That you should be in such extremity.
    Leir. Come, let vs go, and see what God will send;
    2090When all meanes faile, he is the surest friend. Exeunt.
    Enter the Gallian King and Queene, and Mumford, with a
    basket, disguised like Countrey folke.
    King. This tedious iourney all on foot, sweet Loue,
    Cannot be pleasing to your tender ioynts,
    2095Which ne're were vsed to these toylesome walks.
    Cord. I neuer in my life tooke more delight
    In any iourney, then I do in this:
    It did me good, when as we hapt to light
    Amongst the merry crue of country folke,
    2100To see what industry and paynes they tooke,
    To win them commendations 'mongst their friends.
    Lord, how they labour to bestir themselues,
    And in their quirks to go beyond the Moone,
    And so take on them with such antike fits,
    2105That one would think they were beside their wits!
    Come away, Roger, with your basket.
    Mum. Soft, Dame, here comes a couple of old youthes,
    I must needs make my selfe fat with iesting at them.
    Cor. Nay, prithy do not, they do seeme to be
    Enter Leir
    & Perillus
    very faintly.
    2110Men much o'regone with griefe and misery.
    Let's stand aside, and harken what they say.
    Leir. Ah, my Perillus, now I see we both
    Shall end our dayes in this vnfruitfull soyle.
    Oh, I do faint for want of sustenance:
    2115And thou, I know, in little better case.
    No gentle tree affords one taste of fruit,
    To comfort vs, vntill we meet with men:
    No lucky path conducts our lucklesse steps
    Vnto a place where any comfort dwels.
    2120Sweet rest betyde vnto our happy soules;
    For here I see our bodies must haue end.
    Per. Ah, my deare Lord, how doth my heart lament,
    To see you brought to this extremity!
    O, if you loue me, as you do professe,