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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
    Cor.O, but some meat, some meat: do you not see,
    2165How neere they are to death for want of food?
    Per.Lord, which didst help thy seruants at their need,
    Or now or neuer send vs helpe with speed.
    Oh, comfort, comfort! yonder is a banquet,
    And men and women, my Lord: be of good cheare;
    2170For I see comfort comming very neere.
    O my Lord, a banquet, and men and women!
    Leir. O, let kind pity mollify their hearts,
    That they may helpe vs in our great extreames.
    Per.God saue you, friends; & if this blessed banquet
    2175Affordeth any food or sustenance,
    Euen for his sake that saued vs all from death,
    Vouchsafe to saue vs from the gripe of famine. She bringeth him to the table
    Cor. Here father, sit and eat, here, sit & drink:
    And would it were far better for your sakes.
    2180Perillus takes Leir by the hand to the table.
    Per. Ile giue you thanks anon: my friend doth faynt,
    And needeth present comfort. Leir drinks.
    Mum. I warrant, he ne're stayes to say grace:
    O, theres no sauce to a good stomake.
    2185Per.The ble}}d God of heauen hath thought vpon vs.
    Leir. The thanks be his, and these kind courteous folke,
    By whose humanity we are preserued. They eat hungerly, Leirdrinkes.
    Cor.And may that draugh tbe vnto him, as was
    That which old Eson dranke, which did renue
    2190His withered age, and made him young againe.
    And may that meat be vnto him, as was
    That which Elias ate, in strength whereof
    He walked fourty dayes, and neuer faynted.
    Shall I conceale me longer from my father?
    2195Or shall I manifest my selfe to him?
    King. Forbeare a while, vntill his strength returne,
    Lest being ouer ioyed with seeing thee,
    His poore weake sences should forsake their office,
    And so our cause of ioy be turnd to sorrow.
    2200Per.What chere, my Lord? how do you feele your selfe?
    Leir. Me thinks, I neuer ate such sauory meat:
    It is as pleasant as the blessed Manna,