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
    Peer Reviewed

    The History of King Leir (Quarto, 1605)

    and his three daughters.
    That raynd from heauen amongst the Israelites:
    It hath recall'd my spirits home agayne,
    2205And made me fresh, as earst I was before.
    But how shall we congratulate their kindnesse?
    Per. Infayth, I know not how sufficiently;
    But the best meane that I can think on, is this:
    Ile offer them my dublet in requitall;
    2210For we haue nothing else to spare.
    Leir. Nay, stay, Perillus, for they shall haue mine.
    Per. Pardon, my Lord, I sweare they shall haue mine.
    Perillus proffers his dublet: they will not take it.
    Leir. Ah, who would think such kindnes should remayne
    2215Among such strange and vnacquainted men:
    And that such hate should harbour in the brest
    Of those, which haue occasion to be best?
    Cor. Ah, good old father, tell to me thy griefe,
    Ile sorrow with thee, if not adde reliefe.
    2220Leir. Ah, good young daughter, I may call thee so;
    For thou art like a daughter I did owe.
    Cor. Do you not owe her still? what, is she dead?
    Leir. No, God forbid: but all my interest's gone,
    By shewing my selfe too much vnnaturall:
    2225So haue I lost the title of a father,
    And may be call'd a stranger to her rather.
    Cor. Your title's good still; for tis alwayes knowne,
    A man may do as him list with his owne.
    But haue you but one daughter then in all?
    2230Leir. Yes, I haue more by two, then would I had.
    Cor. O, say not so, but rather see the end:
    They that are bad, may haue the grace to mend:
    But how haue they offended you so much?
    Leir. If from the first I should relate the cause,
    2235 'Twould make a heart of Adamant to weepe;
    and thou, poore soule, kind-hearted as thou art,
    Dost weepe already, ere I do begin.
    Cor. For Gods loue tell it, and when you haue done,
    Ile tell the reason why I weepe so soone.
    2240Leir. Then know this first, I am a Brittayne borne,
    And had three daughters by one louing wife:
    H3 And