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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
    Gon. I smile to think, in what a wofull plight
    Cordella will be, when we answere thus:
    For she will rather dye, then giue consent
    190To ioyne in marriage with the Irish King:
    So will our father think, she loueth him not,
    Because she will not graunt to his desire,
    Which we will aggrauate in such bitter termes,
    That he will soone conuert his loue to hate:
    195For he, you know, is alwayes in extremes.
    Rag. Not all the world could lay a better plot,
    I long till it be put in practice. Exeunt.
    Enter Leir and Perillus.
    Leir. Perillus, go seeke my daughters,
    200Will them immediately come and speak with me.
    Per. I will, my gracious Lord. Exit.
    Leir. Oh, what a combat feeles my panting heart,
    'Twixt childrens loue, and care of Common weale!
    How deare my daughters are vnto my soule,
    205None knowes, but he, that knowes my thoghts & secret deeds.
    Ah, little do they know the deare regard,
    Wherein I hold their future state to come:
    When they securely sleepe on beds of downe,
    These aged eyes do watch for their behalfe :
    210While they like wantons sport in youthfull toyes,
    This throbbing heart is pearst with dire annoyes.
    As doth the Sun excceed the smallest Starre;
    So much the fathers loue exceeds the childs.
    Yet my complaynts are causlesse: for the world
    215Affords not children more conformable:
    And yet, me thinks, my mind presageth still
    I know not what; and yet I feare some ill.
    Enter Perillus, with the three daughters.
    Well, here my daughters come: I haue found out
    220A present meanes to rid me of this doubt.
    Gon. Our royall Lord and father, in all duty,
    We come to know the tenour of your will,
    Why you so hastily haue sent for vs ?
    Leir. Deare Gonorill, kind Ragan, sweet Cordella,