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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
    And though I say it, of beauty they were sped;
    Especially the youngest of the three,
    For her perfections hardly matcht could be:
    2245On these I doted with a ielous loue,
    And thought to try which of them lou'd me best,
    By asking them, which would do most for me?
    The first and second flattred me with words,
    And vowd they lou'd me better then their liues:
    2250The youngest sayd, she loued me as a child
    Might dō: her answere I esteem'd most vild,
    And presently in an outragious mood,
    I turned her from me to go sinke or swym:
    And all I had, euen to the very clothes,
    2255I gaue in dowry with the other two:
    And she that best deseru'd the greatest share,
    I gaue her nothing, but disgrace and care.
    Now mark the sequell: When I had done thus,
    I soiournd in my eldest daughters house,
    2260Where for a time I was intreated well,
    And liu'd in state sufficing my content:
    But euery day her kindnesse did grow cold,
    Which I with patience put vp well ynough,
    And seemed not to see the things I saw:
    2265But at the last she grew so far incenst
    With moody fury, and with causlesse hate,
    That in most vild and contumelious termes,
    She bade me pack, and harbour somewhere else.
    Then was I fayne for refuge to repayre
    2270Vnto my other daughter for reliefe,
    Who gaue me pleasing and most courteous words;
    But in her actions shewed her selfe so sore,
    As neuer any daughter did before:
    She prayd me in a morning out betime,
    2275To go to a thicket two miles from the Court,
    Poynting that there she would come talke with me:
    There she had set a shaghayrd murdring wretch,
    To massacre my honest friend and me.
    Then iudge your selfe, although my tale be briefe,
    2280If euer man had greater cause of griefe.
    King. Nor