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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)

    and his three daughters.
    225Ye florishing branches of a Kingly stocke,
    Sprung from a tree that once did flourish greene,
    Whose blossomes now are nipt with Winters frost,
    And pale grym death doth wayt vpon my steps,
    And summons me vnto his next Assizes.
    230Therefore, deare daughters, as ye tender the safety
    Of him that was the cause of your first being,
    Resolue a doubt which much molests my mind,
    Which of you three to me would proue most kind;
    Which loues me most, and which at my request
    235Will soonest yeeld vnto their fathers hest.
    Gon. I hope, my gracious father makes no doubt
    Of any of his daughters loue to him:
    Yet for my part, to shew my zeale to you,
    Which cannot be in windy words rehearst,
    240I prize my loue to you at such a rate,
    I thinke my life inferiour to my loue.
    Should you inioyne me for to tye a milstone
    About my neck, and leape into the Sea,
    At your commaund I willingly would doe it:
    245Yea, for to doe you good, I would ascend
    The highest Turret in all Brittany,
    And from the top leape headlong to the ground:
    Nay, more, should you appoynt me for to marry
    The meanest vassayle in the spacious world,
    250Without reply I would accomplish it:
    In briefe, commaund what euer you desire,
    And if I fayle, no fauour I require.
    Leir. O, how thy words reuiue my dying soule!
    Cor. O, how I doe abhorre this flattery!
    255Leir. But what sayth Ragan to her fathers will?
    Rag. O, that my simple vtterance could suffice,
    To tell the true intention of my heart,
    Which burnes in zeale of duty to your grace,
    And neuer can be quench'd, but by desire
    260To shew the same in outward forwardnesse.
    Oh, that there were some other mayd that durst
    But make a challenge of her loue with me;
    B Ide