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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
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    The History of King Leir (Quarto, 1605)

    Enter the Gallian King, and Cordella.
    1230King. When will these clouds of sorrow once disperse,
    And smiling ioy tryumph vpon thy brow?
    When will this Scene of sadnesse haue an end,
    And pleasant acts insue, to moue delight?
    When will my louely Queene cease to lament,
    1235And take some comfort to her grieued thoughts?
    If of thy selfe thou daignst to haue no care,
    Yet pitty me, whom thy griefe makes despayre.
    Cor.O, grieue not you, my Lord, you haue no cause;
    Let not my passions moue your mind a whit:
    1240For I am bound by nature, to lament
    For his ill will, that life to me first lent.
    If so the stocke be dryed with disdayne,
    Withered and sere the branch must needes remaine.
    King. But thou are now graft in another stock;
    1245I am the stock, and thou the louely branch:
    And from my root continuall sap shall flow,
    To make thee flourish with perpetuall spring.
    Forget thy father and thy kindred now,
    E2 Since
    The History of King Leir
    Since they forsake thee like inhumane beastes,
    1250Thinke they are dead, since all their kindnesse dyes,
    And bury them, where black obliuion lyes.
    Think not thou art the daughter of old Leir,
    Who did vnkindly disinherit thee:
    But think thou art the noble Gallian Queene,
    1255And wife to him that dearely loueth thee:
    Embrace the ioyes that present with thee dwell,
    Let sorrow packe and hide her selfe in hell.
    Cord. Not that I misse my country or my kinne,
    My old acquaintance or my ancient friends,
    1260Doth any whit distemperate my mynd,
    Knowing you, which are more deare to me,
    Then Country, kin and all things els can be.
    Yet pardon me, my gracious Lord, in this:
    For what can stop the course of natures power?
    1265As easy is it for foure-footed beasts,
    To stay themselues vpon the liquid ayre,
    And mount aloft into the element,
    And ouerstrip the feathered Fowles in flight:
    As easy is it for the slimy Fish,
    1270To liue and thriue without the helpe of water
    As easy is it for the Blackamoore,
    To wash the tawny colour from his skin,
    Which all oppose against the course of nature,
    As I am able to forget my father.
    1275King. Myrrour of vertue, Phoenix of our age!
    Too kind a daughter for an vnkind father,
    Be of good comfort; for I will dispatch
    Ambassadors immediately for Brittayne,
    Vnto the King of Cornwalls Court, whereas
    1280Your father keepeth now his residence,
    And in the kindest maner him intreat,
    That setting former grieuances apart,
    He will be pleasde to come and visit vs.
    If no intreaty will suffice the turne,
    1285Ile offer him the halfe of all my Crowne:
    If that moues not, weele furnish out a Fleet,
    and his three daughters.
    Andsayle to Cornwall for to visit him:
    And there you shall be firmely reconcilde
    In perfit loue, as earst you were before.
    1290Cor. Where toung cannot sufficient thanks afford,
    The King of heauen remunerate my Lord.
    King. Only be blithe, and frolick (sweet) with me:
    This and much more ile do to comfort thee.