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)

    Enter Ragan sola.
    Rag. I feele a hell of conscience in my brest,
    Tormenting me with horrour for my fact,
    and his three daughters.
    And makes me in an agony of doubt,
    2360For feare the world should find my dealing out.
    The slaue whom I appoynted for the act,
    I ne're set eye vpon the peasant since:
    O, could I get him for to make him sure,
    My doubts would cease, and I should rest secure.
    2365But if the old men, with perswasiue words,
    Haue sau'd their liues, and made him to relent;
    Then are they fled vnto the Court of Fraunce,
    And like a Trumpet manifest my shame.
    A shame on these white-liuerd slaues, say I,
    2370That with fayre words so soone are ouercome.
    O God, that I had bin but made a man;
    Or that my strength were equall with my will!
    These foolish men are nothing but meere pity,
    And melt as butter doth against the Sun.
    2375Why should they haue preeminence ouer vs,
    Since we are creatures of more braue resolue?
    I sweare, I am quite out of charity
    With all the heartlesse men in Christendome.
    A poxe vpon them, when they are affrayd
    2380To giue a sttab, or slit a paltry Wind-pipe,
    Which are so easy matters to be done.
    Well, had I thought the slaue would serue me so,
    My selfe would haue bin executioner:
    Tis now vndone, and if that it be knowne,
    2385Ile make as good shift as I can for one.
    He that repines at me, how ere it stands,
    'Twere best for him to keepe him from my hands. Exit.