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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)

    Enter the King of Cornwall and his man booted and
    spurd, a riding wand, and a letter in his hand.
    400 Corn. But how far distant are we from the Court?
    Ser. Some twenty miles, my Lord, or thereabouts.
    Corn. It seemeth to me twenty thousand myles:
    Yet hope I to be there within this houre.
    Ser. Then are you like to ride alone for me. to him-selfe.
    405I thinke, my Lord is weary of his life.
    Corn. Sweet Gonorill, I long to see thy face,
    Which hast so kindly gratified my loue.
    Enter the King of Cambria booted and spurd, and his
    man with a wand and a letter.
    410Cam. Get a fresh horse: for by my soule I sweare, He lookes
    on the
    I am past patience, longer to forbeare
    The wished sight of my beloued mistris,
    Deare Ragan, stay and comfort of my life.
    Ser. Now what in Gods name doth my Lord intend? to him-selfe
    The History of King Leir
    415He thinks he ne're shall come at's iourneyes end.
    I would he had old Dedalus waxen wings,
    That he might flye, so I might stay behind:
    For e're we get to Troynouant, I see,
    He quite will tyre himselfe, his horse and me.
    420Cornwall & Cambria looke one vpon another, and
    start to see eche other there.
    Corn. Brother of Cambria, we greet you well,
    As one whom here we little did expect.
    Cam. Brother of Cornwall, met in happy time:
    425I thought as much to haue met with the Souldan of Persia,
    As to haue met you in this place, my Lord.
    No doubt, it is about some great affayres,
    That makes you here so slenderly accompanied.
    Corn. To say the truth, my Lord, it is no lesse,
    430And for your part some hasty wind of chance
    Hath blowne you hither thus vpon the sudden.
    Cam. My Lord, to break off further circumstances,
    For at this time I cannot brooke delayes:
    Tell you your reason, I will tell you mine.
    435Corn. In fayth content, and therefore to be briefe;
    For I am sure my haste's as great as yours:
    I am sent for, to come vnto King Leir,
    Who by these present letters promiseth
    His eldest daughter, louely Gonorill,
    440To me in mariage, and for present dowry,
    The moity of halfe his Regiment.
    The Ladies loue I long ago possest:
    But vntill now I neuer had the fathers.
    Cam. You tell me wonders, yet I will relate
    445Strange newes, and henceforth we must brothers call;
    Witnesse these lynes: his honourable age,
    Being weary of the troubles of his Crowne,
    His princely daughter Ragan will bestow
    On me in mariage, with halfe his Seigniories,
    450Whom I would gladly haue accepted of,
    With the third part, her complements are such.
    Corn. If I haue one halfe, and you haue the other,
    and his three daughters.
    Then betweene vs we must needs haue the whole.
    Cam. The hole! how meane you that? Zlood, I hope,
    455We shall haue two holes beweene vs.
    Corn. Why, the whole Kingdome.
    Cam. I, that's very true.
    Cor. What then is left for his third daughters dowry,
    Louely Cordella, whom the world admires?
    460Cam. Tis very strange, I know not what to thinke,
    Vnlesse they meane to make a Nunne of her.
    Corn. 'Twere pity such rare beauty should be hid
    Within the compasse of a Cloysters wall:
    But howsoe're, if Leirs words proue true,
    465It will be good, my Lord, for me and you.
    Cam. Then let vs haste, all danger to preuent,
    For feare delayes doe alter his intent. Exeunt.