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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 Gonorill and Ragan.
    Gon. Sister, when did you see Cordella last,
    470That prety piece, that thinks none good ynough
    To speake to her, because (sir-reuerence)
    She hath a little beauty extraordinary?
    Ra. Since time my father warnd her from his presence,
    I neuer saw her, that I can remember.
    475God giue her ioy of her surpassing beauty;
    I thinke, her dowry will be small ynough.
    Gon. I haue incenst my father so against her,
    As he will neuer be reclaymd agayne.
    Rag. I was not much behind to do the like.
    480Gon. Faith, sister, what moues you to beare her such good (will?
    Rag. Intruth, I thinke, the same that moueth you;
    Because she doth surpasse vs both in beauty.
    Gon. Beshrew your fingers, how right you can gesse:
    I tell you true, it cuts me to the heart.
    485Rag. But we will keepe her low enough, I warrant,
    And clip her wings for mounting vp too hye.
    Gon. Who euer hath her, shall haue a rich mariage of her.
    Rag. She were right fit to make a Parsons wife:
    For they, men say, do loue faire women well,
    B4 And
    The History of King Leir
    490And many times doe marry them with nothing.
    Gon. With nothing! marry God forbid: why, are there any (such?
    Rag. I meane, no money.
    Gon. I cry you mercy, I mistooke you much:
    And she is far too stately for the Church;
    495Sheele lay her husbands Benefice on her back,
    Euen in one gowne, if she may haue her will.
    Ra. In faith, poore soule, I pitty her a little.
    Would she were lesse fayre, or more fortunate.
    Well, I thinke long vntill I see my Morgan,
    500The gallant Prince of Cambria, here arriue.
    Gon. And so do I, vntill the Cornwall King
    Present himselfe, to consummate my ioyes.
    Peace, here commeth my father.
    Enter Leir, Perillus and others.
    505Leir. Cease, good my Lords, and sue not to reuerse
    Our censure, which is now irreuocable.
    We haue dispatched letters of contract
    Vnto the Kings of Cambria and of Cornwall;
    Our hand and seale will iustify no lesse:
    510Then do not so dishonour me, my Lords,
    As to make shipwrack of our kingly word.
    I am as kind as is the Pellican,
    That kils it selfe, to saue her young ones liues:
    And yet as ielous as the princely Eagle,
    515That kils her young ones, if they do but dazell
    Vpon the radiant splendor of the Sunne.
    Kings of
    and Cam-
    Within this two dayes I expect their comming
    But in good time, they are arriu'd already.
    This haste of yours, my Lords, doth testify
    520The feruent loue you beare vnto my daughters:
    And think your selues as welcome to King Leir,
    As euer Pryams children were to him.
    Corn. My gracious Lord, and father too, I hope,
    Pardon, for that I made no greater haste :
    525But were my horse as swift as was my will,
    I long ere this had seene your Maiesty.
    Cam. No other scuse of absence can I frame,
    and his three daughters.
    Then what my brother hath inform'd your Grace:
    For our vndeserued welcome, we do vowe,
    530Perpetually to rest at your commaund.
    Corn. But you, sweet Loue, illustrious Gonorill,
    The Regent, and the Soueraigne of my soule,
    Is Cornwall welcome to your Excellency?
    Gon. As welcome, as Leander was to Hero,
    535Or braue Aeneas to the Carthage Queene:
    So and more welcome is your Grace to me.
    Cam. O, may my fortune proue no worse then his,
    Since heauens do know, my fancy is as much.
    Deare Ragan, say, if welcome vnto thee,
    540All welcomes else will little comfort me.
    Rag. As gold is welcome to the couetous eye,
    As sleepe is welcome to the Traueller,
    As is fresh water to sea-beaten men,
    Or moystned showres vnto the parched ground,
    545Or any thing more welcomer then this,
    So and more welcome louely Morgan is.
    Leir. What resteth then, but that we consummate,
    The celebration of these nuptiall Rites?
    My Kingdome I do equally deuide.
    550Princes, draw lots, and take your chaunce as falles.
    Then they draw lots.
    These I resigne as freely vnto you,
    As earst by true succession they were mine.
    And here I do freely dispossesse my selfe,
    555And make you two my true adopted heyres:
    My selfe will soiorne with my sonne of Cornwall,
    And take me to my prayers and my beades.
    I know, my daughter Ragan will be sorry,
    Because I do not spend my dayes with her:
    560Would I were able to be with both at once;
    They are the kindest Gyrles in Christendome.
    Per. I haue bin silent all this while, my Lord,
    To see if any worthyer then my selfe,
    Would once haue spoke in poore Cordellaes cause:
    565But loue or feare tyes silence to their toungs.
    C Oh,
    The History of King Leir
    Oh, heare me speake for her, my gracious Lord,
    Whose deeds haue not deseru'd this ruthlesse doome,
    As thus to disinherit her of all.
    Leir. Vrge this no more, and if thou loue thy life:
    570I say, she is no daughter, that doth scorne
    To tell her father how she loueth him.
    Who euer speaketh hereof to mee agayne,
    I will esteeme him for my mortall foe.
    Come, let vs in, to celebrate with ioy,
    575The happy Nuptialls of these louely payres.
    Exeunt omnes, manet Perillus.
    Per. Ah, who so blind, as they that will not see
    The neere approch of their owne misery?
    Poore Lady, I extremely pitty her:
    580And whilest I liue, eche drop of my heart blood,
    Will I strayne forth, to do her any good. Exit.