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LEAR, King of Britain.
The KING OF FRANCE.
The DUKE OF CORNWALL.
EDGAR, son to Gloster.
CURAN, a courtier.
Old Man, tenant to Gloster.
OSWALD, steward to Goneril.
A Gentleman, attending on Cordelia.
Servants to Cornwall.
GONERIL, wife of Albany,
REGAN, wife of Cornwall, Dof Burgundy daughters
married to the Duke of Burgundy,
Knights of Lear's Train, Captains, Messengers,
SCENE I.-King Lear's Palace.
THOUGHT the king had more affected the duke of Albany than Cornwall.
Glo. It did always seem so to us: but now, in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most; for qualities are so weighed, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either's moiety.
Kent. Is not this your son, my lord?
Glo. His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I have so often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I am brazed to't.
Kent. I cannot conceive you.
Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could: whereupon she grew round-wombed; and had indeed, sir, a son for her cradle, ere she had a husband for her bed. Do you smell a fault?
Kent. I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.
Glo. But I have a son, sir, by order of law, some year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my account: though this knave came somewhat saucily into the world before he was sent for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged. Do you know this noble gentleman, Edmund ?
Edm. No, my lord.
Glo. My lord of Kent: remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.
Edm. My services to your lordship.
Kent. I must love you, and sue to know you better.
Edm. Sir, I shall study deserving.
Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he shall again.-The king is coming.
[Trumpets sound within.
Enter LEAR, CORNWALL, ALBANY, GONERIL, Regan, CORDELIA, and Attendants.
Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy, Gloster.
Glo. I shall, my liege. [Exeunt GLOS. and EDM. Lear. Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.
Give me the map there.-Know, that we have divided,
In three, our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love, Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
And here are to be answer'd.-Tell me, my daughters,
(Since now we will divest us, both of rule, Interest of territory, cares of state,)
Which of you, shall we say, doth love us most?
Our eldest-born, speak first.
Gon. Sir, I love you more than word can wield the matter,
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
As much as child e'er loved, or father found. A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
Cor. [aside.] What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent.
Lear. Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd, With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads, We make thee lady: to thine and Albany's issues Be this perpetual.-What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall?
Reg. I am made of that self-metal as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart