King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 5

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Obey you, love you, and most honor you.
Why have my sisters husbands if they say
100They love you all? Haply when I shall wed
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.
honor you. How can my sisters speak the truth when they say they love only you? Don’t they love their husbands too? Hopefully when I get married, I’ll give my husband half my love and half my sense of duty. I’m sure I’ll never get married in the way my sisters say they’re married, loving their father only.

LEAR

105But goes thy heart with this?

LEAR

But do you mean what you’re saying?

CORDELIA

Ay, good my lord.

CORDELIA

Yes, my lord.

LEAR

So young and so untender?

LEAR

So young and so cruel?

CORDELIA

So young, my lord, and true.

CORDELIA

So young, my lord, and honest.

LEAR

Let it be so. Thy truth then be thy dower.
110For by the sacred radiance of the sun,
The mysteries of Hecate and the night,
By all the operation of the orbs
From whom we do exist and cease to be—
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
115Propinquity, and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee from this for ever. The barbarous Scythian,
Or he that makes his generation messes
To gorge his appetite, shall to my bosom
120Be as well neighbored, pitied, and relieved
As thou my sometime daughter.

LEAR

Then that’s the way it’ll be. The truth will be all the inheritance you get. I swear by the sacred sun, by the mysterious moon, and by all the planets that rule our lives, that I disown you now as my daughter. As of now, there are no family ties between us, and I consider you a stranger to me. Foreign savages who eat their own children for dinner will be as close to my heart as you, ex-daughter of mine.

KENT

     Good my liege—

KENT

But sir—

LEAR

Peace, Kent.
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
I loved her most and thought to set my rest
125On her kind nursery.—

LEAR

Be quiet, Kent. Don’t get in my way when I’m angry. I loved Cordelia most of all and planned to spend my old age with her taking care of me. (to CORDELIA) Go