King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

    Hence, and avoid my sight!—
So be my grave my peace as here I give
Her father’s heart from her.—Call France. Who stirs?
Call Burgundy.—
away! Get out of my sight!—I guess if she doesn’t love her father, then I’ll only have peace when I’m dead.—Call the King of France. Why is nobody doing anything? Call the Duke of Burgundy.
Exeunt several attendants
Several attendants exit.
   Cornwall and Albany,
130With my two daughters' dowers digest this third.
Let pride, which she calls plainness, marry her.
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Preeminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course,
135With reservation of an hundred knights
By you to be sustained, shall our abode
Make with you by due turns. Only shall we retain
The name, and all th' additions to a king.
The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,
140Belovèd sons, be yours; which to confirm,
This coronet part between you.
(gives CORNWALL and ALBANY the coronet)
Cornwall and Albany, you and your wives can divide this last third of my kingdom between you. If she wants to be proud, or “honest,” as she calls it, she can just marry her own pride. I hereby grant to you two my crown and all the privileges that kingship brings. I’ll live one month with one of you, the next month with the other one. All I ask is that you provide me with a hundred knights for my own entourage. I’ll keep only the title of king, but you’ll have everything else: all the authority and income that come with kingship. To confirm all this, take this crown to share between yourselves. (he gives CORNWALL and ALBANY the crown)
     Royal Lear,
Whom I have ever honored as my king,
Loved as my father, as my master followed,
145As my great patron thought on in my prayers—
King Lear, I’ve always honored you as king, loved you as my father, obeyed you as my master, and thanked you in my prayers—
The bow is bent and drawn. Make from the shaft.
I’m furious and ready to snap. Stay away or else I’ll take my anger out on you.
Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
The region of my heart. Be Kent unmannerly
When Lear is mad. What wouldst thou do, old man?
150Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak
When power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound
When majesty falls to folly. Reserve thy state,
Let your anger fall on me then, even if its sharpness pierces my heart. Kent can speak rudely when Lear goes mad. What are you doing, old man? When powerful kings cave in to flatterers, do you think loyal men will be afraid to speak out against it? When a majestic king starts acting silly, then it’s my duty to be blunt.