King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 9

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BURGUNDY

     Most royal majesty,
I crave no more than hath your highness offered.
200Nor will you tender less.

BURGUNDY

Your highness, I want nothing more than what you’ve already offered. I know you’ll offer nothing less than that.

LEAR

   Right noble Burgundy,
When she was dear to us we did hold her so,
But now her price is fallen. Sir, there she stands.
If aught within that little seeming substance,
Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced
205And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She’s there, and she is yours.

LEAR

Burgundy, I valued her highly when I cared about her. But now her price has fallen. There she is, over there. If there’s anything you like about that worthless little thing, then go for it. She’s all yours. But what you see is what you get—her only dowry is my disapproval. There she is.

BURGUNDY

   I know no answer.

BURGUNDY

I don’t know what to say.

LEAR

Sir, will you, with those infirmities she owes—
Unfriended, new adopted to our hate,
Dowered with our curse and strangered with our oath—
210Take her or leave her?

LEAR

She’s got big flaws. She has no friends or protectors. I no longer love her. Her only dowry is my curse and banishment. So do you take her or leave her?

BURGUNDY

   Pardon me, royal sir.
Election makes not up in such conditions.

BURGUNDY

I’m sorry, sir, but nobody can make a choice like this in such circumstances.

LEAR

Then leave her, sir, for by the power that made me,
I tell you all her wealth.
(to FRANCE)   For you, great King,
215I would not from your love make such a stray
To match you where I hate. Therefore beseech you
T' avert your liking a more worthier way
Than on a wretch whom Nature is ashamed
Almost t' acknowledge hers.

LEAR

Then leave her, sir. I swear to God she’s not worth anything more than what I told you. (to FRANCE) And as for you, great King of France, I’d never insult our friendship by encouraging you to marry a girl I hate. So I beg you to look around for a better match than this wretched creature that you can barely call human.

FRANCE

     This is most strange,
220That she that even but now was your best object—
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
Most best, most dearest—should in this trice of time

FRANCE

This is very odd. Until very recently she was your favorite, the object of all your praise and the delight of your old age. It’s strange that someone so dear to you could do anything so horrible as to warrant this sudden