King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses.
And find I am alone felicitate
75In your dear highness' love.
joy except my love for you, and I find that only your majesty’s love makes me happy.

CORDELIA

(aside)     Then poor Cordelia!
And yet not so, since I am sure my love’s
More ponderous than my tongue.

CORDELIA

(to herself) Poor me, what am I going to say now? But I’m not poor in love—my love is bigger than my words are.

LEAR

To thee and thine hereditary ever
80Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom,
No less in space, validity, and pleasure
Than that conferred on Goneril.—But now, our joy,
Although our last and least, to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
85Strive to be interessed. What can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

LEAR

You and your heirs hereby receive this large third of our lovely kingdom, no smaller in area or value than what I gave Goneril.—Now, you, my youngest daughter, my joy, courted by the rich rulers of France and Burgundy, what can you tell me that will make me give you a bigger part of my kingdom than I gave your sisters? Speak.

CORDELIA

Nothing, my lord.

CORDELIA

Nothing, my lord.

LEAR

Nothing?

LEAR

Nothing?

CORDELIA

Nothing.

CORDELIA

Nothing.

LEAR

90How? Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.

LEAR

Come on, “nothing” will get you nothing. Try again.

CORDELIA

Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty
According to my bond, no more nor less.

CORDELIA

I’m unlucky. I don’t have a talent for putting my heart’s feelings into words. I love you as a child should love her father, neither more nor less.

LEAR

How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little,
95Lest you may mar your fortunes.

LEAR

What are you saying, Cordelia? Revise your statement, or you may damage your inheritance.

CORDELIA

     Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me. I
Return those duties back as are right fit—

CORDELIA

My lord, you brought me up and loved me, and I’m giving back just as I should: I obey you, love you, and