King Lear Act 1 Quotes

GLOUCESTER to KENT His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge: I haveso often blushed to acknowledge him, that now I ambrazed to it.
GLOUCESTER to KENT Sir, this young fellow’s mother could: whereuponshe grew round-wombed, and had, indeed, sir, a sonfor her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed.Do you smell a fault?
KING LEAR to COURT Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.Give me the map there. Know that we have dividedIn three our kingdom: and ’tis our fast intentTo shake all cares and business from our age
KING LEAR to COURT Our son of Cornwall,And you, our no less loving son of Albany,We have this hour a constant will to publishOur daughters’ several dowers, that future strifeMay be prevented now.
KING LEAR to COURT 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.
KING LEAR to COURT 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?
GONERIL to KING LEAR Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter, Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty,Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare,No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour
GONERIL to KING LEAR 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.
REGAN to KING LEAR Sir, I am madeOf the self-same metal that my sister is,And prize me at her worth.
REGAN to KING LEAR I professMyself an enemy to all other joys,Which the most precious square of sense possesses,And find I am alone felicitateIn your dear highness’ love.
CORDELIA to SELF And yet not so since, I am sure, my love’sMore richer than my tongue.
KING LEAR to CORDELIA Now, our joy,Although the last, not least; to whose young loveThe vines of France and milk of BurgundyStrive to be interess’d
CORDELIA to KING LEAR Unhappy that I am, I cannot heaveMy heart into my mouth: I love your majestyAccording to my bond; nor more nor less.
KING LEAR to CORDELIA Mend your speech a little,Lest it may mar your fortunes.
CORDELIA to KING LEAR Good my lord,You have begot me, bred me, loved me: IReturn those duties back as are right fit,Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
CORDELIA to KING LEAR Why have my sisters husbands, if they sayThey love you all?
CORDELIA to KING LEAR Haply, when I shall wed,That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carryHalf my love with him, half my care and duty.
KING LEAR to CORDELIA Let it be so; thy truth, then, be thy dower:
KING LEAR to CORDELIA Here I disclaim all my paternal care,Propinquity and property of blood,And as a stranger to my heart and meHold thee, from this, for ever.
KENT to KING LEAR What wilt thou do, old man?Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,When power to flattery bows?
KENT to KING LEAR To plainness honour’s bound,When majesty stoops to folly. Reverse thy doom;And, in thy best consideration, chequeThis hideous rashness
KENT to KING LEAR See better, Lear; and let me still remainThe true blank of thine eye.
KENT to KING LEAR Kill thy physician, and the fee bestowUpon thy foul disease. Revoke thy doom;Or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat,I’ll tell thee thou dost evil.
KING LEAR to KENT Five days we do allot thee, for provisionTo shield thee from diseases of the world;And on the sixth to turn thy hated backUpon our kingdom: if, on the tenth day following,Thy banish’d trunk be found in our dominions,The moment is thy death.
KENT to KING LEAR Fare thee well, king: sith thus thou wilt appear,Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here.
KENT to CORDELIA The gods to their dear shelter take thee, maid,That justly think’st, and hast most rightly said!
KENT to GONERIL & REGAN And your large speeches may your deeds approve,That good effects may spring from words of love.
KING LEAR to BURGUNDY Will you require in present dower with her,Or cease your quest of love?
BURGUNDY to KING LEAR Most royal majesty,I crave no more than what your highness offer’d,Nor will you tender less.
KING LEAR to BURGUNDY When she was dear to us, we did hold her so;But now her price is fall’n.
KING LEAR to BURGUNDY Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made me,I tell you all her wealth.
KING LEAR to KING OF FRANCE I would not from your love make such a stray,To match you where I hate; therefore beseech youTo avert your liking a more worthier wayThan on a wretch whom nature is ashamedAlmost to acknowledge hers.
KING OF FRANCE to KING LEAR This is most strange,That 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 timeCommit a thing so monstrous, to dismantleSo many folds of favour.
CORDELIA to KING LEAR It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,No unchaste action, or dishonour’d step,That hath deprived me of your grace and favour;
KING LEAR to CORDELIA Better thouHadst not been born than not to have pleased me better.
KING OF FRANCE to BURGUNDY Love’s not loveWhen it is mingled with regards that standAloof from the entire point. Will you have her?She is herself a dowry.
KING OF FRANCE to CORDELIA Gods, gods! ’tis strange that from their cold’st neglectMy love should kindle to inflamed respect.
CORDELIA to REGAN & GONERIL Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides:Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.Well may you prosper!
GONERIL to REGAN You see how full of changes his age is; theobservation we have made of it hath not beenlittle: he always loved our sister most; andwith what poor judgment he hath now cast her offappears too grossly.
REGAN to GONERIL ‘Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath everbut slenderly known himself.
GONERIL to REGAN The best and soundest of his time hath been butrash; then must we look to receive from his age,not alone the imperfections of long-engraffedcondition, but therewithal the unruly waywardnessthat infirm and choleric years bring with them.
GONERIL to REGAN if our father carry authority withsuch dispositions as he bears, this lastsurrender of his will but offend us.
REGAN to GONERIL We shall further think on’t.
GONERIL to REGAN We must do something, and i’ the heat.
EDMUND to SELF Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy lawMy services are bound.
EDMUND to SELF Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,And my invention thrive, Edmund the baseShall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper:Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
GLOUCESTER to EDMUND No? What needed, then, that terrible dispatch ofit into your pocket? the quality of nothing hathnot such need to hide itself.
EDMUND to GLOUCESTER I beseech you, sir, pardon me: it is a letterfrom my brother, that I have not all o’er-read;and for so much as I have perused, I find it notfit for your o’er-looking.
GLOUCESTER to EDMUND Hum–conspiracy!–‘Sleep till I waked him,–youshould enjoy half his revenue,’–My son Edgar!Had he a hand to write this? a heart and brainto breed it in?
EDMUND to GLOUCESTER If the matter were good, my lord, I durst swearit were his; but, in respect of that, I wouldfain think it were not.
EDMUND to GLOUCESTER It is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart isnot in the contents.
EDMUND to GLOUCESTER Never, my lord: but I have heard him oftmaintain it to be fit, that, sons at perfect age,and fathers declining, the father should be asward to the son, and the son manage his revenue.
GLOUCESTER to EDMUND O villain, villain! His very opinion in theletter! Abhorred villain! Unnatural, detested,brutish villain! worse than brutish! Go, sirrah,seek him; I’ll apprehend him: abominable villain!
EDMUND to GLOUCESTER If it shall pleaseyou to suspend your indignation against mybrother till you can derive from him bettertestimony of his intent, you shall run a certaincourse.
EDMUND to GLOUCESTER If you violently proceed againsthim, mistaking his purpose, it would make a greatgap in your own honour, and shake in pieces theheart of his obedience.
GLOUCESTER to EDMUND This villain of mine comes under theprediction; there’s son against father: the kingfalls from bias of nature; there’s father againstchild. We have seen the best of our time:machinations, hollowness, treachery, and allruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to ourgraves.
EDMUND to SELF This is the excellent foppery of the world, that,when we are sick in fortune,–often the surfeitof our own behavior,–we make guilty of ourdisasters the sun, the moon, and the stars
EDMUND to SELF Myfather compounded with my mother under thedragon’s tail; and my nativity was under Ursamajor; so that it follows, I am rough andlecherous.
EDMUND to EDGAR Parted you in good terms? Found you nodispleasure in him by word or countenance?
EDMUND to EDGAR Bethink yourself wherein you may have offendedhim: and at my entreaty forbear his presencetill some little time hath qualified the heat ofhis displeasure
EDMUND to EDGAR Brother, I advise you to the best; go armed: Iam no honest man if there be any good meaningtowards you
EDMUND to SELF A credulous father! and a brother noble,Whose nature is so far from doing harms,That he suspects none: on whose foolish honestyMy practises ride easy!
EDMUND to SELF I see the business.Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:All with me’s meet that I can fashion fit.
GLOUCESTER to EDMUND These late eclipses in the sun and moon portendno good to us: though the wisdom of nature canreason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itselfscourged by the sequent effects
EDMUND to SELF Wherefore should IStand in the plague of custom, and permitThe curiosity of nations to deprive me,For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shinesLag of a brother?
GONERIL to OSWALD By day and night he wrongs me; every hourHe flashes into one gross crime or other,That sets us all at odds: I’ll not endure it
GONERIL to OSWALD Put on what weary negligence you please,You and your fellows; I’ll have it come to question:If he dislike it, let him to our sister,Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one,Not to be over-ruled.
GONERIL to OSWALD And let his knights have colder looks among you;What grows of it, no matter; advise your fellows so:I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall,That I may speak: I’ll write straight to my sister,To hold my very course.
KENT to SELF If but as well I other accents borrow,That can my speech defuse, my good intentMay carry through itself to that full issueFor which I razed my likeness.
KENT to KING LEAR A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.
KING LEAR to KENT Dost thou know me, fellow?
KENT to KING LEAR No, sir; but you have that in your countenancewhich I would fain call master.
OSWALD to KING LEAR My lady’s father.
KING LEAR to OSWALD ‘My lady’s father’! my lord’s knave: yourwhoreson dog! you slave! you cur!
Fool to KENT Why, for taking one’s part that’s out of favour:nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits,thou’lt catch cold shortly: there, take my coxcomb
KING LEAR to Fool Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Fool to KING LEAR All thy other titles thou hast given away; thatthou wast born with.
KENT to KING LEAR This is not altogether fool, my lord.
Fool to KING LEAR Give me an egg,nuncle, and I’ll give thee two crowns.
Fool to KING LEAR Why, after I have cut the egg i’ the middle, and eatup the meat, the two crowns of the egg. When thouclovest thy crown i’ the middle, and gavest awayboth parts, thou borest thy ass on thy back o’erthe dirt
Fool to KING LEAR Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teachthy fool to lie: I would fain learn to lie.
Fool to KING LEAR I had rather be anykind o’ thing than a fool: and yet I would not bethee, nuncle
KING LEAR to COURT Doth any here know me? This is not Lear:Doth Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?
KING LEAR to COURT Who is it that can tell me who I am?
Fool to KING LEAR Lear’s shadow.
KING LEAR to GONERIL Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intendTo make this creature fruitful!Into her womb convey sterility!
KING LEAR to GONERIL that she may feelHow sharper than a serpent’s tooth it isTo have a thankless child!
Fool to KING LEAR Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee kindly;for though she’s as like this as a crab’s like anapple, yet I can tell what I can tell.
Fool to KING LEAR She will taste as like this as a crab does to acrab. Thou canst tell why one’s nose stands i’the middle on’s face?
Fool to KING LEAR Why, to keep one’s eyes of either side’s nose; thatwhat a man cannot smell out, he may spy into.
Fool to KING LEAR Why, to put his head in; not to give it away to hisdaughters, and leave his horns without a case.
Fool to KING LEAR Thy asses are gone about ’em. The reason why theseven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
Fool to KING LEAR If thou wert my fool, nuncle, I’ld have thee beatenfor being old before thy time. Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadstbeen wise.
KING LEAR to Fool O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heavenKeep me in temper: I would not be mad!