Quotations from King Lear

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The following is a list of quotes from The Tragedie of King Lear, a tragedy written by William Shakespeare.


Think'st thou that dutie shall haue dread to speake,
When power to flattery bowes?

  • Kent (Actus Primus, Scoena Prima)

My life I neuer held but as pawne
To wage against thine enemies, nere feare to loose it,
Thy safety being motiue

  • Kent (Actus Primus, Scoena Prima)

Loue's not loue
When it is mingled with regards, that stands
Aloofe from th' intire point, will you haue her?
She is herselfe a Dowrie

  • King of France (Actus Primus, Scoena Prima)

Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich being poore,
Most choise forsaken, and most lou'd despis'd,
Thee and thy vertues here I seize vpon,
Be it lawfull I take vp what's cast away.
Gods, Gods! 'Tis strange, that from their cold'st neglect
My Loue should kindle to enflam'd respect.
Thy dowrelesse Daughter King, throwne to my chance,
Is Queene of vs, of ours, and our faire France:
Not all the Dukes of watrish Burgundy,
Can buy this vnpriz'd precious Maid of me.
Bid them farewell Cordelia, though vnkinde,
Thou loosest here a better where to finde

  • King of France (Actus Primus, Scoena Prima)

Time shall vnfold what plighted cunning hides,
Who couers faults, at last with shame derides:

  • Cordelia (Actus Primus, Scoena Prima)

Thou Nature art my Goddesse, to thy Law
My seruices are bound, wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custome, and permit
The curiosity of Nations, to depriue me?
For that I am some twelue, or fourteene Moonshines
Lag of a Brother? Why Bastard? Wherefore base?
When my Dimensions are as well compact,
My minde as generous, and my shape as true
As honest Madams issue? Why brand they vs
With Base? With basenes Bastardie? Base, Base?
Who in the lustie stealth of Nature, take
More composition, and fierce qualitie,
Then doth within a dull stale tyred bed
Goe to th' creating a whole tribe of Fops
Got 'tweene a sleepe, and wake? Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must haue your land,
Our Fathers loue, is to the Bastard Edmond,
As to th' legitimate: fine word: Legitimate.
Well, my Legittimate, if this Letter speed,
And my inuention thriue, Edmond the base
Shall to'th' Legitimate: I grow, I prosper:
Now Gods, stand vp for Bastards.

  • Bastard (Actus Primus, Scena Secunda)

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that
when we are sicke in fortune, often the surfets of our own
behauiour, we make guilty of our disasters, the Sun, the
Moone, and Starres, as if we were villaines on necessitie,
Fooles by heauenly compulsion, Knaues, Theeues, and
Treachers by Sphericall predominance. Drunkards, Lyars,
and Adulterers by an inforc'd obedience of Planatary
influence; and all that we are euill in, by a diuine thrusting
on. An admirable euasion of Whore-master-man,
to lay his Goatish disposition on the charge of a Starre,
My father compounded with my mother vnder the Dragons
taile, and my Natiuity was vnder Vrsa Maior, so
that it followes, I am rough and Leacherous. I should
haue bin that I am, had the maidenlest Starre in the Firmament
twinkled on my bastardizing.

  • Bastard (Actus Primus, Scena Secunda)

Lear. How old art thou?
Kent. Not so young Sir to loue a woman for singing,
nor so old to dote on her for any thing. I haue yeares on
my backe forty eight

  • Actus Primus, Scoena Quarta

Marke it Nuncle;
Haue more then thou showest,
Speake lesse then thou knowest,
Lend lesse then thou owest,
Ride more then thou goest,
Learne more then thou trowest,
Set lesse then thou throwest;
Leaue thy drinke and thy whore,
And keepe in a dore,
And thou shalt haue more,
Then two tens to a score

  • Fool (Actus Primus, Scoena Quarta)

Lear. Do's any heere know me?
This is not Lear:
Do's Lear walke thus? Speake thus? Where are his eies?
Either his Notion weakens, his Discernings
Are Lethargied. Ha! Waking? 'Tis not so?
Who is it that can tell me who I am?
Foole. Lears shadow

  • Actus Primus, Scoena Quarta

How farre your eies may pierce I cannot tell;

Striuing to better, oft we marre what's well

  • Duke of Albany (Actus Primus, Scoena Quarta)

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