King Lear
Background on King Lear: King Leir the Play: Scene 14

Leir and Perillus near Ragan’s castle of Cambria, Leir remorseful, Perillus encouraging and slavish.  Cambria, Ragan, and nobles enter.  Leir cannot speak for shame, Cambria wonders at the sight of two old, wretched men, and Ragan for her part dissembles (as she admits in an aside) a charitable greeting, with lamentations, and an open invitation, “for God’s love” to her home.  After everyone else leaves, she declares once again that Leir is the cause of great abuse on her sister, and that he shall know what it means to go from bad to worse, even as she will feign otherwise.

Scene 13 . . . Directory . . . Scene 15

Scene 14

Enter Leir and Perillus faintly.

PERILLUS: Rest on me, my Lord, and stay yourself,
The way seems tedious to your aged limbs.

LEIR: Nay, rest on me, kind friend, and stay thyself,
Thou art as old as I, but more kind.

PERILLUS: Ah, good my Lord, it ill befits, that I
Should lean upon the person of a King.

LEIR: But it fits worse, that I should bring thee forth,
That had no cause to come along with me,
Through these uncouth paths, and tireful ways,
And never ease thy fainting limbs a whit. … [14.10]
Thou hast left all, aye, all to come with me,
And I, for all, have nought to guerdon thee.

PERILLUS: Cease, good my Lord, to aggravate my woes,
With these kind words, which cuts my heart in two,
To think your will should want the power to do.

LEIR: Cease, good Perillus, for to call me Lord,
And think me but the shadow of myself.

PERILLUS: That honorable title will I give,
Unto my Lord, so long as I do live.
Oh, be of comfort; for I see the place … [14.20]
Whereas your daughter keeps her residence.
And lo, in happy time the Cambrian Prince
Is here arrived, to gratify our coming.

Enter the Prince of Cambria, Ragan and Nobles:
look upon them, and whisper together.

LEIR: Were I best speak, or sit me down and die?
I am ashamed to tell this heavy tale.

PERILLUS:
Then let me tell it, if you please, my Lord:
Tis shame for them that were the cause thereof.

CAMBRIA: What two old men are those that seem so sad?
Me thinks, I should remember well their looks.

RAGAN: No, I mistake not, sure it is my father: … [14.30]
I must dissemble kindness now of force.

She runeth to him, and kneels down, saying:

Father, I bid you welcome, full of grief,
To see your Grace used thus unworthily,
And ill-befitting for your reverend age,
To come on foot a journey so endurable.
Oh, what disaster chance hath been the cause,
To make your cheeks so hollow, spare and lean?
He cannot speak for weeping: for God’s love, come.
Let us refresh him with some needful things,
And at more leisure we may better know, … [14.40]
Whence springs the ground of this unlooked-for woe.

CAMBRIA: Come, father, e’re we any further talk,
You shall refresh you after this weary walk. Exit, manet Ragan.

RAGAN: Come he to me with finger in the eye,
To tell a tale against my sister here?
Whom I do know, he greatly hath abused:
And now like a contentious crafty wretch,
He first begins for to complain himself,
When as himself is in the greatest fault.
I’ll not be partial in my sister’s cause, … [14.50]
Nor yet believe his doting vain reports:
Who for a trifle (safely) I dare say,
Upon a spleen is stolen thence away:
And here (forsooth) he hopeth to have harbor,
And to be moaned and made on like a child:
But ere’t be long, his coming he shall curse,
And truly say, he came from bad to worse:
Yet will I make fair weather, to procure
Convenient means, and then I’ll strike it sure.   Exit.

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