Gloucester (pronounced “Gloster”) and Kent await King Lear’s arrival. Kent wonders that Lear used to favor Albany over Cornwall, but now seems to consider them equally as he hopes to divide his kingdom equally among his three daughters. They encounter Edmund, Gloucester’s bastard son, about whom Kent appears ignorant, perhaps because Edmund has been abroad for nine years. In a jocular if ashamed fashion, Gloucester confesses his son’s begetting, with “sport in the making.” Edmund is fashionably polite, but everything he later does stems from his smoldering resentment at the status of dismissed bastard. Thus the two plots begin from the same nutshell.
ACT I. SCENE 1. SEGMENT A. King Lear’s palace.
Enter Kent, Gloucester, and Edmund
I thought the king had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall.
It did always seem so to us. But now, in the
division of the kingdom, it appears not which of
the dukes he values most, for qualities are so 
weighed that curiosity in neither can make choice
of either’s moiety *
KENT Is not this your son, my lord?
His breeding, sir, hath been at my charge. I have
so often blushed to acknowledge him that now I am
brazed to it. 
KENT I cannot conceive you.
Sir, this young fellow’s mother could, whereupon
she grew round-wombed, and had, indeed, sir, a son
for her cradle ere she had a husband for her bed.
Do you smell a fault? 
KENT I cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it
being so proper.
But I have, sir, a son by order of law, some year elder than
this, who yet is no dearer in my account. Though this
knave came something saucily into the world before he 
was sent for, yet was his mother fair, there was good sport
at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged. Do
you know this noble gentleman, Edmund?
EDMUND No, my lord.
GLOUCESTER My lord of Kent. Remember him hereafter as my 
EDMUND My services to your lordship.
KENT I must love you, and sue to know you better.
EDMUND Sir, I shall study deserving.
He hath been out nine years, and away he shall 
again. The king is coming.