[Flouish. Re-enter Gloucester, with France, Burgundy, and Attendants.]

GLOUCESTER - Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

LEAR - My lord Burgundy,

We first address towards you, who with this king

Hath rivaled for our daughter. What, in the least,

Will you require in present dower with her,

Or cease your quest of love?

BURGUNDY - Most royal majesty,

I crave no more than what your highness offered,

Nor will you tender less.

LEAR - Right noble Burgundy,

When she was dear to us, we did hold her so;

But now her price has fallen. Sir, there she stands;

It aught within that little seeming substance,

Or all of it, with our displeasure pieced,

And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,

She's there, and she is yours.

BURGUNDY - I know now answer.

LEAR - Will you, with those infirmities she owes,

Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,

Dowered with our curse, and strangered with our oath,

Take her, or leave her?

BURGUNDY - Pardon me, royal sir;

Election makes not up on such conditions.

LEAR - Then leave her, sir; for, by the power that made me,

I tell you all her wealth, [to France] For you, great king,

I would not from you love make such a stray

To match you where I hate; therefore beseech you

To avert your liking a more worthier way

Than on a wretch whom nature is ashamed

Almost to acknowledge hers.

FRANCE - This is most strange,

That she, whom 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 time

Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle

So many folds of favor. Sure, her offense

Must of be such unnatural degree,

That monsters it, or your fore-vouched affection

Fall'n into taint; which to believe of her,

Must be a faith that reason without miracle

Could never plant in me.

CORDELIA - I yet beseech your majesty--

If for I want that glib and oily art,

To speak and purpose not,--since what I well intend,

I'll do't before I speak--that you make known

It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,

No unchaste action, or dishonored step,

That hath deprived me of your grace and favor;

But even for want of that for which I am richer,

A still-soliciting eye, and such a tongue

As I am glad I have not, though not to have it

Hath lost me in your liking.

LEAR - Better thou

Hadst not been born than not to have pleased me better.

FRANCE - Is it but this, --a tardiness in nature

Which often leaves the history unspoke

That it intends to do? My lord of Burgundy,

What say you to the lady? Love's not love

When it is mingled with regards that stands

Aloof from th' entire point. Will you have her?

She is herself a dowry.

BURGUNDY - Royal Lear,

Give but that portion which yourself proposed,

And here I take Cordelia by the hand,

Duchess of Burgundy.

LEAR - Nothing! I have sworn; I am firm.

BURGUNDY - I am sorry, then, you have so lost a father

That you must lose a husband.

CORDELIA - Peace be with Burgundy!

Since that respects of fortune are his love,

I shall not be his wife.

FRANCE - Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;

Most choice, forsaken; and most loved, despised!

Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon;

Be it lawful I take up what's cast away.

Gods, gods! 't is strange that from their cold'st neglect

My love should kindle to inflamed respect.

Thy dowerless daughter, king, thrown to my chance,

Is queen of us, of ours, and of our fair France.

Not all the dukes of waterish Burgundy

Can buy this unprized precious maid of me.

Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind;

Thou losest here, a better where to find.

LEAR - Thou hast her, France; let her be thine; for we

Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see

That face of hers again. Therefore be gone

Without our grace, our love, our benison.

Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourish. Exeunt all but France, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia.]

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