SCENES FOR ACTORS

Lear monologue—Act 3, Scene II


ACT 3, SCENE II

The ancient Castle  of Aquitaine.  

King Lear, in the darkness of his royal chamber.

KING LEAR

Let copulation thrive; for Old Hamlet's prince of blood  

Was kinder to his father than my daughter 

Got 'tween the lustful sheets.  

To it, luxury, pell-mell! for I lack soldiers. 

Behold yond simpering dame, 

That minces virtue to shake in pleasure; 

The polecat, nor the wild horse,  goes to it 

With a more riotous appetite.

Down from the waist they are Centaurs,

Though women all above: 

Where is this daughter? 'tis worse than murder, 

To do upon respect such violent outrage:  

My daughter! O my daughter!  Better thou 

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

Why, the hot-blooded Prince, that dowerless took 

Our youngest born, I could as well be slave and 

Sumpter to this detested groom. 

O me, my heart, my rising heart! But, down! 

Darkness and devils,  and Prince Lucifer! 

Degenerate bastard! I'll not trouble thee.

Yet have I left a daughter.