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Her father, old king Leir, this while
With his two daughters staid;
Full soon the same decay'd ;
The eldest of the twain,
And most of all his train.
For whereas twenty men were wont
To wait with bended knee: She
gave allowance but to ten, And after scarce to three: Nay, one she thought too much for him:
So took she all away,
He would no longer stay.
Am I rewarded thus, quoth he,
In giving all I have
For what I lately gave?
My second child, I know, Will be more kind and pitiful,
And will relieve my woe.
Full fast he hies then to her court;
Where when she hears his moan Return’d him answer, that she griev'd
That all his means were gone:
But no way could relieve his wants;
Yet if that he would stay
What scullions gave away.
When he had heard with bitter tears,
He made his answer then;
Example to all men.
Unto my Ragan's court;
But in a kinder sort.
Where when he came, she gave command
To drive him thence away :
(She said) he would not stay. Then back again to Gonorell
The woeful king did hie,
What scullion boys set by.
But there of that he was deny'd,
Which she had promis'd late:
Come after to her gate.
He wander'd up and down;
That lately wore a crown.
And calling to remembrance then
His youngest daughter's words, That said, the duty of a child
Was all that love affords: But doubting to repair to her,
Whom he had banish'd so, Grew frantic mad; for in his mind
He bore the wounds of woe.
Which made him rend his milk-white locks,
And tresses from his head,
and honour spread: To hills and woods and wat'ry founts,
He made his hourly moan, Till hills and woods, and senseless things,
Did seem to sigh and groan.
Even thus possest with discontents,
He passed o'er to France,
To find some gentler chance :
Of this her father's grief,
Him comfort and relief.
And by a train of noble peers,
In brave and gallant sort,
To Aganippus' court;
Whose royal king, with noble mind,
So freely gave consent,
To fame and courage bent.
And so to England came with speed,
To repossess king Leir,
By his Cordelia dear:
Possest his crown again.
But when he heard Cordelia's death,
Who died indeed for love
From whence he never parted ; But on her bosom left his life,
That was so truly hearted.
The lords and nobles when they saw
'The end of these events, The other sisters unto death
They doomed by consents;
Unto the next of kin:
LEAK, King of Britain.
Soldiers, and Attendants.