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Click for products featuring this image King Lear was old and tired. He was aweary of the business of his kingdom, and wished only to end his days quietly near his three daughters, whom he loved dearly. Two of his daughters were married to the Dukes of Albany and Cornwall; and the Duke of Burgundy and the King of France were both staying at Lear's Court as suitors for the hand of Cordelia, his youngest daughter.

Lear called his three daughters together, and told them that he proposed to divide his kingdom between them.

"But first," said he, "I should like to know how much you love me."

Goneril, who was really a very wicked woman, and did not love her father at all, said she loved him more than words could say; she loved him dearer than eyesight, space or liberty, more than life, grace, health, beauty, and honor.

"If you love me as much as this," said the King, "I give you a third part of my kingdom. And how much does Regan love me?"

"I love you as much as my sister and more," professed Regan, "since I care for nothing but my father's love."

Lear was very much pleased with Regan's professions, and gave her another third part of his fair kingdom. Then he turned to his youngest daughter, Cordelia. "Now, our joy, though last not least," he said, "the best part of my kingdom have I kept for you. What can you say?"

"Nothing, my lord," answered Cordelia.

"Nothing?"

“Nothing," said Cordelia.

"Nothing can come of nothing. Speak again," said the King.

And Cordelia answered — "I love your Majesty according to my duty, — no more, no less."

And this she said, because she knew her sisters' wicked hearts, and was disgusted with the way in which they professed unbounded and impossible love, when really they had not even a right sense of duty to their old father.

"I am your daughter," she went on, "and you have brought me up and loved me, and I return you those duties back as are right fit, obey you, love you, and most honor you."




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Frances Brundage: Celia, Rosalind and Orlando Frances Brundage: The Merchant of Venice Frances Brundage: Romeo and Juliet
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