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King Lear once rnled in this land,

With princely power and peace; And had all things with heart's content

That 'might his joys increase. Amongst those things that nature gave,

Three daughters fair had he, So princely seeming beautiful,

As fairer could not be.

So on a time it pleas'd the king

A question thus to move,
Which of his daughters to his grace

Could show the dearest love :

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• For to my age you bring content,

Quoth he,' then let me hear,
Which of you three in plighted troth

The kindest will appear.'
To whom the eldest thus began;

• Dear father, mind,' quoth she,
• Before your face, to do you good,

My blood shall render'd be:
And for your sake my bleeding heart

Shall here be cut in twain,
Ere that I see your reverend age

The smallest grief sustain.'
"And so will I,' the second said;

* Dear father, for your sakė, The worst of all extremities

I'll gently undertake:
And serve your highness night and day

With diligence and love;
That sweet content and quietness

Discomforts may remove.'
'In doing so, you glad my soul,'

The aged king reply'd; • But what say'st thou, my youngest girl,

How is thy love ally'd?'
My love,' quoth young Cordelia then,

" Which to your grace I owe, Shall be the duty of a child,

And that is all I'll show.'
And wilt thou show no more,' quoth he,

• Than doth thy duty bind ?
I well perceive thy love is small,

When as no more I find.

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