SPENSER'S THE FAERIE QUEEN : SOURCE MATERIAL FOR WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S KING LEAR
Book II, Canto X
Next him king Leyr in happie peace long raind,
But had no issue male him to succeed,
But three faire daughters, which were well vptraind,
In all that seemed fit for kingly seed:
Mongst whom his realme he equally decreed
To have diuided. Tho when feeble age
Nigh to his vtmost date he saw proceed,
He cald his daughters; and with speeches sage
Inquyrd, which of them most did loue her parentage.
The eldest Gonorill gan to protest,
That she much more then her owne life him lou'd:
And Regan greater loue to him profest,
Then all the world, when euer it were proou'd;
But Cordeill said she lou'd him, as behoou'd:
Whose simple answere, wanting colours faire
To paint it forth, him to displeasance moou'd,
That in his crowne he counted her no haire,
But twixt the other twaine his kingdome whole did shaire.
So wedded th'one to Maglan king of Scots,
And th'other to the king of Cambria,
And twixt them shayrd his realme by equall lots:
But without dowre the wise Cordelia
Was sent to Aganip of Celtica.
Their aged Syre, thus eased of his crowne,
A priuate life led in Albania,
With Gonorill, long had in great renowne,
That nought him grieu'd to bene from rule deposed downe.
But true it is, that when the oyle is spent,
The light goes out, and weeke is throwne away;
So when he had resigned his regiment,
His daughter gan despise his drouping day,
And wearie waxe of his continuall stay.
Tho to his daughter Rigan he repayrd,
Who him at first well vsed euery way;
But when of his departure she despayrd,
Her bountie she abated, and his cheare empayrd.
The wretched man gan then auise too late,
That loue is not, where most it is profest,
Too truely tryde in his extreamest state;
At last resolu'd likewise to proue the rest,
He to Cordelia him selfe addrest,
Who with entire affection him receau'd,
As for her Syre and king her seemed best;
And after all an army strong she leau'd,
To war on those, which him had of his realme bereau'd.
So to his crowne she him restor'd againe,
In which he dyde, made ripe for death by eld,
And after wild, it should to her remaine:
Who peaceably the same long time did weld:
And all mens harts in dew obedience held:
Till that her sisters children, woxen strong
Through proud ambition, against her rebeld,
And ouercommen kept in prison long,
Till wearie of that wretched life, her selfe she hong.