William Shakespeare.

The works of Shakespear: in eight volumes (Volume 6) online

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THE ^i=r









Printed for J. and P. Knapton, S. Birt, T. Longman and
T. Sbewtll, H. Lintott, C. Hitch, J. Brindley, J. and R. Ton.
Son aad S. Draper, R. Wellington, E. New, and B. Dod



Page 31. I. 30. for tents read tens. p. 65. I. 3. for beater read
bearer, p. 66. 1. iz. for or r<W our. p. 70. 1. 26, /or rain read rein.
p. 74. 1. 13. far you are read are you. p. 82. 1. 19. for are fo fophifti-
cated read are fophifticated. p. 306. 1. 23. for lord read lords, p. 332.
1. 17. / to read two. p. 334. 1. 21. for Winds of the rw</ Winds and.
p. 338. 1. 32. for this reW there, p. 339. 1. penult, for ask fuch mti
ask them fuch. p. 347. 1. 30 32 f 33 - /o- metaphyfical read rnetaphyfic.
p. 387. 1. 16. /a*- understand read underftood. p. 476. 1. cu for gain
fJ jan.

/7W7 fXri'l ;>Yf:*-%



% OF




LEAR, King of Britain,

King of France.

Duke of Burgundy.

Duke of Cornwall.

Duke of Albany.

Earl of Glo'fler;

Earl of Kent.

Edgar, Son to Glo'fler.

Edmund, Baftard Son to Glo'flerl

Curan, a Courtier*

Do ft or.


Ofwald, Steward to Goner ill.

A Captain, employed by Edmund.

Gentleman, Attendant on Cordelia,

A Herald.

Old Man, Tenant to Glo'fter.

Servant to Cornwall.

^' I Servants to Glo'fler.
2d. r

Gonerill, i

Regan, > Daughters to Lear}

Cordelia, 3

attending en the King, Officer -j,
Soldiers and Attendants.

SCENE lyes in Britain,



A C T I. S C E N E I.


nter Kent, Glo'fter, and Edmund the Bo/lard^


Thought, the King had more affefted
the Duke of Albany than Cornwall*

Glo. It did always feem fo to us : but
now, in the Divifion of the Kingdom,
it appears not, which of the Dukes he
values moft} for qualities are fo weigh'd* * that
curiofity in neither can make choice of either'a

Kent. Is not this your fon, my lord ?
Glo. His Breeding, Sir, hath been at my charge.
I have fo often blufh'd to acknowledge him, that now
I am braz'd to't.

Kent. I cannot conceive you,

I that curiofity in neither] Curiojity, for exaftcft fcrutinjr. The
fenfe of the whole fentence is, The qualities and properties of
the feveral divifions are fo weighed and balanced againlt one ano-
ther, that the exafteft fcrutiny could not determine in preferring
one ihare co the other,



Glo. Sir, this young fellow's mother could j where*
upon me grew round- womb'd ; and had, indeed, Sir,
a Ton for her cradle, ere fhe had a husband for her
bed. Do you fmell a fault?

Kent. I cannot wifli the fault undone, the ifiue of
it being fo proper.

Glo. But I have a fon, Sir, by order of Jaw, * fome
year elder than this, who yet is no dearer in my
account > though this knave came fomewhat fawcily
to the world before he was fent for, yet was his mo-
ther fair ; there was good fport at his making, and
the whorfon muft be acknowledg'd. Do you know
this Nobleman, Edmund?

Edm. No, my lord.

Glo. My lord of Kent-,

Remember him hereafter as my honourable friend.

Edm. My fervices to your Jordmip.

Kent. I muft love you, and fue to know you better.

Edm. Sir, I mall ftudy your deferving.

Glo. He hath been out nine years, and away he
mail again. [Trumpets found, within.

The King is coming.


Enter 'King Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Gonerill, Regan,
Cordelia, and Attendants.

Lear. Attend the lords of France and Burgundy*


Glo. I mail, my Liege. [Exit.

Lear. Meantime we fhall J exprefs our darker purpofe.

2 fame year elder than this,] The Oxford Editor, not underftanding
the common phrafe, akers year to yean. He did not consider, the
Baftard fays,

For that lam fame twelve or fourteen moon-Jhints
Lag of a Brother.

3 exprefs our darker furpoft.] Darktr, for more fecret ; not for
indirect, oblique.


King LEAR.

me the Map here. Know, we have divided,
Jn three, our Kingdom j 4 and 'tis our firft intent,
To fhake all cares and bufmefs from our age j
Conferring them on younger ftrengths, while we
Unburthen'd crawl tow'rd death. Our fon of


And You, our no lefs loving fbn of Albany^
We. have this hour a conftant will to publifh
Our daughters fev'ral Dow*rs, that future ftrife
May be prevented now. The Princes France and


Great rivals in our younger daughter's love,
Long in our Court have made their am'rous fojourn,
And here are to be anfwer'd. Tell me, daughters,
(Since now we will diveft us, both of rule,
Int'reft of territory, cares of ftate ;)
Which of you, fhall we fay, doth love us moft ?
That we our largeft bounty may extend ,
Where nature doth with merit challenge. Qonerill^
Our eldeft born, fpeak firtt,

Gon. \ love you, Sir,
Dearer than eye-fight, fpace and liberty j
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare ;
No lels than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour :
As much as child e'er lov'd, or father found.
A love that makes breath poor, and fpeech unable,
5 Beyond all manner of fo much I love you.

4 and "'tis our FAST intent,'] This is an interpolation of
Mr. Lewis Theobald, for want of knowing the meaning of the old
reading in the quarto of 1608, and firit folio of 1633; where
we find it,

"- and ''tii our FIRST intent ,

which is as Sbakefpear wrote it : who makes Lear declare his
purpofe with a dignity becoming his character : That the firfl
reafon of his abdication was the love of his people, that they might
be protected by fuch as were better able to difcharge the truft ; and
bis natural affeftion for his daughters, only the/econd.

5 Beyond all manner &c.] /. e. beyond all expreflion,

B 3 Cor.

6 King L E A R.

Cor What (hall Cordelia do ? love and be filent:

Lear. Of all thefe Bounds, ev'n from this line to


With fhadowy forefls and with champions rich'd,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady. To thine and Albany's ifTue
Be this perpetual.' - What fays our fecond daughter,
Our deareit Regan, wife of Cornwall? fpeak.

Reg. I'm made of that felf-metal as my fitter,
And prize me at her worth, in my true Heart.
I find, me names my very deed of love ;
Only fhe comes too fhort : that I profefs
My Yeif an enemy to all other joys,
f Which the moft precious fquare of fenfe poflefTes j
And find, I am alone felicitate
In your dear Highnefs' love.

Ccr. Then poor Cordelia !
And yet not fo, fince, I am fure, my love's
I More pond'rous than my tongue.

Lear. To thee, and thine, hereditary ever,
Remain this ample third of our fair Kingdom 5
8 No lefs in fpace, validity, and pleafure,
Than that confer'd on Gonerill Now our joy,
Although our lad, not leaft ; to whofe young love,j
The vines of France^ and milk of Burgundy^
Strive to be int'refs'd : what fay you, to draw

6 Which the moft precious fquare cf fenfe poffejfes ;] By the fquare
of fenfe, we are, here, to un<iertfand the four nobler fenfes, <uiz.
the Jigbt, bearing, tafle, and fmell. For a young lady could not,
with decency, infinuate :ha: fhe knew of any pleafures which the
ffth afforded. This is imagined and expreffed with great pro-
priety and delicacy. But the Oxford Editor, for fqupre, reads

7 Mare posfrous than MY tongue."] We fhould read THEIR
tongue, meaning her fitters.

8 No lefs i fpace, validity,] Validity > for worth, value ; not
$cr integrity, pr good title.


'King LEAR.

A third, more opulent than your lifters? fpeak.

Cor. Nothing, my lord.

Lear. Nothing?

Cor. Nothing.

Lear. Nothing can come of nothing ; fpeak again;

Cor. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth : I love your Majefty
According to my bond, no more nor lefs.

Lear. How, how, Cordelia ? mend your fpeech a

Left you may mar your fortunes,

Cor. Good my lord,

You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me. I
Return thofe duties back, as are right fit ;
Obey you, love you, and moil honour you.
Why have my filters husbands, if they fay,
They love you, all ? hap'ly, when I fhall wed,
That lord, whofe hand muft take my plight, malj


Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure, I mail never marry like my filters,
2 To love my father all."

Lear. But goes thy heart with this ?

Cor. Ay, my good lord.

Lear. So young, and fo untender ?

Cor. So young, my lord, and true.

Lear. Let it be fo, thy truth then be thy dower *,
For by the facred radiance of the fun,
The myfteries of Hecate^ and the night,
By all the operations of the orbs,
From whom we do exift, and ceafe to be i
Here I difclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity, and property of blood,
And as a ftranger to my heart and me

9 To love my father all. ] Thefe words reflored from the firffc
edition, without which the fenfe was not compleat. Mr. Pope,

B 4 Hold

8 King L E A R.

Hold thee, from this, for ever. The barb'rous

Or he that makes his generation mefles,
To gorge his appetite ; (hall to my bofom
Be as well neighbour'd, pitied, and reliev'd,
As thou, my fometime daughter.

Kent. Good my Liege

Lear. Peace, Kent!

Come not between the dragon and his wrath,
I lov'd her moft, and thought to fet my Reft
On her kind nurs'ry. Hence, avoid my fight !

ITo Cor,

So be my grave my peace, as here I give
Her father's heart from her ; Call France ; who ftirs ?
Call Burgundy. " 'Cornwall and Albany,
With my two daughters' dowers digeft the third.
Let pride, which flie calls plainnefs, marry her.
J do inveft you jointly with my Power,
Preheminence, and all the large effeds
That troop with Majefty. Our felf by monthly


With refervation of an hundred Knights,
By you to be fuftain'd, (hall our abode
Make with jou by due turns: ' only retain
The name and all th* addition to a King :
The fway, revenue, execution of th* Heft,
Beloved fons, be yours i which to confirm,


I only retain

The name, and all tU addition to a King :
The Jiuay, revenue, execution,

Beloved fans, be yours;'] The old books read the lines thus,
Tbefvjay, revenue, execution OF THE REST,
Beloved fans, heyottrs.
This is evidently corrupt, and the editors not knowing what to

jmake of of the rejl , left it out. The true reading, without

doubt, was,

The /'way, revenue, execution OF TH' HEST,
Beloved foni, be yours

King L E A JU

This Cor'onet part between you. [Giving tbe Crown.

Kent. Royal Lear,

Whom I have ever honour'd as my King,
Lov'd as my father, as my mailer folio w'd,
And as my patron thought on in my pray'rs

Lear. The bow is bent and drawn, make from
the Ihaft.

Kent. Let it fall rather, though the fork invade
The region of my heart ; be Kent unmannerly,
When Lear is mad : what would'ft thou do, old man ?
Think'ft thou, that duty mail have dread to fpeak,
When pow'r to flatt'ry bows ? to plainnefs Honour
Is bound, when Majefty to folly falls.
Referve thy State ; with better judgment check
This hideous rafhnefs ; with my lite I anfwer,
Thy youngeft daughter does not love thee leaft ;
Nor are thofe empty-hearted, whofe low found
Reverbs no hollownefs.

Lear. Kent^ on thy life no more.

Kent. My life I never held but as a pawn
To wage againft thy foes ; nor fear to lole it,
Thy fafety being the motive.

Lear. Out of my fight !

Kent. See better, Lear, and let me (till remain
The true blank of thine eye.

Lear. Now by dpotto

Kent. Now by Apollo, King,
Thou fwear'ft thy gods in vain.

Lear. Ovaflal! mifcreant!

[Laying his band on his

Alb. Corn. Dear Sir, forbear.

Kent. Kill thy phyfician, and thy fee beflow
Upon the foul difeafe , revoke thy doom,

Heft, is an old word for regal command : fo that the fenfe of the

whole is, 1 will only retain the name and all the ceremonious

obfervances that belong to a King; the ejjentiali, as fway, reve-
nue, ad.uiiniftration of the laws, be yours.



Or whilft I can vent clamour from my throat,
1'J] tell thee, thou doft evil.

Lear. Hear me, recreant .'

Since thou haft fought to make us break our vow,
Which we durft never yet ; and with ftrain'd pride,
* To come betwixt our fentence and our power ;
3 Which nor our nature, nor our place, can bear,
Our potency make good ; take thy reward.
Five days we do allot thee for provifion,
To fhield thee from difafters of the world ;
And, on the fixth, to turn thy hated back
Upon our Kingdom ; if, the tenth day following^
Thy banifh'd trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death : away ! By Jupiter,
This (hall not be revok'd.

Kent. Fare thee well, King ; fith thus thou wiJj


Freedom lives hence, and banimment is here ;
The gods to their dear flicker take thee, maid*
That juftly think'ft, and haft moft righitly faid ;
And your large fpeeches may your deeds approve,'
That good effects may fpring from words of love :
Thus Kent, O Princes, bids you all adieu,
He'll lhape his old courfe in a country new.

2 To come betwixt our fentence and our power;] Power, for exe-
cution of the fentence.

3 Which nor our nature, nor our place can bear,

Our potency make^W;] Mr. Theobald, by putting the firfl
line into a parenthefis, and altering make to made in the fecond
line, had deftroyed the fenfe of the whole ; which, as it flood be-
fore he corrupted the words, was this : " You have endeavour'd,
fays Lear, to make me break my oath, you have prefumed to
flop the execution of my fentence : the latter of thefe attempts
neither my temper nor high ftation will fuffer me to bear ; and
the other, had I yielded to it, my power could not make good,
or excufe." - Which, in the firft line, referring to both at-
tempts : But the ambiguity of it, as it might refer only to the lat-
ter, has occafioned all the obfcurity of the paflage.

King LEAR.

[inter Glo'fler, with France and Burgundy, and

Glo. Here's France and Burgundy, my noble lord.

Lear. My lord of Burgundy^
We firft addrefs towr'd you, who with this King
Have rivall'd for our daughter ; what at lead
Wiil you require in prefent dower with her,
Or ceafe your queft of love ?

Bur. Moft royal Majefty,

I crave no more than what your Highnefs offer'd a
Nor will you tender lefs.

Lear. Right noble Burgundy ,
When fhe was dear to us, we held her fo ;
But now her price is fall'n : Sir, there fhe ftands,
If aught within that little feeming fubftance,
Or all of it with our difpleafure piec'd,
And nothing more, may fitly like your Grace,
She's there, and me is yours.

Bur. I know no anfwer.

Lear. Will you with thofe infirmities me owes^
Unfriended, new-adopted to our hate,
Dower'd with our curie, and ftranger'd with, our oatn.j
Take her, or leave her ?

Bur. Pardon, royal Sir ;
Election makes not up on fuch conditions.

Lear. Then leave her, Sir ; for by the pow'r thac

made me,
i tell you all her wealth. For you, great King,

[To France.

I would not from your love make fuch a ilray,
To match you where I hate 5 therefore befeech you,
5 T* avert your liking a more worthy way
Than on a wretch, whom nature is afham'd
Almoft t* acknowledge hers.

France. This is moil ftrange !

4 7' avert your liking'] To averf, for to turn, fimply.


12 King LEAR.

That Jhe, who ev'n but now was your beft obje&,
Your Praife's argument, balm of your age,
Deareft and beft ; fhould in this trice of time
Commit a thing fo monftrous, to difmantlc
So many folds of favour ! fure, her offence
Muft be of fuch unnatural degree,
That monfters it ; or your fore-vouch'd afiedion
Fall'n into taint : which to believe of her,
Muft be a faith, that reafon without miracle
Should never plant in me.

Cor. I yet befeech your Majefty,
(If, for I want that glib and oily art,
To fpeak and purpofe not ; fmce what I well intend^
I'll do't before I fpeak) that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murther, or foulnefs,
No unchafte aftion, or difhonour'd ftep,
That hath depriv'd me of your grace and favour :
But ev'n for want of that, for which I'm richer,
A ftill-folliciting eye, and fuch a tongue,
That I am glad I've not , though, not to have it,
Hath loft me in your liking.

Lear. Better thou
Jiadft not been born, than not have pleas'd me better.

France. Is it but this ? a tardinefs in nature,
"Which often leaves the hiftory unfpoke,
That it intends to do ? my lord of Burgundy,
What fay you to the lady ? Jove's not love,
When it is mingled with regards, that ftand
Aloof * from th' intire point. Say, will you have

She is herfelf a dowry.

Bur. Royal King,

Give but that portion which your felf propos'd,
And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
Dutchefs of Burgundy.

Lear. Nothing : I've fworn.

5 from tb" intire paint.] Intire, for right, true.


King LEAR. 13

Bur. I'm forry then, you have fo loft a father,
That you muft lofe a husband.

Cor. Peace be with Burgundy,
Since that refpe&s of fortune are his love,
I fhall not be his wife.

France. Faireft Cordelia, that art moft rich, being


Moft choice, forfaken ; and moft lov'd, defpis'd !
Thee and thy virtues here I feize upon :
Be't lawful, I take up what's caft away.
,Gods, Gods! 'tis ftrange, that from their cold'ft neglect
My love mould kindle to enflam'd refpect.
Thy dow'rlefs daughter, King, thrown to my chance,
Is Queen of us, of ours, and our fair France :
Not all the Dukes of wat'rim Burgundy
Can buy this unpriz'd, precious, maid of me.
Bid them farewel, Cordelia, tho* unkind ;
Thou lofeft here, a better where to find.

Lear. Thou haft her, France ; let her be thine,

for we

Have no fuch daughter ; nor mail ever fee
That face of hers again ; therefore be gone
Without our grace, our love, our benizon :
Come, noble Burgundy.

[Flourijh. Exeunt Lear and Burgundy,


France. Bid farewel to your fifters.

Cor. Ye jewels of our father, with wam'd eyes
Cordelia leaves you : I know what you are,
And, like a fifter, am moft loth to call
Your faults, as they are nam'd. Love well our father :
To your profeffing bofoms I commit him j
But yet, alas ! ftood I within his grace,
I would prefer him to a better place.
So farewel to you both.


King LEAR.

Reg. Prefcribe not us our duty.

Gon. Let your fludy

Be to content your lord, who hath receiv'd you
At fortune's alms , you have obedience fcanted,
f And well are worth the Want that you have

Cor. Time mall unfold what plaited cunning hides,
Who covers faults, at Jaft with fhame derides.
Well may you profper!

France. Come, my fair Cordelia.

[Exeunt France and Cordelia,


Gon. Sifter, it is not little I've to fay,
Of what mod nearly appertains to us both 5
I think our father will go hence to night.

Reg. That's certain, and with you ; next month}
with us.

Gon. You fee how Full of change his age is, the
obfervation we have made of it hath not been little ;
he always lov'd our filter molt, and with what poor
judgment he hath now cafl her off, appears too grolsly.

Reg. 'Tis the infirmity of his age ; yet he hath ever
but flenderly known himfelf.

Gon. The beft and foundeft of his time hath been
but ram ; then muft we look, from his age, to receive
not alone the imperfections of long-engrafted condition,
but therewithal the unruly waywardnefs, that infirm
and cholerick years bring with them.

Reg. Such unconftant (tarts are we like to have
from him, as this of Kent's banifhment.

Gon. There is further complement of leave-taking
between France and him ; pray you, let us hit toge-

6 And welfare worth the Want that you have WANTED.] This
nonfenfe muft be correfted thus,

Andiuellare worth the Want that you have VAUNTED.-
t. e. that diiherifon, which you fo much glory in, you deferve.

ther :



ther : if our father carry Authority with fuch difpo-
fition as he bears, this laft furrender of his will but
offend us.

Reg. We fhall further think of it.
jGon. We muft do fomething, and i l th* heat. [Exeunt.


Changes to a Caftle belonging to the Earl of

Enter EDMUND, with a Letter.
Edm. 1 '""pHou, Nature, art my Goddefs ; to thy

JL law
My fervices are bound ; wherefore mould I

8 Stand in the Plage of cuftom, and permit

9 The (a) curtefie of nations to deprive me,

For that I am fome twelve or fourteen moon- mines
Lag of a Brother? Why baftard? wherefore bafe?
When my dimenfions are as well compaft,

7 Tkou, Nature, art my Goddefs j] He makes his baftard an
Atheift. Italian Atheifm had much infecled the Englijh Court,
as we learn from the beft writers of that time. But this was the
general title thofe Atheifts in their works gave to Nature ; thus
Vanini calls one of his books, De admirandis NATURJE Regime
DE/EQJJE MORTAHUM Arcanis. So that the title here is em-

8 Stand in the PLAGUE of cufiom,] To ft and in tie plague of
tu/iom, is an abfurd expreffion. We fhould read,

Stand in the PLAGE of cujlom,

i. e. the place, the country, the boundary of cuftom. As much
as to fay, Why mould J , when I profefs to follow the freedom
of nature in all things, be confined within the narrow limits of
cuftom ? Plage, is a word in common ufe amongft the old Eng-
lifi writers. So Chaucer,

The FLAG is of the North by land and fea.
from plaga.

9 'The curtefie of nations to deprive me.~\ Deprive, of what ?
I believe a line is here loft, that fignified to deprive him of that
right which his Goddefs Nature had given him.

[(a] curtefie. Mr. Theobald - Vulg. curiofity.}


1 6 King LEAR*

My mind as gen'rous, and my fhape as true,
As honeft Madam's iffue ? why brand they us
With bafe? with bafenefs? baftardy? bafe, bafe?
" Who, in the lufty ftealth of nature, take
*' More compofition and fierce quality ;
* c Than doth, within a dull, dale, tired bed,
" Go to creating a whole tribe of fops,
** Got 'tween a-fleep and wake? Well then,
Legitimate Edgar , I muft have your land ;
Our father's love is to the baftard Edmund^
As to th' legitimate 5 fine word legitimate-
Well, my legitimate, if this letter fpeed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the bafe
* Shall be th' legitimate. . . I grow, I profper ;

I Who in the lufy ftealtb of nature, &c. ] Thefe fine lines
are an inftance of our author's admirable art in giving proper fen-
timents to his chara&ers. The BaftartT* is that of a confirmed
Atheift ; and his being made to ridicule judicial aftrology was de-
figned as one mark of fuch a character. For this impious juggle
had a religious reverence paid to it at that time. And therefore
the beft chara&ers in this play acknowledge the force of the
ftars 1 influence. But how much the lines following this, are in
character, may be feen by that monftrous wifti of faniai, the Ita-
lian Atheift, in his trail De admirandit natura, &c. printed at
Parts, 1616, the very year our poet died. O utinam extra le-
gitimum & connubialem thorum effem procreate* ! Ita enim fro-
genitores mei in Venerem incaluiffent ardentius, ae cumulatim
affatimque generofa femina contuliflent, t quibus ego form* blandi-
tiam et elegantiam, robuftas corporis <vires, mentemque innubilam
confequutM fuiffem. At fuia conjugatorum fum foboles, bis orba-
tus fum bonds. Had the book been publiilied but ten or twenty
years fooner, who would not have believed that Shakefpear alluded
to this paffage ? But the divinity of his genius foretold, as it were,
what fuch an Atheift, as Vanini, would fay, when he wrote upon
fuch a fubjeft.

2 Shall be tU legitimate* ] Here the Oxford Editor would

(hew us that he is as good at coining phrafes as his Author, and fo
alters the text thus,

Shall toe th % legitimate.

i. e. (ays he, fland on cvtn ground v:itJ} lim ai he would do with
hit author.


King LEAR. 17

5 Now, Gods, (land up for bifbrds !

20 him, Enter Glo'fter.

Glo. Kent banifh'd thus! and France in choler

parted !

And the King gone to night! 4 fubfcrib'd his pow'rf
Confin'd to exhibition ! all is gone
Upon the gad! Edmund* how now? what news?

Edm. So pleafe your lordfhip, none.

[Putting up the letter.

Glo. Why fo earneftly feek you to put up that
letter ?

Edm. I know no news, my lord.

Glo. What paper were you reading ?

Edm. Nothing, my lord.

Glo. No! what needed then that terrible difpatch of
it into your pocket? the quality of nothing hath not
fuch need to hide itfelf. Let's fee j come if it be no-
thing, I mall not need fpectacles.

Edm. I befeech you, Sir, pardon me, it is a letter
from my brother, that I have not all o'er-read ; and

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe works of Shakespear: in eight volumes (Volume 6) → online text (page 1 of 35)