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King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 1, Scene 4

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Enter KENT disguised

KENT

If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech diffuse, my good intent May carry through itself to that full issue For which I razed my likeness. Now, banished Kent, If thou canst serve where thou dost stand condemned, So may it come thy master, whom thou lovest, Shall find thee full of labors.

KENT

If I can can disguise my voice as well as I've disguised my appearance, then I can carry out the plan for which I erased my true identity. Now, banished Kent, you can serve the master who condemned you. Hopefully it will work out so that my master, whom I love, will find me to be an excellent worker.

Horns within. Enter LEAR with attendant knights

LEAR

Let me not stay a jot for dinner. Go get it ready.

LEAR

Don't make me wait even a second for dinner. Go get it ready.

Exit attendant

[To KENT] How now, what art thou?

[To KENT] Well now, who are you?

KENT

A man, sir.

KENT

A man, sir.

LEAR

What dost thou profess? What wouldst thou with us?

LEAR

What's your profession? What do you want with me?

KENT

I do profess to be no less than I seem—to serve him truly that will put me in trust, to love him that is honest, to converse with him that is wise and says little, to fear judgment, to fight when I cannot choose,and to eat no fish.

KENT

I swear that I am just what I seem to be. I'll faithfully serve a master who puts his trust in me, I'll love those who are honorable, and I'll associate with those who are wise and don't say much. I fear God, fight when I have to, and don't eat fish.

LEAR

What art thou?

LEAR

Who are you?

KENT

A very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.

KENT

I'm a very honest-hearted fellow, and as poor as the king.

LEAR

If thou beest as poor for a subject as he’s for a king,thou'rt poor enough. What wouldst thou?

LEAR

If you're as a poor a subject as he is a king, then you're certainly poor enough. What do you want?

KENT

Service.

KENT

To serve.

LEAR

Who wouldst thou serve?

LEAR

Whom do you want to serve?

KENT

You.

KENT

You.

LEAR

Dost thou know me, fellow?

LEAR

Do you know me, fellow?

KENT

No, sir. But you have that in your countenance which I would fain call master.

KENT

No, sir. But there's something in your face that makes me want to call you master.

LEAR

What’s that?

LEAR

What's that in my face?

KENT

Authority.

KENT

Authority.

LEAR

What services canst thou do?

LEAR

What services can you perform?

KENT

I can keep honest counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and deliver a plain message bluntly. That which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in.And the best of me is diligence.

KENT

I can keep secrets, ride a horse, run, ruin an elaborate story by trying to tell it, and deliver a plain message bluntly. I'm qualified for anything that ordinary men can do. And the best part of me is that I'm hardworking.

LEAR

How old art thou?

LEAR

How old are you?

KENT

Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for anything. I have years on my backforty- eight.

KENT

Sir, I'm not young enough to fall in love with a woman because she sings. But I'm not old enough to dote on a woman for any reason. I'm forty-eight years old.

LEAR

Follow me. Thou shalt serve me. If I like thee no worseafter dinner, I will not part from thee yet.—Dinner, ho, dinner! Where’s my knave, my fool?—Go you, and call my fool hither.

LEAR

Follow me. You'll serve me. If I still like you after dinner, then I'll keep you around. 

[To his attendants] Dinner, hey, dinner! Where's my fool?

[To KENT] You, go and call my fool to come here.

Exit attendant

Enter OSWALD the steward

You, you, sirrah, where’s my daughter?

You, you, sir, where's my daughter?

OSWALD

So please you—

OSWALD

Excuse me, I'm busy—

Exit OSWALD

LEAR

What says the fellow there? Call the clotpoll back.

LEAR

What did that fellow say? Call the blockhead back in here.

Exit FIRST KNIGHT

Where’s my fool, ho? I think the world’s asleep.

Hey, where's my fool? It seems like the whole world's asleep.

Enter FIRST KNIGHT

How now? Where’s that mongrel?

What's going on? Where's that mangy dog of a steward?

FIRST KNIGHT

He says, my lord, your daughter is not well.

FIRST KNIGHT

My lord, he says that your daughter isn't feeling well.

LEAR

Why came not the slave back to me when I called him?

LEAR

Why didn't that rascal come back to me when I called him?

FIRST KNIGHT

Sir, he answered me in the roundest manner he would not.

FIRST KNIGHT

Sir, he answered me bluntly and said that he didn't want to.

LEAR

He would not?

LEAR

He didn't want to?

FIRST KNIGHT

My lord, I know not what the matter is, but to my judgment your highness is not entertained with that ceremonious affection as you were wont. There’s a great abatement of kindness appears as well in the general dependants as in the duke himself also, and your daughter.

FIRST KNIGHT

My lord, I don't know what's the matter, but it seems to me that your Highness isn't being given the love and respect that you're used to. The duke himself, the servants, and your daughter all seem to share in this loss of respect towards you.

LEAR

Ha! Sayest thou so?

LEAR

What! Do you think so?

FIRST KNIGHT

I beseech you pardon me, my lord, if I be mistaken—formy duty cannot be silent when I think your highness wronged.

FIRST KNIGHT

My lord, I beg your pardon if I'm mistaken—but I can't be silent when I think your Highness is being wronged.

LEAR

Thou but rememberest me of mine own conception. I have perceived a most faint neglect of late, which I have rather blamed as mine own jealous curiosity than as a very pretense and purpose of unkindness. I will look further into ’t. But where’s my fool? I have not seen him this two days.

LEAR

No, you're just reminding me of what I've noticed as well. I've observed a lazy neglectfulness in my subjects lately. But I had blamed it on my own sensitivity, and didn't suspect that they were being deliberately disrespectful. I'll look into it further. But where's my fool? I haven't seen him these last two days.

FIRST KNIGHT

Since my young lady’s going into France, sir, the fool hath much pined away.

FIRST KNIGHT

Sir, ever since my lady Cordelia has gone away to France, the fool has been sad and solitary.

LEAR

No more of that. I have noted it well. Go you and tell my daughter I would speak with her.

LEAR

No more talking about that. I've noticed it too. Go and tell my daughter Goneril that I want to speak with her.

Exit an attendant

Go you, call hither my fool.

And you, go call my fool here.

Exit another attendant

Enter OSWALD

O you sir, you, come you hither, sir. Who am I, sir?

Oh you, sir, you, come here, sir. Who am I, sir?

OSWALD

My lady’s father.

OSWALD

My lady's father.

LEAR

“My lady’s father?” My lord’s knave, your whoreson dog!You slave, you cur!

LEAR

"My lady's father?" You wretch, you bastard dog! You rogue, you dog!

OSWALD

I am none of these, my lord. I beseech your pardon.

OSWALD

I'm not any of those things, my lord. I beg your pardon.

LEAR

Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal? [He strikes OSWALD ]

LEAR

Do you dare make a face at me, you villain? [He strikes OSWALD]

OSWALD

I’ll not be strucken, my lord.

OSWALD

I will not be struck, my lord.

KENT

[tripping OSWALD] Nor tripped neither, you base football player.

KENT

[Tripping OSWALD] Or tripped, you filthy football player.

LEAR

[To KENT] I thank thee, fellow. Thou servest me, and I’ll love thee.

LEAR

[To KENT] I thank you, fellow. If you serve me like that, I'll love you.

KENT

[To OSWALD] Come, sir, arise, away! I’ll teach you differences. Away, away. If you will measure your lubber’s length again, tarry. But away, go to. Have you wisdom? So.

KENT

[To OSWALD] Come on, sir. Get up and go away! I'll teach you to respect your superiors. Away, away. If you want to be tripped again, then stay here. If not, go on. Do you have any common sense? Then go.

Exit OSWALD

LEAR

Now, my friendly knave, I thank thee.

LEAR

Now, my friendly servant, I thank you.

Enter FOOL

[gives KENT money] There’s earnest of thy service.

[Giving KENT money] There's a down payment for your service.

FOOL

Let me hire him too.—Here’s my coxcomb. [offers KENT his cap]

FOOL

Let me hire him too. Here's my fool's cap. [He offers KENT his cap]

LEAR

How now, my pretty knave? How dost thou?

LEAR

How are you, my clever fool? How are you doing?

FOOL

[To KENT] Sirrah, you were best take my coxcomb.

FOOL

[To KENT] Sir, you had better take my cap.

LEAR

Why, Fool?

LEAR

Why, Fool?

FOOL

Why? For taking one’s part that’s out of favor. Nay, an thou canst not smile as the wind sits, thou'lt catch cold shortly. There, take my coxcomb. Why, this fellow has banished two on ’s daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will. If thou follow him, thou mustneeds wear my coxcomb.— How now, nuncle? Would I had twocoxcombs and two daughters.

FOOL

Why? For taking the side of this unpopular king. If you can't suck up to whoever has power, then you'll soon suffer for it. Here, take my fool's cap. Why, this fellow here has banished two of his daughters, and gave the third a blessing without meaning to. If you're going to follow him, you're a fool, and so you should wear my cap. 

[To LEAR] How's it going, uncle? I wish I had two caps and two daughters.

LEAR

Why, my boy?

LEAR

Why, my boy?

FOOL

If I gave them all my living, I’d keep my coxcombs myself.There’s mine. Beg another of thy daughters.

FOOL

If I gave them everything I owned, then I'd keep the caps for myself, to show what a fool I was. Here's my fool's cap. Beg your daughters for another one.

LEAR

Take heed, sirrah—the whip.

LEAR

Be careful, boy—remember you can be whipped.

FOOL

Truth’s a dog that must to kennel. He must be whipped out, when Lady Brach may stand by th' fire and stink.

FOOL

Truth's a dog that must go to his kennel. He must be whipped and driven out of the house, while Lady Bitch can stay by the fire, stinking with lies.

LEAR

A pestilent gall to me!

LEAR

Constantly irritating me!

FOOL

Sirrah, I’ll teach thee a speech.

FOOL

Sir, I'll teach you a speech.

LEAR

Do.

LEAR

Do.

FOOL

Mark it, nuncle. Have more than thou showest, Speak less than thou knowest, Lend less than thou owest, Ride more than thou goest, Learn more than thou trowest, Set less than thou throwest, Leave thy drink and thy whore And keep in-a-door, And thou shalt have more Than two tens to a score.

FOOL

Listen closely, uncle. Have more than you show, speak less than you know, lend less than you own, ride more than you walk. Don't believe everything you hear. Don't bet everything on a throw of the dice. Leave your drink and your whore, and stay indoors, and you'll surely prosper.

KENT

This is nothing, Fool.

KENT

That's nothing, Fool.

FOOL

Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer. You gave me nothing for ’t.—Can you make no use of nothing, nuncle?

FOOL

Then it's like the speech of an unpaid lawyer—you gave me nothing for it, and you get what you pay for. Can't you make some use out of nothing, uncle?

LEAR

Why no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.

LEAR

Why no, boy. Nothing can be made out of nothing.

FOOL

[To KENT] Prithee, tell him so much the rent of his land comes to. He will not believe a fool.

FOOL

[To KENT] Please, remind him that no land means no income. He won't believe a fool.

LEAR

A bitter fool.

LEAR

What a bitter fool.

FOOL

Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitterfool and a sweet fool?

FOOL

My boy, do you know the difference between a bitter fool and a sweet fool?

LEAR

No, lad. Teach me.

LEAR

No, boy. Teach me.

FOOL

That lord that counseled thee To give away thy land, Come place him here by me. Do thou for him stand. The sweet and bitter fool Will presently appear— The one in motley here, The other found out there.

FOOL

Bring me the lord who advised you to give away your land, and place him here by me. You stand in his place. The sweet and bitter fool will instantly appear—the sweet fool in jester's clothes here, and the bitter fool over there.

LEAR

Dost thou call me fool, boy?

LEAR

Are you calling me a fool, boy?

FOOL

All thy other titles thou hast given away that thou wast born with.

FOOL

Well, you've given away all the other titles you were born with, so you might as well keep the title of "fool."

KENT

This is not altogether fool, my lord.

KENT

This fool's words aren't totally foolish, my lord.

FOOL

No, faith, lords and great men will not let me. If I had a monopoly out, they would have part on ’t. And ladies too— they will not let me have all fool to myself; they’ll be snatching. Give me an egg, nuncle, and I’ll give thee two crowns.

FOOL

No, truly, lords and important men won't let me be totally foolish. If I had a monopoly on foolishness, they would insist that I share it. And ladies too—they won't ever let me be the biggest fool. They're always snatching away my role. Uncle, give me an egg, and I'll give you two crowns.

LEAR

What two crowns shall they be?

LEAR

What two crowns do you mean?

FOOL

Why—after I have cut the egg i' th' middle and eat up the meat—the two crowns of the egg. When thou clovest thy crown i' th' middle, and gavest away both parts, thou borest thy ass o' th' back o'er the dirt. Thou hadst little wit in thy bald crown when thou gavest thy golden one away. If I speak like myself in this, let himbe whipped that first finds it so. [Sings] Fools had ne'er less wit in a year, For wise men are grown foppish. They know not how their wits to wear, Their manners are so apish.

FOOL

Why—after I've cut the egg in half and eaten the whites, the yolk will be like two golden crowns. When you cut your crown and your kingdom in two and gave away both parts, you were carrying your donkey on your back and foolishly reversing the order of nature. You didn't have much wit in the bald crown of your head when you gave your golden crown away. If anyone thinks I'm speaking nonsense like a fool when I say this, let him be whipped.
[Singing]
Fools have had a hard year,
For wise men have grown foolish.
They don't know how to use their wits,
They can only stupidly imitate others.

LEAR

When were you wont to be so full of songs, sirrah?

LEAR

When did you become so full of songs, boy?

FOOL

I have used it, nuncle, ever since thou madest thy daughters thy mothers. For when thou gavest them the rod, and put’st down thine own breeches, [Sings] Then they for sudden joy did weep And I for sorrow sung, That such a king should play bo-peep And go the fools among. Prithee, nuncle, keep a schoolmaster that can teach thyfool to lie. I would fain learn to lie.

FOOL

I've made a habit of singing, uncle, ever since you made your daughters into your mothers by giving them the switch and pulling down your own pants,
[Singing]
Then they wept for sudden joy,
And I sang for sorrow,
That such a king should play a child's game
And go about with fools for company.

Uncle, please hire a schoolteacher who can teach your fool to lie. I want to learn how to lie.

LEAR

An you lie, sirrah, we’ll have you whipped.

LEAR

If you lie, boy, then I'll have you whipped.

FOOL

I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are. They’ll have me whipped for speaking true, thou'lt have me whipped for lying, and sometimes I am whipped for holding my peace. I had rather be any kind o' thing thana fool. And yet I would not be thee, nuncle. Thou hast pared thy wit o' both sides and left nothing i' th' middle. Here comes one o' the parings.

FOOL

I'm amazed at how alike you and your daughters are. They'll have me whipped for telling the truth, you'll have me whipped for lying, and sometimes I'm whipped for keeping quiet too. I wish I were anything but a fool. And yet I wouldn't want to be you, uncle. You've sliced off your wits on both sides of your brain, and left nothing in the middle. Here comes one of the slices.

Enter GONERIL

LEAR

How now, daughter? What makes that frontlet on?Methinks you are too much of late i' th' frown.

LEAR

How are you, daughter? Why are you wearing such a frown? It seems like you've been frowning too much lately.

FOOL

[To LEAR] Thou wast a pretty fellow when thou hadst no need to care for her frowning. Now thou art an O withouta figure. I am better than thou art now. I am a fool. Thou art nothing. [To GONERIL] Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue. So your face bids me, though you say nothing. Mum, mum, He that keeps nor crust nor crumb, Weary of all, shall want some. [indicates LEAR] That’s a shelled peascod.

FOOL

[To LEAR] You were a fine fellow back when you didn't need to care whether she was frowning or not. Now you're a zero without a digit in front of it to give it value. I'm better than you are now. I am a fool. You are nothing.

[To GONERIL] 
Yes, I will be quiet. That's what your face is commanding me to do, even though you don't say anything aloud. Mum, mum, he who gives away his crust and crumbs when he's weary of possessions, will soon want some back. [Pointing at LEAR] That's an empty pea pod right there.

GONERIL

[To LEAR] Not only, sir, this your all-licensed fool, But other of your insolent retinue Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth In rank and not-to-be-endurèd riots. Sir, I had thought by making this well known unto you To have found a safe redress, but now grow fearful By what yourself too late have spoke and done That you protect this course and put it on By your allowance— which if you should, the fault Would not ’scape censure, nor the redresses sleep Which in the tender of a wholesome weal Might in their working do you that offense, Which else were shame, that then necessity Will call discreet proceeding.

GONERIL

[To LEAR] Sir, not just your fool here—who is allowed to say whatever he wants—but others in your rude entourage keep complaining, fighting, and breaking out in foul and intolerable wildness. Sir, I had thought that if I told you about this disrespectful behavior you would find a sure solution to it. But now I'm worried because of what you yourself have said and done all too recently. I'm worried that you encourage this kind of behavior by allowing it to continue. If that's the case, then your actions won't escape punishment, and there will be some kind of payment required of you for the good of the kingdom. I realize that having to punish your knights will seem shameful to you, but it's necessary in this instance.

FOOL

For you know, nuncle, The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long, That it’s had it head bit off by it young. So out went the candle and we were left darkling.

FOOL

For you know, uncle, a sparrow raised a cuckoo in its nest for a long time, until the cuckoo grew up and the sparrow had its head bitten off by its own child. And so the candle went out, and we were all left in the dark.

LEAR

Are you our daughter?

LEAR

Are you my daughter?

GONERIL

Come, sir, I would you would make use of that good wisdom Whereof I know you are fraught, and put away These dispositions that of late transform you From what you rightly are.

GONERIL

Come now, sir. I wish you would use your wisdom—which I know you are well-provided with—to snap out of these fickle moods that you've been in lately, so you can return to your true self.

FOOL

May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse? Whoop, Jug! I love thee.

FOOL

Even a fool can tell when everything's upside down and the cart is pulling the horse, can't he? Whoop, sweetheart! I love you!

LEAR

Does any here know me? Why, this is not Lear. Doth Lear walk thus? Speak thus? Where are his eyes? Either his notion weakens, or his discernings Are lethargied. Ha, sleeping or waking? Sure, ’tis not so. Who is it that can tell me who I am?

LEAR

Does anyone here know who I am? Why, I can't be Lear. Does Lear walk like this? Talk like this? Where are his eyes? Either his mind is getting weak or his senses are failing. Hey, am I awake? Surely not. Who can tell me who I am?

FOOL

Lear’s shadow.

FOOL

You are Lear's shadow.

LEAR

I would learn that. For by the marksOf sovereignty, knowledge, and reason,I should be false persuaded I had daughters.

LEAR

I want to learn who I am. The evidence given to me by my kingly nature, my knowledge, and my reason tries to falsely persuade me that I have daughters.

FOOL

Which they will make an obedient father.

FOOL

Daughters who will turn you into an obedient father.

LEAR

[to GONERIL] Your name, fair gentlewoman?

LEAR

[To GONERIL] What's your name, dear lady?

GONERIL

This admiration, sir, is much o' th' savor Of other your new pranks. I do beseech you To understand my purposes aright. As you are old and reverend, should be wise. Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires, Men so disordered, so debauched and bold That this our court, infected with their manners, Shows like a riotous inn. Epicurism and lust Make it more like a tavern or a brothel Than a graced palace. The shame itself doth speak For instant remedy. Be then desired By her that else will take the thing she begs, A little to disquantity your train, And the remainder that shall still depend To be such men as may besort your age, Which know themselves and you.

GONERIL

Sir, this pretended astonishment of yours seems very similar to your other recent pranks. Please try to understand my purpose. You are old and respected, so try to be wise too. You're keeping a hundred knights and squires here—men so disorderly, vulgar, and bold that our court has become infected with their manners and now seems like a cheap, rowdy inn. Their gluttony and lust make this place feel more like a tavern or a brothel than an honored palace. It's so shameful that it requires immediate action. Therefore it's my desire—and if you won't do it when I ask politely, then I'll do it myself by force—that you reduce the number of knights in your entourage a little. Keep the ones who are older, who suit your advanced age, and who know their proper place—as well as yours.

LEAR

Darkness and devils! Saddle my horses. Call my train together.— Degenerate bastard, I’ll not trouble thee. Yet have I left a daughter.

LEAR

Darkness and devils! 

[To his attendants]
Saddle my horses. Call my knights together. 

[To GONERIL]
I won't trouble you any more, you worthless bastard. I still have one true daughter left.

GONERIL

You strike my people, and your disordered rabbleMake servants of their betters.

GONERIL

You strike my servants, and your disorderly rabble of knights treats their superiors like servants.

Enter ALBANY

LEAR

Woe that too late repents!— [To ALBANY] O sir, are you come? Is it your will? Speak, sir.—Prepare my horses.

LEAR

[To GONERIL] You'll regret this, but by then it'll be too late!  

[To ALBANY] Oh, sir, are you here? Have you come to me? Speak, sir. 

[To an attendant] Prepare my horses.

Exit attendant

Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,More hideous when thou show’st thee in a childThan the sea monster.

Ingratitude is a cold-hearted devil, and it's always at its ugliest when it appears in an ungrateful child. It's more hideous than a sea monster!

ALBANY

Pray, sir, be patient.

ALBANY

Sir, please be patient.

LEAR

[To GONERIL] Detested kite, thou liest! My train are men of choice and rarest parts That all particulars of duty know And in the most exact regard support The worships of their name. O most small fault, How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show, That, like an engine, wrenched my frame of nature From the fixed place, drew from heart all love, And added to the gall! O Lear, Lear, Lear! [strikes his head] Beat at this gate that let thy folly in And thy dear judgment out!—Go, go, my people.

LEAR

[To GONERIL] You hateful vulture, you lie! My knights are men of excellent qualities and accomplishments, and they perfectly do their duty and live up to their honorable reputation. Oh, how ugly did Cordelia's small flaw seem to me! And now it has tortured me and broken my body, sucking the love from my heart and replacing it with bitterness! Oh Lear, Lear, Lear! [Striking himself on the head] Let me beat at this gate that let precious wisdom go out and foolishness come in! 

[To his attendants]
Go, go, my people.

ALBANY

My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant,Of what hath moved you.

ALBANY

My lord, I'm innocent and ignorant of whatever it is that's angered you.

LEAR

It may be so, my lord. Hear, Nature, hear, dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose if thou didst intend To make this creature fruitful. Into her womb convey sterility. Dry up in her the organs of increase, And from her derogate body never spring A babe to honor her. If she must teem, Create her child of spleen, that it may live And be a thwart disnatured torment to her. Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth, With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks, Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits To laughter and contempt, that she may feel— That she may feel How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is To have a thankless child.— Away, away!

LEAR

That may be true, my lord. Now hear me, Nature, dear goddess, hear me! If you had intended for this woman to bear children, then change your purpose for her. Make her womb sterile, and dry it up so that no baby will ever emerge from her hateful body and honor her. But if she must give birth, then give her a spiteful child, so it might live to be a perverse, unnatural torment to her. May it give her wrinkles in her youth, and carve lines in her cheeks from so many falling tears. Turn all her motherly care and nurturing into mockery and hatred, so she may feel . . so she may feel how an ungrateful child is sharper than a serpent's tooth. 

[To his attendants] Now let's leave this place!

Exeunt LEAR, FOOL, KENT, FIRST KNIGHT and the other attendants

ALBANY

Now gods that we adore, whereof comes this?

ALBANY

By the gods, what caused all this?

GONERIL

Never afflict yourself to know more of it,But let his disposition have that scope That dotage gives it.

GONERIL

Don't trouble yourself about it. Just let him be the foolish old man that he is in his senility.

Enter LEAR and FOOL

LEAR

What, fifty of my followers at a clap?Within a fortnight?

LEAR

What, fifty of my knights dismissed at a clap of your hands? After only two weeks?

ALBANY

What’s the matter, sir?

ALBANY

What's the matter, sir?

LEAR

I’ll tell thee. [To GONERIL] Life and death! I am ashamed That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus, That these hot tears which break from me perforce Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee! Th' untented woundings of a father’s curse Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes, Beweep this cause again, I’ll pluck ye out And cast you, with the waters that you loose, To temper clay. Yea, is ’t come to this? Ha? Let it be so. I have another daughter, Who I am sure is kind and comfortable. When she shall hear this of thee, with her nails She’ll flay thy wolvish visage. Thou shalt find That I’ll resume the shape which thou dost think I have cast off for ever. Thou shalt, I warrant thee.

LEAR

I'll tell you. 

[To GONERIL] By life and death! I'm ashamed that you have the power to upset me like this, and that these hot tears that spring forth against my will reveal that I care enough about you to shed them. May pain and sickness strike you! May you feel all the incurable pains a father's curse can inflict! If these old foolish eyes weep again because of you, I'll pluck them out and throw them to the ground so their wet tears can water the dirt. Has it really come to this? Has it? Then so be it. I have another daughter, who I'm sure is kind and hospitable. When she hears what you've done, she'll rip up your wolfish face with her fingernails. Then you'll find that I can again take up the power you thought I had cast off forever. I will, I promise you.

Exit LEAR

GONERIL

Do you mark that, my lord?

GONERIL

Did you hear all that, my lord?

ALBANY

I cannot be so partial, Goneril, To the great love I bear you—

ALBANY

Goneril, I can't be anything but biased in your favor because of my great love for you—

GONERIL

Pray you, content.Come, sire, no more.—What, Oswald, ho! [to FOOL] You, sir, more knave than fool, after your master.

GONERIL

Please, be quiet and don't worry. No more protests, sir. 

[To her servant] Hey, Oswald, come here! 

[To the FOOL] And you, sir, who are more a villain than a fool, run after your master.

FOOL

Nuncle Lear, nuncle Lear, tarry and take the fool with thee. A fox when one has caught her And such a daughter Should sure to the slaughter, If my cap would buy a halter. So the fool follows after.

FOOL

Uncle Lear, uncle Lear, wait and take your fool with you. A fox, when you've caught her—and such a daughter—would certainly both be slaughtered. If my fool's cap is worth trading for a noose, so the fool follows you.

Exit FOOL

GONERIL

This man hath had good counsel—a hundred knights! 'Tis politic and safe to let him keep At point a hundred knights, yes, that on every dream, Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike, He may enguard his dotage with their powers And hold our lives in mercy?— Oswald, I say!

GONERIL

This man has had good advice—a hundred knights! Yes, it's safe and prudent to let him keep a hundred knights around, so that every time he has an outburst, a dream, a change of mood, a complaint, or something that upsets him, he has a hundred swords to back up his senile whims and violently force us to accept them! 

[To her servant] Oswald, I say! Where is he?

ALBANY

Well, you may fear too far.

ALBANY

You might be overly nervous about this.

GONERIL

Safer than trust too far. Let me still take away the harms I fear, Not fear still to be taken. I know his heart. What he hath uttered I have writ my sister. If she sustain him and his hundred knights When I have showed th' unfitness—

GONERIL

It's better to be too nervous than too trusting. Let me always get rid of what frightens me, rather than risk being hurt by it. I've written to my sister and told her what he's said. If she welcomes him and his hundred knights after I've described his unwillingness to behave—

Enter OSWALD the steward

OSWALD

Here, madam.

OSWALD

Here I am, madam.

GONERIL

How now, Oswald?What, have you writ that letter to my sister?

GONERIL

How are you, Oswald? Have you written that letter to my sister yet?

OSWALD

Ay, madam.

OSWALD

Yes, madam.

GONERIL

Take you some company, and away to horse. Inform her full of my particular fear, And thereto add such reasons of your own As may compact it more. Get you gone And hasten your return.

GONERIL

Then take some men with you and ride off to deliver it. Tell her about my specific fears, and add details of your own to back them up. Now get going, and hurry back.

Exit OSWALD

No, no, my lord, This milky gentleness and course of yours Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon You are much more attasked for want of wisdom Than praised for harmful mildness.

No, no, my lord, I'm not condemning your mild gentleness in dealing with my father. But—if you'll excuse me for saying so—you should be criticized much more for lacking wisdom than be praised for being misguidedly gentle.

ALBANY

How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell. Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.

ALBANY

I can't tell how far ahead you can see, or how deeply you can perceive. But often we break something in trying to fix it.

GONERIL

Nay, then—

GONERIL

No, but then—

ALBANY

Well, well, th' event.

ALBANY

All right, all right. We'll see what happens.

Exeunt

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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.