A line-by-line translation

King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 3, Scene 1

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Storm still. Enter KENT disguised and GENTLEMAN, severally

KENT

Who’s there, besides foul weather?

KENT

Who's there, besides bad weather?

GENTLEMAN

One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

GENTLEMAN

One whose mood is like the weather—very troubled.

KENT

I know you. Where’s the king?

KENT

I know you. Where's the king?

GENTLEMAN

Contending with the fretful elements. Bids the winds blow the earth into the sea Or swell the curlèd water 'bove the main, That things might change or cease. Tears his white hair, Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage, Catch in their fury and make nothing of. Strives in his little world of man to outscorn The to-and-fro–conflicting wind and rain. This night—wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch, The lion and the belly-pinchèd wolf Keep their fur dry—unbonneted he runs, And bids what will take all.

GENTLEMAN

Out struggling with the elements. He cries out for the winds to blow the earth into the sea, or make the sea's waves flood the land, that all life might end or change forever. He tears at his white hair, which the fierce winds blow about disdainfully, blind in their fury. He is just a small mortal against the elements, but he's trying to be even angrier and wilder than the rain and winds blowing back and forth. On a night like this, when even hungry bears, lions, and wolves would hide in their dens—he runs about bareheaded, calling for the world to end.

KENT

But who is with him?

KENT

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GENTLEMAN

None but the fool, who labors to outjestHis heart-struck injuries.

GENTLEMAN

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KENT

Sir, I do know you, And dare upon the warrant of my note Commend a dear thing to you. There is division, Although as yet the face of it be covered With mutual cunning, ’twixt Albany and Cornwall, Who have—as who have not that their great stars Throned and set high?—servants, who seem no less, Which are to France the spies and speculations Intelligent of our state. What hath been seen, Either in snuffs and packings of the dukes, Or the hard rein which both of them hath borne Against the old kind king, or something deeper, Whereof perchance these are but furnishings— But true it is. From France there comes a power Into this scattered kingdom, who already, Wise in our negligence, have secret feet In some of our best ports and are at point To show their open banner. Now to you. If on my credit you dare build so far To make your speed to Dover, you shall find Some that will thank you, making just report Of how unnatural and bemadding sorrow The king hath cause to plain. I am a gentleman of blood and breeding, And from some knowledge and assurance offer This office to you.

KENT

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GENTLEMAN

I will talk further with you.

GENTLEMAN

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KENT

[giving GENTLEMAN a purse and a ring] No, do not. For confirmation that I am much more Than my outwall, open this purse and take What it contains. If you shall see Cordelia— As fear not but you shall—show her this ring. And she will tell you who that fellow is That yet you do not know. Fie on this storm! I will go seek the king.

KENT

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GENTLEMAN

Give me your hand. Have you no more to say?

GENTLEMAN

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KENT

Few words, but to effect more than all yet: That when we have found the king— in which your pain That way; I’ll this—he that first lights on him Holla the other.

KENT

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Exeunt severally

King lear
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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.