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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

But who is with him?

GENTLEMAN

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

GENTLEMAN

Only the fool, who tries to soothe the wounds in the king's heart with his joking.

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

Sir, I know you, and based on what I know about you, I will dare to trust you with an important job. There is a feud growing between Albany and Cornwall, though they've cleverly hidden it so far. Like other rulers given power by destiny, Albany and Cornwall both have some servants who seem to be loyal to them, but who are actually French spies and scouts gathering intelligence against our country. The spies have noticed something—the quarrels and intrigues of the dukes, or their harsh treatment of the kind old king, or something deeper, which is perhaps the root of both those problems. But it's true. There are already French troops entering this divided kingdom. They are aware of our negligence and have secretly occupied some of our best ports. And they're almost at the point of declaring open war. But this is where you come in. If you trust me enough to hurry to Dover, you'll find some people there who will be very grateful if you'll deliver an accurate report of the monstrous and maddening sorrow of the king's suffering. I am a gentleman of noble blood, and I know what I'm doing in offering this task to you.

GENTLEMAN

I will talk further with you.

GENTLEMAN

I'll need to discuss it further before I can give you an answer.

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

[Giving the GENTLEMAN a purse and a ring] No, don't. To confirm that I'm much more than I seem from my outward appearance, open this purse and take the money inside. If you see Cordelia—which you can be sure that you will—show her this ring. And she will tell you who I really am. A curse on this storm! I will go and find the king.

GENTLEMAN

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

GENTLEMAN

Let me shake your hand. Do you have anything else to say?

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

Only a few words, but they're more important than all the rest. Once we've found the king—you go that way, and I'll go this way—the first one to see him should shout to the other.

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.