A line-by-line translation

King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 3, Scene 6

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Enter GLOUCESTER, LEAR, KENT disguised, FOOL, and EDGAR disguised

GLOUCESTER

Here is better than the open air. Take it thankfully. Iwill piece out the comfort with what addition I can. I will not be long from you.

GLOUCESTER

It's better in this shed than out in the open air. Be grateful for the shelter. I'll make you more comfortable in whatever way I can. I won't be gone long.

KENT

All the power of his wits have given way to his impatience.The gods reward your kindness!

KENT

His passionate rage is driving him crazy. May the gods reward your kindness!

Exit GLOUCESTER

EDGAR

Frateretto calls me and tells me Nero is an angler in the lake of darkness. Pray, innocent, and beware the foul fiend.

EDGAR

The devil Frateretto calls out to me. He says that the Roman emperor Nero is a fisherman in Hell's lake of darkness. Pray, innocent Fool, and beware the devil.

FOOL

Prithee, nuncle, tell me whether a madman be a gentleman or a yeoman?

FOOL

Please, uncle, tell me whether this madman is a gentleman or an average man?

LEAR

A king, a king!

LEAR

He's a king, a king!

FOOL

No, he’s a yeoman that has a gentleman to his son, for he’s a mad yeoman that sees his son a gentleman before him.

FOOL

No, he must be an average man with a gentleman for a son—since an average man would be crazy to let his son become a gentleman before he became a gentleman himself.

LEAR

To have a thousand with red burning spitsCome hissing in upon 'em!

LEAR

May a thousand hissing devils strike those daughters of mine with their red burning pitchforks!

EDGAR

The foul fiend bites my back.

EDGAR

The devil bites my back.

FOOL

He’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse’s health, a boy’s love, or a whore’s oath.

FOOL

A man would be crazy to trust a wolf's tameness, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's promise.

LEAR

It shall be done. I will arraign them straight. [to EDGAR] Come, sit thou here, most learnèd justicer. [to FOOL] Thou, sapient sir, sit here.—Now, you she-foxes—

LEAR

I will do it. I'll put my daughters on trial right away. 

[To EDGAR] Come, sit here, our excellent judge. 

[To the FOOL] And you, wise sir, sit here. Now, you she-foxes—

EDGAR

Look, where he stands and glares!—Want’st thou eyes at trial, madam? [sings] Come o'er the bourn, Bessy, to me—

EDGAR

Look, see the devil standing and glaring at me! Do you want spectators at your trial, madam?
[Singing]
Come over the brook, Bessy, to me—

FOOL

[sings] Her boat hath a leak, And she must not speak Why she dares not come over to thee.

FOOL

[Singing]
Her boat has a leak,
And she must not speak
About why she can't come over to see you.

EDGAR

The foul fiend haunts Poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale. Hoppedance cries in Tom’s belly for two white herring. Croak not, black angel. I have no food for thee.

EDGAR

The devil haunts Poor Tom by singing like a nightingale. That devil Hoppedance grumbles in Tom's belly, crying for two fish to eat. Stop rumbling, you black angel. I don't have any food for you.

KENT

[to LEAR] How do you, sir? Stand you not so amazed.Will you lie down and rest upon the cushions?

KENT

[To LEAR] How are you, sir? Don't look so bewildered. Will you lie down and rest on the pillows?

LEAR

I’ll see their trial first. Bring in the evidence. [to EDGAR] Thou robèd man of justice, take thy place. [to FOOL] And thou, his yoke-fellow of equity, Bench by his side. [to KENT ] You are o' th' commission. Sit you too.

LEAR

I want to see their trial first. Bring in the witnesses against them. 

[To EDGAR] Take your place, you judge in your robe. 

[To the FOOL] And you, his partner in justice, sit by his side. 

[To KENT] You are allowed to be a judge as well. Sit down, too.

EDGAR

Let us deal justly. [ sings] Sleepest or wakest thou, jolly shepherd? Thy sheep be in the corn. And for one blast of thy minikin mouth, Thy sheep shall take no harm. Purr! The cat is gray.

EDGAR

Let's deliver a fair trial.
[Singing]
Are you asleep or awake, happy shepherd?
Your sheep are in the cornfield.
And if you blow your horn with your sweet little mouth
Your sheep will come to no harm.
Purr the Cat is a gray devil.

LEAR

Arraign her first. 'Tis Goneril. I here take my oath before this honorable assembly, she kicked the poor kingher father.

LEAR

Let's put Goneril on trial first. Here she is. I swear before this honorable assembly that she kicked her father, the poor king.

FOOL

Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?

FOOL

Come here, mistress. Is your name Goneril?

LEAR

She cannot deny it.

LEAR

She cannot deny it.

FOOL

Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.

FOOL

Forgive me, madam, I thought you were a stool.

LEAR

And here’s another, whose warped looks proclaim What store her heart is made on. Stop her there! Arms, arms, sword, fire, corruption in the place! False justicer, why hast thou let her ’scape?

LEAR

And here's Regan, whose twisted face shows what her heart is made of. Stop her there! Guards, catch her! Swords, fire, bribery in the courtroom! You false judge, why did you let her escape?

EDGAR

Bless thy five wits.

EDGAR

God bless your five senses.

KENT

[to LEAR] O pity! Sir, where is the patience now,That thou so oft have boasted to retain?

KENT

[To LEAR] How tragic! Sir, where is the self-control now, which you used to boast so much about?

EDGAR

[aside] My tears begin to take his part so much,They’ll mar my counterfeiting.

EDGAR

[To himself] I feel so sorry for him that I'm afraid I'll cry and ruin my disguise.

LEAR

The little dogs and all,Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart—see, they bark at me.

LEAR

Even the little dogs, Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart—see, they're barking at me.

EDGAR

Tom will throw his head at them.—Avaunt, you curs! Be thy mouth or black or white, Tooth that poisons if it bite, Mastiff, greyhound, mongrel grim, Hound or spaniel, brach or him, Bobtail tyke or trundle-tail— Tom will make them weep and wail. For with throwing thus my head, Dogs leap the hatch, and all are fled. Do-de, de-de. Cessez! Come, march to wakes and fairs and market towns. Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.

EDGAR

Tom will threaten them. Begone, you mangy dogs!
Whether your mouth is black or white, with teeth that poison when they bite; whether mastiff, greyhound, or mean mutt, hound or spaniel, bitch or bloodhound, short-tail mutt or long-tail dog—Tom will make you weep and wail. When I threaten like this, dogs run out the door, and all are gone. Do-de, de-de. Stop! Come, run off to festivals and fairs and market towns. Poor Tom, your begging bowl is empty.

LEAR

Then let them anatomize Regan. See what breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes thesehard hearts? [to EDGAR] You, sir, I entertain you for one of my hundred. Only I do not like the fashion of your garments. You will say they are Persian attire, butlet them be changed.

LEAR

Now let them dissect Regan. Study her heart well. Is there any natural reason for such a hard heart? 

[To EDGAR] You, sir, I'll keep you as one of my hundred knights. Only I don't like the style of your clothes. You'll probably say that they're elegant and exotic, but change them anyway.

KENT

Now, good my lord, lie here and rest awhile.

KENT

Now, my good lord, lie down here and rest awhile.

LEAR

Make no noise, make no noise. Draw the curtains—so, so,so. We’ll go to supper i' th' morning. So, so, so. [sleeps]

LEAR

Make no noise, make no noise. Close the bed curtains—like that, like that, like that. We'll have dinner in the morning. So, so, so. [He falls asleep]

FOOL

And I’ll go to bed at noon.

FOOL

And I'll go to bed at noon.

Enter GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER

[to KENT] Come hither, friend. Where is the king my master?

GLOUCESTER

[To KENT] Come here, friend. Where is the king, my master?

KENT

Here, sir, but trouble him not. His wits are gone.

KENT

He's here, sir, but don't disturb him. He's lost his mind.

GLOUCESTER

Good friend, I prithee, take him in thy arms. I have o'erheard a plot of death upon him. There is a litter ready. Lay him in ’t And drive towards Dover, friend, where thou shalt meet Both welcome and protection. Take up thy master. If thou shouldst dally half an hour, his life, With thine and all that offer to defend him, Stand in assurèd loss. Take up, take up, And follow me, that will to some provision Give thee quick conduct.

GLOUCESTER

Good friend, please pick him up. I've overheard that there are people plotting to kill him. I have a carriage ready for him. Put him in it and drive towards Dover, friend. There you'll find hospitality and protection. Pick up your master. If you delay even half an hour he'll surely be killed, along with you and anyone else who offers to defend him. Get him, get him and follow me, and I'll quickly lead you to get some supplies.

KENT

Oppressèd nature sleeps.— This rest might yet have balmed thy broken sinews, Which, if convenience will not allow, Stand in hard cure. [to FOOL] Come, help to bear thy master. Thou must not stay behind.

KENT

His suffering drives him to sleep. 

[To the sleeping LEAR] This rest might have been able to soothe your shattered nerves. But, if there's no other convenient chance to sleep, your nerves aren't likely to be cured. 

[To the FOOL] Come, help to carry your master. You mustn't stay behind.

GLOUCESTER

Come, come, away.

GLOUCESTER

Come on, come on, let's go.

Exeunt all but EDGAR

EDGAR

When we our betters see bearing our woes, We scarcely think our miseries our foes. Who alone suffers, suffers most i' th' mind, Leaving free things and happy shows behind. But then the mind much sufferance doth o'erskip When grief hath mates and bearing fellowship. How light and portable my pain seems now When that which makes me bend makes the king bow. He childed as I fathered. Tom, away! Mark the high noises and thyself bewray When false opinion, whose wrong thought defiles thee, In thy just proof repeals and reconciles thee. What will hap more tonight, safe ’scape the king! Lurk, lurk.

EDGAR

When we see our superiors suffering the same woes that we suffer, we can almost forget our own misery. Whoever suffers alone suffers the most, and loses his carefree nature and happy memories. But when grief is shared with friends and companions, the mind can rise above suffering. My pain seems light and easy to endure now that I can see the king bearing my same sorrow. He found the same cruelty in his children that I found in my father. Tom, let's go! We'll keep an eye on the situation, and you can reveal your true identity once you are proven innocent to the public. That will reconcile you with those who accuse you. Whatever else might happen tonight, may the king escape safely! Now, lurk out of sight, Tom, lurk.

Exit

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.