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King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 3, Scene 7

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Enter CORNWALL, and REGAN, and GONERIL, and EDMUND the bastard, and servants

CORNWALL

[to GONERIL] Post speedily to my lord your husband. Show him this letter. The army of France is landed. —Seek out the traitor Gloucester.

CORNWALL

[To GONERIL] Ride quickly to your husband. Show him this letter. The French army has landed.

[To servants] Find the traitor Gloucester.

Exeunt some servants

REGAN

Hang him instantly.

REGAN

Hang him at once.

GONERIL

Pluck out his eyes.

GONERIL

Pluck out his eyes.

CORNWALL

Leave him to my displeasure.— Edmund, keep you our sister company. The revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding. Advise the duke where you are going, to a most festinate preparation. We are bound to the like. Our posts shall be swift and intelligent betwixt us.— Farewell, dear sister. [to EDMUND] Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.

CORNWALL

Leave him to my displeasure. 

[To EDMUND] Edmund, you go with my sister-in-law Goneril. The punishment I am obligated to inflict on your father isn't fit for you to see. Tell the Duke of Albany to prepare himself immediately for war. We are committed to doing the same. Our messengers will keep us both well-informed. 

[To GONERIL] Farewell, dear sister-in-law. 

[To EDMUND] Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.

Enter OSWALD the steward

How now? Where’s the king?

What's going on? Where's the king?

OSWALD

My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence. Some five or six and thirty of his knights, Hot questrists after him, met him at gate, Who with some other of the lord’s dependants Are gone with him towards Dover, where they boast To have well-armèd friends.

OSWALD

The lord of Gloucester has helped him escape. Thirty-five or thirty-six of his knights found him and met him at the gate. Along with some of Gloucester's servants, they've all gone with him to Dover, where they claim to have well-armed friends.

CORNWALL

Get horses for your mistress.

CORNWALL

Prepare the horses for your mistress.

Exit OSWALD

GONERIL

Farewell, sweet lord, and sister.

GONERIL

Farewell, sweet lord, and you, sister.

CORNWALL

Edmund, farewell.

CORNWALL

Edmund, farewell.

Exeunt GONERIL and EDMUND the bastard

Go seek the traitor Gloucester.Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.

Go find the traitor Gloucester. Tie his arms like a thief and bring him to me.

Exeunt some servants

Though well we may not pass upon his life Without the form of justice, yet our power Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men May blame, but not control.—Who’s there? The traitor?

Though I cannot condemn him to death without a trial, I can still use my power to express my anger against him somehow. Some men might blame me for this, but they won't dare oppose me. Who's there? The traitor?

Enter GLOUCESTER, brought in by two or three servants

REGAN

Ingrateful fox, ’tis he.

REGAN

The ungrateful fox! That's him.

CORNWALL

Bind fast his corky arms.

CORNWALL

Tie up his withered arms.

GLOUCESTER

What mean your graces? Good my friends, considerYou are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.

GLOUCESTER

What do you mean by this, your Graces? My friends, remember that you are my guests in this house. Don't abuse your host, friends.

CORNWALL

Bind him, I say.

CORNWALL

Tie him up, I say.

Servants bind GLOUCESTER

REGAN

Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!

REGAN

Bind him tighter, tighter. Oh, the filthy traitor!

GLOUCESTER

Unmerciful lady as you are, I’m none.

GLOUCESTER

I'm no traitor, you merciless lady.

CORNWALL

To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find—

CORNWALL

Tie him to this chair. Villain, you'll see—

REGAN plucks GLOUCESTER’s beard

GLOUCESTER

By the kind gods, ’tis most ignobly doneTo pluck me by the beard.

GLOUCESTER

By the kind gods, it's disgraceful for you to pull my beard.

REGAN

So white, and such a traitor?

REGAN

So old and venerable, and still such a traitor?

GLOUCESTER

Naughty lady, These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host. With robbers' hands my hospitable favors You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?

GLOUCESTER

Wicked lady, these white hairs you tear from my chin will come to life and accuse you. I am your host. You should not be grabbing at your host's face with your robbers' hands. What are you doing?

CORNWALL

Come, sir, what letters had you late from France?

CORNWALL

Come, sir, what letters have you gotten from France lately?

REGAN

Be simple-answered, for we know the truth.

REGAN

Be honest, because we already know the truth.

CORNWALL

And what confederacy have you with the traitors Late footed in the kingdom?

CORNWALL

And what is your relationship with the traitors who have landed in our kingdom recently?

REGAN

To whose handsYou have sent the lunatic king. Speak.

REGAN

The ones to whom you've sent the insane king. Speak.

GLOUCESTER

I have a letter guessingly set down,Which came from one that’s of a neutral heart,And not from one opposed.

GLOUCESTER

I have a letter that only speculates about what's going on. It came from a neutral person, not someone opposed to you.

CORNWALL

Cunning.

CORNWALL

A cunning answer.

REGAN

And false.

REGAN

And a false one.

CORNWALL

Where hast thou sent the king?

CORNWALL

Where have you sent the king?

GLOUCESTER

To Dover.

GLOUCESTER

To Dover.

REGAN

Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril—

REGAN

Why to Dover? Weren't you commanded, under penalty of death—

CORNWALL

Wherefore to Dover?—Let him first answer that.

CORNWALL

Why to Dover?—Let him answer first.

GLOUCESTER

I am tied to th' stake, and I must stand the course.

GLOUCESTER

I'm backed into a corner now, but I must go on.

REGAN

Wherefore to Dover, sir?

REGAN

Why to Dover, sir?

GLOUCESTER

Because I would not see thy cruèl nails Pluck out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs. The sea, with such a storm as his bare head In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up, And quenched the stellèd fires. Yet poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain. If wolves had at thy gate howled that stern time, Thou shouldst have said, “Good porter, turn the key,” All cruèls else subscribed. But I shall see The wingèd vengeance overtake such children.

GLOUCESTER

Because I didn't want to watch your cruel fingernails pluck out his poor old eyes, or see your vicious sister sink her fangs into his kingly flesh. You made him endure a storm so terrible that if it had occurred at sea, the waves would have risen up to extinguish the stars' fires. But the poor old man just added to the rain with his tears. If wolves had been howling at your gate during that storm, you would have said, "Good doorman, let them in." Even the cruelest being would have given in to pity in such a situation, but you did not. I will see vengeance swoop down on you from heaven, you cruel children.

CORNWALL

“See” ’t shalt thou never.—Fellows, hold the chair.—Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.

CORNWALL

No, you won't "see" anything. Servants, hold his chair. I'm going to put my foot on his eyes.

GLOUCESTER

He that will think to live till he be old,Give me some help!

GLOUCESTER

If any man hopes to grow old someday, let him help me!

CORNWALL plucks out one of GLOUCESTER’s eyes and stamps on it

O cruel! O you gods!

Oh, cruel! Oh, you gods!

REGAN

One side will mock another—th' other too.

REGAN

Now his face is crooked—do the other eye too.

CORNWALL

If you see vengeance—

CORNWALL

If you ever "see" vengeance—

FIRST SERVANT

Hold your hand, my lord! I have served you ever since I was a child. But better service have I never done you Than now to bid you hold.

FIRST SERVANT

Stop this, my lord! I've served you ever since I was a child. But I've never done you a better service than by now telling you to stop.

REGAN

How now, you dog?

REGAN

What's this, you dog?

FIRST SERVANT

If you did wear a beard upon your chin,I’d shake it on this quarrel.

FIRST SERVANT

If you had a beard, lady, I'd pull it and spit in your face for this cause.

REGAN

What do you mean?

REGAN

What do you think you're doing?

CORNWALL

My villain!

CORNWALL

One of my own servants!

FIRST SERVANT

Nay then, come on, and take the chance of anger.

FIRST SERVANT

Come on then, let's fight—take your chances against me.

FIRST SERVANT and CORNWALL draw and fight. CORNWALL is wounded

REGAN

[to another servant] Give me thy sword.—A peasant stand up thus? [takes a sword, runs at FIRST SERVANT behind, and killshim]

REGAN

[To another servant] Give me your sword. Is a peasant really standing up like this? [She takes a sword, runs at the FIRST SERVANT, and stabs him in the back, killing him]

FIRST SERVANT

Oh, I am slain!—My lord, you have one eye left To see some mischief on him. Oh! [dies]

FIRST SERVANT

Oh, I've been murdered! 

[To GLOUCESTER] My lord, you still have one eye left to see that I've injured him at least. Oh! [He dies]

CORNWALL

Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly! [plucks out GLOUCESTER’s other eye] Where is thy luster now?

CORNWALL

Then we'll have to prevent it from seeing more. Come out, you worthless jelly! [He plucks out GLOUCESTER's other eye] Where is your sparkle now?

GLOUCESTER

All dark and comfortless. Where’s my son Edmund?Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of natureTo quit this horrid act.

GLOUCESTER

All is dark and comfortless. Where's my son Edmund? Edmund, let your love for your father inspire you to avenge this horrible act!

REGAN

Out, treacherous villain! Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was he That made the overture of thy treasons to us, Who is too good to pity thee.

REGAN

Enough, you treacherous villain! You call for a son who hates you. It was Edmund who revealed your treason to us. He is too good to have any pity for you.

GLOUCESTER

O my follies! Then Edgar was abused. Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!

GLOUCESTER

Oh, my stupidity! Then Edgar has been slandered. Kind gods, forgive me for that, and let him prosper!

REGAN

Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smellHis way to Dover.

REGAN

Go throw him out at the gates, and let him smell his way to Dover.

Exeunt some servants with GLOUCESTER

[to CORNWALL] How is ’t, my lord? How look you?

[To CORNWALL] What is it, my lord? How do you feel?

CORNWALL

I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady.— Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave Upon the dunghill.— Regan, I bleed apace. Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.

CORNWALL

I've been wounded. Follow me, lady. 

[To servants] Throw out that eyeless villain. And throw this treacherous servant onto the manure pit. 

[To REGAN] Regan, I'm bleeding badly. This is a bad time for such an injury. Give me your arm.

Exit CORNWALL with REGAN

SECOND SERVANT

I’ll never care what wickedness I do,If this man come to good.

SECOND SERVANT

If our wicked master escapes justice, I'll stop caring about whether anything I do is wicked.

THIRD SERVANT

If she live long, And in the end meet the old course of death,Women will all turn monsters.

THIRD SERVANT

And if Regan lives a long life and dies a natural death, then women might as well all become monsters.

SECOND SERVANT

Let’s follow the old earl, and get the BedlamTo lead him where he would. His roguish madnessAllows itself to any thing.

SECOND SERVANT

Let's follow the old earl, and get that crazy Tom to lead him where he wants to go. He's a homeless madman, so he can get away with anything.

THIRD SERVANT

Go thou. I’ll fetch some flax and whites of eggsTo apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!

THIRD SERVANT

Go then. I'll get some cloth and egg whites to apply to his bleeding face. Now heaven help him!

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.