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King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 4, Scene 3

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Enter KENT disguised and GENTLEMAN

KENT

Why the King of France is so suddenly gone back know you the reason?

KENT

Do you know why the King of France went back home so suddenly?

GENTLEMAN

Something he left imperfect in the state which, since his coming forth, is thought of; which imports to the kingdom so much fear and danger that his personal returnwas most required and necessary.

GENTLEMAN

He left something unfinished in his kingdom, which he remembered after arriving here. It was important and dangerous enough that he had to return in person to deal with it.

KENT

Who hath he left behind him general?

KENT

Who has he left behind as his general?

GENTLEMAN

The Marshal of France, Monsieur la Far.

GENTLEMAN

The Marshal of France, Monsieur la Far.

KENT

Did your letters pierce the queen to any demonstration of grief?

KENT

Did the letters you delivered cause Queen Cordelia to show any grief?

GENTLEMAN

Ay, sir. She took them, read them in my presence, And now and then an ample tear trilled down Her delicate cheek. It seemed she was a queen Over her passion, who, most rebel-like, Sought to be king o'er her.

GENTLEMAN

Yes, sir. She took them and read them in my presence, and now and then a large tear would trickle down her delicate cheek. It seemed that she was able to control her deepest emotions, even though they tried to overcome her.

KENT

O, then it moved her?

KENT

Oh, then the news moved her?

GENTLEMAN

Not to a rage. Patience and sorrow strove Who should express her goodliest. You have seen Sunshine and rain at once—her smiles and tears Were like a better way. Those happy smilets That played on her ripe lip seemed not to know What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence As pearls from diamonds dropped. In brief, Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved If all could so become it.

GENTLEMAN

Not to any burst of passion. She seemed to struggle between patience and sorrow, deciding which would best express her feelings. You've seen how it can rain while the sun is still shining—her smiles and tears were like that, but even more beautiful. The little smiles on her lips seemed oblivious to her tears, which dropped like pearls from her diamond eyes. In short, sorrow would be a precious thing if everyone were as lovely in their sorrow as Cordelia was.

KENT

Made she no verbal question?

KENT

Did she ask anything out loud?

GENTLEMAN

Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of “father” Pantingly forth as if it pressed her heart, Cried, “Sisters, sisters! Shame of ladies, sisters! Kent, father, sisters! What, i' th' storm, i' th' night? Let pity not be believed.” There she shook The holy water from her heavenly eyes, And clamor moistened. Then away she started To deal with grief alone.

GENTLEMAN

Well, once or twice she sighed the name "father," as if the word were pressing on her heart. And once she cried out, "Sister, sisters! You most shameful of all ladies, sisters! Kent, father, sisters! What, in a storm, in the middle of the night? No false shows of pity can be trusted!" And then she shook the holy tears from her heavenly eyes, and went off to deal with her grief alone.

KENT

It is the stars, The stars above us, govern our conditions. Else one self mate and mate could not beget Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?

KENT

It's the stars, the stars above us who decide our fates. Otherwise one couple couldn't have children so different from each other as Cordelia and her sisters are. Have you spoken to her since then?

GENTLEMAN

No.

GENTLEMAN

No.

KENT

Was this before the king returned?

KENT

Was this before the King of France returned home?

GENTLEMAN

No, since.

GENTLEMAN

No, after that.

KENT

Well, sir, the poor distressèd Lear’s i' th' town, Who sometime in his better tune remembers What we are come about, and by no means Will yield to see his daughter.

KENT

Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear is in Dover. When he's in his right mind, he remembers why we're here, and he refuses to see his daughter Cordelia.

GENTLEMAN

Why, good sir?

GENTLEMAN

Why, good sir?

KENT

A sovereign shame so elbows him. His own unkindness That stripped her from his benediction turned her To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights To his dog-hearted daughters. These things sting His mind so venomously that burning shame Detains him from Cordelia.

KENT

He is pained by a powerful sense of shame. He remembers how unkind he was to her; and how he stripped her of his blessing and turned her out to take her chances in a foreign land, and then gave her share of the kingdom to her two hard-hearted sisters. These things sting his mind so venomously that a burning shame keeps him from going to see Cordelia.

GENTLEMAN

Alack, poor gentleman!

GENTLEMAN

Alas, the poor gentleman!

KENT

Of Albany’s and Cornwall’s powers you heard not?

KENT

Have you heard anything about Albany and Cornwall's troops?

GENTLEMAN

'Tis so. They are afoot.

GENTLEMAN

Yes. They're on the march.

KENT

Well, sir, I’ll bring you to our master Lear And leave you to attend him. Some dear cause Will in concealment wrap me up awhile. When I am known aright you shall not grieve Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go Along with me.

KENT

Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear, and leave you to attend to him. I have some important business that will force me to disguise myself again for a while. When my true identity is revealed, you won't regret helping me like this. Please, come along with me.

Exeunt

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.