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King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 4, Scene 4

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Enter, with drum and colors, CORDELIA, DOCTOR, and soldiers

CORDELIA

Alack, ’tis he. Why, he was met even now As mad as the vexed sea, singing aloud, Crowned with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds, With burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers, Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow In our sustaining corn.— A century send forth. Search every acre in the high-grown field, And bring him to our eye.

CORDELIA

Alas, it's the king. Why, just recently he was seen acting as crazy as the stormy sea, singing out loud and wearing a crown of thick weeds—burdock, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo, and all the weeds that struggle against our life-sustaining wheat. 

[To soldiers] Send out a hundred soldiers to find him. Search every acre of the overgrown fields, and bring him here for me to see.

Exit some soldiers

What can man’s wisdom In the restoring his bereavèd sense?He that helps him take all my outward worth.

What can human medical knowledge do to restore his sanity? Whoever helps him can have all my material wealth.

DOCTOR

There is means, madam. Our foster nurse of nature is repose, The which he lacks— that to provoke in him Are many simples operative, whose power Will close the eye of anguish.

DOCTOR

It is possible, madam. Rest is the best thing to comfort human nature, and rest is the thing Lear hasn't had. But there are many medicinal herbs that will help him to forget his anguish and to sleep for a while.

CORDELIA

All blessed secrets, All you unpublished virtues of the earth, Spring with my tears. Be aidant and remediate In the good man’s distress. Seek, seek for him, Lest his ungoverned rage dissolve the life That wants the means to lead it.

CORDELIA

Then, you precious herbs—you secret healing plants of the earth—may you grow as fast as my tears fall, and heal the good old man's distress. Now go, go find those herbs for him, before his overwhelming anger uses up all his life and energy.

Enter SECOND MESSENGER

SECOND MESSENGER

News, madam.The British powers are marching hitherward.

SECOND MESSENGER

I have news, madam. The British troops are marching this way.

CORDELIA

'Tis known before. Our preparation stands In expectation of them. O dear father, It is thy business that I go about. Therefore great France My mourning and importuned tears hath pitied. No blown ambition doth our arms incite, But love—dear love!—and our aged father’s right. Soon may I hear and see him.

CORDELIA

We already knew this. Our troops are ready to receive them. Oh, dear father, I'm doing all this for you. This is why the great King of France listened to and pitied my persistent and pleading tears. It wasn't inflated ambition that made us invade England, but love—dear love!—and my old father's abused rights. Hopefully I will hear him and see him soon.

Exeunt

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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.