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King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 4, Scene 5

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Enter REGAN and the steward OSWALD

REGAN

But are my brother’s powers set forth?

REGAN

But have my brother-in-law Albany's troops been sent forward?

OSWALD

Ay, madam.

OSWALD

Yes, madam.

REGAN

Himself in person there?

REGAN

Is he there in person?

OSWALD

Madam, with much ado.Your sister is the better soldier.

OSWALD

Yes, madam, and making a big fuss. Your sister Goneril is the better soldier of the two.

REGAN

Lord Edmund spake not with your lord at home?

REGAN

Did Lord Edmund speak with your lord at home?

OSWALD

No, madam.

OSWALD

No, madam.

REGAN

What might import my sister’s letter to him?

REGAN

What did my sister's letter to him say?

OSWALD

I know not, lady.

OSWALD

I don't know, lady.

REGAN

Faith, he is posted hence on serious matter. It was great ignorance, Gloucester’s eyes being out, To let him live. Where he arrives he moves All hearts against us. Edmund I think is gone In pity of his misery to dispatch His nighted life; moreover to descry The strength o' th' enemy.

REGAN

Well, he hurried away on some serious business. It was foolishness to let Gloucester live after plucking out his eyes. Wherever he goes, everyone pities him and turns against us. I think Edmund left to put his father out of his misery and end his sightless life—and also to spy out the strength of the enemy army.

OSWALD

I must needs after him, madam, with my letter.

OSWALD

I must go after him with my letter, madam.

REGAN

Our troops set forth tomorrow. Stay with us.The ways are dangerous.

REGAN

Our troops will set out tomorrow. Stay with us. The roads are dangerous.

OSWALD

I may not, madam.My lady charged my duty in this business.

OSWALD

I can't, madam. My lady ordered me to carry out her instructions.

REGAN

Why should she write to Edmund? Might not you Transport her purposes by word? Belike Some things—I know not what. I’ll love thee much. Let me unseal the letter.

REGAN

Why should she write to Edmund? Couldn't you just deliver her message verbally? Perhaps it's . . . I don't know what. I'll make it worth your while if you let me unseal that letter.

OSWALD

Madam, I had rather—

OSWALD

Madam, I'd rather—

REGAN

I know your lady does not love her husband. I am sure of that. And at her late being here She gave strange oeillades and most speaking looks To noble Edmund. I know you are of her bosom.

REGAN

I know your lady Goneril does not love her husband Albany. I'm sure of that. And when she was here recently she was giving strange, loving glances and significant looks to the noble Edmund. I know you're in her confidence.

OSWALD

I, madam?

OSWALD

I, madam?

REGAN

I speak in understanding. Y' are. I know ’t. Therefore I do advise you, take this note. My lord is dead. Edmund and I have talked, And more convenient is he for my hand Than for your lady’s. You may gather more. If you do find him, pray you give him this. And when your mistress hears thus much from you, I pray desire her call her wisdom to her. So fare you well. If you do chance to hear of that blind traitor, Preferment falls on him that cuts him off.

REGAN

I'm sure about this. She trusts you, I know it. So I advise you to take note of what I'm about to tell you. My husband is dead. Edmund and I have talked, and it's more appropriate for him to marry me than to marry Goneril. You can draw your own conclusions from that. If you do find Edmund, please give him this. [She gives Oswald a favor] And when you talk to your mistress about all of this, please tell her to come to her senses. So farewell. If you happen to hear anything about that blind traitor Gloucester, there will be a reward for anyone who cuts his life short.

OSWALD

Would I could meet him, madam, I should showWhat party I do follow.

OSWALD

I wish I could meet him, madam. Then I would prove where my loyalties lie.

REGAN

Fare thee well.

REGAN

Farewell.

Exeunt severally

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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.