A line-by-line translation

King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 4, Scene 7

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Enter CORDELIA, KENT disguised, GENTLEMAN, and DOCTOR

CORDELIA

O thou good Kent, how shall I live and workTo match thy goodness? My life will be too short,And every measure fail me.

CORDELIA

Oh, good Kent, what can I do that will ever live up to your goodness? I won't live long enough to succeed, and all my attempts will fail.

KENT

To be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid. All my reports go with the modest truth,Nor more, nor clipped, but so.

KENT

Madam, to be thanked by you is too much payment. All that I've reported about the king is the truth—not exaggerated or understated, but just as it happened.

CORDELIA

Be better suited.These weeds are memories of those worser hours.I prithee, put them off.

CORDELIA

Change into better clothes. These rags are memories of bad times that are now in the past. Please, take them off.

KENT

Pardon, dear madam. Yet to be known shortens my made intent. My boon I make it that you know me not Till time and I think meet.

KENT

I'm sorry, dear madam, but revealing myself now would ruin my plans. The favor I beg of you is that you pretend not to know me until the time is right.

CORDELIA

Then be ’t so, my good lord.—How does the king?

CORDELIA

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DOCTOR

Madam, sleeps still.

DOCTOR

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CORDELIA

O you kind gods, Cure this great breach in his abusèd nature, Th' untuned and jarring senses, O, wind up, Of this child-changèd father!

CORDELIA

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DOCTOR

So please your majestyThat we may wake the king? He hath slept long.

DOCTOR

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CORDELIA

Be governed by your knowledge, and proceed I' th' sway of your own will. Is he arrayed?

CORDELIA

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Enter LEAR asleep in a chair carried by servants

GENTLEMAN

Ay, madam. In the heaviness of his sleepWe put fresh garments on him.

GENTLEMAN

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DOCTOR

Be by, good madam, when we do awake him.I doubt not of his temperance.

DOCTOR

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CORDELIA

Very well.

CORDELIA

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DOCTOR

Please you, draw near.—Louder the music there!

DOCTOR

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CORDELIA

[kisses LEAR] O my dear father, restoration hang Thy medicine on my lips, and let this kiss Repair those violent harms that my two sisters Have in thy reverence made!

CORDELIA

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KENT

Kind and dear princess!

KENT

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CORDELIA

Had you not been their father, these white flakes Did challenge pity of them. Was this a face To be opposed against the warring winds? To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder In the most terrible and nimble stroke Of quick cross lightning? To watch—poor perdu!— With this thin helm? Mine enemy’s meanest dog, Though he had bit me, should have stood that night Against my fire. And wast thou fain, poor father, To hovel thee with swine and rogues forlorn In short and musty straw? Alack, alack! 'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once Had not concluded all.—He wakes. Speak to him.

CORDELIA

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DOCTOR

Madam, do you. 'Tis fittest.

DOCTOR

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CORDELIA

How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?

CORDELIA

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LEAR

You do me wrong to take me out o' th' grave. Thou art a soul in bliss, but I am bound Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears Do scald like molten lead.

LEAR

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CORDELIA

Sir, do you know me?

CORDELIA

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LEAR

You are a spirit, I know. Where did you die?

LEAR

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CORDELIA

[aside to DOCTOR] Still, still far wide!

CORDELIA

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DOCTOR

He’s scarce awake. Let him alone awhile.

DOCTOR

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LEAR

Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight? I am mightily abused. I should ev'n die with pity To see another thus. I know not what to say. I will not swear these are my hands. Let’s see. I feel this pinprick. Would I were assured Of my condition.

LEAR

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CORDELIA

[kneels] O, look upon me, sir,And hold your hands in benediction o'er me.No, sir, you must not kneel.

CORDELIA

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LEAR

Pray, do not mock me. I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less. And to deal plainly I fear I am not in my perfect mind. Methinks I should know you, and know this man. Yet I am doubtful, for I am mainly ignorant What place this is, and all the skill I have Remembers not these garments. Nor I know not Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me, For as I am a man, I think this lady To be my child Cordelia.

LEAR

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CORDELIA

And so I am, I am.

CORDELIA

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LEAR

Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray, weep not. If you have poison for me, I will drink it. I know you do not love me, for your sisters Have, as I do remember, done me wrong. You have some cause; they have not.

LEAR

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CORDELIA

No cause, no cause.

CORDELIA

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LEAR

Am I in France?

LEAR

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KENT

In your own kingdom, sir.

KENT

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LEAR

Do not abuse me.

LEAR

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DOCTOR

Be comforted, good madam. The great rage, You see, is killed in him. And yet it is danger To make him even o'er the time he has lost. Desire him to go in. Trouble him no more Till further settling.

DOCTOR

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CORDELIA

Will ’t please your highness walk?

CORDELIA

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LEAR

You must bear with me. Pray you now, forget and forgive.I am old and foolish.

LEAR

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Exeunt. Manent KENT and GENTLEMAN.

GENTLEMAN

Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was soslain?

GENTLEMAN

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KENT

Most certain, sir.

KENT

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GENTLEMAN

Who is conductor of his people?

GENTLEMAN

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KENT

As ’tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.

KENT

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GENTLEMAN

They say Edgar, his banished son, is with the Earl of Kent in Germany.

GENTLEMAN

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KENT

Report is changeable. Tis time to look about. The powers of the kingdom approach apace.

KENT

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GENTLEMAN

The arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare you well, sir.

GENTLEMAN

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Exit GENTLEMAN

KENT

My point and period will be throughly wrought,Or well or ill, as this day’s battle’s fought.

KENT

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Exit

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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.