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King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 5, Scene 1

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Enter with drum and colors EDMUND, REGAN, gentlemen, and soldiers

EDMUND

[To a gentleman] Know of the duke if his last purpose hold, Or whether since he is advised by aught To change the course. He’s full of alteration And self-reproving. Bring his constant pleasure.

EDMUND

[To a gentleman] Find out if the Duke of Albany plans to stick to his most recent plan, or if something has changed his mind. He's very fickle and always second-guessing himself. Bring me a report of his final decision.

Exit gentleman

REGAN

Our sister’s man is certainly miscarried.

REGAN

My sister's messenger Oswald must have had an accident.

EDMUND

'Tis to be doubted, madam.

EDMUND

That outcome is to be feared, madam.

REGAN

Now, sweet lord, You know the goodness I intend upon you. Tell me but truly— but then speak the truth— Do you not love my sister?

REGAN

Now, sweet lord, you know that I intend to honor you with my hand in marriage. But tell me truly—be honest now—don't you love my sister Goneril?

EDMUND

In honored love.

EDMUND

With an honorable love.

REGAN

But have you never found my brother’s wayTo the forfended place?

REGAN

But have you never taken my brother-in-law's place in her bed?

EDMUND

That thought abuses you.

EDMUND

Such a question only insults yourself.

REGAN

I am doubtful that you have been conjunctAnd bosomed with her as far as we call hers.

REGAN

I'm suspicious that you have been both her ally and her lover, and are now hers.

EDMUND

No, by mine honor, madam.

EDMUND

No, madam. I swear by my honor.

REGAN

I never shall endure her. Dear my lord,Be not familiar with her.

REGAN

I won't be able to stand it if she takes you from me. My dear lord, don't be intimate with her.

EDMUND

Fear me not.She and the duke her husband!

EDMUND

Don't worry about me. Now she and the duke her husband are here!

Enter with drum and colors ALBANY and GONERIL, with troops

GONERIL

[aside] I had rather lose the battle than that sisterShould loosen him and me.

GONERIL

[To herself] I would rather lose this battle than let that sister of mine come between Edmund and me.

ALBANY

Our very loving sister, well be-met. Sir, this I hear: the king is come to his daughter, With others whom the rigor of our state Forced to cry out. Where I could not be honest I never yet was valiant. For this business, It touches us as France invades our land, Not bolds the king, with others whom I fear Most just and heavy causes make oppose.

ALBANY

Good to see you, Regan, my loving sister-in-law. 

[To Edmund] Sir, I hear that the king has joined his daughter Cordelia, along with others who have rebelled against the harshness of our rule. I can't be brave if the cause I'm fighting for isn't honorable. This business concerns me only  because the French have invaded our land. I don't care whether the French support King Lear or others who I'm afraid have good reason to oppose us.

EDMUND

Sir, you speak nobly.

EDMUND

Sir, you speak nobly.

REGAN

Why is this reasoned?

REGAN

Why are we discussing this?

GONERIL

Combine together 'gainst the enemy, For these domestic and particular broilsAre not the question here.

GONERIL

We must unite against the enemy. These domestic and personal quarrels are not the issue here.

ALBANY

Let’s then determine with the ancient of warOn our proceedings.

ALBANY

Then let's meet with our experienced officers and determine how to proceed.

EDMUND

I shall attend you presently at your tent.

EDMUND

I'll meet you at your tent right away.

REGAN

Sister, you’ll go with us?

REGAN

Sister, will you come with us?

GONERIL

No.

GONERIL

No.

REGAN

'Tis most convenient. Pray you, go with us.

REGAN

It would be best if you did. Please, come with us.

GONERIL

[aside] Oh ho, I know the riddle.—I will go.

GONERIL

[To herself] Oh, ha! I know what she's doing: trying to keep me away from Edmund.

[To the others] All right, I'll go.

Enter EDGAR disguised

EDGAR

[to ALBANY] If e'er your grace had speech with man so poor,Hear me one word.

EDGAR

[To ALBANY] If your Grace would ever stoop to speak with a man as poor as I am, then hear what I have to say.

ALBANY

[To EDMUND, REGAN, and GONERIL] I’ll overtake you.—

ALBANY

[To EDMUND, REGAN, and GONERIL] I'll catch up with you.

Exeunt all but ALBANY and EDGAR

Speak.

[To EDGAR] Tell me.

EDGAR

[Giving ALBANY a letter] Before you fight the battle, ope this letter. If you have victory, let the trumpet sound For him that brought it. Wretched though I seem, I can produce a champion that will prove What is avouchèd there. If you miscarry, Your business of the world hath so an end, And machination ceases. Fortune love you.

EDGAR

[Giving ALBANY a letter] Before you fight the battle, open this letter. If you are victorious, then blow your trumpet to signal to me. I seem wretched now, but I can produce a champion who will defend my claims. If you die in battle, then your business in this world will be over, and the plot against your life will be over as well. Good luck to you.

ALBANY

Stay till I have read the letter.

ALBANY

Stay until I've read the letter.

EDGAR

I was forbid it.When time shall serve, let but the herald cry,And I’ll appear again.

EDGAR

I was ordered not to do that. When the time comes, all you have to do is blow a horn, and I'll appear again.

ALBANY

Why, fare thee well. I will o'erlook thy paper.

ALBANY

Well, farewell then. I'll read your letter.

Exit EDGAR

Enter EDMUND

EDMUND

The enemy’s in view. Draw up your powers. [gives ALBANY a document] Here is the guess of their true strength and forces By diligent discovery, but your haste Is now urged on you.

EDMUND

The enemy's in sight. Prepare your troops. [He gives ALBANY a document] Here is an estimate of the enemy's true strength and weaponry, drawn up by our diligent scouts. But hurry now, please.

ALBANY

We will greet the time.

ALBANY

We will be ready for the occasion.

Exit ALBANY

EDMUND

To both these sisters have I sworn my love, Each jealous of the other as the stung Are of the adder. Which of them shall I take? Both? One? Or neither? Neither can be enjoyed If both remain alive. To take the widow Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril, And hardly shall I carry out my side, Her husband being alive. Now, then, we’ll use His countenance for the battle, which being done, Let her who would be rid of him devise His speedy taking off. As for the mercy Which he intends to Lear and to Cordelia, The battle done and they within our power, Shall never see his pardon, for my state Stands on me to defend, not to debate.

EDMUND

I've pledged my love to both of these sisters now. And they're each suspicious of the other, as if they were both poisonous snakes. Which of them will I pick? Both? One? Or neither? I can't be happy with either one of them as long as the other remains alive. If I married the widowed Regan, it would drive Goneril crazy. But it would be difficult to carry out my plan with Goneril while her husband's still alive. Now then, I'll use Albany's authority and power to win this battle. And when it's over, let Goneril figure out how to get rid of him. Albany intends to be merciful to Lear and Cordelia, but if I win the battle and they become my prisoners, they won't live long enough to see his pardon. My position requires actions, not words.

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.