Act 4 Scene 3

Scene 3

[Enter Kent in disguise and a Gentleman.]

KENT  Why the King of France is so suddenly gone
 back know you no reason?

GENTLEMAN  Something he left imperfect in the state,
 which since his coming forth is thought of, which
[5]  imports to the kingdom so much fear and danger
 that his personal return was most required and

KENT  Who hath he left behind him general?

GENTLEMAN  The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.

[10]KENT  Did your letters pierce the Queen to any demonstration
 of grief?

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

KENT   O, then it moved her.

 Not to a rage. Patience and sorrow strove
[20]  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
[25]  As pearls from diamonds dropped. In brief,
 Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved
 If all could so become it.

KENT  Made she no verbal question?

 Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of
[30]  “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
[35]  The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
 And clamor moistened. Then away she started,
 To deal with grief alone.

KENT   It is the stars.
 The stars above us govern our conditions,
[40]  Else one self mate and make could not beget
 Such different issues. You spoke not with her


 Was this before the King returned?

[45]GENTLEMAN   No, since.

 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.

[50]GENTLEMAN   Why, good sir?

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

GENTLEMAN  Alack, poor gentleman!

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

[60]GENTLEMAN  ’Tis so. They are afoot.

 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
[65]  Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go
 Along with me.
[They exit.]

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