King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter LEAR, KENT disguised, and FOOL
LEAR enters with KENT in disguise and the FOOL.
Here is the place, my lord. Good my lord, enter.
The tyranny of the open night’s too rough
For nature to endure.
Here’s the hut, my lord. Please go inside. The night’s too rough for humans to bear.
Storm still
The storm continues.
   Let me alone.
Leave me for a bit.
Good my lord, enter here.
My lord, here is the entrance.
   Wilt break my heart?
Will you break my heart?
5I had rather break mine own. Good my lord, enter.
I’d rather break my own heart. Now please go in.
Thou think’st ’tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin. So ’tis to thee.
But where the greater malady is fixed
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou’dst shun a bear,
10But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea
Thou’dst meet the bear i' th' mouth. When the mind’s free,
The body’s delicate. The tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there—filial ingratitude.
15Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to ’t? But I will punish home.
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on, I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril,
20Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—
Oh, that way madness lies. Let me shun that.
No more of that.
You think it’s a big deal that this fierce storm is soaking me to the skin. It’s a big deal to you. But whenever you feel a larger pain, the smaller one disappears. You would run away from a bear, but if the only way to run was into the stormy ocean, you’d turn around and confront the bear. When your mind is at peace, your body is sensitive to the elements. But this storm in my mind keeps me from feeling anything except what’s tormenting me—how ungrateful my children are! Isn’t their ingratitude like the mouth biting the hand that feeds it? But I’ll punish them thoroughly. No, I won’t cry any more. Imagine them locking me out on a night like this! But let it rain; I’ll survive. On a night like this! Oh, Regan, Goneril, your kind old father whose generous heart gave you everything—Oh, if I think about that I’ll go mad. I want to avoid that. No more of these thoughts.