King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Act 4 Scene 3

page Act 4 Scene 3 Page 1

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Enter KENT disguised and GENTLEMAN
KENT enters in disguise, along with the GENTLEMAN.

KENT

Why the King of France is so suddenly gone back know you the reason?

KENT

Do you know why the King of France suddenly went back home?

GENTLEMAN

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

GENTLEMAN

He’d left some unfinished business, which he remembered after arriving here. It was urgent and important enough to require his personal presence.

KENT

Who hath he left behind him general?

KENT

Whom did he leave in charge here?

GENTLEMAN

The Marshal of France, Monsieur la Far.

GENTLEMAN

The marshal of France, Monsieur la Far.

KENT

Did your letters pierce the queen to any demonstration of grief?

KENT

Was Queen Cordelia aggrieved by the letters you delivered?

GENTLEMAN

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

GENTLEMAN

Yes, sir. She took the letters and read them in front of me. Now and then a large tear trickled down her delicate cheek. She seemed to be trying to control her emotions, which were overwhelming her.

KENT

   O, then it moved her?

KENT

So she was moved by it?

GENTLEMAN

Not to a rage. Patience and sorrow strove
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
20That played on her ripe lip seemed not to know
What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence
As pearls from diamonds dropped. In brief,
Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved
If all could so become it.

GENTLEMAN

There were no outbursts. She was struggling between emotion and self-control. You’ve seen how it can rain while the sun shines? That’s how she was, smiling and crying at once, only more lovely. The little smile on her full lips didn’t seem aware of the tears that were dropping like diamonds from her pearly eyes. If everyone looked so lovely in their sorrow, then sorrow would be highly prized.