King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
250More hideous when thou show’st thee in a child
Than the sea monster.
Ingratitude is always hideous, but an ungrateful child is uglier than a sea monster!

ALBANY

Pray, sir, be patient.

ALBANY

Please, sir, be patient.

LEAR

(to GONERIL)   Detested kite, thou liest!
My train are men of choice and rarest parts
255That all particulars of duty know
And in the most exact regard support
The worships of their name. O most small fault,
How ugly didst thou in Cordelia show,
Which like an engine wrenched my frame of nature
260From the fixed place, drew from heart all love,
And added to the gall! O Lear, Lear, Lear!
(strikes his head)
Beat at this gate that let thy folly in
And thy dear judgment out!—Go, go, my people.

LEAR

(to GONERIL) You disgusting vulture, you’re a liar! My knights are the finest men who can attend a king, and they meticulously uphold their reputation. Oh, how ugly did Cordelia’s small flaw appear! And now Cordelia’s small flaw has bent me completely out of shape and sucked all the love out of my heart. Oh, Lear, Lear, Lear! (he hits himself on the head) Let me beat this portal that let my good sense out and my foolishness in!— Go, go, people.

ALBANY

265My lord, I am guiltless, as I am ignorant,
Of what hath moved you.

ALBANY

My lord, I have no idea what’s upset you, but whatever it is, I had nothing to do with it.

LEAR

It may be so, my lord.
Hear, Nature, hear, dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose if thou didst intend
270To make this creature fruitful.
Into her womb convey sterility.
Dry up in her the organs of increase,
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honor her. If she must teem,
275Create her child of spleen, that it may live
And be a thwart disnatured torment to her.
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,

LEAR

That may be true, my lord. Ah, dear Nature, my goddess, listen to me! Change your plans if you ever intended for this woman to have children. Make her sterile and dry up her womb so that no baby will ever come out of her body and honor her. If she must give birth, make her child a bad seed who will torment her, give her a forehead wrinkled with worry, make her cry until her cheeks are sunken.