King Lear : Act 4, Scene 3



           Enter KENT and a GENTLEMAN.

      KENT
gone back returned (to France)
  
1   Why the King of France is so suddenly gone back
  2   know you the reason?

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

      KENT
  
7   Who hath he left behind him general?

      Gentleman
  
8   The Marshal of France, Monsieur La Far.

      KENT
  
9   Did your letters pierce the queen to any
pierce i.e., bring | the queen i.e., Cordelia, King Lear's daughter, now Queen of France

 10   demonstration of grief?

      Gentleman
 
11   Ay, sir; she took them, read them in my presence;
trill'd trickled
 12   And now and then an ample tear trill'd down
it seem'd ... o'er her. i.e., it seemed that she triumphed over her most heartfelt feelings which made a valiant attempt to triumph over her
 13   Her delicate cheek: it seem'd she was a queen
 14   Over her passion; who, most rebel-like,
 15   Sought to be king o'er her.

      KENT
 
15                                               O, then it moved her.

      Gentleman
strove struggled (against one other)
Who should express her goodliest. which (of the two approaches—patience or sorrow) would best express her feelings | like a better way better than that, but similar
smilets ... eyes the smiles of her lips seemed oblivious to the tears in her eyes
 
16   Not to a rage: patience and sorrow strove
 17   Who should express her goodliest. You have seen
 18   Sunshine and rain at once: her smiles and tears
 19   Were like a better way: those happy smilets,
 20   That play'd on her ripe lip, seem'd not to know
 21   What guests were in her eyes; which parted thence,
 22   As pearls from diamonds dropp'd. In brief,
Sorrow ... become it. Sorrow would be a precious thing, like a jewel, if all were as attractive in sorrow as she.
 23   Sorrow would be a rarity most beloved,
 24   If all could so become it.

      KENT
 
24                                           Made she no verbal question?

      Gentleman
heaved breathed out with difficulty
 
25   'Faith, once or twice she heaved the name of 'father'
 26   Pantingly forth, as if it press'd her heart:
 27   Cried 'Sisters! sisters! Shame of ladies! sisters!
 28   Kent! father! sisters! What, i' the storm? i' the night?
Let pity not be believed! Let no show of pity be trusted (since so many prove to be false) | clamour moisten'd outcry of grief assuaged by tears | started went
 29   Let pity not be believed!' There she shook
 30   The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
 31   And clamour moisten'd: then away she started
 32   To deal with grief alone.

      KENT
It is the stars i.e., everything that happens is the fault of the stars
 
32                                           It is the stars,
 33   The stars above us, govern our conditions;
Else one self mate and mate otherwise one couple (husband and wife) | issues offspring
 34   Else one self mate and mate could not beget
 35   Such different issues. You spoke not with her since?

      Gentleman
 
36   No.

      KENT
before the king return'd before the King of France returned to France
 
37   Was this before the king return'd?

      Gentleman
 
37                                                          No, since.

      KENT
the town Dover, where the French forces have established a foothold
better tune i.e., more composed state of mind
 
38   Well, sir, the poor distressed Lear's i' the town;
 39   Who sometime, in his better tune, remembers
 40   What we are come about, and by no means
yield consent | his daughter his daughter, Cordelia
 41   Will yield to see his daughter.

      Gentleman
 
41                                                    Why, good sir?

      KENT
sovereign overruling | elbows him gives him sharp pains
turn'd ... casualties turned her out and left her to take her chances in a foreign land | dear rights rightful inheritance
 
42   A sovereign shame so elbows him: his own unkindness,
 43   That stripp'd her from his benediction, turn'd her
 44   To foreign casualties, gave her dear rights
 45   To his dog-hearted daughters, these things sting
 46   His mind so venomously, that burning shame
Detains him from keeps him from seeing
 47   Detains him from Cordelia.

      Gentleman
 
47                                           Alack, poor gentleman!

      KENT
powers troops, armies
 
48   Of Albany's and Cornwall's powers you heard not?

      Gentleman
afoot on the march
 
49   'Tis so, they are afoot.

      KENT
 
50   Well, sir, I'll bring you to our master Lear,
dear cause important purpose
Will ... awhile i.e., will require that my true identity remain unknown for a while
not grieve / Lending me this acquaintance. not regret sharing this news (about the King of France and Cordelia)
 51   And leave you to attend him: some dear cause
 52   Will in concealment wrap me up awhile;
 53   When I am known aright, you shall not grieve
 54   Lending me this acquaintance. I pray you, go
 55   Along with me.

           Exeunt.