Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.


King Lear : Act 4, Scene 7



           Enter CORDELIA, KENT [still dressed as
           Caius], and Doctor.

      CORDELIA
  1   O thou good Kent, how shall I live and work,
  2   To match thy goodness? My life will be too short,
  3   And every measure fail me.
3. measure: attempt.


      KENT
  4   To be acknowledged, madam, is o'erpaid.
4. To  . . .  o'erpaid.: To be acknowledged [as worthy by you] madam, is overpayment.

  5   All my reports go with the modest truth;
5. All my reports  . . .  but so.: i.e., All my reports [about what happened to King Lear] align with observable truth, not exaggerated or understated, but just as the events happened.

  6   Nor more nor clipp'd, but so.

      CORDELIA
                                                      Be better suited:
6. suited: dressed.

  7   These weeds are memories of those worser hours:
7. weeds: clothes.

  8   I prithee, put them off.

      KENT
                                            Pardon me, dear madam;
  9   Yet to be known shortens my made intent:
9. Yet . . . intent: revealing myself now would abort my plans.

 10   My boon I make it, that you know me not
10. My boon I make it: The favor I beg is.

 11   Till time and I think meet.
11. meet: suitable.


      CORDELIA
 12   Then be't so, my good lord.

           [To the Doctor.]

                                                    How does the king?

      Doctor
 13   Madam, sleeps still.
Baroque wind up


      CORDELIA
                                          O you kind gods,
 14   Cure this great breach in his abused nature!
 15   The untuned and jarring senses, O, wind up
 16   Of this child-changed father!
15-16. wind up: put in tune. On a stringed instrument, this is done by winding up the tuning pegs.  child-changed father: father changed by his children.


      Doctor
                                                      So please your majesty
 17   That we may wake the king: he hath slept long.

      CORDELIA
 18   Be govern'd by your knowledge, and proceed
 19   I' the sway of your own will. Is he array'd?
18-19. proceed . . . will: i.e., do as you think fit
array'd: dressed.


      Gentleman
 20   Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his sleep
 21   We put fresh garments on him.

      Doctor
 22   Be by, good madam, when we do awake him;
 23   I doubt not of his temperance.
23. temperance: calmness.


      CORDELIA
                                                        Very well.

           Enter LEAR in a chair carried by Servants.
chair: i.e., open sedan chair.
open sedan chair

           [Gentleman in attendance. Soft music.]

      Doctor
 24   Please you, draw near. Louder the music there!

      CORDELIA
 25   O my dear father! Restoration hang
 26   Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss
 27   Repair those violent harms that my two sisters
 28   Have in thy reverence made!
28. reverence: revered spirit.

Romola Garai as Cordelia, Ian McKellen as Lear
TV Movie 2008


           [Cordelia kisses King Lear.]

      KENT
                                                      Kind and dear princess!

      CORDELIA
 29   Had you not been their father, these white flakes
 30   Had challenged pity of them. Was this a face
29-30. Had you not: Even if you had not. white flakes: locks of hair. Had  . . .   them: i.e., should have made them pity you.

 31   To be opposed against the warring winds?
 32   To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder?
32. deep: deep-toned. dread-bolted thunder: thunder accompanied by the dread thunderbolt.

 33   In the most terrible and nimble stroke
 34   Of quick, cross lightning? to watch—poor perdu!—
34. cross: zigzag.

 35   With this thin helm? Mine enemy's dog,
35-36. to watch—poor perdu!: i.e., to stand watch, like a lost sentinel.  this thin helm: this light helmet [Lear's hair].

 36   Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
 37   Against my fire; and wast thou fain, poor father,
37. Against my fire: i.e., warming himself at my hearth.  wast thou fain: did you enjoy.

 38   To hovel thee with swine, and rogues forlorn,
 39   In short and musty straw? Alack, alack!
 40   'Tis wonder that thy life and wits at once
 41   Had not concluded all. He wakes; speak to him.
41. concluded all: ended all at once.


      Doctor
 42   Madam, do you; 'tis fittest.
42. 'tis fittest: it's appropriate [that you speak to him first].


      CORDELIA
 43   How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?

      KING LEAR
 44   You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:
 45   Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
45. that: so that
Wheel of Fire
 46   Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
 47   Do scald like moulten lead.

      CORDELIA
                                                    Sir, do you know me?

      KING LEAR
 48   You are a spirit, I know: when did you die?

      CORDELIA
 49   Still, still, far wide!
49. wide : astray [from reason]; unbalanced.


      Doctor
 50   He's scarce awake: let him alone awhile.

      KING LEAR
 51   Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
 52   I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity,
52. abused: deceived.

 53   To see another thus. I know not what to say.
 54   I will not swear these are my hands: let's see;

           [King Lear pricks a hand.]

 55   I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
 56   Of my condition!
55-56. Would I were assured / Of my condition!: i.e., if only I knew if I am alive or dead, in heaven or in hell!


      CORDELIA
                                    O, look upon me, sir,
 57   And hold your hands in benediction o'er me:

           [King Lear starts to kneel to Cordelia.]

 58   No, sir, you must not kneel.

      KING LEAR
                                                    Pray, do not mock me:
 59   I am a very foolish fond old man,
59. fond: silly.

 60   Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
60. Fourscore and upward: over eighty.

 61   And, to deal plainly,
 62   I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
 63   Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
 64   Yet I am doubtful for I am mainly ignorant
64. mainly: entirely.

 65   What place this is; and all the skill I have
 66   Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
'Do not laugh at me' by Selous

 67   Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;
 68   For, as I am a man, I think this lady
 69   To be my child Cordelia.

      CORDELIA
                                                  And so I am, I am.

      KING LEAR
 70   Be your tears wet? yes, 'faith. I pray, weep not:
70. Be your tears wet?: i.e., Are your tears real? Is this really happening?

 71   If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
 72   I know you do not love me; for your sisters
 73   Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
 74   You have some cause, they have not.
74. You have some cause: You have some good reason to be angry with me.


      CORDELIA
                                                  No cause, no cause.

      KING LEAR
 75   Am I in France?

      KENT
                                    In your own kingdom, sir.

      KING LEAR
 76   Do not abuse me.
76. abuse: deceive; mock.


      Doctor
 77   Be comforted, good madam: the great rage,
77. rage: frenzy.

 78   You see, is kill'd in him: and yet it is danger
 79   To make him even o'er the time he has lost.
79. even o'er the time he has lost: fill in the blank spaces in his memory.

 80   Desire him to go in; trouble him no more
 81   Till further settling.
81. Till further settling: until his mind eases.


      CORDELIA
 82   Will't please your highness walk?

      KING LEAR
                                                      You must bear with me:
 83   Pray you now, forget and forgive: I am old and foolish.

           Exeunt [all but KENT and Gentleman].

      Gentleman
 84   Holds it true, sir, that the Duke of Cornwall was so
 85   slain?

      KENT
 86   Most certain, sir.

      Gentleman
 87   Who is conductor of his people?
87. conductor : leader.


      KENT
 88   As 'tis said, the bastard son of Gloucester.
88. As 'tis said: Just as it has been rumored.


      Gentleman
 89   They say Edgar, his banished son, is with the Earl
 90   of Kent in Germany.

      KENT
 91   Report is changeable. 'Tis time to look about; the
91. look about : be on guard.

 92   powers of the kingdom approach apace.

      Gentleman
 93   The arbitrement is like to be bloody. Fare you
93. arbitrement : decisive battle.

 94   well, sir.

           Exit [Gentleman].

      KENT
 95   My point and period will be throughly wrought,
 96   Or well or ill, as this day's battle's fought.
95-96. My point . . . fought. : The critical moment and outcome [of my plans] will be shaped for either better or worse according to how this day's battle is fought.


           Exit.