Kyle Shelton's modern rendering of Sidney's Source for Lear, paragraph 1
It was in the kingdom of Galacia, the season being (as in the depth of winter) very cold, and as then suddenly grown to so extreme and foul a storm, that never any winter (I think) brought forth a fouler child: so that the Princes were even compelled by the hail, that the pride of the wind blew into their faces, to seek some shrouding place within a certain hollow rock offering it unto them, they made it their shield against the tempest's fury. And so staying there, till the violence thereof was passed, they heard the speech of a couple, who, not perceiving them (being hid within that rude canopy) held a strange and pitiful disputation which made them step out; yet in such sort, as they might see unseen. There they perceived an aged man, and a young, scarcely come to the age of a man, both poorly arrayed, extremely weather-beaten; the old man blind, the young man leading him: and yet through all those miseries, in both these seemed to appear a kind of nobleness, not suitable to that affliction. But the first words they heard were these of the old man. Well Leonatus (said he) since I cannot persuade thee to lead me to that which should end my grief, & thy trouble, let me now entreat thee to leave me: fear not, my misery cannot be greater than it is, & and nothing doth become me but misery: fear not the danger of my blind steps. I cannot fall worse than I am. And do not, I pray thee, do not obstinately continue to infect thee with my wretchedness. But fly, fly from this region, only worthy of me. Dear father (answered he) do not take away from me the only remnant of my happiness: while I have power to do you service, I am not wholly miserable. Ah my son (said he, and with that he groaned, as if sorrow strove to break his heart), how evil fits it me to have such a son, and how much doth thy kindness upbraid my wickedness? These doleful speeches, and some others to like purpose (well showing they had not been borne to the fortune they were in), moved the Princes to go out unto them, and ask the younger what they were? Sirs (answered he, with a good grace, and made the more agreeable by a certain noble kind of piteousness) I see well you are strangers, that know not our misery so well here known, that no man dare know, but that we must be miserable. Indeed our state is such, as though nothing is so needful unto us as pity, yet nothing is more dangerous unto us, than to make ourselves so known as may stir pity. But your presence promiseth, that cruelty shall not overrun hate. And if it did, in truth our state is sunk below the degree of fear.
It was in the kingdom of Galacia. In
the dead of the cold winter that came about the foulest storm that I can
by Kyle Shelton
in partial fulfullment of EH 203,
Fall 2000 Dr. Gates
Back to full text at: <http://www.jsu.edu/depart/english/gates/learsour.htm>
To cite this page:
Sidney, Sir Philip. The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia. Available on-line in an extract entitled, "Shakespeare's King Lear: Source for the Gloucester Plot." Hypertext. ed. Joanne E. Gates. Modern translation of paragraph 1 by Kyle Shelton. Available from December 2000. [Access date] <http://www.jsu.edu/depart/english/gates/teachpro/2colsidl.html>.