My dear Cordelia,

There is nothing that can undo the wrongs I have done to you, I know. I can only hope that your heart appreciates that love for your father that you once demonstrated so honestly, that it still remains intact. Your forgiveness, now that I’m crazy, is all I ask. Perhaps it is the gods returning my own pride and ignorance that I am crazy, because you well know that I was terribly wrong, and I suffer a lot for my mistake.

Oh, but now I can see that I am only human, like you, like your sisters, like the beggar. The worms and the earth don’t care about who we are in life once we are welcomed once again. The storms hit me as they would any other, “this storm will not give me permission to reflect on the things that would hurt me the most.” Rather, dear, lowering me to the common level. I see now, all their lives, entrenched deep down, never to rise. I can see their hopelessness, their sorrows, their despair and their defeat, and I feel so sorry for them that I have remained ignorant of it. The “helpless man is but a poor, naked, forked animal,” and I have become Him. Oh, but Cordelia, you must rule France with respect to all. Help the poor, I beg you!

Of course, he had forgotten. Their forces are coming, in great numbers. But “I’m afraid I’m not in my perfect mind”, I’m afraid I’ve lost control sometime along the way. I am without my knights, without my servants. Your sisters, cruel and cold, reject me, I did them! What ho! Tell them, they are wrong, then it is so, but they are not so without limits, they will believe only yours, testaments of their will but not of their morality and judgment. True, I thought that you loved me less, and your sisters more, but they did nothing but the vilest flattery, and I, deceived, the great fool, lost his daughter, his crown, his life. I said, “I loved you more and thought about resting in your kind nursery”, and I am very ashamed that I could not see your honest truth and the artificial flattery conceived by your sisters. They never loved me.

For truthful and truthful words and lines, your voice I do seek. But so that I can catch the last breath of my life before that day comes, be happy to rule France and do whatever you want to help England from afar. I’m afraid I won’t survive these next few days. But that the days are numbered, but that I do not know who will claim me, but that I will find that one. Find yourself, Cordelia, don’t bow down to your sisters, don’t bow down to their little weaknesses. No matter your situation, you must continue to be you, Cordelia, always and forever the most deserving of my daughters. I’m sorry it took so long to see this simple truth, but the facts are done. Of course I am sorry, but that in itself will not bring me peace. First I must pay for what I have done, for my ignorance and my pride. And lo! the “storm in my mind removes from my senses all feeling except what beats there” – the external storm fans the fire of my internal storms, but it cannot reach beyond the flame of a candle. I’m done, Cordelia, I’m done, dead in everything but the body. I am cast without, and worms will soon take me. But you will bear it. Yes, you must! For a father to survive his child, even for a second, is a terrible fate, and one that should never happen to us. You have a long and full life ahead of you, certainly greater than mine, if not the one you expected, yes, because of my lamentable idiocy. But I see that it may not be so, but I can do nothing but wait. Cordelia, forgive my pride!

With love in the deepest respect,

Your father, King Lear

King Lear’s Letter

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