• Enter, with drum and colors, CORDELIA, DOCTOR, and soldiers

    CORDELIA

    Alack, ’tis he. Why, he was met even now
    As mad as the vexed sea, singing aloud,
    Crowned with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
    With burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
    5Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
    In our sustaining corn.—A century send forth.
    Search every acre in the high-grown field,
    And bring him to our eye.
    Exit some soldiers
       What can man’s wisdom
    In the restoring his bereavèd sense?
    10He that helps him take all my outward worth.

    DOCTOR

    There is means, madam.
    Our foster nurse of nature is repose,
    The which he lacks—that to provoke in him
    Are many simples operative, whose power
    15Will close the eye of anguish.

    CORDELIA

       All blessed secrets,
    All you unpublished virtues of the earth,
    Spring with my tears. Be aidant and remediate
    In the good man’s distress. Seek, seek for him,
    Lest his ungoverned rage dissolve the life
    20That wants the means to lead it.
    Enter SECOND MESSENGER

    SECOND MESSENGER

         News, madam.
    The British powers are marching hitherward.
  • CORDELIA enters with a DOCTOR and soldiers carrying drums and banners.

    CORDELIA

    Sadly, it’s the king that’s missing. They saw him just now as mad and deranged as the stormy sea, singing loudly, wearing a crown of nettles, thorns, hemlock, and all the other weeds that grow in our cornfields.—Send out a hundred soldiers to find him. Search high and low, in every acre of the fields, and bring him here for me to see him.
    Some soldiers exit.
    What can human knowledge do to make him sane again? I’d give all my wealth to whoever can help him.

    DOCTOR

    There is a way, ma'am. Nature heals people with rest, which Lear hasn’t had. But there are many herbs that will help him rest and take his mind off his anguish for a while.

    CORDELIA

    Then I’ll water all those precious herbs with my tears to make them grow. May they relieve a sick old man’s suffering. Go find those herbs for him, before his madness puts his life in danger.
    The SECOND MESSENGER enters.

    SECOND MESSENGER

    I have news, ma'am. The British forces are on their way here.