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Scene 4

The French camp near Dover. A tent.

(Cordelia; Doctor; Soldiers; Officer; French Messenger)

Cordelia asks a doctor whether he can cure Lear’s madness; the doctor assures her that all Lear needs is proper rest. She sends out men to seek for him, just as she learns that the British forces are near at hand. (32 lines)

Enter, with Drum and Colors, Cordelia, Doctor, and Soldiers.


Alack, ’tis he! Why, he was met even now

As mad as the vex’d sea, singing aloud,

Crown’d with rank fumitor and furrow-weeds,

With hardocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flow’rs,

Darnel, 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 an Officer.

What can man’s wisdom

In the restoring his bereaved sense?

He that helps him take all my outward worth.


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

Will close the eye of anguish.


All blest secrets,

All you unpublish’d virtues of the earth,

Spring with my tears; be aidant and remediate

In the good man’s distress! Seek, seek for him,

Lest his ungovern’d rage dissolve the life

That wants the means to lead it.

Enter French Messenger.


News, madam!

The British pow’rs are marching hitherward.


’Tis known before; our preparation stands

In expectation of them. O dear father,

It is thy business that I go about;

Therefore great France

My mourning and importun’d tears hath pitied.

No blown ambition doth our arms incite,

But love, dear love, and our ag’d father’s right.

Soon may I hear and see him!



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