Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Lear (Modern, Quarto)
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • Textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-463-9

    Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    King Lear (Modern, Quarto)

    [Scene 18]
    Enter Cordelia, Doctor, and others.
    Alack, 'tis he. Why, he was met even now,
    As mad as the vexed sea, singing aloud;
    Crowned with rank fumitor and furrow-weeds,
    With burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo flowers,
    2355Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
    In our sustaining corn. [To an attendant] A century send forth.
    Search every acre in the high-grown field
    And bring him to our eye.
    [Exit attendant.]
    What can man's wisdom
    In the restoring his bereavèd sense?
    He that can help him 2360take 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
    2365Will close the eye of anguish.
    All blest 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    All you unpublished virtues of the earth,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,
    2370Lest his ungoverned rage dissolve the life
    That wants the means to lead it.
    Enter [a] messenger.
    News, madam.
    The British powers 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 important tears hath pitied.
    No blown ambition doth our arms incite,
    2380But love, dear love, and our agèd father's right.
    Soon may I hear and see him.