Cordelia called the camp doctor to the royal tent.
‘Alas,’ she said, ‘it’s he. He was found, just now, as mad as the vexed sea, singing aloud. He wore a crown of fumiter and ditch weeds – burdocks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers, darnel, and all the worthless weeds that grow among our life-giving corn. Send a company out,’ she told an officer. ‘Search every acre of the crop-filled field and bring him to our sight.’
The officer left to carry our her instructions and she sighed. ‘What can human knowledge do to restore his lost senses? I would give all I own to the man who can help him.’
‘There is a way, madam,’ the doctor said. ‘Sleep is the healing nurse of Nature and he’s lacking that. There are many herbal remedies that have the power of putting his pain to sleep.’
‘May all the blessed secrets and unknown remedies of the earth grow from my tears,’ she said. ‘Be helpful and remedial in the dear man’s distress! Look, look for him lest this uncontrolled rage kills him.’
A messenger was shown in. ‘News, madam,’ he said. ‘The British forces are marching this way.’
‘We knew that already,’ she said. ‘We’ve already made our preparations in anticipation. Oh, dear father, it’s your business that I’m conducting. That’s why my royal lord, France, has taken pity on my sad and pleading tears. It isn’t swollen ambition that has roused us to war, but love, dear love, and our aged father’s rights. May I soon hear and see him!’
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