Richard II

Richard II opens with a dispute between Mowbray and Bolingbroke, which, badly managed by the king, results in banishment for them both. Mowbray’s is the harsher sentence, since his exile will be permanent, and his parting words on how his banishment will mean his “tongue’s is to me no more / Than an unstringed viol or harp” begin an exploration of the power of language that runs the entire length of what one critic has called the ‘Henriad’.

Henry Bolingbroke, although banished, soon returns, ostensibly to reclaim his family lands, seized by Richard from an ailing Gaunt, who, in criticising the state of Ricardian England, delivers the famous definition of his country as “A precious jewel set in a silver sea” from his deathbed. Throughout the play, Bolingbroke and Richard II are opposed, and the former shown to be a consummate Machiavellian who remains to a large extent opaque to the audience.

Richard, by contrast, is perfectly and poetically open about his feelings: an openness that makes for wonderful poetry, but also for a poor Machiavellian. His character was much beloved by romantic critics, who saw him first and foremost as a poet, and it is a rare audience indeed that feels no sympathy for the weakening king. His final long speech seeks to populate his prison with “A generation of still-breeding thoughts”, but his invention slowly turns to the realisation that although he has “the daintiness of ear / To check time broke in a disordered string”, he “for the concord of my state and time / Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.” That image of broken time, like other moments of fracture and rupture in the play, establish a legacy that haunts all the following plays, as first Henry IV and then Henry V attempt the task of, in Hal’s words, “redeeming time”.

Written entirely in verse, and occasionally in couplets, the play has its own distinctive music. It also has a distinctive history: Elizabeth I famously compared herself to Richard II, and a performance of the play was requested by the Earl of Essex in the run up to his ill-fated and abortive attempt at a rebellion in 1601.

Contributed by James Harriman-Smith

The Tragedy of King Richard the Second

ACT I

SCENE I. London. KING RICHARD II’s palace.

Enter KING RICHARD II, JOHN OF GAUNT, with other Nobles and Attendants

KING RICHARD II

Old John of Gaunt, time-honour’d Lancaster,
Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son,
Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

JOHN OF GAUNT

I have, my liege.

KING RICHARD II

Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,
If he appeal the duke on ancient malice;
Or worthily, as a good subject should,
On some known ground of treachery in him?

JOHN OF GAUNT

As near as I could sift him on that argument,
On some apparent danger seen in him
Aim’d at your highness, no inveterate malice.

KING RICHARD II

Then call them to our presence; face to face,
And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
The accuser and the accused freely speak:
High-stomach’d are they both, and full of ire,
In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE and THOMAS MOWBRAY

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Many years of happy days befal
My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Each day still better other’s happiness;
Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap,
Add an immortal title to your crown!

KING RICHARD II

We thank you both: yet one but flatters us,
As well appeareth by the cause you come;
Namely to appeal each other of high treason.
Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

First, heaven be the record to my speech!
In the devotion of a subject’s love,
Tendering the precious safety of my prince,
And free from other misbegotten hate,
Come I appellant to this princely presence.
Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,
And mark my greeting well; for what I speak
My body shall make good upon this earth,
Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
Thou art a traitor and a miscreant,
Too good to be so and too bad to live,
Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
With a foul traitor’s name stuff I thy throat;
And wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move,
What my tongue speaks my right drawn sword may prove.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal:
‘Tis not the trial of a woman’s war,
The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain;
The blood is hot that must be cool’d for this:
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast
As to be hush’d and nought at all to say:
First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me
From giving reins and spurs to my free speech;
Which else would post until it had return’d
These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
Setting aside his high blood’s royalty,
And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
I do defy him, and I spit at him;
Call him a slanderous coward and a villain:
Which to maintain I would allow him odds,
And meet him, were I tied to run afoot
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
Or any other ground inhabitable,
Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
Mean time let this defend my loyalty,
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,
Disclaiming here the kindred of the king,
And lay aside my high blood’s royalty,
Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except.
If guilty dread have left thee so much strength
As to take up mine honour’s pawn, then stoop:
By that and all the rites of knighthood else,
Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

I take it up; and by that sword I swear
Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,
I’ll answer thee in any fair degree,
Or chivalrous design of knightly trial:
And when I mount, alive may I not light,
If I be traitor or unjustly fight!

KING RICHARD II

What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray’s charge?
It must be great that can inherit us
So much as of a thought of ill in him.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Look, what I speak, my life shall prove it true;
That Mowbray hath received eight thousand nobles
In name of lendings for your highness’ soldiers,
The which he hath detain’d for lewd employments,
Like a false traitor and injurious villain.
Besides I say and will in battle prove,
Or here or elsewhere to the furthest verge
That ever was survey’d by English eye,
That all the treasons for these eighteen years
Complotted and contrived in this land
Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
Further I say and further will maintain
Upon his bad life to make all this good,
That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester’s death,
Suggest his soon-believing adversaries,
And consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood:
Which blood, like sacrificing Abel’s, cries,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
To me for justice and rough chastisement;
And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.

KING RICHARD II

How high a pitch his resolution soars!
Thomas of Norfolk, what say’st thou to this?

THOMAS MOWBRAY

O, let my sovereign turn away his face
And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
Till I have told this slander of his blood,
How God and good men hate so foul a liar.

KING RICHARD II

Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears:
Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom’s heir,
As he is but my father’s brother’s son,
Now, by my sceptre’s awe, I make a vow,
Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood
Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul:
He is our subject, Mowbray; so art thou:
Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest.
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais
Disbursed I duly to his highness’ soldiers;
The other part reserved I by consent,
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt
Upon remainder of a dear account,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen:
Now swallow down that lie. For Gloucester’s death,
I slew him not; but to my own disgrace
Neglected my sworn duty in that case.
For you, my noble Lord of Lancaster,
The honourable father to my foe
Once did I lay an ambush for your life,
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul
But ere I last received the sacrament
I did confess it, and exactly begg’d
Your grace’s pardon, and I hope I had it.
This is my fault: as for the rest appeall’d,
It issues from the rancour of a villain,
A recreant and most degenerate traitor
Which in myself I boldly will defend;
And interchangeably hurl down my gage
Upon this overweening traitor’s foot,
To prove myself a loyal gentleman
Even in the best blood chamber’d in his bosom.
In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
Your highness to assign our trial day.

KING RICHARD II

Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me;
Let’s purge this choler without letting blood:
This we prescribe, though no physician;
Deep malice makes too deep incision;
Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed;
Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.
Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
We’ll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.

JOHN OF GAUNT

To be a make-peace shall become my age:
Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk’s gage.

KING RICHARD II

And, Norfolk, throw down his.

JOHN OF GAUNT

When, Harry, when?
Obedience bids I should not bid again.

KING RICHARD II

Norfolk, throw down, we bid; there is no boot.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot.
My life thou shalt command, but not my shame:
The one my duty owes; but my fair name,
Despite of death that lives upon my grave,
To dark dishonour’s use thou shalt not have.
I am disgraced, impeach’d and baffled here,
Pierced to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear,
The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood
Which breathed this poison.

KING RICHARD II

Rage must be withstood:
Give me his gage: lions make leopards tame.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Yea, but not change his spots: take but my shame.
And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,
The purest treasure mortal times afford
Is spotless reputation: that away,
Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.
A jewel in a ten-times-barr’d-up chest
Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
Mine honour is my life; both grow in one:
Take honour from me, and my life is done:
Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;
In that I live and for that will I die.

KING RICHARD II

Cousin, throw up your gage; do you begin.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O, God defend my soul from such deep sin!
Shall I seem crest-fall’n in my father’s sight?
Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
Before this out-dared dastard? Ere my tongue
Shall wound my honour with such feeble wrong,
Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear
The slavish motive of recanting fear,
And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,
Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray’s face.

Exit JOHN OF GAUNT

KING RICHARD II

We were not born to sue, but to command;
Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,
At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert’s day:
There shall your swords and lances arbitrate
The swelling difference of your settled hate:
Since we can not atone you, we shall see
Justice design the victor’s chivalry.
Lord marshal, command our officers at arms
Be ready to direct these home alarms.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The DUKE OF LANCASTER’S palace.

Enter JOHN OF GAUNT with DUCHESS

JOHN OF GAUNT

Alas, the part I had in Woodstock’s blood
Doth more solicit me than your exclaims,
To stir against the butchers of his life!
But since correction lieth in those hands
Which made the fault that we cannot correct,
Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven;
Who, when they see the hours ripe on earth,
Will rain hot vengeance on offenders’ heads.

DUCHESS

Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?
Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?
Edward’s seven sons, whereof thyself art one,
Were as seven vials of his sacred blood,
Or seven fair branches springing from one root:
Some of those seven are dried by nature’s course,
Some of those branches by the Destinies cut;
But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloucester,
One vial full of Edward’s sacred blood,
One flourishing branch of his most royal root,
Is crack’d, and all the precious liquor spilt,
Is hack’d down, and his summer leaves all faded,
By envy’s hand and murder’s bloody axe.
Ah, Gaunt, his blood was thine! that bed, that womb,
That metal, that self-mould, that fashion’d thee
Made him a man; and though thou livest and breathest,
Yet art thou slain in him: thou dost consent
In some large measure to thy father’s death,
In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,
Who was the model of thy father’s life.
Call it not patience, Gaunt; it is despair:
In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughter’d,
Thou showest the naked pathway to thy life,
Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee:
That which in mean men we intitle patience
Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.
What shall I say? to safeguard thine own life,
The best way is to venge my Gloucester’s death.

JOHN OF GAUNT

God’s is the quarrel; for God’s substitute,
His deputy anointed in His sight,
Hath caused his death: the which if wrongfully,
Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift
An angry arm against His minister.

DUCHESS

Where then, alas, may I complain myself?

JOHN OF GAUNT

To God, the widow’s champion and defence.

DUCHESS

Why, then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.
Thou goest to Coventry, there to behold
Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight:
O, sit my husband’s wrongs on Hereford’s spear,
That it may enter butcher Mowbray’s breast!
Or, if misfortune miss the first career,
Be Mowbray’s sins so heavy in his bosom,
They may break his foaming courser’s back,
And throw the rider headlong in the lists,
A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!
Farewell, old Gaunt: thy sometimes brother’s wife
With her companion grief must end her life.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Sister, farewell; I must to Coventry:
As much good stay with thee as go with me!

DUCHESS

Yet one word more: grief boundeth where it falls,
Not with the empty hollowness, but weight:
I take my leave before I have begun,
For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.
Commend me to thy brother, Edmund York.
Lo, this is all:–nay, yet depart not so;
Though this be all, do not so quickly go;
I shall remember more. Bid him–ah, what?–
With all good speed at Plashy visit me.
Alack, and what shall good old York there see
But empty lodgings and unfurnish’d walls,
Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?
And what hear there for welcome but my groans?
Therefore commend me; let him not come there,
To seek out sorrow that dwells every where.
Desolate, desolate, will I hence and die:
The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.

Exeunt

SCENE III. The lists at Coventry.

Enter the Lord Marshal and the DUKE OF AUMERLE

Lord Marshal

My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm’d?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in.

Lord Marshal

The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,
Stays but the summons of the appellant’s trumpet.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Why, then, the champions are prepared, and stay
For nothing but his majesty’s approach.

The trumpets sound, and KING RICHARD enters with his nobles, JOHN OF GAUNT, BUSHY, BAGOT, GREEN, and others. When they are set, enter THOMAS MOWBRAY in arms, defendant, with a Herald

KING RICHARD II

Marshal, demand of yonder champion
The cause of his arrival here in arms:
Ask him his name and orderly proceed
To swear him in the justice of his cause.

Lord Marshal

In God’s name and the king’s, say who thou art
And why thou comest thus knightly clad in arms,
Against what man thou comest, and what thy quarrel:
Speak truly, on thy knighthood and thy oath;
As so defend thee heaven and thy valour!

THOMAS MOWBRAY

My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk;
Who hither come engaged by my oath–
Which God defend a knight should violate!–
Both to defend my loyalty and truth
To God, my king and my succeeding issue,
Against the Duke of Hereford that appeals me
And, by the grace of God and this mine arm,
To prove him, in defending of myself,
A traitor to my God, my king, and me:
And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!

The trumpets sound. Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, appellant, in armour, with a Herald

KING RICHARD II

Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms,
Both who he is and why he cometh hither
Thus plated in habiliments of war,
And formally, according to our law,
Depose him in the justice of his cause.

Lord Marshal

What is thy name? and wherefore comest thou hither,
Before King Richard in his royal lists?
Against whom comest thou? and what’s thy quarrel?
Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby
Am I; who ready here do stand in arms,
To prove, by God’s grace and my body’s valour,
In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
That he is a traitor, foul and dangerous,
To God of heaven, King Richard and to me;
And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!

Lord Marshal

On pain of death, no person be so bold
Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists,
Except the marshal and such officers
Appointed to direct these fair designs.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign’s hand,
And bow my knee before his majesty:
For Mowbray and myself are like two men
That vow a long and weary pilgrimage;
Then let us take a ceremonious leave
And loving farewell of our several friends.

Lord Marshal

The appellant in all duty greets your highness,
And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.

KING RICHARD II

We will descend and fold him in our arms.
Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,
So be thy fortune in this royal fight!
Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed,
Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O let no noble eye profane a tear
For me, if I be gored with Mowbray’s spear:
As confident as is the falcon’s flight
Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight.
My loving lord, I take my leave of you;
Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle;
Not sick, although I have to do with death,
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.
Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet
The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet:
O thou, the earthly author of my blood,
Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,
Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up
To reach at victory above my head,
Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers;
And with thy blessings steel my lance’s point,
That it may enter Mowbray’s waxen coat,
And furbish new the name of John a Gaunt,
Even in the lusty havior of his son.

JOHN OF GAUNT

God in thy good cause make thee prosperous!
Be swift like lightning in the execution;
And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,
Fall like amazing thunder on the casque
Of thy adverse pernicious enemy:
Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Mine innocency and Saint George to thrive!

THOMAS MOWBRAY

However God or fortune cast my lot,
There lives or dies, true to King Richard’s throne,
A loyal, just and upright gentleman:
Never did captive with a freer heart
Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace
His golden uncontroll’d enfranchisement,
More than my dancing soul doth celebrate
This feast of battle with mine adversary.
Most mighty liege, and my companion peers,
Take from my mouth the wish of happy years:
As gentle and as jocund as to jest
Go I to fight: truth hath a quiet breast.

KING RICHARD II

Farewell, my lord: securely I espy
Virtue with valour couched in thine eye.
Order the trial, marshal, and begin.

Lord Marshal

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby,
Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Strong as a tower in hope, I cry amen.

Lord Marshal

Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.

First Herald

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby,
Stands here for God, his sovereign and himself,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,
A traitor to his God, his king and him;
And dares him to set forward to the fight.

Second Herald

Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
Both to defend himself and to approve
Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
To God, his sovereign and to him disloyal;
Courageously and with a free desire
Attending but the signal to begin.

Lord Marshal

Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants.
Stay, the king hath thrown his warder down.

KING RICHARD II

Let them lay by their helmets and their spears,
And both return back to their chairs again:
Withdraw with us: and let the trumpets sound
While we return these dukes what we decree.
Draw near,
And list what with our council we have done.
For that our kingdom’s earth should not be soil’d
With that dear blood which it hath fostered;
And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect
Of civil wounds plough’d up with neighbours’ sword;
And for we think the eagle-winged pride
Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,
With rival-hating envy, set on you
To wake our peace, which in our country’s cradle
Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep;
Which so roused up with boisterous untuned drums,
With harsh resounding trumpets’ dreadful bray,
And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,
Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace
And make us wade even in our kindred’s blood,
Therefore, we banish you our territories:
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life,
Till twice five summers have enrich’d our fields
Shall not regreet our fair dominions,
But tread the stranger paths of banishment.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Your will be done: this must my comfort be,
Sun that warms you here shall shine on me;
And those his golden beams to you here lent
Shall point on me and gild my banishment.

KING RICHARD II

Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,
Which I with some unwillingness pronounce:
The sly slow hours shall not determinate
The dateless limit of thy dear exile;
The hopeless word of ‘never to return’
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
And all unlook’d for from your highness’ mouth:
A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
As to be cast forth in the common air,
Have I deserved at your highness’ hands.
The language I have learn’d these forty years,
My native English, now I must forego:
And now my tongue’s use is to me no more
Than an unstringed viol or a harp,
Or like a cunning instrument cased up,
Or, being open, put into his hands
That knows no touch to tune the harmony:
Within my mouth you have engaol’d my tongue,
Doubly portcullis’d with my teeth and lips;
And dull unfeeling barren ignorance
Is made my gaoler to attend on me.
I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,
Too far in years to be a pupil now:
What is thy sentence then but speechless death,
Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath?

KING RICHARD II

It boots thee not to be compassionate:
After our sentence plaining comes too late.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Then thus I turn me from my country’s light,
To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.

KING RICHARD II

Return again, and take an oath with thee.
Lay on our royal sword your banish’d hands;
Swear by the duty that you owe to God–
Our part therein we banish with yourselves–
To keep the oath that we administer:
You never shall, so help you truth and God!
Embrace each other’s love in banishment;
Nor never look upon each other’s face;
Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
This louring tempest of your home-bred hate;
Nor never by advised purpose meet
To plot, contrive, or complot any ill
‘Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I swear.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

And I, to keep all this.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:–
By this time, had the king permitted us,
One of our souls had wander’d in the air.
Banish’d this frail sepulchre of our flesh,
As now our flesh is banish’d from this land:
Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm;
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
The clogging burthen of a guilty soul.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

No, Bolingbroke: if ever I were traitor,
My name be blotted from the book of life,
And I from heaven banish’d as from hence!
But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know;
And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue.
Farewell, my liege. Now no way can I stray;
Save back to England, all the world’s my way.

Exit

KING RICHARD II

Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes
I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect
Hath from the number of his banish’d years
Pluck’d four away.
Six frozen winter spent,
Return with welcome home from banishment.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

How long a time lies in one little word!
Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
End in a word: such is the breath of kings.

JOHN OF GAUNT

I thank my liege, that in regard of me
He shortens four years of my son’s exile:
But little vantage shall I reap thereby;
For, ere the six years that he hath to spend
Can change their moons and bring their times about
My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light
Shall be extinct with age and endless night;
My inch of taper will be burnt and done,
And blindfold death not let me see my son.

KING RICHARD II

Why uncle, thou hast many years to live.

JOHN OF GAUNT

But not a minute, king, that thou canst give:
Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,
And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow;
Thou canst help time to furrow me with age,
But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage;
Thy word is current with him for my death,
But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.

KING RICHARD II

Thy son is banish’d upon good advice,
Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave:
Why at our justice seem’st thou then to lour?

JOHN OF GAUNT

Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
You urged me as a judge; but I had rather
You would have bid me argue like a father.
O, had it been a stranger, not my child,
To smooth his fault I should have been more mild:
A partial slander sought I to avoid,
And in the sentence my own life destroy’d.
Alas, I look’d when some of you should say,
I was too strict to make mine own away;
But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue
Against my will to do myself this wrong.

KING RICHARD II

Cousin, farewell; and, uncle, bid him so:
Six years we banish him, and he shall go.

Flourish. Exeunt KING RICHARD II and train

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know,
From where you do remain let paper show.

Lord Marshal

My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride,
As far as land will let me, by your side.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,
That thou return’st no greeting to thy friends?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I have too few to take my leave of you,
When the tongue’s office should be prodigal
To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Joy absent, grief is present for that time.

JOHN OF GAUNT

What is six winters? they are quickly gone.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Call it a travel that thou takest for pleasure.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,
Which finds it an inforced pilgrimage.

JOHN OF GAUNT

The sullen passage of thy weary steps
Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set
The precious jewel of thy home return.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make
Will but remember me what a deal of world
I wander from the jewels that I love.
Must I not serve a long apprenticehood
To foreign passages, and in the end,
Having my freedom, boast of nothing else
But that I was a journeyman to grief?

JOHN OF GAUNT

All places that the eye of heaven visits
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.
Teach thy necessity to reason thus;
There is no virtue like necessity.
Think not the king did banish thee,
But thou the king. Woe doth the heavier sit,
Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour
And not the king exiled thee; or suppose
Devouring pestilence hangs in our air
And thou art flying to a fresher clime:
Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
To lie that way thou go’st, not whence thou comest:
Suppose the singing birds musicians,
The grass whereon thou tread’st the presence strew’d,
The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more
Than a delightful measure or a dance;
For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
The man that mocks at it and sets it light.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O, who can hold a fire in his hand
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?
Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite
By bare imagination of a feast?
Or wallow naked in December snow
By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?
O, no! the apprehension of the good
Gives but the greater feeling to the worse:
Fell sorrow’s tooth doth never rankle more
Than when he bites, but lanceth not the sore.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Come, come, my son, I’ll bring thee on thy way:
Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Then, England’s ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu;
My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet!
Where’er I wander, boast of this I can,
Though banish’d, yet a trueborn Englishman.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The court.

Enter KING RICHARD II, with BAGOT and GREEN at one door; and the DUKE OF AUMERLE at another

KING RICHARD II

We did observe. Cousin Aumerle,
How far brought you high Hereford on his way?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

I brought high Hereford, if you call him so,
But to the next highway, and there I left him.

KING RICHARD II

And say, what store of parting tears were shed?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Faith, none for me; except the north-east wind,
Which then blew bitterly against our faces,
Awaked the sleeping rheum, and so by chance
Did grace our hollow parting with a tear.

KING RICHARD II

What said our cousin when you parted with him?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

‘Farewell:’
And, for my heart disdained that my tongue
Should so profane the word, that taught me craft
To counterfeit oppression of such grief
That words seem’d buried in my sorrow’s grave.
Marry, would the word ‘farewell’ have lengthen’d hours
And added years to his short banishment,
He should have had a volume of farewells;
But since it would not, he had none of me.

KING RICHARD II

He is our cousin, cousin; but ’tis doubt,
When time shall call him home from banishment,
Whether our kinsman come to see his friends.
Ourself and Bushy, Bagot here and Green
Observed his courtship to the common people;
How he did seem to dive into their hearts
With humble and familiar courtesy,
What reverence he did throw away on slaves,
Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles
And patient underbearing of his fortune,
As ’twere to banish their affects with him.
Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench;
A brace of draymen bid God speed him well
And had the tribute of his supple knee,
With ‘Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends;’
As were our England in reversion his,
And he our subjects’ next degree in hope.

GREEN

Well, he is gone; and with him go these thoughts.
Now for the rebels which stand out in Ireland,
Expedient manage must be made, my liege,
Ere further leisure yield them further means
For their advantage and your highness’ loss.

KING RICHARD II

We will ourself in person to this war:
And, for our coffers, with too great a court
And liberal largess, are grown somewhat light,
We are inforced to farm our royal realm;
The revenue whereof shall furnish us
For our affairs in hand: if that come short,
Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters;
Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich,
They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold
And send them after to supply our wants;
For we will make for Ireland presently.
Bushy, what news?

BUSHY

Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord,
Suddenly taken; and hath sent post haste
To entreat your majesty to visit him.

KING RICHARD II

Where lies he?

BUSHY

At Ely House.

KING RICHARD II

Now put it, God, in the physician’s mind
To help him to his grave immediately!
The lining of his coffers shall make coats
To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.
Come, gentlemen, let’s all go visit him:
Pray God we may make haste, and come too late!

All

Amen.

Exeunt

ACT II

SCENE I. Ely House.

Enter JOHN OF GAUNT sick, with the DUKE OF YORK, &c

JOHN OF GAUNT

Will the king come, that I may breathe my last
In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth?

DUKE OF YORK

Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath;
For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O, but they say the tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony:
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain,
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.
He that no more must say is listen’d more
Than they whom youth and ease have taught to glose;
More are men’s ends mark’d than their lives before:
The setting sun, and music at the close,
As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
Writ in remembrance more than things long past:
Though Richard my life’s counsel would not hear,
My death’s sad tale may yet undeaf his ear.

DUKE OF YORK

No; it is stopp’d with other flattering sounds,
As praises, of whose taste the wise are fond,
Lascivious metres, to whose venom sound
The open ear of youth doth always listen;
Report of fashions in proud Italy,
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation
Limps after in base imitation.
Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity–
So it be new, there’s no respect how vile–
That is not quickly buzzed into his ears?
Then all too late comes counsel to be heard,
Where will doth mutiny with wit’s regard.
Direct not him whose way himself will choose:
‘Tis breath thou lack’st, and that breath wilt thou lose.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear’d by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!

Enter KING RICHARD II and QUEEN, DUKE OF AUMERLE, BUSHY, GREEN, BAGOT, LORD ROSS, and LORD WILLOUGHBY

DUKE OF YORK

The king is come: deal mildly with his youth;
For young hot colts being raged do rage the more.

QUEEN

How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster?

KING RICHARD II

What comfort, man? how is’t with aged Gaunt?

JOHN OF GAUNT

O how that name befits my composition!
Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old:
Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast;
And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt?
For sleeping England long time have I watch’d;
Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt:
The pleasure that some fathers feed upon,
Is my strict fast; I mean, my children’s looks;
And therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt:
Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,
Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.

KING RICHARD II

Can sick men play so nicely with their names?

JOHN OF GAUNT

No, misery makes sport to mock itself:
Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me,
I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee.

KING RICHARD II

Should dying men flatter with those that live?

JOHN OF GAUNT

No, no, men living flatter those that die.

KING RICHARD II

Thou, now a-dying, say’st thou flatterest me.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O, no! thou diest, though I the sicker be.

KING RICHARD II

I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Now He that made me knows I see thee ill;
Ill in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill.
Thy death-bed is no lesser than thy land
Wherein thou liest in reputation sick;
And thou, too careless patient as thou art,
Commit’st thy anointed body to the cure
Of those physicians that first wounded thee:
A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,
Whose compass is no bigger than thy head;
And yet, incaged in so small a verge,
The waste is no whit lesser than thy land.
O, had thy grandsire with a prophet’s eye
Seen how his son’s son should destroy his sons,
From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame,
Deposing thee before thou wert possess’d,
Which art possess’d now to depose thyself.
Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world,
It were a shame to let this land by lease;
But for thy world enjoying but this land,
Is it not more than shame to shame it so?
Landlord of England art thou now, not king:
Thy state of law is bondslave to the law; And thou–

KING RICHARD II

A lunatic lean-witted fool,
Presuming on an ague’s privilege,
Darest with thy frozen admonition
Make pale our cheek, chasing the royal blood
With fury from his native residence.
Now, by my seat’s right royal majesty,
Wert thou not brother to great Edward’s son,
This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head
Should run thy head from thy unreverent shoulders.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O, spare me not, my brother Edward’s son,
For that I was his father Edward’s son;
That blood already, like the pelican,
Hast thou tapp’d out and drunkenly caroused:
My brother Gloucester, plain well-meaning soul,
Whom fair befal in heaven ‘mongst happy souls!
May be a precedent and witness good
That thou respect’st not spilling Edward’s blood:
Join with the present sickness that I have;
And thy unkindness be like crooked age,
To crop at once a too long wither’d flower.
Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!
These words hereafter thy tormentors be!
Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:
Love they to live that love and honour have.

Exit, borne off by his Attendants

KING RICHARD II

And let them die that age and sullens have;
For both hast thou, and both become the grave.

DUKE OF YORK

I do beseech your majesty, impute his words
To wayward sickliness and age in him:
He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear
As Harry Duke of Hereford, were he here.

KING RICHARD II

Right, you say true: as Hereford’s love, so his;
As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND

NORTHUMBERLAND

My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majesty.

KING RICHARD II

What says he?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Nay, nothing; all is said
His tongue is now a stringless instrument;
Words, life and all, old Lancaster hath spent.

DUKE OF YORK

Be York the next that must be bankrupt so!
Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.

KING RICHARD II

The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he;
His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be.
So much for that. Now for our Irish wars:
We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns,
Which live like venom where no venom else
But only they have privilege to live.
And for these great affairs do ask some charge,
Towards our assistance we do seize to us
The plate, corn, revenues and moveables,
Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.

DUKE OF YORK

How long shall I be patient? ah, how long
Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?
Not Gloucester’s death, nor Hereford’s banishment
Not Gaunt’s rebukes, nor England’s private wrongs,
Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke
About his marriage, nor my own disgrace,
Have ever made me sour my patient cheek,
Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign’s face.
I am the last of noble Edward’s sons,
Of whom thy father, Prince of Wales, was first:
In war was never lion raged more fierce,
In peace was never gentle lamb more mild,
Than was that young and princely gentleman.
His face thou hast, for even so look’d he,
Accomplish’d with the number of thy hours;
But when he frown’d, it was against the French
And not against his friends; his noble hand
Did will what he did spend and spent not that
Which his triumphant father’s hand had won;
His hands were guilty of no kindred blood,
But bloody with the enemies of his kin.
O Richard! York is too far gone with grief,
Or else he never would compare between.

KING RICHARD II

Why, uncle, what’s the matter?

DUKE OF YORK

O my liege,
Pardon me, if you please; if not, I, pleased
Not to be pardon’d, am content withal.
Seek you to seize and gripe into your hands
The royalties and rights of banish’d Hereford?
Is not Gaunt dead, and doth not Hereford live?
Was not Gaunt just, and is not Harry true?
Did not the one deserve to have an heir?
Is not his heir a well-deserving son?
Take Hereford’s rights away, and take from Time
His charters and his customary rights;
Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day;
Be not thyself; for how art thou a king
But by fair sequence and succession?
Now, afore God–God forbid I say true!–
If you do wrongfully seize Hereford’s rights,
Call in the letters patent that he hath
By his attorneys-general to sue
His livery, and deny his offer’d homage,
You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,
You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts
And prick my tender patience, to those thoughts
Which honour and allegiance cannot think.

KING RICHARD II

Think what you will, we seize into our hands
His plate, his goods, his money and his lands.

DUKE OF YORK

I’ll not be by the while: my liege, farewell:
What will ensue hereof, there’s none can tell;
But by bad courses may be understood
That their events can never fall out good.

Exit

KING RICHARD II

Go, Bushy, to the Earl of Wiltshire straight:
Bid him repair to us to Ely House
To see this business. To-morrow next
We will for Ireland; and ’tis time, I trow:
And we create, in absence of ourself,
Our uncle York lord governor of England;
For he is just and always loved us well.
Come on, our queen: to-morrow must we part;
Be merry, for our time of stay is short

Flourish. Exeunt KING RICHARD II, QUEEN, DUKE OF AUMERLE, BUSHY, GREEN, and BAGOT

NORTHUMBERLAND

Well, lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.

LORD ROSS

And living too; for now his son is duke.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Barely in title, not in revenue.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Richly in both, if justice had her right.

LORD ROSS

My heart is great; but it must break with silence,
Ere’t be disburden’d with a liberal tongue.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Nay, speak thy mind; and let him ne’er speak more
That speaks thy words again to do thee harm!

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Tends that thou wouldst speak to the Duke of Hereford?
If it be so, out with it boldly, man;
Quick is mine ear to hear of good towards him.

LORD ROSS

No good at all that I can do for him;
Unless you call it good to pity him,
Bereft and gelded of his patrimony.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Now, afore God, ’tis shame such wrongs are borne
In him, a royal prince, and many moe
Of noble blood in this declining land.
The king is not himself, but basely led
By flatterers; and what they will inform,
Merely in hate, ‘gainst any of us all,
That will the king severely prosecute
‘Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs.

LORD ROSS

The commons hath he pill’d with grievous taxes,
And quite lost their hearts: the nobles hath he fined
For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

And daily new exactions are devised,
As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what:
But what, o’ God’s name, doth become of this?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Wars have not wasted it, for warr’d he hath not,
But basely yielded upon compromise
That which his noble ancestors achieved with blows:
More hath he spent in peace than they in wars.

LORD ROSS

The Earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

The king’s grown bankrupt, like a broken man.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him.

LORD ROSS

He hath not money for these Irish wars,
His burthenous taxations notwithstanding,
But by the robbing of the banish’d duke.

NORTHUMBERLAND

His noble kinsman: most degenerate king!
But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing,
Yet see no shelter to avoid the storm;
We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,
And yet we strike not, but securely perish.

LORD ROSS

We see the very wreck that we must suffer;
And unavoided is the danger now,
For suffering so the causes of our wreck.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Not so; even through the hollow eyes of death
I spy life peering; but I dare not say
How near the tidings of our comfort is.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Nay, let us share thy thoughts, as thou dost ours.

LORD ROSS

Be confident to speak, Northumberland:
We three are but thyself; and, speaking so,
Thy words are but as thoughts; therefore, be bold.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Then thus: I have from Port le Blanc, a bay
In Brittany, received intelligence
That Harry Duke of Hereford, Rainold Lord Cobham,
That late broke from the Duke of Exeter,
His brother, Archbishop late of Canterbury,
Sir Thomas Erpingham, Sir John Ramston,
Sir John Norbery, Sir Robert Waterton and Francis Quoint,
All these well furnish’d by the Duke of Bretagne
With eight tall ships, three thousand men of war,
Are making hither with all due expedience
And shortly mean to touch our northern shore:
Perhaps they had ere this, but that they stay
The first departing of the king for Ireland.
If then we shall shake off our slavish yoke,
Imp out our drooping country’s broken wing,
Redeem from broking pawn the blemish’d crown,
Wipe off the dust that hides our sceptre’s gilt
And make high majesty look like itself,
Away with me in post to Ravenspurgh;
But if you faint, as fearing to do so,
Stay and be secret, and myself will go.

LORD ROSS

To horse, to horse! urge doubts to them that fear.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The palace.

Enter QUEEN, BUSHY, and BAGOT

BUSHY

Madam, your majesty is too much sad:
You promised, when you parted with the king,
To lay aside life-harming heaviness
And entertain a cheerful disposition.

QUEEN

To please the king I did; to please myself
I cannot do it; yet I know no cause
Why I should welcome such a guest as grief,
Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest
As my sweet Richard: yet again, methinks,
Some unborn sorrow, ripe in fortune’s womb,
Is coming towards me, and my inward soul
With nothing trembles: at some thing it grieves,
More than with parting from my lord the king.

BUSHY

Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,
Which shows like grief itself, but is not so;
For sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears,
Divides one thing entire to many objects;
Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon
Show nothing but confusion, eyed awry
Distinguish form: so your sweet majesty,
Looking awry upon your lord’s departure,
Find shapes of grief, more than himself, to wail;
Which, look’d on as it is, is nought but shadows
Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen,
More than your lord’s departure weep not: more’s not seen;
Or if it be, ’tis with false sorrow’s eye,
Which for things true weeps things imaginary.

QUEEN

It may be so; but yet my inward soul
Persuades me it is otherwise: howe’er it be,
I cannot but be sad; so heavy sad
As, though on thinking on no thought I think,
Makes me with heavy nothing faint and shrink.

BUSHY

‘Tis nothing but conceit, my gracious lady.

QUEEN

‘Tis nothing less: conceit is still derived
From some forefather grief; mine is not so,
For nothing had begot my something grief;
Or something hath the nothing that I grieve:
‘Tis in reversion that I do possess;
But what it is, that is not yet known; what
I cannot name; ’tis nameless woe, I wot.

Enter GREEN

GREEN

God save your majesty! and well met, gentlemen:
I hope the king is not yet shipp’d for Ireland.

QUEEN

Why hopest thou so? ’tis better hope he is;
For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope:
Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipp’d?

GREEN

That he, our hope, might have retired his power,
And driven into despair an enemy’s hope,
Who strongly hath set footing in this land:
The banish’d Bolingbroke repeals himself,
And with uplifted arms is safe arrived
At Ravenspurgh.

QUEEN

Now God in heaven forbid!

GREEN

Ah, madam, ’tis too true: and that is worse,
The Lord Northumberland, his son young Henry Percy,
The Lords of Ross, Beaumond, and Willoughby,
With all their powerful friends, are fled to him.

BUSHY

Why have you not proclaim’d Northumberland
And all the rest revolted faction traitors?

GREEN

We have: whereupon the Earl of Worcester
Hath broke his staff, resign’d his stewardship,
And all the household servants fled with him
To Bolingbroke.

QUEEN

So, Green, thou art the midwife to my woe,
And Bolingbroke my sorrow’s dismal heir:
Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy,
And I, a gasping new-deliver’d mother,
Have woe to woe, sorrow to sorrow join’d.

BUSHY

Despair not, madam.

QUEEN

Who shall hinder me?
I will despair, and be at enmity
With cozening hope: he is a flatterer,
A parasite, a keeper back of death,
Who gently would dissolve the bands of life,
Which false hope lingers in extremity.

Enter DUKE OF YORK

GREEN

Here comes the Duke of York.

QUEEN

With signs of war about his aged neck:
O, full of careful business are his looks!
Uncle, for God’s sake, speak comfortable words.

DUKE OF YORK

Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts:
Comfort’s in heaven; and we are on the earth,
Where nothing lives but crosses, cares and grief.
Your husband, he is gone to save far off,
Whilst others come to make him lose at home:
Here am I left to underprop his land,
Who, weak with age, cannot support myself:
Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made;
Now shall he try his friends that flatter’d him.

Enter a Servant

Servant

My lord, your son was gone before I came.

DUKE OF YORK

He was? Why, so! go all which way it will!
The nobles they are fled, the commons they are cold,
And will, I fear, revolt on Hereford’s side.
Sirrah, get thee to Plashy, to my sister Gloucester;
Bid her send me presently a thousand pound:
Hold, take my ring.

Servant

My lord, I had forgot to tell your lordship,
To-day, as I came by, I called there;
But I shall grieve you to report the rest.

DUKE OF YORK

What is’t, knave?

Servant

An hour before I came, the duchess died.

DUKE OF YORK

God for his mercy! what a tide of woes
Comes rushing on this woeful land at once!
I know not what to do: I would to God,
So my untruth had not provoked him to it,
The king had cut off my head with my brother’s.
What, are there no posts dispatch’d for Ireland?
How shall we do for money for these wars?
Come, sister,–cousin, I would say–pray, pardon me.
Go, fellow, get thee home, provide some carts
And bring away the armour that is there.
Gentlemen, will you go muster men?
If I know how or which way to order these affairs
Thus thrust disorderly into my hands,
Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen:
The one is my sovereign, whom both my oath
And duty bids defend; the other again
Is my kinsman, whom the king hath wrong’d,
Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right.
Well, somewhat we must do. Come, cousin, I’ll
Dispose of you.
Gentlemen, go, muster up your men,
And meet me presently at Berkeley.
I should to Plashy too;
But time will not permit: all is uneven,
And every thing is left at six and seven.

Exeunt DUKE OF YORK and QUEEN

BUSHY

The wind sits fair for news to go to Ireland,
But none returns. For us to levy power
Proportionable to the enemy
Is all unpossible.

GREEN

Besides, our nearness to the king in love
Is near the hate of those love not the king.

BAGOT

And that’s the wavering commons: for their love
Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them
By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.

BUSHY

Wherein the king stands generally condemn’d.

BAGOT

If judgement lie in them, then so do we,
Because we ever have been near the king.

GREEN

Well, I will for refuge straight to Bristol castle:
The Earl of Wiltshire is already there.

BUSHY

Thither will I with you; for little office
The hateful commons will perform for us,
Except like curs to tear us all to pieces.
Will you go along with us?

BAGOT

No; I will to Ireland to his majesty.
Farewell: if heart’s presages be not vain,
We three here art that ne’er shall meet again.

BUSHY

That’s as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke.

GREEN

Alas, poor duke! the task he undertakes
Is numbering sands and drinking oceans dry:
Where one on his side fights, thousands will fly.
Farewell at once, for once, for all, and ever.

BUSHY

Well, we may meet again.

BAGOT

I fear me, never.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Wilds in Gloucestershire.

Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE and NORTHUMBERLAND, with Forces

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Believe me, noble lord,
I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire:
These high wild hills and rough uneven ways
Draws out our miles, and makes them wearisome,
And yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar,
Making the hard way sweet and delectable.
But I bethink me what a weary way
From Ravenspurgh to Cotswold will be found
In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company,
Which, I protest, hath very much beguiled
The tediousness and process of my travel:
But theirs is sweetened with the hope to have
The present benefit which I possess;
And hope to joy is little less in joy
Than hope enjoy’d: by this the weary lords
Shall make their way seem short, as mine hath done
By sight of what I have, your noble company.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Of much less value is my company
Than your good words. But who comes here?

Enter HENRY PERCY

NORTHUMBERLAND

It is my son, young Harry Percy,
Sent from my brother Worcester, whencesoever.
Harry, how fares your uncle?

HENRY PERCY

I had thought, my lord, to have learn’d his health of you.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Why, is he not with the queen?

HENRY PERCY

No, my good Lord; he hath forsook the court,
Broken his staff of office and dispersed
The household of the king.

NORTHUMBERLAND

What was his reason?
He was not so resolved when last we spake together.

HENRY PERCY

Because your lordship was proclaimed traitor.
But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurgh,
To offer service to the Duke of Hereford,
And sent me over by Berkeley, to discover
What power the Duke of York had levied there;
Then with directions to repair to Ravenspurgh.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Have you forgot the Duke of Hereford, boy?

HENRY PERCY

No, my good lord, for that is not forgot
Which ne’er I did remember: to my knowledge,
I never in my life did look on him.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Then learn to know him now; this is the duke.

HENRY PERCY

My gracious lord, I tender you my service,
Such as it is, being tender, raw and young:
Which elder days shall ripen and confirm
To more approved service and desert.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I thank thee, gentle Percy; and be sure
I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul remembering my good friends;
And, as my fortune ripens with thy love,
It shall be still thy true love’s recompense:
My heart this covenant makes, my hand thus seals it.

NORTHUMBERLAND

How far is it to Berkeley? and what stir
Keeps good old York there with his men of war?

HENRY PERCY

There stands the castle, by yon tuft of trees,
Mann’d with three hundred men, as I have heard;
And in it are the Lords of York, Berkeley, and Seymour;
None else of name and noble estimate.

Enter LORD ROSS and LORD WILLOUGHBY

NORTHUMBERLAND

Here come the Lords of Ross and Willoughby,
Bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Welcome, my lords. I wot your love pursues
A banish’d traitor: all my treasury
Is yet but unfelt thanks, which more enrich’d
Shall be your love and labour’s recompense.

LORD ROSS

Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

And far surmounts our labour to attain it.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Evermore thanks, the exchequer of the poor;
Which, till my infant fortune comes to years,
Stands for my bounty. But who comes here?

Enter LORD BERKELEY

NORTHUMBERLAND

It is my Lord of Berkeley, as I guess.

LORD BERKELEY

My Lord of Hereford, my message is to you.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My lord, my answer is–to Lancaster;
And I am come to seek that name in England;
And I must find that title in your tongue,
Before I make reply to aught you say.

LORD BERKELEY

Mistake me not, my lord; ’tis not my meaning
To raze one title of your honour out:
To you, my lord, I come, what lord you will,
From the most gracious regent of this land,
The Duke of York, to know what pricks you on
To take advantage of the absent time
And fright our native peace with self-born arms.

Enter DUKE OF YORK attended

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I shall not need transport my words by you;
Here comes his grace in person. My noble uncle!

Kneels

DUKE OF YORK

Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee,
Whose duty is deceiveable and false.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious uncle–

DUKE OF YORK

Tut, tut!
Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle:
I am no traitor’s uncle; and that word ‘grace.’
In an ungracious mouth is but profane.
Why have those banish’d and forbidden legs
Dared once to touch a dust of England’s ground?
But then more ‘why?’ why have they dared to march
So many miles upon her peaceful bosom,
Frighting her pale-faced villages with war
And ostentation of despised arms?
Comest thou because the anointed king is hence?
Why, foolish boy, the king is left behind,
And in my loyal bosom lies his power.
Were I but now the lord of such hot youth
As when brave Gaunt, thy father, and myself
Rescued the Black Prince, that young Mars of men,
From forth the ranks of many thousand French,
O, then how quickly should this arm of mine.
Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee
And minister correction to thy fault!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious uncle, let me know my fault:
On what condition stands it and wherein?

DUKE OF YORK

Even in condition of the worst degree,
In gross rebellion and detested treason:
Thou art a banish’d man, and here art come
Before the expiration of thy time,
In braving arms against thy sovereign.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

As I was banish’d, I was banish’d Hereford;
But as I come, I come for Lancaster.
And, noble uncle, I beseech your grace
Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye:
You are my father, for methinks in you
I see old Gaunt alive; O, then, my father,
Will you permit that I shall stand condemn’d
A wandering vagabond; my rights and royalties
Pluck’d from my arms perforce and given away
To upstart unthrifts? Wherefore was I born?
If that my cousin king be King of England,
It must be granted I am Duke of Lancaster.
You have a son, Aumerle, my noble cousin;
Had you first died, and he been thus trod down,
He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father,
To rouse his wrongs and chase them to the bay.
I am denied to sue my livery here,
And yet my letters-patents give me leave:
My father’s goods are all distrain’d and sold,
And these and all are all amiss employ’d.
What would you have me do? I am a subject,
And I challenge law: attorneys are denied me;
And therefore, personally I lay my claim
To my inheritance of free descent.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The noble duke hath been too much abused.

LORD ROSS

It stands your grace upon to do him right.

LORD WILLOUGHBY

Base men by his endowments are made great.

DUKE OF YORK

My lords of England, let me tell you this:
I have had feeling of my cousin’s wrongs
And laboured all I could to do him right;
But in this kind to come, in braving arms,
Be his own carver and cut out his way,
To find out right with wrong, it may not be;
And you that do abet him in this kind
Cherish rebellion and are rebels all.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The noble duke hath sworn his coming is
But for his own; and for the right of that
We all have strongly sworn to give him aid;
And let him ne’er see joy that breaks that oath!

DUKE OF YORK

Well, well, I see the issue of these arms:
I cannot mend it, I must needs confess,
Because my power is weak and all ill left:
But if I could, by Him that gave me life,
I would attach you all and make you stoop
Unto the sovereign mercy of the king;
But since I cannot, be it known to you
I do remain as neuter. So, fare you well;
Unless you please to enter in the castle
And there repose you for this night.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

An offer, uncle, that we will accept:
But we must win your grace to go with us
To Bristol castle, which they say is held
By Bushy, Bagot and their complices,
The caterpillars of the commonwealth,
Which I have sworn to weed and pluck away.

DUKE OF YORK

It may be I will go with you: but yet I’ll pause;
For I am loath to break our country’s laws.
Nor friends nor foes, to me welcome you are:
Things past redress are now with me past care.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. A camp in Wales.

Enter EARL OF SALISBURY and a Welsh Captain

Captain

My lord of Salisbury, we have stay’d ten days,
And hardly kept our countrymen together,
And yet we hear no tidings from the king;
Therefore we will disperse ourselves: farewell.

EARL OF SALISBURY

Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman:
The king reposeth all his confidence in thee.

Captain

‘Tis thought the king is dead; we will not stay.
The bay-trees in our country are all wither’d
And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven;
The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth
And lean-look’d prophets whisper fearful change;
Rich men look sad and ruffians dance and leap,
The one in fear to lose what they enjoy,
The other to enjoy by rage and war:
These signs forerun the death or fall of kings.
Farewell: our countrymen are gone and fled,
As well assured Richard their king is dead.

Exit

EARL OF SALISBURY

Ah, Richard, with the eyes of heavy mind
I see thy glory like a shooting star
Fall to the base earth from the firmament.
Thy sun sets weeping in the lowly west,
Witnessing storms to come, woe and unrest:
Thy friends are fled to wait upon thy foes,
And crossly to thy good all fortune goes.

Exit

ACT III

SCENE I. Bristol. Before the castle.

Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF YORK, NORTHUMBERLAND, LORD ROSS, HENRY PERCY, LORD WILLOUGHBY, with BUSHY and GREEN, prisoners

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Bring forth these men.
Bushy and Green, I will not vex your souls–
Since presently your souls must part your bodies–
With too much urging your pernicious lives,
For ’twere no charity; yet, to wash your blood
From off my hands, here in the view of men
I will unfold some causes of your deaths.
You have misled a prince, a royal king,
A happy gentleman in blood and lineaments,
By you unhappied and disfigured clean:
You have in manner with your sinful hours
Made a divorce betwixt his queen and him,
Broke the possession of a royal bed
And stain’d the beauty of a fair queen’s cheeks
With tears drawn from her eyes by your foul wrongs.
Myself, a prince by fortune of my birth,
Near to the king in blood, and near in love
Till you did make him misinterpret me,
Have stoop’d my neck under your injuries,
And sigh’d my English breath in foreign clouds,
Eating the bitter bread of banishment;
Whilst you have fed upon my signories,
Dispark’d my parks and fell’d my forest woods,
From my own windows torn my household coat,
Razed out my imprese, leaving me no sign,
Save men’s opinions and my living blood,
To show the world I am a gentleman.
This and much more, much more than twice all this,
Condemns you to the death. See them deliver’d over
To execution and the hand of death.

BUSHY

More welcome is the stroke of death to me
Than Bolingbroke to England. Lords, farewell.

GREEN

My comfort is that heaven will take our souls
And plague injustice with the pains of hell.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My Lord Northumberland, see them dispatch’d.
Uncle, you say the queen is at your house;
For God’s sake, fairly let her be entreated:
Tell her I send to her my kind commends;
Take special care my greetings be deliver’d.

DUKE OF YORK

A gentleman of mine I have dispatch’d
With letters of your love to her at large.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Thank, gentle uncle. Come, lords, away.
To fight with Glendower and his complices:
Awhile to work, and after holiday.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The coast of Wales. A castle in view.

Drums; flourish and colours. Enter KING RICHARD II, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, DUKE OF AUMERLE, and Soldiers

KING RICHARD II

Barkloughly castle call they this at hand?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Yea, my lord. How brooks your grace the air,
After your late tossing on the breaking seas?

KING RICHARD II

Needs must I like it well: I weep for joy
To stand upon my kingdom once again.
Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,
Though rebels wound thee with their horses’ hoofs:
As a long-parted mother with her child
Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,
So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,
And do thee favours with my royal hands.
Feed not thy sovereign’s foe, my gentle earth,
Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense;
But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom,
And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way,
Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet
Which with usurping steps do trample thee:
Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies;
And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower,
Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder
Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch
Throw death upon thy sovereign’s enemies.
Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords:
This earth shall have a feeling and these stones
Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king
Shall falter under foul rebellion’s arms.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

Fear not, my lord: that Power that made you king
Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.
The means that heaven yields must be embraced,
And not neglected; else, if heaven would,
And we will not, heaven’s offer we refuse,
The proffer’d means of succor and redress.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

He means, my lord, that we are too remiss;
Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security,
Grows strong and great in substance and in power.

KING RICHARD II

Discomfortable cousin! know’st thou not
That when the searching eye of heaven is hid,
Behind the globe, that lights the lower world,
Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen
In murders and in outrage, boldly here;
But when from under this terrestrial ball
He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines
And darts his light through every guilty hole,
Then murders, treasons and detested sins,
The cloak of night being pluck’d from off their backs,
Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves?
So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke,
Who all this while hath revell’d in the night
Whilst we were wandering with the antipodes,
Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,
His treasons will sit blushing in his face,
Not able to endure the sight of day,
But self-affrighted tremble at his sin.
Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king;
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord:
For every man that Bolingbroke hath press’d
To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel: then, if angels fight,
Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.
Welcome, my lord how far off lies your power?

EARL OF SALISBURY

Nor near nor farther off, my gracious lord,
Than this weak arm: discomfort guides my tongue
And bids me speak of nothing but despair.
One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,
Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth:
O, call back yesterday, bid time return,
And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men!
To-day, to-day, unhappy day, too late,
O’erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune and thy state:
For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead.
Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispersed and fled.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Comfort, my liege; why looks your grace so pale?

KING RICHARD II

But now the blood of twenty thousand men
Did triumph in my face, and they are fled;
And, till so much blood thither come again,
Have I not reason to look pale and dead?
All souls that will be safe fly from my side,
For time hath set a blot upon my pride.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Comfort, my liege; remember who you are.

KING RICHARD II

I had forgot myself; am I not king?
Awake, thou coward majesty! thou sleepest.
Is not the king’s name twenty thousand names?
Arm, arm, my name! a puny subject strikes
At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,
Ye favourites of a king: are we not high?
High be our thoughts: I know my uncle York
Hath power enough to serve our turn. But who comes here?

Enter SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

More health and happiness betide my liege
Than can my care-tuned tongue deliver him!

KING RICHARD II

Mine ear is open and my heart prepared;
The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.
Say, is my kingdom lost? why, ’twas my care
And what loss is it to be rid of care?
Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?
Greater he shall not be; if he serve God,
We’ll serve Him too and be his fellow so:
Revolt our subjects? that we cannot mend;
They break their faith to God as well as us:
Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay:
The worst is death, and death will have his day.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Glad am I that your highness is so arm’d
To bear the tidings of calamity.
Like an unseasonable stormy day,
Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores,
As if the world were all dissolved to tears,
So high above his limits swells the rage
Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land
With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel.
White-beards have arm’d their thin and hairless scalps
Against thy majesty; boys, with women’s voices,
Strive to speak big and clap their female joints
In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown:
The very beadsmen learn to bend their bows
Of double-fatal yew against thy state;
Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills
Against thy seat: both young and old rebel,
And all goes worse than I have power to tell.

KING RICHARD II

Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill.
Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot?
What is become of Bushy? where is Green?
That they have let the dangerous enemy
Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?
If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it:
I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord.

KING RICHARD II

O villains, vipers, damn’d without redemption!
Dogs, easily won to fawn on any man!
Snakes, in my heart-blood warm’d, that sting my heart!
Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas!
Would they make peace? terrible hell make war
Upon their spotted souls for this offence!

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate:
Again uncurse their souls; their peace is made
With heads, and not with hands; those whom you curse
Have felt the worst of death’s destroying wound
And lie full low, graved in the hollow ground.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Ay, all of them at Bristol lost their heads.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the duke my father with his power?

KING RICHARD II

No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let’s choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke’s,
And nothing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour’d thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence: throw away respect,
Tradition, form and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

My lord, wise men ne’er sit and wail their woes,
But presently prevent the ways to wail.
To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,
And so your follies fight against yourself.
Fear and be slain; no worse can come to fight:
And fight and die is death destroying death;
Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My father hath a power; inquire of him
And learn to make a body of a limb.

KING RICHARD II

Thou chidest me well: proud Bolingbroke, I come
To change blows with thee for our day of doom.
This ague fit of fear is over-blown;
An easy task it is to win our own.
Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?
Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.

SIR STEPHEN SCROOP

Men judge by the complexion of the sky
The state and inclination of the day:
So may you by my dull and heavy eye,
My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
I play the torturer, by small and small
To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken:
Your uncle York is join’d with Bolingbroke,
And all your northern castles yielded up,
And all your southern gentlemen in arms
Upon his party.

KING RICHARD II

Thou hast said enough.
Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth
Of that sweet way I was in to despair!
What say you now? what comfort have we now?
By heaven, I’ll hate him everlastingly
That bids me be of comfort any more.
Go to Flint castle: there I’ll pine away;
A king, woe’s slave, shall kingly woe obey.
That power I have, discharge; and let them go
To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,
For I have none: let no man speak again
To alter this, for counsel is but vain.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My liege, one word.

KING RICHARD II

He does me double wrong
That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.
Discharge my followers: let them hence away,
From Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.

Exeunt

SCENE III. Wales. Before Flint castle.

Enter, with drum and colours, HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF YORK, NORTHUMBERLAND, Attendants, and forces

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

So that by this intelligence we learn
The Welshmen are dispersed, and Salisbury
Is gone to meet the king, who lately landed
With some few private friends upon this coast.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The news is very fair and good, my lord:
Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.

DUKE OF YORK

It would beseem the Lord Northumberland
To say ‘King Richard:’ alack the heavy day
When such a sacred king should hide his head.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Your grace mistakes; only to be brief
Left I his title out.

DUKE OF YORK

The time hath been,
Would you have been so brief with him, he would
Have been so brief with you, to shorten you,
For taking so the head, your whole head’s length.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.

DUKE OF YORK

Take not, good cousin, further than you should.
Lest you mistake the heavens are o’er our heads.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I know it, uncle, and oppose not myself
Against their will. But who comes here?
Welcome, Harry: what, will not this castle yield?

HENRY PERCY

The castle royally is mann’d, my lord,
Against thy entrance.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Royally!
Why, it contains no king?

HENRY PERCY

Yes, my good lord,
It doth contain a king; King Richard lies
Within the limits of yon lime and stone:
And with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury,
Sir Stephen Scroop, besides a clergyman
Of holy reverence; who, I cannot learn.

NORTHUMBERLAND

O, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Noble lords,
Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle;
Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley
Into his ruin’d ears, and thus deliver:
Henry Bolingbroke
On both his knees doth kiss King Richard’s hand
And sends allegiance and true faith of heart
To his most royal person, hither come
Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,
Provided that my banishment repeal’d
And lands restored again be freely granted:
If not, I’ll use the advantage of my power
And lay the summer’s dust with showers of blood
Rain’d from the wounds of slaughter’d Englishmen:
The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke
It is, such crimson tempest should bedrench
The fresh green lap of fair King Richard’s land,
My stooping duty tenderly shall show.
Go, signify as much, while here we march
Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.
Let’s march without the noise of threatening drum,
That from this castle’s tatter’d battlements
Our fair appointments may be well perused.
Methinks King Richard and myself should meet
With no less terror than the elements
Of fire and water, when their thundering shock
At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.
Be he the fire, I’ll be the yielding water:
The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain
My waters; on the earth, and not on him.
March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.
See, see, King Richard doth himself appear,
As doth the blushing discontented sun
From out the fiery portal of the east,
When he perceives the envious clouds are bent
To dim his glory and to stain the track
Of his bright passage to the occident.

DUKE OF YORK

Yet looks he like a king: behold, his eye,
As bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth
Controlling majesty: alack, alack, for woe,
That any harm should stain so fair a show!

KING RICHARD II

We are amazed; and thus long have we stood
To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,
Because we thought ourself thy lawful king:
And if we be, how dare thy joints forget
To pay their awful duty to our presence?
If we be not, show us the hand of God
That hath dismissed us from our stewardship;
For well we know, no hand of blood and bone
Can gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre,
Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
And though you think that all, as you have done,
Have torn their souls by turning them from us,
And we are barren and bereft of friends;
Yet know, my master, God omnipotent,
Is mustering in his clouds on our behalf
Armies of pestilence; and they shall strike
Your children yet unborn and unbegot,
That lift your vassal hands against my head
And threat the glory of my precious crown.
Tell Bolingbroke–for yond methinks he stands–
That every stride he makes upon my land
Is dangerous treason: he is come to open
The purple testament of bleeding war;
But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers’ sons
Shall ill become the flower of England’s face,
Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
To scarlet indignation and bedew
Her pastures’ grass with faithful English blood.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The king of heaven forbid our lord the king
Should so with civil and uncivil arms
Be rush’d upon! Thy thrice noble cousin
Harry Bolingbroke doth humbly kiss thy hand;
And by the honourable tomb he swears,
That stands upon your royal grandsire’s bones,
And by the royalties of both your bloods,
Currents that spring from one most gracious head,
And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt,
And by the worth and honour of himself,
Comprising all that may be sworn or said,
His coming hither hath no further scope
Than for his lineal royalties and to beg
Enfranchisement immediate on his knees:
Which on thy royal party granted once,
His glittering arms he will commend to rust,
His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart
To faithful service of your majesty.
This swears he, as he is a prince, is just;
And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.

KING RICHARD II

Northumberland, say thus the king returns:
His noble cousin is right welcome hither;
And all the number of his fair demands
Shall be accomplish’d without contradiction:
With all the gracious utterance thou hast
Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.
We do debase ourselves, cousin, do we not,
To look so poorly and to speak so fair?
Shall we call back Northumberland, and send
Defiance to the traitor, and so die?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

No, good my lord; let’s fight with gentle words
Till time lend friends and friends their helpful swords.

KING RICHARD II

O God, O God! that e’er this tongue of mine,
That laid the sentence of dread banishment
On yon proud man, should take it off again
With words of sooth! O that I were as great
As is my grief, or lesser than my name!
Or that I could forget what I have been,
Or not remember what I must be now!
Swell’st thou, proud heart? I’ll give thee scope to beat,
Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.

KING RICHARD II

What must the king do now? must he submit?
The king shall do it: must he be deposed?
The king shall be contented: must he lose
The name of king? o’ God’s name, let it go:
I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,
My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
My sceptre for a palmer’s walking staff,
My subjects for a pair of carved saints
And my large kingdom for a little grave,
A little little grave, an obscure grave;
Or I’ll be buried in the king’s highway,
Some way of common trade, where subjects’ feet
May hourly trample on their sovereign’s head;
For on my heart they tread now whilst I live;
And buried once, why not upon my head?
Aumerle, thou weep’st, my tender-hearted cousin!
We’ll make foul weather with despised tears;
Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn,
And make a dearth in this revolting land.
Or shall we play the wantons with our woes,
And make some pretty match with shedding tears?
As thus, to drop them still upon one place,
Till they have fretted us a pair of graves
Within the earth; and, therein laid,–there lies
Two kinsmen digg’d their graves with weeping eyes.
Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see
I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland,
What says King Bolingbroke? will his majesty
Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?
You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord, in the base court he doth attend
To speak with you; may it please you to come down.

KING RICHARD II

Down, down I come; like glistering Phaethon,
Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base,
To come at traitors’ calls and do them grace.
In the base court? Come down? Down, court!
down, king!
For night-owls shriek where mounting larks
should sing.

Exeunt from above

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What says his majesty?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Sorrow and grief of heart
Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man
Yet he is come.

Enter KING RICHARD and his attendants below

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Stand all apart,
And show fair duty to his majesty.
My gracious lord,–

KING RICHARD II

Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee
To make the base earth proud with kissing it:
Me rather had my heart might feel your love
Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy.
Up, cousin, up; your heart is up, I know,
Thus high at least, although your knee be low.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.

KING RICHARD II

Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,
As my true service shall deserve your love.

KING RICHARD II

Well you deserve: they well deserve to have,
That know the strong’st and surest way to get.
Uncle, give me your hands: nay, dry your eyes;
Tears show their love, but want their remedies.
Cousin, I am too young to be your father,
Though you are old enough to be my heir.
What you will have, I’ll give, and willing too;
For do we must what force will have us do.
Set on towards London, cousin, is it so?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Yea, my good lord.

KING RICHARD II

Then I must not say no.

Flourish. Exeunt

SCENE IV. LANGLEY. The DUKE OF YORK’s garden.

Enter the QUEEN and two Ladies

QUEEN

What sport shall we devise here in this garden,
To drive away the heavy thought of care?

Lady

Madam, we’ll play at bowls.

QUEEN

‘Twill make me think the world is full of rubs,
And that my fortune rubs against the bias.

Lady

Madam, we’ll dance.

QUEEN

My legs can keep no measure in delight,
When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief:
Therefore, no dancing, girl; some other sport.

Lady

Madam, we’ll tell tales.

QUEEN

Of sorrow or of joy?

Lady

Of either, madam.

QUEEN

Of neither, girl:
For of joy, being altogether wanting,
It doth remember me the more of sorrow;
Or if of grief, being altogether had,
It adds more sorrow to my want of joy:
For what I have I need not to repeat;
And what I want it boots not to complain.

Lady

Madam, I’ll sing.

QUEEN

‘Tis well that thou hast cause
But thou shouldst please me better, wouldst thou weep.

Lady

I could weep, madam, would it do you good.

QUEEN

And I could sing, would weeping do me good,
And never borrow any tear of thee.
But stay, here come the gardeners:
Let’s step into the shadow of these trees.
My wretchedness unto a row of pins,
They’ll talk of state; for every one doth so
Against a change; woe is forerun with woe.

QUEEN and Ladies retire

Gardener

Go, bind thou up yon dangling apricocks,
Which, like unruly children, make their sire
Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight:
Give some supportance to the bending twigs.
Go thou, and like an executioner,
Cut off the heads of too fast growing sprays,
That look too lofty in our commonwealth:
All must be even in our government.
You thus employ’d, I will go root away
The noisome weeds, which without profit suck
The soil’s fertility from wholesome flowers.

Servant

Why should we in the compass of a pale
Keep law and form and due proportion,
Showing, as in a model, our firm estate,
When our sea-walled garden, the whole land,
Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
Her fruit-trees all upturned, her hedges ruin’d,
Her knots disorder’d and her wholesome herbs
Swarming with caterpillars?

Gardener

Hold thy peace:
He that hath suffer’d this disorder’d spring
Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf:
The weeds which his broad-spreading leaves did shelter,
That seem’d in eating him to hold him up,
Are pluck’d up root and all by Bolingbroke,
I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green.

Servant

What, are they dead?

Gardener

They are; and Bolingbroke
Hath seized the wasteful king. O, what pity is it
That he had not so trimm’d and dress’d his land
As we this garden! We at time of year
Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees,
Lest, being over-proud in sap and blood,
With too much riches it confound itself:
Had he done so to great and growing men,
They might have lived to bear and he to taste
Their fruits of duty: superfluous branches
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live:
Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,
Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down.

Servant

What, think you then the king shall be deposed?

Gardener

Depress’d he is already, and deposed
‘Tis doubt he will be: letters came last night
To a dear friend of the good Duke of York’s,
That tell black tidings.

QUEEN

O, I am press’d to death through want of speaking!
Thou, old Adam’s likeness, set to dress this garden,
How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this unpleasing news?
What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee
To make a second fall of cursed man?
Why dost thou say King Richard is deposed?
Darest thou, thou little better thing than earth,
Divine his downfall? Say, where, when, and how,
Camest thou by this ill tidings? speak, thou wretch.

Gardener

Pardon me, madam: little joy have I
To breathe this news; yet what I say is true.
King Richard, he is in the mighty hold
Of Bolingbroke: their fortunes both are weigh’d:
In your lord’s scale is nothing but himself,
And some few vanities that make him light;
But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,
Besides himself, are all the English peers,
And with that odds he weighs King Richard down.
Post you to London, and you will find it so;
I speak no more than every one doth know.

QUEEN

Nimble mischance, that art so light of foot,
Doth not thy embassage belong to me,
And am I last that knows it? O, thou think’st
To serve me last, that I may longest keep
Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go,
To meet at London London’s king in woe.
What, was I born to this, that my sad look
Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke?
Gardener, for telling me these news of woe,
Pray God the plants thou graft’st may never grow.

Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies

GARDENER

Poor queen! so that thy state might be no worse,
I would my skill were subject to thy curse.
Here did she fall a tear; here in this place
I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace:
Rue, even for ruth, here shortly shall be seen,
In the remembrance of a weeping queen.

Exeunt

ACT IV

SCENE I. Westminster Hall.

Enter, as to the Parliament, HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF AUMERLE, NORTHUMBERLAND, HENRY PERCY, LORD FITZWATER, DUKE OF SURREY, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, the Abbot Of Westminster, and another Lord, Herald, Officers, and BAGOT

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Call forth Bagot.
Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind;
What thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death,
Who wrought it with the king, and who perform’d
The bloody office of his timeless end.

BAGOT

Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.

BAGOT

My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue
Scorns to unsay what once it hath deliver’d.
In that dead time when Gloucester’s death was plotted,
I heard you say, ‘Is not my arm of length,
That reacheth from the restful English court
As far as Calais, to mine uncle’s head?’
Amongst much other talk, that very time,
I heard you say that you had rather refuse
The offer of an hundred thousand crowns
Than Bolingbroke’s return to England;
Adding withal how blest this land would be
In this your cousin’s death.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Princes and noble lords,
What answer shall I make to this base man?
Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars,
On equal terms to give him chastisement?
Either I must, or have mine honour soil’d
With the attainder of his slanderous lips.
There is my gage, the manual seal of death,
That marks thee out for hell: I say, thou liest,
And will maintain what thou hast said is false
In thy heart-blood, though being all too base
To stain the temper of my knightly sword.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Bagot, forbear; thou shalt not take it up.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Excepting one, I would he were the best
In all this presence that hath moved me so.

LORD FITZWATER

If that thy valour stand on sympathy,
There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine:
By that fair sun which shows me where thou stand’st,
I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spakest it
That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester’s death.
If thou deny’st it twenty times, thou liest;
And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,
Where it was forged, with my rapier’s point.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Thou darest not, coward, live to see that day.

LORD FITZWATER

Now by my soul, I would it were this hour.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Fitzwater, thou art damn’d to hell for this.

HENRY PERCY

Aumerle, thou liest; his honour is as true
In this appeal as thou art all unjust;
And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,
To prove it on thee to the extremest point
Of mortal breathing: seize it, if thou darest.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

An if I do not, may my hands rot off
And never brandish more revengeful steel
Over the glittering helmet of my foe!

Lord

I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle;
And spur thee on with full as many lies
As may be holloa’d in thy treacherous ear
From sun to sun: there is my honour’s pawn;
Engage it to the trial, if thou darest.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Who sets me else? by heaven, I’ll throw at all:
I have a thousand spirits in one breast,
To answer twenty thousand such as you.

DUKE OF SURREY

My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well
The very time Aumerle and you did talk.

LORD FITZWATER

‘Tis very true: you were in presence then;
And you can witness with me this is true.

DUKE OF SURREY

As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.

LORD FITZWATER

Surrey, thou liest.

DUKE OF SURREY

Dishonourable boy!
That lie shall lie so heavy on my sword,
That it shall render vengeance and revenge
Till thou the lie-giver and that lie do lie
In earth as quiet as thy father’s skull:
In proof whereof, there is my honour’s pawn;
Engage it to the trial, if thou darest.

LORD FITZWATER

How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!
If I dare eat, or drink, or breathe, or live,
I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness,
And spit upon him, whilst I say he lies,
And lies, and lies: there is my bond of faith,
To tie thee to my strong correction.
As I intend to thrive in this new world,
Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal:
Besides, I heard the banish’d Norfolk say
That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men
To execute the noble duke at Calais.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Some honest Christian trust me with a gage
That Norfolk lies: here do I throw down this,
If he may be repeal’d, to try his honour.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

These differences shall all rest under gage
Till Norfolk be repeal’d: repeal’d he shall be,
And, though mine enemy, restored again
To all his lands and signories: when he’s return’d,
Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

That honourable day shall ne’er be seen.
Many a time hath banish’d Norfolk fought
For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,
Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross
Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens:
And toil’d with works of war, retired himself
To Italy; and there at Venice gave
His body to that pleasant country’s earth,
And his pure soul unto his captain Christ,
Under whose colours he had fought so long.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

As surely as I live, my lord.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom
Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,
Your differences shall all rest under gage
Till we assign you to your days of trial.

Enter DUKE OF YORK, attended

DUKE OF YORK

Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee
From plume-pluck’d Richard; who with willing soul
Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields
To the possession of thy royal hand:
Ascend his throne, descending now from him;
And long live Henry, fourth of that name!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

In God’s name, I’ll ascend the regal throne.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

Marry. God forbid!
Worst in this royal presence may I speak,
Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.
Would God that any in this noble presence
Were enough noble to be upright judge
Of noble Richard! then true noblesse would
Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
What subject can give sentence on his king?
And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject?
Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear,
Although apparent guilt be seen in them;
And shall the figure of God’s majesty,
His captain, steward, deputy-elect,
Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
Be judged by subject and inferior breath,
And he himself not present? O, forfend it, God,
That in a Christian climate souls refined
Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!
I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,
Stirr’d up by God, thus boldly for his king:
My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,
Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king:
And if you crown him, let me prophesy:
The blood of English shall manure the ground,
And future ages groan for this foul act;
Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;
Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny
Shall here inhabit, and this land be call’d
The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls.
O, if you raise this house against this house,
It will the woefullest division prove
That ever fell upon this cursed earth.
Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
Lest child, child’s children, cry against you woe!

NORTHUMBERLAND

Well have you argued, sir; and, for your pains,
Of capital treason we arrest you here.
My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge
To keep him safely till his day of trial.
May it please you, lords, to grant the commons’ suit.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Fetch hither Richard, that in common view
He may surrender; so we shall proceed
Without suspicion.

DUKE OF YORK

I will be his conduct.

Exit

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Lords, you that here are under our arrest,
Procure your sureties for your days of answer.
Little are we beholding to your love,
And little look’d for at your helping hands.

Re-enter DUKE OF YORK, with KING RICHARD II, and Officers bearing the regalia

KING RICHARD II

Alack, why am I sent for to a king,
Before I have shook off the regal thoughts
Wherewith I reign’d? I hardly yet have learn’d
To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my limbs:
Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me
To this submission. Yet I well remember
The favours of these men: were they not mine?
Did they not sometime cry, ‘all hail!’ to me?
So Judas did to Christ: but he, in twelve,
Found truth in all but one: I, in twelve thousand, none.
God save the king! Will no man say amen?
Am I both priest and clerk? well then, amen.
God save the king! although I be not he;
And yet, amen, if heaven do think him me.
To do what service am I sent for hither?

DUKE OF YORK

To do that office of thine own good will
Which tired majesty did make thee offer,
The resignation of thy state and crown
To Henry Bolingbroke.

KING RICHARD II

Give me the crown. Here, cousin, seize the crown;
Here cousin:
On this side my hand, and on that side yours.
Now is this golden crown like a deep well
That owes two buckets, filling one another,
The emptier ever dancing in the air,
The other down, unseen and full of water:
That bucket down and full of tears am I,
Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I thought you had been willing to resign.

KING RICHARD II

My crown I am; but still my griefs are mine:
You may my glories and my state depose,
But not my griefs; still am I king of those.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Part of your cares you give me with your crown.

KING RICHARD II

Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.
My care is loss of care, by old care done;
Your care is gain of care, by new care won:
The cares I give I have, though given away;
They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Are you contented to resign the crown?

KING RICHARD II

Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be;
Therefore no no, for I resign to thee.
Now mark me, how I will undo myself;
I give this heavy weight from off my head
And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown,
With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
With mine own breath release all duty’s rites:
All pomp and majesty I do forswear;
My manors, rents, revenues I forego;
My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny:
God pardon all oaths that are broke to me!
God keep all vows unbroke that swear to thee!
Make me, that nothing have, with nothing grieved,
And thou with all pleased, that hast all achieved!
Long mayst thou live in Richard’s seat to sit,
And soon lie Richard in an earthly pit!
God save King Harry, unking’d Richard says,
And send him many years of sunshine days!
What more remains?

NORTHUMBERLAND

No more, but that you read
These accusations and these grievous crimes
Committed by your person and your followers
Against the state and profit of this land;
That, by confessing them, the souls of men
May deem that you are worthily deposed.

KING RICHARD II

Must I do so? and must I ravel out
My weaved-up folly? Gentle Northumberland,
If thy offences were upon record,
Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop
To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,
There shouldst thou find one heinous article,
Containing the deposing of a king
And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,
Mark’d with a blot, damn’d in the book of heaven:
Nay, all of you that stand and look upon,
Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,
Though some of you with Pilate wash your hands
Showing an outward pity; yet you Pilates
Have here deliver’d me to my sour cross,
And water cannot wash away your sin.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord, dispatch; read o’er these articles.

KING RICHARD II

Mine eyes are full of tears, I cannot see:
And yet salt water blinds them not so much
But they can see a sort of traitors here.
Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,
I find myself a traitor with the rest;
For I have given here my soul’s consent
To undeck the pompous body of a king;
Made glory base and sovereignty a slave,
Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord,–

KING RICHARD II

No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,
Nor no man’s lord; I have no name, no title,
No, not that name was given me at the font,
But ’tis usurp’d: alack the heavy day,
That I have worn so many winters out,
And know not now what name to call myself!
O that I were a mockery king of snow,
Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,
To melt myself away in water-drops!
Good king, great king, and yet not greatly good,
An if my word be sterling yet in England,
Let it command a mirror hither straight,
That it may show me what a face I have,
Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Go some of you and fetch a looking-glass.

Exit an attendant

NORTHUMBERLAND

Read o’er this paper while the glass doth come.

KING RICHARD II

Fiend, thou torment’st me ere I come to hell!

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The commons will not then be satisfied.

KING RICHARD II

They shall be satisfied: I’ll read enough,
When I do see the very book indeed
Where all my sins are writ, and that’s myself.
Give me the glass, and therein will I read.
No deeper wrinkles yet? hath sorrow struck
So many blows upon this face of mine,
And made no deeper wounds? O flattering glass,
Like to my followers in prosperity,
Thou dost beguile me! Was this face the face
That every day under his household roof
Did keep ten thousand men? was this the face
That, like the sun, did make beholders wink?
Was this the face that faced so many follies,
And was at last out-faced by Bolingbroke?
A brittle glory shineth in this face:
As brittle as the glory is the face;
For there it is, crack’d in a hundred shivers.
Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport,
How soon my sorrow hath destroy’d my face.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

The shadow of your sorrow hath destroy’d
The shadow or your face.

KING RICHARD II

Say that again.
The shadow of my sorrow! ha! let’s see:
‘Tis very true, my grief lies all within;
And these external manners of laments
Are merely shadows to the unseen grief
That swells with silence in the tortured soul;
There lies the substance: and I thank thee, king,
For thy great bounty, that not only givest
Me cause to wail but teachest me the way
How to lament the cause. I’ll beg one boon,
And then be gone and trouble you no more.
Shall I obtain it?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Name it, fair cousin.

KING RICHARD II

‘Fair cousin’? I am greater than a king:
For when I was a king, my flatterers
Were then but subjects; being now a subject,
I have a king here to my flatterer.
Being so great, I have no need to beg.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Yet ask.

KING RICHARD II

And shall I have?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

You shall.

KING RICHARD II

Then give me leave to go.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Whither?

KING RICHARD II

Whither you will, so I were from your sights.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Go, some of you convey him to the Tower.

KING RICHARD II

O, good! convey? conveyers are you all,
That rise thus nimbly by a true king’s fall.

Exeunt KING RICHARD II, some Lords, and a Guard

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

On Wednesday next we solemnly set down
Our coronation: lords, prepare yourselves.

Exeunt all except the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, the Abbot of Westminster, and DUKE OF AUMERLE

Abbot

A woeful pageant have we here beheld.

BISHOP OF CARLISLE

The woe’s to come; the children yet unborn.
Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

You holy clergymen, is there no plot
To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?

Abbot

My lord,
Before I freely speak my mind herein,
You shall not only take the sacrament
To bury mine intents, but also to effect
Whatever I shall happen to devise.
I see your brows are full of discontent,
Your hearts of sorrow and your eyes of tears:
Come home with me to supper; and I’ll lay
A plot shall show us all a merry day.

Exeunt

ACT V

SCENE I. London. A street leading to the Tower.

Enter QUEEN and Ladies

QUEEN

This way the king will come; this is the way
To Julius Caesar’s ill-erected tower,
To whose flint bosom my condemned lord
Is doom’d a prisoner by proud Bolingbroke:
Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth
Have any resting for her true king’s queen.
But soft, but see, or rather do not see,
My fair rose wither: yet look up, behold,
That you in pity may dissolve to dew,
And wash him fresh again with true-love tears.
Ah, thou, the model where old Troy did stand,
Thou map of honour, thou King Richard’s tomb,
And not King Richard; thou most beauteous inn,
Why should hard-favour’d grief be lodged in thee,
When triumph is become an alehouse guest?

KING RICHARD II

Join not with grief, fair woman, do not so,
To make my end too sudden: learn, good soul,
To think our former state a happy dream;
From which awaked, the truth of what we are
Shows us but this: I am sworn brother, sweet,
To grim Necessity, and he and I
Will keep a league till death. Hie thee to France
And cloister thee in some religious house:
Our holy lives must win a new world’s crown,
Which our profane hours here have stricken down.

QUEEN

What, is my Richard both in shape and mind
Transform’d and weaken’d? hath Bolingbroke deposed
Thine intellect? hath he been in thy heart?
The lion dying thrusteth forth his paw,
And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage
To be o’erpower’d; and wilt thou, pupil-like,
Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod,
And fawn on rage with base humility,
Which art a lion and a king of beasts?

KING RICHARD II

A king of beasts, indeed; if aught but beasts,
I had been still a happy king of men.
Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France:
Think I am dead and that even here thou takest,
As from my death-bed, thy last living leave.
In winter’s tedious nights sit by the fire
With good old folks and let them tell thee tales
Of woeful ages long ago betid;
And ere thou bid good night, to quit their griefs,
Tell thou the lamentable tale of me
And send the hearers weeping to their beds:
For why, the senseless brands will sympathize
The heavy accent of thy moving tongue
And in compassion weep the fire out;
And some will mourn in ashes, some coal-black,
For the deposing of a rightful king.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND and others

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord, the mind of Bolingbroke is changed:
You must to Pomfret, not unto the Tower.
And, madam, there is order ta’en for you;
With all swift speed you must away to France.

KING RICHARD II

Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal
The mounting Bolingbroke ascends my throne,
The time shall not be many hours of age
More than it is ere foul sin gathering head
Shalt break into corruption: thou shalt think,
Though he divide the realm and give thee half,
It is too little, helping him to all;
And he shall think that thou, which know’st the way
To plant unrightful kings, wilt know again,
Being ne’er so little urged, another way
To pluck him headlong from the usurped throne.
The love of wicked men converts to fear;
That fear to hate, and hate turns one or both
To worthy danger and deserved death.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My guilt be on my head, and there an end.
Take leave and part; for you must part forthwith.

KING RICHARD II

Doubly divorced! Bad men, you violate
A twofold marriage, ‘twixt my crown and me,
And then betwixt me and my married wife.
Let me unkiss the oath ‘twixt thee and me;
And yet not so, for with a kiss ’twas made.
Part us, Northumberland; I toward the north,
Where shivering cold and sickness pines the clime;
My wife to France: from whence, set forth in pomp,
She came adorned hither like sweet May,
Sent back like Hallowmas or short’st of day.

QUEEN

And must we be divided? must we part?

KING RICHARD II

Ay, hand from hand, my love, and heart from heart.

QUEEN

Banish us both and send the king with me.

NORTHUMBERLAND

That were some love but little policy.

QUEEN

Then whither he goes, thither let me go.

KING RICHARD II

So two, together weeping, make one woe.
Weep thou for me in France, I for thee here;
Better far off than near, be ne’er the near.
Go, count thy way with sighs; I mine with groans.

QUEEN

So longest way shall have the longest moans.

KING RICHARD II

Twice for one step I’ll groan, the way being short,
And piece the way out with a heavy heart.
Come, come, in wooing sorrow let’s be brief,
Since, wedding it, there is such length in grief;
One kiss shall stop our mouths, and dumbly part;
Thus give I mine, and thus take I thy heart.

QUEEN

Give me mine own again; ’twere no good part
To take on me to keep and kill thy heart.
So, now I have mine own again, be gone,
That I might strive to kill it with a groan.

KING RICHARD II

We make woe wanton with this fond delay:
Once more, adieu; the rest let sorrow say.

Exeunt

SCENE II. The DUKE OF YORK’s palace.

Enter DUKE OF YORK and DUCHESS OF YORK

DUCHESS OF YORK

My lord, you told me you would tell the rest,
When weeping made you break the story off,
of our two cousins coming into London.

DUKE OF YORK

Where did I leave?

DUCHESS OF YORK

At that sad stop, my lord,
Where rude misgovern’d hands from windows’ tops
Threw dust and rubbish on King Richard’s head.

DUKE OF YORK

Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke,
Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed
Which his aspiring rider seem’d to know,
With slow but stately pace kept on his course,
Whilst all tongues cried ‘God save thee,
Bolingbroke!’
You would have thought the very windows spake,
So many greedy looks of young and old
Through casements darted their desiring eyes
Upon his visage, and that all the walls
With painted imagery had said at once
‘Jesu preserve thee! welcome, Bolingbroke!’
Whilst he, from the one side to the other turning,
Bareheaded, lower than his proud steed’s neck,
Bespake them thus: ‘I thank you, countrymen:’
And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Alack, poor Richard! where rode he the whilst?

DUKE OF YORK

As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious;
Even so, or with much more contempt, men’s eyes
Did scowl on gentle Richard; no man cried ‘God save him!’
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home:
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head:
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,
His face still combating with tears and smiles,
The badges of his grief and patience,
That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel’d
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted
And barbarism itself have pitied him.
But heaven hath a hand in these events,
To whose high will we bound our calm contents.
To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now,
Whose state and honour I for aye allow.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Here comes my son Aumerle.

DUKE OF YORK

Aumerle that was;
But that is lost for being Richard’s friend,
And, madam, you must call him Rutland now:
I am in parliament pledge for his truth
And lasting fealty to the new-made king.

Enter DUKE OF AUMERLE

DUCHESS OF YORK

Welcome, my son: who are the violets now
That strew the green lap of the new come spring?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Madam, I know not, nor I greatly care not:
God knows I had as lief be none as one.

DUKE OF YORK

Well, bear you well in this new spring of time,
Lest you be cropp’d before you come to prime.
What news from Oxford? hold those justs and triumphs?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

For aught I know, my lord, they do.

DUKE OF YORK

You will be there, I know.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

If God prevent not, I purpose so.

DUKE OF YORK

What seal is that, that hangs without thy bosom?
Yea, look’st thou pale? let me see the writing.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

My lord, ’tis nothing.

DUKE OF YORK

No matter, then, who see it;
I will be satisfied; let me see the writing.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

I do beseech your grace to pardon me:
It is a matter of small consequence,
Which for some reasons I would not have seen.

DUKE OF YORK

Which for some reasons, sir, I mean to see.
I fear, I fear,–

DUCHESS OF YORK

What should you fear?
‘Tis nothing but some bond, that he is enter’d into
For gay apparel ‘gainst the triumph day.

DUKE OF YORK

Bound to himself! what doth he with a bond
That he is bound to? Wife, thou art a fool.
Boy, let me see the writing.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

I do beseech you, pardon me; I may not show it.

DUKE OF YORK

I will be satisfied; let me see it, I say.
Treason! foul treason! Villain! traitor! slave!

DUCHESS OF YORK

What is the matter, my lord?

DUKE OF YORK

Ho! who is within there?
Saddle my horse.
God for his mercy, what treachery is here!

DUCHESS OF YORK

Why, what is it, my lord?

DUKE OF YORK

Give me my boots, I say; saddle my horse.
Now, by mine honour, by my life, by my troth,
I will appeach the villain.

DUCHESS OF YORK

What is the matter?

DUKE OF YORK

Peace, foolish woman.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I will not peace. What is the matter, Aumerle.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Good mother, be content; it is no more
Than my poor life must answer.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Thy life answer!

DUKE OF YORK

Bring me my boots: I will unto the king.

Re-enter Servant with boots

DUCHESS OF YORK

Strike him, Aumerle. Poor boy, thou art amazed.
Hence, villain! never more come in my sight.

DUKE OF YORK

Give me my boots, I say.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Why, York, what wilt thou do?
Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own?
Have we more sons? or are we like to have?
Is not my teeming date drunk up with time?
And wilt thou pluck my fair son from mine age,
And rob me of a happy mother’s name?
Is he not like thee? is he not thine own?

DUKE OF YORK

Thou fond mad woman,
Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy?
A dozen of them here have ta’en the sacrament,
And interchangeably set down their hands,
To kill the king at Oxford.

DUCHESS OF YORK

He shall be none;
We’ll keep him here: then what is that to him?

DUKE OF YORK

Away, fond woman! were he twenty times my son,
I would appeach him.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Hadst thou groan’d for him
As I have done, thou wouldst be more pitiful.
But now I know thy mind; thou dost suspect
That I have been disloyal to thy bed,
And that he is a bastard, not thy son:
Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind:
He is as like thee as a man may be,
Not like to me, or any of my kin,
And yet I love him.

DUKE OF YORK

Make way, unruly woman!

Exit

DUCHESS OF YORK

After, Aumerle! mount thee upon his horse;
Spur post, and get before him to the king,
And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.
I’ll not be long behind; though I be old,
I doubt not but to ride as fast as York:
And never will I rise up from the ground
Till Bolingbroke have pardon’d thee. Away, be gone!

Exeunt

SCENE III. A royal palace.

Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, HENRY PERCY, and other Lords

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son?
‘Tis full three months since I did see him last;
If any plague hang over us, ’tis he.
I would to God, my lords, he might be found:
Inquire at London, ‘mongst the taverns there,
For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,
With unrestrained loose companions,
Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes,
And beat our watch, and rob our passengers;
Which he, young wanton and effeminate boy,
Takes on the point of honour to support
So dissolute a crew.

HENRY PERCY

My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,
And told him of those triumphs held at Oxford.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

And what said the gallant?

HENRY PERCY

His answer was, he would unto the stews,
And from the common’st creature pluck a glove,
And wear it as a favour; and with that
He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

As dissolute as desperate; yet through both
I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years
May happily bring forth. But who comes here?

Enter DUKE OF AUMERLE

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the king?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What means our cousin, that he stares and looks
So wildly?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

God save your grace! I do beseech your majesty,
To have some conference with your grace alone.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.
What is the matter with our cousin now?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

For ever may my knees grow to the earth,
My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth
Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Intended or committed was this fault?
If on the first, how heinous e’er it be,
To win thy after-love I pardon thee.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Then give me leave that I may turn the key,
That no man enter till my tale be done.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Have thy desire.

DUKE OF YORK

[Within] My liege, beware; look to thyself;
Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Villain, I’ll make thee safe.

Drawing

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Stay thy revengeful hand; thou hast no cause to fear.

DUKE OF YORK

[Within] Open the door, secure, foolhardy king:
Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?
Open the door, or I will break it open.

Enter DUKE OF YORK

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What is the matter, uncle? speak;
Recover breath; tell us how near is danger,
That we may arm us to encounter it.

DUKE OF YORK

Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know
The treason that my haste forbids me show.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Remember, as thou read’st, thy promise pass’d:
I do repent me; read not my name there
My heart is not confederate with my hand.

DUKE OF YORK

It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.
I tore it from the traitor’s bosom, king;
Fear, and not love, begets his penitence:
Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove
A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O heinous, strong and bold conspiracy!
O loyal father of a treacherous son!
Thou sheer, immaculate and silver fountain,
From when this stream through muddy passages
Hath held his current and defiled himself!
Thy overflow of good converts to bad,
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
This deadly blot in thy digressing son.

DUKE OF YORK

So shall my virtue be his vice’s bawd;
And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,
As thriftless sons their scraping fathers’ gold.
Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,
Or my shamed life in his dishonour lies:
Thou kill’st me in his life; giving him breath,
The traitor lives, the true man’s put to death.

DUCHESS OF YORK

[Within] What ho, my liege! for God’s sake,
let me in.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?

DUCHESS OF YORK

A woman, and thy aunt, great king; ’tis I.
Speak with me, pity me, open the door.
A beggar begs that never begg’d before.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Our scene is alter’d from a serious thing,
And now changed to ‘The Beggar and the King.’
My dangerous cousin, let your mother in:
I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.

DUKE OF YORK

If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,
More sins for this forgiveness prosper may.
This fester’d joint cut off, the rest rest sound;
This let alone will all the rest confound.

Enter DUCHESS OF YORK

DUCHESS OF YORK

O king, believe not this hard-hearted man!
Love loving not itself none other can.

DUKE OF YORK

Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?

DUCHESS OF YORK

Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege.

Kneels

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Rise up, good aunt.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Not yet, I thee beseech:
For ever will I walk upon my knees,
And never see day that the happy sees,
Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy,
By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Unto my mother’s prayers I bend my knee.

DUKE OF YORK

Against them both my true joints bended be.
Ill mayst thou thrive, if thou grant any grace!

DUCHESS OF YORK

Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face;
His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest;
His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast:
He prays but faintly and would be denied;
We pray with heart and soul and all beside:
His weary joints would gladly rise, I know;
Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow:
His prayers are full of false hypocrisy;
Ours of true zeal and deep integrity.
Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have
That mercy which true prayer ought to have.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Nay, do not say, ‘stand up;’
Say, ‘pardon’ first, and afterwards ‘stand up.’
And if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,
‘Pardon’ should be the first word of thy speech.
I never long’d to hear a word till now;
Say ‘pardon,’ king; let pity teach thee how:
The word is short, but not so short as sweet;
No word like ‘pardon’ for kings’ mouths so meet.

DUKE OF YORK

Speak it in French, king; say, ‘pardonne moi.’

DUCHESS OF YORK

Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?
Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,
That set’st the word itself against the word!
Speak ‘pardon’ as ’tis current in our land;
The chopping French we do not understand.
Thine eye begins to speak; set thy tongue there;
Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear;
That hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce,
Pity may move thee ‘pardon’ to rehearse.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I do not sue to stand;
Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.

DUCHESS OF YORK

O happy vantage of a kneeling knee!
Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again;
Twice saying ‘pardon’ doth not pardon twain,
But makes one pardon strong.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

With all my heart
I pardon him.

DUCHESS OF YORK

A god on earth thou art.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

But for our trusty brother-in-law and the abbot,
With all the rest of that consorted crew,
Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.
Good uncle, help to order several powers
To Oxford, or where’er these traitors are:
They shall not live within this world, I swear,
But I will have them, if I once know where.
Uncle, farewell: and, cousin too, adieu:
Your mother well hath pray’d, and prove you true.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Come, my old son: I pray God make thee new.

Exeunt

SCENE IV. The same.

Enter EXTON and Servant

EXTON

Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake,
‘Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?’
Was it not so?

Servant

These were his very words.

EXTON

‘Have I no friend?’ quoth he: he spake it twice,
And urged it twice together, did he not?

Servant

He did.

EXTON

And speaking it, he wistly look’d on me,
And who should say, ‘I would thou wert the man’
That would divorce this terror from my heart;’
Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let’s go:
I am the king’s friend, and will rid his foe.

Exeunt

SCENE V. Pomfret castle.

Enter KING RICHARD

KING RICHARD II

I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world:
And for because the world is populous
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.
My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul,
My soul the father; and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world,
In humours like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented. The better sort,
As thoughts of things divine, are intermix’d
With scruples and do set the word itself
Against the word:
As thus, ‘Come, little ones,’ and then again,
‘It is as hard to come as for a camel
To thread the postern of a small needle’s eye.’
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders; how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls,
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves
That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,
Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars
Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,
That many have and others must sit there;
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortunes on the back
Of such as have before endured the like.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented: sometimes am I king;
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am: then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king;
Then am I king’d again: and by and by
Think that I am unking’d by Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing: but whate’er I be,
Nor I nor any man that but man is
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
With being nothing. Music do I hear?
Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men’s lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To cheque time broke in a disorder’d string;
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
Show minutes, times, and hours: but my time
Runs posting on in Bolingbroke’s proud joy,
While I stand fooling here, his Jack o’ the clock.
This music mads me; let it sound no more;
For though it have holp madmen to their wits,
In me it seems it will make wise men mad.
Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!
For ’tis a sign of love; and love to Richard
Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.

Enter a Groom of the Stable

Groom

Hail, royal prince!

KING RICHARD II

Thanks, noble peer;
The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.
What art thou? and how comest thou hither,
Where no man never comes but that sad dog
That brings me food to make misfortune live?

Groom

I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,
When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York,
With much ado at length have gotten leave
To look upon my sometimes royal master’s face.
O, how it yearn’d my heart when I beheld
In London streets, that coronation-day,
When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary,
That horse that thou so often hast bestrid,
That horse that I so carefully have dress’d!

KING RICHARD II

Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,
How went he under him?

Groom

So proudly as if he disdain’d the ground.

KING RICHARD II

So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back!
That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand;
This hand hath made him proud with clapping him.
Would he not stumble? would he not fall down,
Since pride must have a fall, and break the neck
Of that proud man that did usurp his back?
Forgiveness, horse! why do I rail on thee,
Since thou, created to be awed by man,
Wast born to bear? I was not made a horse;
And yet I bear a burthen like an ass,
Spurr’d, gall’d and tired by jouncing Bolingbroke.

Enter Keeper, with a dish

Keeper

Fellow, give place; here is no longer stay.

KING RICHARD II

If thou love me, ’tis time thou wert away.

Groom

What my tongue dares not, that my heart shall say.

Exit

Keeper

My lord, will’t please you to fall to?

KING RICHARD II

Taste of it first, as thou art wont to do.

Keeper

My lord, I dare not: Sir Pierce of Exton, who
lately came from the king, commands the contrary.

KING RICHARD II

The devil take Henry of Lancaster and thee!
Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.

Beats the keeper

Keeper

Help, help, help!

Enter EXTON and Servants, armed

KING RICHARD II

How now! what means death in this rude assault?
Villain, thy own hand yields thy death’s instrument.
Go thou, and fill another room in hell.
That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire
That staggers thus my person. Exton, thy fierce hand
Hath with the king’s blood stain’d the king’s own land.
Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high;
Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.

Dies

EXTON

As full of valour as of royal blood:
Both have I spill’d; O would the deed were good!
For now the devil, that told me I did well,
Says that this deed is chronicled in hell.
This dead king to the living king I’ll bear
Take hence the rest, and give them burial here.

Exeunt

SCENE VI. Windsor castle.

Flourish. Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF YORK, with other Lords, and Attendants

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Kind uncle York, the latest news we hear
Is that the rebels have consumed with fire
Our town of Cicester in Gloucestershire;
But whether they be ta’en or slain we hear not.
Welcome, my lord what is the news?

NORTHUMBERLAND

First, to thy sacred state wish I all happiness.
The next news is, I have to London sent
The heads of Oxford, Salisbury, Blunt, and Kent:
The manner of their taking may appear
At large discoursed in this paper here.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

We thank thee, gentle Percy, for thy pains;
And to thy worth will add right worthy gains.

Enter LORD FITZWATER

LORD FITZWATER

My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London
The heads of Brocas and Sir Bennet Seely,
Two of the dangerous consorted traitors
That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot;
Right noble is thy merit, well I wot.

Enter HENRY PERCY, and the BISHOP OF CARLISLE

HENRY PERCY

The grand conspirator, Abbot of Westminster,
With clog of conscience and sour melancholy
Hath yielded up his body to the grave;
But here is Carlisle living, to abide
Thy kingly doom and sentence of his pride.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Carlisle, this is your doom:
Choose out some secret place, some reverend room,
More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life;
So as thou livest in peace, die free from strife:
For though mine enemy thou hast ever been,
High sparks of honour in thee have I seen.

Enter EXTON, with persons bearing a coffin

EXTON

Great king, within this coffin I present
Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies
The mightiest of thy greatest enemies,
Richard of Bordeaux, by me hither brought.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast wrought
A deed of slander with thy fatal hand
Upon my head and all this famous land.

EXTON

From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

They love not poison that do poison need,
Nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead,
I hate the murderer, love him murdered.
The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour,
But neither my good word nor princely favour:
With Cain go wander through shades of night,
And never show thy head by day nor light.
Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe,
That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow:
Come, mourn with me for that I do lament,
And put on sullen black incontinent:
I’ll make a voyage to the Holy Land,
To wash this blood off from my guilty hand:
March sadly after; grace my mournings here;
In weeping after this untimely bier.

Exeunt

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