The Complete Works of William Shakespeare King Richard the Second

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  • 1623
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England and Wales

London. The palace

[Enter RICHARD, JOHN OF GAUNT, with other NOBLES and attendants]

KING RICHARD. Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster, Hast thou, according to thy oath and band, Brought hither Henry Hereford, thy bold son, Here to make good the boist’rous late appeal, Which then our leisure would not let us hear, Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray? GAUNT. I have, my liege.
KING RICHARD. 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? 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. 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.


BOLINGBROKE. Many years of happy days befall My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege! 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. 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? BOLINGBROKE. First-heaven be the record to my speech! In the devotion of a subject’s love,
Tend’ring 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. 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. Meantime let this defend my loyalty-
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie 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 worst devise. 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. 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. BOLINGBROKE. Look what I speak, my life shall prove it true- That Mowbray hath receiv’d 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, Sluic’d 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. How high a pitch his resolution soars! Thomas of Norfolk, what say’st thou to this? 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. 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. 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 Disburs’d I duly to his Highness’ soldiers; The other part reserv’d 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 receiv’d 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 appeal’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. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul’d 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. GAUNT. To be a make-peace shall become my age. Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk’s gage. KING RICHARD. And, Norfolk, throw down his. GAUNT. When, Harry, when?
Obedience bids I should not bid again. KING RICHARD. Norfolk, throw down; we bid. There is no boot.
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 disgrac’d, impeach’d, and baffl’d here; Pierc’d to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear, The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood Which breath’d this poison.
KING RICHARD. Rage must be withstood: Give me his gage-lions make leopards tame. 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. Cousin, throw up your gage; do you begin. BOLINGBROKE. O, God defend my soul from such deep sin! Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father’s sight? Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height Before this outdar’d 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 GAUNT]
KING RICHARD. 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]

London. The DUKE OF LANCASTER’S palace


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 mettle, 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 suff’ring thus thy brother to be slaught’red, Thou showest the naked pathway to thy life, Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee. That which in mean men we entitle 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. GAUNT. God’s is the quarrel; for God’s substitute, His deputy anointed in His sight,
Hath caus’d 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? 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 That 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. 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]

The lists at Coventry


MARSHAL. My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm’d? AUMERLE. Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in. MARSHAL. The Duke of Norfolk, spightfully and bold, Stays but the summons of the appelant’s trumpet. AUMERLE. Why then, the champions are prepar’d, and stay For nothing but his Majesty’s approach.

[The trumpets sound, and the KING enters with his nobles, GAUNT, BUSHY, BAGOT, GREEN, and others. When they are set, enter MOWBRAY, Duke of Norfolk, in arms, defendant, and a HERALD]

KING RICHARD. 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. 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 com’st, and what thy quarrel. Speak truly on thy knighthood and thy oath; As so defend thee heaven and thy valour! 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 BOLINGBROKE, Duke of Hereford, appellant, in armour, and a HERALD]

KING RICHARD. 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. MARSHAL. What is thy name? and wherefore com’st 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! 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! 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. 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. MARSHAL. The appellant in all duty greets your Highness, And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave. KING RICHARD. 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. BOLINGBROKE. O, let no noble eye profane a tear For me, if I be gor’d 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 o’ Gaunt, Even in the lusty haviour of his son.
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. BOLINGBROKE. Mine innocence and Saint George to thrive! 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. Farewell, my lord, securely I espy Virtue with valour couched in thine eye. Order the trial, Marshal, and begin.
MARSHAL. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Receive thy lance; and God defend the right! BOLINGBROKE. Strong as a tower in hope, I cry amen. MARSHAL. [To an officer] 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. MARSHAL. Sound trumpets; and set forward, combatants. [A charge sounded] Stay, the King hath thrown his warder down. KING RICHARD. 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.

[A long flourish, while the KING consults his Council]
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 rous’d up with boist’rous untun’d 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. BOLINGBROKE. Your will be done. This must my comfort be- That 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. 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. 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 learnt these forty years, My native English, now I must forgo;
And now my tongue’s use is to me no more Than an unstringed viol or a harp;
Or like a cunning instrument cas’d 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. It boots thee not to be compassionate; After our sentence plaining comes too late. MOWBRAY. Then thus I turn me from my countrv’s light, To dwell in solemn shades of endless night. KING RICHARD. 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. BOLINGBROKE. I swear.
MOWBRAY. And I, to keep all this.
BOLINGBROKE. Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy. By this time, had the King permitted us, One of our souls had wand’red 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 burden of a guilty soul.
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, an the world’s my way. [Exit] KING RICHARD. 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. [To BOLINGBROKE] Six frozen winters spent, Return with welcome home from banishment. 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. 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. Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live. 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 can’st 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. 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? GAUNT. Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour. You urg’d 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. Cousin, farewell; and, uncle, bid him so. Six years we banish him, and he shall go. [Flourish. Exit KING with train] AUMERLE. Cousin, farewell; what presence must not know, From where you do remain let paper show. MARSHAL. My lord, no leave take I, for I will ride As far as land will let me by your side. GAUNT. O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words, That thou returnest no greeting to thy friends? 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. GAUNT. Thy grief is but thy absence for a time. BOLINGBROKE. Joy absent, grief is present for that time. GAUNT. What is six winters? They are quickly gone. BOLINGBROKE. To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten. GAUNT. Call it a travel that thou tak’st for pleasure. BOLINGBROKE. My heart will sigh when I miscall it so, Which finds it an enforced pilgrimage. GAUNT. The sullen passage of thy weary steps Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set The precious jewel of thy home return. 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?
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 home. Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour, And not the King exil’d 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 goest, not whence thou com’st. 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. 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. GAUNT. Come, come, my son, I’ll bring thee on thy way. Had I thy youtli and cause, I would not stay. 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 English man. [Exeunt]

London. The court

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

KING RICHARD. We did observe. Cousin Aumerle, How far brought you high Hereford on his way? AUMERLE. I brought high Hereford, if you call him so, But to the next high way, and there I left him. KING RICHARD. And say, what store of parting tears were shed? AUMERLE. Faith, none for me; except the north-east wind, Which then blew bitterly against our faces, Awak’d the sleeping rheum, and so by chance Did grace our hollow parting with a tear. KING RICHARD. What said our cousin when you parted with him? 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 length’ned 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. 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, Observ’d 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 yicld them further means For their advantage and your Highness’ loss. KING RICHARD. 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 enforc’d 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.

[Enter BUSHY]

Bushy, what news?
BUSHY. Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord, Suddenly taken; and hath sent poste-haste To entreat your Majesty to visit him.
KING RICHARD. Where lies he?
BUSHY. At Ely House.
KING RICHARD. 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]


London. Ely House

[Enter JOHN OF GAUNT, sick, with the DUKE OF YORK, etc.]

GAUNT. Will the King come, that I may breathe my last In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth? YORK. Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath; For all in vain comes counsel to his ear. 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. 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 buzz’d 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. GAUNT. Methinks I am a prophet new inspir’d, 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 scept’red 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 leas’d 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 wat’ry 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!


YORK. The King is come; deal mildly with his youth, For young hot colts being rag’d do rage the more. QUEEN. How fares our noble uncle Lancaster? KING RICHARD. What comfort, man? How is’t with aged Gaunt? 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 an 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. Can sick men play so nicely with their names? 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. Should dying men flatter with those that live? GAUNT. No, no; men living flatter those that die. KING RICHARD. Thou, now a-dying, sayest thou flatterest me. GAUNT. O, no! thou diest, though I the sicker be. KING RICHARD. I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill. 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. 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. 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 carous’d. My brother Gloucester, plain well-meaning soul- Whom fair befall 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 withered 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 out by his attendants] KING RICHARD. And let them die that age and sullens have; For both hast thou, and both become the grave. 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. Right, you say true: as Hereford’s love, so his; As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.


NORTHUMBERLAND. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your Majesty.
KING RICHARD. What says he?
NORTHUMBERLAND. Nay, nothing; all is said. His tongue is now a stringless instrument; Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent. YORK. Be York the next that must be bankrupt so! Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe. KING RICHARD. 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, coin, revenues, and moveables, Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d. 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, Nor 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 rag’d 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 win 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. Why, uncle, what’s the matter? YORK. O my liege,
Pardon me, if you please; if not, I, pleas’d Not to be pardoned, 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 patents that he hath By his attorneys-general to sue
His livery, and deny his off’red 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. Think what you will, we seize into our hands His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands. 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. 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 lov’d us well. Come on, our queen; to-morrow must we part; Be merry, for our time of stay is short. [Flourish. Exeunt KING, QUEEN, BUSHY, AUMERLE, GREEN, and BAGOT] NORTHUMBERLAND. Well, lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead. Ross. And living too; for now his son is Duke. WILLOUGHBY. Barely in title, not in revenues. NORTHUMBERLAND. Richly in both, if justice had her right. ROSS. My heart is great; but it must break with silence, Ere’t be disburdened 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! 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. 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 an,
That will the King severely prosecute ‘Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs. ROSS. The commons hath he pill’d with grievous taxes; And quite lost their hearts; the nobles hath he find For ancient quarrels and quite lost their hearts. WILLOUGHBY. And daily new exactions are devis’d, As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what; But what, a God’s name, doth become of this? NORTHUMBERLAND. Wars hath not wasted it, for warr’d he hath not,
But basely yielded upon compromise That which his noble ancestors achiev’d with blows. More hath he spent in peace than they in wars. ROSS. The Earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm. WILLOUGHBY. The King’s grown bankrupt like a broken man. NORTHUMBERLAND. Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him. ROSS. He hath not money for these Irish wars, His burdenous 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 seek no shelter to avoid the storm; We see the wind sit sore upon our sails, And yet we strike not, but securely perish. 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. WILLOUGHBY. Nay, let us share thy thoughts as thou dost ours. 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 Le Port Blanc, a bay In Brittany, receiv’d 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 Britaine, 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. ROSS. To horse, to horse! Urge doubts to them that fear. WILLOUGHBY. Hold out my horse, and I will first be there. [Exeunt]

Windsor Castle


BUSHY. Madam, your Majesty is too much sad. You promis’d, 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 gaz’d upon, Show nothing but confusion-ey’d 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 is 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 deriv’d From some forefather grief; mine is not so, For nothing hath 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 retir’d 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 arriv’d 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 broken 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 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. 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.


SERVINGMAN. My lord, your son was gone before I came. 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.
SERVINGMAN. 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. YORK. What is’t, knave?
SERVINGMAN. An hour before I came, the Duchess died. 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 provok’d 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. [Exit SERVINGMAN] Gentlemen, will you go muster men?
If I know how or which way to order these affairs Thus disorderly thrust into my hands,
Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen. T’one is my sovereign, whom both my oath And duty bids defend; t’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 everything is left at six and seven. [Exeunt 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 is 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 judgment lie in them, then so do we, Because we ever have been near the King. GREEN. Well, I will for refuge straight to Bristow Castle. The Earl of Wiltshire is already there. BUSHY. Thither will I with you; for little office Will the hateful commons perform for us, Except Eke 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 part 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 numb’ring 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



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 beguil’d The tediousness and process of my travel. But theirs is sweet’ned 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. BOLINGBROKE. Of much less value is my company Than your good words. But who comes here?


NORTHUMBERLAND. It is my son, young Harry Percy, Sent from my brother Worcester, whencesoever. Harry, how fares your uncle?
PERCY. I had thought, my lord, to have learn’d his health of you.
NORTHUMBERLAND. Why, is he not with the Queen? PERCY. No, my good lord; he hath forsook the court, Broken his staff of office, and dispers’d The household of the King.
NORTHUMBERLAND. What was his reason? He was not so resolv’d when last we spake together. 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? 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. 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.
BOLINGBROKE. I thank thee, gentle Percy; and be sure I count myself in nothing else so happy As in a soul rememb’ring 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? 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 Ross and WILLOUGHBY]

NORTHUMBERLAND. Here come the Lords of Ross and Willoughby, Bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste. 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. ROSS. Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord. WILLOUGHBY. And far surmounts our labour to attain it. BOLINGBROKE. Evermore thanks, the exchequer of the poor; Which, till my infant fortune comes to years, Stands for my bounty. But who comes here?


NORTHUMBERLAND. It is my Lord of Berkeley, as I guess. BERKELEY. My Lord of Hereford, my message is to you. 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.
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-borne arms.

[Enter YORK, attended]

BOLINGBROKE. I shall not need transport my words by you; Here comes his Grace in person. My noble uncle! [Kneels]
YORK. Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee, Whose duty is deceivable and false.
BOLINGBROKE. My gracious uncle!-
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 Dar’d once to touch a dust of England’s ground? But then more ‘why?’-why have they dar’d to march So many miles upon her peaceful bosom, Frighting her pale-fac’d villages with war And ostentation of despised arms?
Com’st 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 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 the And minister correction to thy fault!
BOLINGBROKE My gracious uncle, let me know my fault; On what condition stands it and wherein? 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. 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 in 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. ROSS. It stands your Grace upon to do him right. WILLOUGHBY. Base men by his endowments are made great. YORK. My lords of England, let me tell you this: I have had feeling of my cousin’s wrongs, And labour’d 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 never see joy that breaks that oath! 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 unto 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.
BOLINGBROKE. An offer, uncle, that we will accept. But we must win your Grace to go with us To Bristow 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. 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]

A camp in Wales


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. 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-fac’d 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 assur’d Richard their King is dead. [Exit ]
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! The 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]


BOLINGBROKE’S camp at Bristol

BUSHY and GREEN, prisoners]

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, Raz’d 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 delivered 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. BOLINGBROKE. My Lord Northumberland, see them dispatch’d. [Exeunt NORTHUMBERLAND, and others, with the prisoners] 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 delivered. YORK. A gentleman of mine I have dispatch’d With letters of your love to her at large. BOLINGBROKE. Thanks, gentle uncle. Come, lords, away, To fight with Glendower and his complices. Awhile to work, and after holiday. [Exeunt]

The coast of Wales. A castle in view

[Drums. Flourish and colours. Enter the KING, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE,
AUMERLE, and soldiers]

KING RICHARD. Barkloughly Castle call they this at hand? AUMERLE. Yea, my lord. How brooks your Grace the air After your late tossing on the breaking seas? KING RICHARD. 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. 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 embrac’d And not neglected; else, if heaven would, And we will not, heaven’s offer we refuse, The proffered means of succour and redress. 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. 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 wand’ring 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? 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, dispers’d, and fled. AUMERLE. Comfort, my liege, why looks your Grace so pale? KING RICHARD. 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. AUMERLE. Comfort, my liege; remember who you are. KING RICHARD. 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 SCROOP]

SCROOP. More health and happiness betide my liege Than can my care-tun’d tongue deliver him. KING RICHARD. Mine ear is open and my heart prepar’d. 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. 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 dissolv’d 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; Thy 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. 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. SCROOP. Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord. KING RICHARD. 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! 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, grav’d in the hollow ground. AUMERLE. Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead? SCROOP. Ay, all of them at Bristow lost their heads. AUMERLE. Where is the Duke my father with his power? KING RICHARD. 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 can 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 depos’d, some slain in war, Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos’d, 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?
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. AUMERLE. My father hath a power; inquire of him, And learn to make a body of a limb.
KING RICHARD. Thou chid’st 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. SCROOP. Men judge by the complexion of the sky The state in 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. Thou hast said enough. [To AUMERLE] 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. AUMERLE. My liege, one word.
KING RICHARD. 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]

Wales. Before Flint Castle

[Enter, with drum and colours, BOLINGBROKE, YORK, NORTHUMBERLAND, and forces]

BOLINGBROKE. So that by this intelligence we learn The Welshmen are dispers’d; 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. 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.
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. BOLINGBROKE. Mistake not, uncle, further than you should. YORK. Take not, good cousin, further than you should, Lest you mistake. The heavens are over our heads. BOLINGBROKE. I know it, uncle; and oppose not myself Against their will. But who comes here?

[Enter PERCY]

Welcome, Harry. What, will not this castle yield? PERCY. The castle royally is mann’d, my lord, Against thy entrance.
Why, it contains no king?
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. BOLINGBROKE. [To NORTHUMBERLAND] Noble lord, 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 restor’d 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 slaughtered 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.
[NORTHUMBERLAND advances to the Castle, with a trumpet]
Let’s march without the noise of threat’ning drum, That from this castle’s tottered battlements Our fair appointments may be well perus’d. Methinks King Richard and myself should meet With no less terror than the elements
Of fire and water, when their thund’ring 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.

[Parle without, and answer within; then a flourish. Enter on the walls, the KING, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, AUMERLE, SCROOP, and SALISBURY]

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. YORK. Yet he looks 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. [To NORTHUMBERLAND] We are amaz’d; 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 dismiss’d 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 yon 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. 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. [To AUMERLE] 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?
AUMERLE. No, good my lord; let’s fight with gentle words Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful swords. KING RICHARD. 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. AUMERLE. Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke. KING RICHARD. What must the King do now? Must he submit? The King shall do it. Must he be depos’d? The King shall be contented. Must he lose The name of king? A 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 figur’d 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 high way, 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. Down, down I come, like glist’ring 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] BOLINGBROKE. What says his Majesty?
NORTHUMBERLAND. Sorrow and grief of heart Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man; Yet he is come.

[Enter the KING, and his attendants, below]

BOLINGBROKE. Stand all apart,
And show fair duty to his Majesty. [He kneels down] My gracious lord-
KING RICHARD. 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 unpleas’d eye see your courtesy. Up, cousin, up; your heart is up, I know, [Touching his own head] Thus high at least, although your knee be low.
BOLINGBROKE. My gracious lord, I come but for mine own. KING RICHARD. Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all. BOLINGBROKE. So far be mine, my most redoubted lord, As my true service shall deserve your love. KING RICHARD. 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.