King Richard II (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series)
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Richard II

SCENE: Dispersedly in England and Wales.


SCENE I. London. A Room in the palace.


[Enter KING RICHARD, attended; JOHN OF GAUNT, with other NOBLES.]


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 boisterous 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.


[Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and MOWBRAY.]


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,

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.


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,

Wherever 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 baffled 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 down your gage: do you begin.


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 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.]



SCENE II. The same. A room in the DUKE OF LANCASTER'S palace.


[Enter GAUNT and DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER.]


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 vaded,

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 liv'st and breath'st,

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 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 go'st 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.]



SCENE III. Open Space, near Coventry. Lists set out, and a

Throne.

Heralds, &c., attending.


[Enter the Lord Marshal and AUMERLE.]


MARSHAL.

My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm'd?


AUMERLE.

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


MARSHAL.

The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully 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.


[Enter KING RICHARD, who takes his seat on his Throne;

GAUNT, BUSHY, BAGOT, GREEN, and Others, who take their

places. A trumpet is sounded, and answered by another

trumpet within. Then enter MOWBRAY, in armour,

defendant, preceeded by 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 comest, 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!


[He takes his seat.]


[Trumpet sounds. Enter BOLINGBROKE, appellant,

in armour, preceeded by 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's 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. [Descends from his throne.]

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 a 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 innocency and Saint George to thrive!


[He takes his seat.]


MOWBRAY. [Rising.]

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.


[The KING and the Lords return to their seats.]


MARSHAL.

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,

Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!


BOLINGBROKE. [Rising.]

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.]


[To the Combatants.] 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' swords;

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 learn'd 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 country's light,

To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.


[Retiring.]


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, all 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 lower?


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 RICHARD and 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 return'st 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 borne.

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 go'st, 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 it bites, but lanceth not the sore.


GAUNT.

Come, come, my son, I'll bring thee on thy way.

Had I thy youth 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 true-born Englishman.


[Exeunt.]



SCENE IV. London. A Room in the King's Castle


[Enter KING RICHARD, BAGOT, and GREEN, at one door;

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 highway, 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 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.

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 yield 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 his 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.]

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