History of Richard II

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Act I, Scene 2

The DUKE OF LANCASTER’S palace.

       
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[Enter JOHN OF GAUNT with DUCHESS]

  • John of Gaunt. Alas, the part I had in Woodstock's blood
    Doth more solicit me than your exclaims, 215
    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, 220
    Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads.
  • Duchess of Gloucester. 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, 225
    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, 230
    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, 235
    That metal, that self-mould, that fashion'd thee
    Made him a man; and though thou livest and breathest,
    Yet art thou slain in him: thou dost consent
    In some large measure to thy father's death,
    In that thou seest thy wretched brother die, 240
    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: 245
    That which in mean men we intitle patience
    Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.
    What shall I say? to safeguard thine own life,
    The best way is to venge my Gloucester's death.
  • John of Gaunt. God's is the quarrel; for God's substitute, 250
    His deputy anointed in His sight,
    Hath caused his death: the which if wrongfully,
    Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift
    An angry arm against His minister.
  • Duchess of Gloucester. 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, 260
    That it may enter butcher Mowbray's breast!
    Or, if misfortune miss the first career,
    Be Mowbray's sins so heavy in his bosom,
    They may break his foaming courser's back,
    And throw the rider headlong in the lists, 265
    A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!
    Farewell, old Gaunt: thy sometimes brother's wife
    With her companion grief must end her life.
  • John of Gaunt. Sister, farewell; I must to Coventry:
    As much good stay with thee as go with me! 270
  • Duchess of Gloucester. 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. 275
    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 280
    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. 285
    Desolate, desolate, will I hence and die:
    The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.

[Exeunt]

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