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On fortune's cap we are not the very button.

      — Hamlet, Act II Scene 2


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History of Richard II

Act I

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Scene 1. London. KING RICHARD II’s palace.

Scene 2. The DUKE OF LANCASTER’S palace.

Scene 3. The lists at Coventry.

Scene 4. The court.


Act I, Scene 1

London. KING RICHARD II’s palace.

      next scene .

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

  • King Richard II. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster,
    Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
    Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son, 5
    Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
    Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
    Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
  • King Richard II. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him, 10
    If he appeal the duke on ancient malice;
    Or worthily, as a good subject should,
    On some known ground of treachery in him?
  • John of Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that argument,
    On some apparent danger seen in him 15
    Aim'd at your highness, no inveterate malice.
  • King Richard II. Then call them to our presence; face to face,
    And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
    The accuser and the accused freely speak:
    High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire, 20
    In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.


  • Henry IV. Many years of happy days befal
    My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!
  • Thomas Mowbray. Each day still better other's happiness; 25
    Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap,
    Add an immortal title to your crown!
  • King Richard II. We thank you both: yet one but flatters us,
    As well appeareth by the cause you come;
    Namely to appeal each other of high treason. 30
    Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object
    Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
  • Henry IV. First, heaven be the record to my speech!
    In the devotion of a subject's love,
    Tendering the precious safety of my prince, 35
    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, 40
    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. 45
    Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
    With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat;
    And wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move,
    What my tongue speaks my right drawn sword may prove.
  • Thomas Mowbray. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal: 50
    '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 55
    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. 60
    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, 65
    And meet him, were I tied to run afoot
    Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
    Or any other ground inhabitable,
    Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
    Mean time let this defend my loyalty, 70
    By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.
  • Henry IV. 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. 75
    If guilty dread have left thee so much strength
    As to take up mine honour's pawn, then stoop:
    By that and all the rites of knighthood else,
    Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
    What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise. 80
  • Thomas Mowbray. I take it up; and by that sword I swear
    Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,
    I'll answer thee in any fair degree,
    Or chivalrous design of knightly trial:
    And when I mount, alive may I not light, 85
    If I be traitor or unjustly fight!
  • King Richard II. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's charge?
    It must be great that can inherit us
    So much as of a thought of ill in him.
  • Henry IV. Look, what I speak, my life shall prove it true; 90
    That Mowbray hath received eight thousand nobles
    In name of lendings for your highness' soldiers,
    The which he hath detain'd for lewd employments,
    Like a false traitor and injurious villain.
    Besides I say and will in battle prove, 95
    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. 100
    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, 105
    Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood:
    Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries,
    Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
    To me for justice and rough chastisement;
    And, by the glorious worth of my descent, 110
    This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.
  • King Richard II. How high a pitch his resolution soars!
    Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this?
  • Thomas Mowbray. O, let my sovereign turn away his face
    And bid his ears a little while be deaf, 115
    Till I have told this slander of his blood,
    How God and good men hate so foul a liar.
  • King Richard II. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears:
    Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom's heir,
    As he is but my father's brother's son, 120
    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: 125
    Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.
  • Thomas Mowbray. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
    Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest.
    Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais
    Disbursed I duly to his highness' soldiers; 130
    The other part reserved I by consent,
    For that my sovereign liege was in my debt
    Upon remainder of a dear account,
    Since last I went to France to fetch his queen:
    Now swallow down that lie. For Gloucester's death, 135
    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, 140
    A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul
    But ere I last received the sacrament
    I did confess it, and exactly begg'd
    Your grace's pardon, and I hope I had it.
    This is my fault: as for the rest appeall'd, 145
    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, 150
    To prove myself a loyal gentleman
    Even in the best blood chamber'd in his bosom.
    In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
    Your highness to assign our trial day.
  • King Richard II. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me; 155
    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. 160
    Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
    We'll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.
  • John of Gaunt. To be a make-peace shall become my age:
    Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk's gage.
  • John of Gaunt. When, Harry, when?
    Obedience bids I should not bid again.
  • Thomas Mowbray. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot.
    My life thou shalt command, but not my shame: 170
    The one my duty owes; but my fair name,
    Despite of death that lives upon my grave,
    To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have.
    I am disgraced, impeach'd and baffled here,
    Pierced to the soul with slander's venom'd spear, 175
    The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood
    Which breathed this poison.
  • King Richard II. Rage must be withstood:
    Give me his gage: lions make leopards tame.
  • Thomas Mowbray. Yea, but not change his spots: take but my shame. 180
    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 185
    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. 190
  • Henry IV. O, God defend my soul from such deep sin!
    Shall I seem crest-fall'n in my father's sight?
    Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
    Before this out-dared dastard? Ere my tongue 195
    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. 200


  • King Richard II. We were not born to sue, but to command;
    Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
    Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,
    At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert's day: 205
    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 210
    Be ready to direct these home alarms.


. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2


      next scene .


  • 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.


. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 3

The lists at Coventry.

      next scene .

[Enter the Lord Marshal and the DUKE OF AUMERLE]

  • Lord Marshal. The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,
    Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet.
  • Duke of Aumerle. Why, then, the champions are prepared, and stay
    For nothing but his majesty's approach. 295
    [The trumpets sound, and KING RICHARD enters with]
    his nobles, JOHN OF GAUNT, BUSHY, BAGOT, GREEN, and
    others. When they are set, enter THOMAS MOWBRAY in
    arms, defendant, with a Herald]
  • King Richard II. Marshal, demand of yonder champion 300
    The cause of his arrival here in arms:
    Ask him his name and orderly proceed
    To swear him in the justice of his cause.
  • Lord Marshal. In God's name and the king's, say who thou art
    And why thou comest thus knightly clad in arms, 305
    Against what man thou comest, and what thy quarrel:
    Speak truly, on thy knighthood and thy oath;
    As so defend thee heaven and thy valour!
  • Thomas Mowbray. My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk;
    Who hither come engaged by my oath— 310
    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, 315
    To prove him, in defending of myself,
    A traitor to my God, my king, and me:
    And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!
    [The trumpets sound. Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE,]
    appellant, in armour, with a Herald] 320
  • King Richard II. Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms,
    Both who he is and why he cometh hither
    Thus plated in habiliments of war,
    And formally, according to our law,
    Depose him in the justice of his cause. 325
  • Lord Marshal. What is thy name? and wherefore comest thou hither,
    Before King Richard in his royal lists?
    Against whom comest thou? and what's thy quarrel?
    Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!
  • Henry IV. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby 330
    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; 335
    And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!
  • Lord Marshal. On pain of death, no person be so bold
    Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists,
    Except the marshal and such officers
    Appointed to direct these fair designs. 340
  • Henry IV. 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 345
    And loving farewell of our several friends.
  • Lord Marshal. The appellant in all duty greets your highness,
    And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.
  • King Richard II. We will descend and fold him in our arms.
    Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right, 350
    So be thy fortune in this royal fight!
    Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed,
    Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.
  • Henry IV. O let no noble eye profane a tear
    For me, if I be gored with Mowbray's spear: 355
    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, 360
    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, 365
    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, 370
    And furbish new the name of John a Gaunt,
    Even in the lusty havior of his son.
  • John of Gaunt. God in thy good cause make thee prosperous!
    Be swift like lightning in the execution;
    And let thy blows, doubly redoubled, 375
    Fall like amazing thunder on the casque
    Of thy adverse pernicious enemy:
    Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live.
  • Henry IV. Mine innocency and Saint George to thrive!
  • Thomas Mowbray. However God or fortune cast my lot, 380
    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, 385
    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 390
    Go I to fight: truth hath a quiet breast.
  • King Richard II. Farewell, my lord: securely I espy
    Virtue with valour couched in thine eye.
    Order the trial, marshal, and begin.
  • Lord Marshal. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby, 395
    Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!
  • Henry IV. Strong as a tower in hope, I cry amen.
  • Lord Marshal. Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.
  • First Herald. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby,
    Stands here for God, his sovereign and himself, 400
    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, 405
    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 410
    Attending but the signal to begin.
  • Lord Marshal. Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants.
    [A charge sounded]
    Stay, the king hath thrown his warder down.
  • King Richard II. Let them lay by their helmets and their spears, 415
    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]
    Draw near, 420
    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; 425
    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; 430
    Which so roused up with boisterous untuned drums,
    With harsh resounding trumpets' dreadful bray,
    And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,
    Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace
    And make us wade even in our kindred's blood, 435
    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. 440
  • Henry IV. Your will be done: this must my comfort be,
    Sun that warms you here shall shine on me;
    And those his golden beams to you here lent
    Shall point on me and gild my banishment.
  • King Richard II. Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom, 445
    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. 450
  • Thomas Mowbray. A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
    And all unlook'd for from your highness' mouth:
    A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
    As to be cast forth in the common air,
    Have I deserved at your highness' hands. 455
    The language I have learn'd these forty years,
    My native English, now I must forego:
    And now my tongue's use is to me no more
    Than an unstringed viol or a harp,
    Or like a cunning instrument cased up, 460
    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 465
    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? 470
  • King Richard II. It boots thee not to be compassionate:
    After our sentence plaining comes too late.
  • Thomas Mowbray. Then thus I turn me from my country's light,
    To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.
  • King Richard II. Return again, and take an oath with thee. 475
    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! 480
    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 485
    To plot, contrive, or complot any ill
    'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.
  • Henry IV. Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:— 490
    By this time, had the king permitted us,
    One of our souls had wander'd in the air.
    Banish'd this frail sepulchre of our flesh,
    As now our flesh is banish'd from this land:
    Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm; 495
    Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
    The clogging burthen of a guilty soul.
  • Thomas Mowbray. No, Bolingbroke: if ever I were traitor,
    My name be blotted from the book of life,
    And I from heaven banish'd as from hence! 500
    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.


  • King Richard II. Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes
    I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect
    Hath from the number of his banish'd years
    Pluck'd four away.
    Six frozen winter spent,
    Return with welcome home from banishment.
  • Henry IV. 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. 515
  • John of Gaunt. I thank my liege, that in regard of me
    He shortens four years of my son's exile:
    But little vantage shall I reap thereby;
    For, ere the six years that he hath to spend
    Can change their moons and bring their times about 520
    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.
  • John of Gaunt. But not a minute, king, that thou canst give:
    Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,
    And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow;
    Thou canst help time to furrow me with age,
    But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage; 530
    Thy word is current with him for my death,
    But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.
  • King Richard II. Thy son is banish'd upon good advice,
    Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave:
    Why at our justice seem'st thou then to lour? 535
  • John of Gaunt. Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
    You urged me as a judge; but I had rather
    You would have bid me argue like a father.
    O, had it been a stranger, not my child,
    To smooth his fault I should have been more mild: 540
    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 545
    Against my will to do myself this wrong.
  • King Richard II. Cousin, farewell; and, uncle, bid him so:
    Six years we banish him, and he shall go.

[Flourish. Exeunt KING RICHARD II and train]

  • Duke of Aumerle. Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know, 550
    From where you do remain let paper show.
  • Lord Marshal. My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride,
    As far as land will let me, by your side.
  • John of Gaunt. O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,
    That thou return'st no greeting to thy friends? 555
  • Henry IV. 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.
  • Henry IV. Joy absent, grief is present for that time. 560
  • Henry IV. To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.
  • Henry IV. My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,
    Which finds it an inforced pilgrimage. 565
  • John of Gaunt. The sullen passage of thy weary steps
    Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set
    The precious jewel of thy home return.
  • Henry IV. Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make
    Will but remember me what a deal of world 570
    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? 575
  • John of Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven visits
    Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.
    Teach thy necessity to reason thus;
    There is no virtue like necessity.
    Think not the king did banish thee, 580
    But thou the king. Woe doth the heavier sit,
    Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
    Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour
    And not the king exiled thee; or suppose
    Devouring pestilence hangs in our air 585
    And thou art flying to a fresher clime:
    Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
    To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou comest:
    Suppose the singing birds musicians,
    The grass whereon thou tread'st the presence strew'd, 590
    The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more
    Than a delightful measure or a dance;
    For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
    The man that mocks at it and sets it light.
  • Henry IV. O, who can hold a fire in his hand 595
    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? 600
    O, no! the apprehension of the good
    Gives but the greater feeling to the worse:
    Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more
    Than when he bites, but lanceth not the sore.
  • John of Gaunt. Come, come, my son, I'll bring thee on thy way: 605
    Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay.
  • Henry IV. Then, England's ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu;
    My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet!
    Where'er I wander, boast of this I can,
    Though banish'd, yet a trueborn Englishman. 610


. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 4

The court.


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

  • King Richard II. We did observe. Cousin Aumerle,
    How far brought you high Hereford on his way? 615
  • Duke of Aumerle. I brought high Hereford, if you call him so,
    But to the next highway, and there I left him.
  • Duke of Aumerle. Faith, none for me; except the north-east wind,
    Which then blew bitterly against our faces, 620
    Awaked the sleeping rheum, and so by chance
    Did grace our hollow parting with a tear.
  • Duke of Aumerle. 'Farewell:'
    And, for my heart disdained that my tongue 625
    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, 630
    He should have had a volume of farewells;
    But since it would not, he had none of me.
  • King Richard II. He is our cousin, cousin; but 'tis doubt,
    When time shall call him home from banishment,
    Whether our kinsman come to see his friends. 635
    Ourself and Bushy, Bagot here and Green
    Observed his courtship to the common people;
    How he did seem to dive into their hearts
    With humble and familiar courtesy,
    What reverence he did throw away on slaves, 640
    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 645
    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. 650
    Now for the rebels which stand out in Ireland,
    Expedient manage must be made, my liege,
    Ere further leisure yield them further means
    For their advantage and your highness' loss.
  • King Richard II. We will ourself in person to this war: 655
    And, for our coffers, with too great a court
    And liberal largess, are grown somewhat light,
    We are inforced to farm our royal realm;
    The revenue whereof shall furnish us
    For our affairs in hand: if that come short, 660
    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. 665
    [Enter BUSHY]
    Bushy, what news?
  • Bushy. Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord,
    Suddenly taken; and hath sent post haste
    To entreat your majesty to visit him. 670
  • King Richard II. Now put it, God, in the physician's mind
    To help him to his grave immediately!
    The lining of his coffers shall make coats 675
    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!