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History of Richard II

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Act II, Scene 2

The palace.



  • Bushy. Madam, your majesty is too much sad:
    You promised, when you parted with the king, 995
    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, 1000
    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, 1005
    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; 1010
    Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon
    Show nothing but confusion, eyed awry
    Distinguish form: so your sweet majesty,
    Looking awry upon your lord's departure,
    Find shapes of grief, more than himself, to wail; 1015
    Which, look'd on as it is, is nought but shadows
    Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen,
    More than your lord's departure weep not: more's not seen;
    Or if it be, 'tis with false sorrow's eye,
    Which for things true weeps things imaginary. 1020
  • 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. 1025
  • Bushy. 'Tis nothing but conceit, my gracious lady.
  • Queen. 'Tis nothing less: conceit is still derived
    From some forefather grief; mine is not so,
    For nothing had begot my something grief;
    Or something hath the nothing that I grieve: 1030
    '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: 1035
    I hope the king is not yet shipp'd for Ireland.
  • Queen. Why hopest thou so? 'tis better hope he is;
    For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope:
    Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipp'd?
  • Green. That he, our hope, might have retired his power, 1040
    And driven into despair an enemy's hope,
    Who strongly hath set footing in this land:
    The banish'd Bolingbroke repeals himself,
    And with uplifted arms is safe arrived
    At Ravenspurgh. 1045
  • 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. 1050
  • Bushy. Why have you not proclaim'd Northumberland
    And all the rest revolted faction traitors?
  • Green. We have: whereupon the Earl of Worcester
    Hath broke his staff, resign'd his stewardship,
    And all the household servants fled with him 1055
    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, 1060
    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, 1065
    A parasite, a keeper back of death,
    Who gently would dissolve the bands of life,
    Which false hope lingers in extremity.


  • Green. Here comes the Duke of York. 1070
  • 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.
  • Edmund of Langley. Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts:
    Comfort's in heaven; and we are on the earth, 1075
    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: 1080
    Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made;
    Now shall he try his friends that flatter'd him.

[Enter a Servant]

  • Servant. My lord, your son was gone before I came.
  • Edmund of Langley. He was? Why, so! go all which way it will! 1085
    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. 1090
  • Servant. My lord, I had forgot to tell your lordship,
    To-day, as I came by, I called there;
    But I shall grieve you to report the rest.
  • Servant. An hour before I came, the duchess died. 1095
  • Edmund of Langley. God for his mercy! what a tide of woes
    Comes rushing on this woeful land at once!
    I know not what to do: I would to God,
    So my untruth had not provoked him to it,
    The king had cut off my head with my brother's. 1100
    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. 1105
    [Exit Servant]
    Gentlemen, will you go muster men?
    If I know how or which way to order these affairs
    Thus thrust disorderly into my hands,
    Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen: 1110
    The one is my sovereign, whom both my oath
    And duty bids defend; the other again
    Is my kinsman, whom the king hath wrong'd,
    Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right.
    Well, somewhat we must do. Come, cousin, I'll 1115
    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, 1120
    And every thing is left at six and seven.


  • Bushy. The wind sits fair for news to go to Ireland,
    But none returns. For us to levy power
    Proportionable to the enemy 1125
    Is all unpossible.
  • Green. Besides, our nearness to the king in love
    Is near the hate of those love not the king.
  • Bagot. And that's the wavering commons: for their love
    Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them 1130
    By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.
  • Bushy. Wherein the king stands generally condemn'd.
  • Bagot. If judgement lie in them, then so do we,
    Because we ever have been near the king.
  • Green. Well, I will for refuge straight to Bristol castle: 1135
    The Earl of Wiltshire is already there.
  • Bushy. Thither will I with you; for little office
    The hateful commons will perform for us,
    Except like curs to tear us all to pieces.
    Will you go along with us? 1140
  • Bagot. No; I will to Ireland to his majesty.
    Farewell: if heart's presages be not vain,
    We three here art that ne'er shall meet again.
  • Bushy. That's as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke.
  • Green. Alas, poor duke! the task he undertakes 1145
    Is numbering sands and drinking oceans dry:
    Where one on his side fights, thousands will fly.
    Farewell at once, for once, for all, and ever.
  • Bushy. Well, we may meet again.
  • Bagot. I fear me, never. 1150