Please wait

The text you requested is loading.
This shouldn't take more than a minute, depending on
the speed of your Internet connection.

progress graphic

Help me, Cassius, or I sink!

      — Julius Caesar, Act I Scene 2


Plays  +  Sonnets  +  Poems  +  Concordance  +  Advanced Search  +  About OSS

History of Richard II

Act II

print/save print/save view

Scene 1. Ely House.

Scene 2. The palace.

Scene 3. Wilds in Gloucestershire.

Scene 4. A camp in Wales.


Act II, Scene 1

Ely House.

      next scene .

[Enter JOHN OF GAUNT sick, with the DUKE OF YORK,] [p]&c]

  • John of Gaunt. Will the king come, that I may breathe my last
    In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth?
  • Edmund of Langley. Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath; 685
    For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.
  • John of 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. 690
    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, 695
    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.
  • Edmund of Langley. No; it is stopp'd with other flattering sounds,
    As praises, of whose taste the wise are fond, 700
    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. 705
    Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity—
    So it be new, there's no respect how vile—
    That is not quickly buzzed into his ears?
    Then all too late comes counsel to be heard,
    Where will doth mutiny with wit's regard. 710
    Direct not him whose way himself will choose:
    'Tis breath thou lack'st, and that breath wilt thou lose.
  • John of Gaunt. Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
    And thus expiring do foretell of him:
    His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last, 715
    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, 720
    Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
    This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
    This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
    This other Eden, demi-paradise,
    This fortress built by Nature for herself 725
    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, 730
    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, 735
    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, 740
    Is now leased 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 watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame, 745
    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! 750
  • Edmund of Langley. The king is come: deal mildly with his youth;
    For young hot colts being raged do rage the more.
  • Queen. How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster? 755
  • John of 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? 760
    For sleeping England long time have I watch'd;
    Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all 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: 765
    Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,
    Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.
  • John of Gaunt. No, misery makes sport to mock itself:
    Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me, 770
    I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee.
  • John of 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; 780
    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; 785
    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, 790
    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, 795
    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 II. A lunatic lean-witted fool,
    Presuming on an ague's privilege, 800
    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, 805
    This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head
    Should run thy head from thy unreverent shoulders.
  • John of 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, 810
    Hast thou tapp'd out and drunkenly caroused:
    My brother Gloucester, plain well-meaning soul,
    Whom fair befal in heaven 'mongst happy souls!
    May be a precedent and witness good
    That thou respect'st not spilling Edward's blood: 815
    Join with the present sickness that I have;
    And thy unkindness be like crooked age,
    To crop at once a too long wither'd flower.
    Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!
    These words hereafter thy tormentors be! 820
    Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:
    Love they to live that love and honour have.

[Exit, borne off by his Attendants]

  • King Richard II. And let them die that age and sullens have;
    For both hast thou, and both become the grave. 825
  • Edmund of Langley. 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 II. Right, you say true: as Hereford's love, so his; 830
    As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.


  • Earl of Northumberland. Nay, nothing; all is said 835
    His tongue is now a stringless instrument;
    Words, life and all, old Lancaster hath spent.
  • Edmund of Langley. Be York the next that must be bankrupt so!
    Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.
  • King Richard II. The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he; 840
    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. 845
    And for these great affairs do ask some charge,
    Towards our assistance we do seize to us
    The plate, corn, revenues and moveables,
    Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess'd.
  • Edmund of Langley. How long shall I be patient? ah, how long 850
    Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?
    Not Gloucester's death, nor Hereford's banishment
    Not Gaunt's rebukes, nor England's private wrongs,
    Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke
    About his marriage, nor my own disgrace, 855
    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 raged more fierce, 860
    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 865
    And not against his friends; his noble hand
    Did will 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. 870
    O Richard! York is too far gone with grief,
    Or else he never would compare between.
  • Edmund of Langley. O my liege,
    Pardon me, if you please; if not, I, pleased 875
    Not to be pardon'd, 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? 880
    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; 885
    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 patent that he hath 890
    By his attorneys-general to sue
    His livery, and deny his offer'd homage,
    You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,
    You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts
    And prick my tender patience, to those thoughts 895
    Which honour and allegiance cannot think.
  • King Richard II. Think what you will, we seize into our hands
    His plate, his goods, his money and his lands.
  • Edmund of Langley. I'll not be by the while: my liege, farewell:
    What will ensue hereof, there's none can tell; 900
    But by bad courses may be understood
    That their events can never fall out good.


  • King Richard II. Go, Bushy, to the Earl of Wiltshire straight:
    Bid him repair to us to Ely House 905
    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 loved us well. 910
    Come on, our queen: to-morrow must we part;
    Be merry, for our time of stay is short
    [Flourish. Exeunt KING RICHARD II, QUEEN, DUKE OF]
  • Lord Ross. And living too; for now his son is duke.
  • Lord Ross. My heart is great; but it must break with silence,
    Ere't be disburden'd with a liberal tongue. 920
  • Earl of Northumberland. Nay, speak thy mind; and let him ne'er speak more
    That speaks thy words again to do thee harm!
  • Lord 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. 925
  • Lord 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.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Now, afore God, 'tis shame such wrongs are borne
    In him, a royal prince, and many moe 930
    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 all,
    That will the king severely prosecute 935
    'Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs.
  • Lord Ross. The commons hath he pill'd with grievous taxes,
    And quite lost their hearts: the nobles hath he fined
    For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.
  • Lord Willoughby. And daily new exactions are devised, 940
    As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what:
    But what, o' God's name, doth become of this?
  • Earl of Northumberland. Wars have not wasted it, for warr'd he hath not,
    But basely yielded upon compromise
    That which his noble ancestors achieved with blows: 945
    More hath he spent in peace than they in wars.
  • Lord Ross. The Earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm.
  • Lord Ross. He hath not money for these Irish wars, 950
    His burthenous taxations notwithstanding,
    But by the robbing of the banish'd duke.
  • Earl of Northumberland. His noble kinsman: most degenerate king!
    But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing,
    Yet see no shelter to avoid the storm; 955
    We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,
    And yet we strike not, but securely perish.
  • Lord Ross. We see the very wreck that we must suffer;
    And unavoided is the danger now,
    For suffering so the causes of our wreck. 960
  • Earl of 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.
  • Lord Ross. Be confident to speak, Northumberland: 965
    We three are but thyself; and, speaking so,
    Thy words are but as thoughts; therefore, be bold.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Then thus: I have from Port le Blanc, a bay
    In Brittany, received intelligence
    That Harry Duke of Hereford, Rainold Lord Cobham, 970
    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, 975
    All these well furnish'd by the Duke of Bretagne
    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 980
    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 985
    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.
  • Lord Ross. To horse, to horse! urge doubts to them that fear. 990


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

The palace.

      next scene .


  • 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


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

Wilds in Gloucestershire.

      next scene .


  • Henry IV. How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?
  • Earl of Northumberland. Believe me, noble lord,
    I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire: 1155
    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 1160
    From Ravenspurgh to Cotswold will be found
    In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company,
    Which, I protest, hath very much beguiled
    The tediousness and process of my travel:
    But theirs is sweetened with the hope to have 1165
    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. 1170
  • Henry IV. Of much less value is my company
    Than your good words. But who comes here?


  • Earl of Northumberland. It is my son, young Harry Percy,
    Sent from my brother Worcester, whencesoever. 1175
    Harry, how fares your uncle?
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). No, my good Lord; he hath forsook the court,
    Broken his staff of office and dispersed 1180
    The household of the king.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Because your lordship was proclaimed traitor.
    But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurgh, 1185
    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.
  • Hotspur (Henry 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.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). My gracious lord, I tender you my service, 1195
    Such as it is, being tender, raw and young:
    Which elder days shall ripen and confirm
    To more approved service and desert.
  • Henry IV. I thank thee, gentle Percy; and be sure
    I count myself in nothing else so happy 1200
    As in a soul remembering 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.
  • Earl of Northumberland. How far is it to Berkeley? and what stir 1205
    Keeps good old York there with his men of war?
  • Hotspur (Henry 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. 1210


  • Earl of Northumberland. Here come the Lords of Ross and Willoughby,
    Bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste.
  • Henry IV. Welcome, my lords. I wot your love pursues
    A banish'd traitor: all my treasury 1215
    Is yet but unfelt thanks, which more enrich'd
    Shall be your love and labour's recompense.
  • Lord Ross. Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord.
  • Henry IV. Evermore thanks, the exchequer of the poor; 1220
    Which, till my infant fortune comes to years,
    Stands for my bounty. But who comes here?


  • Henry IV. 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.
  • Lord Berkeley. Mistake me not, my lord; 'tis not my meaning 1230
    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 1235
    And fright our native peace with self-born arms.

[Enter DUKE OF YORK attended]

  • Henry IV. I shall not need transport my words by you;
    Here comes his grace in person. My noble uncle!


  • Edmund of Langley. Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee,
    Whose duty is deceiveable and false.
  • Edmund of Langley. Tut, tut!
    Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle: 1245
    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
    Dared once to touch a dust of England's ground?
    But then more 'why?' why have they dared to march 1250
    So many miles upon her peaceful bosom,
    Frighting her pale-faced villages with war
    And ostentation of despised arms?
    Comest thou because the anointed king is hence?
    Why, foolish boy, the king is left behind, 1255
    And in my loyal bosom lies his power.
    Were I but now the 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, 1260
    O, then how quickly should this arm of mine.
    Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee
    And minister correction to thy fault!
  • Henry IV. My gracious uncle, let me know my fault:
    On what condition stands it and wherein? 1265
  • Edmund of Langley. 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. 1270
  • Henry IV. 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 1275
    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? 1280
    If that my cousin king be King of 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, 1285
    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. 1290
    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.
  • Lord Ross. It stands your grace upon to do him right.
  • Edmund of Langley. My lords of England, let me tell you this:
    I have had feeling of my cousin's wrongs
    And laboured all I could to do him right; 1300
    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. 1305
  • Earl of 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 ne'er see joy that breaks that oath!
  • Edmund of Langley. Well, well, I see the issue of these arms: 1310
    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; 1315
    But since I cannot, be it known to 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.
  • Henry IV. An offer, uncle, that we will accept: 1320
    But we must win your grace to go with usTo Bristol 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.
  • Edmund of Langley. It may be I will go with you: but yet I'll pause; 1325
    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.


. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 4

A camp in Wales.


[Enter EARL OF SALISBURY and a Welsh Captain]

  • 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.
  • Earl of Salisbury. Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman: 1335
    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-faced moon looks bloody on the earth 1340
    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. 1345
    Farewell: our countrymen are gone and fled,
    As well assured Richard their king is dead.


  • Earl of Salisbury. Ah, Richard, with the eyes of heavy mind
    I see thy glory like a shooting star 1350
    Fall to the base earth from the firmament.
    Thy 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. 1355