Open Source Shakespeare

History of Richard II

• To print this text, click here
• To save this text, go to your browser's File menu, then select Save As


Act III, Scene 3

Wales. Before Flint castle.


[Enter, with drum and colours, HENRY BOLINGBROKE,] [p]DUKE OF YORK, NORTHUMBERLAND, Attendants, and forces]

  • Henry IV. So that by this intelligence we learn 1635
    The Welshmen are dispersed, and Salisbury
    Is gone to meet the king, who lately landed
    With some few private friends upon this coast.
  • Earl of Northumberland. The news is very fair and good, my lord:
    Richard not far from hence hath hid his head. 1640
  • Edmund of Langley. It would beseem the Lord Northumberland
    To say 'King Richard:' alack the heavy day
    When such a sacred king should hide his head.
  • Earl of Northumberland. Your grace mistakes; only to be brief
    Left I his title out. 1645
  • Edmund of Langley. The time hath been,
    Would you have been so brief with him, he would
    Have been so brief with you, to shorten you,
    For taking so the head, your whole head's length.
  • Henry IV. Mistake not, uncle, further than you should. 1650
  • Edmund of Langley. Take not, good cousin, further than you should.
    Lest you mistake the heavens are o'er our heads.
  • Henry IV. I know it, uncle, and oppose not myself
    Against their will. But who comes here?
    [Enter HENRY PERCY] 1655
    Welcome, Harry: what, will not this castle yield?
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). The castle royally is mann'd, my lord,
    Against thy entrance.
  • Henry IV. Royally!
    Why, it contains no king? 1660
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). Yes, my good lord,
    It doth contain a king; King Richard lies
    Within the limits of yon lime and stone:
    And with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury,
    Sir Stephen Scroop, besides a clergyman 1665
    Of holy reverence; who, I cannot learn.
  • Earl of Northumberland. O, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.
  • Henry IV. Noble lords,
    Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle;
    Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley 1670
    Into his ruin'd ears, and thus deliver:
    Henry Bolingbroke
    On both his knees doth kiss King Richard's hand
    And sends allegiance and true faith of heart
    To his most royal person, hither come 1675
    Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,
    Provided that my banishment repeal'd
    And lands restored again be freely granted:
    If not, I'll use the advantage of my power
    And lay the summer's dust with showers of blood 1680
    Rain'd from the wounds of slaughter'd Englishmen:
    The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke
    It is, such crimson tempest should bedrench
    The fresh green lap of fair King Richard's land,
    My stooping duty tenderly shall show. 1685
    Go, signify as much, while here we march
    Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.
    Let's march without the noise of threatening drum,
    That from this castle's tatter'd battlements
    Our fair appointments may be well perused. 1690
    Methinks King Richard and myself should meet
    With no less terror than the elements
    Of fire and water, when their thundering shock
    At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.
    Be he the fire, I'll be the yielding water: 1695
    The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain
    My waters; on the earth, and not on him.
    March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.
    [Parle without, and answer within. Then a flourish.]
    Enter on the walls, KING RICHARD II, the BISHOP OF 1700
    See, see, King Richard doth himself appear,
    As doth the blushing discontented sun
    From out the fiery portal of the east,
    When he perceives the envious clouds are bent 1705
    To dim his glory and to stain the track
    Of his bright passage to the occident.
  • Edmund of Langley. Yet looks he like a king: behold, his eye,
    As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth
    Controlling majesty: alack, alack, for woe, 1710
    That any harm should stain so fair a show!
  • King Richard II. We are amazed; and thus long have we stood
    To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,
    Because we thought ourself thy lawful king: 1715
    And if we be, how dare thy joints forget
    To pay their awful duty to our presence?
    If we be not, show us the hand of God
    That hath dismissed us from our stewardship;
    For well we know, no hand of blood and bone 1720
    Can gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre,
    Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
    And though you think that all, as you have done,
    Have torn their souls by turning them from us,
    And we are barren and bereft of friends; 1725
    Yet know, my master, God omnipotent,
    Is mustering in his clouds on our behalf
    Armies of pestilence; and they shall strike
    Your children yet unborn and unbegot,
    That lift your vassal hands against my head 1730
    And threat the glory of my precious crown.
    Tell Bolingbroke—for yond methinks he stands—
    That every stride he makes upon my land
    Is dangerous treason: he is come to open
    The purple testament of bleeding war; 1735
    But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
    Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons
    Shall ill become the flower of England's face,
    Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
    To scarlet indignation and bedew 1740
    Her pastures' grass with faithful English blood.
  • Earl of Northumberland. The king of heaven forbid our lord the king
    Should so with civil and uncivil arms
    Be rush'd upon! Thy thrice noble cousin
    Harry Bolingbroke doth humbly kiss thy hand; 1745
    And by the honourable tomb he swears,
    That stands upon your royal grandsire's bones,
    And by the royalties of both your bloods,
    Currents that spring from one most gracious head,
    And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt, 1750
    And by the worth and honour of himself,
    Comprising all that may be sworn or said,
    His coming hither hath no further scope
    Than for his lineal royalties and to beg
    Enfranchisement immediate on his knees: 1755
    Which on thy royal party granted once,
    His glittering arms he will commend to rust,
    His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart
    To faithful service of your majesty.
    This swears he, as he is a prince, is just; 1760
    And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.
  • King Richard II. Northumberland, say thus the king returns:
    His noble cousin is right welcome hither;
    And all the number of his fair demands
    Shall be accomplish'd without contradiction: 1765
    With all the gracious utterance thou hast
    Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.
    We do debase ourselves, cousin, do we not,
    To look so poorly and to speak so fair? 1770
    Shall we call back Northumberland, and send
    Defiance to the traitor, and so die?
  • Duke of Aumerle. No, good my lord; let's fight with gentle words
    Till time lend friends and friends their helpful swords.
  • King Richard II. O God, O God! that e'er this tongue of mine, 1775
    That laid the sentence of dread banishment
    On yon proud man, should take it off again
    With words of sooth! O that I were as great
    As is my grief, or lesser than my name!
    Or that I could forget what I have been, 1780
    Or not remember what I must be now!
    Swell'st thou, proud heart? I'll give thee scope to beat,
    Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.
  • Duke of Aumerle. Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.
  • King Richard II. What must the king do now? must he submit? 1785
    The king shall do it: must he be deposed?
    The king shall be contented: must he lose
    The name of king? o' God's name, let it go:
    I'll give my jewels for a set of beads,
    My gorgeous palace for a hermitage, 1790
    My gay apparel for an almsman's gown,
    My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
    My sceptre for a palmer's walking staff,
    My subjects for a pair of carved saints
    And my large kingdom for a little grave, 1795
    A little little grave, an obscure grave;
    Or I'll be buried in the king's highway,
    Some way of common trade, where subjects' feet
    May hourly trample on their sovereign's head;
    For on my heart they tread now whilst I live; 1800
    And buried once, why not upon my head?
    Aumerle, thou weep'st, my tender-hearted cousin!
    We'll make foul weather with despised tears;
    Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn,
    And make a dearth in this revolting land. 1805
    Or shall we play the wantons with our woes,
    And make some pretty match with shedding tears?
    As thus, to drop them still upon one place,
    Till they have fretted us a pair of graves
    Within the earth; and, therein laid,—there lies 1810
    Two kinsmen digg'd their graves with weeping eyes.
    Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see
    I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
    Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland,
    What says King Bolingbroke? will his majesty 1815
    Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?
    You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay.
  • Earl of Northumberland. My lord, in the base court he doth attend
    To speak with you; may it please you to come down.
  • King Richard II. Down, down I come; like glistering Phaethon, 1820
    Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
    In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base,
    To come at traitors' calls and do them grace.
    In the base court? Come down? Down, court!
    down, king! 1825
    For night-owls shriek where mounting larks
    should sing.

[Exeunt from above]

  • Henry IV. What says his majesty?
  • Earl of Northumberland. Sorrow and grief of heart 1830
    Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man
    Yet he is come.

[Enter KING RICHARD and his attendants below]

  • Henry IV. Stand all apart,
    And show fair duty to his majesty. 1835
    [He kneels down]
    My gracious lord,—
  • King Richard II. Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee
    To make the base earth proud with kissing it:
    Me rather had my heart might feel your love 1840
    Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy.
    Up, cousin, up; your heart is up, I know,
    Thus high at least, although your knee be low.
  • Henry IV. My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.
  • King Richard II. Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all. 1845
  • Henry IV. So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,
    As my true service shall deserve your love.
  • King Richard II. Well you deserve: they well deserve to have,
    That know the strong'st and surest way to get.
    Uncle, give me your hands: nay, dry your eyes; 1850
    Tears show their love, but want their remedies.
    Cousin, I am too young to be your father,
    Though you are old enough to be my heir.
    What you will have, I'll give, and willing too;
    For do we must what force will have us do. 1855
    Set on towards London, cousin, is it so?
  • Henry IV. Yea, my good lord.
  • King Richard II. Then I must not say no.

[Flourish. Exeunt]