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History of Richard II

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Act V, Scene 2

The DUKE OF YORK’s palace.



  • Duchess of York. My lord, you told me you would tell the rest, 2440
    When weeping made you break the story off,
    of our two cousins coming into London.
  • Duchess of York. At that sad stop, my lord,
    Where rude misgovern'd hands from windows' tops 2445
    Threw dust and rubbish on King Richard's head.
  • Edmund of Langley. Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke,
    Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed
    Which his aspiring rider seem'd to know,
    With slow but stately pace kept on his course, 2450
    Whilst all tongues cried 'God save thee,
    You would have thought the very windows spake,
    So many greedy looks of young and old
    Through casements darted their desiring eyes 2455
    Upon his visage, and that all the walls
    With painted imagery had said at once
    'Jesu preserve thee! welcome, Bolingbroke!'
    Whilst he, from the one side to the other turning,
    Bareheaded, lower than his proud steed's neck, 2460
    Bespake them thus: 'I thank you, countrymen:'
    And thus still doing, thus he pass'd along.
  • Edmund of Langley. As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
    After a well-graced actor leaves the stage, 2465
    Are idly bent on him that enters next,
    Thinking his prattle to be tedious;
    Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes
    Did scowl on gentle Richard; no man cried 'God save him!'
    No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home: 2470
    But dust was thrown upon his sacred head:
    Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,
    His face still combating with tears and smiles,
    The badges of his grief and patience,
    That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel'd 2475
    The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted
    And barbarism itself have pitied him.
    But heaven hath a hand in these events,
    To whose high will we bound our calm contents.
    To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now, 2480
    Whose state and honour I for aye allow.
  • Edmund of Langley. Aumerle that was;
    But that is lost for being Richard's friend,
    And, madam, you must call him Rutland now: 2485
    I am in parliament pledge for his truth
    And lasting fealty to the new-made king.


  • Duchess of York. Welcome, my son: who are the violets now
    That strew the green lap of the new come spring? 2490
  • Duke of Aumerle. Madam, I know not, nor I greatly care not:
    God knows I had as lief be none as one.
  • Edmund of Langley. Well, bear you well in this new spring of time,
    Lest you be cropp'd before you come to prime.
    What news from Oxford? hold those justs and triumphs? 2495
  • Edmund of Langley. What seal is that, that hangs without thy bosom?
    Yea, look'st thou pale? let me see the writing. 2500
  • Edmund of Langley. No matter, then, who see it;
    I will be satisfied; let me see the writing.
  • Duke of Aumerle. I do beseech your grace to pardon me:
    It is a matter of small consequence, 2505
    Which for some reasons I would not have seen.
  • Duchess of York. What should you fear?
    'Tis nothing but some bond, that he is enter'd into 2510
    For gay apparel 'gainst the triumph day.
  • Edmund of Langley. Bound to himself! what doth he with a bond
    That he is bound to? Wife, thou art a fool.
    Boy, let me see the writing.
  • Edmund of Langley. I will be satisfied; let me see it, I say.
    [He plucks it out of his bosom and reads it]
    Treason! foul treason! Villain! traitor! slave!
  • Edmund of Langley. Ho! who is within there? 2520
    [Enter a Servant]
    Saddle my horse.
    God for his mercy, what treachery is here!
  • Edmund of Langley. Give me my boots, I say; saddle my horse. 2525
    Now, by mine honour, by my life, by my troth,
    I will appeach the villain.
  • Duke of Aumerle. Good mother, be content; it is no more
    Than my poor life must answer.

[Re-enter Servant with boots]

  • Duchess of York. Strike him, Aumerle. Poor boy, thou art amazed.
    Hence, villain! never more come in my sight.
  • Duchess of York. Why, York, what wilt thou do?
    Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own? 2540
    Have we more sons? or are we like to have?
    Is not my teeming date drunk up with time?
    And wilt thou pluck my fair son from mine age,
    And rob me of a happy mother's name?
    Is he not like thee? is he not thine own? 2545
  • Edmund of Langley. Thou fond mad woman,
    Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy?
    A dozen of them here have ta'en the sacrament,
    And interchangeably set down their hands,
    To kill the king at Oxford. 2550
  • Duchess of York. He shall be none;
    We'll keep him here: then what is that to him?
  • Edmund of Langley. Away, fond woman! were he twenty times my son,
    I would appeach him.
  • Duchess of York. Hadst thou groan'd for him 2555
    As I have done, thou wouldst be more pitiful.
    But now I know thy mind; thou dost suspect
    That I have been disloyal to thy bed,
    And that he is a bastard, not thy son:
    Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind: 2560
    He is as like thee as a man may be,
    Not like to me, or any of my kin,
    And yet I love him.


  • Duchess of York. After, Aumerle! mount thee upon his horse;
    Spur post, and get before him to the king,
    And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.
    I'll not be long behind; though I be old,
    I doubt not but to ride as fast as York: 2570
    And never will I rise up from the ground
    Till Bolingbroke have pardon'd thee. Away, be gone!