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History of Richard II

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Act V, Scene 3

A royal palace.



  • Henry IV. Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son? 2575
    'Tis full three months since I did see him last;
    If any plague hang over us, 'tis he.
    I would to God, my lords, he might be found:
    Inquire at London, 'mongst the taverns there,
    For there, they say, he daily doth frequent, 2580
    With unrestrained loose companions,
    Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes,
    And beat our watch, and rob our passengers;
    Which he, young wanton and effeminate boy,
    Takes on the point of honour to support 2585
    So dissolute a crew.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,
    And told him of those triumphs held at Oxford.
  • Hotspur (Henry Percy). His answer was, he would unto the stews, 2590
    And from the common'st creature pluck a glove,
    And wear it as a favour; and with that
    He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.
  • Henry IV. As dissolute as desperate; yet through both
    I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years 2595
    May happily bring forth. But who comes here?


  • Henry IV. What means our cousin, that he stares and looks
    So wildly? 2600
  • Duke of Aumerle. God save your grace! I do beseech your majesty,
    To have some conference with your grace alone.
  • Henry IV. Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.
    [Exeunt HENRY PERCY and Lords]
    What is the matter with our cousin now? 2605
  • Duke of Aumerle. For ever may my knees grow to the earth,
    My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth
    Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.
  • Henry IV. Intended or committed was this fault?
    If on the first, how heinous e'er it be, 2610
    To win thy after-love I pardon thee.
  • Duke of Aumerle. Then give me leave that I may turn the key,
    That no man enter till my tale be done.
  • Edmund of Langley. [Within] My liege, beware; look to thyself; 2615
    Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.
  • Henry IV. Villain, I'll make thee safe.


  • Edmund of Langley. [Within] Open the door, secure, foolhardy king: 2620
    Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?
    Open the door, or I will break it open.


  • Henry IV. What is the matter, uncle? speak;
    Recover breath; tell us how near is danger, 2625
    That we may arm us to encounter it.
  • Edmund of Langley. Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know
    The treason that my haste forbids me show.
  • Duke of Aumerle. Remember, as thou read'st, thy promise pass'd:
    I do repent me; read not my name there 2630
    My heart is not confederate with my hand.
  • Edmund of Langley. It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.
    I tore it from the traitor's bosom, king;
    Fear, and not love, begets his penitence:
    Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove 2635
    A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.
  • Henry IV. O heinous, strong and bold conspiracy!
    O loyal father of a treacherous son!
    Thou sheer, immaculate and silver fountain,
    From when this stream through muddy passages 2640
    Hath held his current and defiled himself!
    Thy overflow of good converts to bad,
    And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
    This deadly blot in thy digressing son.
  • Edmund of Langley. So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd; 2645
    And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,
    As thriftless sons their scraping fathers' gold.
    Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,
    Or my shamed life in his dishonour lies:
    Thou kill'st me in his life; giving him breath, 2650
    The traitor lives, the true man's put to death.
  • Henry IV. What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?
  • Duchess of York. A woman, and thy aunt, great king; 'tis I. 2655
    Speak with me, pity me, open the door.
    A beggar begs that never begg'd before.
  • Henry IV. Our scene is alter'd from a serious thing,
    And now changed to 'The Beggar and the King.'
    My dangerous cousin, let your mother in: 2660
    I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.
  • Edmund of Langley. If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,
    More sins for this forgiveness prosper may.
    This fester'd joint cut off, the rest rest sound;
    This let alone will all the rest confound. 2665


  • Duchess of York. O king, believe not this hard-hearted man!
    Love loving not itself none other can.
  • Edmund of Langley. Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
    Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear? 2670


  • Duchess of York. Not yet, I thee beseech:
    For ever will I walk upon my knees, 2675
    And never see day that the happy sees,
    Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy,
    By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.
  • Edmund of Langley. Against them both my true joints bended be. 2680
    Ill mayst thou thrive, if thou grant any grace!
  • Duchess of York. Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face;
    His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest;
    His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast:
    He prays but faintly and would be denied; 2685
    We pray with heart and soul and all beside:
    His weary joints would gladly rise, I know;
    Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow:
    His prayers are full of false hypocrisy;
    Ours of true zeal and deep integrity. 2690
    Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have
    That mercy which true prayer ought to have.
  • Duchess of York. Nay, do not say, 'stand up;'
    Say, 'pardon' first, and afterwards 'stand up.' 2695
    And if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,
    'Pardon' should be the first word of thy speech.
    I never long'd to hear a word till now;
    Say 'pardon,' king; let pity teach thee how:
    The word is short, but not so short as sweet; 2700
    No word like 'pardon' for kings' mouths so meet.
  • Duchess of York. Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?
    Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,
    That set'st the word itself against the word! 2705
    Speak 'pardon' as 'tis current in our land;
    The chopping French we do not understand.
    Thine eye begins to speak; set thy tongue there;
    Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear;
    That hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce, 2710
    Pity may move thee 'pardon' to rehearse.
  • Duchess of York. I do not sue to stand;
    Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.
  • Henry IV. I pardon him, as God shall pardon me. 2715
  • Duchess of York. O happy vantage of a kneeling knee!
    Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again;
    Twice saying 'pardon' doth not pardon twain,
    But makes one pardon strong.
  • Henry IV. With all my heart 2720
    I pardon him.
  • Henry IV. But for our trusty brother-in-law and the abbot,
    With all the rest of that consorted crew,
    Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels. 2725
    Good uncle, help to order several powers
    To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are:
    They shall not live within this world, I swear,
    But I will have them, if I once know where.
    Uncle, farewell: and, cousin too, adieu: 2730
    Your mother well hath pray'd, and prove you true.