William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard the Second (1595-96)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  


This is a part of a collection of works by William Shakespeare.


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (London: Oxford University Press, 1916).

See the complete volume in HTML and facs. PDF.



Table of Contents







King Richard the Second.
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, } Uncles to the King.
Edmund of Langley, Duke of York,  }
Henry, surnamed Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, Son to John of Gaunt: afterwards King Henry IV.
Duke of Aumerle, Son to the Duke of York.
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk.
Duke of Surrey.
Earl of Salisbury.
Lord Berkeley.
Bushy, } Servants to King Richard.
Bagot, }
Green,  }
Earl of Northumberland.
Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur, his Son.
Lord Ross.
Lord Willoughby.
Lord Fitzwater.
Bishop of Carlisle.
Abbot of Westminster.
Lord Marshal.
Sir Pierce of Exton.
Sir Stephen Scroop.
Captain of a Band of Welshmen.
Queen to King Richard.
Duchess of Gloucester.
Duchess of York.
Lady attending on the Queen.
Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Gardeners, Keeper, Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants.



Scene.Dispersedly in England and Wales.


Scene I.— London. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King Richard, attended; John of Gaunt, and other Nobles.

K. Rich.

Old John of Gaunt, time-honour’d Lancaster,

Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,

Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son,

Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,  4

Which then our leisure would not let us hear,

Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?


I have, my liege.

K. Rich.

Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,  8

If he appeal the duke on ancient malice,

Or worthily, as a good subject should,

On some known ground of treachery in him?


As near as I could sift him on that argument,  12

On some apparent danger seen in him

Aim’d at your highness, no inveterate malice.

K. Rich.

Then call them to our presence: face to face,

And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear

The accuser and the accused freely speak:  17

[Exeunt some Attendants.

High-stomach’d are they both, and full of ire,

In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

Re-enter Attendants, with Bolingbroke and Mowbray.


Many years of happy days befall  20

My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!


Each day still better other’s happiness;

Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap,

Add an immortal title to your crown!  24

K. Rich.

We thank you both: yet one but flatters us,

As well appeareth by the cause you come;

Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.

Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object  28

Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?


First,—heaven be the record to my speech!—

In the devotion of a subject’s love,

Tendering the precious safety of my prince,  32

And free from other misbegotten hate,

Come I appellant to this princely presence.

Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,

And mark my greeting well; for what I speak  36

My body shall make good upon this earth,

Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.

Thou art a traitor and a miscreant;

Too good to be so and too bad to live,  40

Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,

The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.

Once more, the more to aggravate the note,

With a foul traitor’s name stuff I thy throat;  44

And wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move,

What my tongue speaks, my right drawn sword may prove.


Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal:

’Tis not the trial of a woman’s war,  48

The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,

Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain;

The blood is hot that must be cool’d for this:

Yet can I not of such tame patience boast  52

As to be hush’d and nought at all to say.

First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me

From giving reins and spurs to my free speech;

Which else would post until it had return’d  56

These terms of treason doubled down his throat.

Setting aside his high blood’s royalty,

And let him be no kinsman to my liege,

I do defy him, and I spit at him;  60

Call him a slanderous coward and a villain:

Which to maintain I would allow him odds,

And meet him, were I tied to run afoot

Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,  64

Or any other ground inhabitable,

Wherever Englishman durst set his foot.

Meantime let this defend my loyalty:

By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.  68


Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,

Disclaiming here the kindred of the king;

And lay aside my high blood’s royalty,

Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except:  72

If guilty dread have left thee so much strength

As to take up mine honour’s pawn, then stoop:

By that, and all the rites of knighthood else,

Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,  76

What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.


I take it up; and by that sword I swear,

Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,

I’ll answer thee in any fair degree,  80

Or chivalrous design of knightly trial:

And when I mount, alive may I not light,

If I be traitor or unjustly fight!

K. Rich.

What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray’s charge?  84

It must be great that can inherit us

So much as of a thought of ill in him.


Look, what I speak, my life shall prove it true;

That Mowbray hath receiv’d eight thousand nobles  88

In name of lendings for your highness’ soldiers,

The which he hath detain’d for lewd employments,

Like a false traitor and injurious villain.

Besides I say and will in battle prove,  92

Or here or elsewhere to the furthest verge

That ever was survey’d by English eye,

That all the treasons for these eighteen years

Complotted and contrived in this land,  96

Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.

Further I say and further will maintain

Upon his bad life to make all this good,

That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester’s death,

Suggest his soon believing adversaries,  101

And consequently, like a traitor coward,

Sluic’d out his innocent soul through streams of blood:

Which blood, like sacrificing Abel’s, cries,  104

Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,

To me for justice and rough chastisement;

And, by the glorious worth of my descent,

This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.  108

K. Rich.

How high a pitch his resolution soars!

Thomas of Norfolk, what sayst thou to this?


O! let my sovereign turn away his face

And bid his ears a little while be deaf,  112

Till I have told this slander of his blood

How God and good men hate so foul a liar.

K. Rich.

Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears:

Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom’s heir,—

As he is but my father’s brother’s son,—  117

Now, by my sceptre’s awe I make a vow,

Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood

Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize  120

The unstooping firmness of my upright soul.

He is our subject, Mowbray; so art thou:

Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.


Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,  124

Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest.

Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais

Disburs’d I duly to his highness’ soldiers;

The other part reserv’d I by consent,  128

For that my sovereign liege was in my debt

Upon remainder of a dear account,

Since last I went to France to fetch his queen.

Now swallow down that lie. For Gloucester’s death,  132

I slew him not; but to mine own disgrace

Neglected my sworn duty in that case.

For you, my noble Lord of Lancaster,

The honourable father to my foe,  136

Once did I lay an ambush for your life,

A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul;

But ere I last receiv’d the sacrament

I did confess it, and exactly begg’d  140

Your Grace’s pardon, and I hope I had it.

This is my fault: as for the rest appeal’d,

It issues from the rancour of a villain,

A recreant and most degenerate traitor;  144

Which in myself I boldly will defend,

And interchangeably hurl down my gage

Upon this overweening traitor’s foot,

To prove myself a loyal gentleman  148

Even in the best blood chamber’d in his bosom.

In haste whereof, most heartily I pray

Your highness to assign our trial day.

K. Rich.

Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul’d by me;  152

Let’s purge this choler without letting blood:

This we prescribe, though no physician;

Deep malice makes too deep incision:

Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed,  156

Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.

Good uncle, let this end where it begun;

We’ll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.


To be a make-peace shall become my age:  160

Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk’s gage.

K. Rich.

And, Norfolk, throw down his.


When, Harry, when?

Obedience bids I should not bid again.

K. Rich.

Norfolk, throw down, we bid; there is no boot.  164


Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot.

My life thou shalt command, but not my shame:

The one my duty owes; but my fair name,—

Despite of death that lives upon my grave,—  168

To dark dishonour’s use thou shalt not have.

I am disgrac’d, impeach’d, and baffled here,

Pierc’d to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear,

The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood  172

Which breath’d this poison.

K. Rich.

Rage must be withstood:

Give me his gage: lions make leopards tame.


Yea, but not change his spots: take but my shame,

And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,  176

The purest treasure mortal times afford

Is spotless reputation; that away,

Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.

A jewel in a ten-times-barr’d-up chest  180

Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.

Mine honour is my life; both grow in one;

Take honour from me, and my life is done:

Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;

In that I live and for that will I die.  185

K. Rich.

Cousin, throw down your gage: do you begin.


O! God defend my soul from such deep sin.

Shall I seem crest fall’n in my father’s sight,  188

Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height

Before this out-dar’d dastard? Ere my tongue

Shall wound mine honour with such feeble wrong,

Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear  192

The slavish motive of recanting fear,

And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,

Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray’s face.

[Exit Gaunt.

K. Rich.

We were not born to sue, but to command:  196

Which since we cannot do to make you friends,

Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,

At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert’s day:

There shall your swords and lances arbitrate  200

The swelling difference of your settled hate:

Since we cannot atone you, we shall see

Justice design the victor’s chivalry.

Marshal, command our officers-at-arms  204

Be ready to direct these home alarms.


Scene II.— The Same. A Room in the Duke of Lancaster’s Palace.

Enter Gaunt and Duchess of Gloucester.


Alas! the part I had in Woodstock’s blood

Doth more solicit me than your exclaims,

To stir against the butchers of his life.

But since correction lieth in those hands  4

Which made the fault that we cannot correct,

Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven;

Who, when they see the hours ripe on earth,

Will rain hot vengeance on offenders’ heads.  8


Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?

Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?

Edward’s seven sons, whereof thyself art one,

Were as seven vials of his sacred blood,  12

Or seven fair branches springing from one root:

Some of those seven are dried by nature’s course,

Some of those branches by the Destinies cut;

But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloucester,

One vial full of Edward’s sacred blood,  17

One flourishing branch of his most royal root,

Is crack’d, and all the precious liquor spilt;

Is hack’d down, and his summer leaves all vaded,

By envy’s hand and murder’s bloody axe.  21

Ah, Gaunt! his blood was thine: that bed, that womb,

That metal, that self-mould, that fashion’d thee

Made him a man; and though thou liv’st and breath’st,  24

Yet art thou slain in him: thou dost consent

In some large measure to thy father’s death

In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,

Who was the model of thy father’s life.  28

Call it not patience, Gaunt; it is despair:

In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughter’d

Thou show’st the naked pathway to thy life,

Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee:  32

That which in mean men we entitle patience

Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.

What shall I say? to safeguard thine own life,

The best way is to venge my Gloucester’s death.


God’s is the quarrel; for God’s substitute,  37

His deputy anointed in his sight,

Hath caus’d his death; the which if wrongfully,

Let heaven revenge, for I may never lift  40

An angry arm against his minister.


Where then, alas! may I complain myself?


To God, the widow’s champion and defence.


Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.

Thou go’st to Coventry, there to behold  45

Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight:

O! sit my husband’s wrongs on Hereford’s spear,

That it may enter butcher Mowbray’s breast.  48

Or if misfortune miss the first career,

Be Mowbray’s sins so heavy in his bosom

That they may break his foaming courser’s back,

And throw the rider headlong in the lists,  52

A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!

Farewell, old Gaunt: thy sometimes brother’s wife

With her companion grief must end her life.


Sister, farewell; I must to Coventry.

As much good stay with thee as go with me!  57


Yet one word more. Grief boundeth where it falls,

Not with the empty hollowness, but weight:

I take my leave before I have begun,  60

For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.

Commend me to my brother, Edmund York.

Lo! this is all: nay, yet depart not so;

Though this be all, do not so quickly go;  64

I shall remember more. Bid him—ah, what?—

With all good speed at Plashy visit me.

Alack! and what shall good old York there see

But empty lodgings and unfurnish’d walls,  68

Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?

And what hear there for welcome but my groans?

Therefore commend me; let him not come there,

To seek out sorrow that dwells every where.  72

Desolate, desolate will I hence, and die:

The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.


Scene III.— Open Space, near Coventry. Lists set out, and a Throne. Heralds, &c., attending.

Enter the Lord Marshal and Aumerle.


My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm’d?


Yea, at all points, and longs to enter in.


The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,

Stays but the summons of the appellant’s trumpet.  4


Why then, the champions are prepar’d, and stay

For nothing but his majesty’s approach.

Flourish. Enter King Richard, who takes his seat on his Throne; Gaunt, Bushy, Bagot, Green, and Others, who take their places. A trumpet is sounded, and answered by another trumpet within. Then enter Mowbray, in armour, defendant, preceded by a Herald.

K. Rich.

Marshal, demand of yonder champion

The cause of his arrival here in arms:  8

Ask him his name, and orderly proceed

To swear him in the justice of his cause.


In God’s name, and the king’s, say who thou art,

And why thou com’st thus knightly clad in arms,

Against what man thou com’st, and what thy quarrel.  13

Speak truly, on thy knighthood and thine oath:

As so defend thee heaven and thy valour!


My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,  16

Who hither come engaged by my oath,—

Which God defend a knight should violate!—

Both to defend my loyalty and truth

To God, my king, and his succeeding issue,  20

Against the Duke of Hereford that appeals me;

And, by the grace of God and this mine arm,

To prove him, in defending of myself,

A traitor to my God, my king, and me:  24

And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!

[He takes his seat.

Trumpet sounds. Enter Bolingbroke, appellant, in armour, preceded by a Herald.

K. Rich.

Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms,

Both who he is and why he cometh hither

Thus plated in habiliments of war;  28

And formally, according to our law,

Depose him in the justice of his cause.


What is thy name? and wherefore com’st thou hither,

Before King Richard in his royal lists?  32

Against whom comest thou? and what’s thy quarrel?

Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!


Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,

Am I; who ready here do stand in arms,  36

To prove by God’s grace and my body’s valour,

In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,

That he’s a traitor foul and dangerous,

To God of heaven, King Richard, and to me:  40

And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!


On pain of death, no person be so bold

Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists,

Except the marshal and such officers  44

Appointed to direct these fair designs.


Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign’s hand,

And bow my knee before his majesty:

For Mowbray and myself are like two men  48

That vow a long and weary pilgrimage;

Then let us take a ceremonious leave

And loving farewell of our several friends.


The appellant in all duty greets your highness,  52

And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.

K. Rich.

[Descends from his throne.] We will descend and fold him in our arms.

Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,

So be thy fortune in this royal fight!  56

Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed,

Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.


O! let no noble eye profane a tear

For me, if I be gor’d with Mowbray’s spear.  60

As confident as is the falcon’s flight

Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight.

My loving lord, I take my leave of you;

Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle;  64

Not sick, although I have to do with death,

But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.

Lo! as at English feasts, so I regreet

The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet:

O thou, the earthly author of my blood,  69

Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,

Doth with a two-fold vigour lift me up

To reach at victory above my head,  72

Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers,

And with thy blessings steel my lance’s point,

That it may enter Mowbray’s waxen coat,

And furbish new the name of John a Gaunt,  76

Even in the lusty haviour of his son.


God in thy good cause make thee prosperous!

Be swift like lightning in the execution;

And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,  80

Fall like amazing thunder on the casque

Of thy adverse pernicious enemy:

Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live.


Mine innocency and Saint George to thrive!

[He takes his seat.


[Rising.] However God or fortune cast my lot,  85

There lives or dies, true to King Richard’s throne,

A loyal, just, and upright gentleman.

Never did captive with a freer heart  88

Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace

His golden uncontroll’d enfranchisement,

More than my dancing soul doth celebrate

This feast of battle with mine adversary.  92

Most mighty liege, and my companion peers,

Take from my mouth the wish of happy years.

As gentle and as jocund as to jest,

Go I to fight: truth has a quiet breast.  96

K. Rich.

Farewell, my lord: securely I espy

Virtue with valour couched in thine eye.

Order the trial, marshal, and begin.

[The King and the Lords return to their seats.


Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,  100

Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!


[Rising.] Strong as a tower in hope, I cry ‘amen.’


[To an Officer.] Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.

First Her.

Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,  104

Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself,

On pain to be found false and recreant,

To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,

A traitor to his God, his king, and him;  108

And dares him to set forward to the fight.

Sec. Her.

Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,

On pain to be found false and recreant,

Both to defend himself and to approve  112

Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,

To God, his sovereign, and to him, disloyal;

Courageously and with a free desire,

Attending but the signal to begin.  116


Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants.

[A charge sounded.

Stay, stay, the king hath thrown his warderdown.

K. Rich.

Let them lay by their helmets and their spears,

And both return back to their chairs again:  120

Withdraw with us; and let the trumpets sound

While we return these dukes what we decree.

[A long flourish.

[To the Combatants.] Draw near,

And list what with our council we have done.

For that our kingdom’s earth should not be soil’d  125

With that dear blood which it hath fostered;

And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect

Of civil wounds plough’d up with neighbours’ swords;  128

And for we think the eagle-winged pride

Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,

With rival-hating envy, set on you

To wake our peace, which in our country’s cradle  132

Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep;

Which so rous’d up with boist’rous untun’d drums,

With harsh-resounding trumpets’ dreadful bray,

And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,  136

Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace

And make us wade even in our kindred’s blood:

Therefore, we banish you our territories:

You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life,  140

Till twice five summers have enrich’d our fields,

Shall not regreet our fair dominions,

But tread the stranger paths of banishment.


Your will be done: this must my comfort be,  144

That sun that warms you here shall shine on me;

And those his golden beams to you here lent

Shall point on me and gild my banishment.

K. Rich.

Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,  148

Which I with some unwillingness pronounce:

The sly slow hours shall not determinate

The dateless limit of thy dear exile;

The hopeless word of ‘never to return’  152

Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.


A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,

And all unlook’d for from your highness’ mouth:

A dearer merit, not so deep a maim  156

As to be cast forth in the common air,

Have I deserved at your highness’ hands.

The language I have learn’d these forty years,

My native English, now I must forego;  160

And now my tongue’s use is to me no more

Than an unstringed viol or a harp,

Or like a cunning instrument cas’d up,

Or, being open, put into his hands  164

That knows no touch to tune the harmony:

Within my mouth you have engaol’d my tongue,

Doubly portcullis’d with my teeth and lips;

And dull, unfeeling, barren ignorance  168

Is made my gaoler to attend on me.

I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,

Too far in years to be a pupil now:

What is thy sentence then but speechless death,

Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath?  173

K. Rich.

It boots thee not to be compassionate:

After our sentence plaining comes too late.


Then, thus I turn me from my country’s light,  176

To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.


K. Rich.

Return again, and take an oath with thee.

Lay on our royal sword your banish’d hands;

Swear by the duty that you owe to God—  180

Our part therein we banish with yourselves—

To keep the oath that we administer.

You never shall,—so help you truth and God!—

Embrace each other’s love in banishment;  184

Nor never look upon each other’s face;

Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile

This low’ring tempest of your home-bred hate;

Nor never by advised purpose meet  188

To plot, contrive, or complot any ill

’Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.


I swear.


And I, to keep all this.  192


Norfolk, so far, as to mine enemy:—

By this time, had the king permitted us,

One of our souls had wander’d in the air,

Banish’d this frail sepulchre of our flesh,  196

As now our flesh is banish’d from this land:

Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm;

Since thou hast far to go, bear not along

The clogging burden of a guilty soul.  200


No, Bolingbroke: if ever I were traitor,

My name be blotted from the book of life,

And I from heaven banish’d as from hence!

But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know;  204

And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue.

Farewell, my liege. Now no way can I stray;

Save back to England, all the world’s my way.


K. Rich.

Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes  208

I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect

Hath from the number of his banish’d years

Pluck’d four away.—[To Bolingbroke.] Six frozen winters spent,

Return with welcome home from banishment.


How long a time lies in one little word!  213

Four lagging winters and four wanton springs

End in a word: such is the breath of kings.


I thank my liege, that in regard of me

He shortens four years of my son’s exile;  217

But little vantage shall I reap thereby:

For, ere the six years that he hath to spend

Can change their moons and bring their times about,  220

My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light

Shall be extinct with age and endless night;

My inch of taper will be burnt and done,

And blindfold death not let me see my son.  224

K. Rich.

Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.


But not a minute, king, that thou canst give:

Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,

And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow;

Thou canst help time to furrow me with age.  229

But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage;

Thy word is current with him for my death,

But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.

K. Rich.

Thy son is banish’d upon good advice,  233

Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave:

Why at our justice seem’st thou then to lower?


Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.  236

You urg’d me as a judge; but I had rather

You would have bid me argue like a father.

O! had it been a stranger, not my child,

To smooth his fault I should have been more mild:  240

A partial slander sought I to avoid,

And in the sentence my own life destroy’d.

Alas! I look’d when some of you should say,

I was too strict to make mine own away;  244

But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue

Against my will to do myself this wrong.

K. Rich.

Cousin, farewell; and, uncle, bid him so:

Six years we banish him, and he shall go.  248

[Flourish. Exeunt King Richard and Train.


Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know,

From where you do remain let paper show.


My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride,

As far as land will let me, by your side.  252


O! to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,

That thou return’st no greeting to thy friends?


I have too few to take my leave of you,

When the tongue’s office should be prodigal  256

To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart.


Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.


Joy absent, grief is present for that time.


What is six winters? they are quickly gone.  260


To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.


Call it a travel that thou tak’st for pleasure.


My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,

Which finds it an inforced pilgrimage.  264


The sullen passage of thy weary steps

Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set

The precious jewel of thy home return.


Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make  268

Will but remember me what a deal of world

I wander from the jewels that I love.

Must I not serve a long apprenticehood

To foreign passages, and in the end,  272

Having my freedom, boast of nothing else

But that I was a journeyman to grief?


All places that the eye of heaven visits

Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.  276

Teach thy necessity to reason thus;

There is no virtue like necessity.

Think not the king did banish thee,

But thou the king. Woe doth the heavier sit,

Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.  281

Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour,

And not the king exil’d thee; or suppose

Devouring pestilence hangs in our air,  284

And thou art flying to a fresher clime.

Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it

To lie that way thou go’st, not whence thou com’st.

Suppose the singing birds musicians,  288

The grass whereon thou tread’st the presence strew’d,

The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more

Than a delightful measure or a dance;

For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite  292

The man that mocks at it and sets it light.


O! who can hold a fire in his hand

By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?

Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite  296

By bare imagination of a feast?

Or wallow naked in December snow

By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?

O, no! the apprehension of the good  300

Gives but the greater feeling to the worse:

Fell sorrow’s tooth doth never rankle more

Than when it bites, but lanceth not the sore.


Come, come, my son, I’ll bring thee on thy way.  304

Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay.


Then, England’s ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu:

My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet!

Where’er I wander, boast of this I can,  308

Though banish’d, yet a true-born Englishman.


Scene IV.— London. A Room in the King’s Castle.

Enter King Richard, Bagot, and Green at one door; Aumerle at another.

K. Rich

We did observe. Cousin Aumerle,

How far brought you high Hereford on his way?


I brought high Hereford, if you call him so,

But to the next highway, and there I left him.  4

K. Rich.

And say, what store of parting tears were shed?


Faith, none for me; except the northeast wind,

Which then blew bitterly against our faces,

Awak’d the sleeping rheum, and so by chance  8

Did grace our hollow parting with a tear.

K. Rich.

What said our cousin when you parted with him?



And, for my heart disdained that my tongue  12

Should so profane the word, that taught me craft

To counterfeit oppression of such grief

That words seem’d buried in my sorrow’s grave.

Marry, would the word ‘farewell’ have lengthen’d hours  16

And added years to his short banishment,

He should have had a volume of farewells;

But, since it would not, he had none of me.

K. Rich.

He is our cousin, cousin; but ’tis doubt,  20

When time shall call him home from banishment,

Whether our kinsman come to see his friends.

Ourself and Bushy, Bagot here and Green

Observ’d his courtship to the common people,  24

How he did seem to dive into their hearts

With humble and familiar courtesy,

What reverence he did throw away on slaves,

Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles

And patient underbearing of his fortune,  29

As ’twere to banish their affects with him.

Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench;

A brace of draymen bid God speed him well,  32

And had the tribute of his supple knee,

With ‘Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends;’

As were our England in reversion his,

And he our subjects’ next degree in hope.  36


Well, he is gone; and with him go these thoughts.

Now for the rebels which stand out in Ireland;

Expedient manage must be made, my liege,

Ere further leisure yield them further means  40

For their advantage and your highness’ loss.

K. Rich.

We will ourself in person to this war.

And, for our coffers with too great a court

And liberal largess are grown somewhat light,

We are enforc’d to farm our royal realm;  45

The revenue whereof shall furnish us

For our affairs in hand. If that come short,

Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters;

Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich,  49

They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold,

And send them after to supply our wants;

For we will make for Ireland presently.  52

Enter Bushy.

Bushy, what news?


Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord,

Suddenly taken, and hath sent post-haste

To entreat your majesty to visit him.  56

K. Rich.

Where lies he?


At Ely House.

K. Rich.

Now, put it, God. in his physician’s mind

To help him to his grave immediately!  60

The lining of his coffers shall make coats

To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.

Come, gentlemen, let’s all go visit him:

Pray God we may make haste, and come too late.





Scene I.— London. An Apartment in Ely House.

Gaunt on a couch; the Duke of York and Others standing by him.


Will the king come, that I may breathe my last

In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth?


Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath;

For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.  4


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.  8

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,  12

As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,

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.  16


No; it is stopp’d with other flattering sounds,

As praises of his state: then there are fond

Lascivious metres, to whose venom sound

The open ear of youth doth always listen:  20

Report of fashions in proud Italy,

Whose manners still our tardy apish nation

Limps after in base imitation.

Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity,—  24

So it be new there’s no respect how vile,—

That is not quickly buzz’d into his ears?

Then all too late comes counsel to be heard,

Where will doth mutiny with wit’s regard.  28

Direct not him whose way himself will choose:

’Tis breath thou lack’st, and that breath wilt thou lose.


Methinks I am a prophet new inspir’d,

And thus expiring do foretell of him:  32

His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,

For violent fires soon burn out themselves;

Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;

He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;  36

With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:

Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,

Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,  40

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,  44

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,  48

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,  52

Renowned for their deeds as far from home,—

For Christian service and true chivalry,—

As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry

Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son:  56

This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,

Dear for her reputation through the world,

Is now leas’d out,—I die pronouncing it,—

Like to a tenement, or pelting farm:  60

England, bound in with the triumphant sea,

Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege

Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,

With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds:  64

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.  68

Enter King Richard and Queen; Aumerle, Bushy, Green, Bagot, Ross, and Willoughby.


The king is come: deal mildly with his youth;

For young hot colts, being rag’d, do rage the more.


How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster?

K. Rich.

What comfort, man? How is’t with aged Gaunt?  72


O! how that name befits my composition;

Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old:

Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast;  75

And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt?

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;  80

And therein fasting hast thou made me gaunt.

Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,

Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.

K. Rich.

Can sick men play so nicely with their names?  84


No; misery makes sport to mock itself:

Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me,

I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee.

K. Rich.

Should dying men flatter with those that live?  88


No, no; men living flatter those that die.

K. Rich.

Thou, now a-dying, sayst thou flatter’st me.


O, no! thou diest, though I the sicker be.

K. Rich.

I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.  92


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:  96

And thou, too careless patient as thou art,

Committ’st thy anointed body to the cure

Of those physicians that first wounded thee:

A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,  100

Whose compass is no bigger than thy head;

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,  104

Seen how his son’s son should destroy his sons,

From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame,

Deposing thee before thou wert possess’d,

Which art possess’d now to depose thyself.  108

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,

Is it not more than shame to shame it so?  112

Landlord of England art thou now, not king:

Thy state of law is bond-slave to the law,


K. Rich.

And thou a lunatic lean-witted fool,

Presuming on an ague’s privilege,  116

Dar’st 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,  120

Wert thou not brother to great Edward’s son,—

This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head

Should run thy head from thy unreverent shoulders.


O! spare me not, my brother Edward’s son,  124

For that I was his father Edward’s son.

That blood already, like the pelican,

Hast thou tapp’d out and drunkenly carous’d:

My brother Gloucester, plain well-meaning soul,—

Whom fair befall in heaven ’mongst happy souls!—  129

May be a precedent and witness good

That thou respect’st not spilling Edward’s blood:

Join with the present sickness that I have;  132

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!  136

Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:

Love they to live that love and honour have.

[Exit, borne out by his Attendants.

K. Rich.

And let them die that age and sullens have;

For both hast thou, and both become the grave.


I do beseech your majesty, impute his words  141

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.  144

K. Rich.

Right, you say true: as Hereford’s love, so his;

As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.

Enter Northumberland.


My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majesty.

K. Rich.

What says he?  148


Nay, nothing; all is said:

His tongue is now a stringless instrument;

Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent.


Be York the next that must be bankrupt so!  152

Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.

K. Rich.

The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he:

His time is spent; our pilgrimage must be.

So much for that. Now for our Irish wars.  156

We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns,

Which live like venom where no venom else

But only they have privilege to live.

And for these great affairs do ask some charge,

Towards our assistance we do seize to us  161

The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables,

Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.


How long shall I be patient? Ah! how long  164

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  168

About his marriage, nor my own disgrace,

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,  172

Of whom thy father, Prince of Wales, was first;

In war was never lion rag’d more fierce,

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,  177

Accomplish’d with the number of thy hours;

But when he frown’d, it was against the French,

And not against his friends; his noble hand  180

Did win what he did spend, and spent not that

Which his triumphant father’s hand had won:

His hands were guilty of no kindred’s blood,

But bloody with the enemies of his kin.  184

O, Richard! York is too far gone with grief,

Or else he never would compare between.

K. Rich.

Why, uncle, what’s the matter?


O! my liege.

Pardon me, if you please; if not, I, pleas’d  188

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?  193

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;  197

Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day;

Be not thyself; for how art thou a king

But by fair sequence and succession?  200

Now, afore God,—God forbid I say true!—

If you do wrongfully seize Hereford’s rights,

Call in the letters-patent that he hath

By his attorneys-general to sue  204

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

Which honour and allegiance cannot think.  209

K. Rich.

Think what you will: we seize into our hands

His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.


I’ll not be by the while: my liege, farewell:  212

What will ensue hereof, there’s none can tell;

But by bad courses may be understood

That their events can never fall out good.


K. Rich.

Go, Bushy, to the Earl of Wiltshire straight:  216

Bid him repair to us to Ely House

To see this business. To-morrow next

We will for Ireland; and ’tis time, I trow:

And we create, in absence of ourself,  220

Our uncle York lord governor of England;

For he is just, and always lov’d us well.

Come on, our queen: to-morrow must we part;

Be merry, for our time of stay is short.


[Exeunt King, Queen, Bushy, Aumerle, Green, and Bagot.


Well, lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.  225


And living too; for now his son is duke.


Barely in title, not in revenue.


Richly in both, if justice had her right.


My heart is great; but it must break with silence,  229

Ere’t be disburden’d with a liberal tongue.


Nay, speak thy mind; and let him ne’er speak more

That speaks thy words again to do thee harm!


Tends that thou’dst speak to the Duke of Hereford?  233

If it be so, out with it boldly, man;

Quick is mine ear to hear of good towards him.


No good at all that I can do for him,  236

Unless you call it good to pity him,

Bereft and gelded of his patrimony.


Now, afore God, ’tis shame such wrongs are borne

In him, a royal prince, and many more  240

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,  244

That will the king severely prosecute

’Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs.


The commons hath he pill’d with grievous taxes,

And quite lost their hearts: the nobles hath he fin’d  248

For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.


And daily new exactions are devis’d;

As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what:

But what, o’ God’s name, doth become of this?


Wars have not wasted it, for warr’d he hath not,  253

But basely yielded upon compromise

That which his ancestors achiev’d with blows.

More hath he spent in peace than they in wars.


The Earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm.  257


The king’s grown bankrupt, like a broken man.


Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him.


He hath not money for these Irish wars,

His burdenous taxations notwithstanding,  261

But by the robbing of the banish’d duke.


His noble kinsman: most degenerate king!

But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing,  264

Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm;

We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,

And yet we strike not, but securely perish.


We see the very wrack that we must suffer;  268

And unavoided is the danger now,

For suffering so the causes of our wrack.


Not so: even through the hollow eyes of death

Ispy life peering; but I dare not say  272

How near the tidings of our comfort is.


Nay, let us share thy thoughts, as thou dost ours.


Be confident to speak, Northumberland:

We three are but thyself: and, speaking so,  276

Thy words are but as thoughts; therefore, be bold.


Then thus: I have from Port le Blanc, a bay

In Brittany, receiv’d intelligence

That Harry Duke of Hereford, Rainold Lord Cobham,  280

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,  284

All these well furnish’d by the Duke of Britaine,

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  289

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,

And make high majesty look like itself,

Away with me in post to Ravenspurgh;  296

But if you faint, as fearing to do so,

Stay and be secret, and myself will go.


To horse, to horse! urge doubts to them that fear.


Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.


Scene II.— The Same. A Room in the Palace.

Enter Queen, Bushy, and Bagot.


Madam, your majesty is too much sad:

You promis’d, when you parted with the king,

To lay aside life-harming heaviness,

And entertain a cheerful disposition.  4


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,

Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest  8

As my sweet Richard: yet, again, methinks,

Some unborn sorrow, ripe in fortune’s womb,

Is coming towards me, and my inward soul  11

With nothing trembles; at some thing it grieves

More than with parting from my lord the king.


Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,

Which show like grief itself, but are not so.

For sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears,  16

Divides one thing entire to many objects;

Like perspectives, which rightly gaz’d upon

Show nothing but confusion; ey’d awry

Distinguish form: so your sweet majesty,  20

Looking awry upon your lord’s departure,

Finds shapes of grief more than himself to wail;

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;  25

Or if it be, ’tis with false sorrow’s eye,

Which for things true weeps things imaginary.


It may be so; but yet my inward soul

Persuades me it is otherwise: howe’er it be,  29

I cannot but be sad, so heavy sad,

As, though in thinking on no thought I think,

Makes me with heavy nothing faint and shrink.


’Tis nothing but conceit, my gracious lady.  33


’Tis nothing less: conceit is still deriv’d

From some forefather grief; mine is not so,

For nothing hath begot my something grief;  36

Or something hath the nothing that I grieve:

’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.  40

Enter Green.


God save your majesty! and well met, gentlemen:

I hope the king is not yet shipp’d for Ireland.


Why hop’st thou so? ’tis better hope he is,  43

For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope:

Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipp’d?


That he, our hope, might have retir’d his power,

And driven into despair an enemy’s hope,

Who strongly hath set footing in this land:  48

The banish’d Bolingbroke repeals himself,

And with uplifted arms is safe arriv’d

At Ravenspurgh.


Now God in heaven forbid!


Ah! madam, ’tis too true: and that is worse,  52

The Lord Northumberland, his son young Henry Percy,

The Lords of Ross, Beaumond, and Willoughby,

With all their powerful friends, are fled to him.


Why have you not proclaim’d Northumberland  56

And all the rest of the revolted faction traitors?


We have: whereupon the Earl of Worcester

Hath broke his staff, resign’d his stewardship,

And all the household servants fled with him  60

To Bolingbroke.


So, Green, thou art the midwife to my woe,

And Bolingbroke my sorrow’s dismal heir:

Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy,  64

And I, a gasping new-deliver’d mother,

Have woe to woe, sorrow to sorrow join’d.


Despair not, madam.


Who shall hinder me?

I will despair, and be at enmity  68

With cozening hope: he is a flatterer,

A parasite, a keeper-back of death,

Who gently would dissolve the bands of life,

Which false hope lingers in extremity.  72

Enter York.


Here comes the Duke of York.


With signs of war about his aged neck:

O! full of careful business are his looks.

Uncle, for God’s sake, speak comfortable words.


Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts:  77

Comfort’s in heaven; and we are on the earth,

Where nothing lives but crosses, cares, and grief.

Your husband, he is gone to save far off,  80

Whilst others come to make him lose at home:

Here am I left to underprop his land,

Who, weak with age, cannot support myself.

Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made;

Now shall he try his friends that flatter’d him.

Enter a Servant.


My lord, your son was gone before I came.


He was? Why, so! go all which way it will!

The nobles they are fled, the commons they are cold,  88

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.  92


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.


What is’t, knave?  96


An hour before I came the duchess died.


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,—  100

So my untruth had not provok’d him to it,—

The king had cut off my head with my brother’s.

What! are there no posts dispatch’d for Ireland?

How shall we do for money for these wars?  104

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.

[Exit Servant.

Gentlemen, will you go muster men? If I know

How or which way to order these affairs  109

Thus thrust disorderly into my hands,

Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen:

The one is my sovereign, whom both my oath

And duty bids defend; the other again  113

Is my kinsman, whom the king hath wrong’d,

Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right.

Well, somewhat we must do. Come, cousin,  116

I’ll dispose of you. Gentlemen, go muster up your men,

And meet me presently at Berkeley Castle.

I should to Plashy too:

But time will not permit. All is uneven,  120

And every thing is left at six and seven.

[Exeunt York and Queen.


The wind sits fair for news to go to Ireland,

But none returns. For us to levy power

Proportionable to the enemy  124

Is all unpossible.


Besides, our nearness to the king in love

Is near the hate of those love not the king.


And that’s the wavering commons; for their love  128

Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them,

By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.


Wherein the king stands generally condemn’d.


If judgment lie in them, then so do we,

Because we ever have been near the king.  133


Well, I’ll for refuge straight to Bristol Castle;

The Earl of Wiltshire is already there.


Thither will I with you; for little office  136

Will the hateful commons perform for us,

Except like curs to tear us all to pieces.

Will you go along with us?


No; I will to Ireland to his majesty.

Farewell: if heart’s presages be not vain,  141

We three here part that ne’er shall meet again.


That’s as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke.


Alas, poor duke! the task he undertakes  144

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.


Well, we may meet again.


I fear me, never.  148


Scene III.— The Wolds in Gloucestershire.

Enter Bolingbroke and Northumberland, with Forces.


How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?


Believe me, noble lord,

I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire:

These high wild hills and rough uneven ways  4

Draw out our miles and make them wearisome;

But yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar,

Making the hard way sweet and delectable.

But I bethink me what a weary way  8

From Ravenspurgh to Cotswold will be found

In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company,

Which, I protest, hath very much beguil’d

The tediousness and process of my travel:  12

But theirs is sweeten’d with the hope to have

The present benefit which I possess;

And hope to joy is little less in joy

Than hope enjoy’d: by this the weary lords  16

Shall make their way seem short, as mine hath done

By sight of what I have, your noble company.


Of much less value is my company

Than your good words. But who comes here?

Enter Henry Percy.


It is my son, young Harry Percy,  21

Sent from my brother Worcester, whencesoever.

Harry, how fares your uncle?

H. Percy.

I had thought, my lord, to have learn’d his health of you.  24


Why, is he not with the queen?

H. Percy.

No, my good lord; he hath forsook the court,

Broken his staff of office, and dispers’d

The household of the king.


What was his reason?  28

He was not so resolv’d when last we spake together.

H. Percy.

Because your lordship was proclaimed traitor.

But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurgh,

To offer service to the Duke of Hereford,  32

And sent me over by Berkeley to discover

What power the Duke of York had levied there;

Then with direction to repair to Ravenspurgh.


Have you forgot the Duke of Hereford, boy?  36

H. 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.


Then learn to know him now: this is the duke.  40

H. Percy.

My gracious lord, I tender you my service,

Such as it is, being tender, raw, and young,

Which elder days shall ripen and confirm

To more approved service and desert.  44


I thank thee, gentle Percy; and be sure

I count myself in nothing else so happy

As in a soul remembering my good friends;

And as my fortune ripens with thy love,  48

It shall be still thy true love’s recompense:

My heart this covenant makes, my hand thus seals it.


How far is it to Berkeley? and what stir

Keeps good old York there with his men of war?

H. Percy.

There stands the castle, by yon tuft of trees,  53

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.  56

Enter Ross and Willoughby.


Here come the Lords of Ross and Willoughby,

Bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste.


Welcome, my lords. I wot your love pursues

A banish’d traitor; all my treasury  60

Is yet but unfelt thanks, which, more enrich’d,

Shall be your love and labour’s recompense.


Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord.


And far surmounts our labour to attain it.  64


Evermore thanks, the exchequer of the poor;

Which, till my infant fortune comes to years,

Stands for my bounty. But who comes here?

Enter Berkeley.


It is my Lord of Berkeley, as I guess.


My lord of Hereford, my message is to you.  69


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  72

Before I make reply to aught you say.


Mistake me not, my lord; ’tis not my meaning

To raze one title of your honour out:

To you, my lord, I come, what lord you will,  76

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

And fright our native peace with self-born arms.

Enter York, attended.


I shall not need transport my words by you:  81

Here comes his Grace in person.

My noble uncle!



Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee,

Whose duty is deceivable and false.  84


My gracious uncle—


Tut, tut!

Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle:

I am no traitor’s uncle; and that word ‘grace’

In an ungracious mouth is but profane.  89

Why have those banish’d and forbidden legs

Dar’d once to touch a dust of England’s ground?

But then, more ‘why?’ why have they dar’d to march  92

So many miles upon her peaceful bosom,

Frighting her pale-fac’d villages with war

And ostentation of despised arms?

Com’st thou because the anointed king is hence?

Why, foolish boy, the king is left behind,  97

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,  100

Rescu’d the Black Prince, that young Mars of men,

From forth the ranks of many thousand French,

O! then, how quickly should this arm of mine,

Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee  104

And minister correction to thy fault!


My gracious uncle, let me know my fault:

On what condition stands it and wherein?


Even in condition of the worst degree,

In gross rebellion and detested treason:  109

Thou art a banish’d man, and here art come

Before the expiration of thy time,

In braving arms against thy sovereign.  112


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:  116

You are my father, for methinks in you

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?

If that my cousin king be King of England,

It must be granted I am Duke of Lancaster.  124

You have a son, Aumerle, my noble kinsman;

Had you first died, and he been thus trod down,

He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father,

To rouse his wrongs and chase them to the bay.

I am denied to sue my livery here,  129

And yet my letters-patent give me leave:

My father’s goods are all distrain’d and sold,

And these and all are all amiss employ’d.  132

What would you have me do? I am a subject,

And challenge law: attorneys are denied me,

And therefore personally I lay my claim

To my inheritance of free descent.  136


The noble duke hath been too much abus’d.


It stands your Grace upon to do him right.


Base men by his endowments are made great.


My lords of England, let me tell you this:  140

I have had feeling of my cousin’s wrongs,

And labour’d all I could to do him right;

But in this kind to come, in braving arms,

Be his own carver and cut out his way,  144

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.


The noble duke hath sworn his coming is  148

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!


Well, well, I see the issue of these arms:  152

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  156

Unto the sovereign mercy of the king;

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  160

And there repose you for this night.


An offer, uncle, that we will accept:

But we must win your Grace to go with us

To Bristol Castle; which they say is held  164

By Bushy, Bagot, and their complices,

The caterpillars of the commonwealth,

Which I have sworn to weed and pluck away.


It may be I will go with you; but yet I’ll pause;  168

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.


Scene IV.— A Camp in Wales.

Enter Salisbury and a 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.  4


Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman:

The king reposeth all his confidence in thee.


’Tis thought the king is dead: we will not stay.

The bay-trees in our country are all wither’d  8

And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven,

The pale-fac’d moon looks bloody on the earth

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,  13

The other to enjoy by rage and war:

These signs forerun the death or fall of kings.

Farewell: our countrymen are gone and fled,  16

As well assur’d Richard their king is dead.



Ah, Richard! with the eyes of heavy mind

I see thy glory like a shooting star

Fall to the base earth from the firmament.  20

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.



Scene I.— Bristol. Bolingbroke’s Camp.

Enter Bolingbroke, York, Northumberland, Henry Percy, Willoughby, Ross; Officers behind, with Bushy and Green prisoners.


Bring forth these men.

Bushy and Green, I will not vex your souls—

Since presently your souls must part your bodies—

With too much urging your pernicious lives,  4

For ’twere no charity; yet, to wash your blood

From off my hands, here in the view of men

I will unfold some causes of your deaths.

You have misled a prince, a royal king,  8

A happy gentleman in blood and lineaments,

By you unhappied and disfigur’d clean:

You have in manner with your sinful hours

Made a divorce betwixt his queen and him,  12

Broke the possession of a royal bed,

And stain’d the beauty of a fair queen’s cheeks

With tears drawn from her eyes by your foul wrongs.

Myself, a prince by fortune of my birth,  16

Near to the king in blood, and near in love

Till you did make him misinterpret me,

Have stoop’d my neck under your injuries,

And sigh’d my English breath in foreign clouds,

Eating the bitter bread of banishment;  21

Whilst you have fed upon my signories,

Dispark’d my parks, and felled my forest woods,

From mine own windows torn my household coat,  24

Raz’d out my impress, leaving me no sign,

Save men’s opinions and my living blood,

To show the world I am a gentleman.

This and much more, much more than twice all this,  28

Condemns you to the death. See them deliver’d over

To execution and the hand of death.


More welcome is the stroke of death to me

Than Bolingbroke to England. Lords, farewell.


My comfort is, that heaven will take our souls  33

And plague injustice with the pains of hell.


My Lord Northumberland, see them dispatch’d.

[Exeunt Northumberland and Others, with Bushy and Green.

Uncle, you say the queen is at your house;  36

For God’s sake, fairly let her be entreated:

Tell her I send to her my kind commends;

Take special care my greetings be deliver’d.


A gentleman of mine I have dispatch’d

With letters of your love to her at large.  41


Thanks, gentle uncle. Come, lords, away,

To fight with Glendower and his complices:

Awhile to work, and after holiday.


Scene II.— The Coast of Wales. A Castle in view.

Flourish: drams and trumpets. Enter King Richard, the Bishop of Carlisle, Aumerle, and Soldiers.

K. Rich.

Barkloughly Castle call they this at hand?


Yea, my lord. How brooks your Grace the air,

After your late tossing on the breaking seas?

K. Rich.

Needs must I like it well: I weep for joy  4

To stand upon my kingdom once again.

Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,

Though rebels wound thee with their horses’ hoofs:

As a long-parted mother with her child  8

Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,

So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,

And do thee favour with my royal hands.

Feed not thy sovereign’s foe, my gentle earth,  12

Nor with thy sweets comfort his revenous sense;

But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom,

And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way,

Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet  16

Which with usurping steps do trample thee.

Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies;

And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower,

Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder  20

Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch

Throw death upon thy sovereign’s enemies.

Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords:

This earth shall have a feeling and these stones

Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king  25

Shall falter under foul rebellion’s arms.


Fear not, my lord: that power that made you king

Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.  28

The means that heaven yields must be embrac’d,

And not neglected; else, if heaven would,

And we will not, heaven’s offer we refuse,

The proffer’d means of succour and redress.  32


He means, my lord, that we are too remiss;

Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security,

Grows strong and great in substance and in friends.

K. Rich.

Discomfortable cousin! know’st thou not  36

That when the searching eye of heaven is hid

Behind the globe, and lights the lower world,

Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen,

In murders and in outrage bloody here;  40

But when, from under this terrestrial ball

He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines

And darts his light through every guilty hole,

Then murders, treasons, and detested sins,  44

The cloak of night being pluck’d from off their backs,

Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves?

So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke,

Who all this while hath revell’d in the night  48

Whilst we were wandering with the antipodes,

Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,

His treasons will sit blushing in his face,

Not able to endure the sight of day,  52

But self-affrighted tremble at his sin.

Not all the water in the rough rude sea

Can wash the balm from an anointed king;

The breath of worldly men cannot depose  56

The deputy elected by the Lord.

For every man that Bolingbroke hath press’d

To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,

God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay  60

A glorious angel: then, if angels fight,

Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.

Enter Salisbury.

Welcome, my lord: how far off lies your power?


Nor near nor further off, my gracious lord,  64

Than this weak arm: discomfort guides my tongue

And bids me speak of nothing but despair.

One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,

Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth.  68

O! call back yesterday, bid time return,

And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men:

To-day, to-day, unhappy day too late,

O’erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state;  72

For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead,

Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispers’d, and fled.


Comfort, my liege! why looks your Grace so pale?

K. Rich.

But now, the blood of twenty thousand men  76

Did triumph in my face, and they are fled;

And till so much blood thither come again

Have I not reason to look pale and dead?

All souls that will be safe, fly from my side;  80

For time hath set a blot upon my pride.


Comfort, my liege! remember who you are.

K. Rich.

I had forgot myself. Am I not king?

Awake, thou sluggard majesty! thou sleepest.  84

Is not the king’s name twenty thousand names?

Arm, arm, my name! a puny subject strikes

At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,

Ye favourites of a king: are we not high?  88

High be our thoughts: I know my uncle York

Hath power enough to serve our turn. But who comes here?

Enter Sir Stephen Scroop.


More health and happiness betide my liege

Than can my care-tun’d tongue deliver him!  92

K. Rich.

Mine ear is open and my heart prepar’d:

The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.

Say, is my kingdom lost? why, ’twas my care;

And what loss is it to be rid of care?  96

Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?

Greater he shall not be: if he serve God

We’ll serve him too, and be his fellow so:

Revolt our subjects? that we cannot mend;  100

They break their faith to God as well as us:

Cry woe, destruction, ruin, loss, decay;

The worst is death, and death will have his day.


Glad am I that your highness is so arm’d  104

To bear the tidings of calamity.

Like an unseasonable stormy day

Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores,

As if the world were all dissolv’d to tears,  108

So high above his limits swells the rage

Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land

With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel.

White-beards have arm’d their thin and hairless scalps  112

Against thy majesty; and boys, with women’s voices,

Strive to speak big, and clap their female joints

In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown;

Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows  116

Of double-fatal yew against thy state;

Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills

Against thy seat: both young and old rebel,

And all goes worse than I have power to tell.  120

K. Rich.

Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill.

Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot?

What is become of Bushy? where is Green?

That they have let the dangerous enemy  124

Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?

If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it.

I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.


Peace have they made with him, indeed, my lord.  128

K. Rich.

O villains, vipers, damn’d without redemption!

Dogs, easily won to fawn on any man!

Snakes, in my heart-blood warm’d, that sting my heart!

Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas!

Would they make peace? terrible hell make war

Upon their spotted souls for this offence!


Sweet love, I see, changing his property,

Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate.  136

Again uncurse their souls; their peace is made

With heads and not with hands: those whom you curse

Have felt the worst of death’s destroying wound

And lie full low, grav’d in the hollow ground.  140


Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?


Yea, all of them at Bristol lost their heads.


Where is the duke my father with his power?

K. Rich.

No matter where. Of comfort no man speak:  144

Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;

Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth;

Let’s choose executors and talk of wills:  148

And yet not so—for what can we bequeath

Save our deposed bodies to the ground?

Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke’s,

And nothing can we call our own but death,  152

And that small model of the barren earth

Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.

For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground

And tell sad stories of the death of kings:  156

How some have been depos’d, some slain in war,

Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos’d,

Some poison’d by their wives, some sleeping kill’d;

All murder’d: for within the hollow crown  160

That rounds the mortal temples of a king

Keeps Death his court, and there the antick sits,

Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp;

Allowing him a breath, a little scene,  164

To monarchize, be fear’d, and kill with looks,

Infusing him with self and vain conceit

As if this flesh which walls about our life

Were brass impregnable; and humour’d thus

Comes at the last, and with a little pin  169

Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!

Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood

With solemn reverence: throw away respect,  172

Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,

For you have but mistook me all this while:

I live with bread like you, feel want,

Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,  176

How can you say to me I am a king?


My lord, wise men ne’er sit and wail their woes,

But presently prevent the ways to wail.

To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,

Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,

And so your follies fight against yourself.

Fear and be slain; no worse can come to fight:

And fight and die is death destroying death;  184

Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.


My father hath a power; inquire of him

And learn to make a body of a limb.

K. Rich.

Thou chid’st me well. Proud Boling broke, I come  188

To change blows with thee for our day of doom.

This ague-fit of fear is over-blown;

An easy task it is, to win our own.—

Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?

Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.


Men judge by the complexion of the sky

The state and inclination of the day;

So may you by my dull and heavy eye,  196

My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.

I play the torturer, by small and small

To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken.

Your uncle York is join’d with Bolingbroke,  200

And all your northern castles yielded up,

And all your southern gentlemen in arms

Upon his party.

K. Rich.

Thou hast said enough.

[To Aumerle.] Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth  204

Of that sweet way I was in to despair!

What say you now? What comfort have we now?

By heaven, I’ll hate him everlastingly

That bids me be of comfort any more.  208

Go to Flint Castle: there I’ll pine away;

A king, woe’s slave, shall kingly woe obey.

That power I have, discharge; and let them go

To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,

For I have none: let no man speak again  213

To alter this, for counsel is but vain.


My liege, one word.

K. Rich.

He does me double wrong,

That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.

Discharge my followers: let them hence away,

From Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.


Scene III.— Wales. Before Flint Castle.

Enter, with drum and colours, Bolingbroke and Forces; York, Northumberland, and Others.


So that by this intelligence we learn

The Welshmen are dispers’d and Salisbury

Is gone to meet the king, who lately landed

With some few private friends upon this coast.  4


The news is very fair and good, my lord:

Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.


It would beseem the Lord Northumberland

To say, ‘King Richard:’ alack the heavy day  8

When such a sacred king should hide his head!


Your Grace mistakes; only to be brief

Left I his title out.


The time hath been,

Would you have been so brief with him, he would  12

Have been so brief with you, to shorten you,

For taking so the head, your whole head’s length.


Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.


Take not, good cousin, further than you should,  16

Lest you mistake the heavens are o’er our heads.


I know it, uncle; and oppose not myself

Against their will. But who comes here?

Enter Henry Percy.

Welcome, Harry: what, will not this castle yield?  20

H. Percy.

The castle royally is mann’d, my lord,

Against thy entrance.



Why, it contains no king?

H. Percy.

Yes, my good lord,  24

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  28

Of holy reverence; who, I cannot learn.


O! belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.


[To North.] Noble lord,

Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle,  32

Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley

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  37

To his most royal person; hither come

Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,

Provided that my banishment repeal’d,  40

And lands restor’d again be freely granted.

If not, I’ll use the advantage of my power,

And lay the summer’s dust with showers of blood

Rain’d from the wounds of slaughter’d Englishmen:  44

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.  48

Go, signify as much, while here we march

Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.

Let’s march without the noise of threat’ning drum,

That from the castle’s totter’d battlements  52

Our fair appointments may be well perus’d.

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:

The rage be his, while on the earth I rain

My waters; on the earth, and not on him.  60

March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.

A Parley sounded, and answered by a Trumpet within. Flourish. Enter on the Walls King Richard, the Bishop of Carlisle, Aumerle, Scroop, and Salisbury.

H. Percy.

See, see, King Richard doth himself appear,

As doth the blushing discontented sun

From out the fiery portal of the east,  64

When he perceives the envious clouds are bent

To dim his glory and to stain the track

Of his bright passage to the occident.


Yet looks he like a king: behold, his eye,

As bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth  69

Controlling majesty: alack, alack, for woe,

That any harm should stain so fair a show!

K. Rich.

[To Northumberland.] We are amaz’d; and thus long have we stood  72

To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,

Because we thought ourself thy lawful king:

And if we be, how dare thy joints forget

To pay their awful duty to our presence?  76

If we be not, show us the hand of God

That hath dismiss’d us from our stewardship;

For well we know, no hand of blood and bone

Can gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre,  80

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;  84

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,  88

That lift your vassal hands against my head

And threat the glory of my precious crown.

Tell Bolingbroke,—for yond methinks he is,—

That every stride he makes upon my land  92

Is dangerous treason: he is come to open

The purple testament of bleeding war;

But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,

Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers’ sons  96

Shall ill become the flower of England’s face,

Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace

To scarlet indignation, and bedew

Her pastures’ grass with faithful English blood.


The king of heaven forbid our lord the king  101

Should so with civil and uncivil arms

Be rush’d upon! Thy thrice-noble cousin,

Harry Bolingbroke, doth humbly kiss thy hand;

And by the honourable tomb he swears,  105

That stands upon your royal grandsire’s bones,

And by the royalties of both your bloods,

Currents that spring from one most gracious head,  108

And by the buried hand of war-like Gaunt,

And by the worth and honour of himself,

Comprising all that may be sworn or said,

His coming hither hath no further scope  112

Than for his lineal royalties and to beg

Enfranchisement immediate on his knees:

Which on thy royal party granted once,

His glittering arms he will commend to rust,  116

His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart

To faithful service of your majesty.

This swears he, as he is a prince, is just;

And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.  120

K. Rich.

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:  124

With all the gracious utterance thou hast

Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.

[Northumberland retires to Bolingbroke.

[To Aumerle.] We do debase ourself, cousin, do we not,

To look so poorly and to speak so fair?  128

Shall we call back Northumberland and send

Defiance to the traitor, and so die?


No, good my lord; let’s fight with gentle words,

Till time lend friends and friends their helpful swords.  132

K. Rich.

O God! O God! that e’er this tongue of mine,

That laid the sentence of dread banishment

On yond 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,  137

Or that I could forget what I have been,

Or not remember what I must be now.

Swell’st thou, proud heart? I’ll give thee scope to beat,  140

Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.


Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.

K. Rich.

What must the king do now? Must he submit?

The king shall do it: must he be depos’d?  144

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,  148

My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,

My figur’d goblets for a dish of wood,

My sceptre for a palmer’s walking-staff,

My subjects for a pair of carved saints,  152

And my large kingdom for a little grave,

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;

And buried once, why not upon my head?  159

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.

Or shall we play the wantons with our woes,  164

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, there inlaid: ‘There lies

Two kinsmen digg’d their graves with weeping eyes.’  169

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

Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?

You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay.


My lord, in the base court he doth attend  176

To speak with you; may’t please you to come down?

K. Rich.

Down, down, I come; like glistering Phaethon,

Wanting the manage of unruly jades.

In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base,  180

To come at traitors’ calls and do them grace.

In the base court? Come down? Down, court! down, king!

For night-owls shriek where mounting larks should sing.

[Exeunt from above.


What says his majesty?


Sorrow and grief of heart  184

Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man:

Yet he is come.

Enter King Richard, and his Attendants.


Stand all apart,

And show fair duty to his majesty.


My gracious lord,—  189

K. Rich.

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  192

Than my unpleas’d eye see your courtesy.

Up, cousin, up; your heart is up, I know,

Thus high at least, although your knee be low.


My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.  196

K. Rich.

Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.


So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,

As my true service shall deserve your love.

K. Rich.

Well you deserve: they well deserve to have  200

That know the strong’st and surest way to get.

Uncle, give me your hand: nay, dry your eyes;

Tears show their love, but want their remedies.

Cousin, I am too young to be your father,  204

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.

Set on towards London. Cousin, is it so?  208


Yea, my good lord.

K. Rich.

Then I must not say no.

[Flourish. Exeunt.

Scene IV.— Langley. The Duke of York’s Garden.

Enter the Queen and two Ladies.


What sport shall we devise here in this garden,

To drive away the heavy thought of care?

First Lady.

Madam, we’ll play at bowls.


’Twill make me think the world is full of rubs;  4

And that my fortune runs against the bias.

First Lady.

Madam, we’ll dance.


My legs can keep no measure in delight

When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief:

Therefore, no dancing, girl; some other sport.  9

First Lady.

Madam, we’ll tell tales.


Of sorrow or of joy?

First Lady.

Of either, madam.


Of neither, girl:  12

For if of joy, being altogether wanting,

It doth remember me the more of sorrow;

Or if of grief, being altogether had,

It adds more sorrow to my want of joy:  16

For what I have I need not to repeat,

And what I want it boots not to complain.

First Lady.

Madam, I’ll sing.


’Tis well that thou hast cause;

But thou shouldst please me better wouldst thou weep.  20

First Lady.

I could weep, madam, would it do you good.


And I could sing would weeping do me good,

And never borrow any tear of thee.

But stay, here come the gardeners:  24

Let’s step into the shadow of these trees.

My wretchedness unto a row of pins,

They’ll talk of state; for every one doth so

Against a change: woe is forerun with woe.  28

[Queen and Ladies retire.

Enter a Gardener and two Servants.


Go, bind thou up yon dangling apricocks,

Which, like unruly children, make their sire

Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight:

Give some supportance to the bending twigs.  32

Go thou, and like an executioner,

Cut off the heads of too fast growing sprays,

That look too lofty in our commonwealth:

All must be even in our government.  36

You thus employ’d, I will go root away

The noisome weeds, that without profit suck

The soil’s fertility from wholesome flowers.

First Serv.

Why should we in the compass of a pale  40

Keep law and form and due proportion,

Showing, as in a model, our firm estate,

When our sea-walled garden, the whole land,

Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers chok’d up,  44

Her fruit-trees all unprun’d, her hedges ruin’d,

Her knots disorder’d, and her wholesome herbs

Swarming with caterpillars?


Hold thy peace:

He that hath suffer’d this disorder’d spring  48

Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf;

The weeds that his broad-spreading leaves did shelter,

That seem’d in eating him to hold him up,

Are pluck’d up root and all by Bolingbroke;  52

I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green.

First Serv.

What! are they dead?


They are; and Bolingbroke

Hath seiz’d the wasteful king. O! what pity is it

That he hath not so trimm’d and dress’d his land

As we this garden. We at time of year  57

Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees,

Lest, being over-proud with sap and blood,

With too much riches it confound itself:  60

Had he done so to great and growing men,

They might have liv’d to bear and he to taste

Their fruits of duty: superfluous branches

We lop away that bearing boughs may live:  64

Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,

Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down.

First Serv.

What! think you then the king shall be depos’d?


Depress’d he is already, and depos’d

’Tis doubt he will be: letters came last night  69

To a dear friend of the good Duke of York’s,

That tell black tidings.


O! I am press’d to death through want of speaking.

[Coming forward.

Thou, old Adam’s likeness, set to dress this garden,  73

How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this unpleasing news?

What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee

To make a second fall of cursed man?  76

Why dost thou say King Richard is depos’d?

Dar’st thou, thou little better thing than earth,

Divine his downfall? Say, where, when, and how

Cam’st thou by these ill tidings? speak, thou wretch.  80


Pardon me, madam: little joy have I

To breathe these news, yet what I say is true.

King Richard, he is in the mighty hold

Of Bolingbroke; their fortunes both are weigh’d:

In your lord’s scale is nothing but himself,  85

And some few vanities that make him light;

But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,

Besides himself, are all the English peers,  88

And with that odds he weighs King Richard down.

Post you to London and you’ll find it so;

I speak no more than every one doth know.


Nimble mischance. that art so light of foot,  92

Doth not thy embassage belong to me,

And am I last that knows it? O! thou think’st

To serve me last, that I may longest keep

Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go,  96

To meet at London London’s king in woe.

What! was I born to this, that my sad look

Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke?

Gardener, for telling me these news of woe,  100

Pray God the plants thou graft’st may never grow.

[Exeunt Queen and Ladies.


Poor queen! so that thy state might be no worse,

I would my skill were subject to thy curse.

Here did she fall a tear; here, in this place,  104

I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace;

Rue, even for ruth, here shortly shall be seen,

In the remembrance of a weeping queen.



Scene I.— London. Westminster Hall.

The Lords spiritual on the right side of the throne: the Lords temporal on the left; the Commons below. Enter Bolingbroke, Aumerle, Surrey, Northumberland, Henry Percy, Fitzwater, another Lord, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Abbot of Westminster, and Attendants. Officers behind with Bagot.


Call forth Bagot.

Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind;

What thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death,

Who wrought it with the king, and who perform’d  4

The bloody office of his timeless end.


Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.


Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.


My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue  8

Scorns to unsay what once it hath deliver’d.

In that dead time when Gloucester’s death was plotted,

I heard you say, ‘Is not my arm of length,

That reacheth from the restful English court  12

As far as Calais, to my uncle’s head?’

Amongst much other talk, that very time,

I heard you say that you had rather refuse

The offer of a hundred thousand crowns  16

Than Bolingbroke’s return to England;

Adding withal, how blest this land would be

In this your cousin’s death.


Princes and noble lords,

What answer shall I make to this base man?  20

Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars,

On equal terms to give him chastisement?

Either I must, or have mine honour soil’d

With the attainder of his slanderous lips.  24

There is my gage, the manual seal of death,

That marks thee out for hell: I say thou liest,

And will maintain what thou hast said is false

In thy heart-blood, though being all too base  28

To stain the temper of my knightly sword.


Bagot, forbear; thou shalt not take it up.


Excepting one, I would he were the best

In all this presence that hath mov’d me so.  32


If that thy valour stand on sympathies,

There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine:

By that fair sun which shows me where thou stand’st,

I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak’st it,

That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester’s death.  37

If thou deny’st it twenty times, thou liest;

And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,

Where it was forged, with my rapier’s point.  40


Thou dar’st not, coward, live to see that day.


Now, by my soul, I would it were this hour.


Fitzwater, thou art damn’d to hell for this.

H. Percy.

Aumerle, thou liest; his honour is as true  44

In this appeal as thou art all unjust;

And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,

To prove it on thee to the extremest point

Of mortal breathing: seize it if thou dar’st.  48


And if I do not may my hands rot off

And never brandish more revengeful steel

Over the glittering helmet of my foe!


I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle;  52

And spur thee on with full as many lies

As may be holla’d in thy treacherous ear

From sun to sun: there is my honour’s pawn;

Engage it to the trial if thou dar’st.  56


Who sets me else? by heaven, I’ll throw at all:

I have a thousand spirits in one breast,

To answer twenty thousand such as you.


My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well  60

The very time Aumerle and you did talk.


’Tis very true: you were in presence then;

And you can witness with me this is true.


As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.  64


Surrey, thou best.


Dishonourable boy!

That he shall lie so heavy on my sword

That it shall render vengeance and revenge,

Till thou the lie-giver and that lie do lie  68

In earth as quiet as thy father’s skull.

In proof whereof, there is my honour’s pawn:

Engage it to the trial if thou dar’st.


How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!  72

If I dare eat, or drink, or breathe, or live,

I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness,

And spit upon him, whilst I say he lies,

And lies, and lies: there is my bond of faith  76

To tie thee to my strong correction.

As I intend to thrive in this new world,

Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal:

Besides, I heard the banish’d Norfolk say  80

That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men

To execute the noble duke at Calais.


Some honest Christian trust me with a gage.

That Norfolk lies, here do I throw down this,  84

If he may be repeal’d to try his honour.


These differences shall all rest under gage

Till Norfolk be repeal’d: repeal’d he shall be,

And though mine enemy, restor’d again  88

To all his lands and signories; when he’s return’d,

Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.


That honourable day shall ne’er be seen.

Many a time hath banish’d Norfolk fought  92

For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,

Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross

Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens;

And toil’d with works of war, retir’d himself  96

To Italy; and there at Venice gave

His body to that pleasant country’s earth,

And his pure soul unto his captain Christ,

Under whose colours he had fought so long.  100


Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?


As surely as I live, my lord.


Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom

Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,  104

Your differences shall all rest under gage

Till we assign you to your days of trial.

Enter York, attended.


Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee

From plume-pluck’d Richard; who with willing soul  108

Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields

To the possession of thy royal hand.

Ascend his throne, descending now from him;

And long live Henry, of that name the fourth!


In God’s name, I’ll ascend the regal throne.  113


Marry, God forbid!

Worst in this royal presence may I speak,

Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.  116

Would God that any in this noble presence

Were enough noble to be upright judge

Of noble Richard! then, true noblesse would

Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.  120

What subject can give sentence on his king?

And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject?

Thieves are not judg’d but they are by to hear,

Although apparent guilt be seen in them;  124

And shall the figure of God’s majesty,

His captain, steward, deputy elect,

Anointed, crowned, planted many years,

Be judg’d by subject and inferior breath,  128

And he himself not present? O! forfend it, God,

That in a Christian climate souls refin’d

Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed.

I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,  132

Stirr’d up by God thus boldly for his king.

My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,

Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king;

And if you crown him, let me prophesy,  136

The blood of English shall manure the ground

And future ages groan for this foul act;

Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,

And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars  140

Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;

Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny

Shall here inhabit, and this land be call’d

The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls.  144

O! if you rear this house against this house,

It will the woefullest division prove

That ever fell upon this cursed earth.

Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,  148

Lest child, child’s children, cry against you ‘woe!’


Well have you argu’d, sir; and, for your pains,

Of capital treason we arrest you here.

My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge  152

To keep him safely till his day of trial.

May it please you, lords, to grant the commons’ suit?


Fetch hither Richard, that in common view

He may surrender; so we shall proceed  156

Without suspicion.


I will be his conduct.



Lords, you that here are under our arrest,

Procure your sureties for your days of answer.

[To Carlisle.] Little are we beholding to your love,  160

And little look’d for at your helping hands.

Re-enter York, with King Richard, and Officers bearing the Crown, &c.

K. Rich.

Alack! why am I sent for to a king

Before I have shook off the regal thoughts

Wherewith I reign’d? I hardly yet have learn’d

To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my limbs:

Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me

To this submission. Yet I well remember

The favours of these men: were they not mine?  168

Did they not sometime cry, ‘All haill’ to me?

So Judas did to Christ: but he, in twelve,

Found truth in all but one; I, in twelve thousand, none.

God save the king! Will no man say, amen?  172

Am I both priest and clerk? well then, amen.

God save the king! although I be not he;

And yet, amen, if heaven do think him me.

To do what service am I sent for hither?  176


To do that office of thine own good will

Which tired majesty did make thee offer,

The resignation of thy state and crown

To Henry Bolingbroke.  180

K. Rich.

Give me the crown. Here, cousin, seize the crown;

Here cousin,

On this side my hand and on that side thine.

Now is this golden crown like a deep well  184

That owes two buckets filling one another;

The emptier ever dancing in the air,

The other down, unseen and full of water:

That bucket down and full of tears am I,  188

Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.


I thought you had been willing to resign.

K. Rich.

My crown, I am; but still my griefs are mine.

You may my glories and my state depose,  192

But not my griefs; still am I king of those.


Part of your cares you give me with your crown.

K. Rich.

Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.

My care is loss of care, by old care done;  196

Your care is gain of care, by new care won.

The cares I give I have, though given away;

They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.


Are you contented to resign the crown?  200

K. Rich.

Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be;

Therefore no no, for I resign to thee.

Now mark me how I will undo myself:

I give this heavy weight from off my head,  204

And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,

The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;

With mine own tears I wash away my balm,

With mine own hands I give away my crown,  208

With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,

With mine own breath release all duteous rites:

All pomp and majesty I do forswear;

My manors, rents, revenues, I forego;  212

My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny:

God pardon all oaths that are broke to me!

God keep all vows unbroke are made to thee!

Make me, that nothing have, with nothing griev’d,

And thou with all pleas’d, that hast all achiev’d!

Long mayst thou live in Richard’s seat to sit,

And soon lie Richard in an earthy pit!

God save King Henry, unking’d Richard says,

And send him many years of sunshine days!  221

What more remains?


[Offering a paper.] No more, but that you read

These accusations and these grievous crimes

Committed by your person and your followers

Against the state and profit of this land;  225

That, by confessing them, the souls of men

May deem that you are worthily depos’d.

K. Rich.

Must I do so? and must I ravel out

My weav’d-up follies? Gentle Northumberland,

If thy offences were upon record,

Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop

To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,  232

There shouldst thou find one heinous article,

Containing the deposing of a king,

And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,

Mark’d with a blot, damn’d in the book of heaven.

Nay, all of you that stand and look upon me,  237

Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,

Though some of you with Pilate wash your hands,

Showing an outward pity; yet you Pilates  240

Have here deliver’d me to my sour cross,

And water cannot wash away your sin.


My lord, dispatch; read o’er these articles.

K. Rich.

Mine eyes are full of tears, I cannot see:  244

And yet salt water blinds them not so much

But they can see a sort of traitors here.

Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,

I find myself a traitor with the rest;  248

For I have given here my soul’s consent

To undeck the pompous body of a king;

Made glory base and sovereignty a slave,

Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant,  252


My lord,—

K. Rich.

No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,

Nor no man’s lord; I have no name, no title,

No, not that name was given me at the font,  256

But ’tis usurp’d: alack the heavy day!

That I have worn so many winters out,

And know not now what name to call myself.

O! that I were a mockery king of snow,  260

Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,

To melt myself away in water-drops.

Good king, great king,—and yet not greatly good,

An if my word be sterling yet in England,  264

Let it command a mirror hither straight,

That it may show me what a face I have,

Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.


Go some of you and fetch a looking-glass.

[Exit an Attendant.


Read o’er this paper while the glass doth come.  269

K. Rich.

Fiend! thou torment’st me ere I come to hell.


Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.


The commons will not then be satisfied.

K. Rich.

They shall be satisfied: I’ll read enough  273

When I do see the very book indeed

Where all my sins are writ, and that’s myself.

Re-enter Attendant, with a glass.

Give me the glass, and therein will I read.  276

No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck

So many blows upon this face of mine

And made no deeper wounds? O, flattering glass!

Like to my followers in prosperity,  280

Thou dost beguile me. Was this face the face

That every day under his household roof

Did keep ten thousand men? Was this the face

That like the sun did make beholders wink?  284

Was this the face that fac’d so many follies,

And was at last out-fac’d by Bolingbroke?

A brittle glory shineth in this face:

As brittle as the glory is the face;  288

[Dashes the glass against the ground.

For there it is, crack’d in a hundred shivers.

Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport,

How soon my sorrow hath destroy’d my face.


The shadow of your sorrow hath destroy’d  292

The shadow of your face.

K. Rich.

Say that again.

The shadow of my sorrow! Ha! let’s see:

’Tis very true, my grief lies all within;

And these external manners of laments  296

Are merely shadows to the unseen grief

That swells with silence in the tortur’d soul;

There lies the substance: and I thank thee, king,

For thy great bounty, that not only giv’st  300

Me cause to wail, but teachest me the way

How to lament the cause. I’ll beg one boon,

And then be gone and trouble you no more.

Shall I obtain it?


Name it, fair cousin.  304

K. Rich.

‘Fair cousin!’ I am greater than a king;

For when I was a king, my flatterers

Were then but subjects; being now a subject,

I have a king here to my flatterer.  308

Being so great, I have no need to beg.


Yet ask.

K. Rich.

And shall I have?


You shall.  312

K. Rich.

Then give me leave to go.



K. Rich.

Whither you will, so I were from your sights.


Go, some of you convey him to the Tower.  316

K. Rich.

O, good! convey? conveyers are you all,

That rise thus nimbly by a true king’s fall.

[Exeunt King Richard and Guard.


On Wednesday next we solemnly set down

Our coronation: lords, prepare yourselves.  320

[Exeunt all except the Bishop of Carlisle, the Abbot of Westminster, and Aumerle.


A woeful pageant have we here beheld.


The woe’s to come; the children yet unborn

Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn.


You holy clergymen, is there no plot

To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?  325


My lord,

Before I freely speak my mind herein,

You shall not only take the sacrament  328

To bury mine intents, but also to effect

Whatever I shall happen to devise.

I see your brows are full of discontent,

Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears:

Come home with me to supper; I will lay  333

A plot shall show us all a merry day.



Scene I.— London. A Street leading to the Tower.

Enter the Queen and Ladies.


This way the king will come; this is the way

To Julius Cæsar’s ill-erected tower,

To whose flint bosom my condemned lord

Is doom’d a prisoner by proud Bolingbroke.  4

Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth

Have any resting for her true king’s queen.

Enter King Richard and Guard.

But soft, but see, or rather do not see,

My fair rose wither: yet look up, behold,  8

That you in pity may dissolve to dew,

And wash him fresh again with true-love tears.

Ah! thou, the model where old Troy did stand,

Thou map of honour, thou King Richard’s tomb,

And not King Richard; thou most beauteous inn,  13

Why should hard-favour’d grief be lodg’d in thee,

When triumph is become an alehouse guest?

K. Rich.

Join not with grief, fair woman, do not so,  16

To make my end too sudden: learn, good soul,

To think our former state a happy dream;

From which awak’d, the truth of what we are

Shows us but this. I am sworn brother, sweet,

To grim Necessity, and he and I  21

Will keep a league till death. Hie thee to France,

And cloister thee in some religious house:

Our holy lives must win a new world’s crown,  24

Which our profane hours here have stricken down.


What! is my Richard both in shape and mind

Transform’d and weaken’d! Hath Bolingbroke depos’d

Thine intellect? hath he been in thy heart?  28

The lion dying thrusteth forth his paw

And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage

To be o’erpower’d; and wilt thou, pupil-like,

Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod,  32

And fawn on rage with base humility,

Which art a lion and a king of beasts?

K. Rich.

A king of beasts indeed; if aught but beasts,

I had been still a happy king of men.  36

Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France,

Think I am dead, and that even here thou tak’st,

As from my death-bed, my last living leave.

In winter’s tedious nights sit by the fire  40

With good old folks, and let them tell thee tales

Of woeful ages, long ago betid;

And ere thou bid good night, to quit their grief,

Tell thou the lamentable tale of me,  44

And send the hearers weeping to their beds:

For why the senseless brands will sympathize

The heavy accent of thy moving tongue,

And in compassion weep the fire out;  48

And some will mourn in ashes, some coal-black,

For the deposing of a rightful king.

Enter Northumberland, attended.


My lord, the mind of Bolingbroke is chang’d;

You must to Pomfret, not unto the Tower.  52

And, madam, there is order ta’en for you;

With all swift speed you must away to France.

K. Rich.

Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal

The mounting Bolingbroke ascends my throne,

The time shall not be many hours of age  57

More than it is, ere foul sin gathering head

Shall break into corruption. Thou shalt think,

Though he divide the realm and give thee half,

It is too little, helping him to all;  61

And he shall think that thou, which know’st the way

To plant unrightful kings, wilt know again,

Being ne’er so little urg’d, another way  64

To pluck him headlong from the usurped throne.

The love of wicked friends converts to fear;

That fear to hate, and hate turns one or both

To worthy danger and deserved death.  68


My guilt be on my head, and there an end.

Take leave and part; for you must part forthwith.

K. Rich.

Doubly divorc’d! Bad men, ye violate

A two-fold marriage; ’twixt my crown and me,

And then, betwixt me and my married wife.  73

Let me unkiss the oath ’twixt thee and me;

And yet not so, for with a kiss ’twas made.

Part us, Northumberland: I towards the north,

Where shivering cold and sickness pines the clime;  77

My wife to France: from whence, set forth in pomp,

She came adorned hither like sweet May,

Sent back like Hallowmas or short’st of day.  80


And must we be divided? must we part?

K. Rich.

Ay, hand from hand, my love, and heart from heart.


Banish us both and send the king with me.


That were some love but little policy.  84


Then whither he goes, thither let me go.

K. Rich.

So two, together weeping, make one woe.

Weep thou for me in France, I for thee here;

Better far off, than near, be ne’er the near.  88

Go, count thy way with sighs, I mine with groans.


So longest way shall have the longest moans.

K. Rich.

Twice for one step I’ll groan, the way being short,

And piece the way out with a heavy heart.  92

Come, come, in wooing sorrow let’s be brief,

Since, wedding it, thero is such length in grief.

One kiss shall stop our mouths, and dumbly part;

Thus give I mine, and thus take I thy heart.  96

[They kiss.


Give me mine own again; ’twere no good part

To take on me to keep and kill thy heart.

[They kiss again.

So, now I have mine own again, be gone,

That I may strive to kill it with a groan.  100

K. Rich.

We make woe wanton with this fond delay:

Once more, adieu; the rest let sorrow say.


Scene II.— The Same. A Room in the Duke of York’s Palace.

Enter York and his Duchess.


My lord, you told me you would tell the rest,

When weeping made you break the story off,

Of our two cousins coming into London.


Where did I leave?


At that sad stop, my lord,  4

Where rude misgovern’d hands, from windows’ tops,

Threw dust and rubbish on King Richard’s head.


Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke,

Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,  8

Which his aspiring rider seem’d to know,

With slow but stately pace kept on his course,

While all tongues cried, ‘God save thee, Bolingbroke!’

You would have thought the very windows spake,  12

So many greedy looks of young and old

Through casements darted their desiring eyes

Upon his visage, and that all the walls

With painted imagery had said at once  16

‘Jesu preserve thee! welcome, Bolingbroke!’

Whilst he, from one side to the other turning,

Bare-headed, lower than his proud steed’s neck,

Bespake them thus, ‘I thank you, countrymen:’

And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along.  21


Alack, poor Richard! where rode he the whilst?


As in a theatre, the eyes of men,

After a well-grac’d actor leaves the stage,  24

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 Richard: no man cried, ‘God save him;’  28

No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home;

But dust was thrown upon his sacred head,

Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,

His face still combating with tears and smiles,  32

The badges of his grief and patience,

That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel’d

The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,

And barbarism itself have pitied him.  36

But heaven hath a hand in these events,

To whose high will we bound our calm contents.

To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now,

Whose state and honour I for aye allow.  40


Here comes my son Aumerle.


Aumerle that was;

But that is lost for being Richard’s friend,

And, madam, you must call him Rutland now.

I am in parliament pledge for his truth  44

And lasting fealty to the new-made king.

Enter Aumerle.


Welcome, my son: who are the violets now

That strew the green lap of the new come spring?


Madam, I know not, nor I greatly care not:  48

God knows I had as lief be none as one.


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?  52


For aught I know, my lord, they do.


You will be there, I know.


If God prevent it not, I purpose so.


What seal is that that hangs without thy bosom?  56

Yea, look’st thou pale? let me see the writing.


My lord, ’tis nothing.


No matter then, who sees it:

I will be satisfied; let me see the writing.


I do beseech your Grace to pardon me:

It is a matter of small consequence,  61

Which for some reasons I would not have seen.


Which for some reasons, sir, I mean to see.

I fear, I fear,—


What should you fear?  64

’Tis nothing but some bond he’s enter’d into

For gay apparel ’gainst the triumph day.


Bound to himself! what doth he with a bond

That he is bound to? Wife, thou art a fool.  68

Boy, let me see the writing.


I do beseech you, pardon me; I may not show it.


I will be satisfied; let me see it, I say.

[Snatches it, and reads.

Treason! foul treason! villain! traitor! slave!  72


What is the matter, my lord?


Ho! who is within there?

Enter a Servant.

Saddle my horse.

God for his mercy! what treachery is here!


Why, what is it, my lord?  76


Give me my boots, I say; saddle my horse.

Now, by mine honour, by my life, my troth,

I will appeach the villain.

[Exit Servant.


What’s the matter?


Peace, foolish woman.  80


I will not peace. What is the matter, Aumerle?


Good mother, be content; it is no more

Than my poor life must answer.


Thy life answer!


Bring me my boots: I will unto the king.  84

Re-enter Servant with boots.


Strike him, Aumerle. Poor boy, thou art amaz’d.

[To Servant.] Hence, villain! never more come in my sight.

[Exit Servant.


Give me my boots, I say.


Why, York, what wilt thou do?  88

Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own?

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?  93

Is he not like thee? is he not thine own?


Thou fond, mad woman,

Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy?  96

A dozen of them here have ta’en the sacrament,

And interchangeably set down their hands,

To kill the king at Oxford.


He shall be none;

We’ll keep him here: then, what is that to him?


Away, fond woman! were he twenty times  101

My son, I would appeach him.


Hadst thou groan’d for him

As I have done, thou’dst be more pitiful.

But now I know thy mind: thou dost suspect

That I have been disloyal to thy bed,  105

And that he is a bastard, not thy son:

Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind:

He is as like thee as a man may be,  108

Not like to me, nor any of my kin,

And yet I love him.


Make way, unruly woman!



After, Aumerle! Mount thee upon his horse;

Spur post, and get before him to the king,  112

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:

And never will I rise up from the ground  116

Till Bolingbroke have pardon’d thee. Away! be gone.


Scene III.— Windsor. A Room in the Castle.

Enter Bolingbroke as King; Henry Percy, and other Lords.


Can no man tell of my unthrifty son?

’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:  4

Inquire at London, ’mongst the taverns there,

For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,

With unrestrained loose companions,

Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes  8

And beat our watch and rob our passengers;

While he, young wanton and effeminate boy,

Takes on the point of honour to support

So dissolute a crew.  12

H. Percy.

My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,

And told him of these triumphs held at Oxford.


And what said the gallant?

H. Percy.

His answer was: he would unto the stews,  16

And from the common’st creature pluck a glove,

And wear it as a favour; and with that

He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.


As dissolute as desperate; yet, through both,  20

I see some sparkles of a better hope,

Which elder days may happily bring forth.

But who comes here?

Enter Aumerle.


Where is the king?


What means

Our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly?


God save your Grace! I do beseech your majesty,  26

To have some conference with your Grace alone.


Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

[Exeunt H. Percy and Lords.

What is the matter with our cousin now?  29


[Kneels.] 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.  32


Intended or committed was this fault?

If on the first, how heinous e’er it be,

To win thy after-love I pardon thee.


Then give me leave that I may turn the key,  36

That no man enter till my tale be done.


Have thy desire.

[Aumerle locks the door.


[Within.] My liege, beware! look to thyself;

Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.  40


[Drawing.] Villain, I’ll make thee safe.


Stay thy revengeful hand; thou hast no cause to fear.


[Within.] Open the door, secure, foolhardy king:

Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?  44

Open the door, or I will break it open.

[Bolingbroke unlocks the door; and afterwards relocks it.

Enter York.


What is the matter, uncle? speak;

Recover breath; tell us how near is danger,

That we may arm us to encounter it.  48


Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know

The treason that my haste forbids me show.


Remember, as thou read’st, thy promise pass’d:

I do repent me; read not my name there;  52

My heart is not confederate with my hand.


’Twas, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.

I tore it from the traitor’s bosom, king;

Fear, and not love, begets his penitence.  56

Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove

A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.


O heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy!

O loyal father of a treacherous son!  60

Thou sheer, immaculate, and silver fountain,

From whence this stream through muddy passages

Hath held his current and defil’d himself!

Thy overflow of good converts to bad,  64

And thy abundant goodness shall excuse

This deadly blot in thy digressing son.


So shall my virtue be his vice’s bawd,

And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,

As thriftless sons their scraping fathers’ gold.  69

Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,

Or my sham’d life in his dishonour lies:

Thou kill’st me in his life; giving him breath,  72

The traitor lives, the true man’s put to death.


[Within.] What ho, my liege! for God’s sake let me in.


What shrill-voic’d suppliant makes this eager cry?


[Within.] A woman, and thine aunt, great king; ’tis I.  76

Speak with me, pity me, open the door:

A beggar begs, that never begg’d before.


Our scene is alter’d from a serious thing,

And now chang’d to ‘The Beggar and the King.’

My dangerous cousin, let your mother in:  81

I know she’s come to pray for your foul sin.

[Aumerle unlocks the door.


If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,

More sins, for this forgiveness, prosper may.  84

This fester’d joint cut off, the rest rests sound;

This, let alone, will all the rest confound.

Enter Duchess.


O king! believe not this hard-hearted man:

Love, loving not itself, none other can.  88


Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?

Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?


Sweet York, be-patient.


Hear me, gentle liege.


Rise up, good aunt.


Not yet, I thee beseech.  92

For ever will I walk upon my knees,

And never see day that the happy sees,

Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy,

By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.  96


Unto my mother’s prayers I bend my knee.



Against them both my true joints bended be.


Ill mayst thou thrive if thou grant any grace!


Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face;  100

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;

We pray with heart and soul and all beside:  104

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.  108

Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have

That mercy which true prayer ought to have.


Good aunt, stand up.


Nay, do not say ‘stand up;’

But ‘pardon’ first, and afterwards ‘stand up.’

An if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,  113

‘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:  116

The word is short, but not so short as sweet;

No word like ‘pardon,’ for kings’ mouths so meet.


Speak it in French, king; say, ‘pardonnez moy.’


Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?  120

Ah! my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,

That sett’st the word itself against the word.

Speak ‘pardon’ as ’tis current in our land;

The chopping French we do not understand.  124

Thine eye begins to speak, set thy tongue there,

Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear,

That hearing how our plants and prayers do pierce,

Pity may move thee pardon to rehearse.  128


Good aunt, stand up.


I do not sue to stand;

Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.


I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.


O happy vantage of a kneeling knee!

Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again;  133

Twice saying ‘pardon’ doth not pardon twain,

But makes one pardon strong.


With all my heart

I pardon him.


A god on earth thou art.  136


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.

Good uncle, help to order several powers  140

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:  144

Your mother well hath pray’d, and prove you true.


Come, my old son: I pray God make thee new.


Scene IV.— Another Room in the Castle.

Enter Exton and a Servant.


Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake?

‘Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?’

Was it not so?


Those were his very words.


‘Have I no friend?’ quoth he: he spake it twice,  4

And urg’d it twice together, did he not?


He did.


And speaking it, he wistly looked on me,

As who should say, ‘I would thou wert the man

That would divorce this terror from my heart;’

Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let’s go:

I am the king’s friend, and will rid his foe.


Scene V.— Pomfret. The Dungeon of the Castle.

Enter King Richard.

K. Rich.

I have been studying how I may compare

This prison where I live unto the world:

And for because the world is populous,

And here is not a creature but myself,  4

I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.

My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul;

My soul the father: and these two beget

A generation of still-breeding thoughts,  8

And these same thoughts people this little world

In humours like the people of this world,

For no thought is contented. The better sort,

As thoughts of things divine, are intermix’d  12

With scruples, and do set the word itself

Against the word:

As thus, ‘Come, little ones;’ and then again,

‘It is as hard to come as for a camel  16

To thread the postern of a needle’s eye.’

Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot

Unlikely wonders; how these vain weak nails

May tear a passage through the flinty ribs  20

Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls;

And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.

Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves

That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,  24

Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars

Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,

That many have and others must sit there:

And in this thought they find a kind of ease,  28

Bearing their own misfortune on the back

Of such as have before endur’d the like.

Thus play I in one person many people,

And none contented: sometimes am I king;  32

Then treason makes me wish myself a beggar,

And so I am: then crushing penury

Persuades me I was better when a king;

Then am I king’d again; and by and by  36

Think that I am unking’d by Bolingbroke,

And straight am nothing: but whate’er I be,

Nor I nor any man that but man is

With nothing shall be pleas’d, till he be eas’d  40

With being nothing. Music do I hear?


Ha, ha! keep time. How sour sweet music is

When time is broke and no proportion kept!

So is it in the music of men’s lives.  44

And here have I the daintiness of ear

To check time broke in a disorder’d string;

But for the concord of my state and time

Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.  48

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;

For now hath time made me his numbering clock:

My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar

Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,  52

Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,

Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.

Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is

Are clamorous groans, that strike upon my heart

Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans

Show minutes, times, and hours; but my time

Runs posting on in Bolingbroke’s proud joy,

While I stand fooling here, his Jack o’ the clock.

This music mads me: let it sound no more;  61

For though it have holp madmen to their wits,

In me it seems it will make wise men mad.

Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!  64

For ’tis a sign of love, and love to Richard

Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.

Enter Groom of the Stable.


Hail, royal prince!

K. Rich.

Thanks, noble peer;

The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.  68

What art thou? and how comest thou hither, man,

Where no man never comes but that sad dog

That brings me food to make misfortune live?


I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,

When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York,  73

With much ado at length have gotten leave

To look upon my sometimes royal master’s face.

O! how it yearn’d my heart when I beheld  76

In London streets, that coronation day

When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary,

That horse that thou so often hast bestrid,

That horse that I so carefully have dress’d.  80

K. Rich.

Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,

How went he under him?


So proudly as if he disdain’d the ground.

K. Rich.

So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back!  84

That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand;

This hand hath made him proud with clapping him.

Would he not stumble? Would he not fall down,—

Since pride must have a fall,—and break the neck  88

Of that proud man that did usurp his back?

Forgiveness, horse! why do I rail on thee,

Since thou, created to be aw’d by man,

Wast born to bear? I was not made a horse;  92

And yet I bear a burden like an ass,

Spur-gall’d and tir’d by jauncing Bolingbroke.

Enter Keeper, with a dish.


[To the Groom.] Fellow, give place; here is no longer stay.

K. Rich.

If thou love me, ’tis time thou wert away.  96


What my tongue dares not, that my heart shall say.



My lord, will’t please you to fall to?

K. Rich.

Taste of it first, as thou art wont to do.


My lord, I dare not: Sir Pierce of Exton, who lately came from the king, commands the contrary.

K. Rich.

The devil take Henry of Lancaster, and thee!

Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.  104

[Strikes the Keeper.


Help, help, help!

Enter Exton and Servants, armed.

K. Rich.

How now! what means death in this rude assault?

Villain, thine own hand yields thy death’s instrument.

[Snatching a weapon and killing one.

Go thou and fill another room in hell.  108

[He kills another: then Exton strikes him down.

That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire

That staggers thus my person. Exton, thy fierce hand

Hath with the king’s blood stain’d the king’s own land.

Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high,  112

Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.



As full of valour as of royal blood:

Both have I spilt; O! would the deed were good;

For now the devil, that told me I did well,  116

Says that this deed is chronicled in hell.

This dead king to the living king I’ll bear.

Take hence the rest and give them burial here.


Scene VI.— Windsor. An Apartment in the Castle.


Enter Bolingbroke and York, with Lords and Attendants.


Kind uncle York, the latest news we hear

Is that the rebels have consum’d with fire

Our town of Cicester in Gloucestershire;

But whether they be ta’en or slain we hear not.  4

Enter Northumberland.

Welcome, my lord. What is the news?


First, to thy sacred state wish I all happiness.

The next news is: I have to London sent

The heads of Salisbury, Spencer, Blunt, and Kent.  8

The manner of their taking may appear

At large discoursed in this paper here.


We thank thee, gentle Percy, for thy pains,

And to thy worth will add right worthy gains.  12

Enter Fitzwater.


My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London

The heads of Brocas and Sir Bennet Seely,

Two of the dangerous consorted traitors

That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow.  16


Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot;

Right noble is thy merit, well I wot.

Enter Henry Percy, with the Bishop of Carlisle.

H. Percy.

The grand conspirator, Abbot of Westminster,

With clog of conscience and sour melancholy,  20

Hath yielded up his body to the grave;

But here is Carlisle living, to abide

Thy kingly doom and sentence of his pride.


Carlisle, this is your doom:  24

Choose out some secret place, some reverend room,

More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life;

So, as thou livest in peace, die free from strife:

For though mine enemy thou hast ever been,  28

High sparks of honour in thee have I seen.

Enter Exton, with Attendants bearing a coffin


Great king, within this coffin I present

Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies

The mightiest of thy greatest enemies,  32

Richard of Bordeaux, by me hither brought.


Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast wrought

A deed of slander with thy fatal hand

Upon my head and all this famous land.  36


From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed.


They love not poison that do poison need,

Nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead,

I hate the murderer, love him murdered.  40

The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour,

But neither my good word nor princely favour:

With Cain go wander through the shade of night,

And never show thy head by day nor light.  44

Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe,

That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow:

Come, mourn with me for that I do lament,

And put on sullen black incontinent.  48

I’ll make a voyage to the Holy Land,

To wash this blood off from my guilty hand.

March sadly after; grace my mournings here,

In weeping after this untimely bier.