Richard II simplified

Synopsis

Richard II is the first in the series of eight Shakespeare histories that cover fifteenth century England.  England was led throughout the century by members of the Plantagenet family, and for most of the century was led by descendents of John of Gaunt, the fourth son of Edward III, the sons all being “fair branches springing from one root.”  Edward Plantagenet, Edward III, Richard II’s grandfather was the root.  He was the patriarch of this powerful political dynasty.  Seven of these histories, including this one, cover descendents of John of Gaunt, the duke of Lancaster.  The eighth covers a distant descendent of Edmund of Langley, the duke of York, better known as York, Edward III’s fifth son. That Gaunt was Edward III’s fourth born son and York the fifth was a very big deal.  John of Gaunt and Edmund of Langley were born in towns or townships named “Gaunt” and “Langley.”  That’s how it worked. 

This play begins in 1399 when the thirty-two year old English King Richard II, the son and only child of Edward, the Black Prince, Edward III’s first son, calls forward his thirty-two year old cousin Henry Bolingbroke (John of Gaunt’s son), along with a Thomas Mowbray, each having been accused of complicity in the death of the king’s uncle, the duke of Gloucester, Edward III’s sixth of seven sons.  Richard II has been king for twenty years, his father predeceasing his father, a matter that placed the young Richard first in line to be king.  Richard became Richard II at age twelve in 1379, the year his grandfather, Edward III, died. 

Bolingbroke and Mowbray are called before the king and John of Gaunt to defend themselves.   Bolingbroke and Mowbray promptly engage each other in a serious verbal spar. The king decides that the two of them must settle their differences in a duel at Coventry.  Later, at Coventry, just before the duel is to begin, the king decides to ban Mowbray from England for life and to exile Bolingbroke to France for six years.  At about this point, the duchess of Gloucester, the widow of Edward III’s sixth son, the recently deceased Gloucester, seeks out John of Gaunt, asking him to help her avenge her husband’s murder. Gaunt offers her thin support, saying “It’s God’s quarrel,” the king in that era considered God’s substitute in England.  She soon leaves for her castle at Plashy, not to be heard from again.  We soon learn she has died. 

As Henry Bolingbroke is about to leave for France, having as we say been exiled for six years, his father offers some nice advice, suggesting his son while in France “imagine each flower a fair lady; each step a measured dance.” Soon after Henry Bolingbroke leaves for France, we learn that his father’s health has taken a turn for the worse.  He is comforted by his younger brother, the duke of York. As a weak and defenseless John of Gaunt nears death, Richard II enters and stands over him saying “Let them die that age and sullens have, for both hast thou, and both become the grave.”  The king no doubt later regretted the line. John of Gaunt then dies, shortly after delivering his classic soliloquy “……This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” As events develop, the duke of York’s support for the king begins to wane, York traditionally loyal to the crown, whoever he might be.

As we say, the late Edward III’s surname was Plantagenet; Plantagenet having been the family name of Geoffrey, count of Anjou, an ancestor of Edward III’s, Anjou being a province in western France.  Though their surname was Plantagenet, this powerful political family found itself for decades split primarily into two groups; the Lancastrians, descendents of John of Gaunt, and the so-called Yorkists, descendents of Edmund of Langley.  Political loyalties to those two Plantagenet branches were the source of the “War of the Roses,” a subject discussed in later history plays. 

By this time Richard II has made plans to wage war with the Irish, and has expropriated Gaunt’s and Bolingbroke’s assets to help finance his war effort.  A young Henry Bolingbroke, biding his time in France, aware that Richard II has lost some domestic support and eager to reclaim his title and rights to his and his father’s property, having by now gained the support of France’s duke of Brittany, leaves France with a substantial armada.  His plans are to land at Ravensburgh on England’s northern coast.  It is also rumored about that Bolingbroke has plans to attempt to seize the crown from his cousin Richard II. 

A friend of the king’s, John Bushy, counsels and consoles Richard’s queen, who justifiably fears for her husband. Henry Bolingbroke and his entourage by now have arrived at Ravensburgh and have headed south for Bristow Castle.  The monarchist York, now older and afflicted, confronts the young, virile and ambitious Bolingbroke, making a brave and heart-felt attempt to encourage Bolingbroke to support the king. With compassion and diplomacy, Bolingbroke holds firm, winning York over.

Separately and in a sign of things to come, the Welshmen, long the king’s allies, flee the king on his return from Ireland. Meanwhile at Bristow Castle, Bolingbroke captures Bushy and Green, two of the king’s confidants, and has them executed.  Bolingbroke moves further inland.  The king learns of his own deteriorating support among a number of key aides and their friends, many having defected to Bolingbroke, including the powerful Northumberland and his son, Harry Percy.  Harry (or Henry) Percy is better known as Hotspur.  He has a major role coming up. Salisbury, a friend of the king’s, delivers bad news to a depressed Richard II.  Salisbury is quickly followed by Stephen Scroop who offers even worse news. The king talks freely of death. He is taken to task and temporarily encouraged by the Bishop of Carlisle. Furthering his dismay, the king learns that his uncle York has joined Bolingbroke and his cause. 

The young Harry Percy (Hotspur) then informs Bolingbroke that the king and a few of his supporters have sought protection in Flint Castle.  Bolingbroke dispatches Northumberland to talk with the king and to let him know that he only seeks to have his banishment repealed and to have his lands and other assets returned.  Initially, Richard II puts up a good front, but soon succumbs to talking a little incoherently; addressing many issues, but in the doing doesn’t directly address Bolingbroke’s questions. The king soon buckles and is bloodlessly deposed, a discouraging moment for his supporters and a defining moment in English history.

Separately, the dispirited queen and her aide are walking in the queen’s garden when the Gardener offers a metaphor for the realm, irritating the queen. At about this time, the duke of York reports to Bolingbroke that Richard II is ready to publicly give up his crown.  York declares that Henry Bolingbroke is now King Henry IV.  Richard II comes forward.  Gently, Northumberland tells Richard II that he must sign certain papers acknowledging his crimes against the state.  Richard puts up an emotional defense, saying “I have hardly yet learned to bend my knee.”  Finally he says, “Here, cousin, seize the crown.”  When Bolingbroke asks him “I thought you had been willing to resign,” Richard replies, “My crown I am, but still my griefs are mine, for I must nothing be.” After a period of verbal sparing, Henry IV holding firm, the new king sends Richard to the Tower, a prison initially constructed by Julius Caesar.  Northumberland proceeds to tell the queen that she has been banished to France and that Richard will be transferred to Pomfret Castle.  To no avail, the queen cries “whither he goes, thither let me go.”  Richard says, “Weep for me in France, I for thee here.” 

Separately, Henry IV pardons his cousin Aumerle, York’s son, who throughout the play had been politically naïve and had treated Bolingbroke poorly.

Richard is relegated to Pomfret Castle to be its lone prisoner.  Shakespeare has Richard reflect on his life and his own sense of being, and on what was and what might have been.  A badly misguided but well intentioned friend of the new king kills Richard at Pomfret Castle, an act that will haunt kings and England for a century.  The deposing of Richard II, followed by his murder at Pomfret, leads to rumors and innuendos and gossip and justification for decades to come, burdening Henry IV’s reign and those of his son and grandson.  But Richard’s loss of his crown, his wife and his life, sad as it was, leads to a wonderful series of history books.

Principal Characters  

Aumerle.   Aumerle is the duke of Aumerle, York’s older son, the stepson of the Duchess of York.  He is a first cousin to both Richard II and Henry Bolingbroke.  He remains a close confidant to Richard II throughout, and is never close to Bolingbroke.  Late in the play he is implicated in an earlier plot designed to take the life of Bolingbroke, who by then is Henry IV.  The new king takes the accusation lightly and risking little, pardons his cousin. 

Duke of York.   The duke of York is Edward of Langley, the fifth son of Edward III.  Throughout the play York is the “glue” who helps hold the family together, having a nice relationship with his older brother, John of Gaunt, and his nephews, Richard II and Henry IV.  Lionel, duke of Clarence, was Edward III’s third son, and had one child, a daughter, Philippa.  Later, York’s younger son, Richard, earl of Cambridge, marries Anne, the granddaughter of Philippa, leading inevitably to proper succession-to-the-crown issues, which then leads to the War of the Roses, a “war” that consumes England in the fifteenth century. 

Henry Bolingbroke.   Henry Bolingbroke is the duke of Hereford, the son of John of Gaunt, and a future king.  Early in the play he is exiled for six years to France; Richard II, his cousin and the king, fearing him as a competitor.  While in France Bolingbroke gains political, military and financial strength as Richard II continues to exercise poor judgment.  Well prepared, Bolingbroke returns to England while Richard II is off fighting in Ireland.  With mature finesse Bolingbroke usurps his cousin’s crown, about as smoothly as one can imagine, becoming in Act four England’s King Henry IV. 

John of Gaunt.   John of Gaunt, Edward III’s fourth son, is the father of Henry Bolingbroke, who becomes King Henry IV.  He is also the grandfather of Henry V and great-grandfather of Henry VI; known, understandably, as the father of kings.  John of Gaunt was born in Gaunt, England, was the duke of Lancaster and the patriarch of the Lancastrians who ruled England for seven decades.  John of Gaunt, a beloved figure in English history, dies early in Act two. 

Northumberland.   Northumberland is Henry Percy, the earl of Northumberland, an early supporter of Richard II.  Disappointed with the way the king is leading the country, Northumberland defects to Bolingbroke, and becomes what might be called Bolingbroke’s chief-of-staff. Near the end of the play, Richard II describes him as “being the ladder wherewithal the mounting Bolingbroke ascends his throne.”   Northumberland and his son, Harry Percy, later known as Hotspur, are central players in the next history, Henry IV Part 1. 

Richard II.  Richard II is Richard Plantagenet, the only son of Edward, the Black Prince, and the grandson of Edward III, both deceased.  In 1379, the twelve year old Richard became king, King Edward III having just died.  Richard’s father had predeceased his father, leaving the young Richard first in line as heir to England’s crown.  In 1399, the time of the play, King Richard II is thirty-two and married, but they have no children.  Richard II makes some weak choices; almost not knowing what it’s like not to be king, having been king since he was a boy.

The Play


  • Act I, Scene 1
  • The play begins when Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, is called before King Richard II to be tried for killing one of the king’s uncles, Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester. The accuser is Henry Bolingbroke, the son of John of Gaunt, the late King Edward III’s fourth son.
  • RICHARD II
  • Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster, hast thou brought hither thy bold son, here to make appeal against Thomas Mowbray?
  • GAUNT
  • I have my liege.
  • Bolingbroke, Richard II’s cousin, and Mowbray enter.
  • RICHARD II
  • Cousin, what dost thou object against Thomas Mowbray?
  • BOLINGBROKE TO MOWBRAY
  • Thou art a traitor and a miscreant, too good to be so, and too bad to live. What my tongue speaks, my right-drawn sword may prove.
  • MOWBRAY
  • I do defy him, call him a slanderous coward and a villain. Meantime most falsely doth he lie.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage.
  • Mowbray picks up the gage.
  • MOWBRAY
  • I take it up, and by that sword I swear I’ll answer thee in any fair degree.
  • RICHARD II
  • What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray’s charge?
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • All the treasons for these eighteen years, complotted and contrived in this land fetch from false Mowbray. Further I say, that he did plot the Duke of Gloucester’s death.
  • MOWBRAY
  • How God and good men hate so foul a liar.
  • RICHARD II TO MOWBRAY
  • Impartial are our eyes and ears, as he is but my father’s brother’s son. He is our subject, Mowbray, so art thou. Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.
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  • Mowbray to Richard II
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  • Honor is my life, for that let me try.
  • For that I live, and for that will I die.
  • My life thou shalt command, but not my shame.
  • Despite darkest death that lies upon my
  • Grave, thou shalt not dishonor my fair name.
  • Bolingbroke, through the false passage of thy
  • Throat, thou liest. Good Gloucester I slew not,
  • But once set ambush for your life, that brought
  • To me disgrace, honorable father
  • To my lesser foe. From men, take away
  • Spotless reputation, the great treasure,
  • And they’re but gilded loam or painted clay.
  • Mine honor is my life; both grow in one.
  • Take honor from me and my life is done.
  • RICHARD II
  • We cannot make you friends. Be ready, as your lives shall answer it. At Coventry upon Saint Lambert’s Day, you shall your swords and lances arbitrate the swelling difference of your settled hate.

  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • For tradition’s sake and other reasons, people in fifteenth century England believed that the king was God’s deputy and therefore the king was only accountable to God. John of Gaunt believes the king was responsible for the death of his brother, the Duke of Gloucester. The Dutchess of Woodstock is Thomas of Woodstock’s widow.
  • GAUNT TO THE DUTCHESS
  • Since correction lieth in those hands which made the fault that we cannot correct, put we our quarrel to the will of heaven.
  • DUTCHESS
  • Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur? Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?
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  • Dutchess of Gloucester to Gaunt
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  • Those seven sons, thyself one, so well led
  • By Edward, were as vials of his sacred
  • Blood, or seven fair branches springing from
  • One root. Some of those seven are dried by
  • Nature’s course, and life’s thread was cut for some.
  • But one full vial of that sacred blood, my
  • Gloucester, was cracked by hatred’s bloody-bold
  • Hand. Ah, Gaunt, his blood was thine! That self mold
  • That fashioned thee made him a man. Through strife
  • Thou livest and breathest, yet do thy die
  • In him, the model of thy father’s life.
  • It is despair, Gaunt, to suffer thus thy
  • Brother to be killed, clearing the pathway
  • For him to murder thee. What shall I say?
  • DUTCHESS
  • To safeguard thine own life, the best way is to venge my Gloucester’s death.
  • GAUNT
  • God’s in the quarrel; for God’s substitute, His deputy anointed in His sight, hath caused his death, the which if wrongfully let heaven revenge, for I may never lift an angry arm against his minister.
  • DUTCHESS
  • Where, then, alas, may I complain myself?
  • GAUNT
  • To God, the widow’s champion and defense.
  • DUTHESS
  • Why then I will. Farewell, old Gaunt, thou goest to Coventry, there to behold our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight. Farewell, old Gaunt. Thy sometime brother’s wife with her companion, grief, must end her life.
  • GAUNT
  • Sister, farewell. I must to Coventry.
  • DUTCHESS
  • Grief boundeth where it falls. Sorrow ends not when it seemeth done. Commend me to thy brother, Edmund York. Bid him with all good speed at Plashy visit me. Alack, let him not come there to seek out sorrow that dwells everywhere. The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.
  • They exit.

  • Act 1, Scene 3
  • Meanwhile, at Coventry on Saint Lambert’s day, after Bolingbroke and Mowbray have identified themselves and accused each other, Gaunt speaks to his son.
  • GAUNT TO BOLINGBROKE
  • Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant, and live.
  • The Marshall has given each man a lance.
  • RICHARD II
  • Draw near. That our kingdom’s earth should not be soiled with that dear blood which it hath fostered, we banish you our territories. You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life, till twice three summers have enriched our fields, shall not regreet our fair dominions.
  • Bolingbroke is banished to France.
  • RICHARD II
  • Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom. The hopeless words “never to return” breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.
  • MOWBRAY
  • A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege. The language I have learnt these forty years, my native English, now I must forgo; and now my tongue’s use is to me no more than an unstringed viol or a harp. I am too old to fawn upon a nurse, too far in years to be a pupil now. What is thy sentence but speechless death?
  • RICHARD II TO MOWBRAY
  • After our sentence complaining comes too late.
  • RICHARD II TO BOTH MEN
  • Lay on our royal sword your banished hands. Swear you shall never plot, contrive, or complot any ill ‘gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.
  • They both agree and step back. Mowbray exits.
  • GAUNT TO RICHARD II
  • Ere the six years that he hath to spend, 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.
  • RICHARD II
  • Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.
  • GAUNT
  • 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.
  • RICHARD II
  • Thy son is banished upon good advice.
  • GAUNT
  • Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour. You urge me as a judge, but I had rather you would have bid me argue like a father. A partial slander sought I to avoid, and in the sentence my own life destroyed.
  • RICHARD II TO BOLINGBROKE
  • Cousin, farewell. And uncle, bid him so.
  • The king exits.
  • GAUNT TO BOLINGBROKE
  • Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Joy absent, grief is present for that time; grief makes one hour ten.
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  • Gaunt to Bolingbroke
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  • What is six winters? They are quickly gone
  • In joy, but in grief, time moves slowly on.
  • Son, all places that the eye of heaven
  • Visits are to a wise man havens bright.
  • Gnarling sorrows hath less strength to bite when
  • A man mocks them with scorn and sets them light.
  • Think of the present crown as lightly worn.
  • Carry your woe as if but faintly borne.
  • Imagine each flower a fair lady;
  • Each step a measured dance. Suppose where you
  • Goest, not com’st. Suppose thy weary
  • Steps the firm setting wherein thou art to
  • Set the jewel of thy home. Be on thy way.
  • Had I thy youth and cause I would not stay.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • The apprehension of the good gives but the greater feeling to the worse.
  • GAUNT
  • Come, come my son.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Then, England’s sweet soil, adieu. Where’er I wander, boast of this I can, though banished, yet a trueborn Englishman.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 4
  • The Duke of Aumerle, the Duke of York’s son and a cousin to the king and to Bolingbroke, escorts Bolingbroke out of England. Aumerle returns to the king. Bushy and Green, good friends of the king, are there with the king.
  • RICHARD II TO AUMERLE
  • What store of parting tears were shed?
  • AUMERLE
  • Faith, none by me.
  • RICHARD II
  • He is our cousin, cousin. Ourself and Bushy observed his courtship to the common people, how he did seem to dive into their hearts with humble and familiar courtesy, with reverence he did throw away on slaves, wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles and patient underbearing of his fortune, as ‘twere to banish their affects with him. ‘Thanks,’ he says, ‘my countrymen, my loving friends,’ as were our England in reversion his, and he our subjects’ next degree in hope.
  • GREEN
  • Well, he is gone, and with him go these thoughts. Now for the rebels which stand out in Ireland.
  • RICHARD II
  • Our coffers are grown somewhat light. Our friends at home shall know what men are rich and shall subscribe them after to supply our wants, for we will make for Ireland presently.
  • Bushy enters
  • BUSHY
  • Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord, suddenly taken, and hath sent posthaste to entreat your Majesty to visit him.
  • RICHARD II
  • Come, gentlemen, let’s all go visit him. Pray God we may make haste and come too late.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 1
  • Meanwhile, separately, Gaunt is talking with his brother, York.
  • GAUNT
  • Will the king come?
  • YORK
  • Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath, for all in vain comes counsel to his ear.
  • Gaunt doesn’t listen to his brother.
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  • Gaunt to York, No. 1
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  • Though Richard my life’s counsel would not hear,
  • My death’s sad tale may yet undeaf his ear.
  • If the king doth come as my breath doth wane,
  • I may breathe wholesome counsel he might choose,
  • For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.
  • The tongue of a dying man who canst lose
  • Is enforced more, as the last taste of sweets,
  • The setting sun; music at the close greets
  • Memory more than things more past. Men’s ends
  • Are marked more than lives before. A scarce word
  • Is seldom spent in vain, for truth defends
  • Pained words spoke, when there are no words deferred.
  • He who has no more to say is fairly
  • Listened more than he who speaks easily.
  • YORK
  • No. It is the report of fashions in proud Italy, whose manners still our tardy-apish nation limps after in base imitation. ‘Tis breath thou lack’st, and that breath wilt thou lose.
  • GAUNT
  • Methinks I am a prophet new inspired, and thus expiring do foretell of him
  • his rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last, for violent fires soon burn out themselves; small showers last long, but sudden storms are short.
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  • Gaunt to York, No. 2
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  • This land of such dear souls, known through the old
  • World for royal kings, this grand isle, is now sold
  • Out as a paltry farm. It hath made a
  • Shameful conquest of itself. This earth, bound
  • By the sea, whose rocky shore beats back the
  • Jealous siege of wat’ry Neptune, has found
  • Itself bound in with shame, itself most ill.
  • This scandal vanish with my life my will.
  • This precious stone set in the silver sea;
  • This fortress built by Nature that serves it
  • As a walled office against the envy
  • Of less happier lands. This Eden fit
  • For this happy breed of men loyal who stand
  • On this blessed plot, this realm, this England.
  • The king and his entourage enter.
  • YORK TO GAUNT
  • The king is come. Deal mildly with his youth.
  • RICHARD II
  • How is ‘t with aged Gaunt?
  • GAUNT
  • Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old. I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee.
  • RICHARD II
  • Should dying men flatter with those that live?
  • GAUNT
  • No, no, men living flatter those that die.
  • RICHARD II
  • Thou, now a-dying, sayest thou flatterest me.
  • GAUNT
  • O, no, thou diest, though I the sicker be.
  • RICHARD II
  • I am in health, I breath, and see thee ill.
  • GAUNT
  • Now He that made me knows. Thy deathbed is no lesser than thy land, wherein thou liest in reputation sick. O, had thy grandsire with a prophet’s eye seen now his son’s son should destroy his sons, which art possessed now to depose thyself. Is it not more than shame to shame it so? Landlord of England art thou now, not king.
  • RICHARD II
  • A lunatic lean-witted fool, darest with thy frozen admonition make pale our cheek, chasing the royal blood with fury from his native residence. 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.
  • GAUNT
  • O, spare me not, my brother Edward’s son. My brother Gloucester, plain, well-meaning soul, may be a precedent and witness good that thou respect’st not spilling Edward’s blood. And thy unkindness be like crooked age to crop at once a too-long withered flower. Live in thy shame. Convey me to my bed, then to my grave.
  • Gaunt is carried off stage.
  • RICHARD II
  • Let them die that age and sullens have, for both hast thou, and both become the grave.
  • YORK
  • He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear as Harry, Duke of Hereford, were he here.
  • Northumberland enters.
  • RICHARD II
  • What says Gaunt?
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • His tongue is now a stringless instrument; words, life and all, old Lancaster hath spent.
  • RICHARD II
  • The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he; his time is spent, our pilgrimage must be. Now for our Irish wars. Towards our assistance we do seize to us the plate, coin, revenues, and movables whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possessed.
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  • York to Richard II
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  • He loved you, on my life, and held you dear,
  • But his words, life and all have ended here.
  • Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.
  • As Edward’s son, I beg you do not fail
  • To mend this beautiful broken land. O,
  • How long shall I be patient? On your pale
  • Face these wrongs not a wrinkle made, yet my
  • Duty has kept me true. Your face your tie
  • To great Edward. It was against the French
  • He frowned, not ‘gainst his friends. ‘Tis wrong to say
  • Unto your hands you plan to seize and wrench
  • What they possessed. Was not Gaunt just? Away
  • With Harry’s rights and all becomes more tense;
  • You’ll gain dangers and lose my weak patience.
  • RICHARD II
  • Why, uncle, what’s the matter?
  • YORK
  • Is not Harry true? Did not Gaunt deserve to have an heir? If you do wrongfully seize Hereford’s rights, you pluck a thousand dangers on your head, you lose a thousand well-disposed hearts, and prick my tender patience.
  • RICHARD II
  • Think what you will, we seize into our hands his plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.
  • YORK
  • I'll not be by the while. My liege, farewell.
  • York exits.
  • RICHARD II
  • Tomorrow next we will for Ireland. Tomorrow must we part. Be merry, for our time of stay is short.
  • He and the queen exit. Northumberland, Ross and Willoughby meet, now supporting Bolingbroke.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • Well, lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.
  • ROSS
  • And living too, for now his son is duke.
  • WILLOUGHBY
  • Barely in title, not in revenues.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • Richly in both, if justice had her right.
  • ROSS
  • No good at all that I can do for him.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • Now, afore God, ‘tis shame such wrongs are borne in him, a royal prince, and many more of noble blood in this declining land. The king is not himself, but basely led by flatterers.
  • ROSS
  • The commons hath been stripped bare with grievous taxes, and quite lost their hearts. The nobles hath he fined for ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.
  • WILLOUGHBY
  • The king grown bankrupt like a broken man.
  • ROSS
  • He hath not money for these Irish wars, but by the robbing of the banished duke. We see the very wrack that we must suffer, and unavoided is the danger now.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • Not so. I spy life peering; but I dare not say how near the tidings of our comfort is.
  • WILLOUGHBY
  • Nay, let us share thy thoughts, as thou dost ours.
  • ROSS
  • Be confident to speak, Northumberland, we three are but thyself. Therefore be bold.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • Then thus
  • I have received intelligence that Harry, Duke of Hereford, well furnished by the Duke of Brittany with eight tall ships, three thousand men of war, are making hither with all due expedience and shortly mean to touch our northern shore. Away with me in post to Ravenspurgh. But if you faint, as fearing to do so, stay and be secret, and myself will go.
  • ROSS
  • To horse, to horse!
  • WILLOUGHBY
  • Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 2
  • Bushy, a strong ally to the king, meets with the queen.
  • BUSHY
  • Madam, your Majesty is too much sad.
  • QUEEN
  • Yet I know no cause why I should welcome such a guest as grief. My soul grieves at some thing more than with parting from my lord the king.
  •  
  •  
  • Bushy to Queen
  •  
  • ‘Tis not unusual to welcome such
  • A guest as grief, yet each grief that doth touch
  • The mind hath twenty shadows each showing
  • Like grief itself but is not so. Grief’s glee
  • Is to trick eyes, glazing them with blinding
  • Tears, dividing one thing real to many
  • Objects, like optics that distort what one
  • Views, which, when rightly gazed upon, doth run
  • One into confusion. So, madam, what
  • Is seen are images of grief more than
  • Grief itself, which, seen as they are, are but
  • Shadows of what they are not. If one can,
  • See what is; let sorrow’s eye see wrongly,
  • Weeping for those things imaginary.
  • QUEEN
  • It may be so, but yet my inward soul persuades me it is otherwise.
  • Green, another friend of the king’s, enters.
  • GREEN
  • I hope the king is not yet shipped for Ireland.
  • QUEEN
  • Why hopest thou so?
  • GREEN
  • The banished Bolingbroke repeals himself and with uplifted arms is safe arrived at Ravenspurgh.
  • QUEEN
  • Now God in heaven forbid.
  • GREEN
  • Ah, madam, ‘tis too true. And that is worse, The Lord Northumberland, his son young Harry Percy, The Lords of Ross, Beaumont, and Willoughby, with all their powerful friends, are fled to him.
  • QUEEN
  • Who shall hinder me? I will despair.
  • The Duke of York enters.
  • QUEEN
  • Uncle, for God’s sake speak comfortable words.
  • YORK
  • Your husband, he is gone to save far off whilst others come to make him lose at home.
  • YORK TO A SERVINGMAN
  • Sirrah, get thee to Plashy, to my sister Gloucester.
  • SERVINGMAN
  • An hour before I came, the Duchess died.
  • YORK
  • God for His mercy, what a tide of woes comes rushing on this woeful land at once! I know not what to do.
  • The queen and York exit. Bushy, Green and Bagot talk among themselves.
  • GREEN
  • Besides, our nearness to the king in love is near the hate of those love not the king.
  • BAGOT
  • Their love lies in their purses, and whoso empties them by so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.
  • GREEN
  • Well, I will for refuge straight to Bristow Castle.
  • BUSHY
  • Thither will I with you.”
  • BAGOT
  • We three here part that ne’er shall meet again.
  • GREEN
  • Farewell at once, for all, and ever.
  • BUSHY
  • Well, we may meet again.
  • BAGOT
  • I fear me, never.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 3
  • Northumberland has joined Bolingbroke. They move south from Ravensburgh towards Bristow Castle.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire. These high wild hills and rough uneven ways draws out our miles and makes them wearisome. And yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar, making the hard way sweet and delectable.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Of much less value is my company than your good words.
  • Harry Percy enters.
  • PERCY
  • My gracious lord, I tender you my service, such as it is, being tender, raw, and young.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • I thank thee, gentle Percy.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND TO HIS SON
  • How far is it to Berkeley?
  • PERCY
  • There stands the castle by yon tuft of trees, manned with three hundred men, as I have heard.
  • Ross and Willoughby, now loyal to Bolingbroke, enter.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Welcome, my lords.
  • Berkeley, A friend of the king’s, enters.
  • BERKELEY
  • My Lord of Hereford, my message is to you.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • My lord, my answer is-----to Lancaster; and I am come to seek that name in England.
  • York enters. Bolingbroke kneels.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • My gracious uncle.
  • YORK
  • Tut, tut
  •  
  •  
  • York to Bolingbroke
  •  
  • Uncle me no uncle, nor grace me no
  • Grace. “Grace” from a wicked mouth is below
  • Shame. Why hath thou across England’s ground raced
  • Here, boastingly displaying despised arms
  • Over peaceful land, frighting her pale-faced
  • Villages, raising disturbing alarms?
  • Were I now lord of such hot youth as when
  • Brave Gaunt and I rescued the Black Prince, then
  • Captive to many thousand French, then how
  • Quickly would this arm, that hath now succumb
  • To the palsy, chastise thee, who hath now,
  • A six-year-banished-forbidden man, come
  • Before the end of his exile, to turn
  • To braving arms against his royal sovereign.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • My gracious uncle, let me know my fault.
  •  
  •  
  • Bolingbroke to York
  •  
  • I beseech my Grace to indifferent be.
  • You are my father, for methinks I see
  • In you old Gaunt alive. Will you then, my
  • Father, permit that I shall stand condemned,
  • A vagabond whom the king doth deny
  • Just rights, given to unthrifts who depend
  • On handups? If that cousin be king in
  • England, then by rights I must be given
  • The title, Duke of Lancaster. Your son,
  • Aumerle, had you first died and he been
  • Trod down, his uncle Gaunt should be the one
  • To rouse his wrongs and right them. ‘Twas his sin
  • My father’s goods were so seized and sold. We
  • Challenge the law, but counsel’s denied me.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Wherefore was I born?
  • NORTHUMBERLAND TO YORK
  • The noble duke hath been too much abused.
  • ROSS TO YORK
  • It stands your Grace upon to do him right.
  • WILLOUGHBY TO YORK
  • Base men by his endowments are made great.
  • YORK
  • My lords of England, let me tell you this: in braving arms 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.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • The noble duke hath sworn his coming is but for his own, and for the right of that we all have strongly sworn to give him aid.
  • YORK
  • Well, well, I see the issue of these arms. If I could, by Him that gave me life, I would attach you all and make you stoop unto the sovereign mercy of the king. But since I cannot, be it known unto you I do remain as neuter. So fare you well-------unless you please to enter in the castle and there repose you for this night.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • An offer, uncle, that we will accept. But we must win your Grace to go with us to Bristow Castle.
  • YORK
  • It may be I will go with you.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 4
  • Meanwhile, a Welsh captain talks with Salisbury, a supporter of the king.
  • WELSH CAPTAIN
  • My Lord of Salisbury, we have stayed ten days and yet we hear no tidings from the king. Therefore, we will disperse ourselves.
  • SALISBURY
  • Stay yet another day.
  • WELSH CAPTAIN: ‘Tis thought the king is dead. We will not stay. Farewell. Our countrymen are gone and fled, as well assured Richard their king is dead.
  • He exits.
  • SALISBURY TO HIMSELF
  • Ah, Richard! Thy sun sets weeping in the lowly west, witnessing storms to come, woe, and unrest.
  • Act 3, Scene 1
  • At Bristow Castle, Bolingbroke captures Bushy and Green, Richard II’s confidants. He calls them forward.
  •  
  •  
  • Bolingbroke to Bushy and Green
  •  
  • Come here men. I will not disturb your poor
  • Souls, since presently your souls must part your
  • Bodies, by heeding to your destructive
  • Lives, there being no charity. So here
  • I’ll unfold some causes why you won’t live.
  • You two have mislead a royal king, I fear;
  • A prince blessed by birth, by you unhappied.
  • By your foul wrongs, we’ve seen the fair queen bleed
  • Tears, staining her checks. Myself, a prince by
  • Fortune of my birth, near to the king till
  • You did make him misinterpret me. My
  • Coat of arms has been erased by your will,
  • Leaving me no sign save that I have breathe.
  • This and much more condemns you to the death.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • See them delivered over to execution and the hand of death.
  • BUSHY
  • More welcome is the stroke of death to me than Bolingbroke to England. Lords, farewell.
  • GREEN
  • My comfort is that heaven will take our souls.
  • BOLINGBROKE TO YORK
  • Uncle, you say the queen is at your house. For God’s sake, fairly let her be treated. Take special care my greetings be delivered.
  • YORK
  • A gentleman of mine I have dispatched with letters of your love to her at large.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Thanks, gentle uncle. Come, lords, away, to fight Glendower and his complices.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 2
  • Landing in England, Richard II kneels and prays.
  • RICHARD II
  • Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand, though rebels wound thee with their horses’ hoofs. Feed not thy sovereign’s foe, my gentle earth, which with usurping steps do trample thee.
  • CARLISLE
  • That power that made you king hath power to keep you king in spite of all. The means that heavens yield must be embraced and not neglected.
  • AUMERLE
  • He means, my lord, that we are too remiss, whilst Bolingbroke grows strong and great in substance and in power.
  • RICHARD II
  • When this thief, this traitor Bolingbroke, shall see us rising in our thrones, he shall tremble at his sin. The breath of worldly men cannot depose the deputy elected by the Lord.
  • Salisbury enters.
  • SALISBURY
  • Discomfort guides my tongue and bids me speak of nothing but despair. All the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead, are gone to Bolingbroke, dispersed, and fled.
  • AUMERLE
  • Comfort, my liege. Why looks your Grace so pale? Remember who you are.
  • RICHARD II
  • I had forgot myself. Am I not king? Awake, thou coward majesty, thou sleepest!
  • Scroop enters.
  • SCROOP
  • More health and happiness betide my liege than can my care-tuned tongue deliver him.
  • RICHARD II
  • Mine ear is open, and my heart prepared. The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold. Say, is my kingdom lost? What loss is it to be rid of care? The worst is death, and death will have his day.
  •  
  •  
  • Scroop to Richard II
  •  
  • I am glad your Highness is so ready
  • To hear the tidings of calamity.
  • Like a torrentially stormy day spells
  • Trouble, as the rivers drown their shores, as
  • If the world is dissolved in tears, so swells
  • The growing rage of Bolingbroke, which has
  • Frighted the land with steel as he doth win
  • Their harder than steel hearts. Whitebeards with thin
  • And hairless scalps; boys speaking big, clap their
  • Unwieldy arms against the crown; beggards
  • Bend their bows even as they cry unfair;
  • And distaff women raise rusty halberds
  • Against thy seat. Both young and old rebel,
  • And all goes worse than I have strength to tell.
  • RICHARD II
  • Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill. What is become of Bushy? Where is Green, that they have let the dangerous enemy measure our confines with such peaceful steps? If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it! I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.
  • SCROOP
  • Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord!
  • AUMERLE
  • Is Bushy, Green and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?
  • SCROOP
  • Ay, all of them at Bristow lost their heads.
  • AUMERLE
  • Where is the duke my father with his power?
  • RICHARD II
  • No matter where.
  •  
  •  
  • Richard II to Scroop, Aumerle and Carlisle
  •  
  • Speak not of comfort. Let’s talk of the grave
  • And of wills, yet what can we bequeath save
  • Our deposed bodies to the ground. Our land,
  • Our lives, and all are Bolingbroke’s. Nothing
  • Save grief can we call our own but death and
  • The earth to cover our bones. Here sitting,
  • Let’s talk of death. Within the hollow ring
  • That rounds the mortal temples of a king,
  • Death keeps court, scoffing at his state, grinning
  • At his pomp, enjoying his own humor,
  • Flaunting his vain conceit, while we, acting
  • As if this flesh which walls in our life were
  • Protecting brass, he, with a pin, doth drill
  • Through his castle wall, and the king be still.
  • RICHARD II
  • Tell sad stories of the death of kings-----how some have been deposed, some slain in war, some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed, all murdered.
  • The Bishop of Carlisle takes the king to task.
  •  
  •  
  • Carlisle to Richard II
  •  
  • You say throw away form, ceremony
  • And tradition, and that all this while we
  • Have mistook thee; that you feel want, have foes,
  • Taste grief, need friends. You ask how can we say
  • You’re king. Wise men ne’er sit and wail their woes,
  • My lord, but presently prevent the way
  • To wail. Since fear doth oppresseth strength, to
  • Fear your foe gives strength to your foe, and you
  • In your follies fight against yourself. Fear
  • And be slain. Fight any fear of death sown,
  • For no worse can come if in this fight we’re
  • One. My brave lord, to fear what is unknown
  • Is to fear ghosts. Chiding may be o’erblown,
  • But our task for England’s to win our own.
  • AUMERLE
  • My father hath a power. Inquire of him, and learn to make a body of a limb.
  • RICHARD II
  • Thou chid’st me well. An easy task it is to win our own. Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?
  • SCROOP
  • York is joined with Bolingbroke, and all your northern castles yielded up, and all your southern gentlemen in arms upon his party.
  • RICHARD II
  • Thou hast said enough.
  • RICHARD II TO AUMERLE
  • What say you now? What comfort have we now? By heaven, I’ll hate him everlastingly that bids me be of comfort anymore. Let no man speak again to alter this, for counsel is but vain.
  • AUMERLE
  • My liege, one word.
  • RICHARD II
  • Discharge my followers. Let them hence away, from Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 3
  • Bolingbroke approaches Flint Castle, joined by York and Northumberland.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • So that by this intelligence we learn the Welshmen are dispersed, and Salisbury is gone to meet the king, who lately landed with some few private friends upon this coast.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • The news is very fair and good, my lord: Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.
  • YORK
  • It would beseem the Lord Northumberland to say “King Richard.”
  • Harry Percy enters.
  • BOLINGBROKE TO PERCY
  • Welcome, Harry. What, will not this castle yield?
  • PERCY
  • The castle royally is manned, my lord, against thy entrance.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Royally? Why, it contains no king.
  • PERCY
  • Yes, my good lord, it doth contain a king. King Richard lies within the limits of yon lime and stone, and with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury, Sir Stephen Scroop, besides a clergyman.
  • BOLINGBROKE TO NORTHUMBERLAND
  • Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle and thus deliver: Henry Bolingbroke sends allegiance and true faith of heart to his most royal person, provided that my banishment repealed and lands restored again be freely granted. If not, I’ll use the advantage of my power.
  • Northumberland approaches the castle.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Methinks King Richard and myself should meet; be he the fire, I’ll be the yielding water.
  • King Richard appears with Aumerle on the castle walls.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • See, see, King Richard doth himself appear.
  • YORK
  • Yet looks he like a king. Behold, his eye, as bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth controlling majesty.
  •  
  •  
  • Richard II to Northumberland
  •  
  • As your lawful king, high in this tower,
  • How dare your knee fail its duty to our
  • Presence. If not your king, show us the hand
  • Of God that hath dismissed this king from His
  • Service, for we know no hand of blood and
  • Bone can grip this scepter, unless it is
  • Stolen or usurped. Tell Bolingbroke, for
  • Yon methinks he stands, he reflect, before
  • He strides upon my land, of his treasons
  • And the dire testament of bleeding war,
  • Where all the bloody crowns of mother’s sons
  • ‘Come the look of England’s face, a horror
  • That would turn this pale-faced peaceful nation
  • To its shame, its scarlet indignation.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • By the buried hand of warlike Gaunt, and by the worth and honor of himself, comprising all that may be sworn or said, his coming hither hath no further scope than for his lineal royalties, and to beg enfranchisement immediate on his knees; which on thy royal party granted once, his glittering arms he will commend to rust, his bared steeds to stables, and his heart to faithful service of your Majesty.
  • RICHARD II
  • Northumberland, say thus the king returns: all the number of his fair demands shall be accomplished without contradiction.
  • Northumberland returns to Bolingbroke.
  • RICHARD II TO AUMERLE
  • We do debase ourselves, cousin, do we not, to look so poorly and to speak so fair? Shall we call back Northumberland and send defiance to the traitor and so die?
  • AUMERLE
  • No, good my lord, let’s fight with gentle words.
  • RICHARD II
  • O, that I were as great as is my grief, or lesser than my name! 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, since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.
  • AUMERLE
  • Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.
  •  
  •  
  • Richard II to Aumerle
  •  
  • What should the king do now? Should he submit?
  • Must he be deposed? In God’s name, let it
  • Go; lose the name of king, but be content.
  • I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads, my
  • Gorgeous palaces if I can be sent
  • To a hermitage, my fine robes that tie
  • Me to royalty for an almsman’s gown,
  • My scepter for a stick to walk ‘bout town,
  • My subjects for a pair of carved saints, and
  • My large kingdom for a little grave, a
  • Small grave under an obscure bit of land;
  • Or I’ll be buried in the plain highway,
  • Where the most common traffic can be led
  • To hourly trample on their sovereign’s head.
  • RICHARD II
  • Aumerle, thou weep’st, my tender-hearted cousin. Well, well, I see I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
  • Northumberland approaches the castle.
  • RICHARD II
  • What says King Bolingbroke? Will his Majesty give Richard leave to live till Richard die?
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • My lord, in the base court, he doth attend to speak with you, may it please you to come down.
  • RICHARD II
  • Down, down I come, in the base court, where kings grow base, to come at traitors’ calls and do them grace. In the base court come down, down king.
  • Richard exits.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • What says his Majesty?
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • Sorrow and grief of heart makes him speak fondly like a frantic man, yet he is come.
  • Richard enters below. Bolingbroke kneels.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • My gracious lord.
  • Bolingbroke stands.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • I come but for mine own.
  • RICHARD II
  • Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • So far be mine, as my true service shall deserve your love.
  • RICHARD II
  • Well you deserve. Nay, dry your eyes. What you will have I’ll give, and willing, too. Set on towards London, cousin, is it so?
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Yea, my good lord.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 4
  • The queen and her lady are in the garden discussing what might be done to the garden to brighten the queen’s spirit.
  • QUEEN
  • What sport shall we devise here in this garden to drive away the heavy thought of care?
  • LADY
  • Madam we’ll dance.
  • QUEEN
  • My legs can keep no measure in delight when my poor heart no measure keeps in grief.
  • LADY
  • Madam, I’ll sing.
  • QUEEN
  • ‘Tis well that thou hast cause, but thou shouldst please me better wouldst thou weep.
  • A gardener and his servingmen enter.
  • QUEEN
  • But stay, here come the gardeners. Let’s step into the shadow of these trees. They will talk of state, for everyone doth so against a change. Woe is forerun with woe.
  • The queen and her lady step aside.
  • GARDENER
  • Go, bind thou up young dangling apricokes which, like unruly children, make their sire stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight. Go thou, and like an executioner cut off the heads of too fast growing sprays that look too lofty in our commonwealth.
  •  
  •  
  • Gardener to Servingman
  •  
  • Why should we keep law and due form and be
  • A model of firm estate when our sea-
  • Walled garden, the whole land, is full of weeds,
  • Her fruit trees unpruned, her fairest flowers
  • Choked up? He suffered with disordered seeds
  • This spring; thus found himself without reserves.
  • He must be even in this government,
  • And root out the weeds, or leave the soil spent,
  • Robbing its fertility for healthy
  • Flowers. What pity it that wasteful he
  • Had not so trimmed and dressed his land as we
  • Our garden. Superfluous branches we
  • Lop away, that bearing boughs may live. ‘Tis
  • His crime; had he done so the crown be his.
  • SERVINGMAN
  • What, think you the king shall be deposed?
  • GARDENER
  • Depressed he is already, and deposed ‘tis doubt he will be.
  • The queen steps forward.
  • QUEEN
  • Thou old Adam’s likeness. How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this unpleasing news? Why dost thou say King Richard is deposed?
  • GARDENER
  • Pardon me, madam. Little joy have I to breathe this news, yet what I say is true.
  • QUEEN
  • And am I last that knows it? Gard’ner, for telling me these news of woe, pray God the plants thou graft’st may never grow.
  • The queen and her lady exit.
  • GARDENER
  • Here did she fall a tear. Here in this place I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 1
  • Bolingbroke has brought together a number of nobles, seeking information about his uncle Gloucester’s death, the issue in Act 1, Scene 1. Officers enter with Bagot.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind what thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death.
  • BAGOT
  • Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.
  • Aumerle steps forward.
  • BAGOT
  • My Lord Aumerle, 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 as far as Calais, to mine uncle’s head?”
  • AUMERLE
  • I have mine honor soiled with the attainder of his slanderous lips.
  • He throws down a gage.
  • AUMERLE
  • I say thou liest, and will maintain what thou hast said is false.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Bagot, forbear. Thou shalt not take it up.
  • Fitzwater throws down a gage.
  • FITZWATER
  • There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine. I heard thee say that thou wert cause of noble Gloucester’s death. If thou deniest it twenty times, thou liest.
  • Aumerle takes up the gage.
  • PERCY
  • Aumerle, thou liest! His honor is as true in the appeal as thou art all unjust.
  • He throws down a gage.
  • PERCY
  • Seize it if thou dar’st.
  • Aumerle takes up the gage.
  • AUMERLE
  • An if I do not, may my hands rot off.
  • SURREY
  • My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well the very time Aumerle and you did talk.
  • FITZWATER
  • ‘Tis very true. You were in presence then, and you can witness with me this is true.
  • SURREY
  • As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.
  • FITZWATER
  • Surrey, thou liest. Besides, I heard the banished Norfolk say that thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men to execute the noble duke at Calais.
  • Aumerle throws down another gage.
  • AUMERLE
  • That Norfolk lies, here do I throw down this.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • These differences shall all rest under gage till Norfolk be repealed. When he is returned, against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.
  • CARLISLE
  • That honorable day shall never be seen. In Italy, there at Venice, he gave his body to that pleasant country’s earth and his pure soul unto his captain, Christ.
  • BOLINGBAROKE
  • Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?
  • CARLISLE
  • As surely as I live, my lord.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Lords appellants, your differences shall all rest under gage till we assign you to your days of trial.
  • York enters.
  • YORK
  • Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee from plume-plucked Richard, who with willing soul adopts thee heir, and his high scepter yields to the possession of thy royal hand. Ascend his throne, descending now from him and long live Henry, fourth of that name!
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • In God’s name, I’ll ascend the regal throne.
  • CARLISLE
  • What subject can give sentence on his king? And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject? My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king, is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king. O, if you raise this house against this house, it will the woefullest division prove that ever fell upon this cursed earth!
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • Well have you argued, sir, and, for your pains of capital treason we arrest you here.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Fetch hither Richard, that in common view he may surrender.
  • YORK
  • I will be his conduct.
  • He exits. Richard II and York enter.
  •  
  •  
  • Richard II to York and Bolingbroke
  •  
  • Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me
  • From regal thoughts wherewith I reigned. Hardly
  • Have I learned to flatter and bend my knee.
  • These wars, were they not mine, each battle won?
  • Did not all twelve thousand cry “Hail” to me?
  • Yet He in twelve found truth in all but one.
  • I said I have been willing to resign;
  • My crown I am, but still my griefs are mine.
  • God save the King, although I be not he.
  • My service here was sent by heaven’s sign,
  • So say amen, if heaven think him me.
  • Cares do attend the crown and I wear mine
  • Each day as grief. Ay, I resign to thee.
  • I have no name and I must nothing be.
  • RICHARD II
  • Give me the crown. Here, cousin, seize the crown. Here, cousin.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • I thought you had been willing to resign. Part of your cares you give me with your crown.
  • RICHARD II
  • The cares I give I have, though given away. They ‘tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Are you contented to resign the crown?
  • RICHARD II
  • I give this weight from off my head. With mine own hands I give away my crown. God save King Henry, unkinged Richard says, and send him many years of sunshine days. What more remains?
  • Northumberland offers Richard a paper.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • 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; that, by confessing them, the souls of men may deem that you are worthily deposed.
  • RICHARD II
  • Must I do so?
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • My lord, dispatch. Read o’er these articles.
  • RICHARD II
  • Mine eyes are full of tears. I cannot see.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • My lord.
  • RICHARD II
  • I have no name, no title, but ‘tis usurped. O, that I were a mockery king of snow standing before the sun of Bolingbroke, to melt myself away in water drops. Let me command a mirror hither straight, that it may show me what a face I have since it is bankrupt of his majesty.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Go, some of you, and fetch a looking-glass.
  • An attendant exits. An attendant enters with a glass. Richard II takes the mirror.
  • RICHARD II
  • Was this the face that like the sun did make beholders wink? Is this the face which faced so many follies, that was at last outfaced by Bolingbroke? A brittle glory shineth in this face. As brittle as the glory is the face.
  • He breaks the mirror.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • The shadow of your sorrow hath destroyed the shadow of your face.
  • RICHARD II
  • Say that again. The shadow of my sorrow? Ha. Let’s see. ‘Tis very true. My grief lies all within. I’ll beg one boon, and then be gone and trouble you no more.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Name it, fair cousin.
  • RICHARD II
  • Then give me leave to go.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • Go, some of you, convey him to the Tower.
  • Richard exits with guards.
  • BOLINGBROKE
  • On Wednesday next, we solemnly set down our coronation. Lords, prepare yourselves.
  • All but Aumerle and two bishops exit.
  • AUMERLE
  • You holy clergymen, is there no plot to rid the realm of this pernicious blot? Come home with me to supper. I’ll lay a plot shall show us all a merry day.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 1
  • The queen enters with attendants.
  • QUEEN
  • This way the king will come. This is the way to Julius Caesar’s ill-erected tower.
  • Richard enters under guard.
  • QUEEN
  • See, or rather do not see my fair rose wither.
  • RICHARD II
  • Learn, good soul, to think our former state a happy dream, from which awaked. Hie thee to France and cloister thee in some religious house.
  • QUEEN
  • What, is my Richard both in shape and mind transformed and weakened? Hath Bolingbroke deposed thine intellect?
  • RICHARD II
  • Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France. In winter’s tedious nights sit by the fire with good old folks, and tell thou the lamentable tale of me, and send the hearers weeping to their beds.
  • Northumberland enters.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • My lord, the mind of Bolingbroke is changed. You must to Pomfret. And madam, with all swift speed you must away to France.
  • RICHARD II
  • Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal the mounting Bolingbroke ascends my throne, thou shalt think, though he divide the realm and give thee half, it is too little, helping him to all. He shall think that thou, which knowest the way to plant unrightful kings, wilt know again, to pluck him headlong from the usurped throne. The love of wicked men converts to fear, that fear to hate, and hate turns one or both to worthy danger and deserved death.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • My guilt be on my head, and there an end. Take leave and part, for you must part forthwith.
  • RICHARD II
  • Doubly divorced! A twofold marriage----twixt my crown and me, and then betwixt me and my married wife.
  • QUEEN
  • And must we be divided? Must we part? Whither he goes, thither let me go.
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • That were some love, but little policy.
  • RICHARD II
  • Weep thou for me in France, I for thee here; go, count thy way with sighs, I mine with groans. Come, come in wooing sorrow let’s be brief. One kiss shall stop our mouths, and dumbly part.
  • They kiss.
  • QUEEN
  • Give me mine own again.
  • They kiss.
  • RICHARD II
  • We make woe wanton with this fond delay. One more, adieu! The rest let sorrow say.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 2
  • DUTCHESS
  • My lord, you told me you would tell the rest of the story of our two cousins coming into London.
  • YORK
  • Where did I leave? As I said, the Duke, great Bolingbroke, with slow but stately pace kept on his course, whilst all tongues cried “God save thee, Bolingbroke!” Whilst he, bareheaded, lower than his proud steed’s neck, bespake them thus: “I thank you, countrymen.”
  • DUTCHESS
  • Alack, poor Richard! Where rode he the whilst?
  • YORK
  • Men’s eyes did scowl on gentle Richard. No man cried “God save him!” No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home. To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now, whose state and honor I for aye allow.
  • Aumerle enters.
  • DUTCHESS
  • Here comes my son Aumerle.
  • YORK
  • Aumerle that was; but that is lost for being Richard’s friend.
  • DUTCHESS
  • Welcome, my son.
  • YORK
  • What news from Oxford? Do these jousts and triumphs hold? What seal is that that hangs without thy bosom?
  • AUMERLE
  • My lord, ‘tis nothing.
  • YORK
  • No matter, then, who see it. Let me see the writing.
  • AUMERLE
  • I do beseech you, pardon me. I may not show it.
  • YORK
  • I will be satisfied. Let me see it, I say.
  • York plucks it from Aumerle and reads it.
  • YORK
  • Treason! Foul treason! Villain, traitor. Saddle my horse. Give me my boots, I say!
  • DUTCHESS
  • What is the matter?
  • YORK
  • Peace, foolish woman. I will unto the king.
  • DUTCHESS
  • Why, York, what wilt thou do? Is he not like you? Is he not your own?
  • YORK
  • A dozen of them here have ta’en the sacrament to kill the king at Oxford.
  • DUTCHESS
  • He is as like thee as a man may be, not like to me or any of my kin, and yet I love him.
  • YORK
  • Make way, unruly woman!
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 3
  • Henry IV voices his concern for his son, known later as Prince Harry or Prince Hal.
  • HENRY IV
  • Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son? ‘Tis full three months since I did see him last. If any plague hang over us, ‘tis he. Inquire at London, ‘mongst the taverns there, for there, they say, he daily frequent with unrestrained loose companions.
  • Aumerle enters.
  • AUMERLE
  • Where is the king?
  • HENRY IV
  • What means our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly?
  • AUMERLE
  • I do beseech your Majesty to have some conference with your Grace alone.
  • The nobles exit.
  • AUMERLE
  • Forever may my knees grow to the earth, unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.
  • HENRY IV
  • Intended or committed was this fault? If on the first, to win thy after-love I pardon thee.
  • Aumerle locks the door. York knocks at the door.
  • YORK
  • My liege, beware! Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there. Open the door, secure, foolhardy king!
  • Henry IV unlocks the door.
  • HENRY IV
  • What is the matter, uncle? Speak.
  • York hands a paper to the king.
  • YORK
  • Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know the treason that my haste forbids me show.
  • AUMERLE
  • Remember, as thou read’st, thy promise passed. I do repent me.
  • YORK
  • Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove a serpent that will sting thee in the heart.
  • HENRY IV
  • O heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy! O loyal father of a treacherous son. Thy abundant goodness shall excuse this deadly blot in thy digressing son.
  • YORK
  • Mine honor lives when his dishonor dies, or my shamed life in his dishonor lies.
  • The Dutchess cries at the door.
  • DUTCHESS
  • Open the door! A beggar begs that never begged before.
  • HENRY IV
  • Our scene now changed to “The beggar and the King.” My dangerous cousin, let your mother in. I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.
  • Aumerle opens the door.
  • YORK
  • If thou do pardon whosoever pray, more sins for this forgiveness prosper may.
  • DUTCHESS
  • O king, believe not this hard-hearted man.
  • YORK
  • Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
  • DUTCHESS
  • Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege. Forever will I walk upon my knees till thou give joy, by pardoning my transgressing boy.
  • AUMERLE
  • Upon my mother’s prayers I bend my knee.
  • YORK
  • Against them both my true joints bended by. Ill mayst thou thrive if thou grant any grace.
  •  
  •  
  • Dutchess to Henry IV
  •  
  • He is not earnest. O king, believe not
  • This hard-hearted man who doth not but ought
  • Love himself. Prays faintly he where we pray
  • With heart, soul and all besides. His joints would
  • Gladly rise where to earth our knees do stay.
  • Our prayers outpray his. Give mercy which good
  • Prayer ought to have. Say, not “stand up,” king, say
  • “Pardon” first and afterwards “stand up.” Nay
  • To my sour husband. Say “pardon” king,
  • A word not so short as sweet, to my son,
  • Who, to your piteous heart, my pleas bring
  • Hope for him. Twice saying “pardon” makes one
  • Pardon stronger. I do not sue to stand;
  • Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.
  • HENRY IV
  • Good aunt, stand up. I pardon him, as God shall pardon me. I pardon him with all my heart.
  • DUTCHESS
  • A god on earth thou art.
  • HENRY IV
  • Good uncle, help to order several powers to Oxford, or where’er these traitors are. They shall not live within this world. Uncle, farewell. And cousin, adieu. Your mother well hath prayed; and prove you true.
  • DUTCHESS
  • Come, my old son. I pray God make thee new.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 4
  • Sir Pierce Exton, a friend of the king’s, enters with servants.
  • EXTON
  • Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake, “Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?”
  • SERVINGMAN
  • These were his very words.
  • EXTON
  • “Have I no friend?” quoth he. He spake it twice and urged it twice together, did he not?
  • SERVINGMAN
  • He did.
  • EXTON
  • And speaking it, he wishtly 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.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 5
  • Imprisoned in Pomfret Castle, Richard II reflects on his life.
  • RICHARD II
  • 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 buy myself.
  •  
  •  
  • Richard II to himself, No. 1
  •  
  • No man whate’er he be is ever pleased
  • With his life’s position till he be eased
  • From life, being nothing. Slaves to fortune’s
  • Whims are like poor beggars bearing their own
  • Misfortunes on the backs of other sons
  • Who have endured the like. This discord sown
  • Comes in my time when I had not the ear
  • To hear my own time wasted, and now fear
  • With these tears that time doth waste me. Those who
  • Seek ambition may, as vain nails that tried
  • To tear passages through this hard world do
  • Fail, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
  • Let this brain prove the female of my soul
  • As it begets fresh thoughts in life’s short role.
  • RICHARD II
  • Sometimes am I king. Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar, and so I am; then crushing penury persuades me I was better when a king.
  •  
  •  
  • Richard to himself, No. 2
  •  
  • My brain and soul beget still-breeding thought,
  • And for me thoughts end in conflict not sought,
  • As they do for all people of this world,
  • For no thought is contented. The divine
  • Thoughts are intermixed with doubt, tightly curled
  • To test the word against itself. ‘Tis fine
  • To know I in one person play many
  • People, none contented. This penury
  • Makes me think I am kinged again, but then
  • Unkinged by Bolingbroke, and then again
  • Straight nothing. How sour sweet music is when
  • Time’s no longer kept. And so is it in
  • The music of men’s lives. It is too sad,
  • So let it stop ‘fore it makes this man mad.
  • RICHARD II
  • The harmony of my state and time had not an ear to hear my true time broke. I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
  • A former groom visits Richard II.
  • GROOM
  • Hail, royal prince!
  • RICHARD II
  • Thanks, noble peer. What art thou, and how comest thou hither.
  • GROOM
  • I was a poor groom of thy stable, king, when thou wert king. O, that coronation day, when Bolingbroke rode on road Barbary.
  • RICHARD II
  • Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend, how went he under him?
  • GROOM
  • So proudly as if he disdained the ground.
  • RICHARD II
  • So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back! Would he not fall down and break the neck of that proud man that did usurp his back? Forgiveness, horse! Why do I rail on thee.
  • A prison keep enters with Richard II’s dinner. The groom exits.
  • RICHARD II
  • Taste of it first as thou art wont to do.
  • KEEPER
  • My lord, I dare not. Sir Pierce of Exton commands the contrary.
  • Exton and his men rush Richard II. Exton strikes him down.
  • RICHARD II
  • Exton, thy fierce hand hath with the king’s blood stained the king’s own land.
  • He dies.
  • EXTON
  • For now the devil that told me I did well says that this deed is chronicled in hell.
  • They exit with Richard II’s body.
  • Act 5, Scene 6
  • Henry IV, York, Northumberland and others are on stage talking. Harry Percy enters with the Bishop of Carlisle.
  • PERCY
  • Here is Carlisle living, to abide the kingly doom and sentence of his pride.
  • HENRY IV
  • Carlisle, this is your doom: Choose out some secret place, some reverend room, and with it joy thy life. Though mine enemy thou hast ever been, high sparks of honor in thee have I seen.
  • Exton and servingmen enter with the coffin.
  • EXTON
  • Great king, within this coffin I present thy buried fear. The mightiest of thy greatest enemies, Richard of Bourdeaux, by me hither brought.
  • HENRY IV
  • 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. Though I did wish him dead, I hate the murderer, love him murdered. With Cain go wander through shades of night, and never show thy head by day nor light.
  • Exton exits.
  • HENRY IV
  • I’ll make a voyage to the Holy Land to wash this blood off from my guilty hand.
  • They exit.

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