Enter John of Gaunt sick, with the Duke of York, and
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.
O, but they say the tongues of dying men 5
Enforce attention like deep harmony.
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in
He that no more must say is listened more
Than they whom youth and ease have taught to
More are men’s ends marked than their lives before.
The setting sun and music at the close, 15
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.
No, it is stopped with other flattering sounds, 20
As praises, of whose taste the wise are fond;
Lascivious meters, to whose venom sound
The open ear of youth doth always listen;
Report of fashions in proud Italy,
Whose manners still our tardy-apish nation 25
Limps after in base imitation.
Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity—
So it be new, there’s no respect how vile—
That is not quickly buzzed into his ears?
Then all too late comes counsel to be heard 30
Where will doth mutiny with wit’s regard.
Direct not him whose way himself will choose.
’Tis breath thou lack’st, and that breath wilt thou
Methinks I am a prophet new inspired 35
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
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder;
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle, 45
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,
This happy breed of men, this little world, 50
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,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessèd plot, this earth, this realm, this 55
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Feared by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renownèd for their deeds as far from home
For Christian service and true chivalry 60
As is the sepulcher in stubborn Jewry
Of the world’s ransom, blessèd Mary’s son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out—I die pronouncing it— 65
Like to a tenement or pelting farm.
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of wat’ry Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds. 70
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!
Enter King and Queen, Aumerle, Bushy, Green, Bagot,
Ross, Willoughby, etc.
The King is come. Deal mildly with his youth, 75
For young hot colts being reined do rage the more.
QUEEN, to Gaunt
How fares our noble uncle Lancaster?
KING RICHARD, to Gaunt
What comfort, man? How is ’t with agèd Gaunt?
O, how that name befits my composition!
Old Gaunt indeed and gaunt in being old. 80
Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast,
And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt?
For sleeping England long time have I watched;
Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt.
The pleasure that some fathers feed upon 85
Is my strict fast—I mean my children’s looks—
And, therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt.
Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,
Whose hollow womb inherits naught but bones.
Can sick men play so nicely with their names? 90
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.
Should dying men flatter with those that live?
No, no, men living flatter those that die. 95
Thou, now a-dying, sayest thou flatterest me.
O, no, thou diest, though I the sicker be.
I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.
Now He that made me knows I see thee ill,
Ill in myself to see, and in thee, seeing ill. 100
thy deathbed is no lesser than thy land,
Wherein thou liest in reputation sick;
And thou, too careless-patient as thou art,
Commit’st thy anointed body to the
cure Of those physicians that first wounded thee. 105
A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,
Whose compass is no bigger than thy head, And yet encagèd in so small a verge,
The waste is no whit lesser than thy land. O, had thy grandsire with a prophet’s eye
Seen how his son’s son should destroy his sons, From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame,110
Deposing thee before thou wert possessed,
Which art possessed now to depose thyself.
Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world, 115
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?
Landlord of England art thou now, not king.
Thy state of law is bondslave to the law, 120
KING RICHARD A lunatic lean-witted fool,
Presuming on an ague's privilege,
Darest 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,
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 shoulder 130
O, spare me not, my brother Edward’s son,
For that I was his father Edward’s son!
That blood already, like the pelican,
Hast thou tapped out and drunkenly caroused.
My brother Gloucester—plain, well-meaning soul, 135
Whom fair befall in heaven ’mongst happy souls—
May be a precedent and witness good
That thou respect’st not spilling Edward’s blood.
Join with the present sickness that I have,
And thy unkindness be like crooked age 140
To crop at once a too-long withered flower.
Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!
These words hereafter thy tormentors be!—
Convey me to my bed, then to my grave.
Love they to live that love and honor have. 145
He exits, carried off by Attendants.
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
To wayward sickliness and age in him.
He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear 150
As Harry, Duke of Hereford, were he here.
Right, you say true: as Hereford’s love, so his;
As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.
My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your Majesty.
What says he? 155
NORTHUMBERLAND 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!
Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe. 160
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:
We must supplant those rough rugheaded kern,
Which live like venom where no venom else 165
But only they have privilege to live.
And, for these great affairs do ask some charge,
Towards our assistance we do seize to us
The plate, coin, revenues, and movables
Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possessed. 170
How long shall I be patient? Ah, how long
Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?
Not Gloucester’s death, nor Hereford’s banishment,
Nor Gaunt’s rebukes, nor England’s private wrongs,
Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke 175
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,
Of whom thy father, Prince of Wales, was first. 180
In war was never lion raged more fierce,
In peace was never gentle lamb more mild,
Than was that young and princely gentleman.
His face thou hast, for even so looked he,
Accomplished with the number of thy hours; 185
But when he frowned, it was against the French
And not against his friends. His noble hand
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 blood, 190
But bloody with the enemies of his kin.
O, Richard! York is too far gone with grief,
Or else he never would compare between.
Why, uncle, what’s the matter?
O, my liege, 195
Pardon me if you please. If not,
I pleased Not to be pardoned, am content withal.
Seek you to seize and gripe into your hands
The royalty and rights of banished Hereford?
Is not Gaunt dead? And doth not Hereford live? 200
Was not Gaunt just? And is not Harry true?
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; 205
Let not tomorrow then ensue today;
Be not thyself; for how art thou a king
But by fair sequence and succession?
Now afore God—God forbid I say true!—
If you do wrongfully seize Hereford’s rights, 210
Call in the letters patents that he hath
By his attorneys general to sue
His livery, and deny his offered homage,
You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,
You lose a thousand well-disposèd hearts, 215
And prick my tender patience to those thoughts
Which honor and allegiance cannot think.
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. 220
What will ensue hereof there’s none can tell;
But by bad courses may be understood
That their events can never fall out good. He exits.
Go, Bushy, to the Earl of Wiltshire straight.
Bid him repair to us to Ely House 225
To see this business. Tomorrow next
We will for Ireland, and ’tis time, I trow.
And we create, in absence of ourself,
Our uncle York Lord Governor of England,
For he is just and always loved us well.— 230
Come on, our queen. Tomorrow must we part.
Be merry, for our time of stay is short.
King and Queen exit with others;
Northumberland, Willoughby, and Ross remain.
Well, lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.
And living too, for now his son is duke.
Barely in title, not in revenues. 235
Richly in both, if justice had her right.
My heart is great, but it must break with silence
Ere ’t be disburdened with a liberal tongue.
Nay, speak thy mind, and let him ne’er speak more
That speaks thy words again to do thee harm! 240
WILLOUGHBY, to Ross
Tends that thou wouldst speak to the Duke of
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, 245
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
Of noble blood in this declining land. 250
The King is not himself, but basely led
By flatterers; and what they will inform
Merely in hate ’gainst any of us all,
That will the King severely prosecute
’Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs. 255
The commons hath he pilled with grievous taxes,
And quite lost their hearts. The nobles hath he fined
For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.
And daily new exactions are devised,
As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what. 260
But what i’ God’s name doth become of this?
Wars hath not wasted it, for warred he hath
But basely yielded upon compromise
That which his noble ancestors achieved with blows.
More hath he spent in peace than they in wars. 265
The Earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm.
The King grown bankrupt like a broken man.
Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him.
He hath not money for these Irish wars,
His burdenous taxations notwithstanding, 270
But by the robbing of the banished duke.
His noble kinsman. Most degenerate king!
But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing,
Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm;
We see the wind sit sore upon our sails, 275
And yet we strike not, but securely perish.
We see the very wrack that we must suffer,
And unavoided is the danger now
For suffering so the causes of our wrack.
Not so. Even through the hollow eyes of death 280
I spy life peering; but I dare not say
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 285
Thy words are but as thoughts. Therefore be bold.
Then thus: I have from Le Port Blanc,
A bay in Brittany, received intelligence
That Harry Duke of Hereford, Rainold Lord
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
All these 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.
Perhaps they had ere this, but that they stay 300
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 blemished crown,
Wipe off the dust that hides our scepter’s gilt, 305
And make high majesty look like itself,
Away with me in post to Ravenspurgh.
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. 310
Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.
Enter the Queen, Bushy, and Bagot.
Madam, your Majesty is too much sad.
You promised, when you parted with the King,
To lay aside life-harming heaviness
And entertain a cheerful disposition.
To please the King I did; to please myself 5
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
As my sweet Richard. Yet again methinks
Some unborn sorrow ripe in Fortune’s womb 10
Is coming towards me, and my inward soul
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 shows like grief itself but is not so; 15
For sorrow’s eyes, glazed with blinding tears,
Divides one thing entire to many objects,
Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon
Show nothing but confusion, eyed awry
Distinguish form. So your sweet Majesty, 20
Looking awry upon your lord’s departure,
Find shapes of grief more than himself to wail,
Which, looked on as it is, is naught but shadows
Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen,
More than your lord’s departure weep not. More is 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, 30
I cannot but be sad—so heavy sad
As thought, on thinking on no thought I think,
Makes me with heavy nothing faint and shrink.
’Tis nothing but conceit, my gracious lady.
’Tis nothing less. Conceit is still derived 35
From some forefather grief. Mine is not so,
For nothing hath begot my something grief—
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, 40
I cannot name. ’Tis nameless woe, I wot.
God save your Majesty!—And well met, gentlemen.
I hope the King is not yet shipped for Ireland.
Why hopest thou so? ’Tis better hope he is,
For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope. 45
Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipped?
That he, our hope, might have retired his power
And driven into despair an enemy’s hope,
Who strongly hath set footing in this land.
The banished Bolingbroke repeals himself 50
And with uplifted arms is safe arrived
QUEEN Now God in heaven forbid!
Ah, madam, ’tis too true. And that is worse,
The Lord Northumberland, his son young Harry 55
The Lords of Ross, Beaumont, and Willoughby,
With all their powerful friends, are fled to him.
Why have you not proclaimed Northumberland
And all the rest revolted faction traitors? 60
We have; whereupon the Earl of Worcester
Hath broken his staff, resigned his stewardship,
And all the Household servants fled with him
So, Green, thou art the midwife to my woe, 65
And Bolingbroke my sorrow’s dismal heir.
Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy,
And I, a gasping new-delivered mother,
Have woe to woe, sorrow to sorrow joined.
Despair not, madam. 70
QUEEN Who shall hinder me?
I will despair and be at enmity
With cozening hope. He is a flatterer,
A parasite, a keeper-back of death,
Who gently would dissolve the bands of life 75
Which false hope lingers in extremity.
GREEN Here comes the Duke of York.
With signs of war about his agèd neck.
O, full of careful business are his looks!—
Uncle, for God’s sake speak comfortable words. 80
Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts.
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
Whilst others come to make him lose at home. 85
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 flattered him.
Enter a Servingman.
My lord, your son was gone before I came. 90
He was? Why, so go all which way it will.
The nobles they are fled; the commons they are
And will, I fear, revolt on Hereford’s side.
Sirrah, get thee to Plashy, to my sister Gloucester; 95
Bid her send me presently a thousand pound.
Hold, take my ring.
My lord, I had forgot to tell your Lordship:
Today as I came by I callèd there—
But I shall grieve you to report the rest. 100
YORK What is ’t, knave?
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, 105
So my untruth had not provoked him to it,
The King had cut off my head with my brother’s!
What, are there no posts dispatched for Ireland?
How shall we do for money for these wars?—
Come, sister—cousin I would say, pray pardon 110
Go, fellow, get thee home. Provide some carts
And bring away the armor that is there.
Gentlemen, will you go muster men?
If I know how or which way to order these affairs 115
Thus disorderly thrust into my hands,
Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen.
T’ one is my sovereign, whom both my oath
And duty bids defend; t’ other again
Is my kinsman, whom the King hath wronged, 120
Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right.
Well, somewhat we must do. To Queen. Come,
I’ll dispose of you.—Gentlemen, go muster up your
And meet me presently at Berkeley.
I should to Plashy too,
But time will not permit. All is uneven,
And everything is left at six and seven.
Duke of York and Queen exit.
Bushy, Green, and Bagot remain.
The wind sits fair for news to go for Ireland, 130
But none returns. For us to levy power
Proportionable to the enemy
Is all unpossible.
Besides, our nearness to the King in love
Is near the hate of those love not the King. 135
And that is the wavering commons, for their love
Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them
By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.
Wherein the King stands generally condemned.
If judgment lie in them, then so do we, 140
Because we ever have been near the King.
Well, I will for refuge straight to Bristow Castle.
The Earl of Wiltshire is already there.
Thither will I with you, for little office
Will the hateful commons perform for us, 145
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,
We three here part that ne’er shall meet again. 150
That’s as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke.
Alas, poor duke, the task he undertakes
Is numb’ring sands and drinking oceans dry.
Where one on his side fights, thousands will fly.
Farewell at once, for once, for all, and ever. 155
Well, we may meet again.
BAGOT I fear me, never.
Enter Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, and
How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?
NORTHUMBERLAND Believe me, noble lord,
I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire.
These high wild hills and rough uneven ways
Draws out our miles and makes them wearisome. 5
And yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar,
Making the hard way sweet and delectable.
But I bethink me what a weary way
From Ravenspurgh to Cotshall will be found
In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company, 10
Which, I protest, hath very much beguiled
The tediousness and process of my travel.
But theirs is sweetened with the hope to have
The present benefit which I possess,
And hope to joy is little less in joy 15
Than hope enjoyed. By this the weary lords
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? 20
Enter Harry Percy.
NORTHUMBERLAND It is my son, young Harry Percy,
Sent from my brother Worcester whencesoever.—
Harry, how fares your uncle?
I had thought, my lord, to have learned his health of
NORTHUMBERLAND Why, is he not with the Queen?
No, my good lord, he hath forsook the court,
Broken his staff of office, and dispersed
The Household of the King.
What was his reason? He was not so resolved 30
When last we spake together.
Because your Lordship was proclaimèd traitor.
But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurgh
To offer service to the Duke of Hereford,
And sent me over by Berkeley to discover 35
What power the Duke of York had levied there,
Then with directions to repair to Ravenspurgh.
Have you forgot the Duke of Hereford, boy?
No, my good lord, for that is not forgot
Which ne’er I did remember. To my knowledge 40
I never in my life did look on him.
Then learn to know him now. This is the Duke.
PERCY, to Bolingbroke
My gracious lord, I tender you my service,
Such as it is, being tender, raw, and young,
Which elder days shall ripen and confirm 45
To more approvèd service and desert.
I thank thee, gentle Percy, and be sure
I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb’ring my good friends;
And as my fortune ripens with thy love, 50
It shall be still thy true love’s recompense.
My heart this covenant makes, my hand thus seals it.
Gives Percy his hand.
NORTHUMBERLAND, to Percy
How far is it to Berkeley, and what stir
Keeps good old York there with his men of war?
There stands the castle by yon tuft of trees, 55
Manned with three hundred men, as I have heard,
And in it are the Lords of York, Berkeley, and
None else of name and noble estimate.
Enter Ross and Willoughby.
Here come the Lords of Ross and Willoughby, 60
Bloody with spurring, fiery red with haste.
Welcome, my lords. I wot your love pursues
A banished traitor. All my treasury
Is yet but unfelt thanks, which, more enriched,
Shall be your love and labor’s recompense. 65
Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord.
And far surmounts our labor to attain it.
Evermore thank’s the exchequer of the poor,
Which, till my infant fortune comes to years,
Stands for my bounty. But who comes here? 70
It is my Lord of Berkeley, as I guess.
BERKELEY, to Bolingbroke
My Lord of Hereford, my message is to you.
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 75
Before I make reply to aught you say.
Mistake me not, my lord, ’tis not my meaning
To rase one title of your honor out.
To you, my lord, I come, what lord you will,
From the most gracious regent of this land, 80
The Duke of York, to know what pricks you on
To take advantage of the absent time,
And fright our native peace with self-borne arms.
I shall not need transport my words by you.
Here comes his Grace in person. He kneels. 85
My noble uncle.
Show me thy humble heart and not thy knee,
Whose duty is deceivable and false.
BOLINGBROKE, standing My gracious uncle—
YORK Tut, tut! 90
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.
Why have those banished and forbidden legs
Dared once to touch a dust of England’s ground? 95
But then, more why: why have they dared to march
So many miles upon her peaceful bosom,
Frighting her pale-faced villages with war
And ostentation of despisèd arms?
Com’st thou because the anointed king is hence? 100
Why, foolish boy, the King is left behind
And in my loyal bosom lies his power.
Were I but now lord of such hot youth
As when brave Gaunt thy father and myself
Rescued the Black Prince, that young Mars of men, 105
From forth the ranks of many thousand French,
O, then, how quickly should this arm of mine,
Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee
And minister correction to thy fault!
My gracious uncle, let me know my fault. 110
On what condition stands it and wherein?
Even in condition of the worst degree,
In gross rebellion and detested treason.
Thou art a banished man and here art come,
Before the expiration of thy time, 115
In braving arms against thy sovereign.
As I was banished, I was banished Hereford,
But as I come, I come for Lancaster.
And, noble uncle, I beseech your Grace
Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye. 120
You are my father, for methinks in you
I see old Gaunt alive. O, then, my father,
Will you permit that I shall stand condemned
A wandering vagabond, my rights and royalties
Plucked from my arms perforce and given away 125
To upstart unthrifts? Wherefore was I born?
If that my cousin king be king in England,
It must be granted I am Duke of Lancaster.
You have a son, Aumerle, my noble cousin.
Had you first died and he been thus trod down, 130
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,
And yet my letters patents give me leave.
My father’s goods are all distrained and sold, 135
And these, and all, are all amiss employed.
What would you have me do? I am a subject,
And I challenge law. Attorneys are denied me,
And therefore personally I lay my claim
To my inheritance of free descent. 140
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.
My lords of England, let me tell you this:
I have had feeling of my cousin’s wrongs 145
And labored 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
To find out right with wrong, it may not be.
And you that do abet him in this kind 150
Cherish rebellion and are rebels all.
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.
And let him never see joy that breaks that oath. 155
Well, well. I see the issue of these arms.
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 160
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. 165
An offer, uncle, that we will accept.
But we must win your Grace to go with us
To Bristow Castle, which they say is held
By Bushy, Bagot, and their complices,
The caterpillars of the commonwealth, 170
Which I have sworn to weed and pluck away.
It may be I will go with you; but yet I’ll pause,
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. 175
Enter Earl of Salisbury and a Welsh Captain.
My Lord of Salisbury, we have stayed ten days
And hardly kept our countrymen together,
And yet we hear no tidings from the King.
Therefore we will disperse ourselves. Farewell.
Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman. 5
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 withered,
And meteors fright the fixèd stars of heaven;
The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the Earth, 10
And lean-looked prophets whisper fearful change;
Rich men look sad, and ruffians dance and leap,
The one in fear to lose what they enjoy,
The other to enjoy by rage and war.
These signs forerun the death or fall of kings. 15
Farewell. Our countrymen are gone and fled,
As well assured 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.