This page is referenced by:
Richard II Act 3
Enter Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, York,
Northumberland, with other Lords, and Bushy and
BOLINGBROKE Bring forth these men.—
Bushy and Green, I will not vex your souls, Since presently your souls must part your bodies, With too much urging your pernicious lives,
For ’twere no charity; yet to wash your blood 5
From off my hands, here in the view of men
I will unfold some causes of your deaths:
You have misled a prince, a royal king,
A happy gentleman in blood and lineaments
By you unhappied and disfigured clean. 10
You have in manner with your sinful hours
Made a divorce betwixt his queen and him,
Broke the possession of a royal bed,
And stained the beauty of a fair queen’s cheeks
With tears drawn from her eyes by your foul wrongs. 15
Myself, a prince by fortune of my birth,
Near to the King in blood, and near in love
Till you did make him misinterpret me,
Have stooped my neck under your injuries
And sighed my English breath in foreign clouds, 20
Eating the bitter bread of banishment,
Whilst you have fed upon my seigniories,
Disparked my parks and felled my forest woods,
From my own windows torn my household coat,
Rased out my imprese, leaving me no sign, 25
Save men’s opinions and my living blood,
To show the world I am a gentleman.
This and much more, much more than twice all
Condemns you to the death.—See them delivered 30
To execution and the hand of death.
More welcome is the stroke of death to me
Than Bolingbroke to England. Lords, farewell.
My comfort is that heaven will take our souls 35
And plague injustice with the pains of hell.
My Lord Northumberland, see them dispatched. Northumberland exits with Bushy and Green.
To York. Uncle, you say the Queen is at your
For God’s sake, fairly let her be entreated. 40
Tell her I send to her my kind commends.
Take special care my greetings be delivered.
A gentleman of mine I have dispatched
With letters of your love to her at large.
Thanks, gentle uncle.—Come, lords, away, 45
To fight with Glendower and his complices.
A while to work, and after holiday.
Drums. Flourish and colors. Enter the King, Aumerle,
Carlisle, and Soldiers.
Barkloughly Castle call they this at hand?
Yea, my lord. How brooks your Grace the air
After your late tossing on the breaking seas?
Needs must I like it well. I weep for joy
To stand upon my kingdom once again. He kneels. 5
Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,
Though rebels wound thee with their horses’ hoofs.
As a long-parted mother with her child
Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,
So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth, 10
And do thee favors with my royal hands.
Feed not thy sovereign’s foe, my gentle earth,
Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense,
But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom,
And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way, 15
Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet
Which with usurping steps do trample thee.
Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies,
And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower,
Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder, 20
Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch
Throw death upon thy sovereign’s enemies.
Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords.
This earth shall have a feeling, and these stones
Prove armèd soldiers, ere her native king 25
Shall falter under foul rebellion’s arms.
Fear not, my lord. That power that made you king
Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.
The means that heavens yield must be embraced
And not neglected. Else heaven would, 30
And we will not—heaven’s offer we refuse,
The proffered means of succor and redress.
He means, my lord, that we are too remiss,
Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security,
Grows strong and great in substance and in power. 35
Discomfortable cousin, know’st thou not
That when the searching eye of heaven is hid
Behind the globe that lights the lower world,
Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen
In murders and in outrage boldly here? 40
But when from under this terrestrial ball
He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines
And darts his light through every guilty hole,
Then murders, treasons, and detested sins,
The cloak of night being plucked from off their 45
Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves.
So when this thief, this traitor Bolingbroke,
Who all this while hath reveled in the night
Whilst we were wand’ring with the Antipodes, 50
Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,
His treasons will sit blushing in his face,
Not able to endure the sight of day,
But self-affrighted, tremble at his sin.
Not all the water in the rough rude sea 55
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king.
The breath of worldly men cannot depose The deputy elected by the Lord.
For every man that Bolingbroke hath pressed
To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown, 60
God for His Richard hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel. Then, if angels fight,
Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.
Welcome, my lord. How far off lies your power?
Nor near nor farther off, my gracious lord, 65
Than this weak arm. Discomfort guides my tongue
And bids me speak of nothing but despair.
One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,
Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth.
O, call back yesterday, bid time return, 70
And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men.
Today, today, unhappy day too late,
Overthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state;
For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead,
Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispersed, and fled. 75
Comfort, my liege. Why looks your Grace so pale?
But now the blood of twenty thousand men
Did triumph in my face, and they are fled;
And till so much blood thither come again
Have I not reason to look pale and dead? 80
All souls that will be safe, fly from my side,
For time hath set a blot upon my pride.
Comfort, my liege. Remember who you are.
I had forgot myself. Am I not king?
Awake, thou coward majesty, thou sleepest! 85
Is not the King’s name twenty thousand names?
Arm, arm, my name! A puny subject strikes
At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,
You favorites of a king. Are we not high?
High be our thoughts. I know my Uncle York 90
Hath power enough to serve our turn.—But who
More health and happiness betide my liege
Than can my care-tuned tongue deliver him.
Mine ear is open and my heart prepared. 95
The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.
Say, is my kingdom lost? Why, ’twas my care,
And what loss is it to be rid of care?
Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?
Greater he shall not be. If he serve God, 100
We’ll serve Him too and be his fellow so.
Revolt our subjects? That we cannot mend.
They break their faith to God as well as us.
Cry woe, destruction, ruin, and decay.
The worst is death, and death will have his day. 105
Glad am I that your Highness is so armed
To bear the tidings of calamity.
Like an unseasonable stormy day
Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores
As if the world were all dissolved to tears, 110
So high above his limits swells the rage
Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land
With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel.
Whitebeards have armed their thin and hairless
Against thy Majesty; boys with women’s voices
Strive to speak big and clap their female joints
In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown;
Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows
Of double-fatal yew against thy state. 120
Yea, distaff women manage rusty bills
Against thy seat. Both young and old rebel,
And all goes worse than I have power to tell.
Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill.
Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? Where is Bagot? 125
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. 130
Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord.
O villains, vipers, damned without redemption! Dogs easily won to fawn on any man! Snakes in my heart blood warmed, that sting my heart! 135
Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas!
Would they make peace? Terrible hell
Make war upon their spotted souls for this!
Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate. 140
Again uncurse their souls. Their peace is made
With heads and not with hands. Those whom you
Have felt the worst of death’s destroying wound
And lie full low, graved in the hollow ground. 145
Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?
Ay, all of them at Bristow lost their heads.
Where is the Duke my father with his power?
No matter where. Of comfort no man speak.
Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs, 150
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
Let’s choose executors and talk of wills.
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposèd bodies to the ground? 155
Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke’s,
And nothing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground 160
And tell sad stories of the death of kings—
How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,
Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed,
All murdered. For within the hollow crown 165
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court, and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks, 170
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life
Were brass impregnable; and humored thus,
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell, king! 175
Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence. Throw away respect, Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty, For you have but mistook me all this while.
I live with bread like you, feel want, 180 Taste grief, need friends. Subjected thus, How can you say to me I am a king?
My lord, wise men ne’er sit and wail their woes,
But presently prevent the ways to wail.
To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength, 185 Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe, And so your follies fight against yourself.
Fear, and be slain—no worse can come to fight;
And fight and die is death destroying death,
Where fearing dying pays death servile breath. 190
My father hath a power. Inquire of him,
And learn to make a body of a limb.
Thou chid’st me well.—Proud Bolingbroke, I come
To change blows with thee for our day of doom.—
This ague fit of fear is overblown. 195
An easy task it is to win our own.—
Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?
Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.
Men judge by the complexion of the sky
The state and inclination of the day; 200
So may you by my dull and heavy eye.
My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
I play the torturer by small and small
To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken.
Your uncle York is joined with Bolingbroke, 205
And all your northern castles yielded up,
And all your southern gentlemen in arms
Upon his party.
KING RICHARD Thou hast said enough.
To Aumerle. Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst 210
lead me forth
Of that sweet way I was in to despair.
What say you now? What comfort have we now?
By heaven, I’ll hate him everlastingly
That bids me be of comfort anymore. 215
Go to Flint Castle. There I’ll pine away;
A king, woe’s slave, shall kingly woe obey.
That power I have, discharge, and let them go
To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,
For I have none. Let no man speak again 220
To alter this, for counsel is but vain.
My liege, one word.
KING RICHARD He does me double wrong That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.
Discharge my followers. Let them hence away, 225
From Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.
Enter with Drum and Colors Bolingbroke, York,
Northumberland, with Soldiers and Attendants.
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.
The news is very fair and good, my lord: 5
Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.
It would beseem the Lord Northumberland
To say “King Richard.” Alack the heavy day
When such a sacred king should hide his head!
Your Grace mistakes; only to be brief 10
Left I his title out.
The time hath been, would you have been so brief
He would have been so brief to shorten you,
For taking so the head, your whole head’s length. 15
Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.
Take not, good cousin, further than you should,
Lest you mistake. The heavens are over our heads.
I know it, uncle, and oppose not myself
Against their will. But who comes here? 20
Welcome, Harry. What, will not this castle yield?
The castle royally is manned, my lord,
Against thy entrance.
Royally? Why, it contains no king.
PERCY Yes, my good lord, 25
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
Of holy reverence—who, I cannot learn. 30
O, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.
BOLINGBROKE, to Northumberland Noble lord,
Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle,
Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley
Into his ruined ears, and thus deliver: 35
On both his knees doth kiss King Richard’s hand
And sends allegiance and true faith of heart
To his most royal person, hither come
Even at his feet to lay my arms and power, 40
Provided that my banishment repealed
And lands restored again be freely granted.
If not, I’ll use the advantage of my power
And lay the summer’s dust with showers of blood
Rained from the wounds of slaughtered 45
The which how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke
It is such crimson tempest should bedrench
The fresh green lap of fair King Richard’s land,
My stooping duty tenderly shall show. 50
Go signify as much while here we march
Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.
Northumberland and Trumpets
approach the battlements.
Let’s march without the noise of threat’ning drum,
That from this castle’s tottered battlements
Our fair appointments may be well perused. 55
Methinks King Richard and myself should meet
With no less terror than the elements
Of fire and water when their thund’ring shock
At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.
Be he the fire, I’ll be the yielding water; 60
The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain
My waters—on the earth and not on him.
March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.
Bolingbroke’s Soldiers march, the trumpets sound.
Richard appeareth on the walls with Aumerle.
See, see, King Richard doth himself appear
As doth the blushing discontented sun 65
From out the fiery portal of the east
When he perceives the envious clouds are bent
To dim his glory and to stain the track
Of his bright passage to the occident.
Yet looks he like a king. Behold, his eye, 70
As bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth
Controlling majesty. Alack, alack for woe
That any harm should stain so fair a show!
KING RICHARD, to Northumberland, below
We are amazed, and thus long have we stood
To watch the fearful bending of thy knee, 75
Because we thought ourself thy lawful king.
An if we be, how dare thy joints forget
To pay their awful duty to our presence?
If we be not, show us the hand of God
That hath dismissed us from our stewardship, 80
For well we know no hand of blood and bone
Can gripe the sacred handle of our scepter,
Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
And though you think that all, as you have done,
Have torn their souls by turning them from us, 85
And we are barren and bereft of friends,
Yet know, my master, God omnipotent,
Is mustering in his clouds on our behalf
Armies of pestilence, and they shall strike
Your children yet unborn and unbegot, 90
That lift your vassal hands against my head
And threat the glory of my precious crown.
Tell Bolingbroke—for yon methinks he stands—
That every stride he makes upon my land
Is dangerous treason. He is come to open 95
The purple testament of bleeding war;
But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers’ sons
Shall ill become the flower of England’s face,
Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace 100
To scarlet indignation, and bedew
Her pastures’ grass with faithful English blood.
The King of heaven forbid our lord the King
Should so with civil and uncivil arms
Be rushed upon! Thy thrice-noble cousin, 105
Harry Bolingbroke, doth humbly kiss thy hand,
And by the honorable tomb he swears
That stands upon your royal grandsire’s bones,
And by the royalties of both your bloods,
Currents that spring from one most gracious head, 110
And 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 115
Enfranchisement immediate on his knees;
Which on thy royal party granted once,
His glittering arms he will commend to rust,
His barbèd steeds to stables, and his heart
To faithful service of your Majesty. 120
This swears he, as he is a prince and just,
And as I am a gentleman I credit him.
Northumberland, say thus the King returns:
His noble cousin is right welcome hither,
And all the number of his fair demands 125
Shall be accomplished without contradiction.
With all the gracious utterance thou hast,
Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.
Northumberland returns to Bolingbroke.
To Aumerle. We do debase ourselves, cousin, do
we not, 130
To look so poorly and to speak so fair?
Shall we call back Northumberland and send
Defiance to the traitor and so die?
No, good my lord, let’s fight with gentle words,
Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful 135
O God, O God, that e’er this tongue of mine
That laid the sentence of dread banishment
On yon proud man should take it off again
With words of sooth! O, that I were as great 140 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
Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.
Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.
What must the King do now? Must he submit?
The King shall do it. Must he be deposed?
The King shall be contented. Must he lose 150
The name of king? I’ God’s name, let it go .
I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,
My figured goblets for a dish of wood, 155
My scepter for a palmer’s walking-staff,
My subjects for a pair of carvèd saints,
And my large kingdom for a little grave,
A little, little grave, an obscure grave;
Or I’ll be buried in the King’s highway, 160
Some way of common trade, where subjects’ feet
May hourly trample on their sovereign’s head;
For on my heart they tread now whilst I live
And, buried once, why not upon my head?
Aumerle, thou weep’st, my tender-hearted cousin. 165
We’ll make foul weather with despisèd tears;
Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn
And make a dearth in this revolting land.
Or shall we play the wantons with our woes
And make some pretty match with shedding tears? 170
As thus, to drop them still upon one place
Till they have fretted us a pair of graves
Within the earth; and therein laid—there lies
Two kinsmen digged their graves with weeping eyes.
Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see 175
I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
Northumberland approaches the battlements.
Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland,
What says King Bolingbroke? Will his Majesty
Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?
You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay. 180
My lord, in the base court he doth attend
To speak with you, may it please you to come down.
Down, down I come, like glist’ring Phaëton,
Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
In the base court—base court, where kings grow 185
To come at traitors’ calls and do them grace.
In the base court come down—down court, down
For nightowls shriek where mounting larks should 190
Richard exits above
and Northumberland returns to Bolingbroke.
BOLINGBROKE What says his Majesty?
NORTHUMBERLAND Sorrow and grief of heart Makes him speak fondly like a frantic man,
Yet he is come. 195
Richard enters below.
BOLINGBROKE Stand all apart,
And show fair duty to his Majesty. He kneels down.
My gracious lord.
Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee
To make the base earth proud with kissing it. 200
Me rather had my heart might feel your love
Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy.
Up, cousin, up. Your heart is up, I know,
Thus high at least indicating his crown, although
your knee be low. 205
My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.
Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.
So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,
As my true service shall deserve your love.
Well you deserve. They well deserve to have 210
That know the strong’st and surest way to get.—
Uncle, give me your hands. Nay, dry your eyes.
Tears show their love but want their remedies.—
Cousin, I am too young to be your father,
Though you are old enough to be my heir. 215
What you will have I’ll give, and willing too,
For do we must what force will have us do.
Set on towards London, cousin, is it so?
Yea, my good lord.
KING RICHARD Then I must not say no. 220
Enter the Queen with her Ladies-in-waiting.
What sport shall we devise here in this garden
To drive away the heavy thought of care?
LADY Madam, we’ll play at bowls.
’Twill make me think the world is full of rubs
And that my fortune runs against the bias. 5
LADY Madam, we’ll dance.
My legs can keep no measure in delight
When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief.
Therefore no dancing, girl. Some other sport.
LADY Madam, we’ll tell tales. 10
Of sorrow or of joy?
LADY Of either, madam.
QUEEN Of neither, girl,
For if of joy, being altogether wanting,
It doth remember me the more of sorrow; 15
Or if of grief, being altogether had,
It adds more sorrow to my want of joy.
For what I have I need not to repeat,
And what I want it boots not to complain.
Madam, I’ll sing. 20
QUEEN ’Tis well that thou hast cause,
But thou shouldst please me better wouldst thou
I could weep, madam, would it do you good.
And I could sing, would weeping do me good, 25
And never borrow any tear of thee.
Enter a Gardener and two Servingmen.
But stay, here come the gardeners.
Let’s step into the shadow of these trees.
My wretchedness unto a row of pins,
They will talk of state, for everyone doth so 30
Against a change. Woe is forerun with woe.
Queen and Ladies step aside.
GARDENER, to one Servingman
Go, bind thou up young dangling apricokes
Which, like unruly children, make their sire
Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight.
Give some supportance to the bending twigs.— 35
Go thou, and like an executioner
Cut off the heads of too-fast-growing sprays
That look too lofty in our commonwealth.
All must be even in our government.
You thus employed, I will go root away 40
The noisome weeds which without profit suck
The soil’s fertility from wholesome flowers.
Why should we, in the compass of a pale,
Keep law and form and due proportion,
Showing as in a model our firm estate, 45
When our sea-wallèd garden, the whole land,
Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
Her fruit trees all unpruned, her hedges ruined,
Her knots disordered, and her wholesome herbs
Swarming with caterpillars? 50
GARDENER Hold thy peace.
He that hath suffered this disordered spring
Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf.
The weeds which his broad-spreading leaves did
That seemed in eating him to hold him up,
Are plucked up, root and all, by Bolingbroke—
I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green.
What, are they dead?
GARDENER They are. And Bolingbroke 60
Hath seized the wasteful king. O, what pity is it
That he had not so trimmed and dressed his land
As we this garden! We at time of year
Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit trees,
Lest, being overproud in sap and blood, 65
With too much riches it confound itself.
Had he done so to great and growing men,
They might have lived to bear and he to taste
Their fruits of duty. Superfluous branches
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live. 70
Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,
Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down.
What, think you the King shall be deposed?
Depressed he is already, and deposed
’Tis doubt he will be. Letters came last night 75
To a dear friend of the good Duke of York’s
That tell black tidings.
O, I am pressed to death through want of speaking!
Thou old Adam’s likeness, set to dress this garden,
How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this 80
What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee
To make a second fall of cursèd man?
Why dost thou say King Richard is deposed?
Dar’st thou, thou little better thing than earth, 85
Divine his downfall? Say where, when, and how
Cam’st thou by this ill tidings? Speak, thou wretch!
Pardon me, madam. Little joy have I
To breathe this news, yet what I say is true.
King Richard, he is in the mighty hold 90
Of Bolingbroke. Their fortunes both are weighed.
In your lord’s scale is nothing but himself
And some few vanities that make him light,
But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,
Besides himself, are all the English peers, 95
And with that odds he weighs King Richard down.
Post you to London and you will find it so.
I speak no more than everyone doth know.
Nimble mischance, that art so light of foot,
Doth not thy embassage belong to me, 100
And am I last that knows it? O, thou thinkest
To serve me last that I may longest keep
Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go
To meet at London London’s king in woe.
What, was I born to this, that my sad look 105
Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke?—
Gard’ner, for telling me these news of woe,
Pray God the plants thou graft’st may never grow.
She exits with Ladies.
Poor queen, so that thy state might be no worse,
I would my skill were subject to thy curse. 110
Here did she fall a tear. Here in this place
I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace.
Rue even for ruth here shortly shall be seen
In the remembrance of a weeping queen.