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Richard II Act 4
Enter Bolingbroke with the Lords Aumerle,
Northumberland, Harry Percy, Fitzwater, Surrey, the
Bishop of Carlisle, the Abbot of Westminster, and
another Lord, Herald, Officers to parliament.
BOLINGBROKE Call forth Bagot.
Enter Officers with Bagot.
Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind
What thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death,
Who wrought it with the King, and who performed
The bloody office of his timeless end. 5
Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.
Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.
Aumerle steps forward.
My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue
Scorns to unsay what once it hath delivered.
In that dead time when Gloucester’s death was 10
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?”
Amongst much other talk that very time 15
I heard you say that you had rather refuse
The offer of an hundred thousand crowns
Than Bolingbroke’s return to England,
Adding withal how blest this land would be
In this your cousin’s death. 20
AUMERLE Princes and noble lords,
What answer shall I make to this base man?
Shall I so much dishonor my fair stars
On equal terms to give him chastisement?
Either I must or have mine honor soiled 25
With the attainder of his slanderous lips.
He throws down a gage.
There is my gage, the manual seal of death
That marks thee out for hell. I say thou liest,
And will maintain what thou hast said is false
In thy heart-blood, though being all too base 30
To stain the temper of my knightly sword.
Bagot, forbear. Thou shalt not take it up.
Excepting one, I would he were the best
In all this presence that hath moved me so.
FITZWATER, throwing down a gage
If that thy valor stand on sympathy, 35
There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine.
By that fair sun which shows me where thou
I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak’st it,
That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester’s death. 40
If thou deniest it twenty times, thou liest,
And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,
Where it was forgèd, with my rapier’s point.
AUMERLE, taking up the gage
Thou dar’st not, coward, live to see that day.
Now, by my soul, I would it were this hour. 45
Fitzwater, thou art damned to hell for this.
Aumerle, thou liest! His honor is as true
In this appeal as thou art all unjust;
And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,
He throws down a gage.
To prove it on thee to the extremest point 50
Of mortal breathing. Seize it if thou dar’st.
AUMERLE, taking up the gage
An if I do not, may my hands rot off
And never brandish more revengeful steel
Over the glittering helmet of my foe!
ANOTHER LORD, throwing down a gage
I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle, 55
And spur thee on with full as many lies
As may be holloed in thy treacherous ear
From sun to sun. There is my honor’s pawn.
Engage it to the trial if thou darest.
AUMERLE, taking up the gage
Who sets me else? By heaven, I’ll throw at all! 60
I have a thousand spirits in one breast
To answer twenty thousand such as you.
My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well
The very time Aumerle and you did talk.
’Tis very true. You were in presence then, 65
And you can witness with me this is true.
As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.
Surrey, thou liest.
SURREY Dishonorable boy,
That lie shall lie so heavy on my sword 70
That it shall render vengeance and revenge
Till thou the lie-giver and that lie do lie
In earth as quiet as thy father’s skull.
He throws down a gage.
In proof whereof, there is my honor’s pawn.
Engage it to the trial if thou dar’st. 75
FITZWATER, taking up the gage
How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!
If I dare eat or drink or breathe or live,
I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness
And spit upon him whilst I say he lies,
And lies, and lies. There is my bond of faith 80
To tie thee to my strong correction. He throws down a gage.
As I intend to thrive in this new world,
Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal.—
Besides, I heard the banished Norfolk say
That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men 85
To execute the noble duke at Calais.
Some honest Christian trust me with a gage.
A Lord hands him a gage.
Aumerle throws it down.
That Norfolk lies, here do I throw down this,
If he may be repealed to try his honor.
These differences shall all rest under gage 90
Till Norfolk be repealed. Repealed he shall be,
And though mine enemy, restored again
To all his lands and seigniories. When he is
Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial. 95
That honorable day shall never be seen.
Many a time hath banished Norfolk fought
For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,
Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross
Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens; 100
And, toiled with works of war, retired himself
To Italy, and there at Venice gave
His body to that pleasant country’s earth
And his pure soul unto his captain, Christ,
Under whose colors he had fought so long. 105
BOLINGBROKE Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?
CARLISLE As surely as I live, my lord.
Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom
Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,
Your differences shall all rest under gage 110
Till we assign you to your days of trial.
Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee
From plume-plucked Richard, who with willing
Adopts thee heir, and his high scepter yields 115
To the possession of thy royal hand.
Ascend his throne, descending now from him,
And long live Henry, fourth of that name!
In God’s name, I’ll ascend the regal throne.
CARLISLE Marry, God forbid! 120
Worst in this royal presence may I speak,
Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.
Would God that any in this noble presence
Were enough noble to be upright judge
Of noble Richard! Then true noblesse would 125
Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
What subject can give sentence on his king?
And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject?
Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear,
Although apparent guilt be seen in them; 130
And shall the figure of God’s majesty,
His captain, steward, deputy elect,
Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
Be judged by subject and inferior breath,
And he himself not present? O, forfend it God 135
That in a Christian climate souls refined
Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!
I speak to subjects and a subject speaks,
Stirred up by God thus boldly for his king.
My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king, 140
Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king,
And if you crown him, let me prophesy
The blood of English shall manure the ground
And future ages groan for this foul act,
Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels, 145
And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound.
Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny
Shall here inhabit, and this land be called
The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls. 150
O, if you raise this house against this house,
It will the woefullest division prove
That ever fell upon this cursèd earth!
Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
Lest child, child’s children, cry against you woe! 155
Well have you argued, sir, and, for your pains,
Of capital treason we arrest you here.—
My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge
To keep him safely till his day of trial.
May it please you, lords, to grant the commons’ 160
Fetch hither Richard, that in common view
He may surrender. So we shall proceed
YORK I will be his conduct. He exits. 165
Lords, you that here are under our arrest,
Procure your sureties for your days of answer.
Little are we beholding to your love
And little looked for at your helping hands.
Enter Richard and York.
Alack, why am I sent for to a king 170
Before I have shook off the regal thoughts
Wherewith I reigned? I hardly yet have learned
To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my knee.
Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me
To this submission. Yet I well remember 175
The favors of these men. Were they not mine?
Did they not sometime cry “All hail” to me?
So Judas did to Christ, but He in twelve
Found truth in all but one; I, in twelve thousand,
God save the King! Will no man say “amen”?
Am I both priest and clerk? Well, then, amen.
God save the King, although I be not he,
And yet amen, if heaven do think him me.
To do what service am I sent for hither? 185
To do that office of thine own goodwill
Which tired majesty did make thee offer:
The resignation of thy state and crown
To Henry Bolingbroke.
Give me the crown.—Here, cousin, seize the crown. 190
On this side my hand, on that side thine.
Now is this golden crown like a deep well
That owes two buckets, filling one another,
The emptier ever dancing in the air, 195
The other down, unseen, and full of water.
That bucket down and full of tears am I,
Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.
I thought you had been willing to resign.
My crown I am, but still my griefs are mine. 200
You may my glories and my state depose
But not my griefs; still am I king of those.
Part of your cares you give me with your crown.
Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.
My care is loss of care, by old care done; 205
Your care is gain of care, by new care won.
The cares I give I have, though given away.
They ’tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.
Are you contented to resign the crown?
Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be. 210
Therefore no “no,” for I resign to thee.
Now, mark me how I will undo myself.
I give this heavy weight from off my head
And this unwieldy scepter from my hand,
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart. 215
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown,
With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
With mine own breath release all duteous oaths.
All pomp and majesty I do forswear. 220
My manors, rents, revenues I forgo;
My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny.
God pardon all oaths that are broke to me.
God keep all vows unbroke are made to thee.
Make me, that nothing have, with nothing grieved, 225
And thou with all pleased that hast all achieved.
Long mayst thou live in Richard’s seat to sit,
And soon lie Richard in an earthy pit.
God save King Henry, unkinged Richard says,
And send him many years of sunshine days. 230
What more remains?
NORTHUMBERLAND, offering Richard a paper
No more, but that you read
These accusations and these grievous crimes
Committed by your person and your followers
Against the state and profit of this land; 235
That, by confessing them, the souls of men
May deem that you are worthily deposed.
Must I do so? And must I ravel out
My weaved-up follies? Gentle Northumberland,
If thy offenses were upon record, 240
Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop
To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,
There shouldst thou find one heinous article
Containing the deposing of a king
And cracking the strong warrant of an oath, 245
Marked with a blot, damned in the book of
Nay, all of you that stand and look upon me
Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,
Though some of you, with Pilate, wash your hands, 250
Showing an outward pity, yet you Pilates
Have here delivered me to my sour cross,
And water cannot wash away your sin.
My lord, dispatch. Read o’er these articles.
Mine eyes are full of tears; I cannot see. 255
And yet salt water blinds them not so much
But they can see a sort of traitors here.
Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,
I find myself a traitor with the rest,
For I have given here my soul’s consent 260
T’ undeck the pompous body of a king,
Made glory base and sovereignty a slave,
Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant.
NORTHUMBERLAND My lord—
No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man, 265
Nor no man’s lord. I have no name, no title,
No, not that name was given me at the font,
But ’tis usurped. Alack the heavy day,
That I have worn so many winters out
And know not now what name to call myself. 270
O, that I were a mockery king of snow
Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,
To melt myself away in water drops.—
Good king, great king, and yet not greatly good,
An if my word be sterling yet in England, 275
Let it command a mirror hither straight,
That it may show me what a face I have
Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.
Go, some of you, and fetch a looking-glass.
An Attendant exits.
Read o’er this paper while the glass doth come. 280
Fiend, thou torments me ere I come to hell!
Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.
The commons will not then be satisfied.
They shall be satisfied. I’ll read enough
When I do see the very book indeed 285
Where all my sins are writ, and that’s myself.
Enter one with a glass.
Give me that glass, and therein will I read.
He takes the mirror.
No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck
So many blows upon this face of mine
And made no deeper wounds? O flatt’ring glass, 290
Like to my followers in prosperity,
Thou dost beguile me. Was this face the face
That every day under his household roof
Did keep ten thousand men? Was this the face
That like the sun did make beholders wink? 295
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.
For there it is, cracked in an hundred shivers.— 300
Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport:
How soon my sorrow hath destroyed my face.
The shadow of your sorrow hath destroyed
The shadow of your face.
KING RICHARD Say that again. 305
The shadow of my sorrow? Ha, let’s see.
’Tis very true. My grief lies all within;
And these external manners of laments
Are merely shadows to the unseen grief
That swells with silence in the tortured soul. 310
There lies the substance. And I thank thee, king,
For thy great bounty, that not only giv’st
Me cause to wail but teachest me the way
How to lament the cause. I’ll beg one boon
And then be gone and trouble you no more. 315
Shall I obtain it?
BOLINGBROKE Name it, fair cousin.
“Fair cousin”? I am greater than a king,
For when I was a king, my flatterers
Were then but subjects. Being now a subject, 320
I have a king here to my flatterer.
Being so great, I have no need to beg.
BOLINGBROKE Yet ask.
KING RICHARD And shall I have?
BOLINGBROKE You shall. 325
KING RICHARD Then give me leave to go.
Whither you will, so I were from your sights.
Go, some of you, convey him to the Tower.
O, good! “Convey”? Conveyers are you all, 330
That rise thus nimbly by a true king’s fall.
Richard exits with Guards.
On Wednesday next, we solemnly set down
Our coronation. Lords, prepare yourselves.
They exit. The Abbot of Westminster, the Bishop of
Carlisle, Aumerle remain.
A woeful pageant have we here beheld.
The woe’s to come. The children yet unborn 335
Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn.
You holy clergymen, is there no plot
To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?
ABBOT My lord,
Before I freely speak my mind herein, 340
You shall not only take the sacrament
To bury mine intents, but also to effect
Whatever I shall happen to devise.
I see your brows are full of discontent,
Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears. 345
Come home with me to supper. I’ll lay
A plot shall show us all a merry day.