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Richard II

ACT I SCENE III The lists at Coventry. 
 Enter the Lord Marshal and the DUKE OF AUMERLE. 
Lord Marshal My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm'd? 
DUKE OF AUMERLE Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in. 
Lord Marshal The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold, 
 Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet. 5
DUKE OF AUMERLE Why, then, the champions are prepared, and stay 
 For nothing but his majesty's approach. 
 The trumpets sound, and KING RICHARD enters with his nobles,
When they are set, enter THOMAS MOWBRAY inarms, defendant, with a Herald
KING RICHARD II Marshal, demand of yonder champion 
 The cause of his arrival here in arms: 
 Ask him his name and orderly proceed 10
 To swear him in the justice of his cause. 
Lord Marshal In God's name and the king's, say who thou art 
 And why thou comest thus knightly clad in arms, 
 Against what man thou comest, and what thy quarrel: 
 Speak truly, on thy knighthood and thy oath; 15
 As so defend thee heaven and thy valour! 
THOMAS MOWBRAY My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk; 
 Who hither come engaged by my oath-- 
 Which God defend a knight should violate!-- 
 Both to defend my loyalty and truth 20
 To God, my king and my succeeding issue, 
 Against the Duke of Hereford that appeals me 
 And, by the grace of God and this mine arm, 
 To prove him, in defending of myself, 
 A traitor to my God, my king, and me: 25
 And as I truly fight, defend me heaven! 
 The trumpets sound. Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, appellant, in armour, with a Herald. 
KING RICHARD II Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms, 
 Both who he is and why he cometh hither 
 Thus plated in habiliments of war, 
 And formally, according to our law, 30
 Depose him in the justice of his cause. 
Lord Marshal What is thy name? and wherefore comest thou hither, 
 Before King Richard in his royal lists? 
 Against whom comest thou? and what's thy quarrel? 
 Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven! 35
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby 
 Am I; who ready here do stand in arms, 
 To prove, by God's grace and my body's valour, 
 In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, 
 That he is a traitor, foul and dangerous, 40
 To God of heaven, King Richard and to me; 
 And as I truly fight, defend me heaven! 
Lord Marshal On pain of death, no person be so bold 
 Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists, 
 Except the marshal and such officers 45
 Appointed to direct these fair designs. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's hand, 
 And bow my knee before his majesty: 
 For Mowbray and myself are like two men 
 That vow a long and weary pilgrimage; 50
 Then let us take a ceremonious leave 
 And loving farewell of our several friends. 
Lord Marshal The appellant in all duty greets your highness, 
 And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave. 
KING RICHARD II We will descend and fold him in our arms. 55
 Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right, 
 So be thy fortune in this royal fight! 
 Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed, 
 Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE O let no noble eye profane a tear 60
 For me, if I be gored with Mowbray's spear: 
 As confident as is the falcon's flight 
 Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight. 
 My loving lord, I take my leave of you; 
 Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle; 65
 Not sick, although I have to do with death, 
 But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath. 
 Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet 
 The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet: 
 O thou, the earthly author of my blood, 70
 Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate, 
 Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up 
 To reach at victory above my head, 
 Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers; 
 And with thy blessings steel my lance's point, 75
 That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat, 
 And furbish new the name of John a Gaunt, 
 Even in the lusty havior of his son. 
JOHN OF GAUNT God in thy good cause make thee prosperous! 
 Be swift like lightning in the execution; 80
 And let thy blows, doubly redoubled, 
 Fall like amazing thunder on the casque 
 Of thy adverse pernicious enemy: 
 Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Mine innocency and Saint George to thrive! 85
THOMAS MOWBRAY However God or fortune cast my lot, 
 There lives or dies, true to King Richard's throne, 
 A loyal, just and upright gentleman: 
 Never did captive with a freer heart 
 Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace 90
 His golden uncontroll'd enfranchisement, 
 More than my dancing soul doth celebrate 
 This feast of battle with mine adversary. 
 Most mighty liege, and my companion peers, 
 Take from my mouth the wish of happy years: 95
 As gentle and as jocund as to jest 
 Go I to fight: truth hath a quiet breast. 
KING RICHARD II Farewell, my lord: securely I espy 
 Virtue with valour couched in thine eye. 
 Order the trial, marshal, and begin. 100
Lord Marshal Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby, 
 Receive thy lance; and God defend the right! 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Strong as a tower in hope, I cry amen. 
Lord Marshal Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk. 
First Herald Harry of Hereford, Lancaster and Derby, 105
 Stands here for God, his sovereign and himself, 
 On pain to be found false and recreant, 
 To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray, 
 A traitor to his God, his king and him; 
 And dares him to set forward to the fight. 110
Second Herald Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, 
 On pain to be found false and recreant, 
 Both to defend himself and to approve 
 Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, 
 To God, his sovereign and to him disloyal; 115
 Courageously and with a free desire 
 Attending but the signal to begin. 
Lord Marshal Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants. 
 A charge sounded. 
 Stay, the king hath thrown his warder down. 
KING RICHARD II Let them lay by their helmets and their spears, 120
 And both return back to their chairs again: 
 Withdraw with us: and let the trumpets sound 
 While we return these dukes what we decree. 
 A long flourish 
 Draw near, 
 And list what with our council we have done. 125
 For that our kingdom's earth should not be soil'd 
 With that dear blood which it hath fostered; 
 And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect 
 Of civil wounds plough'd up with neighbours' sword; 
 And for we think the eagle-winged pride 130
 Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts, 
 With rival-hating envy, set on you 
 To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle 
 Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep; 
 Which so roused up with boisterous untuned drums, 135
 With harsh resounding trumpets' dreadful bray, 
 And grating shock of wrathful iron arms, 
 Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace 
 And make us wade even in our kindred's blood, 
 Therefore, we banish you our territories: 140
 You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life, 
 Till twice five summers have enrich'd our fields 
 Shall not regreet our fair dominions, 
 But tread the stranger paths of banishment. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Your will be done: this must my comfort be, 145
 Sun that warms you here shall shine on me; 
 And those his golden beams to you here lent 
 Shall point on me and gild my banishment. 
KING RICHARD II Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom, 
 Which I with some unwillingness pronounce: 150
 The sly slow hours shall not determinate 
 The dateless limit of thy dear exile; 
 The hopeless word of 'never to return' 
 Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life. 
THOMAS MOWBRAY A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege, 155
 And all unlook'd for from your highness' mouth: 
 A dearer merit, not so deep a maim 
 As to be cast forth in the common air, 
 Have I deserved at your highness' hands. 
 The language I have learn'd these forty years, 160
 My native English, now I must forego: 
 And now my tongue's use is to me no more 
 Than an unstringed viol or a harp, 
 Or like a cunning instrument cased up, 
 Or, being open, put into his hands 165
 That knows no touch to tune the harmony: 
 Within my mouth you have engaol'd my tongue, 
 Doubly portcullis'd with my teeth and lips; 
 And dull unfeeling barren ignorance 
 Is made my gaoler to attend on me. 170
 I am too old to fawn upon a nurse, 
 Too far in years to be a pupil now: 
 What is thy sentence then but speechless death, 
 Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath? 
KING RICHARD II It boots thee not to be compassionate: 175
 After our sentence plaining comes too late. 
THOMAS MOWBRAY Then thus I turn me from my country's light, 
 To dwell in solemn shades of endless night. 
KING RICHARD II Return again, and take an oath with thee. 
 Lay on our royal sword your banish'd hands; 180
 Swear by the duty that you owe to God-- 
 Our part therein we banish with yourselves-- 
 To keep the oath that we administer: 
 You never shall, so help you truth and God! 
 Embrace each other's love in banishment; 185
 Nor never look upon each other's face; 
 Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile 
 This louring tempest of your home-bred hate; 
 Nor never by advised purpose meet 
 To plot, contrive, or complot any ill 190
 'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land. 
THOMAS MOWBRAY And I, to keep all this. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:-- 
 By this time, had the king permitted us, 195
 One of our souls had wander'd in the air. 
 Banish'd this frail sepulchre of our flesh, 
 As now our flesh is banish'd from this land: 
 Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm; 
 Since thou hast far to go, bear not along 200
 The clogging burthen of a guilty soul. 
THOMAS MOWBRAY No, Bolingbroke: if ever I were traitor, 
 My name be blotted from the book of life, 
 And I from heaven banish'd as from hence! 
 But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know; 205
 And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue. 
 Farewell, my liege. Now no way can I stray; 
 Save back to England, all the world's my way. 
KING RICHARD II Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes 
 I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect 210
 Hath from the number of his banish'd years 
 Pluck'd four away. 
 Six frozen winter spent, 
 Return with welcome home from banishment. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE How long a time lies in one little word! 215
 Four lagging winters and four wanton springs 
 End in a word: such is the breath of kings. 
JOHN OF GAUNT I thank my liege, that in regard of me 
 He shortens four years of my son's exile: 
 But little vantage shall I reap thereby; 220
 For, ere the six years that he hath to spend 
 Can change their moons and bring their times about 
 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, 225
 And blindfold death not let me see my son. 
KING RICHARD II Why uncle, thou hast many years to live. 
JOHN OF 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; 230
 Thou canst help time to furrow me with age, 
 But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage; 
 Thy word is current with him for my death, 
 But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath. 
KING RICHARD II Thy son is banish'd upon good advice, 235
 Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave: 
 Why at our justice seem'st thou then to lour? 
JOHN OF GAUNT Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour. 
 You urged me as a judge; but I had rather 
 You would have bid me argue like a father. 240
 O, had it been a stranger, not my child, 
 To smooth his fault I should have been more mild: 
 A partial slander sought I to avoid, 
 And in the sentence my own life destroy'd. 
 Alas, I look'd when some of you should say, 245
 I was too strict to make mine own away; 
 But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue 
 Against my will to do myself this wrong. 
KING RICHARD II Cousin, farewell; and, uncle, bid him so: 
 Six years we banish him, and he shall go. 250
 Flourish. Exeunt KING RICHARD II and train. 
DUKE OF AUMERLE Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know, 
 From where you do remain let paper show. 
Lord Marshal My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride, 
 As far as land will let me, by your side. 
JOHN OF GAUNT O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words, 255
 That thou return'st no greeting to thy friends? 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE I have too few to take my leave of you, 
 When the tongue's office should be prodigal 
 To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart. 
JOHN OF GAUNT Thy grief is but thy absence for a time. 260
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Joy absent, grief is present for that time. 
JOHN OF GAUNT What is six winters? they are quickly gone. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten. 
JOHN OF GAUNT Call it a travel that thou takest for pleasure. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE My heart will sigh when I miscall it so, 265
 Which finds it an inforced pilgrimage. 
JOHN OF GAUNT The sullen passage of thy weary steps 
 Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set 
 The precious jewel of thy home return. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make 270
 Will but remember me what a deal of world 
 I wander from the jewels that I love. 
 Must I not serve a long apprenticehood 
 To foreign passages, and in the end, 
 Having my freedom, boast of nothing else 275
 But that I was a journeyman to grief? 
JOHN OF GAUNT All places that the eye of heaven visits 
 Are to a wise man ports and happy havens. 
 Teach thy necessity to reason thus; 
 There is no virtue like necessity. 280
 Think not the king did banish thee, 
 But thou the king. Woe doth the heavier sit, 
 Where it perceives it is but faintly borne. 
 Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour 
 And not the king exiled thee; or suppose 285
 Devouring pestilence hangs in our air 
 And thou art flying to a fresher clime: 
 Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it 
 To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou comest: 
 Suppose the singing birds musicians, 290
 The grass whereon thou tread'st the presence strew'd, 
 The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more 
 Than a delightful measure or a dance; 
 For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite 
 The man that mocks at it and sets it light. 295
HENRY BOLINGBROKE O, who can hold a fire in his hand 
 By thinking on the frosty Caucasus? 
 Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite 
 By bare imagination of a feast? 
 Or wallow naked in December snow 300
 By thinking on fantastic summer's heat? 
 O, no! the apprehension of the good 
 Gives but the greater feeling to the worse: 
 Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more 
 Than when he bites, but lanceth not the sore. 305
JOHN OF GAUNT Come, come, my son, I'll bring thee on thy way: 
 Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay. 
HENRY BOLINGBROKE Then, England's ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu; 
 My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet! 
 Where'er I wander, boast of this I can, 310
 Though banish'd, yet a trueborn Englishman. 

Richard II, Act 1, Scene 4


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