Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Not Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Modern)

Enter lord Marshal and the Duke [of] Aumerle.
Marshal My lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford armed?
295Aumerle Yea, at all points, and longs to enter in.
Marshal The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,
Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet.
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, [Gaunt, Bushy, Bagot, Green, and others].
When they are set, enter [Mowbray,] Duke of Norfolk, in arms, defendant, [with a Herald].
King Richard Marshal, demand of yonder champion
The cause of his arrival here in arms,
305Ask him his name, and orderly proceed
To swear him in the justice of his cause.
Marshal [To Mowbray] In God's name and the King's, say who thou art
And why thou com'st thus knightly clad in arms,
Against what man thou com'st, and what thy quarrel.
310Speak truly on thy knighthood and thy oath,
As so defend thee heaven and thy valor!
Mowbray My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
Who hither come engagèd by my oath --
Which God defend a knight should violate! --
315Both to defend my loyalty and truth
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,
320A traitor to my God, my king, and me;
And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!
[He sits.]
The trumpets sound. Enter [Bolingbroke,] Duke of Hereford, 322.1appellant, in armor, [with a Herald].
King Richard Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms
Both who he is and why he cometh hither
325Thus plated in habiliments of war,
And formally, according to our law,
Depose him in the justice of his cause.
Marshal [To Bolingbroke] What is thy name? And wherefore com'st thou hither,
Before King Richard in his royal lists?
330Against whom com'st thou? And what's thy quarrel?
Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!
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 valor,
335In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
That he is a traitor foul and dangerous
To God of heaven, King Richard, and to me.
And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!
[He sits.]
Marshal On pain of death, no person be so bold
340Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists,
Except the Marshal and such officers
Appointed to direct these fair designs.
Bolingbroke [Standing] Lord Marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's hand
And bow my knee before his majesty;
345For Mowbray and myself are like two men
That vow a long and weary pilgrimage.
Then let us take a ceremonious leave
And loving farewell of our several friends.
Marshal [To King Richard] The appellant in all duty greets your highness,
350And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.
King Richard We will descend and fold him in our arms. [He descends from his seat and embraces Bolingbroke.]
Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,
So be thy fortune in this royal fight.
Farewell, my blood, which if today thou shed,
355Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.
Bolingbroke Oh, let no noble eye profane a tear
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. --
360[To lord Marshal] My loving lord, I take my leave of you. --
[To Aumerle] Of you, my noble cousin, lord Aumerle;
Not sick, although I have to do with death,
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath. --
Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet
365The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet.
[To Gaunt, kneeling] O thou, the earthly author of my blood,
Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,
Doth with a twofold vigor lift me up
To reach at victory above my head,
370Add proof unto mine armor with thy prayers,
And with thy blessings steel my lance's point
That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat
And furbish new the name of John o'Gaunt,
Even in the lusty havior of his son.
375Gaunt God in thy good cause make thee prosperous!
Be swift like lightning in the execution,
And let thy blows, doubly redoublèd,
Fall like amazing thunder on the casque
Of thy adverse pernicious enemy.
380Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant, and live.
Bolingbroke [Standing] Mine innocence and Saint George to thrive!
Mowbray [Standing] However God or Fortune cast my lot,
There lives or dies, true to King Richard's throne,
A loyal, just, and upright gentleman.
385Never did captive with a freer heart
Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace
His golden uncontrolled enfranchisement
More than my dancing soul doth celebrate
This feast of battle with mine adversary.
390Most mighty liege, and my companion peers,
Take from my mouth the wish of happy years.
As gentle and as jocund as to jest
Go I to fight. Truth hath a quiet breast.
King Richard Farewell, my lord. Securely I espy
395Virtue with valor couchèd in thine eye. --
Order the trial, Marshal, and begin.
Marshal Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!
[An attendant bears a lance to Bolingbroke.]
Bolingbroke Strong as a tower in hope, I cry "Amen!"
400Marshal [To the attendant] Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.
[The attendant bears a lance to Mowbray.]
[Bolingbroke's] Herald Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby
Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,
405A traitor to his God, his king, and him,
And dares him to set forward to the fight.
[Mowbray's] Herald Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
Both to defend himself, and to approve
410Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby
To God, his sovereign, and to him disloyal,
Courageously, and with a free desire,
Attending but the signal to begin.
Marshal Sound trumpets, and set forward combatants. [A charge is sounded.] [King Richard throws down his warder.]
415Stay! The King hath thrown his warder down.
King Richard Let them lay by their helmets and their spears,
And both return back to their chairs again. [Bolingbroke and Mowbray disarm and sit.]
[To his council] Withdraw with us, and let the trumpets sound
While we return these dukes what we decree. [A long flourish, during which King Richard and his council withdraw to confer then come forward. King Richard addresses Bolingbroke and Mowbray.]
Draw near,
And list what with our council we have done.
For that our kingdom's earth should not be soiled
With that dear blood which it hath fosterèd:
425And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect
Of civil wounds plowed up with neighbor's sword;
426.1And for we think the eagle-wingèd pride
Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,
With rival-hating envy, set on you
To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle
426.5Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep,
Which so roused up with boist'rous untuned drums,
With harsh-resounding trumpets' dreadful bray
And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,
430Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace
And make us wade even in our kindred's blood:
Therefore we banish you our territories. --
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life,
Till twice five summers have enriched our fields,
435Shall not regreet our fair dominions,
But tread the stranger paths of banishment.
Bolingbroke Your will be done. This must my comfort be:
That sun that warms you here shall shine on me,
And those his golden beams to you here lent
440Shall point on me and gild my banishment.
King Richard Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,
Which I with some unwillingness pronounce:
The sly, slow hours shall not determinate
The dateless limit of thy dear exile.
445The hopeless word of "never to return"
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.
Mowbray A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
And all unlooked-for from your highness' mouth.
A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
450As to be cast forth in the common air,
Have I deservèd at your highness' hands.
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
455Than an unstringèd viol or a harp,
Or like a cunning instrument cased up,
Or, being open, put into his hands
That knows no touch to tune the harmony.
Within my mouth you have enjailed my tongue,
460Doubly portcullised with my teeth and lips,
And dull unfeeling barren ignorance
Is made my jailer to attend on me.
I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,
Too far in years to be a pupil now.
465What is thy sentence then but speechless death,
Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath?
King Richard It boots thee not to be compassionate.
After our sentence, plaining comes too late.
Mowbray Then thus I turn me from my country's light,
470To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.
[He begins to exit.]
King Richard [To Mowbray] Return again, and take an oath with thee.
[To Mowbray and Bolingbroke] Lay on our royal sword your banished hands. [They place their right hands on the hilts of King Richard's sword.]
Swear by the duty that you owe to God --
Our part therein we banish with yourselves --
475To keep the oath that we administer:
You never shall, so help you truth and God,
Embrace each other's love in banishment,
Nor never look upon each other's face,
Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
480This louring tempest of your home-bred hate,
Nor never by advisèd purpose meet
To plot, contrive, or complot any ill
'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.
I swear.
And I, to keep all this.
[They step back.]
Bolingbroke Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:
By this time, had the King permitted us,
One of our souls had wandered in the air,
Banished this frail sepulcher of our flesh,
490As now our flesh is banished from this land.
Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm.
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
The clogging burden of a guilty soul.
Mowbray No, Bolingbroke, if ever I were traitor,
495My name be blotted from the book of life,
And I from heaven banished as from hence!
But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know;
And all too soon, I fear, the King shall rue. --
Farewell, my liege. Now no way can I stray; 500Save back to England, all the world's my way.
King Richard [To Gaunt] Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes
I see thy grievèd heart. Thy sad aspect
Hath from the number of his banished years
Plucked four away.[To Bolingbroke] Six frozen winters spent,
505Return with welcome home from banishment.
Bolingbroke How long a time lies in one little word!
Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
End in a word: such is the breath of kings.
Gaunt I thank my liege that in regard of me
510He shortens four years of my son's exile.
But little vantage shall I reap thereby,
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
515Shall 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.
King Richard Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.
Gaunt But not a minute, King, that thou canst give.
520Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,
And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow.
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,
525But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.
King Richard Thy son is banished upon good advice,
Whereto thy tongue a party verdict gave.
Why at our justice seem'st thou then to lour?
Gaunt Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
530You urged me as a judge, but I had rather
You would have bid me argue like a father.
531.1Oh, 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 destroyed.
Alas, I looked when some of you should say
I was too strict to make mine own away;
But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue
535Against my will to do myself this wrong.
King Richard [To Bolingbroke] Cousin, farewell. -- And, uncle, bid him so.
Six years we banish him, and he shall go.
[Flourish]. Exit [King Richard with his train]. [Aumerle, lord Marshal, Gaunt and Bolingbroke remain.]
Aumerle [To Bolingbroke] Cousin, farewell. What presence must not know,
540From where you do remain let paper show.
Marshal [To Bolingbroke] My lord, no leave take I, for I will ride,
As far as land will let me, by your side.
[Bolingbroke remains silent. Lord Marshal draws away.]
Gaunt Oh, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,
That thou return'st no greeting to thy friends?
545Bolingbroke I have too few to take my leave of you,
When the tongue's office should be prodigal
To breathe the abundant dolor of the heart.
Gaunt Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.
Bolingbroke Joy absent, grief is present for that time.
550Gaunt What is six winters? They are quickly gone.
Bolingbroke To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.
Gaunt Call it a travel that thou tak'st for pleasure.
Bolingbroke My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,
Which finds it an enforcèd pilgrimage.
555Gaunt The sullen passage of thy weary steps
Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set
The precious jewel of thy home return.
557.1Bolingbroke Nay, rather every tedious stride I make
Will but remember me what a deal of world
I wander from the jewels that I love.
Must I not serve a long apprenticehood
557.5To foreign passages, and in the end,
Having my freedom, boast of nothing else
But that I was a journeyman to grief.
Gaunt All places that the eye of heaven visits
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.
557.10Teach thy necessity to reason thus:
There is no virtue like necessity.
Think not the King did banish thee,
But thou the King. Woe doth the heavier sit,
Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
557.15Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honor,
And not, the King exiled thee; or suppose
Devouring pestilence hangs in our air,
And thou art flying to a fresher clime.
Look what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
557.20To lie that way thou goest, not whence thou com'st.
Suppose the singing birds musicians,
The grass whereon thou tread'st the presence strewed,
The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more
Than a delightful measure or a dance;
557.25For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
The man that mocks at it and sets it light.
Bolingbroke Oh, who can hold a fire in his hand
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?
560Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite
By bare imagination of a feast?
Or wallow naked in December snow
By thinking on fantastic summer's heat?
Oh no, the apprehension of the good
565Gives but the greater feeling to the worse.
Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more
Than when he bites but lanceth not the sore.
Gaunt Come, come, my son, I'll bring thee on thy way.
Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay.
570Bolingbroke 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, Though banished, yet a trueborn Englishman.
Exeunt [Gaunt and Bolingbroke, followed by lord Marshal].