Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Folio 1, 1623)


28
The life and death of Richard the second.
A brace of Dray-men bid God speed him well,
And had the tribute of his supple knee,
With thankes my Countrimen, my louing friends,
As were our England in reuersion his,
610And he our subiects next degree in hope.
Gr. Well, he is gone, & with him go these thoughts:
Now for the Rebels, which stand out in Ireland,
Expedient manage must be made my Liege
Ere further leysure, yeeld them further meanes
615For their aduantage, and your Highnesse losse.
Ric. We will our selfe in person to this warre,
And for our Coffers, with too great a Court,
And liberall Largesse, are growne somewhat light,
We are inforc'd to farme our royall Realme,
620The Reuennew whereof shall furnish vs
For our affayres in hand: if that come short
Our Substitutes at home shall haue Blanke-charters:
Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich,
They shall subscribe them for large summes of Gold,
625And send them after to supply our wants:
For we will make for Ireland presently.
Enter Bushy.
Bushy, what newes?
Bu. Old Iohn of Gaunt is verie sicke my Lord,
630Sodainly taken, and hath sent post haste
To entreat your Maiesty to visit him.
Ric. Where lyes he?
Bu. At Ely house.
Ric. Now put it (heauen) in his Physitians minde,
635To helpe him to his graue immediately:
The lining of his coffers shall make Coates
To decke our souldiers for these Irish warres.
Come Gentlemen, let's all go visit him:
Pray heauen we may make hast, and come too late.
Exit.



640
Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.



Enter Gaunt, sicke with Yorke.

Gau. Will the King come, that I may breath my last
In wholsome counsell to his vnstaid youth?
Yor. Vex not your selfe, nor striue not with your breth
645For all in vaine comes counsell to his eare.
Gau. Oh but (they say) the tongues of dying men
Inforce attention like deepe harmony;
Where words are scarse, they are seldome spent in vaine,
For they breath truth, that breath their words in paine.
650He that no more must say, is listen'd more,
Then they whom youth and ease haue taught to glose,
More are mens ends markt, then their liues before,
The setting Sun, and Musicke in the close
As the last taste of sweetes, is sweetest last,
655Writ in remembrance, more then things long past;
Though Richard my liues counsell would not heare,
My deaths sad tale, may yet vndeafe his eare.
Yor. No, it is stopt with other flatt'ring sounds
As praises of his state: then there are sound
660Lasciuious Meeters, to whose venom sound
The open eare of youth doth alwayes listen.
Report of fashions in proud Italy,
Whose manners still our tardie apish Nation
Limpes after in base imitation.

665Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity,
So it be new, there's no respect how vile,
That is not quickly buz'd into his eares?
That all too late comes counsell to be heard,
Where will doth mutiny with wits regard:
670Direct not him, whose way himselfe will choose,
Tis breath thou lackst, and that breath wilt thou loose.
Gaunt. Me thinkes I am a Prophet new inspir'd,
And thus expiring, do foretell of him,
His rash fierce blaze of Ryot cannot last,
675For violent fires soone burne out themselues,
Small showres last long, but sodaine stormes are short,
He tyres betimes, that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding, food doth choake the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
680Consuming meanes soone preyes vpon it selfe.
This royall Throne of Kings, this sceptred Isle,
This earth of Maiesty, this seate of Mars,
This other Eden, demy paradise,
This Fortresse built by Nature for her selfe,
685Against infection, and the hand of warre:
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone, set in the siluer sea,
Which serues it in the office of a wall,
Or as a Moate defensiue to a house,
690Against the enuy of lesse happier Lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this Realme, this England,
This Nurse, this teeming wombe of Royall Kings,
Fear'd by their breed, and famous for their birth,
Renowned for their deeds, as farre from home,
695For Christian seruice, and true Chiualrie,
As is the sepulcher in stubborne Iury
Of the Worlds ransome, blessed Maries Sonne.
This Land of such deere soules, this deere-deere Land,
Deere for her reputation through the world,
700Is now Leas'd out (I dye pronouncing it)
Like to a Tenement or pelting Farme.
England bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beates backe the enuious siedge
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
705With Inky blottes, and rotten Parchment bonds.
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shamefull conquest of it selfe.
Ah! would the scandall vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death?

710
Enter King, Queene, Aumerle, Bushy, Greene,
Bagot, Ros, and Willoughby.
Yor. The King is come, deale mildly with his youth,
For young hot Colts, being rag'd, do rage the more.
Qu. How fares our noble Vncle Lancaster?
715Ri. What comfort man? How ist with aged Gaunt?
Ga. Oh how that name befits my composition:
Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old:
Within me greefe hath kept a tedious fast,
And who abstaynes from meate, that is not gaunt?
720For sleeping England long time haue I watcht,
Watching breeds leannesse, leannesse is all gaunt.
The pleasure that some Fathers feede vpon,
Is my strict fast, I meane my Childrens lookes,
And therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt:
725Gaunt am I for the graue, gaunt as a graue,
Whose hollow wombe inherits naught but bones.
Ric. Can sicke men pIay so nicely with their names?
Gau. No, misery makes sport to mocke it selfe:
Since thou dost seeke to kill my name in mec,
I