Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Folio 1, 1623)


The life and death of Richard the second.
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730I mocke my name (great King) to flatter thee.
Ric. Should dying men flatter those that liue?
Gau. No, no, men liuing flatter those that dye.
Rich. Thou now a dying, sayst thou flatter'st me.
Gau. Oh no, thou dyest, though I the sicker be.
735Rich. I am in health, I breath, I see thee ill.
Gau. Now he that made me, knowes I see thee ill:
Ill in my selfe to see, and in thee, seeing ill,
Thy death-bed is no lesser then the Land,
Wherein thou lyest in reputation sicke,
740And thou too care-lesse patient as thou art,
Commit'st thy'anointed body to the cure
Of those Physitians, that first wounded thee.
A thousand flatterers sit within thy Crowne,
Whose compasse is no bigger then thy head,
745And yet incaged in so small a Verge,
The waste is no whit lesser then thy Land:
Oh had thy Grandsire with a Prophets eye,
Seene how his sonnes sonne, should destroy his sonnes,
From forth thy reach he would haue laid thy shame,
750Deposing thee before thou wert possest,
Which art possest now to depose thy selfe.
Why (Cosine) were thou Regent of the world,
It were a shame to let his Land by lease:
But for thy world enioying but this Land,
755Is it not more then shame, to shame it so?
Landlord of England art thou, and not King:
Thy state of Law, is bondslaue to the law,
And---
Rich. And thou, a lunaticke leane-witted foole,
760Presuming on an Agues priuiledge,
Dar'st with thy frozen admonition
Make pale our cheeke, chafing the Royall blood
With fury, from his natiue residence?
Now by my Seates right Royall Maiestie,
765Wer't thou not Brother to great Edwards sonne,
This tongue that runs soroundly in thy head,
Should run thy head from thy vnreuerent shoulders.
Gau. Oh spare me not, my brothers Edwards sonne,
For that I was his Father Edwards sonne:
770That blood aIready (like the Pellican)
Thou hast tapt out, and drunkenly carows'd.
My brother Gloucester, plaine well meaning soule
(Whom faire befall in heauen 'mongst happy soules)
May be a president, and witnesse good,
775That thou respect'st not spilling Edwards blood:
Ioyne with the present sicknesse that I haue,
And thy vnkindnesse be like crooked age,
To crop at once a too-long wither'd flowre.
Liue in thy shame, but dye not shame with thee,
780These words heereafter, thy tormentors bee.
Conuey me to my bed, then to my graue,
Loue they to liue, that loue and honor haue.
Exit
Rich. And let them dye, that age and sullens haue,
For both hast thou, and both become the graue.
785Yor. I do beseech your Maiestie impute his words
To wayward sicklinesse, and age in him:
He loues you on my life, and holds you deere
As Harry Duke of Herford, were he heere.
Rich. Right, you say true: as Herfords loue, so his;
790As theirs, so mine: and all be as it is.

Enter Northumberland.

Nor. My Liege, olde Gaunt commends him to your
Maiestie.

Rich. What sayes he?
795Nor. Nay nothing, all is said:
His tongue is now a stringlesse instrument,
Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent.
Yor. Be Yorke the next, that must be bankrupt so,
Though death be poore, it ends a mortall wo.
800Rich. The ripest fruit first fals, and so doth he,
His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be:
So much for that. Now for our Irish warres,
We must supplant those rough rug-headed Kernes,
Which liue like venom, where no venom else
805But onely they, haue priuiledge to liue.
And for these great affayres do aske some charge
Towards our assistance, we do seize to vs
The plate, coine, reuennewes, and moueables,
Whereof our Vncle Gaunt did stand possest.
810Yor. How long shall I be patient? Oh how long
Shall tender dutie make me suffer wrong?
Not Glousters death, nor Herfords banishment,
Nor Gauntes rebukes, nor Englands priuate wrongs,
Nor the preuention of poore Bullingbrooke,
815About his marriage, nor my owne disgrace
Haue euer made me sowre my patient cheeke,
Or bend one wrinckle on my Soueraignes face:
I am the last of noble Edwards sonnes,
Of whom thy Father Prince of Wales was first,
820In warre was neuer Lyon rag'd more fierce:
In peace, was neuer gentle Lambe more milde,
Then was that yong and Princely Gentleman,
His face thou hast, for euen so look'd he
Accomplish'd with the number of thy howers:
825But when he frown'd, it was against the French,
And not against his friends: his noble hand
Did win what he did spend: and spent not that
Which his triumphant fathers hand had won:
His hands were guilty of no kindreds blood,
830But bloody with the enemies of his kinne:
Oh Richard, Yorke is too farre gone with greefe,
Or else he neuer would compare betweene.
Rich. Why Vncle,
What's the matter?
835Yor. Oh my Liege, pardon me if you please, if not
I pleas'd not to be pardon'd, am content with all:
Seeke you to seize, and gripe into your hands
The Royalties and Rights of banish'd Herford?
Is not Gaunt dead? and doth not Herford liue?
840Was not Gaunt iust? and is not Harry true?
Did not the one deserue to haue an heyre?
Is not his heyre a well-deseruing sonne?
Take Herfords rights away, and take from time
His Charters, and his customarie rights:
845Let not to morrow then insue to day,
Be not thy selfe. For how art thou a King
But by faire sequence and succession?
Now afore God, God forbid I say true,
If you do wrongfully seize Herfords right,
850Call in his Letters Patents that he hath
By his Atrurneyes generall, to sue
His Liuerie, and denie his offer'd homage,
You plucke a thousand dangers on your head,
You loose a thousand well-disposed hearts,
855And pricke my tender patience to those thoughts
Which honor and allegeance cannot thinke.
Ric. Thinke what you will: we seise into our hands,
His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.
Yor. Ile not be by the while: My Liege farewell,
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