Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Folio 1, 1623)


1
Actus Primus, Scæna Prima.
Enter King Richard, Iohn of Gaunt, with other Nobles
and Attendants.
King Richard.
5OLd Iohn of Gaunt, time honoured Lancaster,
Hast thou according to thy oath and band
Brought hither Henry Herford thy bold son:
Heere to make good ye boistrous late appeale,
Which then our leysure would not let vs heare,
10Against the Duke of Norfolke, Thomas Mowbray?
Gaunt. I haue my Liege.
King. Tell me moreouer, hast thou sounded him,
If he appeale the Duke on ancient malice,
Or worthily as a good subiect should
15On some knowne ground of treacherie in him.
Gaunt. As neere as I could sift him on that argument,
On some apparant danger seene in him,
Aym'd at your Highnesse, no inueterate malice.
Kin. Then call them to our presence face to face,
20And frowning brow to brow, our selues will heare
Th'accuser, and the accused, freely speake;
High stomackd are they both, and full of ire,
In rage, deafe as the sea; hastie as fire.
Enter Bullingbrooke and Mowbray.
25Bul. Many yeares of happy dayes befall
My gracious Soueraigne, my most louing Liege.
Mow. Each day still better others happinesse,
Vntill the heauens enuying earths good hap,
Adde an immortall title to your Crowne.
30King. We thanke you both, yet one but flatters vs,
As well appeareth by the cause you come,
Namely, to appeale each other of high treason.
Coosin of Hereford, what dost thou obiect
Against the Duke of Norfolke, Thomas Mowbray?
35Bul. First, heauen be the record to my speech,
In the deuotion of a subiects loue,
Tendering the precious safetie of my Prince,
And free from other misbegotten hate,
Come I appealant to rhis Princely presence.
40Now Thomas Mowbray do I turne to thee,
And marke my greeting well: for what I speake,
My body shall make good vpon this earth,
Or my diuine soule answer it in heauen.
Thou art a Traitor, and a Miscreant;
45Too good to be so, and too bad to liue,
Since the more faire and christall is the skie,
The vglier seeme the cloudes that in it flye:
Once more, the more to aggrauate the note,
With a foule Traitors name stuffe I thy throte,
50And wish (so please my Soueraigne) ere I moue,
What my tong speaks, my right drawn sword may proue
Mow. Let not my cold words heere accuse my zeale:
'Tis not the triall of a Womans warre,
The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,
55Can arbitrate this cause betwixt vs twaine:
The blood is hot that must be cooI'dfor this.
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast,
As to be husht, and nought at all to say.
First the faire reuerence of your Highnesse curbes mee,
60From giuing reines and spurres to my free speech,
Which else would post, vntill it had return'd
These tearmes of treason, doubly downe his throat.
Setting aside his high bloods royalty,
And let him be no Kinsman to my Liege,
65I do defie him, and I spit at him,
Call him a slanderous Coward, and a Villaine:
Which to maintaine, I would allow him oddes,
And meete him, were I tide to runne afoote,
Euen to the frozen ridges of the Alpes,
70Or any other ground inhabitable,
Where euer Englishman durst set his foote.
Meane time, let this defend my loyaltie,
By all my hopes most falsely doth he lie.
Bul. Pale trembling Coward, there I throw my gage,
75Disclaiming heere the kindred of a King,
And lay aside my high bloods Royalty,
Which feare, not reuerence makes thee to except.
If guilty dread hath left thee so much strength,
As to take vp mine Honors pawne, then stoope.
80By that, and all the rites of Knight-hood else,
Will I make good against thee arme to arme,
What I haue spoken, or thou canst deuise.
Mow. I take it vp, and by that sword I sweare,
Which gently laid my Knight-hood on my shoulder,
85lIe answer thee in any faire degree,
Or Chiualrous designe of knightly triall:
And when I mount, aliue may I not light,
If I be Traitor, or vniustly fight.
King. What doth our Cosin lay to Mowbraies charge?
90It must be great that can inherite vs,
So much as of a thought of ill in him.
Bul. Looke what I said, my life shall proue it true,
That Mowbray hath receiu'd eight thousandNobles,
In name of lendings for your Highnesse Soldiers,
95The which he hath detain'd for lewd employments,
Like a false Traitor, and iniurious Villaine.
Besides I say, and will in battaile proue,
Or heere, or elsewhere to the furthest Verge
That euer was suruey'd by English eye,
100That all the Treasons for these eighteene yeeres
Complotted, and contriued in this Land,
Fetch'd from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
Further I say, and further will maintaine
Vpon his bad life, to make all this good.
105That he did plot the Duke of Glousters death,
Suggest his soone beleeuing aduersaries,
And consequently, like a Traitor Coward,
Sluc'd out his innocent soule through streames of blood:
Which blood, like sacrificing Abels cries,
110(Euen from the toonglesse cauernes of the earth)
To me for iustice, and rough chasticement:
And by the glorious worth of my discent,
This arme shall do it, or this life be spent.
King. How high a pitch his resolution soares:
115Thomas of Norfolke, what sayest thou to this?
Mow. Oh let my Soueraigne turne away his face,
And bid his eares a little while be deafe,
Till I haue told this slander of his blood,
How God, and good men, hate so foule a lyar.
120King. Mowbray, impartiall are our eyes and eares,
Were he my brother, nay our kingdomes heyre,
As he is but my fathers brothers sonne;
Now by my Scepters awe, I make a vow,
Such neighbour-neerenesse to our sacred blood,
125Should nothing priuiledge him, nor partialize
The vn-stooping firmenesse of my vpright soule.
He is our subiect ( Mowbray) so art thou,
Free speech, and fearelesse, I to thee allow.
Mow. Then Bullingbrooke, as low as to thy heart.
130Through the false passage of thy throat; thou lyest:
Threc parts of that receipt I had for Callice,
Disburst I to his Highnesse souldiers;
The other part reseru'd I by consent,
For that my Soueraigne Liege was in my debt,
135Vpon remainder of a deere Accompt,
Since last I went to France to fetch his Queene:
Now swallow downe that Lye. For Glousters death,
I slew him not; but (to mine owne disgrace)
Neglected my sworne duty in that case:
140For you my noble Lord of Lancaster,
The honourable Father to my foe,
Once I did lay an ambush for your life,
A trespasse that doth vex my greeued soule:
But ere I last receiu'd the Sacrament,
145I did confesse it, and exactly begg'd
Your Graces pardon, and I hope I had it.
This is my fault: as for the rest appeal'd,
It issues from the rancour of a Villaine,
A recreant, and most degenerate Traitor,
150Which in my selfe I boldly will defend,
And interchangeably hurle downe my gage
Vpon this ouer-weening Traitors foote,
To proue my selfe a loyall Gentleman,
Euen in the best blood chamber'd in his bosome.
155In hast whereof, most heartily I pray
Your Highnesse to assigne our Triall day.
King. Wrath-kindled Gentlemen be rul'd by me:
Let's purge this choller without letting blood:
This we prescribe, though no Physition,
160Deepe malice makes too deepe incision.
Forget, forgiue, conclude, and be agreed,
Our Doctors say, This is no time to bleed.
Good Vnckle, let this end where it begun,
Wee'l calme the Duke of Norfolke; you, your son.
165Gaunt. To be a make-peace shall become my age,
Throw downe (my sonne) the Duke of Norfolkes gage.
And Norfolke, throw downe his.
Gaunt. When Harrie when? Obedience bids,
Obedience bids I should not bid agen.
170King. Norfolke, throw downe, we bidde; there is
no boote.
Mow. My selfe I throw (dread Soueraigne) at thy foot.
My life thou shalt command, but not my shame,
The one my dutie owes, but my faire name
175Despight of death, that liues vpon my graue
To darke dishonours vse, thou shalt not haue.
I am disgrac'd, impeach'd, and baffel'd heere,
Pierc'd to the soule with slanders venom'd speare:
The which no balme can cure, but his heart blood
180Which breath'd this poyson.
King. Rage must be withstood:
Giue me his gage: Lyons make Leopards tame.
Mo, Yea, but not change his spots: take but my shame,
And I resigne my gage. My deere, deere Lord,
185The purest treasure mortall times afford
Is spotlesse reputation: that away,
Men are but gilded loame, or painted clay.
A Iewell in a ten times barr'd vp Chest,
Is a bold spirit, in a loyall brest.
190Mine Honor is my life; both grow in one:
Take Honor from me, and my life is done.
Then (deere my Liege) mine Honor let me trie,
In that I liue; and for that will I die.
King. Coosin, throw downe your gage,
195Do you begin.
Bul. Oh heauen defend my soule from such foule sin.
Shall I seeme Crest-falne in my fathers sight,
Or with pale beggar-feare impeach my hight
Before this out-dar'd dastard? Ere my toong,
200Shall wound mine honor with such feeble wrong;
Or sound so base a parle: my teeth shall teare
The slauish motiue of recanting feare,
And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,
Where shame doth harbour, euen in Mowbrayes face.
205
Exit Gaunt.
King. We were not borne to sue, but to command,
Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
Be readie, (as your liues shall answer it)
At Couentree, vpon S. Lamberts day:
210There shall your swords and Lances arbitrate
The swelling difference of your setled hate:
Since we cannot attone you, you shall see
Iustice designe the Victors Chiualrie.
Lord Marshall, command our Officers at Armes,
215Be readie to direct these home Alarmes.
Exeunt.