Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Folio 1, 1623)


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,
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,
860What will ensue heereof, there's none can tell.
But by bad courses may be vnderstood,
That their euents can neuer fall out good.
Exit.
Rich. Go Bushie to the Earle of Wiltshire streight,
Bid him repaire to vs to Ely house,
865To see this businesse: to morrow next
We will for Ireland, and 'tis time, I trow:
And we create in absence of our selfe
Our Vncle Yorke, Lord Gouernor of England:
For he is iust, and alwayes lou'd vs well.
870Come on our Queene, to morrow must we part,
Be merry, for our time of stay is short.
Flourish.
Manet North. Willoughby, & Ross.
Nor. Well Lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.
Ross. And liuing too, for now his sonne is Duke .
875Wil. Barely in title, not in reuennew.
Nor. Richly in both, if iustice had her right.
Ross. My heart is great: but it must break with silence,
Er't be disburthen'd with a liberall tongue.
Nor. Nay speake thy mind: & let him ne'r speak more
880That speakes thy words againe to do thee harme.
Wil. Tends that thou'dst speake to th'Du. of Hereford,
If it be so, out with it boldly man,
Quicke is mine eare to heare of good towards him.
Ross. No good at all that I can do for him,
885Vnlesse you call it good to pitie him,
Bereft and gelded of his patrimonie.
Nor. Now afore heauen, 'tis shame such wrongs are
borne,
In him a royall Prince, and many moe
890Of noble blood in this declining Land;
The King is not himselfe, but basely led
By Flatterers, and what they will informe
Meerely in hate 'gainst any of vs all,
That will the King seuerely prosecute
895'Gainst vs, our liues, our children, and our heires.
Ros. The Commons hath he pil'd with greeuous taxes
And quite lost their hearts: the Nobles hath he finde
For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.
Wil. And daily new exactions are deuis'd,
900As blankes, beneuolences, and I wot not what:
But what o'Gods name doth become of this?
Nor. Wars hath not wasted it, for war'd he hath not.
But basely yeelded vpon comprimize,
That which his Ancestors atchieu'd with blowes:
905More hath he spent in peace, then they in warres.
Ros. The Earle of Wiltshire hath the realme in Farme.
Wil. The Kings growne bankrupt like a broken man.
Nor. Reproach, and dissolution hangeth ouer him.
Ros. He hath not monie for these Irish warres:
910(His burthenous taxations notwithstanding)
But by the robbing of the banish'd Duke.
Nor. His noble Kinsman, most degenerate King:
But Lords, we heare this fearefull tempest sing,
Yet seeke no shelter to auoid the storme:
915We see the winde sit sore vpon our salles,
And yet we strike not, but securely perish.
Ros. We see the very wracke that we must suffer,
And vnauoyded is the danger now
For suffering so the causes of our wracke.
920Nor. Not so: euen through the hollow eyes of death,
I spie life peering: but I dare not say
How neere the tidings of our comfort is.
Wil. Nay let vs share thy thoughts, as thou dost ours
Ros. Be confident to speake Northumberland,
925We three, are but thy selfe, and speaking so,
Thy words are but as thoughts, therefore be bold.
Nor. Then thus: I haue from Port le Blan
A Bay in Britaine, receiu'd intelligence,
That Harry Duke of Herford, Rainald Lord Cobham,
930That late broke from the Duke of Exeter,
His brother Archbishop, late of Canterbury,
Sir Thomas Erpingham, Sir Iohn Rainston,
Sir Iohn Norberie, Sir Robert Waterton, & Francis Quoint,
All these well furnish'd by the Duke of Britaine,
935With eight tall ships, three thousand men of warre
Are making hither with all due expedience,
And shortly meane to touch our Northerne shore:
Perhaps they had ere this, but that they stay
The first departing of the King for Ireland.
940If then we shall shake off our slauish yoake,
Impe out our drooping Countries broken wing,
Redeeme from broaking pawne the blemish'd Crowne,
Wipe off the dust that hides our Scepters gilt,
And make high Maiestie looke like it selfe,
945Away with me in poste to Rauenspurgh,
But if you faint, as fearing to do so,
Stay, and be secret, and my selfe will go.
Ros. To horse, to horse, vrge doubts to them yt feare.
Wil. Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.
950
Exeunt.