Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Quarto 1, 1597)


King Richard the second.
505Returne with welcome home from banishment.
Bull. How long a time lies in one little word.
Foure lagging winters and foure wanton springes,
End in a word, such is the breath of Kinges.
Gaunt. I thanke my liege that in regard of me,
510He shortens foure yeares ofmy sonnes exile,
But little vantage shall I reape thereby:
For eare the sixe yeares that he hath to spend
Can change their moones, and bring their times about,
My oile-dried lampe, and time bewasted light
515Shall be extint with age and endlesse nightes,
My intch of taper will be burnt and done,
And blindfold Death not let me see my sonne.
King. Why Vnckle thou hast many yeares to liue.
Gaunt. But not a minute King that thou canst giue,
520Shorten my daies thou canst with sullen sorrowe,
And plucke nights from me, but not lend a morrow:
Thou canst helpe time to furrow me with age,
But stoppe no wrinckle in his pilgrimage:
Thy word is currant with him for my death,
525But dead, thy kingdome cannot buy my breath.
King. Thy sonne is banisht vpon good aduise,
Whereto thy tong a party verdict gaue,
Why at our iustice seemst thou then to lower?
Gaunt. Things sweet to taste, prooue in digestion sowre.
530You vrgde me as a iudge, but I had rather,
You would haue bid me argue like a father:
531.1Oh had't beene a stranger, not my child,
To smooth his fault I should haue beene more milde:
A partiall slaunder ought I to auoide,
And in the sentence my owne life destroyed:
Alas, I lookt when some of you should say,
I was too strict to make mine owne away:
But you gaue leaue to my vnwilling tongue,
535Against my will to do my selfe this wrong.
King. Coosen farewel, and Vnckle, bid him so,
Sixe yeares we banish him and he shall go.
C
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