Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Quarto 1, 1597)


The Tragedie of
As praises of whose taste the wise are found
660Lasciuious meeters, to whose venome sound
The open eare of youth doth aIwayes listen,
Report of fashions in proude Italie,
Whose maners still our tardy apish nation
Limps after in base imitation:
665Where doth the world thrust forth a vanitie,
So it be new, theres no respect how vile,
That is not quickly buzde into his eares?
Then all too late comes Counsell to be heard,
Where will doth mutiny with wits regard:
670Direct not him whose way himselfe wil chuse,
Tis breath thou lackst and that breath wilt thou loose.
Gaunt Me thinkes I am a prophet new inspirde,
And thus expiring do foretell of him,
His rash fierce blaze of ryot cannot last:
675For violent fires soone burne out themselues.
Small shoures last long, but sodaine stormes are short:
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes
With eagre feeding foode doth choke the feeder,
Light vanitie insatiate cormorant,
680Consuming meanes soone praies vpon it selfe:
This royall throne of Kings, this sceptred Ile,
This earth of maiestie, this seate of Mars,
This other Eden, demy Paradice,
This fortresse built by Nature for her selfe,
685Against infection and the hand of warre,
This happy breede of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the siluer sea,
Which serues it in the office of a wall,
Or as moate defensiue to a house,
690Against the enuie oflesse happier lands.
This blessed plot, this earth, this realme, this England,
This nurse, this teeming wombe of royall Kings,
Feard by their breed, and famous by theyr byrth,
Renowned for theyr deedes as far from home,
695For christian seruice, and true chiualry,