Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Quarto 1, 1597)


King Richard the second.
2685Vnlikely wonders: how these vaine weake nailes
May teare a passage thorow the flinty ribs
Of this hard world my ragged prison walles:
And for they cannot die in their owne pride,
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselues,
2690That they are not the first of fortunes slaues,
Nor shall not be the last like seely beggars,
Who sitting in the stockes refuge their shame,
That many haue, and others must set there.
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
2695Bearing their owne misfortunes on the backe
Of such as haue before indurde the like.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented; sometimes am I King,
Then treasons make me wish my selfe a beggar,
2700And so I am: then crushing penurie
Perswades me I was better when a king,
Then am I kingd againe, and by and by,
Thinke that I am vnkingd by Bullingbrooke,
And strait am nothing. But what ere I be,
2705Nor I, nor any man, that but man is,
With nothing shall be pleasde, till he be easde,
With being nothing. Musicke do I heare,
the musike plaies
Ha ha keepe time, how sowre sweete Musicke is
When time is broke, and no proportion kept,
2710So is it in the musike of mens liues:
And here haue I the daintinesse of eare
To checke time broke in a disordered string:
But for the concord of my state and time,
Had not an eare to heare my true time broke,
2715I wasted time, and now doth time waste me:
For now hath time made me his numbring clocke;
My thoughts are minutes, and with sighes they iarre,
Their watches on vnto mine eyes the outward watch
Whereto my finger like a dialles poynt,
2720Is pointing still, in cleansing them from teares.
Now sir, the sound that telles what houre it is,
Are