Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Quarto 1, 1597)


Enter Iohn of Gaunt sicke, with the duke of Yorke, &c.
Gaunt. Wil the King come that I may breathe my last?
In holsome counsell to his vnstaied youth.
Yorke Vex not your selfe, nor striue not with your breath,
645For all in vaine comes counsell to his eare.
Gaunt. Oh but they say, the tongues of dying men,
Inforce attention like deepe harmony:
Where words are scarce they are seldome spent in vaine,
For they breathe truth that breathe their wordes in paine:
650He that no more must say, is listened more
Than they whom youth and ease haue taught to glose,
More are mens ends markt than their liues before:
The setting Sunne, and Musike at the close,
As the last taste of sweetes is sweetest last,
655Writ in remembrance more than things long past,
Though Richard my liues counsell would not heare,
My deaths sad tale may yet vndeafe his eare.
Yorke No, it is stopt with other flattering soundes,
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,
As is the sepulchre in stubburne Iewry,
Of the worldsransome blessed Maries sonne:
This land of such deare soules, this deere deere land,
Deare for her reputation through the world,
700Is now leasde out; I dye pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting Farme.
England bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rockie shoare beates backe the enuious siege
Of watry Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
705With inckie blots, 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?
Yorke The King is come, deale mildely with his youth,
For young hot colts being ragde, do rage the more.
710
Enter king and Queene, &c.
Queene How fares our noble vncle Lancaster?
715King What comfort man? how ist with aged Gaunt?
Gaunt O how that name befits my composition!
Old Gaunt indeede, and gaunt in being olde:
Within me Griefe hath kept a tedious fast.
And who abstaines from meate that is not gaunt?
720For sleeping England long time haue I watcht,
Watching breedes leanenesse, leanenesse 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 inherites naught but bones.
King Can sicke men play so nicely with their names?
Gaunt No misery makes sport to mocke it selfe,
Since thou dost seeke to kill my name in me,
730I mocke my name (great King) to flatter thee.
King Should dying men flatter with those that liue?
Gaunt No no, men liuing flatter those that die.
King. Thou now a dying sayest thou flatterest me.
Gaunt. Oh no, thou diest, though I the sicker be.
735King. I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.
Gaunt. Now he that made me knowes I see theeill.
Ill in my selfe to see, and in thee, seeing ill,
Thy death-bed is no lesser than thy land,
Wherein thou liest in reputation sicke,
740And thou too carelesse pacient as thou art
Commitst thy annoynted body to the cure
Ofthose Physitions that first wounded thee,
A thousand flatterers sit within thy Crowne,
Whose compasse is no bigger than thy head,
745And yet inraged in so small a verge,
The waste is no whit lesser than thy land:
Oh had thy grandsire with a Prophets eie,
Seene how his sonnes sonne should destroy his sonnes,
From forth thy reach he would haue Iaid thy shame,
750Deposing thee before thou wert possest,
Which art possest now to depose thy selfe:
Why cousin wert thou regent of the world,
It were a shame to let this land by lease:
But for thy world enioying but this land,
755Is it not more than shame to shame it so?
Landlord of England art thou now not, not King,
Thy state of lawe is bondslaue to the lawe,
And thou
King. A lunatike leane-witted foole,
760Presuming on an agues priuiledge,
Darest with thy frozen admonition
Make pale our cheeke, chasing the royall bloud
With furie from his natiue residence.
Now by my seates right royall maiestie,
765Wert thou not brother to great Edwards sonne,
This tong that runnes so roundly in thy head,
Should runne thy head from thy vnreuerent shoulders.
Gaunt Oh spare me not my brothers Edwards sonne,
For that I was his father Edwards sonne,
770That bloud already like the Pellican,
Hast thou tapt out and drunkenly carowst,
My brother Glocester plaine well meaning soule,
Whom faire befall in heauen mongst happy soules,
Maie be a president and witnes good:
775That thou respectst not spilling Edwards bloud:
Ioine with the present sicknes that I haue,
And thy vnkindnes be like crooked age,
To crop at once a too long withered flower,
Liue in thy shame, but die not shame with thee,
780These words hereafter thy tormentors be,
Convay me to my bed then to my graue,
Loue they to liue that loue and honour haue.
Exit.
King And let them die that age and sullens haue,
For both hast thou, and both become the graue.
785Yorke I doe beseech your Maiesty, impute his words
To waiward sicklines and age in him,
He loues you on my life, and holdes you deere,
As Harry Duke of Hereford were he here.
King Right, you say true, as Herefords loue, so his
790As theirs, so mine, and all be as it is.
North. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your Ma-
King What saies he?
795North. Nay nothing, all is said:
His tongue is now a stringlesse instrument,
Words, life, and al, old Lancaster hath spent.
Yorke Be Yorke the next that must be bankrout so,
Though death be poore, it ends a mortall wo.
800King The ripest fruitfirst fals, and so doth he,
His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be;
So much for that. Now for our Irish wars,
We must supplant those rough rugheaded kerne,
Which liue like venome, where no venome else,
805But onely they haue priuiledge to liue.
And for these great affaires do aske some charge,
Towards our assistance we doe seaze to vs:
The plate, coine, reuenewes, and moueables
Whereof our Vnckle Gaunt did stand possest.
810Yorke How long shal I be patient? ah how long
Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?
Not Glocesters death, nor Herefords banishment,
Nor Gauntes rebukes, nor Englands priuate wrongs,
Nor the preuention of poore Bullingbrooke,
815About his mariadge, nor my owne disgrace,
Haue euer made me sower my patient cheeke,
Or bende 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 ragde more fierce,
In peace was neuer gentle lambe more milde,
Then was that young and princely Gentleman:
His face thou hast, for euen so lookt he,
Accomplisht with a number of thy howers;
825But when he frowned it was against the french,
And not against his friends: his noble hand
Did win what he did spende, and spent not that
Which his triumphant fathers hand had wonne:
His hands were guilty of no kinred bloud,
830But bloudie with the enemies of his kinne:
Oh Richard: Yorke is too far gone with griefe,
Or else he neuer would compare betweene.
King Why Vnckle whats the matter?
835Yorke Oh my liege, pardone me if you please,
If not I pleasd not to be pardoned, am content with all,
Seeke you to seaze and gripe into your hands
The roialties and rights of banisht Hereford:
Is not Gaunt dead? and doth not Hereford liue?
840Was not Gaunt iust? and is not Harrie true?
Did not the one deserue to haue an heire?
Is not his heire a well deseruing sonne?
Take Herefordes rightes away, and take from time
His charters, and his customarie rightes;
845Let not to morrow then ensue to daie:
Be not thy selfe. For how ait thou a King
But by faire sequence and succession?
Now afore God God forbidde I say true,
If you doe wrongfully seaze Herefords rightes,
850Call in the letters patents that he hath
By his attourneies generall to sue
His liuery, and deny his offred 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 honour, and alleageance cannot thinke.
King Thinke what you wil, we cease into our hands
His plate, his goods, his money and his landes.
Yorke Ile not be by the while, my liege farewell,
860What will ensue hereof thers none can tell:
But by bad courses may be vnderstood
That their euents can neuer fall out good.
Exit.
King Go Bushie to the Earle of Wiltshire straight,
Bid him repaire to vs to Ely house,
865To see this busines: to morrow next
We will for Ireland, and tis time I trow,
And we create in absence of our selfe,
Our Vnckle Yorke Lord gouernour of England;
For he is iust, and alwaies loued vs well:
870Come on our Queene, to morrow must we part,
Be merry, for our time of staie is short.
Exeunt King andQueene:
Manet North.
North. Well Lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.
Rosse And liuing to, for now his sonne is Duke.
875Will. Barely in title, not in reuenewes.
North. Richly in both ifiustice had her right.
Rosse My heart is great, but it must breake with silence,
Eart be disburdened with a liberall tongue.
North. Nay speake thy mind, & let him nere speake more
880That speakes thy wordsagaine to doe thee harme.
Wil. Tends that thou wouldst speake to the Duke of Her-
If it be so, out with it boldlyman,
Quicke is mine eare to heare of good towards him.
Rosse No good at all that I can doe for him,
885Vnlesse you call it good to pitty him,
Bereft, and gelded of his patrimony.
North. Now afore God tis shame such wrongs are borne,
In him a royall Prince and many mo,
890Of noble bloud 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,
895Gainst vs, our liues, our children, and our heires.
Rosse The commons hath he pild with grieuous taxes,
And quite lost their hearts. The nobles hath he finde,
For ancient quarrels and quite lost their hearts.
Willo. And daily new exactions are deuisde,
900As blanckes, beneuolences, and I wot not what:
But what a Gods name doth become of this?
North. Wars hath not wasted it, for warrde he hath not,
But basely yeelded vpon compromise,
That which his noble auncestors atchiued with blowes,
905More hath he spent in peace then they in wars.
Rosse The Earle of Wiltshire hath the realme in farme.
Will. The King growen banckrout like a broken man.
North. Reproch and dissolution hangeth ouer him.
Rosse He hath not money for these Irish wars,
910His burthenous taxations notwithstanding,
But by the robbing ofthe banisht Duke.
North. 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 wind sit sore vpon our sailes,
And yet we strike not, but securely perish.
Rosse We see the very wracke that we must suffer,
And vnauoided is the danger now
For suffering so the causes of our wracke.
920North. Not so, euen through the hollow eies 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.
Rosse Be confident to speake Northumberland
925We three are but thy selfe, and speaking so
Thy words are but as thoughts, therefore be bold.
North. Then thus, I haue from le Port Blan
A Bay in Brittaine receiude intelligence,
That Harry duke of Herford, Rainold L. Cobham
930That late broke from the Duke of Exeter
His brother, archbishop late of Canterburie,
Sir Thomas Erpingham, sir Iohn Ramston,
Sir Iohn Norbery, sir Robert Waterton, and Francis Coines;
All these well furnished by the Duke of Brittaine
935With eight tall shippes, 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.
940Ifthen we shall shake off our slauish yoke,
Impe out our drowping countries broken wing,
Redeeme from Broking pawne the blemisht Crowne,
Wipe off the dust that hides our Scepters guilt,
And make high Maiestie looke like it selfe,
945Away with me in post to Rauenspurgh:
But if you faint, as fearing to do so,
Stay, and be secret, and my selfe will go.
Rosse To horse, to horse, vrge doubts to them that feare.
Willo. Holde out my horse, and I will first be there.
950
Exeunt.