Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Quarto 1, 1597)


Enter Richard alone.
Rich. I haue beene studying how I may compare
This prison where I liue, vnto the world:
2670And forbecause the world is populous,
And here is not a creature but my selfe,
I cannot do it: yet Ile hammer it out,
My braine Ile prooue, the female to my soule,
My soule the father, and these two beget
2675A generation of still-breeding thoughts:
And these same thoughts people this little world,
In humors like the people of this world:
For no thought is contented: the better sort,
As thoughts of things diuine are intermixt
2680With scruples, and do set the word it selfe
Against the word, as thus: Come little ones, & then againe
It is as hard to come, as for a Cammell
To threed the posterne of a small needles eie:
Thoughts tending to ambition they do plot,
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 clamorous groanes which strike vpon my hart,
Which is the bell, so sighs, and teares, and grones,
Shew minutes, times, and houres: but my time,
2725Runnes posting on in Bullingbrokes proud ioye,
While I stand fooling heere his iacke of the clocke.
This musicke maddes me, let it sound no more,
For though it haue holp mad men to their witts,
In me it seemes it will make wise men mad:
2730Yet blessing on his hart that giues it me,
For tis asigne of loue: and loue to Richard,
Is a strange brooch in this al-hating world.
Enter a groome of the stable.
Groome. Haile roiall Prince.
2735Rich. Thankes noble peare:
The cheapest of vs is ten grotes too deare.
What art thou, and how comest thou hither,
Where no man neuer comes, but that sad dog,
That brings me foode to make misfortune liue.
2740Groome. I was a poore groome ofthy stable King,
When thou wert King: who trauailling towards Yorke,
With much adoe (at length) haue gottenleaue,
To looke vpon my sometimes roiall maisters face:
Oh how it ernd my hart when I beheld,
2745In London streetes, that Corronation day,
When Bullingbroke rode on Roane Barbarie,
That horse, that thou so often hast bestride,
That horse, that I so carefully haue drest.
Rich. Rode he on Barbarie, tell me gentle freind,
2750How went he vnder him?
Groom. So proudly as if he disdaind the ground.
Ric. So proud that Bullingbroke was on his backe:
That Iade hath eate bread from my royall hand,
This hand hath made him proud with clapping him:
2755Would he not stumble, would he not fall downe
Since pride must haue a fal; and breake the necke,
Of that prond man, that did vsurpe his backe?
Forgiuenes horse why do I raile on thee?
Since thou created to be awed by man,
2760Wast borne to beare; I was not made a horse,
And yet I beare a burthen like an asse,
Spurrde, galld, and tirde by iauncing Bullingbrooke.
Enter one to Richard with meate.
Keeper Fellow, giue place, heere is no longer stay.
2765Rich. If thou loue me, tis time thou wert away.
Groome What my tong dares not, that my heart shal say.
Exit Groome.
Keeper My Lord, wilt please you to fall to?
Rich. Taste of it first as thou art wont to do.
2770Keeper My Lord I dare not, sir Pierce of Exton,
Who lately came from the King commaunds the contrary.
Rich. The diuell take Henry of Lancaster, and thee,
Patience is stale, and I am wearie of it.
Keeper Help, help, help.
2775
The murderers rush in.
Rich. How now, what meanes Death in this rude assault?
Villaine, thy owne hand yeelds thy deaths instrument,
Go thou and fill another roome in hell.
Here Exton strikes him downe.
2780Rich. That hand shall burne in neuer quenching fire,
That staggers thus my person: Exton, thy fierce hand
Hath with the kings bloud staind the kings owne land.
Mount mount my soule, thy seate is vp on high,
Whilst my grosse flesh sinckes downeward here to die,
2785Exton As full of valure as of royall bloud:
Both haue I spilld, Oh would the deede were good!
For now the diuell that told me I did well,
Saies that this deede is chronicled in hell:
This dead king to the liuing king Ile beare.
2790Take hence the rest, and giue them buriall here.