Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Richard II (Modern)
  • Editor: Catherine Lisak
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-436-3

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Catherine Lisak
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Richard II (Modern)

    Enter John of Gaunt with the Duchess of Gloucester.
    Alas, the part I had in Woodstock's blood
    Doth more solicit me than your exclaims
    220To stir against the butchers of his life.
    But since correction lieth in those hands
    Which made the fault that we cannot correct,
    Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven,
    Who, when they see the hours ripe on earth,
    225Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads.
    Duchess of Gloucester
    Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?
    Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?
    Edward's seven sons, whereof thyself art one,
    Were as seven vials of his sacred blood,
    230Or seven fair branches springing from one root.
    Some of those seven are dried by nature's course,
    Some of those branches by the Destinies cut;
    But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloucester,
    One vial full of Edward's sacred blood,
    235One flourishing branch of his most royal root,
    Is cracked, and all the precious liquor spilt,
    Is hacked down, and his summer leaves all faded
    By envy's hand and murder's bloody ax.
    Ah, Gaunt, his blood was thine! That bed, that womb,
    240That mettle, that self mold that fashioned thee
    Made him a man; and though thou liv'st and breath'st,
    Yet art thou slain in him. Thou dost consent
    In some large measure to thy father's death
    In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,
    245Who was the model of thy father's life.
    Call it not patience, Gaunt. It is despair.
    In suff'ring thus thy brother to be slaughtered,
    Thou showest the naked pathway to thy life,
    Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee.
    250That which in mean men we entitle patience
    Is pale, cold cowardice in noble breasts.
    What shall I say? To safeguard thine own life,
    The best way is to venge my Gloucester's death.
    God's is the quarrel; for God's substitute,
    255His deputy anointed in his sight,
    Hath caused his death, the which if wrongfully
    Let heaven revenge, for I may never lift
    An angry arm against his minister.
    Duchess of Gloucester
    Where then, alas, may I complain myself?
    To God, the widow's champion and defense.
    Duchess of Gloucester
    Why then I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.
    Thou goest to Coventry, there to behold
    Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight.
    Oh, set my husband's wrongs on Hereford's spear,
    265That it may enter butcher Mowbray's breast!
    Or if misfortune miss the first career,
    Be Mowbray's sins so heavy in his bosom
    That they may break his foaming courser's back
    And throw the rider headlong in the lists,
    270A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!
    Farewell, old Gaunt. Thy sometime brother's wife,
    With her companion, grief, must end her life.
    [She starts to leave.]
    Sister, farewell. I must to Coventry.
    As much good stay with thee as go with me.
    [He starts to leave.]
    275Duchess of Gloucester
    Yet one word more. Grief boundeth where it falls,
    Not with the empty hollowness, but weight.
    I take my leave before I have begun,
    For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.
    Commend me to thy brother, Edmund York.
    280Lo, this is all. Nay, yet depart not so!
    Though this be all, do not so quickly go.
    I shall remember more. Bid him -- ah, what? --
    With all good speed at Pleshy visit me,
    Alack, and what shall good old York there see
    285But empty lodgings and unfurnished walls,
    Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?
    And what hear there for welcome but my groans?
    Therefore commend me; let him not come there
    To seek out sorrow that dwells everywhere.
    290Desolate, desolate, will I hence and die.
    The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.Exeunt.