Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Not Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Modern)

Enter [Bolingbroke], [Duke of Lancaster and] Hereford, [and] Northumberland [with soldiers].
How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?
Believe me, noble lord,
I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire.
These high wild hills and rough uneven ways
1110Draws out our miles and makes them wearisome.
And yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar,
Making the hard way sweet and delectable.
But I bethink me what a weary way
From Ravenspurgh to Cotshall will be found
1115In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company,
Which, I protest, hath very much beguiled
The tediousness and process of my travel.
But theirs is sweetened with the hope to have
The present benefit which I possess;
1120And hope to joy is little less in joy
Than hope enjoyed. By this the weary lords
Shall make their way seem short as mine hath done
By sight of what I have, your noble company.
Of much less value is my company
1125Than your good words. But who comes here?
Enter Harry Percy.
It is my son, young Harry Percy,
Sent from my brother Worcester whencesoever. --
Harry, how fares your uncle?
I had thought, my lord, to have learned his health of you.
Why, is he not with the Queen?
No, my good lord. He hath forsook the court,
Broken his staff of office, and dispersed
1135The Household of the King.
What was his reason? He was not so resolved
When last we spake together.
Because your lordship was proclaimèd traitor,
But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurgh
1140To offer service to the Duke of Hereford,
And sent me over by Berkeley to discover
What power the Duke of York had levied there,
Then with directions to repair to Ravenspurgh.
Have you forgot the Duke of Hereford, boy?
No, my good lord, for that is not forgot
Which ne'er I did remember. To my knowledge,
I never in my life did look on him.
Then learn to know him now. This is the Duke.
[To Bolingbroke] My gracious lord, I tender you my service,
Such as it is, being tender, raw, and young,
Which elder days shall ripen and confirm
To more approvèd service and desert.
I thank thee, gentle Percy; and be sure
1155I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb'ring my good friends;
And as my fortune ripens with thy love,
It shall be still thy true love's recompense.
My heart this covenant makes; my hand thus seals it.
[He gives Percy his hand.]
[To Percy] How far is it to Berkeley? And what stir
Keeps good old York there with his men of war?
There stands the castle by yon tuft of trees,
Manned with three hundred men, as I have heard;
And in it are the lords of York, Berkeley, and Seymour,
1165None else of name and noble estimate.
[Enter Ross and Willoughby.]
Here come the lords of Ross and Willoughby,
Bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste.
Welcome, my lords. I wot your love pursues
1170A banished traitor. All my treasury
Is yet but unfelt thanks, which, more enriched,
Shall be your love and labor's recompense.
Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord.
And far surmounts our labor to attain it.
Evermore thank's the exchequer of the poor,
Which, till my infant fortune comes to years,
Stands for my bounty. But who comes here?
[Enter Berkeley.]
It is my lord of Berkeley, as I guess.
My lord of Hereford, my message is to you.
My lord, my answer is -- "to Lancaster,"
And I am come to seek that name in England,
And I must find that title in your tongue
Before I make reply to aught you say.
Mistake me not, my lord, 'tis not my meaning
To rase one title of your honor out.
To you, my lord, I come, what lord you will,
From the most gracious regent of this land,
The Duke of York, to know what pricks you on
1190To take advantage of the absent time
And fright our native peace with self-borne arms.
[Enter York.]
I shall not need transport my words by you.
Here comes his grace in person. -- My noble uncle!
[He kneels.]
Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee,
Whose duty is deceivable and false.
[Standing] My gracious uncle --
Tut, tut!
Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle.
I am no traitor's uncle, and that word "grace"
1200In an ungracious mouth is but profane.
Why have those banished and forbidden legs
Dared once to touch a dust of England's ground?
But then more "why": why have they dared to march
So many miles upon her peaceful bosom,
1205Frighting her pale-faced villages with war
And ostentation of despisèd arms?
Com'st thou because the anointed King is hence?
Why, foolish boy, the King is left behind,
And in my loyal bosom lies his power.
1210Were I but now the lord of such hot youth
As when brave Gaunt, thy father, and myself
Rescued the Black Prince, that young Mars of men,
From forth the ranks of many thousand French,
Oh, then, how quickly should this arm of mine,
1215Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee
And minister correction to thy fault!
My gracious uncle, let me know my fault.
On what condition stands it and wherein?
Even in condition of the worst degree,
1220In gross rebellion and detested treason.
Thou art a banished man, and here art come,
Before the expiration of thy time,
In braving arms against thy sovereign.
As I was banished, I was banished Hereford;
1225But as I come, I come for Lancaster.
And, noble uncle, I beseech your grace
Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye.
You are my father, for methinks in you
I see old Gaunt alive. Oh, then, my father,
1230Will you permit that I shall stand condemned
A wandering vagabond, my rights and royalties
Plucked from my arms perforce and given away
To upstart unthrifts? Wherefore was I born?
If that my cousin king be King in England,
1235It must be granted I am Duke of Lancaster.
You have a son, Aumerle, my noble cousin.
Had you first died and he been thus trod down,
He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father
To rouse his wrongs and chase them to the bay.
1240I am denied to sue my livery here,
And yet my letters patents give me leave.
My father's goods are all distrained and sold,
And these, and all, are all amiss employed.
What would you have me do? I am a subject,
1245And I challenge law. Attorneys are denied me,
And therefore personally I lay my claim
To my inheritance of free descent.
[To York] The noble Duke hath been too much abused.
[To York] It stands your grace upon to do him right.
[To York] Base men by his endowments are made great.
My lords of England, let me tell you this:
I have had feeling of my cousin's wrongs
And labored all I could to do him right.
But in this kind to come, in braving arms,
1255Be his own carver, and cut out his way
To find out right with wrong, it may not be.
And you that do abet him in this kind
Cherish rebellion and are rebels all.
The noble Duke hath sworn his coming is
1260But for his own, and for the right of that
We all have strongly sworn to give him aid.
And let him never see joy that breaks that oath!
Well, well. I see the issue of these arms.
I cannot mend it, I must needs confess,
1265Because my power is weak and all ill-left;
But if I could, by Him that gave me life,
I would attach you all and make you stoop
Unto the sovereign mercy of the King.
But since I cannot, be it known unto you,
1270I do remain as neuter. So fare you well --
Unless you please to enter in the castle
And there repose you for this night.
An offer, uncle, that we will accept.
But we must win your grace to go with us
1275To Bristol castle, which they say is held
By Bushy, Bagot, and their complices,
The caterpillars of the commonwealth,
Which I have sworn to weed and pluck away.
It may be I will go with you; but yet I'll pause,
1280For I am loath to break our country's laws.
Nor friends nor foes, to me welcome you are.
Things past redress are now with me past care.