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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Bolingbroke, York, Northumberland, [attendants, soldiers with drums and colors, and trumpeter.]
    So that by this intelligence we learn
    1585The Welshmen are dispersed, and Salisbury
    Is gone to meet the King, who lately landed
    With some few private friends upon this coast.
    The news is very fair and good, my lord:
    Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.
    It would beseem the lord Northumberland
    To say "King Richard." Alack the heavy day
    When such a sacred king should hide his head!
    Your grace mistakes. Only to be brief,
    Left I his title out.
    The time hath been,
    1595.1Would you have been so brief with him, he would
    Have been so brief with you to shorten you,
    For taking so the head, your whole head's length.
    Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.
    Take not, good cousin, further than you should,
    Lest you mistake. The heavens are over our heads.
    I know it, uncle, and oppose not myself
    Against their will. But who comes here?
    Enter [Harry] Percy.
    1605Welcome, Harry. What, will not this castle yield?
    The castle royally is manned, my lord,
    Against thy entrance.
    Royally? Why, it contains no king.
    Yes, my good lord,
    1610It doth contain a king. King Richard lies
    Within the limits of yon lime and stone,
    And with him are the lord Aumerle, lord Salisbury,
    Sir Stephen Scroop, besides a clergyman
    Of holy reverence -- who, I cannot learn.
    Oh, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.
    [To Northumberland] Noble lord,
    Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle;
    Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley
    Into his ruined ears, and thus deliver:
    1620Henry Bolingbroke
    On both his knees doth kiss King Richard's hand,
    And sends allegiance and true faith of heart
    To his most royal person, hither come
    Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,
    Provided that my banishment repealed
    1625And lands restored again be freely granted.
    If not, I'll use the advantage of my power,
    And lay the summer's dust with showers of blood
    Rained from the wounds of slaughtered Englishmen;
    The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke
    1630It is such crimson tempest should bedrench
    The fresh green lap of fair King Richard's land,
    My stooping duty tenderly shall show.
    Go signify as much while here we march
    Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.
    [Northumberland and trumpeter approach the battlements.]
    1635Let's march without the noise of threat'ning drum,
    That from this castle's tottered battlements
    Our fair appointments may be well perused.
    Methinks King Richard and myself should meet
    With no less terror than the elements
    1640Of fire and water, when their thund'ring shock
    At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.
    Be he the fire, I'll be the yielding water;
    The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain
    My waters: on the earth, and not on him.
    1645March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.
    The trumpets sound [a parle without, followed by an answer from within; then a flourish. King] Richard appears on the walls, with] Carlisle, Aumerle, Scroop, [and] Salisbury.
    See, see, King Richard doth himself appear
    1650As doth the blushing discontented sun
    From out the fiery portal of the east
    When he perceives the envious clouds are bent
    To dim his glory and to stain the track
    Of his bright passage to the occident.
    Yet looks he like a king. Behold, his eye,
    As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth
    Controlling majesty. Alack, alack for woe
    That any harm should stain so fair a show!
    King Richard
    [To Northumberland below] We are amazed, and thus long have we stood
    1660To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,
    Because we thought ourself thy lawful king.
    And if we be, how dare thy joints forget
    To pay their awful duty to our presence?
    If we be not, show us the hand of God
    1665That hath dismissed us from our stewardship;
    For well we know no hand of blood and bone
    Can gripe the sacred handle of our scepter,
    Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
    And though you think that all, as you have done,
    1670Have torn their souls by turning them from us,
    And we are barren and bereft of friends,
    Yet know, my master, God omnipotent,
    Is mustering in his clouds on our behalf
    Armies of pestilence, and they shall strike
    1675Your children yet unborn and unbegot,
    That lift your vassal hands against my head
    And threat the glory of my precious crown.
    Tell Bolingbroke, for yon methinks he stands,
    That every stride he makes upon my land
    1680Is dangerous treason. He is come to open
    The purple testament of bleeding war;
    But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
    Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons
    Shall ill become the flower of England's face,
    1685Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
    To scarlet indignation, and bedew
    Her pasture's grass with faithful English blood.
    The King of heaven forbid our lord the King
    Should so with civil and uncivil arms
    1690Be rushed upon! Thy thrice-noble cousin,
    Harry Bolingbroke, doth humbly kiss thy hand,
    And by the honorable tomb he swears
    That stands upon your royal grandsire's bones,
    And by the royalties of both your bloods,
    1695Currents that spring from one most gracious head,
    And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt,
    And by the worth and honor of himself,
    Comprising all that may be sworn or said,
    His coming hither hath no further scope
    1700Than for his lineal royalties, and to beg
    Enfranchisement immediate on his knees;
    Which on thy royal party granted once,
    His glittering arms he will commend to rust,
    His barbèd steeds to stables, and his heart
    1705To faithful service of your majesty.
    This swears he, as he is a prince and just,
    And as I am a gentleman, I credit him.
    King Richard
    Northumberland, say thus the King returns:
    His noble cousin is right welcome hither,
    1710And all the number of his fair demands
    Shall be accomplished without contradiction.
    With all the gracious utterance thou hast,
    Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.
    [Northumberland and the trumpeter return to Bolingbroke.]
    [To Aumerle] We do debase ourselves, cousin, do we not,
    1715To look so poorly and to speak so fair?
    Shall we call back Northumberland and send
    Defiance to the traitor and so die?
    No, good my lord, let's fight with gentle words,
    Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful swords.
    1720King Richard
    O God, O God, that e'er this tongue of mine
    That laid the sentence of dread banishment
    On yon proud man should take it off again
    With words of sooth! O that I were as great
    As is my grief, or lesser than my name!
    1725Or that I could forget what I have been,
    Or not remember what I must be now!
    Swell'st thou, proud heart? I'll give thee scope to beat,
    Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.
    [Northumberland makes his way back to the walls.]
    Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.
    King Richard
    What must the King do now? Must he submit?
    The King shall do it. Must he be deposed?
    The King shall be contented. Must he lose
    The name of king? I' God's name, let it go.
    1735I'll give my jewels for a set of beads,
    My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
    My gay apparel for an almsman's gown,
    My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
    My scepter for a palmer's walking-staff,
    1740My subjects for a pair of carvèd saints,
    And my large kingdom for a little grave,
    A little, little grave, an obscure grave;
    Or I'll be buried in the King's highway,
    Some way of common trade, where subjects' feet
    1745May hourly trample on their sovereign's head;
    For on my heart they tread now whilst I live,
    And, buried once, why not upon my head?
    Aumerle, thou weep'st, my tender-hearted cousin.
    We'll make foul weather with despisèd tears;
    1750Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn
    And make a dearth in this revolting land.
    Or shall we play the wantons with our woes
    And make some pretty match with shedding tears?
    As thus, to drop them still upon one place
    1755Till they have fretted us a pair of graves
    Within the earth; and therein laid -- there lies
    Two kinsmen digged their graves with weeping eyes.
    Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see
    I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
    [Northumberland draws near.]
    1760Most mighty prince, my lord Northumberland,
    What says King Bolingbroke? Will his majesty
    Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?
    You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says "ay."
    My lord, in the base court he doth attend
    1765To speak with you, may it please you to come down.
    King Richard
    Down, down I come, like glist'ring Phaëton,
    Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
    In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base,
    To come at traitors' calls and do them grace.
    1770In the base court come down? Down court! Down King!
    For night owls shriek where mounting larks should sing.
    [Exeunt King Richard and party from above.]
    [Northumberland reports back to Bolingbroke.]
    What says his majesty?
    Sorrow and grief of heart
    Makes him speak fondly like a frantic man,
    1775Yet he is come.
    [Enter King Richard and his party below.]
    Stand all apart,
    And show fair duty to his majesty.He kneels down.
    My gracious lord.
    King Richard
    Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee
    To make the base earth proud with kissing it.
    Me rather had my heart might feel your love,
    Then my unpleased eye see your courtesy.
    Up cousin, up. Your heart is up, I know,
    1785Thus high at least [He points to his crown.] although your knee be low.
    [standing] My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.
    King Richard
    Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.
    So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,
    As my true service shall deserve your love.
    King Richard
    Well you deserve. They well deserve to have
    That know the strong'st and surest way to get. --
    1795[To York] Uncle, give me your hands. Nay, dry your eyes.
    Tears show their love, but want their remedies. --
    [To Bolingbroke] Cousin, I am too young to be your father,
    Though you are old enough to be my heir.
    What you will have, I'll give, and willing, too;
    1800For do we must what force will have us do.
    Set on towards London, cousin, is it so?
    Yea, my good lord.
    King Richard
    Then I must not say no.