Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Catherine Lisak
Not Peer Reviewed

Richard II (Modern)

Enter the Queen with [two Ladies,] her attendants.
What sport shall we devise here in this garden
To drive away the heavy thought of care?
18101 Lady
Madam, we'll play at bowls.
'Twill make me think the world is full of rubs
And that my fortune runs against the bias.
2 Lady
Madam, we'll dance.
My legs can keep no measure in delight
1815When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief.
Therefore no dancing, girl. Some other sport.
1 Lady
Madam, we'll tell tales.
Of sorrow or of joy?
1 Lady
Of either, madam.
Of neither, girl,
For if of joy, being altogether wanting,
It doth remember me the more of sorrow;
Or if of grief, being altogether had,
It adds more sorrow to my want of joy.
1825For what I have I need not to repeat,
And what I want it boots not to complain.
2 Lady
Madam, I'll sing.
'Tis well that thou hast cause,
But thou shouldst please me better wouldst thou weep.
18302 Lady
I could weep, madam, would it do you good.
And I could sing, would weeping do me good,
And never borrow any tear of thee.
Enter [Master] Gardener [and his two Men].
But stay; here come the gardeners.
1835Let's step into the shadow of these trees.
My wretchedness unto a row of pins,
They will talk of state, for every one doth so
Against a change. Woe is forerun with woe.
[The Queen and her Ladies stand apart.]
Gardener[To one Man] Go, bind thou up young dangling apricots,
1840Which, like unruly children, make their sire
Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight.
Give some supportance to the bending twigs. --
[To other Man] Go thou, and like an executioner
Cut off the heads of too-fast-growing sprays
1845That look too lofty in our commonwealth.
All must be even in our government.
You thus employed, I will go root away
The noisome weeds which without profit suck
The soil's fertility from wholesome flowers.
Why should we, in the compass of a pale,
Keep law and form and due proportion,
Showing as in a model our firm estate,
When our sea-wallèd garden, the whole land,
Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
1855Her fruit trees all unpruned, her hedges ruined,
Her knots disordered, and her wholesome herbs
Swarming with caterpillars?
Hold thy peace,
He that hath suffered this disordered spring
1860Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf.
The weeds which his broad-spreading leaves did shelter,
That seemed in eating him to hold him up,
Are plucked up, root and all, by Bolingbroke --
I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green.
What are they dead?
They are; and Bolingbroke
Hath seized the wasteful king. Oh, what pity is it
That he had not so trimmed and dressed his land
As we this garden! We at time of year
1870Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit trees,
Lest, being over-proud in sap and blood,
With too much riches it confound itself.
Had he done so to great and growing men,
They might have lived to bear and he to taste
1875Their fruits of duty. Superfluous branches
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live.
Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,
Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down.
What, think you the King shall be deposed?
Depressed he is already, and deposed
'Tis doubt he will be. Letters came last night
To a dear friend of the good Duke of York's,
That tell black tidings.
Oh, I am pressed to death through want of speaking!
[She comes forward.]
1885Thou old Adam's likeness, set to dress this garden,
How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this unpleasing news?
What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee
To make a second fall of cursèd man?
Why dost thou say King Richard is deposed?
1890Dar'st thou, thou little better thing than earth,
Divine his downfall? Say, where, when, and how
Cam'st thou by this ill tidings? Speak, thou wretch?
Pardon me, madam. Little joy have I
To breathe this news, yet what I say is true.
1895King Richard, he is in the mighty hold
Of Bolingbroke. Their fortunes both are weighed.
In your lord's scale is nothing but himself
And some few vanities that make him light,
But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,
1900Besides himself, are all the English peers,
And with that odds he weighs King Richard down.
Post you to London and you will find it so.
I speak no more than everyone doth know.
Nimble mischance, that art so light of foot,
1905Doth not thy embassage belong to me,
And am I last that knows it? Oh, thou thinkest
To serve me last that I may longest keep
Thy sorrow in my breast. -- Come, ladies, go
To meet at London London's king in woe.
1910What, was I born to this, that my sad look
Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke? --
Gard'ner, for telling me these news of woe,
Pray God the plants thou graft'st may never grow.
Exit [with Ladies].
Poor Queen, so that thy state might be no worse,
1915I would my skill were subject to thy curse.
Here did she fall a tear. Here in this place
I'll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace.
Rue even for ruth here shortly shall be seen,
In the remembrance of a weeping queen.