Internet Shakespeare Editions

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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    Not Peer Reviewed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, now] King [Henry], with his nobles[, Harry Percy and others].
    King Henry
    Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son?
    'Tis full three months since I did see him last.
    If any plague hang over us, 'tis he.
    2500I would to God, my lords, he might be found.
    Inquire at London, 'mongst the taverns there,
    For there, they say, he daily doth frequent
    With unrestrainèd loose companions,
    Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes
    2505And beat our watch and rob our passengers,
    While he, young wanton and effeminate boy,
    Takes on the point of honor to support
    So dissolute a crew.
    My lord, some two days since I saw the Prince,
    2510And told him of those triumphs held at Oxford.
    King Henry
    And what said the gallant?
    His answer was, he would unto the stews,
    And from the common'st creature pluck a glove
    And wear it as a favor, and with that
    2515He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.
    King Henry
    As dissolute as desperate. Yet through both
    I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years,
    May happily bring forth. But who comes here?
    Enter Aumerle, amazed.
    Where is the King?
    King Henry
    What means our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly?
    God save your grace! I do beseech your majesty
    To have some conference with your grace alone.
    2525King Henry
    [To his nobles] Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.
    [Exeunt all but King Henry and Aumerle.]
    What is the matter with our cousin now?
    [Kneeling] Forever may my knees grow to the earth,
    My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth,
    Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.
    2530King Henry
    Intended or committed was this fault?
    If on the first, how heinous e'er it be,
    To win thy after-love I pardon thee.
    [Standing] Then give me leave that I may turn the key
    That no man enter till my tale be done.
    2535King Henry
    Have thy desire.
    [Aumerle locks the door.]
    The Duke of York knocks at the door and crieth.
    [Within] My liege, beware! Look to thyself!
    Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.
    King Henry
    [To Aumerle] Villain, I'll make thee safe.
    [He draws his sword.]
    Stay thy revengeful hand. Thou hast no cause to fear.
    [Within] Open the door, secure, foolhardy King!
    Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?
    Open the door, or I will break it open.
    [King Henry unlocks the door.]
    [Enter the Duke of York.]
    2545King Henry
    What is the matter, uncle? Speak.
    Recover breath. Tell us how near is danger
    That we may arm us to encounter it.
    [Holding out a letter] Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know
    The treason that my haste forbids me show.
    [To King Henry] Remember, as thou read'st, thy promise passed.
    I do repent me. Read not my name there.
    My heart is not confederate with my hand.
    It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down. --
    I tore it from the traitor's bosom, King.
    2555Fear, and not love, begets his penitence.
    Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove
    A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.
    King Henry
    Oh, heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy!
    Oh, loyal father of a treacherous son!
    2560Thou sheer, immaculate, and silver fountain
    From whence this stream, through muddy passages,
    Hath held his current and defiled himself,
    Thy overflow of good converts to bad,
    And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
    2565This deadly blot in thy digressing son.
    So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd,
    And he shall spend mine honor with his shame,
    As thriftless sons their scraping fathers' gold.
    Mine honor lives when his dishonor dies,
    2570Or my shamed life in his dishonor lies.
    Thou kill'st me in his life: giving him breath,
    The traitor lives, the true man's put to death.
    Duchess of York
    [Within] What ho, my liege! For God's sake, let me in!
    2575King Henry
    What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?
    Duchess of York
    [Within] A woman, and thy aunt, great King; 'tis I.
    Speak with me. Pity me. Open the door!
    A beggar begs that never begged before.
    King Henry
    Our scene is altered from a serious thing,
    2580And now changed to "the Beggar and the King." --
    My dangerous cousin, let your mother in.
    I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.
    [ Aumerle opens the door.]
    [The Duchess of York enters and kneels.]
    If thou do pardon whosoever pray,
    More sins for this forgiveness prosper may.
    2585This festered joint cut off, the rest rest sound.
    This let alone will all the rest confound.
    Duchess of York
    Oh, King! Believe not this hard-hearted man.
    Love loving not itself, none other can.
    Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
    Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?
    Duchess of York
    Sweet York, be patient. -- Hear me, gentle liege.
    King Henry
    Rise up, good aunt.
    Duchess of York
    Not yet, I thee beseech.
    2595Forever will I walk upon my knees
    And never see day that the happy sees,
    Till thou give joy, until thou bid me joy
    By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.
    [Kneeling] Unto my mother's prayers I bend my knee.
    [Kneeling] Against them both my true joints bended be.
    2600.1Ill mayst thou thrive if thou grant any grace.
    Duchess of York
    Pleads he in earnest? Look upon his face.
    His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest;
    His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast.
    He prays but faintly, and would be denied.
    2605We pray with heart and soul and all beside.
    His weary joints would gladly rise, I know.
    Our knees still kneel till to the ground they grow.
    His prayers are full of false hypocrisy,
    Ours of true zeal and deep integrity.
    2610Our prayers do outpray his. Then let them have
    That mercy which true prayer ought to have.
    Good aunt, stand up.
    Duchess of York
    Nay, do not say "stand up."
    Say "pardon" first, and afterwards "stand up."
    2615An if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,
    "Pardon" should be the first word of thy speech.
    I never longed to hear a word till now.
    Say "pardon," King. Let pity teach thee how.
    The word is short, but not so short as sweet.
    2620No word like "pardon" for kings' mouths so meet.
    Speak it in French, King. Say, "pardonnez-moi.".
    Duchess of York
    Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?
    Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,
    That sets the word itself against the word!
    2625Speak "pardon" as 'tis current in our land;
    [To King Henry] The chopping French we do not understand.
    Thine eye begins to speak; set thy tongue there;
    Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear,
    That, hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce,
    2630Pity may move thee "pardon" to rehearse.
    King Henry
    Good aunt, stand up.
    Duchess of York
    I do not sue to stand.
    Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.
    King Richard
    I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.
    2635Duchess of York
    Oh, happy vantage of a kneeling knee!
    Yet am I sick for fear. Speak it again.
    Twice saying "pardon" doth not pardon twain,
    But makes one pardon strong.
    King Henry
    I pardon him with all my heart.
    2640Duchess of York
    A god on earth thou art.
    [They all stand.]
    King Henry
    But for our trusty brother-in-law and the Abbot,
    With all the rest of that consorted crew,
    Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.
    Good uncle, help to order several powers
    2645To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are.
    They shall not live within this world, I swear,
    But I will have them if I once know where.
    Uncle, farewell; -- and cousin, adieu.
    Your mother well hath prayed; and prove you true.
    2650Duchess of York
    [To Aumerle] Come, my old son. I pray God make thee new.