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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act IV. Scene I.

The Tragedy of King Richard the Second

London.Westminster Hall.

The Lords spiritual on the right side of the throne: the Lords temporal on the left; the Commons below.Enter BOLINGBROKE, AUMERLE, SURREY, NORTHUMBERLAND, HENRY PERCY, FITZWATER, another Lord, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, the ABBOT OF WESTMINSTER, and Attendants.Officers behind with BAGOT.

Boling.Call forth Bagot.

Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind;

What thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death,

Who wrought it with the king, and who perform’d

The bloody office of his timeless end.

Bagot.Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.

Boling.Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.

Bagot.My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue

Scorns to unsay what once it hath deliver’d.

In that dead time when Gloucester’s death was plotted,

I heard you say, ‘Is not my arm of length,

That reacheth from the restful English court

As far as Calais, to my uncle’s head?’

Amongst much other talk, that very time,

I heard you say that you had rather refuse

The offer of a hundred thousand crowns

Than Bolingbroke’s return to England;

Adding withal, how blest this land would be

In this your cousin’s death.

Aum.Princes and noble lords,

What answer shall I make to this base man?

Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars,

On equal terms to give him chastisement?

Either I must, or have mine honour soil’d

With the attainder of his slanderous lips.

There is my gage, the manual seal of death,

That marks thee out for hell: I say thou liest,

And will maintain what thou hast said is false

In thy heart-blood, though being all too base

To stain the temper of my knightly sword.

Boling.Bagot, forbear; thou shalt not take it up.

Aum.Excepting one, I would he were the best

In all this presence that hath mov’d me so.

Fitz.If that thy valour stand on sympathies,

There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine:

By that fair sun which shows me where thou stand’st,

I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak’st it,

That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester’s death.

If thou deny’st it twenty times, thou liest;

And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,

Where it was forged, with my rapier’s point.

Aum.Thou dar’st not, coward, live to see that day.

Fitz.Now, by my soul, I would it were this hour.

Aum.Fitzwater, thou art damn’d to hell for this.

H. Percy.Aumerle, thou liest; his honour is as true

In this appeal as thou art all unjust;

And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,

To prove it on thee to the extremest point

Of mortal breathing: seize it if thou dar’st.

Aum.And if I do not may my hands rot off

And never brandish more revengeful steel

Over the glittering helmet of my foe!

Lord.I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle;

And spur thee on with full as many lies

As may be holla’d in thy treacherous ear

From sun to sun: there is my honour’s pawn;

Engage it to the trial if thou dar’st.

Aum.Who sets me else? by heaven, I’ll throw at all:

I have a thousand spirits in one breast,

To answer twenty thousand such as you.

Surrey.My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well

The very time Aumerle and you did talk.

Fitz.’Tis very true: you were in presence then;

And you can witness with me this is true.

Surrey.As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.

Fitz.Surrey, thou liest.

Surrey.Dishonourable boy!

That lie shall lie so heavy on my sword

That it shall render vengeance and revenge,

Till thou the lie-giver and that lie do lie

In earth as quiet as thy father’s skull.

In proof whereof, there is my honour’s pawn:

Engage it to the trial if thou dar’st.

Fitz.How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!

If I dare eat, or drink, or breathe, or live,

I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness,

And spit upon him, whilst I say he lies,

And lies, and lies: there is my bond of faith

To tie thee to my strong correction.

As I intend to thrive in this new world,

Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal:

Besides, I heard the banish’d Norfolk say

That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men

To execute the noble duke at Calais.

Aum.Some honest Christian trust me with a gage.

That Norfolk lies, here do I throw down this,

If he may be repeal’d to try his honour.

Boling.These differences shall all rest under gage

Till Norfolk be repeal’d: repeal’d he shall be,

And though mine enemy, restor’d again

To all his lands and signories; when he’s return’d,

Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.

Car.That honourable day shall ne’er be seen.

Many a time hath banish’d Norfolk fought

For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,

Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross

Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens;

And toil’d with works of war, retir’d himself

To Italy; and there at Venice gave

His body to that pleasant country’s earth,

And his pure soul unto his captain Christ,

Under whose colours he had fought so long.

Boling.Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?

Car.As surely as I live, my lord.

Boling.Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom

Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,

Your differences shall all rest under gage

Till we assign you to your days of trial.

Enter YORK, attended.

York.Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee

From plume-pluck’d Richard; who with willing soul

Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields

To the possession of thy royal hand.

Ascend his throne, descending now from him;

And long live Henry, of that name the fourth!

Boling.In God’s name, I’ll ascend the regal throne.

Car.Marry, God forbid!

Worst in this royal presence may I speak,

Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.

Would God that any in this noble presence

Were enough noble to be upright judge

Of noble Richard! then, true noblesse would

Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.

What subject can give sentence on his king?

And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject?

Thieves are not judg’d but they are by to hear,

Although apparent guilt be seen in them;

And shall the figure of God’s majesty,

His captain, steward, deputy elect,

Anointed, crowned, planted many years,

Be judg’d by subject and inferior breath,

And he himself not present? O! forfend it, God,

That in a Christian climate souls refin’d

Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed.

I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,

Stirr’d up by God thus boldly for his king.

My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,

Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king;

And if you crown him, let me prophesy,

The blood of English shall manure the ground

And future ages groan for this foul act;

Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,

And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars

Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;

Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny

Shall here inhabit, and this land be call’d

The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls.

O! if you rear this house against this house,

It will the woefullest division prove

That ever fell upon this cursed earth.

Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,

Lest child, child’s children, cry against you ‘woe!’

North.Well have you argu’d, sir; and, for your pains,

Of capital treason we arrest you here.

My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge

To keep him safely till his day of trial.

May it please you, lords, to grant the commons’ suit?

Boling.Fetch hither Richard, that in common view

He may surrender; so we shall proceed

Without suspicion.

York.I will be his conduct.[Exit.

Boling.Lords, you that here are under our arrest,

Procure your sureties for your days of answer.

[To CARLISLE.]Little are we beholding to your love,

And little look’d for at your helping hands.

Re-enter YORK, with KING RICHARD, and Officers bearing the Crown, &c.

K. Rich.Alack! why am I sent for to a king

Before I have shook off the regal thoughts

Wherewith I reign’d? I hardly yet have learn’d

To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my limbs:

Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me

To this submission. Yet I well remember

The favours of these men: were they not mine?

Did they not sometime cry, ‘All hail!’ to me?

So Judas did to Christ: but he, in twelve,

Found truth in all but one; I, in twelve thousand, none.

God save the king! Will no man say, amen?

Am I both priest and clerk? well then, amen.

God save the king! although I be not he;

And yet, amen, if heaven do think him me.

To do what service am I sent for hither?

York.To do that office of thine own good will

Which tired majesty did make thee offer,

The resignation of thy state and crown

To Henry Bolingbroke.

K. Rich.Give me the crown. Here, cousin, seize the crown;

Here cousin,

On this side my hand and on that side thine.

Now is this golden crown like a deep well

That owes two buckets filling one another;

The emptier ever dancing in the air,

The other down, unseen and full of water:

That bucket down and full of tears am I,

Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.

Boling.I thought you had been willing to resign.

K. Rich.My crown, I am; but still my griefs are mine.

You may my glories and my state depose,

But not my griefs; still am I king of those.

Boling.Part of your cares you give me with your crown.

K. Rich.Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.

My care is loss of care, by old care done;

Your care is gain of care, by new care won.

The cares I give I have, though given away;

They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.

Boling.Are you contented to resign the crown?

K. Rich.Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be;

Therefore no no, for I resign to thee.

Now mark me how I will undo myself:

I give this heavy weight from off my head,

And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,

The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;

With mine own tears I wash away my balm,

With mine own hands I give away my crown,

With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,

With mine own breath release all duteous rites:

All pomp and majesty I do forswear;

My manors, rents, revenues, I forego;

My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny:

God pardon all oaths that are broke to me!

God keep all vows unbroke are made to thee!

Make me, that nothing have, with nothing griev’d,

And thou with all pleas’d, that hast all achiev’d!

Long mayst thou live in Richard’s seat to sit,

And soon lie Richard in an earthy pit!

God save King Henry, unking’d Richard says,

And send him many years of sunshine days!

What more remains?

North.[Offering a paper.]No more, but that you read

These accusations and these grievous crimes

Committed by your person and your followers

Against the state and profit of this land;

That, by confessing them, the souls of men

May deem that you are worthily depos’d.

K. Rich.Must I do so? and must I ravel out

My weav’d-up follies? Gentle Northumberland,

If thy offences were upon record,

Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop

To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,

There shouldst thou find one heinous article,

Containing the deposing of a king,

And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,

Mark’d with a blot, damn’d in the book of heaven.

Nay, all of you that stand and look upon me,

Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,

Though some of you with Pilate wash your hands,

Showing an outward pity; yet you Pilates

Have here deliver’d me to my sour cross,

And water cannot wash away your sin.

North.My lord, dispatch; read o’er these articles.

K. Rich.Mine eyes are full of tears, I cannot see:

And yet salt water blinds them not so much

But they can see a sort of traitors here.

Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,

I find myself a traitor with the rest;

For I have given here my soul’s consent

To undeck the pompous body of a king;

Made glory base and sovereignty a slave,

Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant.

North.My lord,—

K. Rich.No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,

Nor no man’s lord; I have no name, no title,

No, not that name was given me at the font,

But ’tis usurp’d: alack the heavy day!

That I have worn so many winters out,

And know not now what name to call myself.

O! that I were a mockery king of snow,

Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,

To melt myself away in water-drops.

Good king, great king,—and yet not greatly good,

An if my word be sterling yet in England,

Let it command a mirror hither straight,

That it may show me what a face I have,

Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.

Boling.Go some of you and fetch a looking-glass.[Exit an Attendant.

North.Read o’er this paper while the glass doth come.

K. Rich.Fiend! thou torment’st me ere I come to hell.

Boling.Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.

North.The commons will not then be satisfied.

K. Rich.They shall be satisfied: I’ll read enough

When I do see the very book indeed

Where all my sins are writ, and that’s myself.

Re-enter Attendant, with a glass.

Give me the glass, and therein will I read.

No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck

So many blows upon this face of mine

And made no deeper wounds? O, flattering glass!

Like to my followers in prosperity,

Thou dost beguile me. Was this face the face

That every day under his household roof

Did keep ten thousand men? Was this the face

That like the sun did make beholders wink?

Was this the face that fac’d so many follies,

And was at last out-fac’d by Bolingbroke?

A brittle glory shineth in this face:

As brittle as the glory is the face;[Dashes the glass against the ground.

For there it is, crack’d in a hundred shivers.

Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport,

How soon my sorrow hath destroy’d my face.

Boling.The shadow of your sorrow hath destroy’d

The shadow of your face.

K. Rich.Say that again.

The shadow of my sorrow! Ha! let’s see:

’Tis very true, my grief lies all within;

And these external manners of laments

Are merely shadows to the unseen grief

That swells with silence in the tortur’d soul;

There lies the substance: and I thank thee, king,

For thy great bounty, that not only giv’st

Me cause to wail, but teachest me the way

How to lament the cause. I’ll beg one boon,

And then be gone and trouble you no more.

Shall I obtain it?

Boling.Name it, fair cousin.

K. Rich.‘Fair cousin!’ I am greater than a king;

For when I was a king, my flatterers

Were then but subjects; being now a subject,

I have a king here to my flatterer.

Being so great, I have no need to beg.

Boling.Yet ask.

K. Rich.And shall I have?

Boling.You shall.

K. Rich.Then give me leave to go.


K. Rich.Whither you will, so I were from your sights.

Boling.Go, some of you convey him to the Tower.

K. Rich.O, good! convey? conveyers are you all,

That rise thus nimbly by a true king’s fall.[Exeunt KING RICHARD and Guard.

Boling.On Wednesday next we solemnly set down

Our coronation: lords, prepare yourselves.[Exeunt all except the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, the ABBOT OF WESTMINSTER, and AUMERLE.

Abbot.A woeful pageant have we here beheld.

Bishop.The woe’s to come; the children yet unborn

Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn.

Aum.You holy clergymen, is there no plot

To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?

Abbot.My lord,

Before I freely speak my mind herein,

You shall not only take the sacrament

To bury mine intents, but also to effect

Whatever I shall happen to devise.

I see your brows are full of discontent,

Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears:

Come home with me to supper; I will lay

A plot shall show us all a merry day.[Exeunt.