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King Richard II: Act 1, Scene 1

King Richard II
Act 1, Scene 1

Scene 1

London. King Richard’s palace.

  1. Enter King Richard, John of Gaunt, with other Nobles and
  2. Attendants.

King Richard II

3 - 8
  1. Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster,
  2. Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
  3. Brought hither Henry Herford thy bold son,
  4. Here to make good the boist’rous late appeal,
  5. Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
  6. Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

Gaunt

9
  1. I have, my liege.

King Richard II

10 - 13
  1. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,
  2. If he appeal the Duke on ancient malice,
  3. Or worthily, as a good subject should,
  4. On some known ground of treachery in him?

Gaunt

14 - 16
  1. As near as I could sift him on that argument,
  2. On some apparent danger seen in him
  3. Aim’d at your Highness, no inveterate malice.

King Richard II

17 - 21
  1. Then call them to our presence; face to face,
  2. And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
  3. The accuser and the accused freely speak.
  4. High-stomach’d are they both and full of ire,
  5. In rage, deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.
  1. Enter Bullingbrook and Mowbray with Attendants.

Bullingbrook

23 - 24
  1. Many years of happy days befall
  2. My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!

Mowbray

25 - 27
  1. Each day still better other’s happiness,
  2. Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap,
  3. Add an immortal title to your crown!

King Richard II

28 - 32
  1. We thank you both, yet one but flatters us,
  2. As well appeareth by the cause you come:
  3. Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.
  4. Cousin of Herford, what dost thou object
  5. Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

Bullingbrook

33 - 49
  1. First, heaven be the record to my speech,
  2. In the devotion of a subject’s love,
  3. Tend’ring the precious safety of my prince,
  4. And free from other misbegotten hate,
  5. Come I appellant to this princely presence.
  6. Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,
  7. And mark my greeting well; for what I speak
  8. My body shall make good upon this earth,
  9. Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
  10. Thou art a traitor and a miscreant,
  11. Too good to be so, and too bad to live,
  12. Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
  13. The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
  14. Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
  15. With a foul traitor’s name stuff I thy throat,
  16. And wish (so please my sovereign) ere I move,
  17. What my tongue speaks, my right drawn sword may prove.

Mowbray

50 - 71
  1. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal.
  2. ’Tis not the trial of a woman’s war,
  3. The bitter clamor of two eager tongues,
  4. Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain;
  5. The blood is hot that must be cool’d for this.
  6. Yet can I not of such tame patience boast
  7. As to be hush’d and nought at all to say.
  8. First, the fair reverence of your Highness curbs me
  9. From giving reins and spurs to my free speech,
  10. Which else would post until it had return’d
  11. These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
  12. Setting aside his high blood’s royalty,
  13. And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
  14. I do defy him, and I spit at him,
  15. Call him a slanderous coward, and a villain,
  16. Which to maintain I would allow him odds
  17. And meet him, were I tied to run afoot
  18. Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
  19. Or any other ground inhabitable
  20. Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
  21. Mean time, let this defend my loyalty:
  22. By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

Bullingbrook

72 - 80
  1. Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,
  2. Disclaiming here the kindred of the King,
  3. And lay aside my high blood’s royalty,
  4. Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except.
  5. If guilty dread have left thee so much strength
  6. As to take up mine honor’s pawn, then stoop.
  7. By that, and all the rites of knighthood else,
  8. Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
  9. What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.

Mowbray

81 - 86
  1. I take it up, and by that sword I swear
  2. Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,
  3. I’ll answer thee in any fair degree
  4. Or chivalrous design of knightly trial;
  5. And when I mount, alive may I not light,
  6. If I be traitor or unjustly fight!

King Richard II

87 - 89
  1. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray’s charge?
  2. It must be great that can inherit us
  3. So much as of a thought of ill in him.

Bullingbrook

90 - 111
  1. Look what I speak, my life shall prove it true:
  2. That Mowbray hath receiv’d eight thousand nobles
  3. In name of lendings for your Highness’ soldiers,
  4. The which he hath detain’d for lewd employments,
  5. Like a false traitor and injurious villain;
  6. Besides I say, and will in battle prove,
  7. Or here or elsewhere to the furthest verge
  8. That ever was surveyed by English eye,
  9. That all the treasons for these eighteen years,
  10. Complotted and contrived in this land,
  11. Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
  12. Further I say, and further will maintain
  13. Upon his bad life to make all this good,
  14. That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester’s death,
  15. Suggest his soon-believing adversaries,
  16. And consequently, like a traitor coward,
  17. Sluic’d out his innocent soul through streams of blood,
  18. Which blood, like sacrificing Abel’s, cries,
  19. Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
  20. To me for justice and rough chastisement;
  21. And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
  22. This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.

King Richard II

112 - 113
  1. How high a pitch his resolution soars!
  2. Thomas of Norfolk, what say’st thou to this?

Mowbray

114 - 117
  1. O, let my sovereign turn away his face,
  2. And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
  3. Till I have told this slander of his blood
  4. How God and good men hate so foul a liar.

King Richard II

118 - 126
  1. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears.
  2. Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom’s heir,
  3. As he is but my father’s brother’s son,
  4. Now by my sceptre’s awe I make a vow,
  5. Such neighbor nearness to our sacred blood
  6. Should nothing privilege him nor partialize
  7. The unstooping firmness of my upright soul.
  8. He is our subject, Mowbray; so art thou.
  9. Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.

Mowbray

127 - 154
  1. Then, Bullingbrook, as low as to thy heart
  2. Through the false passage of thy throat thou liest.
  3. Three parts of that receipt I had for Callice
  4. Disburs’d I duly to his Highness’ soldiers;
  5. The other part reserv’d I by consent,
  6. For that my sovereign liege was in my debt,
  7. Upon remainder of a dear account,
  8. Since last I went to France to fetch his queen.
  9. Now swallow down that lie. For Gloucester’s death,
  10. I slew him not, but to my own disgrace
  11. Neglected my sworn duty in that case.
  12. For you, my noble Lord of Lancaster,
  13. The honorable father to my foe,
  14. Once did I lay an ambush for your life,
  15. A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul;
  16. But ere I last receiv’d the sacrament
  17. I did confess it, and exactly begg’d
  18. Your Grace’s pardon, and I hope I had it.
  19. This is my fault. As for the rest appeal’d,
  20. It issues from the rancor of a villain,
  21. A recreant and most degenerate traitor,
  22. Which in myself I boldly will defend,
  23. And interchangeably hurl down my gage
  24. Upon this overweening traitor’s foot,
  25. To prove myself a loyal gentleman
  26. Even in the best blood chamber’d in his bosom,
  27. In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
  28. Your Highness to assign our trial day.

King Richard II

155 - 162
  1. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul’d by me,
  2. Let’s purge this choler without letting blood.
  3. This we prescribe, though no physician;
  4. Deep malice makes too deep incision.
  5. Forget, forgive, conclude and be agreed,
  6. Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.
  7. Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
  8. We’ll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.

Gaunt

163 - 164
  1. To be a make-peace shall become my age.
  2. Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk’s gage.

King Richard II

165
  1. And, Norfolk, throw down his.

Gaunt

166 - 167
  1.                               When, Harry? When?
  2. Obedience bids I should not bid again.

King Richard II

168
  1. Norfolk, throw down, we bid, there is no boot.

Mowbray

169 - 177
  1. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot,
  2. My life thou shalt command, but not my shame:
  3. The one my duty owes, but my fair name,
  4. Despite of death that lives upon my grave,
  5. To dark dishonor’s use thou shalt not have.
  6. I am disgrac’d, impeach’d, and baffled here,
  7. Pierc’d to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear,
  8. The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood
  9. Which breath’d this poison.

King Richard II

178 - 179
  1.                             Rage must be withstood,
  2. Give me his gage. Lions make leopards tame.

Mowbray

180 - 190
  1. Yea, but not change his spots. Take but my shame,
  2. And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,
  3. The purest treasure mortal times afford
  4. Is spotless reputation; that away,
  5. Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.
  6. A jewel in a ten-times-barr’d-up chest
  7. Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
  8. Mine honor is my life, both grow in one,
  9. Take honor from me, and my life is done.
  10. Then, dear my liege, mine honor let me try;
  11. In that I live, and for that will I die.

King Richard II

191
  1. Cousin, throw up your gage, do you begin.

Bullingbrook

192 - 200
  1. O, God defend my soul from such deep sin!
  2. Shall I seem crestfallen in my father’s sight?
  3. Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
  4. Before this outdar’d dastard? Ere my tongue
  5. Shall wound my honor with such feeble wrong,
  6. Or sound so base a parley, my teeth shall tear
  7. The slavish motive of recanting fear,
  8. And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,
  9. Where shame doth harbor, even in Mowbray’s face.
  1. Exit Gaunt.

King Richard II

202 - 211
  1. We were not born to sue, but to command,
  2. Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
  3. Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,
  4. At Coventry upon Saint Lambert’s day.
  5. There shall your swords and lances arbitrate
  6. The swelling difference of your settled hate.
  7. Since we cannot atone you, we shall see
  8. Justice design the victor’s chivalry.
  9. Lord Marshal, command our officers-at-arms
  10. Be ready to direct these home alarms.
  1. Exeunt.
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