Home
log out +

King Richard II: Act 2, Scene 1

King Richard II
Act 2, Scene 1

Scene 1

Ely House.

  1. Enter John of Gaunt, sick, with the Duke of York, etc.

Gaunt

2 - 3
  1. Will the King come, that I may breathe my last
  2. In wholesome counsel to his unstayed youth?

York

4 - 5
  1. Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath,
  2. For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.

Gaunt

6 - 17
  1. O but they say the tongues of dying men
  2. Enforce attention like deep harmony.
  3. Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain,
  4. For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.
  5. He that no more must say is listened more
  6. Than they whom youth and ease have taught to glose.
  7. More are men’s ends mark’d than their lives before.
  8. The setting sun, and music at the close,
  9. As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
  10. Writ in remembrance more than things long past.
  11. Though Richard my live’s counsel would not hear,
  12. My death’s sad tale may yet undeaf his ear.

York

18 - 31
  1. No, it is stopp’d with other flattering sounds,
  2. As praises, of whose taste the wise are fond,
  3. Lascivious meters, to whose venom sound
  4. The open ear of youth doth always listen;
  5. Report of fashions in proud Italy,
  6. Whose manners still our tardy, apish nation
  7. Limps after in base imitation.
  8. Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity
  9. So it be new, there’s no respect how vile
  10. That is not quickly buzz’d into his ears?
  11. Then all too late comes counsel to be heard,
  12. Where will doth mutiny with wit’s regard.
  13. Direct not him whose way himself will choose,
  14. ’Tis breath thou lack’st, and that breath wilt thou lose.

Gaunt

32 - 69
  1. Methinks I am a prophet new inspir’d,
  2. And thus expiring do foretell of him:
  3. His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
  4. For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
  5. Small show’rs last long, but sudden storms are short;
  6. He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
  7. With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder;
  8. Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
  9. Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
  10. This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
  11. This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
  12. This other Eden, demi-paradise,
  13. This fortress built by Nature for herself
  14. Against infection and the hand of war,
  15. This happy breed of men, this little world,
  16. This precious stone set in the silver sea,
  17. Which serves it in the office of a wall,
  18. Or as a moat defensive to a house,
  19. Against the envy of less happier lands;
  20. This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
  21. This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
  22. Fear’d by their breed, and famous by their birth,
  23. Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
  24. For Christian service and true chivalry,
  25. As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry
  26. Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son;
  27. This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
  28. Dear for her reputation through the world,
  29. Is now leas’d outI die pronouncing it
  30. Like to a tenement or pelting farm.
  31. England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
  32. Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
  33. Of wat’ry Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
  34. With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds;
  35. That England, that was wont to conquer others,
  36. Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
  37. Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
  38. How happy then were my ensuing death!
  1. Enter King and Queen, etc.—Aumerle, Bushy, Green, Bagot,
  2. Ross, and Willoughby.

York

72 - 73
  1. The King is come. Deal mildly with his youth,
  2. For young hot colts being rag’d do rage the more.

Queen

74
  1. How fares our noble uncle Lancaster?

King Richard II

75
  1. What comfort, man? How is’t with aged Gaunt?

Gaunt

76 - 86
  1. O how that name befits my composition!
  2. Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old.
  3. Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast;
  4. And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt?
  5. For sleeping England long time have I watch’d,
  6. Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt.
  7. The pleasure that some fathers feed upon
  8. Is my strict fastI mean, my children’s looks;
  9. And therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt.
  10. Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,
  11. Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.

King Richard II

87
  1. Can sick men play so nicely with their names?

Gaunt

88 - 90
  1. No, misery makes sport to mock itself:
  2. Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me,
  3. I mock my name, great King, to flatter thee.

King Richard II

91
  1. Should dying men flatter with those that live?

Gaunt

92
  1. No, no, men living flatter those that die.

King Richard II

93
  1. Thou, now a-dying, sayest thou flatterest me.

Gaunt

94
  1. O no, thou diest, though I the sicker be.

King Richard II

95
  1. I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.

Gaunt

96 - 118
  1. Now He that made me knows I see thee ill,
  2. Ill in myself to see, and in thee, seeing ill.
  3. Thy death-bed is no lesser than thy land,
  4. Wherein thou liest in reputation sick,
  5. And thou, too careless patient as thou art,
  6. Commit’st thy anointed body to the cure
  7. Of those physicians that first wounded thee.
  8. A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,
  9. Whose compass is no bigger than thy head,
  10. And yet, incaged in so small a verge,
  11. The waste is no whit lesser than thy land.
  12. O had thy grandsire with a prophet’s eye
  13. Seen how his son’s son should destroy his sons,
  14. From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame,
  15. Deposing thee before thou wert possess’d,
  16. Which art possess’d now to depose thyself.
  17. Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world,
  18. It were a shame to let this land by lease;
  19. But for thy world enjoying but this land,
  20. Is it not more than shame to shame it so?
  21. Landlord of England art thou now, not king,
  22. Thy state of law is bond-slave to the law,
  23. And thou

King Richard II

119 - 127
  1.           A lunatic lean-witted fool,
  2. Presuming on an ague’s privilege,
  3. Darest with thy frozen admonition
  4. Make pale our cheek, chasing the royal blood
  5. With fury from his native residence.
  6. Now by my seat’s right royal majesty,
  7. Wert thou not brother to great Edward’s son,
  8. This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head
  9. Should run thy head from thy unreverent shoulders.

Gaunt

128 - 142
  1. O, spare me not, my brother Edward’s son,
  2. For that I was his father Edward’s son,
  3. That blood already, like the pelican,
  4. Hast thou tapp’d out and drunkenly carous’d.
  5. My brother Gloucester, plain well-meaning soul,
  6. Whom fair befall in heaven ’mongst happy souls,
  7. May be a president and witness good
  8. That thou respect’st not spilling Edward’s blood.
  9. Join with the present sickness that I have,
  10. And thy unkindness be like crooked age,
  11. To crop at once a too long withered flower.
  12. Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!
  13. These words hereafter thy tormentors be!
  14. Convey me to my bed, then to my grave;
  15. Love they to live that love and honor have.
  1. Exit, borne off by his Attendants.

King Richard II

144 - 145
  1. And let them die that age and sullens have,
  2. For both hast thou, and both become the grave.

York

146 - 149
  1. I do beseech your Majesty, impute his words
  2. To wayward sickliness and age in him.
  3. He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear
  4. As Harry Duke of Herford, were he here.

King Richard II

150 - 151
  1. Right, you say true: as Herford’s love, so his,
  2. As theirs, so mine, and all be as it is.
  1. Enter Northumberland.

Northumberland

153
  1. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your Majesty.

King Richard II

154
  1. What says he?

Northumberland

155 - 157
  1.               Nay, nothing, all is said.
  2. His tongue is now a stringless instrument,
  3. Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent.

York

158 - 159
  1. Be York the next that must be bankrupt so!
  2. Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.

King Richard II

160 - 169
  1. The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he;
  2. His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be.
  3. So much for that. Now for our Irish wars:
  4. We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns,
  5. Which live like venom where no venom else
  6. But only they have privilege to live.
  7. And, for these great affairs do ask some charge,
  8. Towards our assistance we do seize to us
  9. The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables
  10. Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.

York

170 - 192
  1. How long shall I be patient? Ah, how long
  2. Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?
  3. Not Gloucester’s death, nor Herford’s banishment,
  4. Not Gaunt’s rebukes, nor England’s private wrongs,
  5. Nor the prevention of poor Bullingbrook
  6. About his marriage, nor my own disgrace,
  7. Have ever made me sour my patient cheek,
  8. Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign’s face.
  9. I am the last of noble Edward’s sons,
  10. Of whom thy father, Prince of Wales, was first.
  11. In war was never lion rag’d more fierce,
  12. In peace was never gentle lamb more mild,
  13. Than was that young and princely gentleman.
  14. His face thou hast, for even so look’d he,
  15. Accomplish’d with the number of thy hours;
  16. But when he frowned it was against the French,
  17. And not against his friends. His noble hand
  18. Did win what he did spend, and spent not that
  19. Which his triumphant father’s hand had won.
  20. His hands were guilty of no kindred blood,
  21. But bloody with the enemies of his kin.
  22. O Richard! York is too far gone with grief,
  23. Or else he never would compare between.

King Richard II

193
  1. Why, uncle, what’s the matter?

York

194 - 216
  1.                                O my liege,
  2. Pardon me, if you please; if not, I, pleas’d
  3. Not to be pardoned, am content withal.
  4. Seek you to seize and gripe into your hands
  5. The royalties and rights of banish’d Herford?
  6. Is not Gaunt dead? And doth not Herford live?
  7. Was not Gaunt just? And is not Harry true?
  8. Did not the one deserve to have an heir?
  9. Is not his heir a well-deserving son?
  10. Take Herford’s rights away, and take from Time
  11. His charters and his customary rights;
  12. Let not tomorrow then ensue today;
  13. Be not thyself; for how art thou a king
  14. But by fair sequence and succession?
  15. Now afore GodGod forbid I say true!—
  16. If you do wrongfully seize Herford’s rights,
  17. Call in the letters-patents that he hath
  18. By his attorneys-general to sue
  19. His livery, and deny his off’red homage,
  20. You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,
  21. You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts,
  22. And prick my tender patience to those thoughts
  23. Which honor and allegiance cannot think.

King Richard II

217 - 218
  1. Think what you will, we seize into our hands
  2. His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.

York

219 - 222
  1. I’ll not be by the while. My liege, farewell!
  2. What will ensue hereof, there’s none can tell;
  3. But by bad courses may be understood
  4. That their events can never fall out good.
  1. Exit.

King Richard II

224 - 232
  1. Go, Bushy, to the Earl of Wiltshire straight,
  2. Bid him repair to us to Ely House
  3. To see this business. Tomorrow next
  4. We will for Ireland, and ’tis time, I trow.
  5. And we create, in absence of ourself,
  6. Our uncle York lord governor of England;
  7. For he is just and always loved us well.
  8. Come on, our queen, tomorrow must we part.
  9. Be merry, for our time of stay is short.
  1. Flourish. Exeunt King and Queen with others. Manet
  2. Northumberland with Willoughby and Ross.

Northumberland

235
  1. Well, lords, the Duke of Lancaster is dead.

Lord Ross

236
  1. And living too, for now his son is Duke.

Willoughby

237
  1. Barely in title, not in revenues.

Northumberland

238
  1. Richly in both, if justice had her right.

Lord Ross

239 - 240
  1. My heart is great, but it must break with silence,
  2. Ere’t be disburdened with a liberal tongue.

Northumberland

241 - 242
  1. Nay, speak thy mind, and let him ne’er speak more
  2. That speaks thy words again to do thee harm!

Willoughby

243 - 245
  1. Tends that thou wouldst speak to the Duke of Herford?
  2. If it be so, out with it boldly, man,
  3. Quick is mine ear to hear of good towards him.

Lord Ross

246 - 248
  1. No good at all that I can do for him,
  2. Unless you call it good to pity him,
  3. Bereft and gelded of his patrimony.

Northumberland

249 - 256
  1. Now, afore God, ’tis shame such wrongs are borne
  2. In him, a royal prince, and many more
  3. Of noble blood in this declining land.
  4. The King is not himself, but basely led
  5. By flatterers, and what they will inform,
  6. Merely in hate, ’gainst any of us all,
  7. That will the King severely prosecute
  8. ’Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs.

Lord Ross

257 - 259
  1. The commons hath he pill’d with grievous taxes,
  2. And quite lost their hearts; the nobles hath he fin’d
  3. For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.

Willoughby

260 - 262
  1. And daily new exactions are devis’d,
  2. As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what.
  3. But what a’ God’s name doth become of this?

Northumberland

263 - 266
  1. Wars hath not wasted it, for warr’d he hath not,
  2. But basely yielded upon compromise
  3. That which his noble ancestors achiev’d with blows.
  4. More hath he spent in peace than they in wars.

Lord Ross

267
  1. The Earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm.

Willoughby

268
  1. The King’s grown bankrupt, like a broken man.

Northumberland

269
  1. Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him.

Lord Ross

270 - 272
  1. He hath not money for these Irish wars,
  2. His burdenous taxations notwithstanding,
  3. But by the robbing of the banish’d Duke.

Northumberland

273 - 277
  1. His noble kinsmanmost degenerate king!
  2. But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing,
  3. Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm;
  4. We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,
  5. And yet we strike not, but securely perish.

Lord Ross

278 - 280
  1. We see the very wrack that we must suffer,
  2. And unavoided is the danger now,
  3. For suffering so the causes of our wrack.

Northumberland

281 - 283
  1. Not so, even through the hollow eyes of death
  2. I spy life peering, but I dare not say
  3. How near the tidings of our comfort is.

Willoughby

284
  1. Nay, let us share thy thoughts, as thou dost ours.

Lord Ross

285 - 287
  1. Be confident to speak, Northumberland:
  2. We three are but thyself, and, speaking so,
  3. Thy words are but as thoughts, therefore be bold.

Northumberland

288 - 309
  1. Then thus: I have from Le Port Blanc,
  2. A bay in Britain, receiv’d intelligence
  3. That Harry Duke of Herford, Rainold Lord Cobham,
  4. Thomas, son and heir to th’ Earl of Arundel,
  5. That late broke from the Duke of Exeter,
  6. His brother, Archbishop late of Canterbury,
  7. Sir Thomas Erpingham, Sir John Ramston,
  8. Sir John Norbery, Sir Robert Waterton, and Francis Coint
  9. All these, well furnished by the Duke of Britain
  10. With eight tall ships, three thousand men of war,
  11. Are making hither with all due expedience,
  12. And shortly mean to touch our northern shore.
  13. Perhaps they had ere this, but that they stay
  14. The first departing of the King for Ireland.
  15. If then we shall shake off our slavish yoke,
  16. Imp out our drooping country’s broken wing,
  17. Redeem from broking pawn the blemish’d crown,
  18. Wipe off the dust that hides our sceptre’s gilt,
  19. And make high majesty look like itself,
  20. Away with me in post to Ravenspurgh;
  21. But if you faint, as fearing to do so,
  22. Stay, and be secret, and myself will go.

Lord Ross

310
  1. To horse, to horse! Urge doubts to them that fear.

Willoughby

311
  1. Hold out my horse, and I will first be there.
  1. Exeunt.
© 2018 Unotate.comcontactprivacy policy • Creative Commons text from PlayShakespeare.com • Header illustration by Byam Shaw