King Richard II
Act I, Scene 1
London. King Richard’s palace.
- Enter King Richard, John of Gaunt, with other Nobles and
King Richard II1 - 6
- Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster,
- Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
- Brought hither Henry Herford thy bold son,
- Here to make good the boist’rous late appeal,
- Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
- Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
- I have, my liege.
King Richard II8 - 11
- Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,
- If he appeal the Duke on ancient malice,
- Or worthily, as a good subject should,
- On some known ground of treachery in him?
Gaunt12 - 14
- As near as I could sift him on that argument,
- On some apparent danger seen in him
- Aim’d at your Highness, no inveterate malice.
King Richard II15 - 19
- Then call them to our presence; face to face,
- And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
- The accuser and the accused freely speak.
- High-stomach’d are they both and full of ire,
- In rage, deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.
- Enter Bullingbrook and Mowbray with Attendants.
Bullingbrook20 - 21
- Many years of happy days befall
- My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!
Mowbray22 - 24
- Each day still better other’s happiness,
- Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap,
- Add an immortal title to your crown!
King Richard II25 - 29
- We thank you both, yet one but flatters us,
- As well appeareth by the cause you come:
- Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.
- Cousin of Herford, what dost thou object
- Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
Bullingbrook30 - 46
- First, heaven be the record to my speech,
- In the devotion of a subject’s love,
- Tend’ring the precious safety of my prince,
- And free from other misbegotten hate,
- Come I appellant to this princely presence.
- Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee,
- And mark my greeting well; for what I speak
- My body shall make good upon this earth,
- Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
- Thou art a traitor and a miscreant,
- Too good to be so, and too bad to live,
- Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
- The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
- Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
- With a foul traitor’s name stuff I thy throat,
- And wish (so please my sovereign) ere I move,
- What my tongue speaks, my right drawn sword may prove.
Mowbray47 - 68
- Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal.
- ’Tis not the trial of a woman’s war,
- The bitter clamor of two eager tongues,
- Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain;
- The blood is hot that must be cool’d for this.
- Yet can I not of such tame patience boast
- As to be hush’d and nought at all to say.
- First, the fair reverence of your Highness curbs me
- From giving reins and spurs to my free speech,
- Which else would post until it had return’d
- These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
- Setting aside his high blood’s royalty,
- And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
- I do defy him, and I spit at him,
- Call him a slanderous coward, and a villain,
- Which to maintain I would allow him odds
- And meet him, were I tied to run afoot
- Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
- Or any other ground inhabitable
- Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
- Mean time, let this defend my loyalty:
- By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.
Bullingbrook69 - 77
- Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,
- Disclaiming here the kindred of the King,
- And lay aside my high blood’s royalty,
- Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except.
- If guilty dread have left thee so much strength
- As to take up mine honor’s pawn, then stoop.
- By that, and all the rites of knighthood else,
- Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
- What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.
Mowbray78 - 83
- I take it up, and by that sword I swear
- Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,
- I’ll answer thee in any fair degree
- Or chivalrous design of knightly trial;
- And when I mount, alive may I not light,
- If I be traitor or unjustly fight!
King Richard II84 - 86
- What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray’s charge?
- It must be great that can inherit us
- So much as of a thought of ill in him.
Bullingbrook87 - 108
- Look what I speak, my life shall prove it true:
- That Mowbray hath receiv’d eight thousand nobles
- In name of lendings for your Highness’ soldiers,
- The which he hath detain’d for lewd employments,
- Like a false traitor and injurious villain;
- Besides I say, and will in battle prove,
- Or here or elsewhere to the furthest verge
- That ever was surveyed by English eye,
- That all the treasons for these eighteen years,
- Complotted and contrived in this land,
- Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
- Further I say, and further will maintain
- Upon his bad life to make all this good,
- That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester’s death,
- Suggest his soon-believing adversaries,
- And consequently, like a traitor coward,
- Sluic’d out his innocent soul through streams of blood,
- Which blood, like sacrificing Abel’s, cries,
- Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
- To me for justice and rough chastisement;
- And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
- This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.
King Richard II109 - 110
- How high a pitch his resolution soars!
- Thomas of Norfolk, what say’st thou to this?
Mowbray111 - 114
- O, let my sovereign turn away his face,
- And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
- Till I have told this slander of his blood
- How God and good men hate so foul a liar.
King Richard II115 - 123
- Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears.
- Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom’s heir,
- As he is but my father’s brother’s son,
- Now by my sceptre’s awe I make a vow,
- Such neighbor nearness to our sacred blood
- Should nothing privilege him nor partialize
- The unstooping firmness of my upright soul.
- He is our subject, Mowbray; so art thou.
- Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.
Mowbray124 - 151
- Then, Bullingbrook, as low as to thy heart
- Through the false passage of thy throat thou liest.
- Three parts of that receipt I had for Callice
- Disburs’d I duly to his Highness’ soldiers;
- The other part reserv’d I by consent,
- For that my sovereign liege was in my debt,
- Upon remainder of a dear account,
- Since last I went to France to fetch his queen.
- Now swallow down that lie. For Gloucester’s death,
- I slew him not, but to my own disgrace
- Neglected my sworn duty in that case.
- For you, my noble Lord of Lancaster,
- The honorable father to my foe,
- Once did I lay an ambush for your life,
- A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul;
- But ere I last receiv’d the sacrament
- I did confess it, and exactly begg’d
- Your Grace’s pardon, and I hope I had it.
- This is my fault. As for the rest appeal’d,
- It issues from the rancor of a villain,
- A recreant and most degenerate traitor,
- Which in myself I boldly will defend,
- And interchangeably hurl down my gage
- Upon this overweening traitor’s foot,
- To prove myself a loyal gentleman
- Even in the best blood chamber’d in his bosom,
- In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
- Your Highness to assign our trial day.
King Richard II152 - 159
- Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul’d by me,
- Let’s purge this choler without letting blood.
- This we prescribe, though no physician;
- Deep malice makes too deep incision.
- Forget, forgive, conclude and be agreed,
- Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.
- Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
- We’ll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.
Gaunt160 - 161
- To be a make-peace shall become my age.
- Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk’s gage.
King Richard II162
- And, Norfolk, throw down his.
Gaunt163 - 164
- When, Harry? When?
- Obedience bids I should not bid again.
King Richard II165
- Norfolk, throw down, we bid, there is no boot.
Mowbray166 - 174
- Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot,
- My life thou shalt command, but not my shame:
- The one my duty owes, but my fair name,
- Despite of death that lives upon my grave,
- To dark dishonor’s use thou shalt not have.
- I am disgrac’d, impeach’d, and baffled here,
- Pierc’d to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear,
- The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood
- Which breath’d this poison.
King Richard II175 - 176
- Rage must be withstood,
- Give me his gage. Lions make leopards tame.
Mowbray177 - 187
- Yea, but not change his spots. Take but my shame,
- And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,
- The purest treasure mortal times afford
- Is spotless reputation; that away,
- Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.
- A jewel in a ten-times-barr’d-up chest
- Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
- Mine honor is my life, both grow in one,
- Take honor from me, and my life is done.
- Then, dear my liege, mine honor let me try;
- In that I live, and for that will I die.
King Richard II188
- Cousin, throw up your gage, do you begin.
Bullingbrook189 - 197
- O, God defend my soul from such deep sin!
- Shall I seem crestfallen in my father’s sight?
- Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
- Before this outdar’d dastard? Ere my tongue
- Shall wound my honor with such feeble wrong,
- Or sound so base a parley, my teeth shall tear
- The slavish motive of recanting fear,
- And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,
- Where shame doth harbor, even in Mowbray’s face.
- Exit Gaunt.
King Richard II198 - 207
- We were not born to sue, but to command,
- Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
- Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,
- At Coventry upon Saint Lambert’s day.
- There shall your swords and lances arbitrate
- The swelling difference of your settled hate.
- Since we cannot atone you, we shall see
- Justice design the victor’s chivalry.
- Lord Marshal, command our officers-at-arms
- Be ready to direct these home alarms.