King Richard II
Act V, Scene 5
The dungeon of Pomfret Castle.
- Enter Richard alone.
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- I have been studying how I may compare
- This prison where I live unto the world;
- And for because the world is populous,
- And here is not a creature but myself,
- I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.
- My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul,
- My soul the father, and these two beget
- A generation of still-breeding thoughts;
- And these some thoughts people this little world,
- In humors like the people of this world:
- For no thought is contented. The better sort,
- As thoughts of things divine, are intermix’d
- With scruples and do set the word itself
- Against the word,
- As thus: “Come, little ones,” and then again,
- “It is as hard to come as for a camel
- To thread the postern of a small needle’s eye.”
- Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
- Unlikely wonders: how these vain weak nails
- May tear a passage thorough the flinty ribs
- Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls;
- And for they cannot, die in their own pride.
- Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves
- That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,
- Nor shall not be the last—like seely beggars
- Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,
- That many have and others must sit there;
- And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
- Bearing their own misfortunes on the back
- Of such as have before endur’d the like.
- Thus play I in one person many people,
- And none contented. Sometimes am I king;
- Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
- And so I am. Then crushing penury
- Persuades me I was better when a king;
- Then am I king’d again, and by and by
- Think that I am unking’d by Bullingbrook,
- And straight am nothing. But what e’er I be,
- Nor I, nor any man that but man is,
- With nothing shall be pleas’d, till he be eas’d
- With being nothing.
- The music plays.
- Music do I hear?
- Ha, ha, keep time! How sour sweet music is
- When time is broke, and no proportion kept!
- So is it in the music of men’s lives.
- And here have I the daintiness of ear
- To check time broke in a disordered string;
- But for the concord of my state and time
- Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
- I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
- For now hath time made me his numb’ring clock:
- My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar
- Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
- Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
- Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
- Now, sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
- Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
- Which is the bell. So sighs, and tears, and groans
- Show minutes, times, and hours; but my time
- Runs posting on in Bullingbrook’s proud joy,
- While I stand fooling here, his Jack of the clock.
- This music mads me, let it sound no more,
- For though it have holp mad men to their wits,
- In me it seems it will make wise men mad.
- Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!
- For ’tis a sign of love; and love to Richard
- Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.
- Enter a Groom of the Stable.
- Hail, royal prince!
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- Thanks, noble peer!
- The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.
- What art thou? And how comest thou hither,
- Where no man never comes, but that sad dog
- That brings me food to make misfortune live?
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- I was a poor groom of thy stable, King,
- When thou wert king; who, traveling towards York,
- With much ado (at length) have gotten leave
- To look upon my sometimes royal master’s face.
- O how it ern’d my heart when I beheld
- In London streets, that coronation-day,
- When Bullingbrook rode on roan Barbary,
- That horse that thou so often hast bestrid,
- That horse that I so carefully have dress’d!
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- Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,
- How went he under him?
- So proudly as if he disdain’d the ground.
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- So proud that Bullingbrook was on his back!
- That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand,
- This hand hath made him proud with clapping him.
- Would he not stumble? Would he not fall down,
- Since pride must have a fall, and break the neck
- Of that proud man that did usurp his back?
- Forgiveness, horse! Why do I rail on thee,
- Since thou, created to be aw’d by man,
- Wast born to bear? I was not made a horse,
- And yet I bear a burden like an ass,
- Spurr’d, gall’d, and tir’d by jauncing Bullingbrook.
- Enter the Keeper to Richard with meat.
- Fellow, give place, here is no longer stay.
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- If thou love me, ’tis time thou wert away.
- What my tongue dares not, that my heart shall say.
- Exit Groom.
- My lord, will’t please you to fall to?
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- Taste of it first, as thou art wont to do.
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- My lord, I dare not. Sir Pierce of Exton, who
- Lately came from the King, commands the contrary.
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- The devil take Henry of Lancaster and thee!
- Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.
- Beats the Keeper.
- Help, help, help!
- The murderers, Exton and Servants, rush in armed.
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- How now, what means death in this rude assault?
- Villain, thy own hand yields thy death’s instrument,
- Snatches an axe from a Servant and kills him.
- Go thou and fill another room in hell.
- Kills another. Here Exton strikes him down.
- That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire
- That staggers thus my person. Exton, thy fierce hand
- Hath with the King’s blood stain’d the King’s own land.
- Mount, mount, my soul! Thy seat is up on high,
- Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.
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- As full of valor as of royal blood!
- Both have I spill’d; O would the deed were good!
- For now the devil that told me I did well
- Says that this deed is chronicled in hell.
- This dead king to the living king I’ll bear;
- Take hence the rest, and give them burial here.