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LIFE AND DEATH
KING RICHARD II.
ACT I.....SCENE I.
London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter King RICHARD, attended; JOHN of GAunt, and other Nobles, with him.
K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster, Hast thou, according to thy oath and band, Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son; Here to make good the boisterous late appeal, Which then our leisure would not let us hear, Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray? Gaunt. I have, my liege.
K. Rich. 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?
thy oath and band,] When these public challenges were accepted, each combatant found a pledge for his appearance at the time and place appointed. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. iii, st. 3:
"The day was set, that all might understand, “And pledges pawn'd the same to keep aright." The old copies read band instead of bond. The former is right. So, in The Comedy of Errors:
"My master is arrested on a band." Band and Bond were formerly synonymous. See note on The Comedy of Errors, Act IV, sc. ii. Malone.
Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that argu
On some apparent danger seen in him,
Aim'd at your highness, no inveterate malice.
K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face to face, And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear The accuser, and the accused, freely speak:
[Exeunt some Attend. High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire, In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.
Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and NORFOLK.
K. Rich. We thank you both: yet one but flatters us,
Tendering the precious safety of my prince,
What my tongue speaks, my right-drawn sword may
Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal:
right-drawn-] Drawn in a right or just cause.
'Tis not the trial of a woman's war,
First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me
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:
Disclaiming here the kindred of the king;
Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except:
inhabitable,] That is, not habitable, uninhabitable.
Ben Jonson uses the word in the same sense in his Catiline: "And pour'd on some inhabitable place."
Again, in Taylor the water-poet's Short Relation of a long Fourney, &c. "there stands a strong castle, but the town is all spoil'd, and almost inhabitable by the late lamentable troubles." Steevens.
So also, Braithwaite, in his Survey of Histories, 1614: "Others, in imitation of some valiant knights, have frequented desarts and inhabited provinces." Malone.
Which gently lay'd my knighthood on my shoulder,
Or chivalrous design of knightly trial:
And, when I mount, alive may I not light,
K. Rich. 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.
Boling. Look, what I speak my life shall prove it true;
That Mowbray hath receiv'd eight thousand nobles,
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 Gloster's death;9
7 that can inherit us &c.] To inherit is no more than to possess, though such a use of the word may be peculiar to Shakspeare. Again, in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, sc. ii:
Among fresh female buds shall you this night "Inherit at my house."
See Vol. II, p. 108, n. 4. Malone.
・for lewd employments,] Lewd here signifies wicked. It is so used in many of our old statutes. Malone.
It sometimes signifies-idle.
Thus, in King Richard 111:
"But you must trouble him with lewd complaints." Steevens.
the duke of Gloster's death;] Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III; who was murdered at Calais, in 1397.
See Froissart's Chronicle, Vol. II, cap. CC.xxvi. Steevens.
1 Suggest his soon-believing a versaries;] i. e. prompt, set them on by injurious hints. Thus, in The Tempest:
They 'll take suggestion, as a cat laps milk." Steevens.
And, consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluic'd out his innocent soul through streams of blood:
K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars!-
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and ears:
Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen:
Once did I lay an ambush for your
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul:
But, ere I last receiv'd the sacrament,
this slander of his blood,] i. e. this reproach to his ancestry. Steevens.
my sceptre's awe-] The reverence due to my sceptre. Johnson.