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[York.] My lords of England, let me tell you this,
I have had feeling of my cousin's wrongs,
And labour'd all I could to do him right:
But in this kind to come with braving arms,
that do abet him in this kind,
Cherish rebellion and are rebels all.
The issue of these arms, too well I see,
And cannot mend it, I must needs confess,
Because my power is weak, and all ill left:
But if I could, by Him that gave me life,
I would attach you all, and make you stoop
To the king's mercy. As it is, be't known
I do remain as neuter. Fare
well .... -Unless you please to enter in the castle,
And there repose you for the night.
[Bolingbroke.) An offer, uncle, that we will accept
And I do hope to win your grace to go,
To Bristol castle with us, which is held
By Bushy, Green, and Bagot, caterpillars
of whom I've sworn to rid the commonwealth :
We follow gladly : Will your grace go forward ? We are now to imagine ourselves on the sea-coast of Wales : Richard and his train have just landed from Ireland; his immediate companions are the duke of Aumerle (Albemarle), who is the eldest son of the duke of York; and the bishop of Carlisle. Aumerle first addresses the king. [4umerle.] After long tossing on the breaking sea,
How likes your majesty the air we breathe ?
[Richard.] Needs must I like it well: I weep for joy
To stand upon my kingdom once again :
Dear earth, I do salute thee with my
Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle earth,
But do annoyance to the treacherous feet,
That, with usurping steps, do trample thee.
Mock me not, lords,
This earth shall have a feeling, and these stones
Prove armed soldiers for her native king. The bishop assures the king that heaven will fight for him: Aumerle hints that, through remissness, Bolingbroke has been allowed to gather strength : the king continues :
Know'st thou not
That when the searching eye of Heaven is hid
Behind the globe, and lights the lower world,
Then thieves and robbers range
But when, from under this terrestrial ball,
He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines,
And darts his eye through every guilty hole,
Then murders, treasons, and detested sins
Stand bare and naked ?
So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke,
Who all this while hath revell’d in the night,
While we were wandering with the’ antipodes,
Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,
His treasons will sit blushing in his face,
Not able to endure the light of day.
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord ;
Since, for each man that Bolingbroke hath press'd,
God, for his Richard, hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel; and, if angels fight,
Weak men must fall. Lo! here in duty comes
Lord Salisbury, the general of our host,
Pressing before the rest to do us homage. [a pause.]
Welcome, my lord; how far off lies your power ? [Salisbury.] Nor near, nor further off, my gracious liege,
Than this weak arm : discomfort guides my tongue:
One day too late, I fear, my
Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth :
Oh, call back yesterday, bid time return,
And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men :
To-day, to-day, unhappy day, too late,
O’erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state ;
For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead,
Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispers'd, or fled.
Nay, look not pale, my liege. [Richard.] Have I not reason to look pale ?
All souls that will be safe, fly from my side.
The bishop of Carlisle reminds him of his heaven-
derived royalty : Richard continues :
I had forgot myself: am I not king ?
Awake! my sluggard majesty; awake!
Is not the king's name forty thousand strong ?
My uncle York hath power to serve our turn.
But who comes hither with so sad a brow ?
Sir Stephen Scroop enters, and declares himself a
messenger of bad news: Richard, unable to sustain the
spirit he had professed to feel, continues to speak in a tone
of unmitigated despondency:
Mine ear is open
What, is my kingdom lost? Why, 'twas my care ;
And what loss is it to be rid of care?
Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?
Greater he shall not be: if he serve God,
We'll serve him too, and be his fellow so.
Revolt our subjects ? that we cannot mend ;
They break their faith to God as well as us :
Cry woe, destruction, ruin, loss, decay,
The worst is death, and death will have his day. [Scroop.] Glad am I that your highness is so arm'd
To bear the tidings of calamity.
As silver rivers in a stormy day,
Do rise unseaso’nably and drown their shores,
So high above his limits swells the
Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land (steel.
With hard bright steel, and hearts more hard than
White beards have arm’d their thin and hairless scalps
Against thy majesty ; boys, with women's voices,
Strive to speak big, and clasp their female joints
In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown:
Against thy seat both young and old rebel,
And all goes worse than I have power to tell.
[Richard.] Too well, too well! thou tell’st a tale so ill.
Where is the earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot?
What is become of Bushy ? where is Green ?
They, they at least cannot have made a peace
With Bolingbroke. [Scroop.] Peace have they made indeed! [Richard.] Oh, villains, vipers, damn'd without redemption !
Would they make peace? Terrible hell make war
Upon their spotted souls for this offence! [Scroop.] Sweet love, I see, can turn to deadly hate.
Uncurse their souls : alas! their peace is made
By payment of their lives. [Richard.] What, are they dead ? [Scroop.] Yea; all of them at Bristol lost their heads. [Richard.] Where is the duke my uncle with his power ?
But 'tis no matter : none of comfort speak;
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs ;
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
Let's choose executors, and talk of wills,-
And yet not so; for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground ?
Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke's,
And nothing can we call our own, but death,
And that small hollow in the barren earth,
That gives a paste and cover to our bones.
For Heaven's sake, let us sit upon
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been depos’d, some slain in war;
Some poison'd by their wives, some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd :-For within the hollow crown,
That rounds the mortal temples of a king,
Keeps death his court : and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp ;
Allowing him a breath, a little scene
To monarchize, be fear’d, and kill with looks ;
Infusing him with self and vain conceit;
As if this flesh which walls about our life
Were brass impregnable; and, humour'd thus,
Comes at the last, and, with a little pin,
Bores through his castle walls, and farewell, king!
Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence; throw away respect,
Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty;
I live on bread like you, feel want like you,
Taste grief, need friends like you : subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king ? The bishop and Aumerle, seeing that all must be lost by despair, endeavour to rouse the king, each in turn addressing him: [Carlisle.] Is this, my lord, the trust you have in Heaven ?
Wise men, my liege, ne'er wail their present woes,
But presently prevent the ways to wail.
To fear the foe gives strength unto your foe.
And so your folly fights against yourself.
[Aumerle.] The bishop speaketh well, my liege. Pray ask
What power my father hath ; and boldly hold you.
[Richard.] Thou chid'st me well: Proud Bolingbroke, I come
To change blows with thee for our day of doom :
This ague-fit of fear is overblown :
Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power ? [Scroop.] Alas!
I play the torturer by small and small,
To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken :-
Your uncle York hath join’d with Bolingbroke ;
And all your northern holds are yielded up;
And all your southern gentlemen in arms
Upon his party.