Page images

[Richard.] Thou hast said enough : Beshrew


both for leading me away
From that sweet path I walk'd in to despair :
What say ye now? What comfort have we now?
By heaven, I 'll hate him everlastingly
That bids me be of comfort any more.
I'll to Flint castle; there I'll pine away;

A king, woe's slave, shall kingly woe obey. After a short interval we are to imagine ourselves at Flint Castle. Richard and his companions have scarcely entered it, when Bolingbroke and his party, increasing hourly in numbers, and accompanied among others by old York, who, while he compassionates Richard, always acts for Bolingbroke, appear before the walls of the Castle. A parley is sounded on both sides : York and Northumberland are deputed to speak for Bolingbroke ;-these two are awaiting the opposite party; York addresses his companion : [York.] See, see, king Richara doth himself appear,

As doth the blushing discontented sun,
When he perceives the envious clouds are bent
To dim his glory, and to stain his track.
Yet looks he like a king: behold his eye,
As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth

Controlling majesty. King Richard, Aumerle, Scroop, Salisbury, and the Bishop of Carlisle, approach ; Richard fixes his eye on Northumberland, and a pause ensues before he addresses that nobleman. [Richard.] We are amaz’d; and thus long have we stood

To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,
Still thinking that we are thy lawful king.
And if we be, how dare thy joints forget

their awful duty to our presence ?
If we be not, show us the hand of God
That hath dismiss'd us from our stewardship ?
And though you think that all, as you have done,
Have torn their souls by tearing them from us,

And we are barren and bereft of friends,
Yet know,--my master, God omnipotent,
Is mustering in his clouds, on our behalf,
Armies of pestilence; and they shall strike
Your children yet unborn and unbegot

That lift your vassal hands against my head. [North.] The king of heave'n forbid ! But thus doth speak,

Through me, thy noble cousin Bolingbroke.
His coming hither hath no further scope
Than for his lineal roya'lties, and to beg
Enfranchisement immediate on his knees :
Which on thy royal part if granted once,
He will commend his glittering arms to rust,
His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart
To faithful service of your majesty.
This swears he, as he is a prince, is just :

And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him. [Richard.] Northumberland say,—thus the king replies,

His noble cousin is right welcome hither ;
And all the number of his fair demands
Shall be accomplish'd.
With all the gracious utterance thou hast,
Speak this with kindly commendations. [a pause.]
Cousin Aumerle,
We do debase ourself, do we not, cousin,
To look so poorly, and to speak so fair ?
Shall we call back Northumberland, and send

Defiance to the traitor, and so die? [Aumerle.] No, good my liege; let's fight with gentle words

Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful swords. [Richard.] O heave'n, O heave'n! that e'er this tongue of

Which laid the sentence of dread banishment (mine,
On yon proud man, should take it off again
With soothing words! Oh, that I were as great
As is my grief, or less than is


Or that I could forget what I have been !
Or not remember what I must be now!
See, he comes back :-what now, Northumberland ?


What must the king do now? Must he submit ?
The king shall do it: must he be depos’d ?
The king shall be contented : must he lose
The name of king ? o God's name, let it go :
I'll give my jewels for a set of beads;
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage ;
My gay apparel for an alms-man's gown;
My sceptre for a palmer's walking-staff;
My subjects for a pair of carved saints ;
And my large kingdom for a little grave,
A little, little grave, an obscure grave :-
Or I'll be buried in the king's highway,
Some way of common trade, where subjects' feet
May hourly trample on their sovereign's head.
Aumerle, thou weep’st;—my tender-hearted cousin,
We'll play a pretty match with shedding tears ;
We'll try with them to fret a pair of graves,
And, buried, they shall write that therein lie
Two kinsmen digg'd their graves with weeping eyes.
Say, would not this do well? Well, well, I see
I talk but idly, and you mock at me.
Most mighty prince, my lord Northumberland,
What says king Bolingboke?—say, will his majesty

Give Richard leave to live, till Richard die ?
(North.] My lord, he doth attend to speak with you:

Will you come down ? [Richard.] Ay, down-down king, down state!

I will come down ; say so, my lord Northumberland. Bolingbroke, having thus far stood aloof observing the proceedings, now approaches, and speaks to Northumberland. (Bolingbroke.] What does he say? [North.] Sorrow and grief of heart

Make him speak fondly, like a frantic man:

Yet he is come. [Bolingbroke.] Stand all apart,

And let me show fair duty to his majesty.

Richard, coming toward Bolingbroke, finds him kneeling; he stops at the sight, and speaks : [Richard.] Cousin, you do debase your princely knee,

And make the base earth proud with kissing it.
Up, cousin, up; your heart is up I know,
As high as to this head, though low your

knee. [Bolingbroke.] My gracious lord, I come but for mine own. [Richard.] Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.

] [Bolingbroke.] So far be mine, my most redoubted lord, As my true service shall deserve


[Richard.] Well you deserve; for they deserve to have,

Who know the surest, strongest way to get :
My uncle York, your hand : nay, dry your eyes ;
Tears show your love, but are not remedies.
Cousin, I am too young to be your father,
Though you are old enough to be my


you will have, I needs must give; and do What you command. To London ? is it so ? [Bolingbroke.] Yea, my good lord. [Richard.] Then must I not say, no.

We must imagine an interval of time before we can suppose the duke of York to have arrived either at his castle at King's Langley, in Hertfordshire, or at his palace in London. The following dialogue is between himself and his duchess : [Duchess.] My lord, you told me you would tell the rest, When weeping made you

break the story off, Of our two nephews coming into London. [York.] Where did I leave ? [Duchess.] At that sad stop, my lord,

Where rude, misgovern'd hands, from window tops

Threw dust and rubbish on king Richard's head. [York.] Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke,

Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,
Which, his aspiring rider, seem'd to know,

With slow, but stately pace, kept on his course,
While all tongues cried—God save thee, Bolingbroke!
You would have thought the very windows spake,
So many greedy looks of young and old,
Through casements darted their desiring eyes
Upon his visage; and that all the walls,
With painted imagery, had said at once,
Jesu preserve thee! welcome Boling broke!
While he, from one side to the other turning,
Bare-headed, lower than his proud steed's neck,
Bespoke them thus,- I thank you, countrymen;

And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along. [Duchess.] Alas! poor Richard ! where rides he the while ? [York.] As in a theatre, the eyes of men,

After a well-grac'd actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious ;-
Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes
Did scowl on Richard: no man cried,—God save him ;
No welcome tongue gave him his welcome home;
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head;
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,—
His face still combating with tears and smiles,
The badges of his grief and patience,-
That had not God, for some strong purpose,

The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,
And barbarism itself have pitied him.
But heaven hath a hand in these events,

To whose high will we bound our calm contents. In the parliament house, to which the poet afterwards conducts us, we find the lords who have espoused the fortunes of Bolingbroke all powerful against those who still hold to Richard. After much has been said on both sides in the way of accusation, defiance, and reply, York, who, with good intentions, weakly yields himself a passive instrument to the hands of others, enters and speaks : [York.] Great duke of Lancaster, I come to thee

From plume-pluck'd Richard, who, with willing soul,


« PreviousContinue »