Front Page Titles (by Subject) ACT V. - The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
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ACT V. - William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard the Second 
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (The Oxford Shakespeare), ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (Oxford University Press, 1916).
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London. A Street leading to the Tower.
This way the king will come; this is the way
To Julius Cæsar’s ill-erected tower,
To whose flint bosom my condemned lord
Is doom’d a prisoner by proud Bolingbroke.
Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth
Have any resting for her true king’s queen.
EnterKing Richardand Guard.
But soft, but see, or rather do not see,
My fair rose wither: yet look up, behold,
That you in pity may dissolve to dew,
And wash him fresh again with true-love tears.
Ah! thou, the model where old Troy did stand,
Thou map of honour, thou King Richard’s tomb,
And not King Richard; thou most beauteous inn,
Why should hard-favour’d grief be lodg’d in thee,
When triumph is become an alehouse guest?
Join not with grief, fair woman, do not so,
To make my end too sudden: learn, good soul,
To think our former state a happy dream;
From which awak’d, the truth of what we are
Shows us but this. I am sworn brother, sweet,
To grim Necessity, and he and I
Will keep a league till death. Hie thee to France,
And cloister thee in some religious house:
Our holy lives must win a new world’s crown,
Which our profane hours here have stricken down.
What! is my Richard both in shape and mind
Transform’d and weaken’d! Hath Bolingbroke depos’d
Thine intellect? hath he been in thy heart?
The lion dying thrusteth forth his paw
And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage
To be o’erpower’d; and wilt thou, pupil-like,
Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod,
And fawn on rage with base humility,
Which art a lion and a king of beasts?
A king of beasts indeed; if aught but beasts,
I had been still a happy king of men.
Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France,
Think I am dead, and that even here thou tak’st,
As from my death-bed, my last living leave.
In winter’s tedious nights sit by the fire
With good old folks, and let them tell thee tales
Of woeful ages, long ago betid;
And ere thou bid good night, to quit their grief,
Tell thou the lamentable tale of me,
And send the hearers weeping to their beds:
For why the senseless brands will sympathize
The heavy accent of thy moving tongue,
And in compassion weep the fire out;
And some will mourn in ashes, some coal-black,
For the deposing of a rightful king.
My lord, the mind of Bolingbroke is chang’d;
You must to Pomfret, not unto the Tower.
And, madam, there is order ta’en for you;
With all swift speed you must away to France.
Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal
The mounting Bolingbroke ascends my throne,
The time shall not be many hours of age
More than it is, ere foul sin gathering head
Shall break into corruption. Thou shalt think,
Though he divide the realm and give thee half,
It is too little, helping him to all;
And he shall think that thou, which know’st the way
To plant unrightful kings, wilt know again,
Being ne’er so little urg’d, another way
To pluck him headlong from the usurped throne.
The love of wicked friends converts to fear;
That fear to hate, and hate turns one or both
To worthy danger and deserved death.
My guilt be on my head, and there an end.
Take leave and part; for you must part forthwith.
Doubly divorc’d! Bad men, ye violate
A two-fold marriage; ’twixt my crown and me,
And then, betwixt me and my married wife.
Let me unkiss the oath ’twixt thee and me;
And yet not so, for with a kiss ’twas made.
Part us, Northumberland: I towards the north,
Where shivering cold and sickness pines the clime;
My wife to France: from whence, set forth in pomp,
She came adorned hither like sweet May,
Sent back like Hallowmas or short’st of day.
And must we be divided? must we part?
Ay, hand from hand, my love, and heart from heart.
Banish us both and send the king with me.
That were some love but little policy.
Then whither he goes, thither let me go.
So two, together weeping, make one woe.
Weep thou for me in France, I for thee here;
Better far off, than near, be ne’er the near.
Go, count thy way with sighs, I mine with groans.
So longest way shall have the longest moans.
Twice for one step I’ll groan, the way being short,
And piece the way out with a heavy heart.
Come, come, in wooing sorrow let’s be brief,
Since, wedding it, thero is such length in grief.
One kiss shall stop our mouths, and dumbly part;
Thus give I mine, and thus take I thy heart.
Give me mine own again; ’twere no good part
To take on me to keep and kill thy heart.
[They kiss again.
So, now I have mine own again, be gone,
That I may strive to kill it with a groan.
We make woe wanton with this fond delay:
Once more, adieu; the rest let sorrow say.
The Same. A Room in theDuke of York’sPalace.
My lord, you told me you would tell the rest,
When weeping made you break the story off,
Of our two cousins coming into London.
Where did I leave?
At that sad stop, my lord,
Where rude misgovern’d hands, from windows’ tops,
Threw dust and rubbish on King Richard’s head.
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, Bolingbroke!’
Whilst he, from one side to the other turning,
Bare-headed, lower than his proud steed’s neck,
Bespake them thus, ‘I thank you, countrymen:’
And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along.
Alack, poor Richard! where rode he the whilst?
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 joyful 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, steel’d
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.
To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now,
Whose state and honour I for aye allow.
Here comes my son Aumerle.
Aumerle that was;
But that is lost for being Richard’s friend,
And, madam, you must call him Rutland now.
I am in parliament pledge for his truth
And lasting fealty to the new-made king.
Welcome, my son: who are the violets now
That strew the green lap of the new come spring?
Madam, I know not, nor I greatly care not:
God knows I had as lief be none as one.
Well, bear you well in this new spring of time,
Lest you be cropp’d before you come to prime.
What news from Oxford? hold those justs and triumphs?
For aught I know, my lord, they do.
You will be there, I know.
If God prevent it not, I purpose so.
What seal is that that hangs without thy bosom?
Yea, look’st thou pale? let me see the writing.
My lord, ’tis nothing.
No matter then, who sees it:
I will be satisfied; let me see the writing.
I do beseech your Grace to pardon me:
It is a matter of small consequence,
Which for some reasons I would not have seen.
Which for some reasons, sir, I mean to see.
I fear, I fear,—
What should you fear?
’Tis nothing but some bond he’s enter’d into
For gay apparel ’gainst the triumph day.
Bound to himself! what doth he with a bond
That he is bound to? Wife, thou art a fool.
Boy, let me see the writing.
I do beseech you, pardon me; I may not show it.
I will be satisfied; let me see it, I say.
[Snatches it, and reads.
Treason! foul treason! villain! traitor! slave!
What is the matter, my lord?
Ho! who is within there?
Enter a Servant.
Saddle my horse.
God for his mercy! what treachery is here!
Why, what is it, my lord?
Give me my boots, I say; saddle my horse.
Now, by mine honour, by my life, my troth,
I will appeach the villain.
What’s the matter?
Peace, foolish woman.
I will not peace. What is the matter, Aumerle?
Good mother, be content; it is no more
Than my poor life must answer.
Thy life answer!
Bring me my boots: I will unto the king.
Re-enter Servant with boots.
Strike him, Aumerle. Poor boy, thou art amaz’d.
[To Servant.] Hence, villain! never more come in my sight.
Give me my boots, I say.
Why, York, what wilt thou do?
Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own?
Have we more sons, or are we like to have?
Is not my teeming date drunk up with time?
And wilt thou pluck my fair son from mine age,
And rob me of a happy mother’s name?
Is he not like thee? is he not thine own?
Thou fond, mad woman,
Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy?
A dozen of them here have ta’en the sacrament,
And interchangeably set down their hands,
To kill the king at Oxford.
He shall be none;
We’ll keep him here: then, what is that to him?
Away, fond woman! were he twenty times
My son, I would appeach him.
Hadst thou groan’d for him
As I have done, thou’dst be more pitiful.
But now I know thy mind: thou dost suspect
That I have been disloyal to thy bed,
And that he is a bastard, not thy son:
Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind:
He is as like thee as a man may be,
Not like to me, nor any of my kin,
And yet I love him.
Make way, unruly woman!
After, Aumerle! Mount thee upon his horse;
Spur post, and get before him to the king,
And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.
I’ll not be long behind; though I be old,
I doubt not but to ride as fast as York:
And never will I rise up from the ground
Till Bolingbroke have pardon’d thee. Away! be gone.
Windsor. A Room in the Castle.
EnterBolingbrokeas King;Henry Percy,and other Lords.
Can no man tell of my unthrifty son?
’Tis full three months since I did see him last.
If any plague hang over us, ’tis he.
I would to God, my lords, he might be found:
Inquire at London, ’mongst the taverns there,
For there, they say, he daily doth frequent,
With unrestrained loose companions,
Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes
And beat our watch and rob our passengers;
While he, young wanton and effeminate boy,
Takes on the point of honour to support
So dissolute a crew.
My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,
And told him of these triumphs held at Oxford.
And what said the gallant?
His answer was: he would unto the stews,
And from the common’st creature pluck a glove,
And wear it as a favour; and with that
He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.
As dissolute as desperate; yet, through both,
I see some sparkles of a better hope,
Which elder days may happily bring forth.
But who comes here?
Where is the king?
Our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly?
God save your Grace! I do beseech your majesty,
To have some conference with your Grace alone.
Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.
[Exeunt H. Percyand Lords.
What is the matter with our cousin now?
[Kneels.] For ever may my knees grow to the earth,
My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth,
Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.
Intended or committed was this fault?
If on the first, how heinous e’er it be,
To win thy after-love I pardon thee.
Then give me leave that I may turn the key,
That no man enter till my tale be done.
Have thy desire.
[Aumerlelocks the door.
[Within.] My liege, beware! look to thyself;
Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.
[Drawing.] Villain, I’ll make thee safe.
Stay thy revengeful hand; thou hast no cause to fear.
[Within.] Open the door, secure, foolhardy king:
Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?
Open the door, or I will break it open.
[Bolingbrokeunlocks the door; and afterwards relocks it.
What is the matter, uncle? speak;
Recover breath; tell us how near is danger,
That we may arm us to encounter it.
Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know
The treason that my haste forbids me show.
Remember, as thou read’st, thy promise pass’d:
I do repent me; read not my name there;
My heart is not confederate with my hand.
’Twas, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.
I tore it from the traitor’s bosom, king;
Fear, and not love, begets his penitence.
Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove
A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.
O heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy!
O loyal father of a treacherous son!
Thou sheer, immaculate, and silver fountain,
From whence this stream through muddy passages
Hath held his current and defil’d himself!
Thy overflow of good converts to bad,
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
This deadly blot in thy digressing son.
So shall my virtue be his vice’s bawd,
And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,
As thriftless sons their scraping fathers’ gold.
Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,
Or my sham’d life in his dishonour lies:
Thou kill’st me in his life; giving him breath,
The traitor lives, the true man’s put to death.
[Within.] What ho, my liege! for God’s sake let me in.
What shrill-voic’d suppliant makes this eager cry?
[Within.] A woman, and thine aunt, great king; ’tis I.
Speak with me, pity me, open the door:
A beggar begs, that never begg’d before.
Our scene is alter’d from a serious thing,
And now chang’d to ‘The Beggar and the King.’
My dangerous cousin, let your mother in:
I know she’s come to pray for your foul sin.
[Aumerleunlocks the door.
If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,
More sins, for this forgiveness, prosper may.
This fester’d joint cut off, the rest rests sound;
This, let alone, will all the rest confound.
O king! believe not this hard-hearted man:
Love, loving not itself, none other can.
Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?
Sweet York, be-patient.
Hear me, gentle liege.
Rise up, good aunt.
Not yet, I thee beseech.
For ever will I walk upon my knees,
And never see day that the happy sees,
Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy,
By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.
Unto my mother’s prayers I bend my knee.
Against them both my true joints bended be.
Ill mayst thou thrive if thou grant any grace!
Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face;
His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest;
His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast:
He prays but faintly and would be denied;
We pray with heart and soul and all beside:
His weary joints would gladly rise, I know;
Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow:
His prayers are full of false hypocrisy;
Ours of true zeal and deep integrity.
Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have
That mercy which true prayer ought to have.
Good aunt, stand up.
Nay, do not say ‘stand up;’
But ‘pardon’ first, and afterwards ‘stand up.’
An if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,
‘Pardon’ should be the first word of thy speech.
I never long’d to hear a word till now;
Say ‘pardon,’ king; let pity teach thee how:
The word is short, but not so short as sweet;
No word like ‘pardon,’ for kings’ mouths so meet.
Speak it in French, king; say, ‘pardonnez moy.’
Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?
Ah! my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,
That sett’st the word itself against the word.
Speak ‘pardon’ as ’tis current in our land;
The chopping French we do not understand.
Thine eye begins to speak, set thy tongue there,
Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear,
That hearing how our plants and prayers do pierce,
Pity may move thee pardon to rehearse.
Good aunt, stand up.
I do not sue to stand;
Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.
I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.
O happy vantage of a kneeling knee!
Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again;
Twice saying ‘pardon’ doth not pardon twain,
But makes one pardon strong.
With all my heart
I pardon him.
A god on earth thou art.
But for our trusty brother-in-law and the abbot,
With all the rest of that consorted crew,
Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.
Good uncle, help to order several powers
To Oxford, or where’er these traitors are:
They shall not live within this world, I swear,
But I will have them, if I once know where.
Uncle, farewell: and cousin too, adieu:
Your mother well hath pray’d, and prove you true.
Come, my old son: I pray God make thee new.
Another Room in the Castle.
EnterExtonand a Servant.
Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake?
‘Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?’
Was it not so?
Those were his very words.
‘Have I no friend?’ quoth he: he spake it twice,
And urg’d it twice together, did he not?
And speaking it, he wistly looked on me,
As who should say, ‘I would thou wert the man
That would divorce this terror from my heart;’
Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let’s go:
I am the king’s friend, and will rid his foe.
Pomfret. The Dungeon of the Castle.
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 same thoughts people this little world
In humours 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 needle’s eye.’
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders; how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage through 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 silly 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 misfortune 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 treason makes 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 Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing: but whate’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. 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 disorder’d 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 numbering 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, that 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 Bolingbroke’s proud joy,
While I stand fooling here, his Jack o’ the clock.
This music mads me: let it sound no more;
For though it have holp madmen 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 Groom of the Stable.
Hail, royal prince!
Thanks, noble peer;
The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.
What art thou? and how comest thou hither, man,
Where no man never comes but that sad dog
That brings me food to make misfortune live?
I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,
When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York,
With much ado at length have gotten leave
To look upon my sometimes royal master’s face.
O! how it yearn’d my heart when I beheld
In London streets, that coronation day
When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary,
That horse that thou so often hast bestrid,
That horse that I so carefully have dress’d.
Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,
How went he under him?
So proudly as if he disdain’d the ground.
So proud that Bolingbroke 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,
Spur-gall’d and tir’d by jauncing Bolingbroke.
Enter Keeper, with a dish.
[To the Groom.] Fellow, give place; here is no longer stay.
If thou love me, ’tis time thou wert away.
What my tongue dares not, that my heart shall say.
My lord, will’t please you to fall to?
Taste of it first, as thou art wont to do.
My lord, I dare not: Sir Pierce of Exton, who lately came from the king, commands the contrary.
The devil take Henry of Lancaster, and thee!
Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.
[Strikes the Keeper.
Help, help, help!
EnterExtonand Servants, armed.
How now! what means death in this rude assault?
Villain, thine own hand yields thy death’s instrument.
[Snatching a weapon and killing one.
Go thou and fill another room in hell.
[He kills another: thenExtonstrikes 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.
As full of valour as of royal blood:
Both have I spilt; 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.
Windsor. An Apartment in the Castle.
EnterBolingbrokeandYork,with Lords and Attendants.
Kind uncle York, the latest news we hear
Is that the rebels have consum’d with fire
Our town of Cicester in Gloucestershire;
But whether they be ta’en or slain we hear not.
Welcome, my lord. What is the news?
First, to thy sacred state wish I all happiness.
The next news is: I have to London sent
The heads of Salisbury, Spencer, Blunt, and Kent.
The manner of their taking may appear
At large discoursed in this paper here.
We thank thee, gentle Percy, for thy pains,
And to thy worth will add right worthy gains.
My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London
The heads of Brocas and Sir Bennet Seely,
Two of the dangerous consorted traitors
That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow.
Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot;
Right noble is thy merit, well I wot.
EnterHenry Percy,with theBishop of Carlisle.
The grand conspirator, Abbot of Westminster,
With clog of conscience and sour melancholy,
Hath yielded up his body to the grave;
But here is Carlisle living, to abide
Thy kingly doom and sentence of his pride.
Carlisle, this is your doom:
Choose out some secret place, some reverend room,
More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life;
So, as thou livest in peace, die free from strife:
For though mine enemy thou hast ever been,
High sparks of honour in thee have I seen.
EnterExton,with Attendants bearing a coffin
Great king, within this coffin I present
Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies
The mightiest of thy greatest enemies,
Richard of Bordeaux, by me hither brought.
Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast wrought
A deed of slander with thy fatal hand
Upon my head and all this famous land.
From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed.
They love not poison that do poison need,
Nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead,
I hate the murderer, love him murdered.
The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour,
But neither my good word nor princely favour:
With Cain go wander through the shade of night,
And never show thy head by day nor light.
Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe,
That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow:
Come, mourn with me for that I do lament,
And put on sullen black incontinent.
I’ll make a voyage to the Holy Land,
To wash this blood off from my guilty hand.
March sadly after; grace my mournings here,
In weeping after this untimely bier.