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Navigate this workRichard II
Act 3, scene 2
Richard, landing in England, greets his kingdom and expresses certainty that God will protect him against Bolingbroke’s threat. He learns that the Welsh troops have dispersed, that his close friends have been executed, and that York and Richard’s other supporters have joined with Bolingbroke. Richard orders his army discharged and retreats to Flint Castle.⌜Drums. Flourish and colors.⌝ Enter the King, Aumerle,
Carlisle, ⌜and Soldiers.⌝
1384 Barkloughly Castle call they this at hand?
1385 Yea, my lord. How brooks your Grace the air
1386 After your late tossing on the breaking seas?
1387 Needs must I like it well. I weep for joy
1388 5 To stand upon my kingdom once again.⌜He kneels.⌝
1389 Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,
1390 Though rebels wound thee with their horses’ hoofs.
1391 As a long-parted mother with her child
1392 Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,
1393 10 So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,
1394 And do thee favors with my royal hands.
1395 Feed not thy sovereign’s foe, my gentle earth,
1396 Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense,
1397 But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom,
1398 15 And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way,
1399 Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet
1400 Which with usurping steps do trample thee.
1401 Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies,
1402 And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower,
1403 20 Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder,
1404 Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch
1405 Throw death upon thy sovereign’s enemies.
1406 Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords.
1407 This earth shall have a feeling, and these stones
1408 25 Prove armèd soldiers, ere her native king
1409 Shall falter under foul rebellion’s arms.
1410 Fear not, my lord. That power that made you king
1411 Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.
p. 1131412 The means that heavens yield must be embraced
1413 30 And not neglected. Else heaven would,
1414 And we will not—heaven’s offer we refuse,
1415 The proffered means of succor and redress.
1416 He means, my lord, that we are too remiss,
1417 Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security,
1418 35 Grows strong and great in substance and in power.
1419 Discomfortable cousin, know’st thou not
1420 That when the searching eye of heaven is hid
1421 Behind the globe that lights the lower world,
1422 Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen
1423 40 In murders and in outrage boldly here?
1424 But when from under this terrestrial ball
1425 He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines
1426 And darts his light through every guilty hole,
1427 Then murders, treasons, and detested sins,
1428 45 The cloak of night being plucked from off their
1430 Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves.
1431 So when this thief, this traitor Bolingbroke,
1432 Who all this while hath reveled in the night
1433 50 Whilst we were wand’ring with the Antipodes,
1434 Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,
1435 His treasons will sit blushing in his face,
1436 Not able to endure the sight of day,
1437 But self-affrighted, tremble at his sin.
1438 55 Not all the water in the rough rude sea
1439 Can wash the balm off from an anointed king.
1440 The breath of worldly men cannot depose
1441 The deputy elected by the Lord.
1442 For every man that Bolingbroke hath pressed
1443 60 To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
1444 God for His Richard hath in heavenly pay
p. 1151445 A glorious angel. Then, if angels fight,
1446 Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.
1447 Welcome, my lord. How far off lies your power?
1448 65 Nor near nor farther off, my gracious lord,
1449 Than this weak arm. Discomfort guides my tongue
1450 And bids me speak of nothing but despair.
1451 One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,
1452 Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth.
1453 70 O, call back yesterday, bid time return,
1454 And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men.
1455 Today, today, unhappy day too late,
1456 Overthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state;
1457 For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead,
1458 75 Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispersed, and fled.
1459 Comfort, my liege. Why looks your Grace so pale?
1460 But now the blood of twenty thousand men
1461 Did triumph in my face, and they are fled;
1462 And till so much blood thither come again
1463 80 Have I not reason to look pale and dead?
1464 All souls that will be safe, fly from my side,
1465 For time hath set a blot upon my pride.
1466 Comfort, my liege. Remember who you are.
1467 I had forgot myself. Am I not king?
1468 85 Awake, thou coward majesty, thou sleepest!
1469 Is not the King’s name twenty thousand names?
1470 Arm, arm, my name! A puny subject strikes
1471 At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,
1472 You favorites of a king. Are we not high?
1473 90 High be our thoughts. I know my Uncle York
p. 1171474 Hath power enough to serve our turn.—But who
1475 comes here?
1476 More health and happiness betide my liege
1477 Than can my care-tuned tongue deliver him.
1478 95 Mine ear is open and my heart prepared.
1479 The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.
1480 Say, is my kingdom lost? Why, ’twas my care,
1481 And what loss is it to be rid of care?
1482 Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?
1483 100 Greater he shall not be. If he serve God,
1484 We’ll serve Him too and be his fellow so.
1485 Revolt our subjects? That we cannot mend.
1486 They break their faith to God as well as us.
1487 Cry woe, destruction, ruin, and decay.
1488 105 The worst is death, and death will have his day.
1489 Glad am I that your Highness is so armed
1490 To bear the tidings of calamity.
1491 Like an unseasonable stormy day
1492 Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores
1493 110 As if the world were all dissolved to tears,
1494 So high above his limits swells the rage
1495 Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land
1496 With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel.
1497 Whitebeards have armed their thin and hairless
1498 115 scalps
1499 Against thy Majesty; boys with women’s voices
1500 Strive to speak big and clap their female joints
1501 In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown;
1502 Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows
1503 120 Of double-fatal yew against thy state.
1504 Yea, distaff women manage rusty bills
p. 1191505 Against thy seat. Both young and old rebel,
1506 And all goes worse than I have power to tell.
1507 Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill.
1508 125 Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? Where is Bagot?
1509 What is become of Bushy? Where is Green,
1510 That they have let the dangerous enemy
1511 Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?
1512 If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it!
1513 130 I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.
1514 Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord.
1515 O villains, vipers, damned without redemption!
1516 Dogs easily won to fawn on any man!
1517 Snakes in my heart blood warmed, that sting my
1518 135 heart!
1519 Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas!
1520 Would they make peace? Terrible hell
1521 Make war upon their spotted souls for this!
1522 Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
1523 140 Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate.
1524 Again uncurse their souls. Their peace is made
1525 With heads and not with hands. Those whom you
1527 Have felt the worst of death’s destroying wound
1528 145 And lie full low, graved in the hollow ground.
1529 Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?
1530 Ay, all of them at Bristow lost their heads.
1531 Where is the Duke my father with his power?
1532 No matter where. Of comfort no man speak.
p. 1211533 150 Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs,
1534 Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
1535 Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
1536 Let’s choose executors and talk of wills.
1537 And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
1538 155 Save our deposèd bodies to the ground?
1539 Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke’s,
1540 And nothing can we call our own but death
1541 And that small model of the barren earth
1542 Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
1543 160 For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
1544 And tell sad stories of the death of kings—
1545 How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
1546 Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,
1547 Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed,
1548 165 All murdered. For within the hollow crown
1549 That rounds the mortal temples of a king
1550 Keeps Death his court, and there the antic sits,
1551 Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
1552 Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
1553 170 To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks,
1554 Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
1555 As if this flesh which walls about our life
1556 Were brass impregnable; and humored thus,
1557 Comes at the last and with a little pin
1558 175 Bores through his castle wall, and farewell, king!
1559 Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
1560 With solemn reverence. Throw away respect,
1561 Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,
1562 For you have but mistook me all this while.
1563 180 I live with bread like you, feel want,
1564 Taste grief, need friends. Subjected thus,
1565 How can you say to me I am a king?
1566 My lord, wise men ne’er sit and wail their woes,
1567 But presently prevent the ways to wail.
p. 1231568 185 To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
1569 Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,
1570 And so your follies fight against yourself.
1571 Fear, and be slain—no worse can come to fight;
1572 And fight and die is death destroying death,
1573 190 Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.
1574 My father hath a power. Inquire of him,
1575 And learn to make a body of a limb.
1576 Thou chid’st me well.—Proud Bolingbroke, I come
1577 To change blows with thee for our day of doom.—
1578 195 This ague fit of fear is overblown.
1579 An easy task it is to win our own.—
1580 Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?
1581 Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.
1582 Men judge by the complexion of the sky
1583 200 The state and inclination of the day;
1584 So may you by my dull and heavy eye.
1585 My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
1586 I play the torturer by small and small
1587 To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken.
1588 205 Your uncle York is joined with Bolingbroke,
1589 And all your northern castles yielded up,
1590 And all your southern gentlemen in arms
1591 Upon his party.
KING RICHARD 1592 Thou hast said enough.
1593 210 ⌜To Aumerle.⌝ Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst
1594 lead me forth
1595 Of that sweet way I was in to despair.
1596 What say you now? What comfort have we now?
1597 By heaven, I’ll hate him everlastingly
1598 215 That bids me be of comfort anymore.
1599 Go to Flint Castle. There I’ll pine away;
1600 A king, woe’s slave, shall kingly woe obey.
p. 1251601 That power I have, discharge, and let them go
1602 To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,
1603 220 For I have none. Let no man speak again
1604 To alter this, for counsel is but vain.
1605 My liege, one word.
KING RICHARD 1606 He does me double wrong
1607 That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.
1608 225 Discharge my followers. Let them hence away,
1609 From Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.