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Richard II - Act 5, scene 5
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Navigate this workRichard II - Act 5, scene 5
Act 5, scene 5
Richard, imprisoned at Pontefract Castle, is visited by a former groom of his stable and then by the prison Keeper. Exton and his men enter with weapons. Richard kills several of the men before Exton kills him.Enter Richard alone.
2689 I have been studying how I may compare
2690 This prison where I live unto the world,
2691 And for because the world is populous
2692 And here is not a creature but myself,
2693 5 I cannot do it. Yet I’ll hammer it out.
2694 My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul,
2695 My soul the father, and these two beget
2696 A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
2697 And these same thoughts people this little world,
2698 10 In humors like the people of this world,
2699 For no thought is contented. The better sort,
2700 As thoughts of things divine, are intermixed
2701 With scruples, and do set the word itself
2702 Against the word, as thus: “Come, little ones,”
2703 15 And then again,
2704 “It is as hard to come as for a camel
2705 To thread the postern of a small needle’s eye.”
2706 Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
2707 Unlikely wonders: how these vain weak nails
2708 20 May tear a passage through the flinty ribs
2709 Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls,
2710 And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
2711 Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves
2712 That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,
2713 25 Nor shall not be the last—like silly beggars
2714 Who, sitting in the stocks, refuge their shame
2715 That many have and others must ⌜sit⌝ there,
2716 And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
2717 Bearing their own misfortunes on the back
2718 30 Of such as have before endured the like.
2719 Thus play I in one person many people,
2720 And none contented. Sometimes am I king.
p. 2112721 Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
2722 And so I am; then crushing penury
2723 35 Persuades me I was better when a king.
2724 Then am I kinged again, and by and by
2725 Think that I am unkinged by Bolingbroke,
2726 And straight am nothing. But whate’er I be,
2727 Nor I nor any man that but man is
2728 40 With nothing shall be pleased till he be eased
2729 With being nothing. (The music plays.) Music do I
2731 Ha, ha, keep time! How sour sweet music is
2732 When time is broke and no proportion kept.
2733 45 So is it in the music of men’s lives.
2734 And here have I the daintiness of ear
2735 To check time broke in a disordered string;
2736 But for the concord of my state and time
2737 Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
2738 50 I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
2739 For now hath time made me his numb’ring clock.
2740 My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar
2741 Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
2742 Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
2743 55 Is pointing still in cleansing them from tears.
2744 Now, sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
2745 Are clamorous groans which strike upon my heart,
2746 Which is the bell. So sighs and tears and groans
2747 Show minutes, times, and hours. But my time
2748 60 Runs posting on in Bolingbroke’s proud joy,
2749 While I stand fooling here, his jack of the clock.
2750 This music mads me. Let it sound no more,
2751 For though it have holp madmen to their wits,
2752 In me it seems it will make wise men mad.
2753 65 Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me,
2754 For ’tis a sign of love, and love to Richard
2755 Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.
Enter a Groom of the stable.
p. 213GROOM 2756 Hail, royal prince!
RICHARD 2757 Thanks, noble peer.
2758 70 The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.
2759 What art thou, and how comest thou hither,
2760 Where no man never comes but that sad dog
2761 That brings me food to make misfortune live?
2762 I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,
2763 75 When thou wert king; who, traveling towards York,
2764 With much ado at length have gotten leave
2765 To look upon my sometime royal master’s face.
2766 O, how it earned my heart when I beheld
2767 In London streets, that coronation day,
2768 80 When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary,
2769 That horse that thou so often hast bestrid,
2770 That horse that I so carefully have dressed.
2771 Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend,
2772 How went he under him?
2773 85 So proudly as if he disdained the ground.
2774 So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back!
2775 That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand;
2776 This hand hath made him proud with clapping him.
2777 Would he not stumble? Would he not fall down
2778 90 (Since pride must have a fall) and break the neck
2779 Of that proud man that did usurp his back?
2780 Forgiveness, horse! Why do I rail on thee,
2781 Since thou, created to be awed by man,
2782 Wast born to bear? I was not made a horse,
2783 95 And yet I bear a burden like an ass,
2784 Spurred, galled, and tired by jauncing Bolingbroke.
Enter one, ⌜the Keeper,⌝ to Richard with meat.
p. 215KEEPER, ⌜to Groom⌝
2785 Fellow, give place. Here is no longer stay.
RICHARD, ⌜to Groom⌝
2786 If thou love me, ’tis time thou wert away.
2787 What my tongue dares not, that my heart shall say.
KEEPER 2788 100My lord, will ’t please you to fall to?
2789 Taste of it first as thou art wont to do.
2790 My lord, I dare not. Sir Pierce of Exton,
2791 Who lately came from the King, commands the
RICHARD, ⌜attacking the Keeper⌝
2793 105 The devil take Henry of Lancaster and thee!
2794 Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.
KEEPER 2795 Help, help, help!
The Murderers ⌜Exton and his men⌝ rush in.
2796 How now, what means death in this rude assault?
2797 Villain, thy own hand yields thy death’s instrument.
⌜Richard seizes a weapon from a Murderer
and kills him with it.⌝
2798 110 Go thou and fill another room in hell.
⌜He kills another Murderer.⌝
Here Exton strikes him down.
2799 That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire
2800 That staggers thus my person. Exton, thy fierce hand
2801 Hath with the King’s blood stained the King’s own
2803 115 Mount, mount, my soul. Thy seat is up on high,
2804 Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.
2805 As full of valor as of royal blood.
2806 Both have I spilled. O, would the deed were good!
2807 For now the devil that told me I did well
2808 120 Says that this deed is chronicled in hell.
2809 This dead king to the living king I’ll bear.
2810 Take hence the rest and give them burial here.
⌜They exit with the bodies.⌝