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But, for thy world, enjoying but this land,
Is it not more than shame, to shame it so?
Landlord of England art thou now, not king:
Thy state of law is bondslave to the law;
a lunatick lean-witted fool,
Presuming on n ague's privilege,
Dar'st with thy frozen admonition
Make pale our cheek; chasing the royal blood,
With fury, from his native residence.
Now by my seat's right royal majesty,
Wert thou not brother to great Edward's son,
This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head,
Should run thy head from thy unreverend shoulders.
Gaunt. O, spare me not, my brother Edward's
For that I was his father Edward's son;
That blood already, like the pelican,
Hast thou tapp'd out, and drunkenly carous'd:
My brother Gloster, plain well-meaning soul,
(Whom fair befal in heaven 'mongst happy souls!)
May be a precedent and witness good,
That thou respect'st not spilling Edward's blood:
Join with the present sickness that I have;
And thy unkindness be like crooked age,
To crop at once a too-long wither'd flower.
Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!—
These words hereafter thy tormentors be!—
Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:
Love they2 to live, that love and honour have.
Exit, borne out by his Attendants.
K. Rich. And let them die, that age and sullens
For both hast thou, and both become the grave. York. 'Beseech your majesty, impute his words
2 Love they] That is, let them love.
To wayward sickliness and age in him:
He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear
As Harry duke of Hereford, were he here.
K. Rich. Right; you say true: as Hereford's love, so his:
As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.
North. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majesty.
K. Rich. What says he now?
Nay, nothing; all is said: His tongue is now a stringless instrument; Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent. York. Be York the next that must be bankrupt so!
Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.
K. Rich. The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he;
His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be:
So much for that.Now for our Irish wars:
We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns;
Which live like venom, where no venom else,*
But only they, hath privilege to live.
And for these great affairs do ask some charge,
Towards our assistance, we do seize to us
The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables,
Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess'd.
York. How long shall I be patient? Ah, how
Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?
Not Gloster's death, nor Hereford's banishment,
Northumberland.] Henry Percy, Earl of Northumber
4 where no venom else,] This alludes to a tradition that St. Patrick freed the kingdom of Ireland from venomous reptiles of every kind.
Not Gaunt's rebukes, nor England's private wrongs,
Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke
About his marriage,5 nor my own disgrace,
Have ever made me sour my patient cheek,
Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign's face.-
I am the last of noble Edward's sons,
Of whom thy father, prince of Wales, was first;
In war, was never lion rag'd more fierce,
In peace was never gentle lamb more mild,
Than was that young and princely gentleman:
His face thou hast, for even so look'd he,
Accomplish'd with the number of thy hours;"
But, when he frown'd, it was against the French,
And not against his friends: his noble hand
Did win what he did spend, and spent not that
Which his triumphant father's hand had won:
His hands were guilty of no kindred's blood,
But bloody with the enemies of his kin.
O, Richard! York is too far gone with grief,
Or else he never would compare between.
K. Rich. Why, uncle, what's the matter?
O, my liege,
Pardon me, if you please; if not, I pleas'd
Not to be pardon'd, am content withal.
Seek you to seize, and gripe into your hands,
The royalties and rights of banish'd Hereford?
Is not Gaunt dead? and doth not Hereford live?
Was not Gaunt just? and is not Harry true?
Did not the one deserve to have an heir?
Is not his heir a well-deserving son?
5 Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke
About his marriage,] When the duke of Hereford, after his banishment, went into France, he was honourably entertained at that court, and would have obtained in marriage the only daughter of the duke of Berry, uncle to the French king, had not Richard prevented the match.
6 Accomplish'd with the number of thy hours;] i. e. when he was of thy age.
Take Hereford's rights away, and take from time
His charters, and his customary rights;
Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day;
Be not thyself, for how art thou a king,
But by fair sequence and succession?
Now, afore God (God forbid, I say true!)
If you do wrongfully seize Hereford's rights,
Call in the letters patents that he hath
By his attornies-general to sue
His livery, and deny his offer'd homage,"
You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,
You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts,
And prick my tender patience to those thoughts
Which honour and allegiance cannot think.
K. Rich. Think what you will; we seize into our hands
His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands. York. I'll not be by, the while: My liege, fare
What will ensue hereof, there's none can tell;
But by bad courses may be understood,
That their events can never fall out good.
K. Rich. Go, Bushy, to the earl of Wiltshire
Bid him repair to us to Ely-house,
To see this business: To-morrow next
We will for Ireland; and 'tis time, I trow;
And we create, in absence of ourself,
Our uncle York lord governor of England,
For he is just, and always lov'd us well.
Come on, our queen: to-morrow must we part;
Be merry, for our time of stay is short. [Flourish.
[Exeunt King, Queen, BUSHY, AUMERLE,
GREEN, and Bagot.
deny his offer'd homage,] That is, refuse to admit the homage, by which he is to hold his lands.
North. Well, lords, the duke of Lancaster is dead.
Ross. And living too; for now his son is duke. Willo. Barely in title, not in revenue.
North. Richly in both, if justice had her right. Ross. My heart is great; but it must break with silence,
Ere't be disburden'd with a liberal tongue.
North. Nay, speak thy mind; and let him ne'er speak more,
That speaks thy words again, to do thee harm!
Willo. Tends that thou'dst speak, to the duke of
If it be so, out with it boldly, man;
Quick is mine ear, to hear of good towards him.
Ross. No good at all, that I can do for him;
Unless you call it good, to pity him,
Bereft and gelded of his patrimony.
North. Now, afore heaven, 'tis shame, such wrongs are borne,
In him a royal prince, and many more
Of noble blood in this declining land.
The king is not himself, but basely led
By flatterers; and what they will inform,
Merely in hate, 'gainst any of us all,
That will the king severely prosecute
'Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs. Ross. The commons hath he pill'd with grievous
And lost their hearts: the nobles hath he fin'd
For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts.
Willo. And daily new exactions are devis'd;
As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what:
But what, o'God's name, doth become of this?
North. Wars have not wasted it, for warr'd he
But basely yielded upon compromise