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To his most royal person : hither come
NORTHUMBERLAND advances to the Castle,
with a Trumpet.
A Parle sounded, and answered by another Trumpet
unthin. Flourish. Enter on the Walls King RICHARD, the Bishop of CARLISLE, AUMERLE. SCROOP, and SALISBURY.
York. See, see, king Richard doth himself appear,
Yet looks he like a king ; behold, his eye,
K. Rich. We are amaz’d; and thus long have we stood To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,
[To NORTHUMBERLAND. Because we thought ourself thy lawful king: And if we be, how dare thy joints forget To pay their awful duty to our presence ? If we be not, show us the hand of God That hath dismiss'd us from our stewardship; For well we know, no hand of blood and bone Can gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre, Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp. And though you think, that all, as you have done, Have torn their souls, by turning 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, And threat the glory of my precious crown. Tell Bolingbroke, (for yond', methinks, he is,) That every stride he makes upon my land, Is dangerous treason: He is come to ope The purple testament of bleeding war; But ere the crown he looks for live in peace, Ten thousand bloody crowns of mother's sons Shall ill become the flower of England's face";
4— the flower of England's face ;] Dr. Warburton says, by the flower of England's face is meant the choicest youths of England, who shall be slaughtered in this quarrel, or have bloody crowns.
The flower of England's face, to design her choicest youth, is a fine and noble expression ; but Mr. Steevens is of opinion that the flower of England's face means England's flowery face, the flowery surface of England's soil.
Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
North. The king of heaven forbid, our lord the king
Aum. No, good my lord ; let's fight with gentle words, Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful swords.
K. Rich. O God! 0 God! that e'er this tongue of
mine, That laid the sentence of dread banishment On yon proud man, should take it off again With words of sooth'! O, that I were as great As is my grief, or lesser than my name ! Or that I could forget what I have been ! Or not remember what I must be now! Swell'st thou, proud heart ? I'll give thee scope to beat, Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.
Aum. Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.
5 With words of sooth!] Sooth is sweet as well as true. In this place sooth means sweetness or softness, a signification yet retained in the verb to sooth. Johnson.
6 on their sovereign's head :) Shakspeare is very apt to de viate from the pathetick to the ridiculous. Had the speech of Richard ended at this line, it had exhibited the natural language of submissive misery, conforming its intention to the present fortune, and calmly ending its purposes in death. Johnson.
Aumerle, thou weep’st ; My tender-hearted cousin !--
North. My lord, in the base court’ he doth attend
[North, retires to BOLING. In the base court ? Base court, where kings grow base, To come at traitors' calls, and do them grace. In the base court ? Come down ? Down, court! down,
king! For night-owls shriek, where mounting larks should sing
[Exeunt, from above. Boling. What says his majesty ? North.
Sorrow and grief of heart
Enter King RICHARD, and his Attendants, below.
Bas cour, Fr.