Page images



EDMUND of Langley, Duke of York, Uncles to the
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 1 King.
Henry, surnamed BOLINGBROKE, Duke of Hereford, Son

to John of Gaunt; afterwards King Henry IV.
Duke of Aumerle, Son to the Duke of York.
MOWBRAY, Duke of Norfolk.
Duke of Surrey.
Earl of Salisbury. Earl Berkley.
Bagot, Creatures to King Richard.
Earl of Northumberland.
Henry Percy, his Son.
Lord Ross. Lord Willoughby. Lord Fitzwater.
Bishop of Carlisle. Abbot of Westminster.
Lord Marshal; and another Lord.
Captain of a band of Welshmen.


Queen to King Richard.
Duchess of Gloster.
Duchess of York.
Lady attending on the Queen.

Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, two Gardeners, Keeper,

Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants.

SCENE, dispersedly in England and Wales.



SCENE I. London. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King RICHARD, attended ; John of Gaunt, and

other Nobles with him. King Richard. OLD' John of Gaunt, time-honored

Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
Brought hither Henry Hereford, thy bold son;
Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ?
Gaunt. I have, my liege.

K. Rich. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him,
If he appeal the duke on ancient malice;
Or worthily, as a good subject should,
On some known ground of treachery in him ?

1 « Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster.” Our ancestors, in their estimate of old age, appear to have reckoned somewhat differently from us, and to have considered men as old whom we should now esteem as middle-aged. With them, every man that had passed fifty seems to have been accounted an old man. John of Gaunt, at the period when the commencement of this play is laid (1398), was only fifty-eight years old: he died in 1399, aged fifty-nine. This may have arisen from its being customary in former times to enter life at an earlier period than we do now. Those who married at fifteen, had at fifty been masters of a house and family for thirty-five years.

? When these public challenges were accepted, each combatant found a pledge for his appearance at the time and place appointed. Band and bond were formerly synonymous.

3 In the old play, and in Harding's Chronicle, Bolingbroke’s title is written Herford and Harford. This was the pronunciation of our Poet's time, and he therefore uses this word as a dissyllable.

Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that argu

ment, On some apparent danger seen in him, Aimed at your highness; no inveterate malice. K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face to

face, And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear The accuser, and the accused, freely speak.

[Exeunt some Attendants. High stomached are they both, and full of ire, In rage deaf as the sea, hasty

sea, hasty as fire.

Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKET and Nor


Boling. Many years of happy days befall My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!

Nor. Each day still better other's happiness, Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!

K. Rich. We thank you both; yet one but flatters us, As well appeareth by the cause you come : 2 Namely, to appeal each other of high treason. Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ?

Boling. First, (Heaven be the record to my speech!) In the devotion of a subject's love, Tendering the precious safety of my prince, And free from other misbegotten hate, Come I appellant to this princely presence.Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee; And mark my greeting well; for what I speak, My body shall make good upon this earth, Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.

1 Drayton asserts that Henry Plantagenet, the eldest son of John of Gaunt, was not distinguished by the name of Bolingbroke till after he had assumed the crown. He is called earl of Hereford by the old historians, and was surnamed Bolingbroke from having been born at the town of that name in Lincolnshire, about 1366.

2 1. e.“ by the cause you come on.” The suppression of the preposition has been shown to have been frequent with Shakspeare.

Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant;
Too good to be so, and too bad to live;
Since, the more fair and crystal is the sky,
The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat;
And wish, (so please my sovereign,) ere I move,
What my tongue speaks, my right-drawn sword?

Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal.
'Tis not the trial of a woman's war,
The bitter clamor of two eager tongues,
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain.
The blood is hot that must be cooled for this;
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast,
As to be hushed, and nought at all to say.
First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me
From giving reins and spurs to my free speech;
Which else would post, until it had returned
These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
Setting aside his high blood's royalty,
And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
I do defy him, and I spit at him ;
Call him-a slanderous coward, and a villain;
Which to maintain, I would allow him odds;
And meet him, were I tied to run afoot
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,

other ground inhabitable,
Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
Mean time, let this defend my loyalty,
By all my hopes, most falsely' doth he lie.
Boling. Pale, trembling coward, there I throw my

Disclaiming here the kindred of the king;
And lay aside my high blood's royalty,
Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except.
If guilty dread hath left thee so much strength,


1 My right-drawn sword is my sword drawn in a right or just cause. i. e. uninhabitable. VOL. III.


As to take up mine honor's pawn, then stoop;
By that, and all the rites of knighthood else,
Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
What I have spoke, or thou canst worst devise.

Nor. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear,
Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,
I'll answer thee in any fair degree,
Or chivalrous design of knightly trial ;
And, when I mount, alive may I not light,
If I be traitor, or unjustly fight!
K. Rich. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's

charge? It must be great, that can inheritus So much as of a thought of ill in him.

Boling. Look, what I speak my life shall prove it That Mowbray hath received eight thousand nobles, In name of lendings for your highness' soldiers; The which he hath detained for lewd ” employments, Like a false traitor, and injurious villain. Besides I say, and will in battle prove, Or here, or elsewhere, to the furthest verge That ever was surveyed by English eye, That all the treasons for these eighteen years Complotted and contrived in this land, Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring. Further I say,—and further will maintain Upon his bad life, to make all this good, That he did plot the duke of Gloster's death ; 3 Suggest 4 his soon-believing adversaries ; And, consequently, like a traitor coward, Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood; Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries, Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth, To me for justice, and rough chastisement;


1 To inherit, in the language of Shakspeare, is to possess.

2 Lewd formerly signified knavish, ungracious, naughty, idle, beside its now general acceptation.

3 Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III., who was murdered at Calais in 1397.

4 i. e. prompt them, set them on by injurious hints.

« PreviousContinue »