Page images

Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields
To the possession of thy royal hand.
Ascend his throne, descending now from him,-
And long live Henry, of that name the fourth!

Boling. In God's name, I'll ascend the regal throne.'

Car. Marry, God forbid !
Worst in this royal presence, may I speak,
Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.
'Would God, that any in this noble presence
Were enough noble to be upright judge
Of noble Richard ; then true nobless 2 would
Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong:
What subject can give sentence on his king?
And who sits here, that is not Richard's subject ?
Thieves are not judged, but they are by to hear,
Although apparent guilt be seen in them;
And shall the figure of God's majesty,
His captain, steward, deputy elect,
Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
Be judged by subject and inferior breath,
And he himself not present ? O, forbid* it, God,
That, in a Christian climate, souls refined
Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!
I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,
Stirred up by Heaven, thus boldly for his king.
My lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,
Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford's king ;
And if you crown him, let me prophesy,—
The blood of English shall manure the ground,
And future ages groan for this foul act;
Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
And, in this seat of peace, tumultuous wars
Shall kin with kin, and kind with kind confound;
Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny
Shall here inhabit, and this land be called


1 Hume gives the words that Henry actually spoke on this occasion, which he copied from Knyghton.

2 i. e. nobleness ; a word now obsolete. 3 This speech, which contains in the most expressive terms the doctrine of passive obedience, is founded upon Holinshed's account. 4 The quarto reads forfend. VOL. III.




The field of Golgotha, and dead mens' skulls.
O, if you rear this house against this house,
It will the wofullest division prove,
That ever fell upon this cursed earth.
Prevent, resist it, let it not be so,
Lest child's child's children 2 cry against you-woe!
North. Well have you argued, sir; and, for your

Of capital treason we arrest


here.— My lord of Westminster, be it your charge To keep him safely till his day of trial.May't please you, lords, to grant the commons' suit.3

Boling. Fetch hither Richard, that in common view He may surrender; so we shall proceed Without suspicion. York.

I will be his conduct. [Exit. Boling. Lords, you that are here under our arrest,

, Procure your sureties for your days of answer.Little are we beholden to your love,

[To Car. And little looked for at your helping hands.

[ocr errors]

Re-enter YORK, with King RICHARD, and Officers,

bearing the crown, &c.
K. Rich. Alack, why am I sent for to a king,
Before I have shook off the regal thoughts
Wherewith I reigned ? I hardly yet have learned
To insinuate, flatter, bow and bend my knee: 4
Give sorrow leave a while to tutor me
To this submission. Yet I well remember
The favors of these men. Were they not mine?

1 The quarto reads raise. 2 Pope altered this to a children's children,” and was followed by others. The old copies read, “ Lest child, childs children.”

3 What follows, almost to the end of the act, is not found in the first two quartos. The addition was made in the quarto of 1608. In the quarto, 1597, after the words “his day of trial,” the scene thus closes :

Bol. Let it be so: and lo! on Wednesday next We solemnly proclaim our coronation.

Lords, be ready all.” 4 The quarto reads limbs.

5 Countenances, features.

Did they not sometime cry, all hail! to me?
So Judas did to Christ; but he, in twelve,
Found truth in all but one; I, in twelve thousand,

God save the king!-Will no man say, amen?
Am I both priest and clerk? Well, then, amen.
God save the king! although I be not he;
And yet, amen, if Heaven do think him me.-
To do what service am I sent for hither?

York. To do that office, of thine own good will,
Which tired majesty did make thee offer,-
The resignation of thy state and crown
To Henry Bolingbroke.

K. Rich. Give me the crown.-Here, cousin, seize

the crown;

Here on this side, my hand; and on that side, thine.
Now is this golden crown like a deep well,
That owes two buckets filling one another;
The emptier ever dancing in the air,
The other down, unseen, and full of water.
That bucket down, and full of tears, am I,
Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.

Boling. I thought you had been willing to resign.
K. Rich. My crown, I am; but still my griefs are

mine. You may my glories and my state depose, But not my griefs: still am I king of those.

Boling. Part of your cares you give me with your


K. Rich. Your cares set up, do not pluck my cares

My care is— loss of care, by old care done ; 2
Your care is—gain of care, by new care won.
The cares I give, I have, though given away ;
They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.

1 Owns.

2 Richard seems to say here that “his cares are not made less by the increase of Bolingbroke's cares ;"_“ his grief is, that his regal cares are at an end, by the cessation of care to which he had been accustomed.”

3 Attend.

[ocr errors]

Boling. Are you contented to resign the crown?

K. Rich. Ay, no ;no, ay ;--for I must nothing be ; Therefore no no, for I resign to thee. Now mark me how I will undo myself:I give this heavy weight from off my head, And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand, The pride of kingly sway from out my heart; With mine own tears I wash away my balm, With mine own hands I give away my crown, With mine own tongue deny my sacred state, With mine own breath release all duteous oaths.? All pomp

and majesty I do forswear;
My manors, rents, revenues, I forego;
My acts, decrees, and statutes, I deny.
God pardon all oaths, that are broke to me!
God keep all vows unbroke, are made to thee!
Make me, that nothing have, with nothing grieved ;

And thou with all pleased, that hast all achieved !
Long mayst thou live in Richard's seat to sit,
And soon lie Richard in an earthly pit!
God save king Henry, unkinged Richard says,
And send him many years of sunshine days!
What more remains ?

No more, but that



[Offering a paper.
These accusations, and these grievous crimes,
Committed by your person, and your followers,
Against the state and profit of this land;
That, by confessing them, the souls of men
May deem that you are worthily deposed.

K. Rich. Must I do so ? and must I ravel out
My weaved-up follies ? Gentle Northumberland,
If thy offences were upon record,
Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop,
To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,
There shouldst thou find one heinous article,-
Containing the deposing of a king,

1 Oil of consecration. 2 The first quarto reads duty's rites. 3 Thus the folio. The quarto reads that swear.

And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,-
Marked with a blot, damned in the book of Heaven.-
Nay, all of you, that stand and look upon me,
Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself, —
Though some of you, with Pilate, wash your hands,
Showing an outward pity; yet you Pilates
Have here delivered me to my sour cross,
And water cannot wash away your sin.

North. My lord, despatch; read o'er these articles.

K. Rich. Mine eyes are full of tears ; I cannot see;
And yet salt water blinds them not so much,
But they can see a sort of traitors here.
Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,
I find myself a traitor with the rest;
For I have given here my soul's consent,
To undeck the pompous body of a king;
Make glory base; and sovereignty, a slave;
Proud majesty, a subject; state, a peasant.

North. My lord,
K. Rich. No lord of thine, thou haught,” insulting

Nor no man's lord; I have no name, no title,
No, not that name was given me at the font-
But 'tis usurped.—Alack the heavy day,
That I have worn so many winters out,
And know not now what name to call myself!
O that I were a mockery king of snow,
Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,
To melt myself away in water-drops —
Good king,—great king,—and yet not greatly good,)
An if my word be sterling yet in England, ,
Let it command a mirror hither straight;
That it may show me what a face I have,
Since it is bankrupt of his 3 majesty.
Boling. Go, some of you, and fetch a looking-glass.

[Exit an Attendant.



1 A sort is a set or company.

i. e. haughty. 3 His for its. It was common in the Poet's time to use the personal for the neutral pronoun.

« PreviousContinue »