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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 ? Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that argu
ment, On some apparent danger seen in him, Aim'd at your highness; no inveterate malice.
K. Rich. Then call them to our presence, face to
And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
[Exeunt some Attendants. High stomach'd are they both, and full of ire, In
rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire. Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE 4 and
NORFOLK. Boling. May 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 flat
As well appeareth by the cause you comes :
4 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.
5 i. e. ' by the cause you come on. The suppression of the preposition has been shown to have been frequent with Shakspeare.
Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.-
Boling. First, (heaven be the record of my speech!)
divine soul answer it in heaven. 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 6
may prove. Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal : 'Tis not the trial of a woman's war, The bitter clamour of two eager tongues, Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain : The blood is hot that must be coold for this! Yet can I not of such tame patience boast, As to be hush’d, 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 return'd These terms of treason doubled down his throat. Setting aside his high blood's royalty, And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
6 My right-drawn sword is my sword drawn in a right or just
I do defy him, and I spit at him;
other ground inhabitable7
Nor. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear,
7 i. e. uninhabitable.
- Such delight
That Mowbray hath receiv'd eight thousand nobles,
and will in battle prove, Or here, or elsewhere, to the furthest verge That ever was survey’d 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 10; Suggest 11 his soon-believing adversaries; And, consequently, like a traitor coward, Sluic'd 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; And by the glorious worth of my descent, This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.
K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars !Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this ?
Nor. 0, let my sovereign turn away his face,
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and
Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom's heir
9 Lewd formerly signified knavish, ungracious, naughty, idle, beside its now general acceptation. Vide note on Much Ado about Nothing, Act v. Sc. 1. Vol. ii. p. 206.
10 Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III. who was murdered at Calais in 1397. See Froissart, chap. ccxxvi.
" i. e. pronipt them, set them on by injurious hints. 12 Reproach to his ancestry.
(As he is but my father's brother's son),
Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
noble lord of Lancaster,
fault: As for the rest appeald 14, It issues from the rancour of a villain,
13 The duke of Norfolk was joined in commission with Edward earl of Rutland (the Aumerle of this play) to go to France in the year 1395, to demand in marriage Isabel, eldest daughter of Charles VI. then between seven and eight years of age. Richard was married to his young consort in November 1396, at Calais ; his first wife, Anne, daughter of Charles IV. emperor of Germany, died at Shene on Whit Sanday, 1394. His marriage with Isabella was merely political, it was accompanied with an agreement for a truce between France and England for thirty years.