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To his most royal person : hither come
Even at his feet to lay my arms and power ;
Provided that, my banishment repeald,
And lands restor'd again, be freely granted :
If not, I'll use the advantage of my power, ,
And lay the summer's dust with showers of blood,
Rain'd from the wounds of slaughter'd Englishmen:
The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke
It is, such crimson tempest should bedrench
The fresh green lap of fair king Richard's land,
My stooping duty tenderly shall show.
Go, signify as much ; while here we march
Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.-
[NORTHUMBERLAND advances to the Castle,
with a Trumpet.
Let's march without the noise of threat'ning drum,
That from the castle's totter'd battlements
Our fair appointments may be well perus'd.
Methinks, king Richard and myself should meet
With no less terror than the elements
Of fire and water, when their thund'ring shock
At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.
Be he the fire, I'll be the yielding water;
The rage be his, while on the earth I rain
My waters; on the earth, and not on him.
March on, and mark king Richard how he looks.
A Parle sounded, and answered by another Trumpet
within. Flourish. Enter on the Walls King RICHARD, the Bishop of CARLISLE, AUMERLE. SCROOP, and SALIS
York. See, see, king Richard doth himself appear,
As doth the blushing discontented sun,
From out the fiery portal of the east;
When he perceives the envious clouds are bent
To dim his glory, and to stain the track
Of his bright passage to the occident.
Yet looks he like a king ; behold, his eye,
As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth
Controlling majesty ; Alack, alack, for woe,
That any harm should stain so fair a show!
K. Rich. We are amaz'd; and thus long have we stood
To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,
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;
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
To scarlet indignation, and bedew
Her pastures' grass with faithful English blood.
North. The king of heaven forbid, our lord the king
Should so with civil and uncivil arms
Be rush'd upon! Thy thrice-noble cousin,
Harry Bolingbroke, doth humbly kiss thy hand;
And by the honourable tomb he swears,
That stands upon thy royal grandsire's bones;
And by the royalties of both your bloods,
Currents that spring from one most gracious head ;
And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt;
And by the worth and honour of himself,
Comprising all that may be sworn or said, -
His coming hither hath no further scope,
Than for his lineal royalties, and to beg
Enfranchisement immediate on his knees;
Which on thy royal party granted once,
His glittering arms he will commend to rust,
His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart
To faithful service of your majesty.
This swears he, as he is a prince, is just;
And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.
K. Rich. Northumberland, say,—thus the king re-
His noble cousin is right welcome hither ;
And all the number of his fair demands
Shall be accomplish'd without contradiction :
With all the gracious utterance thou hast,
Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.--
We do debase ourself, cousin, do we not,
To look so poorly, and to speak so fair ?
Shall we call back Northumberland, and send
Defiance to the traitor, and so die ?
Aum. No, good my lord ; let's fight with gentle words, Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful swords.
K. Rich. O God! O 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.
K. Rich. What must the king do now? Must he
The king shall do it. Must he be depos'd ?
The king shall be contented: Must he lose
The name of king ? o'God's name, let it go :
I'll give my jewels, for a set of beads;
My gorgeous palace, for a hermitage ;
My gay apparel, for an alms-man's gown ;
My figur'd goblets, for a dish of wood;
My scepter, for a palmer's walking-staff;
My subjects, for a pair of carved saints;
And my large kingdom for a little grave,
A little little grave, an obscure grave :-
Or I'll be buried in the king's highway,
Some way of common trade, where subjects' feet
May hourly trample on their sovereign's head":
For on my heart they tread, now whilst I live;
And, buried once, why not upon my head ?-
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.
on their sovereign's head :] Shakspeare is very apt to deviate 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 tention to the present fortune, and calmly ending its purposes in death. Johnson.
Aumerle, thou weep'st; My tender-hearted cousin !--
We'll make foul weather with despised tears ;
Our sighs, and they, shall lodge the summer corn,
And make a dearth in this revolting land.
Or shall we play the wantons with our woes,
And make some pretty match with shedding tears ?
As thus ;—To drop them still upon one place,
Till they have fretted us a pair of graves
Within the earth; and, therein laid, --There lies
Two kinsmen, digg’d their graves with weeping eyes ?
Would not this ill do well ?- Well, well, I see
I talk but idly, and you mock at me.-
Most mighty prince, my lord Northumberland,
What says king Bolingbroke? will his majesty
Give Richard leave to live till Richard die ?
You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says-ay.
North. My lord, in the base court’ he doth attend To speak with you ; may't please you to come down?
K. Rich. Down, down, I come ; like glistering Phaeton, Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
[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
Makes him speak fondly like a frantick man:
Yet he is come.
Enter King RICHARD, and his Attendants, below.
Boling. Stand all apart,
And show fair duty to his majesty.--
My gracious lord,