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Richard II
Act 1, scene 2

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In Richard II, anger at a king’s arbitrary rule leads to his downfall—and sets in motion a decades-long struggle for the…

Act 1, scene 1

Henry Bolingbroke, King Richard’s cousin, publicly accuses Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, of treason. Among Bolingbroke’s charges is that Mowbray…

Act 1, scene 2

The widow of the duke of Gloucester begs John of Gaunt to avenge the murder of her husband. Gaunt says…

Act 1, scene 3

Bolingbroke and Mowbray prepare to fight to the death. King Richard suddenly calls off the fight and banishes Mowbray for…

Act 1, scene 4

Richard makes plans to fight in person in Ireland. To obtain money for the war against the Irish, he leases…

Act 2, scene 1

John of Gaunt, knowing that he is dying, speaks plainly to Richard about his deficiencies as king. Richard expresses his…

Act 2, scene 2

As the Queen grieves for Richard’s departure, news comes that Bolingbroke has landed in England with an army. As York…

Act 2, scene 3

Bolingbroke and Northumberland, just outside Berkeley Castle, meet young Henry Percy, Northumberland’s son. When the duke of York enters, he…

Act 2, scene 4

The Welsh troops, having waited ten days for Richard’s return, disperse. The earl of Salisbury predicts that Richard stands at…

Act 3, scene 1

Bolingbroke sentences Bushy and Green to death.

Act 3, scene 2

Richard, landing in England, greets his kingdom and expresses certainty that God will protect him against Bolingbroke’s threat. He learns…

Act 3, scene 3

Bolingbroke, approaching Flint Castle, learns that Richard is within. In answer to Bolingbroke’s trumpets, Richard and Aumerle appear on the…

Act 3, scene 4

Richard’s queen overhears a gardener describing Richard’s downfall and probable deposition.

Act 4, scene 1

Bolingbroke seeks information about the duke of Gloucester’s death. Bagot implicates Aumerle, and several nobles challenge Aumerle and each other….

Act 5, scene 1

Richard and his queen say their farewells, she to be sent to France, he to Pomfret Castle.

Act 5, scene 2

The duke of York expresses his sympathy for Richard but declares his allegiance to King Henry. When York discovers that…

Act 5, scene 3

Aumerle reaches King Henry and begs a pardon for an unnamed offence. The duke of York arrives and reveals the…

Act 5, scene 4

Sir Pierce Exton, reflecting on King Henry’s wish that Richard be removed, decides to carry out that wish.

Act 5, scene 5

Richard, imprisoned at Pontefract Castle, is visited by a former groom of his stable and then by the prison Keeper….

Act 5, scene 6

News is brought to Henry about the capture and punishment of rebel leaders. Henry pardons the bishop of Carlisle. Exton…

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Scene 2
Enter John of Gaunt with the Duchess of Gloucester.

GAUNT 
 Alas, the part I had in Woodstock’s blood
 Doth more solicit me than your exclaims
 To stir against the butchers of his life.
 But since correction lieth in those hands
5 Which made the fault that we cannot correct,
 Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven,
 Who, when they see the hours ripe on Earth,
 Will rain hot vengeance on offenders’ heads.
DUCHESS 
 Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?
10 Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?
 Edward’s seven sons, whereof thyself art one,
 Were as seven vials of his sacred blood
 Or seven fair branches springing from one root.
 Some of those seven are dried by nature’s course,
15 Some of those branches by the Destinies cut.
 But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloucester,
 One vial full of Edward’s sacred blood,
 One flourishing branch of his most royal root,
 Is cracked and all the precious liquor spilt,
20 Is hacked down, and his summer leaves all faded,
 By envy’s hand and murder’s bloody ax.

23
Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Ah, Gaunt, his blood was thine! That bed, that
 womb,
 That metal, that self mold that fashioned thee
25 Made him a man; and though thou livest and
 breathest,
 Yet art thou slain in him. Thou dost consent
 In some large measure to thy father’s death
 In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,
30 Who was the model of thy father’s life.
 Call it not patience, Gaunt. It is despair.
 In suff’ring thus thy brother to be slaughtered,
 Thou showest the naked pathway to thy life,
 Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee.
35 That which in mean men we entitle patience
 Is pale, cold cowardice in noble breasts.
 What shall I say? To safeguard thine own life,
 The best way is to venge my Gloucester’s death.
GAUNT 
 God’s is the quarrel; for God’s substitute,
40 His deputy anointed in His sight,
 Hath caused his death, the which if wrongfully
 Let heaven revenge, for I may never lift
 An angry arm against His minister.
DUCHESS 
 Where, then, alas, may I complain myself?
GAUNT 
45 To God, the widow’s champion and defense.
DUCHESS 
 Why then I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.
 Thou goest to Coventry, there to behold
 Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight.
 O, sit my husband’s wrongs on Hereford’s spear,
50 That it may enter butcher Mowbray’s breast!
 Or if misfortune miss the first career,
 Be Mowbray’s sins so heavy in his bosom

25
Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 That they may break his foaming courser’s back
 And throw the rider headlong in the lists,
55 A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!
 Farewell, old Gaunt. Thy sometime brother’s wife
 With her companion, grief, must end her life.
GAUNT 
 Sister, farewell. I must to Coventry.
 As much good stay with thee as go with me.
DUCHESS 
60 Yet one word more. Grief boundeth where it falls,
 Not with the empty hollowness, but weight.
 I take my leave before I have begun,
 For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.
 Commend me to thy brother, Edmund York.
65 Lo, this is all. Nay, yet depart not so!
 Though this be all, do not so quickly go;
 I shall remember more. Bid him—ah, what?—
 With all good speed at Plashy visit me.
 Alack, and what shall good old York there see
70 But empty lodgings and unfurnished walls,
 Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?
 And what hear there for welcome but my groans?
 Therefore commend me; let him not come there
 To seek out sorrow that dwells everywhere.
75 Desolate, desolate, will I hence and die.
 The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.
They exit.