List iconRichard II:
Act 1, scene 3
List icon

Richard II
Act 1, scene 3



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

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 3
Enter Lord Marshal and the Duke of Aumerle.

 My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford armed?
 Yea, at all points, and longs to enter in.

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,
 Stays but the summons of the appellant’s trumpet.
5 Why then, the champions are prepared and stay
 For nothing but his Majesty’s approach.

The trumpets sound and the King enters with his Nobles
and Officers; when they are set, enter Mowbray, the
Duke of Norfolk in arms, defendant, with a Herald.

 Marshal, demand of yonder champion
 The cause of his arrival here in arms,
 Ask him his name, and orderly proceed
10 To swear him in the justice of his cause.
MARSHAL, to Mowbray 
 In God’s name and the King’s, say who thou art
 And why thou comest thus knightly clad in arms,
 Against what man thou com’st, and what thy quarrel.
 Speak truly on thy knighthood and thy oath,
15 As so defend thee heaven and thy valor.
 My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
 Who hither come engagèd by my oath—
 Which God defend a knight should violate!—
 Both to defend my loyalty and truth
20 To God, my king, and my succeeding issue,
 Against the Duke of Hereford that appeals me,
 And by the grace of God and this mine arm
 To prove him, in defending of myself,
 A traitor to my God, my king, and me;
25 And as I truly fight, defend me heaven.

The trumpets sound. Enter Bolingbroke, Duke of
Hereford, appellant, in armor, with a Herald.

KING RICHARD Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Both who he is and why he cometh hither
 Thus plated in habiliments of war,
 And formally, according to our law,
30 Depose him in the justice of his cause.
MARSHAL, to Bolingbroke 
 What is thy name? And wherefore com’st thou hither,
 Before King Richard in his royal lists?
 Against whom comest thou? And what’s thy quarrel?
 Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven.
35 Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby
 Am I, who ready here do stand in arms
 To prove, by God’s grace and my body’s valor,
 In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
 That he is a traitor foul and dangerous
40 To God of heaven, King Richard, and to me.
 And as I truly fight, defend me heaven.
 On pain of death, no person be so bold
 Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists,
 Except the Marshal and such officers
45 Appointed to direct these fair designs.
 Lord Marshal, let me kiss my sovereign’s hand
 And bow my knee before his Majesty;
 For Mowbray and myself are like two men
 That vow a long and weary pilgrimage.
50 Then let us take a ceremonious leave
 And loving farewell of our several friends.
MARSHAL, to King Richard 
 The appellant in all duty greets your Highness
 And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.
KING RICHARD, coming down 
 We will descend and fold him in our arms.
He embraces Bolingbroke.
55 Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 So be thy fortune in this royal fight.
 Farewell, my blood—which, if today thou shed,
 Lament we may but not revenge thee dead.
 O, let no noble eye profane a tear
60 For me if I be gored with Mowbray’s spear.
 As confident as is the falcon’s flight
 Against a bird do I with Mowbray fight.
 My loving lord, I take my leave of you.—
 Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle;
65 Not sick, although I have to do with death,
 But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.—
 Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet
 The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet.
 O, thou the earthly author of my blood,
70 Whose youthful spirit in me regenerate
 Doth with a twofold vigor lift me up
 To reach at victory above my head,
 Add proof unto mine armor with thy prayers,
 And with thy blessings steel my lance’s point
75 That it may enter Mowbray’s waxen coat
 And furbish new the name of John o’ Gaunt,
 Even in the lusty havior of his son.
 God in thy good cause make thee prosperous.
 Be swift like lightning in the execution,
80 And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,
 Fall like amazing thunder on the casque
 Of thy adverse pernicious enemy.
 Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant, and live.
 Mine innocence and Saint George to thrive!
85 However God or fortune cast my lot,
 There lives or dies, true to King Richard’s throne,
 A loyal, just, and upright gentleman.

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Never did captive with a freer heart
 Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace
90 His golden uncontrolled enfranchisement
 More than my dancing soul doth celebrate
 This feast of battle with mine adversary.
 Most mighty liege and my companion peers,
 Take from my mouth the wish of happy years.
95 As gentle and as jocund as to jest
 Go I to fight. Truth hath a quiet breast.
 Farewell, my lord. Securely I espy
 Virtue with valor couchèd in thine eye.—
 Order the trial, marshal, and begin.
100 Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
 Receive thy lance; and God defend the right.
He presents a lance to Bolingbroke.
 Strong as a tower in hope, I cry “Amen!”
MARSHAL, to an Officer 
 Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.
An Officer presents a lance to Mowbray.
 Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby
105 Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself,
 On pain to be found false and recreant,
 To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,
 A traitor to his God, his king, and him,
 And dares him to set forward to the fight.
110 Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
 On pain to be found false and recreant,
 Both to defend himself and to approve
 Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby
 To God, his sovereign, and to him disloyal,

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

115 Courageously and with a free desire
 Attending but the signal to begin.
 Sound, trumpets, and set forward, combatants.
Trumpets sound. Richard throws down his warder.
 Stay! The King hath thrown his warder down.
 Let them lay by their helmets and their spears,
120 And both return back to their chairs again.
 To his council. Withdraw with us, and let the
 trumpets sound
 While we return these dukes what we decree.
Trumpets sound while Richard consults with Gaunt
and other Nobles.

 To Bolingbroke and Mowbray. Draw near,
125 And list what with our council we have done.
 For that our kingdom’s earth should not be soiled
 With that dear blood which it hath fosterèd;
 And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect
 Of civil wounds plowed up with neighbor’s sword;
130 And for we think the eagle-wingèd pride
 Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,
 With rival-hating envy, set on you
 To wake our peace, which in our country’s cradle
 Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep,
135 Which, so roused up with boist’rous untuned
 With harsh resounding trumpets’ dreadful bray,
 And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,
 Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace
140 And make us wade even in our kindred’s blood:
 Therefore we banish you our territories.
 You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life,
 Till twice five summers have enriched our fields
 Shall not regreet our fair dominions,
145 But tread the stranger paths of banishment.

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Your will be done. This must my comfort be:
 That sun that warms you here shall shine on me,
 And those his golden beams to you here lent
 Shall point on me and gild my banishment.
150 Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,
 Which I with some unwillingness pronounce:
 The sly, slow hours shall not determinate
 The dateless limit of thy dear exile.
 The hopeless word of “never to return”
155 Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.
 A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
 And all unlooked-for from your Highness’ mouth.
 A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
 As to be cast forth in the common air,
160 Have I deservèd at your Highness’ hands.
 The language I have learnt these forty years,
 My native English, now I must forgo;
 And now my tongue’s use is to me no more
 Than an unstringèd viol or a harp,
165 Or like a cunning instrument cased up,
 Or, being open, put into his hands
 That knows no touch to tune the harmony.
 Within my mouth you have enjailed my tongue,
 Doubly portcullised with my teeth and lips,
170 And dull unfeeling barren ignorance
 Is made my jailor to attend on me.
 I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,
 Too far in years to be a pupil now.
 What is thy sentence then but speechless death,
175 Which robs my tongue from breathing native
 It boots thee not to be compassionate.
 After our sentence plaining comes too late.

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Then thus I turn me from my country’s light,
180 To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.
He begins to exit.
 Return again, and take an oath with thee.
 To Mowbray and Bolingbroke. Lay on our royal
 sword your banished hands.
They place their right hands on the hilts of
Richard’s sword.

 Swear by the duty that you owe to God—
185 Our part therein we banish with yourselves—
 To keep the oath that we administer:
 You never shall, so help you truth and God,
 Embrace each other’s love in banishment,
 Nor never look upon each other’s face,
190 Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
 This louring tempest of your homebred hate,
 Nor never by advisèd purpose meet
 To plot, contrive, or complot any ill
 ’Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.
MOWBRAY And I, to keep all this.
They step back.
 Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:
 By this time, had the King permitted us,
 One of our souls had wandered in the air,
200 Banished this frail sepulcher of our flesh,
 As now our flesh is banished from this land.
 Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm.
 Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
 The clogging burden of a guilty soul.
205 No, Bolingbroke; if ever I were traitor,
 My name be blotted from the book of life,

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 And I from heaven banished as from hence.
 But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know,
 And all too soon, I fear, the King shall rue.—
210 Farewell, my liege. Now no way can I stray;
 Save back to England, all the world’s my way.
He exits.
 Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes
 I see thy grievèd heart. Thy sad aspect
 Hath from the number of his banished years
215 Plucked four away. To Bolingbroke. Six frozen
 winters spent,
 Return with welcome home from banishment.
 How long a time lies in one little word!
 Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
220 End in a word; such is the breath of kings.
 I thank my liege that in regard of me
 He shortens four years of my son’s exile.
 But little vantage shall I reap thereby;
 For, ere the six years that he hath to spend
225 Can change their moons and bring their times
 My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light
 Shall be extinct with age and endless night;
 My inch of taper will be burnt and done,
230 And blindfold death not let me see my son.
 Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.
 But not a minute, king, that thou canst give.
 Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,
 And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow.
235 Thou canst help time to furrow me with age,
 But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage.

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Thy word is current with him for my death,
 But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.
 Thy son is banished upon good advice,
240 Whereto thy tongue a party verdict gave.
 Why at our justice seem’st thou then to lour?
 Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
 You urged me as a judge, but I had rather
 You would have bid me argue like a father.
245 O, had it been a stranger, not my child,
 To smooth his fault I should have been more mild.
 A partial slander sought I to avoid,
 And in the sentence my own life destroyed.
 Alas, I looked when some of you should say
250 I was too strict, to make mine own away.
 But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue
 Against my will to do myself this wrong.
KING RICHARD, to Bolingbroke 
 Cousin, farewell.—And, uncle, bid him so.
 Six years we banish him, and he shall go.
Flourish. King Richard exits with his Attendants.
AUMERLE, to Bolingbroke 
255 Cousin, farewell. What presence must not know,
 From where you do remain let paper show.
MARSHAL, to Bolingbroke 
 My lord, no leave take I, for I will ride,
 As far as land will let me, by your side.
GAUNT, to Bolingbroke 
 O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,
260 That thou returnest no greeting to thy friends?
 I have too few to take my leave of you,
 When the tongue’s office should be prodigal
 To breathe the abundant dolor of the heart.

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.
265 Joy absent, grief is present for that time.
 What is six winters? They are quickly gone.
 To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.
 Call it a travel that thou tak’st for pleasure.
 My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,
270 Which finds it an enforcèd pilgrimage.
 The sullen passage of thy weary steps
 Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set
 The precious jewel of thy home return.
 Nay, rather every tedious stride I make
275 Will but remember me what a deal of world
 I wander from the jewels that I love.
 Must I not serve a long apprenticehood
 To foreign passages, and in the end,
 Having my freedom, boast of nothing else
280 But that I was a journeyman to grief?
 All places that the eye of heaven visits
 Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.
 Teach thy necessity to reason thus:
 There is no virtue like necessity.
285 Think not the King did banish thee,
 But thou the King. Woe doth the heavier sit
 Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
 Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honor,
 And not the King exiled thee; or suppose
290 Devouring pestilence hangs in our air
 And thou art flying to a fresher clime.

Richard II
ACT 1. SC. 4

 Look what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
 To lie that way thou goest, not whence thou com’st.
 Suppose the singing birds musicians,
295 The grass whereon thou tread’st the presence
 The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more
 Than a delightful measure or a dance;
 For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
300 The man that mocks at it and sets it light.
 O, who can hold a fire in his hand
 By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?
 Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite
 By bare imagination of a feast?
305 Or wallow naked in December snow
 By thinking on fantastic summer’s heat?
 O no, the apprehension of the good
 Gives but the greater feeling to the worse.
 Fell sorrow’s tooth doth never rankle more
310 Than when he bites but lanceth not the sore.
 Come, come, my son, I’ll bring thee on thy way.
 Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay.
 Then, England’s ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu,
 My mother and my nurse that bears me yet.
315 Where’er I wander, boast of this I can,
 Though banished, yet a trueborn Englishman.
They exit.