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Richard II
Act 2, 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 the Queen, Bushy, and Bagot.

BUSHY 
 Madam, your Majesty is too much sad.
 You promised, when you parted with the King,
 To lay aside life-harming heaviness
 And entertain a cheerful disposition.
QUEEN 
5 To please the King I did; to please myself
 I cannot do it. Yet I know no cause
 Why I should welcome such a guest as grief,
 Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest
 As my sweet Richard. Yet again methinks
10 Some unborn sorrow ripe in Fortune’s womb
 Is coming towards me, and my inward soul
 With nothing trembles. At some thing it grieves
 More than with parting from my lord the King.
BUSHY 
 Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows
15 Which shows like grief itself but is not so;
 For sorrow’s eyes, glazed with blinding tears,
 Divides one thing entire to many objects,
 Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon
 Show nothing but confusion, eyed awry
20 Distinguish form. So your sweet Majesty,
 Looking awry upon your lord’s departure,
 Find shapes of grief more than himself to wail,
 Which, looked on as it is, is naught but shadows
 Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen,
25 More than your lord’s departure weep not. More is
 not seen,
 Or if it be, ’tis with false sorrow’s eye,
 Which for things true weeps things imaginary.
QUEEN 
 It may be so, but yet my inward soul
30 Persuades me it is otherwise. Howe’er it be,

81
Richard II
ACT 2. SC. 2

 I cannot but be sad—so heavy sad
 As thought, on thinking on no thought I think,
 Makes me with heavy nothing faint and shrink.
BUSHY 
 ’Tis nothing but conceit, my gracious lady.
QUEEN 
35 ’Tis nothing less. Conceit is still derived
 From some forefather grief. Mine is not so,
 For nothing hath begot my something grief—
 Or something hath the nothing that I grieve.
 ’Tis in reversion that I do possess,
40 But what it is that is not yet known what,
 I cannot name. ’Tis nameless woe, I wot.

Enter Green.

GREEN 
 God save your Majesty!—And well met, gentlemen.
 I hope the King is not yet shipped for Ireland.
QUEEN 
 Why hopest thou so? ’Tis better hope he is,
45 For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope.
 Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipped?
GREEN 
 That he, our hope, might have retired his power
 And driven into despair an enemy’s hope,
 Who strongly hath set footing in this land.
50 The banished Bolingbroke repeals himself
 And with uplifted arms is safe arrived
 At Ravenspurgh.
QUEEN  Now God in heaven forbid!
GREEN 
 Ah, madam, ’tis too true. And that is worse,
55 The Lord Northumberland, his son young Harry
 Percy,
 The Lords of Ross, Beaumont, and Willoughby,
 With all their powerful friends, are fled to him.

83
Richard II
ACT 2. SC. 2

BUSHY 
 Why have you not proclaimed Northumberland
60 And all the rest revolted faction traitors?
GREEN 
 We have; whereupon the Earl of Worcester
 Hath broken his staff, resigned his stewardship,
 And all the Household servants fled with him
 To Bolingbroke.
QUEEN 
65 So, Green, thou art the midwife to my woe,
 And Bolingbroke my sorrow’s dismal heir.
 Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy,
 And I, a gasping new-delivered mother,
 Have woe to woe, sorrow to sorrow joined.
BUSHY 
70 Despair not, madam.
QUEEN  Who shall hinder me?
 I will despair and be at enmity
 With cozening hope. He is a flatterer,
 A parasite, a keeper-back of death,
75 Who gently would dissolve the bands of life
 Which false hope lingers in extremity.

Enter York.

GREEN Here comes the Duke of York.
QUEEN 
 With signs of war about his agèd neck.
 O, full of careful business are his looks!—
80 Uncle, for God’s sake speak comfortable words.
YORK 
 Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts.
 Comfort’s in heaven, and we are on the Earth,
 Where nothing lives but crosses, cares, and grief.
 Your husband, he is gone to save far off
85 Whilst others come to make him lose at home.
 Here am I left to underprop his land,

85
Richard II
ACT 2. SC. 2

 Who, weak with age, cannot support myself.
 Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made;
 Now shall he try his friends that flattered him.

Enter a Servingman.

SERVINGMAN 
90 My lord, your son was gone before I came.
YORK 
 He was? Why, so go all which way it will.
 The nobles they are fled; the commons they are
 cold
 And will, I fear, revolt on Hereford’s side.
95 Sirrah, get thee to Plashy, to my sister Gloucester;
 Bid her send me presently a thousand pound.
 Hold, take my ring.
SERVINGMAN 
 My lord, I had forgot to tell your Lordship:
 Today as I came by I callèd there—
100 But I shall grieve you to report the rest.
YORK What is ’t, knave?
SERVINGMAN 
 An hour before I came, the Duchess died.
YORK 
 God for His mercy, what a tide of woes
 Comes rushing on this woeful land at once!
105 I know not what to do. I would to God,
 So my untruth had not provoked him to it,
 The King had cut off my head with my brother’s!
 What, are there no posts dispatched for Ireland?
 How shall we do for money for these wars?—
110 Come, sister—cousin I would say, pray pardon
 me.—
 Go, fellow, get thee home. Provide some carts
 And bring away the armor that is there.
Servingman exits.
 Gentlemen, will you go muster men?

87
Richard II
ACT 2. SC. 2

115 If I know how or which way to order these affairs
 Thus disorderly thrust into my hands,
 Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen.
 T’ one is my sovereign, whom both my oath
 And duty bids defend; t’ other again
120 Is my kinsman, whom the King hath wronged,
 Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right.
 Well, somewhat we must do. To Queen. Come,
 cousin,
 I’ll dispose of you.—Gentlemen, go muster up your
125 men
 And meet me presently at Berkeley.
 I should to Plashy too,
 But time will not permit. All is uneven,
 And everything is left at six and seven.
Duke of York and Queen exit.
Bushy, Green, and Bagot remain.

BUSHY 
130 The wind sits fair for news to go for Ireland,
 But none returns. For us to levy power
 Proportionable to the enemy
 Is all unpossible.
GREEN 
 Besides, our nearness to the King in love
135 Is near the hate of those love not the King.
BAGOT 
 And that is the wavering commons, for their love
 Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them
 By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.
BUSHY 
 Wherein the King stands generally condemned.
BAGOT 
140 If judgment lie in them, then so do we,
 Because we ever have been near the King.
GREEN 
 Well, I will for refuge straight to Bristow Castle.
 The Earl of Wiltshire is already there.

89
Richard II
ACT 2. SC. 3

BUSHY 
 Thither will I with you, for little office
145 Will the hateful commons perform for us,
 Except like curs to tear us all to pieces.—
 Will you go along with us?
BAGOT 
 No, I will to Ireland to his Majesty.
 Farewell. If heart’s presages be not vain,
150 We three here part that ne’er shall meet again.
BUSHY 
 That’s as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke.
GREEN 
 Alas, poor duke, the task he undertakes
 Is numb’ring sands and drinking oceans dry.
 Where one on his side fights, thousands will fly.
155 Farewell at once, for once, for all, and ever.
BUSHY 
 Well, we may meet again.
BAGOT  I fear me, never.
They exit.