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Richard II
Act 3, 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
Drums. Flourish and colors. Enter the King, Aumerle,
Carlisle, and Soldiers.


KING RICHARD 
 Barkloughly Castle call they this at hand?
AUMERLE 
 Yea, my lord. How brooks your Grace the air
 After your late tossing on the breaking seas?
KING RICHARD 
 Needs must I like it well. I weep for joy
5 To stand upon my kingdom once again.He kneels.
 Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,
 Though rebels wound thee with their horses’ hoofs.
 As a long-parted mother with her child
 Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,
10 So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,
 And do thee favors with my royal hands.
 Feed not thy sovereign’s foe, my gentle earth,
 Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense,
 But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom,
15 And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way,
 Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet
 Which with usurping steps do trample thee.
 Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies,
 And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower,
20 Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder,
 Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch
 Throw death upon thy sovereign’s enemies.
 Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords.
 This earth shall have a feeling, and these stones
25 Prove armèd soldiers, ere her native king
 Shall falter under foul rebellion’s arms.
CARLISLE 
 Fear not, my lord. That power that made you king
 Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.

113
Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 2

 The means that heavens yield must be embraced
30 And not neglected. Else heaven would,
 And we will not—heaven’s offer we refuse,
 The proffered means of succor and redress.
AUMERLE 
 He means, my lord, that we are too remiss,
 Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security,
35 Grows strong and great in substance and in power.
KING RICHARD 
 Discomfortable cousin, know’st thou not
 That when the searching eye of heaven is hid
 Behind the globe that lights the lower world,
 Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen
40 In murders and in outrage boldly here?
 But when from under this terrestrial ball
 He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines
 And darts his light through every guilty hole,
 Then murders, treasons, and detested sins,
45 The cloak of night being plucked from off their
 backs,
 Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves.
 So when this thief, this traitor Bolingbroke,
 Who all this while hath reveled in the night
50 Whilst we were wand’ring with the Antipodes,
 Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,
 His treasons will sit blushing in his face,
 Not able to endure the sight of day,
 But self-affrighted, tremble at his sin.
55 Not all the water in the rough rude sea
 Can wash the balm off from an anointed king.
 The breath of worldly men cannot depose
 The deputy elected by the Lord.
 For every man that Bolingbroke hath pressed
60 To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
 God for His Richard hath in heavenly pay

115
Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 2

 A glorious angel. Then, if angels fight,
 Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.

Enter Salisbury.

 Welcome, my lord. How far off lies your power?
SALISBURY 
65 Nor near nor farther off, my gracious lord,
 Than this weak arm. Discomfort guides my tongue
 And bids me speak of nothing but despair.
 One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,
 Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth.
70 O, call back yesterday, bid time return,
 And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men.
 Today, today, unhappy day too late,
 Overthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state;
 For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead,
75 Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispersed, and fled.
AUMERLE 
 Comfort, my liege. Why looks your Grace so pale?
KING RICHARD 
 But now the blood of twenty thousand men
  Did triumph in my face, and they are fled;
 And till so much blood thither come again
80  Have I not reason to look pale and dead?
 All souls that will be safe, fly from my side,
 For time hath set a blot upon my pride.
AUMERLE 
 Comfort, my liege. Remember who you are.
KING RICHARD 
 I had forgot myself. Am I not king?
85 Awake, thou coward majesty, thou sleepest!
 Is not the King’s name twenty thousand names?
 Arm, arm, my name! A puny subject strikes
 At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,
 You favorites of a king. Are we not high?
90 High be our thoughts. I know my Uncle York

117
Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Hath power enough to serve our turn.—But who
 comes here?

Enter Scroop.

SCROOP 
 More health and happiness betide my liege
 Than can my care-tuned tongue deliver him.
KING RICHARD 
95 Mine ear is open and my heart prepared.
 The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.
 Say, is my kingdom lost? Why, ’twas my care,
 And what loss is it to be rid of care?
 Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?
100 Greater he shall not be. If he serve God,
 We’ll serve Him too and be his fellow so.
 Revolt our subjects? That we cannot mend.
 They break their faith to God as well as us.
 Cry woe, destruction, ruin, and decay.
105 The worst is death, and death will have his day.
SCROOP 
 Glad am I that your Highness is so armed
 To bear the tidings of calamity.
 Like an unseasonable stormy day
 Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores
110 As if the world were all dissolved to tears,
 So high above his limits swells the rage
 Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land
 With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel.
 Whitebeards have armed their thin and hairless
115 scalps
 Against thy Majesty; boys with women’s voices
 Strive to speak big and clap their female joints
 In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown;
 Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows
120 Of double-fatal yew against thy state.
 Yea, distaff women manage rusty bills

119
Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Against thy seat. Both young and old rebel,
 And all goes worse than I have power to tell.
KING RICHARD 
 Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill.
125 Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? Where is Bagot?
 What is become of Bushy? Where is Green,
 That they have let the dangerous enemy
 Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?
 If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it!
130 I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.
SCROOP 
 Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord.
KING RICHARD 
 O villains, vipers, damned without redemption!
 Dogs easily won to fawn on any man!
 Snakes in my heart blood warmed, that sting my
135 heart!
 Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas!
 Would they make peace? Terrible hell
 Make war upon their spotted souls for this!
SCROOP 
 Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
140 Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate.
 Again uncurse their souls. Their peace is made
 With heads and not with hands. Those whom you
 curse
 Have felt the worst of death’s destroying wound
145 And lie full low, graved in the hollow ground.
AUMERLE 
 Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?
SCROOP 
 Ay, all of them at Bristow lost their heads.
AUMERLE 
 Where is the Duke my father with his power?
KING RICHARD 
 No matter where. Of comfort no man speak.

121
Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 2

150 Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs,
 Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
 Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
 Let’s choose executors and talk of wills.
 And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
155 Save our deposèd bodies to the ground?
 Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke’s,
 And nothing can we call our own but death
 And that small model of the barren earth
 Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
160 For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
 And tell sad stories of the death of kings—
 How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
 Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,
 Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed,
165 All murdered. For within the hollow crown
 That rounds the mortal temples of a king
 Keeps Death his court, and there the antic sits,
 Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
 Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
170 To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks,
 Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
 As if this flesh which walls about our life
 Were brass impregnable; and humored thus,
 Comes at the last and with a little pin
175 Bores through his castle wall, and farewell, king!
 Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
 With solemn reverence. Throw away respect,
 Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,
 For you have but mistook me all this while.
180 I live with bread like you, feel want,
 Taste grief, need friends. Subjected thus,
 How can you say to me I am a king?
CARLISLE 
 My lord, wise men ne’er sit and wail their woes,
 But presently prevent the ways to wail.

123
Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 2

185 To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
 Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,
 And so your follies fight against yourself.
 Fear, and be slain—no worse can come to fight;
 And fight and die is death destroying death,
190 Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.
AUMERLE 
 My father hath a power. Inquire of him,
 And learn to make a body of a limb.
KING RICHARD 
 Thou chid’st me well.—Proud Bolingbroke, I come
 To change blows with thee for our day of doom.—
195 This ague fit of fear is overblown.
 An easy task it is to win our own.—
 Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?
 Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.
SCROOP 
 Men judge by the complexion of the sky
200  The state and inclination of the day;
 So may you by my dull and heavy eye.
  My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
 I play the torturer by small and small
 To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken.
205 Your uncle York is joined with Bolingbroke,
 And all your northern castles yielded up,
 And all your southern gentlemen in arms
 Upon his party.
KING RICHARD  Thou hast said enough.
210 To Aumerle. Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst
 lead me forth
 Of that sweet way I was in to despair.
 What say you now? What comfort have we now?
 By heaven, I’ll hate him everlastingly
215 That bids me be of comfort anymore.
 Go to Flint Castle. There I’ll pine away;
 A king, woe’s slave, shall kingly woe obey.

125
Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 3

 That power I have, discharge, and let them go
 To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,
220 For I have none. Let no man speak again
 To alter this, for counsel is but vain.
AUMERLE 
 My liege, one word.
KING RICHARD  He does me double wrong
 That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.
225 Discharge my followers. Let them hence away,
 From Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.
They exit.