List iconRichard II:
Act 3, scene 3
List icon

Richard II
Act 3, 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 with Drum and Colors Bolingbroke, York,
Northumberland, with Soldiers and Attendants.

 So that by this intelligence we learn
 The Welshmen are dispersed, and Salisbury
 Is gone to meet the King, who lately landed
 With some few private friends upon this coast.
5 The news is very fair and good, my lord:
 Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.
 It would beseem the Lord Northumberland
 To say “King Richard.” Alack the heavy day
 When such a sacred king should hide his head!
10 Your Grace mistakes; only to be brief
 Left I his title out.
 The time hath been, would you have been so brief
 with him,
 He would have been so brief to shorten you,

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 3

15 For taking so the head, your whole head’s length.
 Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.
 Take not, good cousin, further than you should,
 Lest you mistake. The heavens are over our heads.
 I know it, uncle, and oppose not myself
20 Against their will. But who comes here?

Enter Percy.

 Welcome, Harry. What, will not this castle yield?
 The castle royally is manned, my lord,
 Against thy entrance.
 Royally? Why, it contains no king.
PERCY 25Yes, my good lord,
 It doth contain a king. King Richard lies
 Within the limits of yon lime and stone,
 And with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury,
 Sir Stephen Scroop, besides a clergyman
30 Of holy reverence—who, I cannot learn.
 O, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.
BOLINGBROKE, to Northumberland Noble lord,
 Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle,
 Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley
35 Into his ruined ears, and thus deliver:
 Henry Bolingbroke
 On both his knees doth kiss King Richard’s hand
 And sends allegiance and true faith of heart
 To his most royal person, hither come
40 Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,
 Provided that my banishment repealed
 And lands restored again be freely granted.

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 3

 If not, I’ll use the advantage of my power
 And lay the summer’s dust with showers of blood
45 Rained from the wounds of slaughtered
 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,
50 My stooping duty tenderly shall show.
 Go signify as much while here we march
 Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.
Northumberland and Trumpets
approach the battlements.

 Let’s march without the noise of threat’ning drum,
 That from this castle’s tottered battlements
55 Our fair appointments may be well perused.
 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.
60 Be he the fire, I’ll be the yielding water;
 The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain
 My waters—on the earth and not on him.
 March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.
Bolingbroke’s Soldiers march, the trumpets sound.
Richard appeareth on the walls with Aumerle.
 See, see, King Richard doth himself appear
65 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.
70 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!

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 3

KING RICHARD, to Northumberland, below 
 We are amazed, and thus long have we stood
75 To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,
 Because we thought ourself thy lawful king.
 An 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
80 That hath dismissed us from our stewardship,
 For well we know no hand of blood and bone
 Can gripe the sacred handle of our scepter,
 Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
 And though you think that all, as you have done,
85 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
90 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 yon methinks he stands—
 That every stride he makes upon my land
95 Is dangerous treason. He is come to open
 The purple testament of bleeding war;
 But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
 Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers’ sons
 Shall ill become the flower of England’s face,
100 Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
 To scarlet indignation, and bedew
 Her pastures’ grass with faithful English blood.
 The King of heaven forbid our lord the King
 Should so with civil and uncivil arms
105 Be rushed upon! Thy thrice-noble cousin,
 Harry Bolingbroke, doth humbly kiss thy hand,
 And by the honorable tomb he swears

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 3

 That stands upon your royal grandsire’s bones,
 And by the royalties of both your bloods,
110 Currents that spring from one most gracious head,
 And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt,
 And by the worth and honor of himself,
 Comprising all that may be sworn or said,
 His coming hither hath no further scope
115 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 barbèd steeds to stables, and his heart
120 To faithful service of your Majesty.
 This swears he, as he is a prince and just,
 And as I am a gentleman I credit him.
 Northumberland, say thus the King returns:
 His noble cousin is right welcome hither,
125 And all the number of his fair demands
 Shall be accomplished without contradiction.
 With all the gracious utterance thou hast,
 Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.
Northumberland returns to Bolingbroke.
 To Aumerle. We do debase ourselves, cousin, do
130 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?
 No, good my lord, let’s fight with gentle words,
135 Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful
 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

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 3

140 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
145 beat,
 Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.
 Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.
 What must the King do now? Must he submit?
 The King shall do it. Must he be deposed?
150 The King shall be contented. Must he lose
 The name of king? I’ 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 almsman’s gown,
155 My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
 My scepter for a palmer’s walking-staff,
 My subjects for a pair of carvèd saints,
 And my large kingdom for a little grave,
 A little, little grave, an obscure grave;
160 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?
165 Aumerle, thou weep’st, my tender-hearted cousin.
 We’ll make foul weather with despisèd 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
170 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

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 3

 Two kinsmen digged their graves with weeping eyes.
175 Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see
 I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
Northumberland approaches the battlements.
 Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland,
 What says King Bolingbroke? Will his Majesty
 Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?
180 You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay.
 My lord, in the base court he doth attend
 To speak with you, may it please you to come down.
 Down, down I come, like glist’ring Phaëton,
 Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
185 In the base court—base court, where kings grow
 To come at traitors’ calls and do them grace.
 In the base court come down—down court, down
190 For nightowls shriek where mounting larks should
Richard exits above
and Northumberland returns to Bolingbroke.

BOLINGBROKE What says his Majesty?
NORTHUMBERLAND Sorrow and grief of heart
 Makes him speak fondly like a frantic man,
195 Yet he is come.

Richard enters below.

BOLINGBROKE Stand all apart,
 And show fair duty to his Majesty.He kneels down.
 My gracious lord.
 Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee
200 To make the base earth proud with kissing it.
 Me rather had my heart might feel your love

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 4

 Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy.
 Up, cousin, up. Your heart is up, I know,
 Thus high at least indicating his crown, although
205 your knee be low.
BOLINGBROKE, standing 
 My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.
 Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.
 So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,
 As my true service shall deserve your love.
210 Well you deserve. They well deserve to have
 That know the strong’st and surest way to get.—
 Uncle, give me your hands. Nay, dry your eyes.
 Tears show their love but want their remedies.—
 Cousin, I am too young to be your father,
215 Though you are old enough to be my heir.
 What you will have I’ll give, and willing too,
 For do we must what force will have us do.
 Set on towards London, cousin, is it so?
 Yea, my good lord.
KING RICHARD 220 Then I must not say no.
They exit.