List iconRichard II:
Act 3, scene 4
List icon

Richard II
Act 3, scene 4



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 4
Enter the Queen with her Ladies-in-waiting.

 What sport shall we devise here in this garden
 To drive away the heavy thought of care?
LADY Madam, we’ll play at bowls.
 ’Twill make me think the world is full of rubs
5 And that my fortune runs against the bias.

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 4

LADY Madam, we’ll dance.
 My legs can keep no measure in delight
 When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief.
 Therefore no dancing, girl. Some other sport.
LADY 10Madam, we’ll tell tales.
 Of sorrow or of joy?
LADY  Of either, madam.
QUEEN Of neither, girl,
 For if of joy, being altogether wanting,
15 It doth remember me the more of sorrow;
 Or if of grief, being altogether had,
 It adds more sorrow to my want of joy.
 For what I have I need not to repeat,
 And what I want it boots not to complain.
20 Madam, I’ll sing.
QUEEN  ’Tis well that thou hast cause,
 But thou shouldst please me better wouldst thou
 I could weep, madam, would it do you good.
25 And I could sing, would weeping do me good,
 And never borrow any tear of thee.

Enter a Gardener and two Servingmen.

 But stay, here come the gardeners.
 Let’s step into the shadow of these trees.
 My wretchedness unto a row of pins,
30 They will talk of state, for everyone doth so
 Against a change. Woe is forerun with woe.
Queen and Ladies step aside.
GARDENER, to one Servingman 
 Go, bind thou up young dangling apricokes

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 4

 Which, like unruly children, make their sire
 Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight.
35 Give some supportance to the bending twigs.—
 Go thou, and like an executioner
 Cut off the heads of too-fast-growing sprays
 That look too lofty in our commonwealth.
 All must be even in our government.
40 You thus employed, I will go root away
 The noisome weeds which without profit suck
 The soil’s fertility from wholesome flowers.
 Why should we, in the compass of a pale,
 Keep law and form and due proportion,
45 Showing as in a model our firm estate,
 When our sea-wallèd garden, the whole land,
 Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
 Her fruit trees all unpruned, her hedges ruined,
 Her knots disordered, and her wholesome herbs
50 Swarming with caterpillars?
GARDENER  Hold thy peace.
 He that hath suffered this disordered spring
 Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf.
 The weeds which his broad-spreading leaves did
55 shelter,
 That seemed in eating him to hold him up,
 Are plucked up, root and all, by Bolingbroke—
 I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green.
 What, are they dead?
GARDENER 60 They are. And Bolingbroke
 Hath seized the wasteful king. O, what pity is it
 That he had not so trimmed and dressed his land
 As we this garden! We at time of year
 Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit trees,
65 Lest, being overproud in sap and blood,
 With too much riches it confound itself.
 Had he done so to great and growing men,

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 4

 They might have lived to bear and he to taste
 Their fruits of duty. Superfluous branches
70 We lop away, that bearing boughs may live.
 Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,
 Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down.
 What, think you the King shall be deposed?
 Depressed he is already, and deposed
75 ’Tis doubt he will be. Letters came last night
 To a dear friend of the good Duke of York’s
 That tell black tidings.
 O, I am pressed to death through want of speaking!
Stepping forward.
 Thou old Adam’s likeness, set to dress this garden,
80 How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this
 unpleasing news?
 What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee
 To make a second fall of cursèd man?
 Why dost thou say King Richard is deposed?
85 Dar’st thou, thou little better thing than earth,
 Divine his downfall? Say where, when, and how
 Cam’st thou by this ill tidings? Speak, thou wretch!
 Pardon me, madam. Little joy have I
 To breathe this news, yet what I say is true.
90 King Richard, he is in the mighty hold
 Of Bolingbroke. Their fortunes both are weighed.
 In your lord’s scale is nothing but himself
 And some few vanities that make him light,
 But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,
95 Besides himself, are all the English peers,
 And with that odds he weighs King Richard down.
 Post you to London and you will find it so.
 I speak no more than everyone doth know.

Richard II
ACT 3. SC. 4

 Nimble mischance, that art so light of foot,
100 Doth not thy embassage belong to me,
 And am I last that knows it? O, thou thinkest
 To serve me last that I may longest keep
 Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go
 To meet at London London’s king in woe.
105 What, was I born to this, that my sad look
 Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke?—
 Gard’ner, for telling me these news of woe,
 Pray God the plants thou graft’st may never grow.
She exits with Ladies.
 Poor queen, so that thy state might be no worse,
110 I would my skill were subject to thy curse.
 Here did she fall a tear. Here in this place
 I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace.
 Rue even for ruth here shortly shall be seen
 In the remembrance of a weeping queen.
They exit.