List iconRichard II:
Act 4, scene 1
List icon

Richard II
Act 4, scene 1



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 1
Enter Bolingbroke with the Lords Aumerle,
Northumberland, Harry Percy, Fitzwater, Surrey, the
Bishop of Carlisle, the Abbot of Westminster, and
another Lord, Herald, Officers to parliament.

BOLINGBROKE Call forth Bagot.

Enter Officers with Bagot.

 Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind
 What thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death,
 Who wrought it with the King, and who performed
5 The bloody office of his timeless end.
 Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.
 Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.
Aumerle steps forward.
 My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue
 Scorns to unsay what once it hath delivered.
10 In that dead time when Gloucester’s death was
 I heard you say “Is not my arm of length,
 That reacheth from the restful English court
 As far as Calais, to mine uncle’s head?”
15 Amongst much other talk that very time

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

 I heard you say that you had rather refuse
 The offer of an hundred thousand crowns
 Than Bolingbroke’s return to England,
 Adding withal how blest this land would be
20 In this your cousin’s death.
AUMERLE Princes and noble lords,
 What answer shall I make to this base man?
 Shall I so much dishonor my fair stars
 On equal terms to give him chastisement?
25 Either I must or have mine honor soiled
 With the attainder of his slanderous lips.
He throws down a gage.
 There is my gage, the manual seal of death
 That marks thee out for hell. I say thou liest,
 And will maintain what thou hast said is false
30 In thy heart-blood, though being all too base
 To stain the temper of my knightly sword.
 Bagot, forbear. Thou shalt not take it up.
 Excepting one, I would he were the best
 In all this presence that hath moved me so.
FITZWATER, throwing down a gage 
35 If that thy valor stand on sympathy,
 There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine.
 By that fair sun which shows me where thou
 I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak’st it,
40 That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester’s death.
 If thou deniest it twenty times, thou liest,
 And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,
 Where it was forgèd, with my rapier’s point.
AUMERLE, taking up the gage 
 Thou dar’st not, coward, live to see that day.
45 Now, by my soul, I would it were this hour.

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Fitzwater, thou art damned to hell for this.
 Aumerle, thou liest! His honor is as true
 In this appeal as thou art all unjust;
 And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,
He throws down a gage.
50 To prove it on thee to the extremest point
 Of mortal breathing. Seize it if thou dar’st.
AUMERLE, taking up the gage 
 An if I do not, may my hands rot off
 And never brandish more revengeful steel
 Over the glittering helmet of my foe!
ANOTHER LORD, throwing down a gage 
55 I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle,
 And spur thee on with full as many lies
 As may be holloed in thy treacherous ear
 From sun to sun. There is my honor’s pawn.
 Engage it to the trial if thou darest.
AUMERLE, taking up the gage 
60 Who sets me else? By heaven, I’ll throw at all!
 I have a thousand spirits in one breast
 To answer twenty thousand such as you.
 My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well
 The very time Aumerle and you did talk.
65 ’Tis very true. You were in presence then,
 And you can witness with me this is true.
 As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.
 Surrey, thou liest.
SURREY  Dishonorable boy,
70 That lie shall lie so heavy on my sword
 That it shall render vengeance and revenge

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Till thou the lie-giver and that lie do lie
 In earth as quiet as thy father’s skull.
He throws down a gage.
 In proof whereof, there is my honor’s pawn.
75 Engage it to the trial if thou dar’st.
FITZWATER, taking up the gage 
 How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!
 If I dare eat or drink or breathe or live,
 I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness
 And spit upon him whilst I say he lies,
80 And lies, and lies. There is my bond of faith
 To tie thee to my strong correction.He throws down a gage.
 As I intend to thrive in this new world,
 Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal.—
 Besides, I heard the banished Norfolk say
85 That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men
 To execute the noble duke at Calais.
 Some honest Christian trust me with a gage.
A Lord hands him a gage.
Aumerle throws it down.
 That Norfolk lies, here do I throw down this,
 If he may be repealed to try his honor.
90 These differences shall all rest under gage
 Till Norfolk be repealed. Repealed he shall be,
 And though mine enemy, restored again
 To all his lands and seigniories. When he is
95 Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.
 That honorable day shall never be seen.
 Many a time hath banished Norfolk fought
 For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,
 Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

100 Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens;
 And, toiled with works of war, retired himself
 To Italy, and there at Venice gave
 His body to that pleasant country’s earth
 And his pure soul unto his captain, Christ,
105 Under whose colors he had fought so long.
BOLINGBROKE Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead?
CARLISLE As surely as I live, my lord.
 Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom
 Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,
110 Your differences shall all rest under gage
 Till we assign you to your days of trial.

Enter York.

 Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee
 From plume-plucked Richard, who with willing
115 Adopts thee heir, and his high scepter yields
 To the possession of thy royal hand.
 Ascend his throne, descending now from him,
 And long live Henry, fourth of that name!
 In God’s name, I’ll ascend the regal throne.
CARLISLE 120Marry, God forbid!
 Worst in this royal presence may I speak,
 Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.
 Would God that any in this noble presence
 Were enough noble to be upright judge
125 Of noble Richard! Then true noblesse would
 Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
 What subject can give sentence on his king?
 And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject?
 Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear,
130 Although apparent guilt be seen in them;
 And shall the figure of God’s majesty,

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

 His captain, steward, deputy elect,
 Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
 Be judged by subject and inferior breath,
135 And he himself not present? O, forfend it God
 That in a Christian climate souls refined
 Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!
 I speak to subjects and a subject speaks,
 Stirred up by God thus boldly for his king.
140 My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,
 Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king,
 And if you crown him, let me prophesy
 The blood of English shall manure the ground
 And future ages groan for this foul act,
145 Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
 And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
 Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound.
 Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny
 Shall here inhabit, and this land be called
150 The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls.
 O, if you raise this house against this house,
 It will the woefullest division prove
 That ever fell upon this cursèd earth!
 Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
155 Lest child, child’s children, cry against you woe!
 Well have you argued, sir, and, for your pains,
 Of capital treason we arrest you here.—
 My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge
 To keep him safely till his day of trial.
160 May it please you, lords, to grant the commons’
 Fetch hither Richard, that in common view
 He may surrender. So we shall proceed
 Without suspicion.
YORK 165 I will be his conduct.He exits.

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Lords, you that here are under our arrest,
 Procure your sureties for your days of answer.
 Little are we beholding to your love
 And little looked for at your helping hands.

Enter Richard and York.

170 Alack, why am I sent for to a king
 Before I have shook off the regal thoughts
 Wherewith I reigned? I hardly yet have learned
 To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my knee.
 Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me
175 To this submission. Yet I well remember
 The favors of these men. Were they not mine?
 Did they not sometime cry “All hail” to me?
 So Judas did to Christ, but He in twelve
 Found truth in all but one; I, in twelve thousand,
180 none.
 God save the King! Will no man say “amen”?
 Am I both priest and clerk? Well, then, amen.
 God save the King, although I be not he,
 And yet amen, if heaven do think him me.
185 To do what service am I sent for hither?
 To do that office of thine own goodwill
 Which tired majesty did make thee offer:
 The resignation of thy state and crown
 To Henry Bolingbroke.
190 Give me the crown.—Here, cousin, seize the crown.
 Here, cousin.
 On this side my hand, on that side thine.
 Now is this golden crown like a deep well
 That owes two buckets, filling one another,
195 The emptier ever dancing in the air,

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

 The other down, unseen, and full of water.
 That bucket down and full of tears am I,
 Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high.
 I thought you had been willing to resign.
200 My crown I am, but still my griefs are mine.
 You may my glories and my state depose
 But not my griefs; still am I king of those.
 Part of your cares you give me with your crown.
 Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.
205 My care is loss of care, by old care done;
 Your care is gain of care, by new care won.
 The cares I give I have, though given away.
 They ’tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.
 Are you contented to resign the crown?
210 Ay, no; no, ay; for I must nothing be.
 Therefore no “no,” for I resign to thee.
 Now, mark me how I will undo myself.
 I give this heavy weight from off my head
 And this unwieldy scepter from my hand,
215 The pride of kingly sway from out my heart.
 With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
 With mine own hands I give away my crown,
 With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
 With mine own breath release all duteous oaths.
220 All pomp and majesty I do forswear.
 My manors, rents, revenues I forgo;
 My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny.
 God pardon all oaths that are broke to me.
 God keep all vows unbroke are made to thee.
225 Make me, that nothing have, with nothing grieved,

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

 And thou with all pleased that hast all achieved.
 Long mayst thou live in Richard’s seat to sit,
 And soon lie Richard in an earthy pit.
 God save King Henry, unkinged Richard says,
230 And send him many years of sunshine days.
 What more remains?
NORTHUMBERLAND, offering Richard a paper 
 No more, but that you read
 These accusations and these grievous crimes
 Committed by your person and your followers
235 Against the state and profit of this land;
 That, by confessing them, the souls of men
 May deem that you are worthily deposed.
 Must I do so? And must I ravel out
 My weaved-up follies? Gentle Northumberland,
240 If thy offenses were upon record,
 Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop
 To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,
 There shouldst thou find one heinous article
 Containing the deposing of a king
245 And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,
 Marked with a blot, damned in the book of
 Nay, all of you that stand and look upon me
 Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,
250 Though some of you, with Pilate, wash your hands,
 Showing an outward pity, yet you Pilates
 Have here delivered me to my sour cross,
 And water cannot wash away your sin.
 My lord, dispatch. Read o’er these articles.
255 Mine eyes are full of tears; I cannot see.
 And yet salt water blinds them not so much
 But they can see a sort of traitors here.

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself,
 I find myself a traitor with the rest,
260 For I have given here my soul’s consent
 T’ undeck the pompous body of a king,
 Made glory base and sovereignty a slave,
 Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant.
265 No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,
 Nor no man’s lord. I have no name, no title,
 No, not that name was given me at the font,
 But ’tis usurped. Alack the heavy day,
 That I have worn so many winters out
270 And know not now what name to call myself.
 O, that I were a mockery king of snow
 Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,
 To melt myself away in water drops.—
 Good king, great king, and yet not greatly good,
275 An if my word be sterling yet in England,
 Let it command a mirror hither straight,
 That it may show me what a face I have
 Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.
 Go, some of you, and fetch a looking-glass.
An Attendant exits.
280 Read o’er this paper while the glass doth come.
 Fiend, thou torments me ere I come to hell!
 Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.
 The commons will not then be satisfied.
 They shall be satisfied. I’ll read enough

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

285 When I do see the very book indeed
 Where all my sins are writ, and that’s myself.

Enter one with a glass.

 Give me that glass, and therein will I read.
He takes the mirror.
 No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck
 So many blows upon this face of mine
290 And made no deeper wounds? O flatt’ring glass,
 Like to my followers in prosperity,
 Thou dost beguile me. Was this face the face
 That every day under his household roof
 Did keep ten thousand men? Was this the face
295 That like the sun did make beholders wink?
 Is this the face which faced so many follies,
 That was at last outfaced by Bolingbroke?
 A brittle glory shineth in this face.
 As brittle as the glory is the face,
He breaks the mirror.
300 For there it is, cracked in an hundred shivers.—
 Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport:
 How soon my sorrow hath destroyed my face.
 The shadow of your sorrow hath destroyed
 The shadow of your face.
KING RICHARD 305 Say that again.
 The shadow of my sorrow? Ha, let’s see.
 ’Tis very true. My grief lies all within;
 And these external manners of laments
 Are merely shadows to the unseen grief
310 That swells with silence in the tortured soul.
 There lies the substance. And I thank thee, king,
 For thy great bounty, that not only giv’st
 Me cause to wail but teachest me the way
 How to lament the cause. I’ll beg one boon

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

315 And then be gone and trouble you no more.
 Shall I obtain it?
BOLINGBROKE  Name it, fair cousin.
 “Fair cousin”? I am greater than a king,
 For when I was a king, my flatterers
320 Were then but subjects. Being now a subject,
 I have a king here to my flatterer.
 Being so great, I have no need to beg.
KING RICHARD And shall I have?
BOLINGBROKE 325You shall.
KING RICHARD Then give me leave to go.
 Whither you will, so I were from your sights.
 Go, some of you, convey him to the Tower.
330 O, good! “Convey”? Conveyers are you all,
 That rise thus nimbly by a true king’s fall.
Richard exits with Guards.
 On Wednesday next, we solemnly set down
 Our coronation. Lords, prepare yourselves.
They exit. The Abbot of Westminster, the Bishop of
Carlisle, Aumerle remain.

 A woeful pageant have we here beheld.
335 The woe’s to come. The children yet unborn
 Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn.
 You holy clergymen, is there no plot
 To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?

Richard II
ACT 4. SC. 1

ABBOT My lord,
340 Before I freely speak my mind herein,
 You shall not only take the sacrament
 To bury mine intents, but also to effect
 Whatever I shall happen to devise.
 I see your brows are full of discontent,
345 Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears.
 Come home with me to supper. I’ll lay
 A plot shall show us all a merry day.
They exit.