List iconRichard II:
Act 5, scene 3
List icon

Richard II
Act 5, 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 the King with his Nobles.

 Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son?
 ’Tis full three months since I did see him last.
 If any plague hang over us, ’tis he.
 I would to God, my lords, he might be found.
5 Inquire at London, ’mongst the taverns there,
 For there, they say, he daily doth frequent

Richard II
ACT 5. SC. 3

 With unrestrainèd loose companions,
 Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes
 And beat our watch and rob our passengers,
10 While he, young wanton and effeminate boy,
 Takes on the point of honor to support
 So dissolute a crew.
 My lord, some two days since I saw the Prince,
 And told him of those triumphs held at Oxford.
KING HENRY 15And what said the gallant?
 His answer was, he would unto the stews,
 And from the common’st creature pluck a glove
 And wear it as a favor, and with that
 He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.
20 As dissolute as desperate. Yet through both
 I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years
 May happily bring forth. But who comes here?

Enter Aumerle amazed.

AUMERLE Where is the King?
 What means our cousin, that he stares and looks so
25 wildly?
 God save your Grace. I do beseech your Majesty
 To have some conference with your Grace alone.
KING HENRY, to his Nobles 
 Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.
The Nobles exit.
 What is the matter with our cousin now?
AUMERLE, kneeling 
30 Forever may my knees grow to the earth,
 My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth,
 Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.

Richard II
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Intended or committed was this fault?
 If on the first, how heinous e’er it be,
35 To win thy after-love I pardon thee.
AUMERLE, standing 
 Then give me leave that I may turn the key
 That no man enter till my tale be done.
KING HENRY Have thy desire.Aumerle locks the door.
The Duke of York knocks at the door and crieth.
YORK, within 
 My liege, beware! Look to thyself!
40 Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.
KING HENRY, to Aumerle Villain, I’ll make thee safe.
He draws his sword.
 Stay thy revengeful hand. Thou hast no cause to fear.
YORK, within 
 Open the door, secure, foolhardy king!
 Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?
45 Open the door, or I will break it open.
King Henry unlocks the door.

Enter York.

KING HENRY What is the matter, uncle? Speak.
 Recover breath. Tell us how near is danger
 That we may arm us to encounter it.
YORK, giving King Henry a paper 
 Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know
50 The treason that my haste forbids me show.
AUMERLE, to King Henry 
 Remember, as thou read’st, thy promise passed.
 I do repent me. Read not my name there.
 My heart is not confederate with my hand.
 It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.—
55 I tore it from the traitor’s bosom, king.

Richard II
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Fear, and not love, begets his penitence.
 Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove
 A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.
 O heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy!
60 O loyal father of a treacherous son,
 Thou sheer, immaculate, and silver fountain
 From whence this stream, through muddy passages,
 Hath held his current and defiled himself,
 Thy overflow of good converts to bad,
65 And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
 This deadly blot in thy digressing son.
 So shall my virtue be his vice’s bawd,
 And he shall spend mine honor with his shame,
 As thriftless sons their scraping fathers’ gold.
70 Mine honor lives when his dishonor dies,
 Or my shamed life in his dishonor lies.
 Thou kill’st me in his life: giving him breath,
 The traitor lives, the true man’s put to death.
DUCHESS, within 
 What ho, my liege! For God’s sake, let me in!
75 What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?
DUCHESS, within 
 A woman and thy aunt, great king. ’Tis I.
 Speak with me, pity me. Open the door!
 A beggar begs that never begged before.
 Our scene is altered from a serious thing
80 And now changed to The Beggar and the King.
 My dangerous cousin, let your mother in.
 I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.
Aumerle opens the door.

Duchess of York enters and kneels.

Richard II
ACT 5. SC. 3

 If thou do pardon whosoever pray,
 More sins for this forgiveness prosper may.
85 This festered joint cut off, the rest rest sound.
 This let alone will all the rest confound.
 O king, believe not this hard-hearted man.
 Love loving not itself, none other can.
 Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
90 Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?
 Sweet York, be patient.—Hear me, gentle liege.
 Rise up, good aunt.
DUCHESS  Not yet, I thee beseech.
 Forever will I walk upon my knees
95 And never see day that the happy sees,
 Till thou give joy, until thou bid me joy
 By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.
AUMERLE, kneeling 
 Unto my mother’s prayers I bend my knee.
YORK, kneeling 
 Against them both my true joints bended be.
100 Ill mayst thou thrive if thou grant any grace.
 Pleads he in earnest? Look upon his face.
 His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest;
 His words come from his mouth, ours from our
105 He prays but faintly and would be denied.
 We pray with heart and soul and all beside.
 His weary joints would gladly rise, I know.
 Our knees still kneel till to the ground they grow.
 His prayers are full of false hypocrisy,
110 Ours of true zeal and deep integrity.

Richard II
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Our prayers do outpray his. Then let them have
 That mercy which true prayer ought to have.
 Good aunt, stand up.
DUCHESS  Nay, do not say “stand up.”
115 Say “pardon” first and afterwards “stand up.”
 An if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,
 “Pardon” should be the first word of thy speech.
 I never longed to hear a word till now.
 Say “pardon,” king; let pity teach thee how.
120 The word is short, but not so short as sweet.
 No word like “pardon” for kings’ mouths so meet.
 Speak it in French, king. Say “pardonne moy.”
 Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?
 Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,
125 That sets the word itself against the word!
 To King Henry. Speak “pardon” as ’tis current in
 our land;
 The chopping French we do not understand.
 Thine eye begins to speak; set thy tongue there,
130 Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear,
 That, hearing how our plaints and prayers do
 Pity may move thee “pardon” to rehearse.
 Good aunt, stand up.
DUCHESS 135 I do not sue to stand.
 Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.
 I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.
 O, happy vantage of a kneeling knee!
 Yet am I sick for fear. Speak it again.
140 Twice saying “pardon” doth not pardon twain,
 But makes one pardon strong.

Richard II
ACT 5. SC. 4

KING HENRY I pardon him with all my heart.
DUCHESS A god on Earth thou art.
They all stand.
 But for our trusty brother-in-law and the Abbot,
145 With all the rest of that consorted crew,
 Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.
 Good uncle, help to order several powers
 To Oxford or where’er these traitors are.
 They shall not live within this world, I swear,
150 But I will have them, if I once know where.
 Uncle, farewell,—and cousin, adieu.
 Your mother well hath prayed; and prove you true.
DUCHESS, to Aumerle 
 Come, my old son. I pray God make thee new.
They exit.