Imatges de pàgina

K. Rich. Return again, and take an oath with


Lay on our royal sword your banish'd hands;
Swear by the duty that you owe to heaven,
(Our part therein we banish with yourselves,)
To keep the oath that we administer:-
You never shall (so help you truth and heaven!)
Embrace each other's love in banishment;
Nor never look upon each other's face;
Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
This lowering tempest of your
home-bred hate;
Nor never by advised' purpose meet,

To plot, contrive, or complot any ill,

'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land. Boling. I swear.

Nor. And I, to keep all this.

Boling. Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy;8
By this time, had the king permitted us,
One of our souls had wander'd in the air,
Banish'd this frail sepulchre of our flesh,
As now our flesh is banish'd from this land:
Confess thy treasons, ere thou fly the realm;
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
The clogging burden of a guilty soul.

Nor. No, Bolingbroke; if ever I were traitor,
My name be blotted from the book of life,
And I from heaven banish'd, as from hence!

(Our part, &c.] It is a question much debated amongst the writers of the law of nations, whether a banished man may be still tied in his allegiance to the state which sent him into exile. Tully and Lord Chancellor Clarendon declare for the affirmative; Hobbes and Puffendorf hold the negative. Our author, by this line, seems to be of the same opinion. WARBURTON.

7 advised-] i. e. concerted, deliberated.


Norfolk, so far, &c.] Perhaps the author intended that Hereford in speaking this line should show some courtesy to Mowbray; -and the meaning may be: So much civility as an enemy has a right to, I am willing to offer to thee.

But what thou art, heaven, thou, and I do know; And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue.— Farewell, my liege:-Now no way can I stray; Save back to England, all the world's my way.

[Exit. K. Rich. Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspéct Hath from the number of his banish'd Pluck'd four away;-Six frozen winters spent, Return [To BOLING.] with welcome home from banishment.


Boling. How long a time lies in one little word! Four lagging winters, and four wanton springs, End in a word; Such is the breath of kings. Gaunt. I thank my liege, that, in regard of me, He shortens four years of my son's exíle: But little vantage shall I reap thereby;

For, ere the six years, that he hath to spend,
Can change their moons, and bring their times

My oil-dried lamp, and time-bewasted light,
Shall be extinct with age, and endless night;
My inch of taper will be burnt and done,
And blindfold death not let me see my son.

K. Rich. Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.

Gaunt. But not a minute, king, that thou canst give:

Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,
And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow:
Thou canst help time to furrow me with age,
But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage;
Thy word is current with him for my death;
But, dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.

9 And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow:] It is matter of very melancholy consideration, that all human advantages confer more power of doing evil than good. JOHNSON.

K. Rich. Thy son is banish'd upon good advice,1 Whereto thy tongue a party verdict gave;

Why at our justice seem'st thou then to lower? Gaunt. Things sweet to taste, prove in digestion


You urg'd me as a judge; but I had rather,
You would have bid me argue like a father :-
O, had it been a stranger, not my child,

To smooth his fault I should have been more mild:

A partial slander' sought I to avoid,

And in the sentence my own life destroy'd.
Alas, I look'd, when some of you should say,
I was too strict, to make mine own away;
But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue,
Against my will, to do myself this wrong.

K. Rich. Cousin, farewell:—and, uncle, bid him


Six years we banish him, and he shall


[Flourish. Exeunt K. RICHARD and Train. Aum. Cousin, farewell: what presence must not


From where you do remain, let paper show. Mar. My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride, As far as land will let me, by your side.

Gaunt. O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,

That thou return'st no greeting to thy friends?
Boling. I have too few to take my leave of you,
When the tongue's office should be prodigal
To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart.

Gaunt. Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.
Boling. Joy absent, grief is present for that time.

!-upon good advice,] Upon great consideration.

A partial slander-] That is, the reproach of partiality. This is a just picture of the struggle between principle and affection.

Gaunt. What is six winters? they are quickly


Boling. To men in joy; but grief makes one

hour ten.

Gaunt. Call it a travel that thou tak'st for plea


Boling. My heart will sigh, when I miscall it so, Which finds it an enforced pilgrimage.

Gaunt. The sullen passage of thy weary steps Esteem a foil, wherein thou art to set

The precious jewel of thy home-return.

Boling. Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make

Will but remember me, what a deal of world
I wander from the jewels that I love.

Must I not serve a long apprenticehood
To foreign passages; and in the end,

Having my freedom, boast of nothing else,
But that I was a journeyman to grief?

Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven visits, Are to a wise man ports and happy havens: Teach thy necessity to reason thus;

There is no virtue like necessity.

Think not, the king did banish thee;

But thou the king: Woe doth the heavier sit,
Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
Go, say-I sent thee forth to purchase honour,
And not-the king exíl'd thee: or suppose,
Devouring pestilence hangs in our air,
And thou art flying to a fresher clime.
Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it

To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou com'st:
Suppose the singing birds, musicians;

The grass whereon thou tread'st, the presence strew'd ;3

The flowers, fair ladies; and thy steps, no more

3 — the presence strew'd;] An allusion to the ancient practice of strewing rushes over the floor of the presence chamber.

And patient underbearing of his fortune,
As 'twere, to banish their affects with him.
Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench;
A brace of draymen bid-God speed him well,
And had the tribute of his supple knee,
With-Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends;—
As were our England in reversion his,


And he our subjects' next degree in hope.

Green. Well, he is gone; and with him go



Now for the rebels, which stand out in Ireland;—
Expedient' manage must be made, my liege;
Ere further leisure yield them further means,
For their advantage, and your highness' loss.

K. Rich. We will ourself in person to this war.
And, for our coffers-with too great a court,
And liberal largess,—are grown somewhat light,
We are enforc'd to farm our royal realm;
The revenue whereof shall furnish us
For our affairs in hand: If that come short,
Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters;
Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich,
They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold,
And send them after to supply our wants;
For we will make for Ireland presently.

Bushy, what news?

Enter BUSHY.

Bushy. Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord;

Suddenly taken; and hath sent post-haste,

To entreat your majesty to visit him.


the tribute of his supple knee,] To illustrate this phrase, it should be remembered that courtesying, (the act of reverence now confined to women,) was anciently practised by men. 7 Expedient-] i. e. expeditious.


for our coffers-] i. e. because.

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