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K. Rich. Where lies he?
Bushy. At Ely-house.
K. Rich. Now put it, heaven, in his physician's
To help him to his grave immediately!
Pray God, we may make haste, and come too late! [Exeunt.
SCENE I. London. A Room in Ely-house.
GAUNT on a Couch; the Duke of YORK, and Others standing by him.
Gaunt. Will the king come? that I may breathe my last
In wholesome counsel to his unstaied youth.
York. Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath;
For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.
Gaunt. O, but they say, the tongues of dying
Enforce attention, like deep harmony:
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in
For they breathe truth, that breathe their words in
the Duke of York,] was Edmund, son of Edward III.
He, that no more must say, is listen'd more
More are men's ends mark'd, than their lives be
The setting sun, and musick at the close, As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last; Writ in remembrance, more than things long past: Though Richard my life's counsel would not hear, My death's sad tale may yet undeaf his ear.
York. No; it is stopp'd with other flattering sounds,
As, praises of his state: then, there are found
Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity,
Gaunt. Methinks, I am a prophet new inspir'd; And thus, expiring, do foretell of him: His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last; For violent fires soon burn out themselves:
Report of fashions in proud Italy;] Our author, who gives to all nations the customs of England, and to all ages the manners of his own, has charged the times of Richard with a folly not perhaps known then, but very frequent in Shakspeare's time, and much lamented by the wisest and best of our ancestors.
2 Where will doth mutiny with wit's regard.] Where the will rebels against the notices of the understanding.
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are
He tires betimes, that spurs too fast betimes;
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This fortress, built by nature for herself,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
3 Fear'd by their breed,] i. e. by means of their breed.
* With inky blots,] Inky blots are written restrictions.
rotten parchment bonds;] Alluding to the circumstances of Richard having actually farmed out his royal realm. And it afterwards appears that the person who farmed the realm was the Earl of Wiltshire, one of his own favourites.
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Enter King RICHARD, and Queen; AUMERle," BUSHY, GREEN, BAGOT, Ross, and WILLOUGHBY.9
York. The king is come: deal mildly with his youth;
For young hot colts, being rag'd, do rage the more. Queen. How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster? K. Rich. What comfort, man? How is't with aged Gaunt ?
Gaunt. O, how that name befits my composition! Old Gaunt, indeed; and gaunt in being old: Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast; And who abstains from meat, that is not gaunt? For sleeping England long time have I watch'd; Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt: The pleasure, that some fathers feed upon, Is my strict fast, I mean-my children's looks; And, therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt: Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave, Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.
Queen;] Shakspeare, as Mr. Walpole suggests, has deviated from historical truth in the introduction of Richard's queen as a woman in the present piece; for Anne, his first wife, was dead before the play commences, and Isabella, his second wife, was a child at the time of his death.
7 ·Aumerle,] was Edward, eldest son of Edmund Duke of York, whom he succeeded in the title. He was killed at Agincourt.
Ross,] was William Lord Roos, (and so should be printed,) of Hamlake, afterwards Lord Treasurer to Henry IV. 9 Willoughby.] was William Lord Willoughby of Eresby, who afterwards married Joan, widow of Edmund Duke of York.
K. Rich. Can sick men play so nicely with their
Gaunt. No, misery makes sport to mock itself: Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me, I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee. K. Rich. Should dying men flatter with those that live?
Gaunt. No, no; men living flatter those that die. K. Rich. Thou, now a dying, say'st-thou flatter'st me.
Gaunt. Oh! no; thou diest, though I the sicker be.
K. Rich. I am in health, I breathe, and see thee
Gaunt. Now, He that made me, knows I see
Ill in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill.
From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame;
'Which art possess'd now to depose thyself.] Possess'd, in this second instance, was probably designed to mean-afflicted with madness occasioned by the internal operation of a dæmon.