Imatges de pÓgina


Enter Exton and a Servant.

Exton. Didst thou not mark the king, what words

he spake?
Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?
Was it not so?

Those were his very words.
Exton. Have I no friend? quoth he; he spake it

twice, And urged it twice together; did he not?

Serv. He did.

Exton. And, speaking it, he wistfully looked on me; As who should say,—I would thou wert the man That would divorce this terror from my heart; Meaning, the king at Pomfret. Come, let's go; I am the king's friend, and will rid" his foe.


SCENE V. Pomfret. The Dungeon of the Castle.

Enter KING RICHARD. K. Rich. I have been studying how I may compare This prison, where I live, unto the world; And, for because the world is populous, And here is not a creature but myself, I cannot do it ;-yet I'll hammer it out. My brain I'll prove the female to my soul ; My soul, the father ; and these two beget A generation of still-breeding thoughts, And these same thoughts people this little world; 2 In humors, like the people of this world,

1 To rid and to despatch were formerly synonymous, as may be seen in the old dictionaries.

2 i. e. his own body.

For no thought is contented. The better sort-
As thoughts of things divine—are intermixed
With scruples, and do set the word itself
Against the word ;
As thus, Come, little ones; and then again,
It is as hard to come, as for a camel
To thread the postern of a needle's eye.
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders : how these vain, weak nails
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls ;
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending to content, flatter themselves,
That they are not the first of fortune's slaves,
Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars,
Who, sitting in the stocks, refuge their shame,-
That many have, and others must sit there;
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortune on the back
Of such as have before endured the like.
Thus play I, in one person, many people,
And none contented. Sometimes am I king;
Then treason makes me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am. Then crushing penury.
Persuades me, I was better when a king;
Then am I kinged again : and, by-and-by,
Think that I am unkinged by Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing.–But whate'er I am,
Nor I, nor any man, that but man is,
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
With being nothing.–Music do I hear ? [Music.
Ha, ha! keep time.—How sour sweet music is,
When time is broke, and no proportion kept !
So is it in the music of men's lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear

1 By the word is meant the Holy Scriptures. The folio reads, the faith itself against the faith.

2 The folio, and other copies, read “ in one prison."


To check 1 time broke in a disordered string;
But, for the concord of my state and time,
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
For now hath time made me his numbering clock;
My thoughts are minutes; and, with sighs, they jar
Their watches on to mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Now, sir, the sound, that tells what hour it is,
Are clamorous groans, that strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell. So sighs, and tears, and groans,
Show minutes, times, and hours ;-but my

Runs posting on in Bolingbroke's proud joy,
While I stand fooling here, his Jack o'the clock.4
This music mads me ; let it sound no more ;
For, though it have holp madmen to their wits,
In me, it seems, it will make wise men mad;
Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me!
For 'tis a sign of love; and love to Richard
Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.

Enter Groom.

Groom. Hail, royal prince !
K. Rich.

Thanks, noble peer;
The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.
What art thou, and how comest thou hither,

1 The folio reads "To hear."

2 Tick. 3 It should be recollected that there are three ways in which a clock notices the progress of time, viz. by the vibration of the pendulum, the index on the dial, and the striking of the hour. To these the king, in his comparison, severally alludes; his sighs corresponding to the jarring or ticking of the pendulum, which, at the same time that it watches or numbers the seconds, marks also their progress in minutes on the dial-plate, or outward watch, to which the king compares his eyes; and their want of figures is supplied by a succession of tears (or minute drops, to use an expression of Milton); his finger, by as regularly wiping these away, performs the office of the dial's point; his clamorous groans are the sounds that tell the hour.

4 That is, I strike for him. One of these automatons is alluded to in King Richard III. Act iv. Sc. 2.

Where no man never comes, but that sad dog
That brings me food, to make misfortune live?

Groom. I was a poor groom of thy stable, king,
When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York,
With much ado, at length have gotten leave
To look upon my (sometimes royal) master's face.
O, how it yearned my heart, when I beheld,
In London streets, that coronation day,
When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary!
That horse, that thou so often hast bestrid;
That horse, that I so carefully have dressed !
K. Rich. Rode he on Barbary ? Tell me, gentle

? friend, How went he under him?

Groom. So proudly, as if he disdained the ground. K. Rich. So proud that Bolingbroke was on his

back! That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand; This hand hath made him proud with clapping him. Would he not stumble ? would he not fall down, (Since pride must have a fall,) and break the neck Of that proud man that did usurp his back ? Forgiveness, horse! why do I rail on thee, Since thou, created to be awed by man, Wast born to bear? I was not made a horse ; And yet I bear a burden like an ass, Spur-galled, and tired by jauncing ? Boling broke.


Enter Keeper, with a dish. Keep. Fellow, give place; here is no longer stay.

[To the Groom. K. Rich. If thou love me, 'tis time thou wert away. Groom. What my tongue dares not, that my heart


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shall say.

1 Sometimes was used for former, as well as sometime.

2 Jauncing is hard riding, from the old French word jancer, which Cotgrave explains, “ to stir a horse in the stable till he sweat withal; or (as our) to jaunt."

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Keep. My lord, will’t please you to fall to ?
K. Rich. Taste of it first, as thou art wont to do.
Keep. My lord, I dare not; sir Pierce of Exton,

Lately came from the king, commands the contrary.
K. Rich. The devil take Henry of Lancaster, and

Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.

[Beats the Keeper. Keep. Help, help, help!


Enter Exton and Servants, armed.
K. Rich. How now? what means death in this rude

assault ?
Villain, thy own hand yields thy death's instrument.

[Snatching a weapon, and killing one.
Go thou, and fill another room in hell.
[He kills another, and then Exton strikes

him down.
That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire,
That staggers thus my person.-Exton, thy fierce hand
Hath with the king's blood stained the king's own land.
Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high,
Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.

Exton. As full of valor, as of royal blood.
Both have I spilled! 0, 'would the deed were good!

1 These stage directions are not in the old copies.

2 The representation here given of the king's death is perfectly agreeable to Hall and Holinshed (who copied from Fabian, with whom the story of Exton is thought to have its origin). But the fact was otherwise. He refused food for several days, and died of abstinence and a broken heart. See Walsingham, Otterburne, the Monk of Evesham, the Continuator of the History of Croyland, and the Godstow Chronicle. His body, after being submitted to public inspection in the church of Pomfret, was brought to London, and exposed in Cheapside for two hours, “ his heade on a black cushion, and his visage open," when it was viewed, says Froissart, by twenty thousand persons, and finally in St. Paul's' cathedral. Stowe seems to have had before him a manuscript history of the latter part of king Richard's life, written by a person who was with him in Wales. He says " he was imprisoned in Pomfrait Castle, where xv dayes and nightes they vexed him with continual hunger, thirst, and cold, and finally bereft him of his life with such a kind of death as never before that time was knowen in England.”



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