Imatges de pÓgina


scene, the king enters with attendants : previously to this, the dialogue is between John of Gaunt and the duke of York. [Gaunt.] Will the king come, that I may breathe my last

, In wholesome counsel to his unstay'd youth ? [York.] Brother, vex not yourself, nor spend your breath;

For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.
[Gaunt.] O, but they say the words of dying men

Enforce attention, like deep harmony.
Though Richard


life's counsel would not hear, My death's sad tale perchance shall reach his ear. [York.] No, it is stopp'd with sounds to him more sweet,

With praises of his state; lascivious metres;
Report of fashions in proud Italy,
Whose manners, still, our tardy apish nation
Limps after awkwardly. Is there a vanity,
(So it be new, there's no respect how vile,)
That is not quickly buzz'd into his ears?
Then all too late comes counsel to be heard. -
But see he's here : deal mildly with his youth.

[a pause.] [Richard.] How fares our noble cousin, Lancaster ?

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;

Gaunt am í for the grave, gaunt as a grave.
[Richard.] Dying, and play so nicely with your name?
[Gaunt.] No; misery makes sport to mock itself:

And, king, though I the sicker be, 'tis thou
Art dying; and thy death-bed is this land,
Whereon thou liest in reputation sick;
And thou, too careless patient as thou art,
Committest thy disease unto the cure
Of those physicians that first wounded thee.
O, had thy grand-sire, with a prophet's eye,
Seen how his son's son should destroy his sons,

From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame,
Deposing thee before thou wert possess’d.
Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world,
It were a shame to let this land by lease:
Landlord of England art thou, not the king;
Restrain’d and rul'd by rotten parchment bonds:
Thou art but


Lunatic, lean-witted fool!
Dar'st thou with frozen admonition,
Presuming on an ague's privilege,
Make pale our cheek, and chase the royal blood
From its true residence ? By my throne's majesty,
Wert thou not brother to great Edward's son,
That tongue which runs so roundly in thy head,

Should run thy head from thy unreverend shoulders. [Gaunt.] O, spare me not, my brother Edward's son.

My brother Gloster, plain, well-meaning soul,
May be a precedent and witness good
That thou regardst not spilling Edward's blood.
Convey me to my bed,—then to my grave;

Love they to live that love and honour have. Old Gaunt is borne out by his attendants :-the earl of Northumberland follows: the dialogue is continued by the King, the Duke of York, and by Northumberland, who afterwards re-enters. [Richard] Well, let them die that age and sullens have;

For he has both; and both become the grave. [York.] 'Beseech your majesty, impute his words

To wayward sickliness, and dreaming age :

He loves you on my life; and Hereford too. [Richard.] Right; you say true : as Hereford's love, so his;

As theirs, so mine.--How now, Northumberland ? (North.] My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majesty. [Richard.] What says he now?

[Northumberland.] Nay, nothing; all is said.

His tongue is now a stringless instrument;

Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent.
[Richard.] The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he:

So much for that : Now for our Irish wars.
We must supplant these rough rug-headed kerns :
And, for the charge, we seize unto our use
The plate, coin, revenue and movables,

Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.
[York.] How long shall York be silent ? ah! how long

Shall tender duty make me wink at wrong?
Not Gloster's death, nor Hereford's banishment,
Nor Gaunt's rebukes, nor England's private wrongs,
Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke,
About his marriage, nor my own disgrace,
Have ever made me sour my patient cheek,
Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign's face.
I am the last of noble Edward's sons,
Of whom thy father, prince of Wales, was first;
war, did never lion

rage more fierce;
In peace was never gentle lamb more mild.
His face thou hast ; for even so look'd he
Accomplish'd with the number of thy years.
But when he frown'd, it was against the French,

And not his friends.
[Richard.] Why, uncle, what's the matter?
[York.] My liege, pardon me if you please ; if not,

I am content you shall not pardon me.
you to seize and gripe into your

The royalties and rights of banish'd Hereford ?
Was not Gaunt just, and doth not Hereford live ?
Did not the one deserve to have an heir ?
Is not the heir a well-deserving son?
Now before heaven,—though heaven forbid it be so,—
If you do wrongfully seize Hereford's rights,
You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,
You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts,
And goad my tender patience to those thoughts
That honour and allegiance cannot think.


[Richard.] Think what you will: we seize into our hands

His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands. [York.] I'll not be by the while; my liege, farewell.

[a pause.] [Richard.] In this we do not need him: let him go.

Now, Bushey, to the earl of Wiltshire straight,
And bid him quick repair to Ely house
To see this business :-to-morrow next
We shall to Ireland : and we will create
Our uncle York lord governor of England

In absence of ourself. Come on, my lords. Three of the noblemen remain behind, the earl of Northumberland, lord Ross, (Roos,) and lord Willoughby. [North.] Well, lords, the duke of Lancaster is dead. [Ross.] And living too; for now his son is duke. [Willoughby.] Barely in title, not at all in revenue. [North.] Richly in both, if justice had her right. [Ross.] My heart doth swell; but it must break with silence. [Will.] Nay, speak thy mind, and let him ne'er speak more

That speaks thy words again to do thee harm. [Nor.] If what thou ’dst speak, tends to the duke of Hereford,

Out with it boldly, man. [Ross.] Then this I say,

'Tis shame such wrongs are borne by him, and more,
Of royal blood in this declining land.
The king is not himself, but basely led
By flatterers : the earl of Wiltshire holds
The land in pawn: the king is grown a bankrupt,
And hath not money for these Irish wars,

But by the robbing of the banish’d duke. [Willoughby.] It is too true. Oh, most degenerate king !

After a pause Northumberland, with some caution, resumes the dialogue.

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[North.) But, lords, we hear a fearful tempest sing,

Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm;
We see the very wreck that we must suffer,
And unavoided let the danger come.
And yet even through the hollow eyes of death,
I see life peering: but I dare not say

How near the tidings of our comfort are. [Ross.] Nay, let us share thy thoughts as thou dost ours. [Willoughby.] Be confident to speak, Northumberland :

We three are but thyself; and speaking so,

Thy words are but as thoughts; therefore be bold. [North.] Then thus, I have receiv'd intelligence

That Harry Hereford, nobly accompanied,
And furnish'd by the duke of Brittany
With eight tall ships, and full three thousand men,
Is making hitherward; staying perhaps
The first departing of the king for Ireland.
If then you would shake off our slavish yoke,
Wipe off the dust that hides the sceptre's gilt,
And make high majesty look like itself,
Away with me in post to Ravenspurg:
But if-

[Ross.] To horse! urge doubts to them that fear. [Willoughty.] Ay, lords, to horse! no rest till we are there.

We may now imagine ourselves at the palace, after the departure of Richard : the queen, surrounded by the king's favourites Bushy, Bagot, and Green, has just heard of the landing of Bolingbroke, the disaffection of the nobles, and the threatening aspect of the whole country. In the midst of their consternation, she sees the duke of York approaching, and the moment he enters, she addresses

him :

[Queen.] Uncle, how full of busi'ness are your looks!

For heaven's sake, speak comfortable news.

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