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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.
Enforce attention, like deep harmony.
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;
[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.
And, king, though I the sicker be, 'tis thou
From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame,
Lunatic, lean-witted fool!
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,
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.
So much for that : Now for our Irish wars.
Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.
Shall tender duty make me wink at wrong?
rage more fierce;
And not his friends.
I am content you shall not pardon me.
[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,
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,
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.
[North.) But, lords, we hear a fearful tempest sing,
Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm;
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,
[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
[Queen.] Uncle, how full of busi'ness are your looks!
For heaven's sake, speak comfortable news.