Imatges de pàgina

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!
The lining of his coffers shall make coats
To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.-
Come, gentlemen, let's all go visit him:

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
Than they whom youth and ease have taught to


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
Lascivious metres; to whose venom sound
The open ear of youth doth always listen :
Report of fashions in proud Italy;'
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation
Limps after, in base imitation.

Where doth the world thrust forth 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,
Where will doth mutiny with wit's regard.2
Direct not him, whose way himself will choose;
'Tis breath thou lack'st, and that breath wilt thou

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;
With eager feeding, food doth choke the feeder:
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,

Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise;

This fortress, built by nature for herself,
Against infection, and the hand of war:
This happy breed of men, this little world;
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed, and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
(For Christian service, and true chivalry,)
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's son:
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leas'd out (I die pronouncing it,)
Like to a tenement, or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds;'

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,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself:
O, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!

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
thee ill;

Ill in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill.
Thy death-bed is no lesser than the land,
Wherein thou liest in reputation sick:
And thou, too careless patient as thou art,
Commit'st thy anointed body to the cure
Of those physicians that first wounded thee:
A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,
Whose compass is no bigger than thy head;
And yet, incaged in so small a verge,
The waste is no whit lesser than thy land.
O, had thy grandsire, 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,
Which art possess'd now to depose thyself.1
Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world,
It were a shame, to let this land by lease:

'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.

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