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.
K. Rich. Can sick men play so nicely with their

names ?
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 flat

ter'st me. Gaunt. Oh! no; thou diest, though I the sicker be. K. Rich. I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill. 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. Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world, It were a shame to let this land by lease : But, for thy world, enjoying but this land, Is it not more than shame, to shame it so? Landlord of England art thou now, not king: Thy state of law is bondslave to the law; And thou

K. Rich. a lunatick lean-witted fool, Presuming on an ague's privilege, Dar’st with thy frozen admonition Make pale our cheek; chasing the royal blood, With fury, from his native residence. Now by my seat's right royal majesty, Wert thou not brother to great Edward's son, This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head, Should run thy head from thy unreverend shoulders.

Gaunt. O, spare me not, my brother Edward's son, For that I was his father Edward's son; That blood already, like the pelican, Hast thou tapp'd out, and drunkenly carous'd : My brother Gloster, plain well-meaning soul, (Whom fair befal in heaven 'mongst happy souls !) May be a precedent and witness good, That thou respect'st not spilling Edward's blood : Join with the present sickness that I have; And thy unkindness be like crooked age, To

crop at once a too-long wither'd flower. Live in thy shame, but die

not shame with thee !. These words hereafter thy tormenters be! Convey me to my bed, then to my grave: Love they to live, that love and honour have.

[Exit, borne out by his Attendants. K. Rich. And let them die, that age and sullens

have; For both hast thou, and both become the grave.

York. 'Beseech your majesty, impute his words To wayward sickliness and age in him : He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear As Harry duke of Hereford, were he here. K. Rich. Right ; you say true: as Hereford's love,

so his : As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.

Enter NORTHUMBERLAND. North. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to

your majesty

K. Rich. What


he now ? North.

Nay, nothing ; all is said: His tongue is now a stringless instrument; Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent.

York. Be York the next that must be bankrupt so! Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.

K. Rich. The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he; His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be: So much for that. Now for our Irish wars : We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns ? ; Which live like venom, where no venom else, But only they, hath privilege to live. And for these great affairs do ask some charge, Towards our assistance, we do seize to us The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables, Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess'd.

York. How long shall I be patient? Ah, how long Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong? Not Gloster's death, nor Hereford's banishment, Not 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 ; In war, was never lion rag'd more fierce, In peace was never gentle lamb more mild, Than was that young and princely gentleman : His face thou hast, for even so look'd he, Accomplish'd with the number of thy hours ; But, when he frown'd, it was against the French, And not against his friends: his noble hand Did win what he did spend, and spent not that Which his triumphant father's hand had won: His hands were guilty of no kindred's blood, But bloody with the enemies of his kin.

7 Irish soldiers.

O, Richard! York is too far gone with grief,
Or else he never would compare between.

K. Rich. Why, uncle, what's the matter?

O, my liege,
Pardon me, if you please; if not, I, pleas'd
Not to be pardon'd, am content withal.
Seek you to seize, and gripe into your hands,
The royalties and rights of banish'd Hereford ?
Is not Gaunt dead ? and doth not Hereford live?
Was not Gaunt just ? and is not Harry true ?
Did not the one deserve to have an heir ?
Is not his heir a well-deserving son ?
Take Hereford's rights away, and take from time
His charters, and his customary rights ;
Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day;
Be not thyself, for how art thou a king,
But by fair sequence and succession ?
If you do wrongfully seize Hereford's rights,
Call in the letters patent that he hath
By his attornies-general to sue
His livery', and deny his offer'd homage,
You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,
You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts,
And prick my tender patience to those thoughts
Which honour and allegiance cannot think.
K. Rick. Think what you will; we seize into our

His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.

York. I'll not be by, the while: My liege, fare

[ocr errors]

well :

[ocr errors]

What will ensue hereof, there's none can tell;
But by bad courses may be understood,
That their events can never fall out good. [Exit.
K. Rich. Go, Bushy, to the earl of Wiltshire

Bid him repair to us to Ely-house,
To see this business : To-morrow next

8 Claim possession ; a law term.

We will for Ireland ; and 'tis time, I trow;
And we create, in absence of ourself,
Our uncle York lord governor of England,
For he is just, and always lov'd us well.-
Come on, our queen: to-morrow must we part;

for our time of stay is short. [Flourish. [Exeunt King, Queen, BUSHY, AUMERLE,

GREEN, and Bagot. North. Well, lords, the duke of Lancaster is dead. Ross. And living too; for now his son is duke. Willo. Barely in title, not in revenue. North. Richly in both, if justice had her right. Ross. My heart is great; but it must break with

silence, Ere't be disburden'd with a liberal tongue. North. Nay, speak thy mind; and let him ne'er

speak more, That speaks thy words again, to do thee harm! Willo. Tends that thou'dst speak, to the duke of

Hereford ?
If it be so, out with it boldly, man;
Quick is mine ear to hear of good towards him.

Ross. No good at all, that I can do for him ;
Unless you call it good to pity him,
Stript and bereft of all his patrimony.
North. Now, afore heaven, 'tis shame, such

wrongs are borne, In him a royal prince, and many more Of noble blood in this declining land. The king is not himself, but basely led By flatterers ; and what they will inform, Merely in hate, 'gainst any of us all, That will the king severely prosecute 'Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs. Ross. The commons hath he pill'd with grievous

taxes, And lost their hearts; the nobles hath he fin'd

9 Pillaged,

« ElőzőTovább »