King Richard II

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by William Shakespeare


KING RICHARD THE SECOND JOHN OF GAUNT, Duke of Lancaster - uncle to the King EDMUND LANGLEY, Duke of York - uncle to the King HENRY, surnamed BOLINGBROKE, Duke of Hereford, son of John of Gaunt, afterwards King Henry IV DUKE OF AUMERLE, son of the Duke of York THOMAS MOWBRAY, Duke of Norfolk DUKE OF SURREY EARL OF SALISBURY LORD BERKELEY BUSHY - Servant to King Richard BAGOT - Servant to King Richard GREEN - Servant to King Richard EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND HENRY PERCY, surnamed Hotspur, his son LORD ROSS LORD WILLOUGHBY LORD FITZWATER BISHOP OF CARLISLE ABBOT OF WESTMINSTER LORD MARSHAL SIR PIERCE OF EXTON SIR STEPHEN SCROOP Captain of a band of Welshmen


Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Gardeners, Keeper, Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants

SCENE: Dispersedly in England and Wales.


SCENE I. London. A Room in the palace.

[Enter KING RICHARD, attended; JOHN OF GAUNT, with other NOBLES.]

KING RICHARD. Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster, Hast thou, according to thy oath and band, Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son, Here to make good the boisterous late appeal, Which then our leisure would not let us hear, Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

GAUNT. I have, my liege.

KING RICHARD. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him If he appeal the Duke on ancient malice, Or worthily, as a good subject should, On some known ground of treachery in him?

GAUNT. As near as I could sift him on that argument, On some apparent danger seen in him Aim'd at your Highness, no inveterate malice.

KING RICHARD. Then call them to our presence: face to face And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear The accuser and the accused freely speak. High-stomach'd are they both and full of ire, In rage, deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

[Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and MOWBRAY.]

BOLINGBROKE. Many years of happy days befall My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!

MOWBRAY. Each day still better other's happiness Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!

KING RICHARD. We thank you both; yet one but flatters us, As well appeareth by the cause you come; Namely, to appeal each other of high treason. Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

BOLINGBROKE. First,--heaven be the record to my speech!-- In the devotion of a subject's love, Tendering the precious safety of my prince, And free from other misbegotten hate, Come I appellant to this princely presence. Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee, And mark my greeting well; for what I speak My body shall make good upon this earth, Or my divine soul answer it in heaven. Thou art a traitor and a miscreant; Too good to be so and too bad to live, Since the more fair and crystal is the sky, The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly. Once more, the more to aggravate the note, With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat; And wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move, What my tongue speaks, my right drawn sword may prove.

MOWBRAY. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal: 'Tis not the trial of a woman's war, The bitter clamour of two eager tongues, Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain; The blood is hot that must be cool'd for this. Yet can I not of such tame patience boast As to be hush'd and nought at all to say. First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me From giving reins and spurs to my free speech; Which else would post until it had return'd These terms of treason doubled down his throat. Setting aside his high blood's royalty, And let him be no kinsman to my liege, I do defy him, and I spit at him, Call him a slanderous coward and a villain: Which to maintain, I would allow him odds And meet him, were I tied to run afoot Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps, Or any other ground inhabitable, Wherever Englishman durst set his foot. Meantime let this defend my loyalty: By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

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