King Richard II

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MARSHAL. On pain of death, no person be so bold Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists, Except the Marshal and such officers Appointed to direct these fair designs.

BOLINGBROKE. Lord Marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's hand, And bow my knee before his Majesty: For Mowbray and myself are like two men That vow a long and weary pilgrimage; Then let us take a ceremonious leave And loving farewell of our several friends.

MARSHAL. The appellant in all duty greets your highness, And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.

KING RICHARD. [Descends from his throne.] We will descend and fold him in our arms. Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right, So be thy fortune in this royal fight! Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed, Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.

BOLINGBROKE. O! let no noble eye profane a tear For me, if I be gor'd with Mowbray's spear. As confident as is the falcon's flight Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight. My loving lord, I take my leave of you; Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle; Not sick, although I have to do with death, But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath. Lo! as at English feasts, so I regreet The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet: O thou, the earthly author of my blood, Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate, Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up To reach at victory above my head, Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers, And with thy blessings steel my lance's point, That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat, And furbish new the name of John a Gaunt, Even in the lusty haviour of his son.

GAUNT. God in thy good cause make thee prosperous! Be swift like lightning in the execution; And let thy blows, doubly redoubled, Fall like amazing thunder on the casque Of thy adverse pernicious enemy: Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant, and live.

BOLINGBROKE. Mine innocency and Saint George to thrive!

[He takes his seat.]

MOWBRAY. [Rising.] However God or fortune cast my lot, There lives or dies, true to King Richard's throne, A loyal, just, and upright gentleman. Never did captive with a freer heart Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace His golden uncontroll'd enfranchisement, More than my dancing soul doth celebrate This feast of battle with mine adversary. Most mighty liege, and my companion peers, Take from my mouth the wish of happy years. As gentle and as jocund as to jest Go I to fight: truth hath a quiet breast.

KING RICHARD. Farewell, my lord: securely I espy Virtue with valour couched in thine eye. Order the trial, Marshal, and begin.

[The KING and the Lords return to their seats.]

MARSHAL. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!

BOLINGBROKE. [Rising.] Strong as a tower in hope, I cry 'amen'.

MARSHAL. [To an officer.] Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.

FIRST HERALD. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself, On pain to be found false and recreant, To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray, A traitor to his God, his King, and him; And dares him to set forward to the fight.

SECOND HERALD. Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, On pain to be found false and recreant, Both to defend himself, and to approve Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, To God, his sovereign, and to him disloyal; Courageously and with a free desire, Attending but the signal to begin.

MARSHAL. Sound trumpets; and set forward, combatants.

[A charge sounded.]

Stay, the King hath thrown his warder down.

KING RICHARD. Let them lay by their helmets and their spears, And both return back to their chairs again: Withdraw with us; and let the trumpets sound While we return these dukes what we decree.

[A long flourish.]

[To the Combatants.] Draw near, And list what with our council we have done. For that our kingdom's earth should not be soil'd With that dear blood which it hath fostered; And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect Of civil wounds plough'd up with neighbours' swords; And for we think the eagle-winged pride Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts, With rival-hating envy, set on you To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep; Which so rous'd up with boist'rous untun'd drums, With harsh-resounding trumpets' dreadful bray, And grating shock of wrathful iron arms, Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace And make us wade even in our kindred's blood: Therefore we banish you our territories: You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of life, Till twice five summers have enrich'd our fields Shall not regreet our fair dominions, But tread the stranger paths of banishment.

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