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THE LIFE AND DEATH
KING RICHARD II.
SCENE I. - London. A Room in the Palace. Enter King RICHARD, attended ; JOHN OF GAUNT, and
other Nobles, with him. K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancas
K. Rich. 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. K. Rich. Then call them to our presence : face to
face, And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear Th’ accuser, and th' accused, freely speak.
[Exeunt some Attendants. 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 NORFOLK.
Boling. Fullo many years of happy days befal My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege ! 1 band and bond are used indifferently. This word is not in f. e.
Nor. Each day still better other's happiness; Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!
K. Rich. 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?
Boling. 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 wrath or 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. Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal. 'T is 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 rein and spuro to my free speech, Which else would post, until it had return'd These terms of treason doubled down his throat. Setting aside bis 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 a-foot
1 from other : in f. e. 2 reins and spurs : in f. e.
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
Boling. Pale trembling coward, there I throw my Disclaiming here the kindred of the king;
[gage, And lay aside my high blood's royalty, Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except: If guilty dread have left thee so much strength, As to take up mine honour's pawn, then stoop. By that and all the rites of knighthood else, Will I make good against thee, arm to arm, What I have spoke, or thou canst worse” devise.
Nor. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear, Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder, I'll answer thee in any fair degree, Or chivalrous design of knightly trial : And, when I mount, alive may I not light, If I be traitor, or unjustly fight! K. Rich. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's
charge ? It must be great, that can inherit us So much as of a thought of ill in him. Boling. Look, what I speak', my life shall prove it
true : That Mowbray hath receiv'd eight thousand nobles, In name of lendings for your highness' soldiers, The which he hath detain'd for lewd* employments, Like a false traitor, and injurious villain. Besides, I say, and will in battle prove, Or here, or elsewhere, to the furthest verge That ever was survey'd by English eye, That all the treasons, for these eighteen years Complotted and contrived in this land, Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring. Farther, I say, and farther will maintain Upon his bad life to make all this good, That he did plot the duke of Gloster's death; Suggestó his soon-believing adversaries, And, consequently, like a traitor-coward,
1 Uninhabitable : often so used by contemporary writers. From the quarto, 1597. 3 So the folio ; quarto, 1597 : said.
4 Wicked. 5 Incite.
Sluic'd out his innocent soul through streams of blood :
K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars ! Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this ?
Nor. O! let my sovereign turn away his face,
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and ears:
Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
dear : in f. e.
And interchangeably hurl down my gage
K. Rich. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruld by me.
Gaunt. To be a make-peace shall become my age. Throw down, my son, the duke of Norfolk's gage.
K. Rich. And, Norfolk, throw down his.
When, Harry? when?
boot. Nor. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot. My life thou shalt command, but not my shame : The one my duty owes ; but my
Rage must be withstood.
1 Norfolk's crest was a golden leopard.