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THE LIFE AND DEATH

OF

KING RICHARD II.

ACT I.

1

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

ter,
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.

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,
Or any other ground inhabitable?
Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
Mean time, let this defend my loyalty :-
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

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 :
Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
To me for justice, and rough chastisement;
And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.

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,
And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
Till I have told this slander of his blood,
How God, and good men, hate so foul a liar.

K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and ears:
Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom's heir,
As he is but my father's brother's son,
Now by my sceptre's awe I make a vow,
Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood
Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul.
He is our subject, Mowbray, so art thou :
Free speech and fearless, I to thee allow.

Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest.
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais,
Disburs'd I duly' to his highness' soldiers :
The other part reserv'd I by consent ;
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt,
Upon remainder of a clear account,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen.
Now, swallow down that lie.—For Gloster's death,
I slew him not; but to mine own disgrace,
Neglected my sworn duty in that case.-
For you, my noble lord of Lancaster,
The honourable father to my foe,
Once did I lay an ambush for your life,
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul;
But, ere I last receiv'd the sacrament,
I did confess it, and exactly begg’d
Your grace's pardon, and, I hope, I had it.
This is my fault: as for the rest appeal’d,
It issues from the rancour of a villain,
A recreant and most degenerate traitor;
Which in myself I boldly will defend,
i From the quarto, 1597.

dear : in f. e.

And interchangeably hurl down my gage
Upon this overweening traitor's foot,
To prove myself a loyal gentleman
Even in the best blood chamber'd in his bosom.
In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
Your highness to assign our trial day.

K. Rich. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruld by me.
Let's purge this choler without letting blood :
This we prescribe, though no physician;
Deep malice makes too deep incision.
Forget, forgive; conclude, and be agreed;
Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.-
Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
We'll calm the duke of Norfolk, you your son.

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.
Gaunt.

When, Harry? when?
Obedience bids, I should not bid again.
K. Rich. Norfolk, throw down; we bid; there is no

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

fair

name,
Despite of death that lives upon my grave,
To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have.
I am disgrac'd, impeach'd, and baffled here;
Pierc'd to the soul with slander's venom'd spear;
The which no balm can cure, but his heart-blood
Which breath'd this poison.
K. Rich.

Rage must be withstood.
Give me his gage :-lions make leopards' tame.
Nor. Yea, but not change his spots : take but my

shame,
And I resign my gage. My dear, dear lord,
The purest treasure mortal times afford
Is spotless reputation; that away,
Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
A jewel in a ten times barr'd-up chest
Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
Mine honour is my life; both grow in one:
Take honour from me, and my life is done.
Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;

1 Norfolk's crest was a golden leopard.

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