Richard II

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter John of Gaunt with the Duchess of Gloucester


Alas, the part I had in Woodstock's blood

Doth more solicit me than your exclaims
exclaim (n.) exclamation, outcry, protest
solicit (v.) 1 urge, move, incite, prevail upon

To stir against the butchers of his life.

But since correction lieth in those hands

Which made the fault that we cannot correct,

Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

Who, when they see the hours ripe on earth,

Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads.


Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?

Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?

Edward's seven sons, whereof thyself art one,

Were as seven vials of his sacred blood,

Or seven fair branches springing from one root.

Some of those seven are dried by nature's course,
course (n.) 2 habit, custom, practise, normal procedure

Some of those branches by the destinies cut.

But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloucester,

One vial full of Edward's sacred blood,
vial (n.) phial, small bottle, flask

One flourishing branch of his most royal root,

Is cracked, and all the precious liquor spilt;

Is hacked down, and his summer leaves all faded,

By envy's hand, and murder's bloody axe.
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity

Ah, Gaunt, his blood was thine! That bed, that womb,

That mettle, that self-mould, that fashioned thee
mettle, mettell (n.) 1 spirit, temperament, disposition
self (adj.) same, selfsame, identical, exact

Made him a man; and though thou livest and breathest

Yet art thou slain in him. Thou dost consent

In some large measure to thy father's death

In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,

Who was the model of thy father's life.
model (n.) 1 replica, image, copy

Call it not patience, Gaunt. It is despair.

In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughtered
suffer (v.) 1 allow, permit, let

Thou showest the naked pathway to thy life,
naked (adj.) 1 defenceless, undefended, unarmed

Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee.

That which in mean men we entitle patience
mean (adj.) 2 lowly, humble, poor

Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.

What shall I say? To safeguard thine own life

The best way is to venge my Gloucester's death.
venge (v.) avenge, revenge


God's is the quarrel; for God's substitute,

His deputy anointed in His sight,

Hath caused his death; the which if wrongfully,

Let heaven revenge, for I may never lift

An angry arm against His minister.


Where then, alas, may I complain myself?


To God, the widow's champion and defence.


Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.

Thou goest to Coventry, there to behold

Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight.
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage

O, sit my husband's wrongs on Hereford's spear

That it may enter butcher Mowbray's breast!

Or if misfortune miss the first career,
career (n.) 1 [of a horse in a combat] charge, gallop, course

Be Mowbray's sins so heavy in his bosom
heavy (adj.) 3 pressing, weighty, overpowering

They may break his foaming courser's back
courser (n.) swift horse, sprinter, charger

And throw the rider headlong in the lists,
list (n.) 1 (usually plural) combat arena at a tournament

A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!
caitiff (adj.) wretched, miserable, worthless
recreant (n.) 1 coward, faint-hearted individual

Farewell, old Gaunt! Thy sometimes brother's wife
sometimes (adj.) sometime, former, at one time

With her companion, grief, must end her life.


Sister, farewell! I must to Coventry.

As much good stay with thee as go with me!


Yet one word more. Grief boundeth where it falls,
bound (v.) 4 bounce, rebound

Not with the empty hollowness, but weight.

I take my leave before I have begun;

For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.

Commend me to thy brother, Edmund York.
commend (v.) 1 convey greetings, present kind regards See Topics: Frequency count

Lo, this is all. – Nay, yet depart not so.

Though this be all, do not so quickly go.

I shall remember more. Bid him – ah, what? –

With all good speed at Pleshey visit me.

Alack, and what shall good old York there see

But empty lodgings and unfurnished walls,
lodging (n.) room, chamber, living quarters
unfurnished (adj.) 5 lacking tapestries, without the usual fittings

Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones,
office (n.) 8 (plural) servants' quarters, service rooms
unpeopled (adj.) devoid of people, lacking retinue, without servants

And what hear there for welcome but my groans?

Therefore commend me. Let him not come there

To seek out sorrow that dwells everywhere.

Desolate, desolate will I hence and die.

The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.


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