Richard II

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter the Lord Marshal and the Duke of Aumerle


My Lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford armed?


Yea, at all points, and longs to enter in.
points, all / at all in every part, in all respects, completely


The Duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,
sprightfully, spritefully (adv.) spiritedly, in a lively manner

Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet.
appellant (n.) accuser [of treason], challenger, denouncer


Why then, the champions are prepared, and stay
stay for (v.) wait for, await

For nothing but his majesty's approach.

The trumpets sound and the King enters with his

nobles, including Gaunt, and Bushy, Bagot, and

Green. When they are set, enter Mowbray, Duke of

Norfolk, in arms, defendant; and a Herald


Marshal, demand of yonder champion
set (adj.) 2 formally seated, arranged in a position of state

The cause of his arrival here in arms.

Ask him his name, and orderly proceed
orderly (adv.) according to the rules, properly, in the prescribed way

To swear him in the justice of his cause.


(to Mowbray)

In God's name and the King's, say who thou art

And why thou comest thus knightly-clad in arms,

Against what man thou comest, and what thy quarrel.
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

Speak truly on thy knighthood and thy oath,

As so defend thee heaven and thy valour!


My name is Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,

Who hither come engaged by my oath, –

Which God defend a knight should violate! –
defend (v.) forbid, prohibit

Both to defend my loyalty and truth

To God, my King, and my succeeding issue
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count

Against the Duke of Hereford that appeals me;
appeal (v.) 1 accuse, denounce, impeach

And by the grace of God and this mine arm

To prove him, in defending of myself,

A traitor to my God, my King, and me.

And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!

The trumpets sound. Enter Bolingbroke, Duke of

Hereford, appellant, in armour; and a Herald


Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms

Both who he is, and why he cometh hither

Thus plated in habiliments of war;
habiliment, abiliment (n.) (usually plural) clothes, dress, attire, outfit
plated (adj.) wearing plate armour, armour-protected

And formally, according to our law,

Depose him in the justice of his cause.
depose (v.) 1 swear, take an oath [from]


(to Bolingbroke)

What is thy name? And wherefore comest thou hither

Before King Richard in his royal lists?
list (n.) 1 (usually plural) combat arena at a tournament

Against whom comest thou? And what's thy quarrel?
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!


Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby

Am I, who ready here do stand in arms

To prove by God's grace and my body's valour

In lists on Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk,
list (n.) 1 (usually plural) combat arena at a tournament

That he is a traitor foul and dangerous

To God of heaven, King Richard, and to me;

And as I truly fight, defend me heaven!


On pain of death, no person be so bold

Or daring-hardy as to touch the lists
daring-hardy (adj.) foolhardy, rashly bold
list (n.) 1 (usually plural) combat arena at a tournament

Except the Marshal and such officers

Appointed to direct these fair designs.
design (n.) 1 undertaking, purpose, enterprise


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.
several (adj.) 2 various, sundry, respective, individual


(to King Richard)

The appellant in all duty greets your highness

And craves to kiss your hand, and take his leave.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count


We will descend and fold him in our arms.

He leaves his throne

Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,

So be thy fortune in this royal fight!

Farewell, my blood – which if today thou shed,

Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.


O, let no noble eye profane a tear

For me, if I be gored with Mowbray's spear!

As confident as is the falcon's flight

Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight.

(To Lord Marshal)

My loving lord, I take my leave of you;

(To Aumerle)

Of you, my noble cousin, Lord Aumerle;

Not sick, although I have to do with death,

But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.
cheerly (adv.) 1 cheerfully, brightly, animatedly
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager

Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet
regreet (v.) greet again, salute upon returning

The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet.

(To John of Gaunt)

O thou, the earthly author of my blood,

Whose youthful spirit in me regenerate
regenerate (adj.) 2 reborn, formed anew

Doth with a two-fold vigour lift me up

To reach at victory above my head,
reach at (v.) reach out for, strive to attain

Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers,
proof (n.) 1 tested strength, proven power of resistance, impenetrability

And with thy blessings steel my lance's point

That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat
coat (n.) 2 coat-of-mail, surcoat

And furbish new the name of John o' Gaunt,

Even in the lusty haviour of his son!
haviour (n.) behaviour, manner, demeanour
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager


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
amazing (adj.) dreadful, terrifying, stupefying
casque, caske (n.) helmet See Topics: Weapons

Of thy adverse pernicious enemy!

Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant, and live.


Mine innocence and Saint George to thrive!
thrive (v.) be successful, have good fortune


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
free (adj.) 10 freely given, willing, unconstrained

Cast off his chains of bondage and embrace
embrace (v.) 1 welcome, joyfully accept

His golden uncontrolled enfranchisement
enfranchisement (n.) freedom, liberation, release

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
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind
jest (v.) 2 amuse oneself, go to an entertainment

Go I to fight. Truth hath a quiet breast.


Farewell, my lord. Securely I espy
securely (adv.) 1 confidently, without misgiving, fearlessly

Virtue with valour couched in thine eye.
couch (v.) 1 conceal, hide, lie hidden

Order the trial, Marshal, and begin.


Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,

Receive thy lance; and God defend the right.


Strong as a tower in hope, I cry ‘ Amen!’


(to an officer)

Go bear this lance to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk.


Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby

Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself,

On pain to be found false and recreant,
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count
recreant (adj.) cowardly, faint-hearted, craven

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.


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.
attend (v.) 1 await, wait for, expect See Topics: Frequency count


Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants!

A charge sounded. King Richard throws his warder

into the lists

Stay! The King hath thrown his warder down.
list (n.) 1 (usually plural) combat arena at a tournament
warder (n.) 1 staff, truncheon, baton
warder (n.) 1 staff, truncheon, baton


Let them lay by their helmets and their spears

And both return back to their chairs again.

(To his cousellors)

Withdraw with us, and let the trumpets sound

While we return these dukes what we decree.
return (v.) 1 answer, report, say in reply [to]

A long flourish. King Richard consults his nobles, then

addresses the combatants

Draw near,

And list what with our council we have done.
list (v.) 3 listen to, pay attention to

For that our kingdom's earth should not be soiled

With that dear blood which it hath fostered,

And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect
aspect (n.) 2 [of objects] sight, appearance

Of civil wounds ploughed up with neighbours' sword,
civil (adj.) 3 of civil war

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
wake (v.) 2 urge, arouse; or: trouble, disturb

Draws the sweet infant-breath of gentle sleep,
gentle (adj.) 4 peaceful, calm, free from violence

Which so roused up with boisterous untuned drums,
boisterous (adj.) 1 violent, fierce, savage
untuned (adj.) 1 out-of-tune, disordered, disturbed

With harsh-resounding trumpets' dreadful bray,

And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,

Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace
confine (n.) 1 territory, region, domain
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count

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 enriched our fields

Shall not regreet our fair dominions,
regreet (v.) greet again, salute upon returning

But tread the stranger paths of banishment.
stranger (adj.) foreign, alien


Your will be done. This must my comfort be:

That sun that warms you here shall shine on me,

And those his golden beams to you here lent
lend (v.) give, grant, bestow [on]

Shall point on me, and gild my banishment.


Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,
doom (n.) 1 judgement, sentence, decision
heavy (adj.) 2 grave, serious, weighty

Which I with some unwillingness pronounce.

The sly slow hours shall not determinate
determinate (v.) bring to an end, terminate, limit
sly (adj.) stealthy, furtive, quietly moving

The dateless limit of thy dear exile.
dateless (adj.) everlasting, eternal, endless
dear (adj.) 1 dire, grievous, hard
limit (n.) 1 prescribed time, fixed period

The hopeless word of ‘ never to return ’

Breathe I against thee upon pain of life.


A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,

And all unlooked-for from your highness' mouth.

A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
merit (n.) 2 reward, just desert

As to be cast forth in the common air

Have I deserved at your highness' hands.

The language I have learnt these forty years,

My native English, now I must forgo,

And now my tongue's use is to me no more

Than an unstringed viol or a harp,
viol (n.) type of stringed instrument played with a bow

Or like a cunning instrument cased up –
cunning (adj.) 2 skilfully made, ingenious

Or being open, put into his hands

That knows no touch to tune the harmony.
touch (n.) 7 fingering, handling, skill in playing

Within my mouth you have engaoled my tongue,
engaol (v.) put in gaol, lock up

Doubly portcullised with my teeth and lips,
portcullis (v.) furnish with a portcullis, fortify

And dull unfeeling barren ignorance

Is made my gaoler to attend on me.
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]

I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,

Too far in years to be a pupil now.

What is thy sentence then but speechless death,

Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath?


It boots thee not to be compassionate.
boot (v.) 1 help, serve, benefit, be useful [to]
compassionate (adj.) full of lamentation, piteously appealing

After our sentence plaining comes too late.
plaining (n.) 1 complaining, moaning, lamenting


Then thus I turn me from my country's light,

To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.


(to Bolingbroke and Mowbray)

Return again, and take an oath with thee.

Lay on our royal sword your banished hands.

Swear by the duty that you owe to God –

Our part therein we banish with yourselves –

To keep the oath that we administer:

You never shall, so help you truth and God,

Embrace each other's love in banishment,

Nor never look upon each other's face,

Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
regreet (v.) greet again, salute upon returning

This lowering tempest of your home-bred hate,

Nor never by advised purpose meet
advised, avised (adj.) 1 calculated, premeditated, intentional
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

To plot, contrive, or complot any ill
complot (v.) plot together, collude
contrive (v.) 1 scheme, plot, conspire
ill (n.) 1 wrong, injury, harm, evil

'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.


I swear.


And I, to keep all this.


Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:

By this time, had the King permitted us,

One of our souls had wandered in the air,

Banished this frail sepulchre of our flesh,

As now our flesh is banished from this land.

Confess thy treasons ere thou fly the realm.

Since thou hast far to go, bear not along

The clogging burden of a guilty soul.
clogging (adj.) oppressive, encumbering, hampering


No, Bolingbroke, if ever I were traitor

My name be blotted from the book of life,

And I from heaven banished as from hence!

But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know,

And all too soon, I fear, the King shall rue.

Farewell, my liege. Now no way can I stray;

Save back to England, all the world's my way.



(to John of Gaunt)
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count
glass (n.) 4 eye-ball

Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes

I see thy grieved heart. Thy sad aspect
aspect (n.) 1 [of a human face] look, appearance, expression
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy

Hath from the number of his banished years

Plucked four away. (To Bolingbroke) Six frozen winters spent,

Return with welcome home from banishment.


How long a time lies in one little word!

Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
lagging (adj.) lingering, dragging, drawn-out
wanton (adj.) 11 luxuriant, flourishing, lush, profuse in growth

End in a word – such is the breath of kings.


I thank my liege that in regard of me

He shortens four years of my son's exile.

But little vantage shall I reap thereby;
vantage (n.) 3 advantage, benefit, advancement, profit

For ere the six years that he hath to spend

Can change their moons, and bring their times about,
bring about (v.) complete, bring the end to [a period of time]
time (n.) 10 seasonal cycle

My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light
bewasted (adj.) wasted away

Shall be extinct with age and endless night.
extinct (adj.) extinguished, put out, quenched

My inch of taper will be burnt and done,

And blindfold death not let me see my son.


Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.


But not a minute, King, that thou canst give.

Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,
sullen (adj.) 1 gloomy, dismal, melancholy, mournful

And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count

Thou canst help time to furrow me with age,

But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage.
pilgrimage (n.) journey, passage, voyage

Thy word is current with him for my death,
current (adj.) 1 [as of a coin] authentic, genuine, valid

But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.


Thy son is banished upon good advice

Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave.
party-verdict (n.) share in a joint decision

Why at our justice seemest thou then to lour?
lour, lower (v.) frown, scowl, look dark and threatening


Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.

You urged me as a judge, but I had rather

You would have bid me argue like a father.

O, had it been a stranger, not my child,

To smooth his fault I should have been more mild.
smooth (v.) 1 gloss over, make less noticeable, camouflage

A partial slander sought I to avoid,
partial (adj.) 3 of partiality, alleging bias
slander (n.) 1 dishonour, disgrace, disrepute

And in the sentence my own life destroyed.

Alas, I looked when some of you should say
look (v.) 1 expect, anticipate, hope, await the time

I was too strict, to make mine own away.

But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue

Against my will to do myself this wrong.


Cousin, farewell – and, uncle, bid him so.

Six years we banish him, and he shall go.

Flourish. Exit King Richard with his train


Cousin, farewell! What presence must not know,

From where you do remain let paper show.


My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride

As far as land will let me by your side.


O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

That thou returnest no greeting to thy friends?


I have too few to take my leave of you,

When the tongue's office should be prodigal
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count
prodigal (adj.) 2 effusive, lavish, generous

To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart.


Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.


Joy absent, grief is present for that time.


What is six winters? They are quickly gone.


To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.


Call it a travel that thou takest for pleasure.
travail, travel (n.) 2 journeying, travel [often overlapping with sense 1]


My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,
miscall (v.) misname, call by a wrong name

Which finds it an enforced pilgrimage.
pilgrimage (n.) journey, passage, voyage


The sullen passage of thy weary steps
sullen (adj.) 1 gloomy, dismal, melancholy, mournful

Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set
foil (n.) 3 setting, background which sets something off to advantage [as dull metal sets off a gem]

The precious jewel of thy home return.


Nay, rather every tedious stride I make

Will but remember me what a deal of world
deal (n.) amount, quantity
remember (v.) 1 remind, bring to someone's mind

I wander from the jewels that I love.

Must I not serve a long apprenticehood
apprenticehood (n.) apprenticeship

To foreign passages, and in the end,
passage (n.) 6 journey, travelling, wandering

Having my freedom, boast of nothing else

But that I was a journeyman to grief?
journeyman (n.) 1 employed craftsman, contracted artisan


All places that the eye of heaven visits

Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.

Teach thy necessity to reason thus:

There is no virtue like necessity.

Think not the King did banish thee,

But thou the King. Woe doth the heavier sit

Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
faintly (adv.) 3 weakly, feebly, faintheartedly

Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour,
purchase (v.) 1 acquire, obtain, win

And not the King exiled thee; or suppose

Devouring pestilence hangs in our air
pestilence (n.) plague, epidemic, fatal disease

And thou art flying to a fresher clime.

Look what thy soul holds dear, imagine it

To lie that way thou goest, not whence thou comest.

Suppose the singing birds musicians,

The grass whereon thou treadest the presence strewed,
presence (n.) 2 royal reception chamber

The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more

Than a delightful measure or a dance;
measure (n.) 8 slow stately dance, graceful movement

For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
gnarling (adj.) snarling, growling

The man that mocks at it and sets it light.
set (v.) 1 value, rate, esteem


O, who can hold a fire in his hand

By thinking on the frosty Caucasus,

Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite
cloy (v.) 1 satiate, gorge, satisfy
edge (n.) 1 ardour, keen desire

By bare imagination of a feast,

Or wallow naked in December snow

By thinking on fantastic summer's heat?
fantastic (adj.) 2 imagined, existing only in the mind

O no, the apprehension of the good
apprehension (n.) 2 conception, grasping by the mind, awareness

Gives but the greater feeling to the worse.

Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more
fell (adj.) 1 cruel, fierce, savage
rankle (v.) cause a festering wound

Than when he bites, but lanceth not the sore.


Come, come, my son, I'll bring thee on thy way.
bring (v.) 1 accompany, conduct, escort

Had I thy youth and cause I would not stay.


Then, England's ground, farewell! Sweet soil, adieu,

My mother and my nurse that bears me yet!

Where'er I wander, boast of this I can:

Though banished, yet a trueborn Englishman!


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