Richard II

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Bolingbroke and Northumberland


How far is it, my lord, to Berkeley now?


Believe me, noble lord,

I am a stranger here in Gloucestershire.

These high wild hills and rough uneven ways

Draws out our miles and makes them wearisome.

And yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar,
discourse (n.) 1 conversation, talk, chat

Making the hard way sweet and delectable.

But I bethink me what a weary way
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count

From Ravenspurgh to Cotswold will be found

In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company,
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

Which I protest hath very much beguiled
beguile (v.) 4 charm away, while away, pass pleasantly

The tediousness and process of my travel.
process (n.) 1 progress, course, path

But theirs is sweetened with the hope to have

The present benefit which I possess;

And hope to joy is little less in joy

Than hope enjoyed. By this the weary lords

Shall make their way seem short as mine hath done

By sight of what I have – your noble company.


Of much less value is my company

Than your good words. But who comes here?

Enter Harry Percy


It is my son, young Harry Percy,

Sent from my brother Worcester whencesoever.
whencesoever (adv.) from somewhere or other, from whatever place

Harry, how fares your uncle?
fare (v.) 1 get on, manage, do, cope See Topics: Frequency count


I had thought, my lord, to have learned his health of you.


Why, is he not with the Queen?


No, my good lord, he hath forsook the court,

Broken his staff of office, and dispersed
office (n.) 2 role, position, place, function

The household of the King.


                         What was his reason?

He was not so resolved when last we spake together.


Because your lordship was proclaimed traitor.

But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurgh

To offer service to the Duke of Hereford,

And sent me over by Berkeley to discover
discover (v.) 6 reconnoitre, scout out

What power the Duke of York had levied there,
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Then with directions to repair to Ravenspurgh.
repair (v.) 1 come, go, make one's way


Have you forgot the Duke of Hereford, boy?


No, my good lord; for that is not forgot

Which ne'er I did remember. To my knowledge

I never in my life did look on him.


Then learn to know him now – this is the Duke.


My gracious lord, I tender you my service,

Such as it is, being tender, raw, and young,
raw (adj.) unrefined, unskilled, unpolished
tender (adj.) 2 immature, undeveloped, inexperienced

Which elder days shall ripen and confirm

To more approved service and desert.
approved (adj.) tested, tried, established, proven
desert, desart (n.) 3 worthy deed, meritorious action


I thank thee, gentle Percy; and be sure
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

I count myself in nothing else so happy

As in a soul remembering my good friends;

And as my fortune ripens with thy love

It shall be still thy true love's recompense.
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

My heart this covenant makes, my hand thus seals it.


How far is it to Berkeley, and what stir
stir (n.) 3 event, happening, activity

Keeps good old York there with his men of war?


There stands the castle by yon tuft of trees,
tuft (n.) 1 clump, small group, thicket

Manned with three hundred men as I have heard,

And in it are the Lords of York, Berkeley, and Seymour,

None else of name and noble estimate.
estimate (n.) 2 reputation, honour, respectability

Enter Ross and Willoughby


Here come the Lords of Ross and Willoughby,

Bloody with spurring, fiery red with haste.


Welcome, my lords. I wot your love pursues
wot (v.) 1 learn, know, be told See Topics: Frequency count

A banished traitor. All my treasury

Is yet but unfelt thanks, which, more enriched,
unfelt (adj.) 1 intangible, not supported by solid evidence

Shall be your love and labour's recompense.


Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord.


And far surmounts our labour to attain it.
surmount (v.) excel, surpass, outshine


Evermore thank's the exchequer of the poor,
evermore (adv.) always, constantly, at all times
thank (n.) gratitude, thankfulness, appreciative thought

Which till my infant fortune comes to years
years (n.) 2 maturity, experience [coming through age]

Stands for my bounty. But who comes here?
stand for (v.) 4 take the place of, serve in lieu of

Enter Berkeley


It is my Lord of Berkeley, as I guess.


My Lord of Hereford, my message is to you.


My lord, my answer is to ‘ Lancaster.’

And I am come to seek that name in England,

And I must find that title in your tongue

Before I make reply to aught you say.
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count


Mistake me not, my lord. 'Tis not my meaning

To raze one title of your honour out.
race out (v.) raze out, erase, scrape away

To you, my lord, I come – what lord you will –

From the most gracious regent of this land,

The Duke of York, to know what pricks you on
prick on (v.) incite, urge on, spur on

To take advantage of the absent time
absent (adj.) of absence

And fright our native peace with self-borne arms.
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count
self-borne (adj.) carried for one's own cause; or: carried by oneself

Enter York


I shall not need transport my words by you.

Here comes his grace in person. My noble uncle!

He kneels


Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee,

Whose duty is deceivable and false.
deceivable (adj.) 2 deceitful, insincere
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count


My gracious uncle –


Tut, tut, grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle!

I am no traitor's uncle; and that word ‘ grace ’

In an ungracious mouth is but profane.
ungracious (adj.) 1 wicked, without grace, profane

Why have those banished and forbidden legs

Dared once to touch a dust of England's ground?
dust (n.) speck of dust, particle, iota

But then more ‘ why ’ – why have they dared to march

So many miles upon her peaceful bosom,

Frighting her pale-faced villages with war
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count

And ostentation of despised arms?
despised (adj.) scorned, derided, treated with contempt
ostentation (n.) 1 public show, display, exhibition

Comest thou because the anointed King is hence?

Why, foolish boy, the King is left behind,

And in my loyal bosom lies his power.
power (n.) 3 authority, government

Were I but now the lord of such hot youth

As when brave Gaunt, thy father, and myself
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent

Rescued the Black Prince – that young Mars of men –

From forth the ranks of many thousand French,

O then how quickly should this arm of mine,

Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee

And minister correction to thy fault!


My gracious uncle, let me know my fault.

On what condition stands it, and wherein?
condition (n.) 2 quality, behaviour, attribute, habit


Even in condition of the worst degree,
condition (n.) 3 nature, state, circumstances

In gross rebellion and detested treason.
detested (adj.) detestable, loathsome, hateful

Thou art a banished man, and here art come

Before the expiration of thy time

In braving arms against thy sovereign!
braving (adj.) defiant, daring, boasting


As I was banished, I was banished Hereford;

But as I come, I come for Lancaster.

And, noble uncle, I beseech your grace

Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye.
indifferent (adj.) 1 impartial, unbiased, neutral

You are my father; for methinks in you
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

I see old Gaunt alive. O then, my father,

Will you permit that I shall stand condemned

A wandering vagabond, my rights and royalties
royalty (n.) 4 right granted by a monarch, royal prerogative

Plucked from my arms perforce, and given away
perforce (adv.) 1 forcibly, by force, violently See Topics: Frequency count

To upstart unthrifts? Wherefore was I born?
unthrift (n.) spendthrift, squanderer, wastrel

If that my cousin King be King in England

It must be granted I am Duke of Lancaster.

You have a son, Aumerle, my noble cousin.

Had you first died and he been thus trod down

He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father

To rouse his wrongs and chase them to the bay.
bay (n.) 1 [hunting] last stand, point of capture
rouse (v.) 1 [hunting] startle from a lair, draw out

I am denied to sue my livery here,
deny (v.) 3 disallow, forbid, refuse permission [for]
sue one's livery institute a suit to obtain possession of lands

And yet my letters patents give me leave.

My father's goods are all distrained and sold,
distrain (v.) seize, confiscate, commandeer

And these, and all, are all amiss employed.

What would you have me do? I am a subject,

And I challenge law. Attorneys are denied me,
challenge (v.) 1 demand as a right, claim, call for, insist on

And therefore personally I lay my claim

To my inheritance of free descent.
free (adj.) 6 direct, free from legal constraint


(to York)

The noble Duke hath been too much abused.


It stands your grace upon to do him right.
stand upon (v.) 5 be the duty of, be incumbent upon


Base men by his endowments are made great.
base (adj.) 2 low-born, lowly, plebeian, of lower rank See Topics: Frequency count
endowment (n.) endowing of possessions, enriching with property


My lords of England, let me tell you this:

I have had feeling of my cousin's wrongs,

And laboured all I could to do him right.

But in this kind to come, in braving arms,
braving (adj.) defiant, daring, boasting
kind (n.) 2 manner, way, state

Be his own carver, and cut out his way
carver, be one's own be a law unto oneself

To find out right with wrong – it may not be.
find out (v.) 1 discover, find, come upon

And you that do abet him in this kind

Cherish rebellion, and are rebels all.


The noble Duke hath sworn his coming is

But for his own, and for the right of that

We all have strongly sworn to give him aid;

And let him never see joy that breaks that oath.


Well, well, I see the issue of these arms.
issue (n.) 2 outcome, result, consequence(s) See Topics: Frequency count

I cannot mend it, I must needs confess,

Because my power is weak and all ill-left.
ill-left (adj.) badly equipped; or: left in disorder
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

But if I could, by Him that gave me life,

I would attach you all and make you stoop
attach (v.) 1 arrest, seize, apprehend

Unto the sovereign mercy of the King.

But since I cannot, be it known unto you

I do remain as neuter. So fare you well,
neuter (adj.) neutral, taking neither side

Unless you please to enter in the castle

And there repose you for this night.


An offer, uncle, that we will accept;

But we must win your grace to go with us

To Bristol Castle, which they say is held

By Bushy, Bagot, and their complices,
complice (n.) accomplice, confederate, associate

The caterpillars of the commonwealth,
caterpillar (n.) parasite, exploiter, sponger

Which I have sworn to weed and pluck away.


It may be I will go with you, but yet I'll pause;

For I am loath to break our country's laws.

Nor friends, nor foes, to me welcome you are.

Things past redress are now with me past care.
redress (n.) 1 relief, assistance, help, comfort


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