Richard II

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Drums; flourish and colours. Enter King Richard,

Aumerle, the Bishop of Carlisle, and soldiers


Barkloughly Castle call they this at hand?
colours (n.) 2 colour-ensigns, standard-bearers


Yea, my lord. How brooks your grace the air
brook (v.) 3 enjoy, find, feel about

After your late tossing on the breaking seas?


Needs must I like it well. I weep for joy

To stand upon my kingdom once again.

Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,
salute (v.) 1 greet, welcome, address

Though rebels wound thee with their horses' hoofs.

As a long-parted mother with her child

Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,

So weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,

And do thee favours with my royal hands.

Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle earth,
gentle (adj.) 4 peaceful, calm, free from violence

Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense,

But let thy spiders that suck up thy venom,

And heavy-gaited toads, lie in their way,
heavy-gaited (adj.) ponderously walking, clumsy-moving

Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet

Which with usurping steps do trample thee.

Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies;

And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower

Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder,

Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch
double (adj.) 2 forked, divided

Throw death upon thy sovereign's enemies.

Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords.
conjuration (n.) 1 entreaty, injunction, solemn appeal
senseless (adj.) 1 lacking human sensation, incapable of feeling

This earth shall have a feeling, and these stones

Prove armed soldiers ere her native king

Shall falter under foul rebellion's arms.


Fear not, my lord, that power that made you king

Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.

The means that heavens yield must be embraced

And not neglected; else heaven would,

And we will not – heaven's offer we refuse,

The proffered means of succour and redress.
redress (n.) 1 relief, assistance, help, comfort


He means, my lord, that we are too remiss,

Whilst Bolingbroke through our security
security (n.) over-confidence, carelessness

Grows strong and great in substance and in power.


Discomfortable cousin, knowest thou not
discomfortable (adj.) disheartening, soul-destroying, discouraging

That when the searching eye of heaven is hid

Behind the globe, that lights the lower world,

Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen

In murders and in outrage boldly here;

But when from under this terrestrial ball

He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines,
fire (v.) set on fire, ignite, inflame

And darts his light through every guilty hole,

Then murders, treasons, and detested sins –

The cloak of night being plucked from off their backs –

Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves?

So when this thief, this traitor Bolingbroke,

Who all this while hath revelled in the night

Whilst we were wandering with the Antipodes,

Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,

His treasons will sit blushing in his face,

Not able to endure the sight of day,

But self-affrighted, tremble at his sin.

Not all the water in the rough rude sea
rude (adj.) 3 [of wind or water] stormy, turbulent, harsh

Can wash the balm off from an anointed king.
balm (n.) 1 fragrant oil used for anointing, consecrated oil

The breath of worldly men cannot depose

The deputy elected by the Lord.
elect (v.) 1 pick out, choose, select

For every man that Bolingbroke hath pressed
press (v.) 1 levy, raise, conscript

To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
shrewd (adj.) 2 harmful, dangerous, injurious
steel (n.) 2 weapon of steel, sword

God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay

A glorious angel. Then if angels fight,

Weak men must fall; for heaven still guards the right.
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Enter Salisbury
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Welcome, my lord. How far off lies your power?


Nor nea'er nor farther off, my gracious lord,

Than this weak arm. Discomfort guides my tongue
discomfort (n.) 2 discouragement, loss of heart

And bids me speak of nothing but despair.

One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,

Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth.

O, call back yesterday – bid time return,

And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men.

Today, today, unhappy day too late,

O'erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state;

For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead,

Are gone to Bolingbroke – dispersed and fled.


Comfort, my liege. Why looks your grace so pale?


But now the blood of twenty thousand men

Did triumph in my face; and they are fled.

And till so much blood thither come again

Have I not reason to look pale and dead?
dead (adj.) 5 death-like, lifeless, spiritless

All souls that will be safe fly from my side,

For time hath set a blot upon my pride.


Comfort, my liege. Remember who you are.


I had forgot myself. Am I not King?

Awake, thou coward majesty; thou sleepest.

Is not the King's name twenty thousand names?

Arm, arm, my name! A puny subject strikes

At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,

Ye favourites of a King. Are we not high?

High be our thoughts. I know my uncle York

Hath power enough to serve our turn. But who comes here?
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Enter Scroop
betide (v.) 1 happen (to), befall, come (to)


More health and happiness betide my liege

Than can my care-tuned tongue deliver him.
care-tuned (adj.) adjusted to sorrow, grief-attuned
deliver (v.) 1 report [to], communicate [to], tell, describe


Mine ear is open and my heart prepared.

The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.

Say, is my kingdom lost? Why, 'twas my care;
care (n.) 4 anxiety, worry, solicitude [about]

And what loss is it to be rid of care?

Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?

Greater he shall not be. If he serve God

We'll serve Him too, and be his fellow so.

Revolt our subjects? That we cannot mend.

They break their faith to God as well as us.

Cry woe, destruction, ruin, and decay.
cry (v.) 1 speak loudly, shout out, proclaim

The worst is death, and death will have his day.


Glad am I that your highness is so armed

To bear the tidings of calamity.

Like an unseasonable stormy day

Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores

As if the world were all dissolved to tears,
dissolve (v.) 3 melt, liquefy

So high above his limits swells the rage
limit (n.) 5 bank, edge, boundary

Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land

With hard bright steel, and hearts harder than steel.

Whitebeards have armed their thin and hairless scalps
whitebeard (n.) old man, patriarch, old-timer

Against thy majesty. Boys with women's voices

Strive to speak big and clap their female joints
big (adv.) 2 strongly, forcefully, with depth
clap (v.) 4 put smartly, place promptly, set effectively
female (adj.) womanish, weak, delicate

In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown.
arms (n.) 3 armour, mail, protective covering

Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows
beadsman (n.) almsman, pensioner [who prays for others]
double-fatal (adj.) yielding two kinds of death

Of double-fatal yew against thy state.

Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills
bill (n.) 1 [applied to various kinds of long-handled spear-like weapon] halberd; bill-hook See Topics: Weapons
distaff-woman (n.) woman occupied in spinning
manage (v.) 1 wield, handle, use

Against thy seat. Both young and old rebel,
seat (n.) 1 throne

And all goes worse than I have power to tell.


Too well, too well thou tellest a tale so ill.
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count

Where is the Earl of Wiltshire? Where is Bagot?

What is become of Bushy, where is Green,

That they have let the dangerous enemy

Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?
confine (n.) 1 territory, region, domain
measure (v.) 1 pass through, travel over, traverse
peaceful (adj.) undisturbed, unopposed, untroubled

If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it.

I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count


Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord.


O, villains, vipers, damned without redemption!

Dogs easily won to fawn on any man!

Snakes in my heart-blood warmed, that sting my heart;

Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas –

Would they make peace? Terrible hell

Make war upon their spotted souls for this.
spotted (adj.) 1 stained, blemished


Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
property (n.) 1 quality, character, nature

Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate.

Again uncurse their souls. Their peace is made

With heads and not with hands. Those whom you curse

Have felt the worst of death's destroying wound,

And lie full low, graved in the hollow ground.
grave (v.) 1 bury, inter, entomb


Is Bushy, Green, and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?


Ay. All of them at Bristol lost their heads.


Where is the Duke, my father, with his power?
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count


No matter where. Of comfort no man speak.

Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;

Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.

Let's choose executors and talk of wills –

And yet not so; for what can we bequeath

Save our deposed bodies to the ground?

Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke's,

And nothing can we call our own but death

And that small model of the barren earth
model (n.) 2 microcosm, miniature, tiny replica

Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
paste (n.) pastry, doughy mixture

For God's sake let us sit upon the ground

And tell sad stories of the death of kings –
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy

How some have been deposed, some slain in war,

Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,

Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed,

All murdered. For within the hollow crown

That rounds the mortal temples of a king
round (v.) 1 ring, encircle, surround

Keeps death his court; and there the antic sits,
antic, antick(e), antique (n.) 1 grotesque figure, grinning jester, buffoon

Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
state (n.) 4 splendour, magnificence, stateliness, dignity

Allowing him a breath, a little scene,

To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks,
monarchize (v.) perform the role of a monarch, play a king's part

Infusing him with self and vain conceit,

As if this flesh which walls about our life

Were brass impregnable; and humoured thus,

Comes at the last, and with a little pin

Bores through his castle wall, and – farewell, king!

Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
cover (v.) 2 put on one's hat [after it has been removed to show respect]

With solemn reverence. Throw away respect,

Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty;

For you have but mistook me all this while.

I live with bread, like you; feel want,

Taste grief, need friends. Subjected thus,

How can you say to me I am a king?


My lord, wise men ne'er sit and wail their woes,

But presently prevent the ways to wail.
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count
prevent (v.) 2 take steps to thwart, avoid by prompt action

To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,

Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,

And so your follies fight against yourself.

Fear, and be slain. No worse can come to fight;

And fight and die is death destroying death,

Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.
servile (adj.) 2 befitting a slave, slavish, cringing


My father hath a power. Inquire of him,

And learn to make a body of a limb.


Thou chidest me well. Proud Bolingbroke, I come
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count

To change blows with thee for our day of doom.
change (v.) 1 exchange, trade
doom, day of last day of life, death-day

This ague-fit of fear is overblown.
ague-fit (n.) feverish fit, fit of shaking
overblow (v.) 1 blow over, pass away, abate

An easy task it is to win our own.

Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.


Men judge by the complexion of the sky
complexion (n.) 1 appearance, look, colouring

The state and inclination of the day.

So may you by my dull and heavy eye
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count

My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.

I play the torturer, by small and small
small and small, by little by little, by degrees, gradually

To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken.

Your uncle York is joined with Bolingbroke,

And all your northern castles yielded up,

And all your southern gentlemen in arms
gentleman in arms (n.) gentleman bearing a coat-of-arms

Upon his party.
party (n.) 1 side, faction, camp


                         Thou hast said enough.

(To Aumerle)
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count

Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth

Of that sweet way I was in to despair.

What say you now? What comfort have we now?

By heaven, I'll hate him everlastingly

That bids me be of comfort any more.

Go to Flint Castle. There I'll pine away.

A king, woe's slave, shall kingly woe obey.

That power I have, discharge, and let them go

To ear the land that hath some hope to grow;
ear (v.) 3 plough, till, cultivate

For I have none. Let no man speak again

To alter this; for counsel is but vain.
counsel (n.) 1 advice, guidance, direction


My liege, one word!


                         He does me double wrong

That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.

Discharge my followers. Let them hence away:

From Richard's night to Bolingbroke's fair day.


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