Richard II

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter with drum and colours Bolingbroke, York,

Northumberland, attendants, and soldiers


So that by this intelligence we learn
intelligence (n.) 1 information, news, communication

The Welshmen are dispersed, and Salisbury

Is gone to meet the King, who lately landed

With some few private friends upon this coast.


The news is very fair and good, my lord.

Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.


It would beseem the Lord Northumberland

To say ‘ King Richard.’ Alack the heavy day
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count

When such a sacred king should hide his head!


Your grace mistakes. Only to be brief

Left I his title out.


                         The time hath been,

Would you have been so brief with him, he would

Have been so brief with you to shorten you,

For taking so the head, your whole head's length.
head, take the act without restraint, make a rush forward


Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.
mistake (v.) 1 misunderstand, take wrongly, misconceive


Take not, good cousin, further than you should,

Lest you mistake the heavens are over our heads.
mistake (v.) 4 offend, transgress (against)


I know it, uncle, and oppose not myself

Against their will. But who comes here?

Enter Harry Percy

Welcome, Harry. What, will not this castle yield?


The castle royally is manned, my lord,

Against thy entrance.



Why, it contains no king.


                         Yes, my good lord,

It doth contain a king. King Richard lies
lie (v.) 1 live, dwell, reside, lodge

Within the limits of yon lime and stone,

And with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury,

Sir Stephen Scroop, besides a clergyman

Of holy reverence; who, I cannot learn.


O, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.
belike (adv.) probably, presumably, perhaps, so it seems See Topics: Frequency count


Noble lord,

Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle,
rib (n.) rampart, protective wall
rude (adj.) 2 rough, wild, harsh-looking

Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley
parle, parley (n.) 1 negotiation, meeting [between enemies under a truce, to discuss terms] See Topics: Frequency count

Into his ruined ears, and thus deliver:
deliver (v.) 1 report [to], communicate [to], tell, describe

Henry Bolingbroke

On both his knees doth kiss King Richard's hand,

And sends allegiance and true faith of heart

To his most royal person, hither come

Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count

Provided that my banishment repealed

And lands restored again be freely granted.

If not, I'll use the advantage of my power
advantage (n.) 2 advantageous position, place of vantage, superiority

And lay the summer's dust with showers of blood

Rained from the wounds of slaughtered Englishmen;

The which how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke

It is such crimson tempest should bedrench
bedrench (v.) drench thoroughly, soak, saturate

The fresh green lap of fair King Richard's land

My stooping duty tenderly shall show.
duty (n.) 1 act of loyalty, expression of homage
stooping (adj.) submissive, humble, kneeling

Go signify as much while here we march

Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.

Let's march without the noise of threatening drum,

That from this castle's tattered battlements
tattered (adj.) 1 jagged, with pointed projections; or: dilapidated, battered

Our fair appointments may be well perused.
appointment (n.) 1 equipment, effects, weaponry

Methinks King Richard and myself should meet
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

With no less terror than the elements

Of fire and water when their thundering shock

At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.

Be he the fire, I'll be the yielding water;

The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain

My waters – on the earth, and not on him.

March on, and mark King Richard, how he looks.
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

The trumpets sound parley without, and answer within;

then a flourish. King Richard appeareth on the

walls with the Bishop of Carlisle, Aumerle, Scroop,

and Salisbury

See, see, King Richard doth himself appear,
parle, parley (n.) 1 negotiation, meeting [between enemies under a truce, to discuss terms] See Topics: Frequency count

As doth the blushing, discontented sun
blushing (adj.) 1 glowing, rosy-coloured, lustrous

From out the fiery portal of the east

When he perceives the envious clouds are bent

To dim his glory and to stain the track
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count
stain (v.) 2 eclipse, belittle, put in the shade

Of his bright passage to the occident.


Yet looks he like a king. Behold, his eye,

As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth
lighten forth (v.) flash out, send down as lightning

Controlling majesty. Alack, alack for woe

That any harm should stain so fair a show!
show (n.) 5 view, sight


We are amazed; and thus long have we stood

To watch the fearful bending of thy knee

Because we thought ourself thy lawful king.

And if we be, how dare thy joints forget

To pay their awful duty to our presence?
awful (adj.) 2 full of awe [towards someone], respectful, reverential

If we be not, show us the hand of God
hand (n.) 6 signature, written authorization

That hath dismissed us from our stewardship;

For well we know no hand of blood and bone

Can grip the sacred handle of our sceptre

Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
gripe (v.) clutch, grasp, seize
profane (v.) 2 desecrate, violate, commit sacrilege

And though you think that all, as you have done,

Have torn their souls by turning them from us,

And we are barren and bereft of friends,

Yet know, my master, God omnipotent,

Is mustering in his clouds on our behalf

Armies of pestilence; and they shall strike

Your children yet unborn and unbegot,

That lift your vassal hands against my head
vassal (adj.) 1 subject, servile, subordinate

And threat the glory of my precious crown.
threat (v.) threaten

Tell Bolingbroke – for yon methinks he stands –
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

That every stride he makes upon my land

Is dangerous treason. He is come to open

The purple testament of bleeding war;
purple (adj.) bright-red, blood-coloured, bloody

But ere the crown he looks for live in peace

Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons

Shall ill become the flower of England's face,
become (v.) 3 put a good front on, give a pleasing appearance to
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
maid-pale (adj.) fragile as a young girl, delicate

To scarlet indignation, and bedew

Her pastor's grass with faithful English blood.
pastor (n.) shepherd, herdsman


The King of heaven forbid our lord the King

Should so with civil and uncivil arms
civil (adj.) 3 of civil war
uncivil (adj.) uncivilized, barbarous, unrefined

Be rushed upon. Thy thrice-noble cousin

Harry Bolingbroke doth humbly kiss thy hand;

And by the honourable tomb he swears

That stands upon your royal grandsire's bones,

And by the royalties of both your bloods,

Currents that spring from one most gracious head,
head (n.) 9 source, origin, fountainhead

And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt,

And by the worth and honour of himself,

Comprising all that may be sworn or said,

His coming hither hath no further scope
scope (n.) 1 goal, prospect, purpose, aim

Than for his lineal royalties, and to beg
lineal (adj.) lineally descended, in the direct line, hereditary
royalty (n.) 4 right granted by a monarch, royal prerogative

Enfranchisement immediate on his knees,
enfranchisement (n.) freedom, liberation, release

Which on thy royal party granted once
party (n.) 3 side, part, function

His glittering arms he will commend to rust,
commend (v.) 2 commit, entrust, hand over

His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart
barbed (adj.) armoured with barbs, protectively covered

To faithful service of your majesty.

This swears he as he is a prince and just,

And as I am a gentleman I credit him.


Northumberland, say thus. The King returns
return (v.) 1 answer, report, say in reply [to]

His noble cousin is right welcome hither,

And all the number of his fair demands

Shall be accomplished without contradiction.

With all the gracious utterance thou hast

Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.
commend (n.) 2 (plural) greeting, compliment, remembrance
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

(To Aumerle)

We do debase ourselves, cousin, do we not,

To look so poorly and to speak so fair?
fair (adv.) 1 kindly, encouragingly, courteously
poorly (adv.) abjectly, humbly, miserably

Shall we call back Northumberland and send

Defiance to the traitor, and so die?


No, good my lord. Let's fight with gentle words
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful swords.


O God, O God, that e'er this tongue of mine,

That laid the sentence of dread banishment
dread (adj.) 2 frightening, terrifying, fearful

On yon proud man, should take it off again

With words of sooth! O that I were as great
sooth (n.) 2 flattery, ingratiation, appeasement

As is my grief, or lesser than my name,

Or that I could forget what I have been,

Or not remember what I must be now!

Swellest thou, proud heart? I'll give thee scope to beat,
scope (n.) 4 room, space, range

Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.
scope (n.) 3 opportunity, liberty, free course of action


Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.


What must the King do now? Must he submit?

The King shall do it. Must he be deposed?

The King shall be contented. Must he lose

The name of king? A God's name, let it go.

I'll give my jewels for a set of beads,
bead (n.) 3 [plural] rosary beads

My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,

My gay apparel for an almsman's gown,
almsman (n.) person living through charitable offerings
apparel (n.) clothes, clothing, dress See Topics: Frequency count

My figured goblets for a dish of wood,
figured (adj.) 1 decorated, ornamented, adorned with designs

My sceptre for a palmer's walking-staff,
palmer (n.) pilgrim

My subjects for a pair of carved saints,

And my large kingdom for a little grave,

A little, little grave, an obscure grave;

Or I'll be buried in the King's highway,

Some way of common trade where subjects' feet
trade (n.) 1 traffic, passage, coming and going

May hourly trample on their sovereign's head,

For on my heart they tread now whilst I live,

And buried once, why not upon my head?

Aumerle, thou weepest, my tender-hearted cousin.

We'll make foul weather with despised tears.

Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn,
lodge (v.) 2 beat down, flatten, make level

And make a dearth in this revolting land.
dearth (n.) 1 scarcity, shortage, lack [of food], famine
revolting (adj.) rebellious, mutinous, insurgent

Or shall we play the wantons with our woes,
wantons, play the dally, trifle, sport

And make some pretty match with shedding tears,
match (n.) 4 game, contest, competition
pretty (adj.) 1 clever, ingenious, artful

As thus to drop them still upon one place
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Till they have fretted us a pair of graves
fret (v.) 1 wear out, eat away, erode

Within the earth, and therein laid there lies

Two kinsmen digged their graves with weeping eyes.

Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see
ill (n.) 2 trouble, affliction, misfortune

I talk but idly, and you laugh at me.
idly (adv.) 1 foolishly, crazily, frivolously

Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland,

What says King Bolingbroke? Will his majesty

Give Richard leave to live till Richard die?

You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ‘ Ay.’
leg (n.) 1 bending of a knee, genuflection, obeisance


My lord, in the base-court he doth attend
attend (v.) 1 await, wait for, expect See Topics: Frequency count
base-court (n.) [of a castle] lower courtyard, servants' courtyard

To speak with you, may it please you to come down.


Down, down I come like glistering Phaethon,
glistering (adj.) glittering, shining, sparkling
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

Wanting the manage of unruly jades.
jade (n.) 1 worn-out horse, hack, worthless nag
manage (n.) 1 management, handling, control [especially of a horse, as a result of training]

In the base-court – base-court, where kings grow base
base-court (n.) [of a castle] lower courtyard, servants' courtyard

To come at traitors' calls, and do them grace.
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count
grace (n.) 1 honour, favour, recognition, respect

In the base-court. Come down – down court, down King,

For night-owls shriek where mounting larks should sing.

Exeunt from above


What says his majesty?


                         Sorrow and grief of heart

Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man.
fondly (adv.) foolishly, stupidly, madly

Yet he is come.

Enter King Richard attended, below


Stand all apart,

And show fair duty to his majesty.
duty (n.) 1 act of loyalty, expression of homage
fair (adj.) 5 appropriate, courteous, pleasing

He kneels down

My gracious lord!


Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee

To make the base earth proud with kissing it.
base (adj.) 5 low-lying, lowland

Me rather had my heart might feel your love

Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy.

Up, cousin, up. Your heart is up, I know,

Thus high at least, although your knee be low.


My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.


Your own is yours, and I am yours and all.


So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,
redoubted (adj.) feared, dreaded, revered

As my true service shall deserve your love.


Well you deserve. They well deserve to have

That know the strongest and surest way to get.

(To York)

Uncle, give me your hands. Nay, dry your eyes.

Tears show their love, but want their remedies.
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

(To Bolingbroke)

Cousin, I am too young to be your father

Though you are old enough to be my heir.

What you will have, I'll give, and willing too;

For do we must what force will have us do.

Set on towards London, cousin – is it so?


Yea, my good lord.


                         Then I must not say no.

Flourish. Exeunt

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