Richard II

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Bolingbroke with the Lords Aumerle, Northumberland,

Harry Percy, Fitzwater, Surrey, the

Bishop of Carlisle, the Abbot of Westminster, another

Lord, Herald, and officer, to Parliament


Call forth Bagot.

Enter Bagot with officers

Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind

What thou dost know of noble Gloucester's death,

Who wrought it with the King, and who performed
work (v.), past form wrought 1 bring about, arrange, effect

The bloody office of his timeless end.
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count
timeless (adj.) untimely, premature, ill-timed


Then set before my face the Lord Aumerle.


Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man.


My Lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue

Scorns to unsay what once it hath delivered.
deliver (v.) 1 report [to], communicate [to], tell, describe
unsay (v.) take back, withdraw, retract

In that dead time when Gloucester's death was plotted
dead (adj.) 3 fatal, deadly, mortal

I heard you say ‘ Is not my arm of length,

That reacheth from the restful English court
restful (adj.) quiet, peaceful, free from strife

As far as Calais to mine uncle's head?’

Amongst much other talk that very time

I heard you say that you had rather refuse

The offer of an hundred thousand crowns

Than Bolingbroke's return to England,

Adding withal how blest this land would be

In this your cousin's death.


                         Princes and noble lords,

What answer shall I make to this base man?
base (adj.) 1 dishonourable, low, unworthy See Topics: Frequency count

Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars
fair (adj.) 8 fortunate, favoured
star (n.) 3 fate, fortune, destiny [as determined by the stars] See Topics: Cosmos

On equal terms to give him chastisement?
chastisement (n.) punishment, retribution, correction

Either I must, or have mine honour soiled

With the attainder of his slanderous lips.
attainder (n.) 1 accusation, allegation, denunciation

He throws down his gage
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down] See Topics: Frequency count

There is my gage, the manual seal of death,

That marks thee out for hell. I say thou liest,

And will maintain what thou hast said is false
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken

In thy heart-blood, though being all too base

To stain the temper of my knightly sword.
base (adj.) 1 dishonourable, low, unworthy See Topics: Frequency count
temper (n.) 2 quality, constitution, condition


Bagot, forbear. Thou shalt not take it up.
forbear (v.) 1 stop, cease, desist See Topics: Frequency count


Excepting one, I would he were the best
best (n.) 3 highest ranking person, most eminent person

In all this presence that hath moved me so.
move (v.) 2 move to anger, provoke, exasperate


If that thy valour stand on sympathy
stand on (v.) 1 insist on, demand, call for
sympathy (n.) 2 equivalence of rank, corresponding status

There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine.
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down] See Topics: Frequency count

He throws down his gage

By that fair sun which shows me where thou standest

I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spakest it,

That thou wert cause of noble Gloucester's death.

If thou deniest it twenty times, thou liest,

And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart,
turn (v.) 6 send, drive, dispatch

Where it was forged, with my rapier's point.


Thou darest not, coward, live to see that day.


Now by my soul, I would it were this hour.


Fitzwater, thou art damned to hell for this.


Aumerle, thou liest. His honour is as true

In this appeal as thou art all unjust;
appeal (n.) accusation, charge of treason

And that thou art so there I throw my gage
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down] See Topics: Frequency count

To prove it on thee to the extremest point

Of mortal breathing.

He throws down his gage

                         Seize it if thou darest.


And if I do not may my hands rot off,

And never brandish more revengeful steel

Over the glittering helmet of my foe.


I task the earth to the like, forsworn Aumerle,
forsworn (adj.) perjured, falsely swearing
like, the the same

And spur thee on with full as many lies
lie (n.) accusation of lying, charge of falsehood

As may be hollowed in thy treacherous ear
hallow, holloa, hollow (v.) 1 shout, yell, cry out

From sun to sun.

He throws down his gage
sun to sun, from from sunrise to sunset

                         There is my honour's pawn.

Engage it to the trial if thou darest.
engage (v.) 2 take up a gage, accept a challenge


Who sets me else? By heaven, I'll throw at all.
set (v.) 9 challenge, put down a stake against
throw at (v.) throw dice, play dice [with]

I have a thousand spirits in one breast

To answer twenty thousand such as you.


My Lord Fitzwater, I do remember well

The very time Aumerle and you did talk.


'Tis very true. You were in presence then,
presence (n.) 6 attendance, state of being present

And you can witness with me this is true.


As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken


Surrey, thou liest.


                         Dishonourable boy,

That lie shall lie so heavy on my sword

That it shall render vengeance and revenge

Till thou, the lie-giver, and that lie do lie

In earth as quiet as thy father's skull.

In proof whereof, there is my honour's pawn.

He throws down his gage
engage (v.) 2 take up a gage, accept a challenge

Engage it to the trial if thou darest.


How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!
fondly (adv.) foolishly, stupidly, madly
forward (adj.) 3 spirited, eager, lively

If I dare eat, or drink, or breathe, or live,

I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness

And spit upon him whilst I say he lies,

And lies, and lies. There is my bond of faith

To tie thee to my strong correction.
correction (n.) punishment, retribution, rebuke

As I intend to thrive in this new world

Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal.
appeal (n.) accusation, charge of treason

Besides, I heard the banished Norfolk say

That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men

To execute the noble Duke at Calais.


Some honest Christian trust me with a gage.
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down] See Topics: Frequency count

He throws down a gage

That Norfolk lies here do I throw down this,

If he may be repealed to try his honour.
repeal (v.) recall, call back [from exile]
try (v.) 2 put to the test, test the goodness [of]


These differences shall all rest under gage
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down] See Topics: Frequency count
gage, rest under remain as challenges

Till Norfolk be repealed. Repealed he shall be,
repeal (v.) recall, call back [from exile]

And, though mine enemy, restored again

To all his lands and signories. When he is returned
signory (n.) 1 estate, domain, territory

Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.


That honourable day shall never be seen.

Many a time hath banished Norfolk fought

For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross

Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens,

And, toiled with works of war, retired himself
retire (v.) 1 withdraw, take oneself away
toil (v.) exhaust, tire out, fatigue

To Italy, and there at Venice gave

His body to that pleasant country's earth,

And his pure soul unto his captain, Christ,
captain (n.) commander, chief, leader See Topics: Address forms

Under whose colours he had fought so long.
colours (n.) 1 battle-flags, ensigns, standards, banners See Topics: Frequency count


Why, Bishop, is Norfolk dead?


As surely as I live, my lord.


Sweet peace conduct his sweet soul to the bosom

Of good old Abraham! Lords appellants,

Your differences shall all rest under gage
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down] See Topics: Frequency count

Till we assign you to your days of trial.

Enter York


Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee

From plume-plucked Richard, who with willing soul
plume-plucked (adj.) humbled, stripped of plumes

Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields

To the possession of thy royal hand.

Ascend his throne, descending now from him,

And long live Henry, fourth of that name!


In God's name I'll ascend the regal throne.


Marry, God forbid!

Worst in this royal presence may I speak,

Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth:
beseem (v.) befit, be fitting [for], be seemly [for]

Would God that any in this noble presence

Were enough noble to be upright judge

Of noble Richard! Then true noblesse would
noblesse (n.) nobility, nobleness

Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
forbearance (n.) 2 absence, abstention, staying away
learn (v.) 1 teach, instruct [not a regional dialect usage as in modern English]

What subject can give sentence on his king? –

And who sits here that is not Richard's subject?

Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear

Although apparent guilt be seen in them;
apparent (adj.) 1 plainly visible, conspicuous, evident, obvious

And shall the figure of God's majesty,
figure (n.) 3 copy, image, likeness

His captain, steward, deputy elect,
elect (adj.) chosen, selected, picked out

Anointed, crowned, planted many years,

Be judged by subject and inferior breath

And he himself not present? O, forfend it God

That in a Christian climate souls refined
climate (n.) 1 region, country [without reference to climatic conditions]
refined (adj.) civilized, cultivated, sophisticated

Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!

I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,

Stirred up by God thus boldly for his king.

My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,

Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford's King;

And if you crown him, let me prophesy

The blood of English shall manure the ground,

And future ages groan for this foul act.

Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,

And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars

Shall kin with kin, and kind with kind, confound.
confound (v.) 1 destroy, overthrow, ruin
kind (n.) 5 breed, lineage, stock, family

Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny

Shall here inhabit, and this land be called

The field of Golgotha and dead men's skulls.

O, if you raise this house against this house
rear (v.) 2 raise, incite, rouse up

It will the woefullest division prove

That ever fell upon this cursed earth.

Prevent it; resist it; let it not be so,

Lest child, child's children, cry against you woe.


Well have you argued, sir; and for your pains

Of capital treason we arrest you here.

My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge

To keep him safely till his day of trial.

May it please you, lords, to grant the commons' suit?
common (n.) 1 (people) common people, ordinary citizens
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count


Fetch hither Richard, that in common view

He may surrender. So we shall proceed
surrender (v.) abdicate, resign, give up the throne

Without suspicion.


                         I will be his conduct.

conduct (n.) 5 escort, attendant, guide


Lords, you that here are under our arrest,

Procure your sureties for your days of answer.
answer (n.) 2 interrogation, cross-examination, appearance in court, trial
surety (n.) 2 person undertaking a legal responsibility in relation to another, guarantor

Little are we beholding to your love,

And little looked for at your helping hands.
look for (v.) 1 expect, hope for, anticipate

Enter Richard and York


Alack, why am I sent for to a king

Before I have shook off the regal thoughts

Wherewith I reigned? I hardly yet have learned

To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my knee.

Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me

To this submission. Yet I well remember

The favours of these men. Were they not mine?
favour (n.) 7 gesture or token of regard, bow, curtsy

Did they not sometime cry ‘ All hail!’ to me?

So Judas did to Christ. But He in twelve

Found truth in all but one; I, in twelve thousand, none.

God save the King! Will no man say Amen?

Am I both priest and clerk? Well then, Amen.
clerk (n.) 4 altar-server, assistant

God save the King, although I be not he;

And yet Amen if Heaven do think him me.

To do what service am I sent for hither?


To do that office of thine own good will
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Which tired majesty did make thee offer:

The resignation of thy state and crown

To Henry Bolingbroke.


                         Give me the crown.

Here, cousin – seize the crown. Here, cousin –

On this side, my hand; and on that side, thine.

Now is this golden crown like a deep well

That owes two buckets, filling one another,
owe (v.) 1 own, possess, have See Topics: Frequency count

The emptier ever dancing in the air,

The other down, unseen, and full of water.

That bucket down and full of tears am I,

Drinking my griefs whilst you mount up on high.


I thought you had been willing to resign.


My crown I am; but still my griefs are mine.

You may my glories and my state depose,
depose (v.) 3 take away, deprive, dispossess

But not my griefs. Still am I king of those.
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]


Part of your cares you give me with your crown.
care (n.) 5 sorrow, grief, trouble


Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down.

My care is loss of care by old care done;
care (n.) 1 attentiveness, heedfulness, diligence
care (n.) 4 anxiety, worry, solicitude [about]
care (n.) 2 responsibility, duty, matter of concern
care (n.) 5 sorrow, grief, trouble

Your care is gain of care by new care won.
care (n.) 1 attentiveness, heedfulness, diligence
care (n.) 4 anxiety, worry, solicitude [about]
care (n.) 2 responsibility, duty, matter of concern

The cares I give, I have, though given away.
care (n.) 4 anxiety, worry, solicitude [about]

They 'tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.
attend (v.) 4 accompany, follow closely, go with


Are you contented to resign the crown?
contented (adj.) 1 willing, ready, agreeable


Ay, no. No, ay; for I must nothing be.

Therefore no no, for I resign to thee.

Now mark me how I will undo myself.
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
undo (v.) 1 ruin, destroy, wipe out

I give this heavy weight from off my head,

And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,

The pride of kingly sway from out my heart.
sway (n.) 1 power, dominion, rule

With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
balm (n.) 1 fragrant oil used for anointing, consecrated oil

With mine own hands I give away my crown,

With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,

With mine own breath release all duteous oaths.
duteous (adj.) dutiful, obedient, of allegiance
release (v.) give up, hand over, transfer

All pomp and majesty I do forswear.
forswear (v), past forms forsworn, forswore 2 abandon, renounce, reject, give up See Topics: Frequency count

My manors, rents, revenues I forgo.

My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny.

God pardon all oaths that are broke to me;

God keep all vows unbroke are made to thee;

Make me, that nothing have, with nothing grieved,

And thou with all pleased, that hast all achieved.

Long mayst thou live in Richard's seat to sit,

And soon lie Richard in an earthly pit.

‘ God save King Henry,’ unkinged Richard says,
unkinged (adj.) deposed, dethroned, deprived of kingship

‘ And send him many years of sunshine days.’

What more remains?


                         No more but that you read

These accusations and these grievous crimes

Committed by your person and your followers

Against the state and profit of this land,

That by confessing them the souls of men

May deem that you are worthily deposed.


Must I do so? And must I ravel out
ravel out (v.) unravel, disentangle, make clear

My weaved-up follies? Gentle Northumberland,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count
weaved-up (adj.) woven together, intertwined

If thy offences were upon record,

Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop

To read a lecture of them? If thou wouldst,

There shouldst thou find one heinous article,
article (n.) 2 item, particular, point of substance

Containing the deposing of a king

And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,
warrant (n.) 1 assurance, pledge, guarantee

Marked with a blot, damned in the book of heaven.

Nay, all of you that stand and look upon me,

Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,
bait (v.) 1 harass, persecute, torment

Though some of you – with Pilate – wash your hands,

Showing an outward pity, yet you Pilates

Have here delivered me to my sour cross,
sour (adj.) bitter, harsh, painful

And water cannot wash away your sin.


My lord, dispatch. Read o'er these articles.
dispatch, despatch (v.) 4 hurry up, be quick


Mine eyes are full of tears. I cannot see.

And yet salt water blinds them not so much

But they can see a sort of traitors here.
sort (n.) 2 pack, crowd, gang

Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself

I find myself a traitor with the rest.

For I have given here my soul's consent

To' undeck the pompous body of a king;
pompous (adj.) 1 glorious, magnificent, splendid
undeck (v.) unclothe, remove the rich garments from

Made glory base, and sovereignty a slave;
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count

Proud majesty, a subject; state, a peasant.
state (n.) 4 splendour, magnificence, stateliness, dignity


My lord –


No lord of thine, thou haught, insulting man;
haught (adj.) haughty, arrogant, high-and-mighty

Nor no man's lord. I have no name, no title –

No, not that name was given me at the font –

But 'tis usurped. Alack the heavy day,
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count

That I have worn so many winters out

And know not now what name to call myself!

O that I were a mockery king of snow,

Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,

To melt myself away in water-drops!

Good king; great king – and yet not greatly good –

An if my word be sterling yet in England
sterling (n.) valid currency, legitimate tender

Let it command a mirror hither straight
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

That it may show me what a face I have

Since it is bankrupt of his majesty.


Go some of you, and fetch a looking-glass.
some (n.) someone, a person, one

Exit attendant


Read o'er this paper while the glass doth come.
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count


Fiend, thou torments me ere I come to hell.


Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.


The commons will not then be satisfied.
common (n.) 1 (people) common people, ordinary citizens


They shall be satisfied. I'll read enough

When I do see the very book indeed

Where all my sins are writ; and that's myself.

Enter attendant with a glass
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

Give me that glass, and therein will I read.

No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck

So many blows upon this face of mine

And made no deeper wounds? O, flattering glass,

Like to my followers in prosperity,

Thou dost beguile me. Was this face the face
beguile (v.) 1 cheat, deceive, trick

That every day under his household roof

Did keep ten thousand men? Was this the face

That like the sun did make beholders wink?
wink (v.) 1 shut one's eyes

Is this the face which faced so many follies,
face (v.) 1 countenance, condone, cover over

That was at last outfaced by Bolingbroke?
outface (v.) 2 put down, overcome, put to shame

A brittle glory shineth in this face.

As brittle as the glory is the face,

(he throws the glass down)
shiver (n.) fragment, splinter, piece

For there it is, cracked in a hundred shivers.

Mark, silent King, the moral of this sport:
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
sport (n.) 1 recreation, amusement, entertainment See Topics: Frequency count

How soon my sorrow hath destroyed my face.


The shadow of your sorrow hath destroyed

The shadow or your face.


                         Say that again!

‘ The shadow of my sorrow ’ – ha, let's see.

'Tis very true. My grief lies all within,

And these external manners of laments

Are merely shadows to the unseen grief
merely (adv.) 3 only, nothing more than

That swells with silence in the tortured soul.

There lies the substance; and I thank thee, King,

For thy great bounty, that not only givest

Me cause to wail, but teachest me the way

How to lament the cause. I'll beg one boon,

And then be gone and trouble you no more.

Shall I obtain it?


                         Name it, fair cousin.


‘ Fair cousin ’? I am greater than a king;

For when I was a king, my flatterers

Were then but subjects; being now a subject

I have a king here to my flatterer.

Being so great, I have no need to beg.


Yet ask.


And shall I have?


You shall.


Then give me leave to go.




Whither you will, so I were from your sights.


Go some of you, convey him to the Tower.


O, good, ‘ convey!’ – Conveyers are you all,
convey (v.) 1 carry off, make away with, take by force
conveyor (n.) thief, robber, pilferer

That rise thus nimbly by a true king's fall.


On Wednesday next we solemnly proclaim
solemnly (adv.) ceremoniously, with ritual celebration

Our coronation. Lords, be ready, all.

Exeunt all except the Abbot of Westminster,

the Bishop of Carlisle, Aumerle


A woeful pageant have we here beheld.
pageant (n.) show, scene, spectacle, tableau


The woe's to come. The children yet unborn

Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn.


You holy clergymen, is there no plot

To rid the realm of this pernicious blot?


My lord,

Before I freely speak my mind herein,

You shall not only take the Sacrament

To bury mine intents, but also to effect
bury (v.) 2 conceal, hide, make inaccessible
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count

Whatever I shall happen to devise.

I see your brows are full of discontent,
brow (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears.

Come home with me to supper, I will lay

A plot shall show us all a merry day.


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