Richard II

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Enter King Richard and John of Gaunt, with other

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nobles, including the Lord Marshal, and attendants

 

KING RICHARD

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Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster,

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Hast thou according to thy oath and band
band (n.) 1 bond, obligation, tie

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Brought hither Henry Hereford, thy bold son,

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Here to make good the boisterous late appeal –
appeal (n.) accusation, charge of treason
boisterous (adj.) 1 violent, fierce, savage
late (adj.) 1 recent, not long past

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Which then our leisure would not let us hear –

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Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

 

JOHN OF GAUNT

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I have, my liege.

 

KING RICHARD

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Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him
sound (v.) 2 find out, ascertain, sound out

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If he appeal the Duke on ancient malice,
ancient, aunchient (adj.) 1 long-established, long-standing
appeal (v.) 1 accuse, denounce, impeach
malice (n.) hostility, hatred, ill-will, enmity

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Or worthily, as a good subject should,

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On some known ground of treachery in him?

 

JOHN OF GAUNT

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As near as I could sift him on that argument,
argument (n.) 3 subject, point, theme, target
sift (v.) 2 discover by examining, find out by questioning

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On some apparent danger seen in him
apparent (adj.) 1 plainly visible, conspicuous, evident, obvious

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Aimed at your highness; no inveterate malice.
inveterate (adj.) long-standing, deep-rooted
malice (n.) hostility, hatred, ill-will, enmity

 

KING RICHARD

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Then call them to our presence.

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Exit Attendant

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                         Face to face,

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And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
brow (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, countenance

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The accuser and the accused freely speak.

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High-stomached are they both, and full of ire;
high-stomached (adj.) proud, haughty, stubborn

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In rage, deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

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Enter Bolingbroke and Mowbray

 

BOLINGBROKE

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Many years of happy days befall

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My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!

 

MOWBRAY

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Each day still better other's happiness
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually

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Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap,
hap (n.) 1 fortune, lot, fate

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Add an immortal title to your crown!

 

KING RICHARD

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We thank you both. Yet one but flatters us,

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As well appeareth by the cause you come,

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Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.
appeal (v.) 1 accuse, denounce, impeach

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Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object

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Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

 

BOLINGBROKE

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First, heaven be the record to my speech!
record (n.) 2 witness, confirmation

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In the devotion of a subject's love,

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Tendering the precious safety of my prince,
tender (v.) 2 feel concern for, hold dear, care for

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And free from other, misbegotten hate

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Come I appellant to this princely presence.
appellant (n.) accuser [of treason], challenger, denouncer

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Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee;

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And mark my greeting well, for what I speak
greeting (n.) address, speech , discourse
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of]

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My body shall make good upon this earth

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Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
divine (adj.) 1 immortal, eternal

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Thou art a traitor and a miscreant,
miscreant (n.) 1 villain, wretch, rascal

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Too good to be so, and too bad to live,
good (adj.) 9 high-ranking, highborn, distinguished

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Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
crystal (adj.) 1 clear, bright, transparent

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The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.

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Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
note (n.) 12 reproach, stigma, mark of disgrace

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With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat,

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And wish – so please my sovereign – ere I move

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What my tongue speaks my right-drawn sword may prove.
right-drawn (adj.) drawn in a rightful cause

 

MOWBRAY

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Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal.
cold (adj.) 6 calm, cool, deliberate
zeal (n.) ardour, fervour; or: loyalty, devotion

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'Tis not the trial of a woman's war,

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The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,
eager (adj.) 2 sharp, cutting

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Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain.

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The blood is hot that must be cooled for this.

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Yet can I not of such tame patience boast

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As to be hushed, and naught at all to say.

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First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me
reverence (n.) 2 profound respect, esteem

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From giving reins and spurs to my free speech,

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Which else would post until it had returned
post (v.) 1 hasten, speed, ride fast

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These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
double (v.) 1 repeat, reiterate

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Setting aside his high blood's royalty,

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And let him be no kinsman to my liege,

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I do defy him, and I spit at him,

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Call him a slanderous coward, and a villain;

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Which to maintain I would allow him odds,

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And meet him, were I tied to run afoot
tie (v.) 1 oblige, constrain, force

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Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,

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Or any other ground inhabitable
inhabitable (adj.) uninhabitable, unlivable

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Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.

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Meantime, let this defend my loyalty:

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By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

  

BOLINGBROKE

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(throws down his gage)
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down]

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Pale, trembling coward, there I throw my gage,

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Disclaiming here the kindred of the King,
disclaim (v.) disown, repudiate, renounce [connection with]

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And lay aside my high blood's royalty,

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Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except.
except, except against (v.) 1 take exception to, object to, repudiate
reverence (n.) 2 profound respect, esteem

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If guilty dread have left thee so much strength

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As to take up mine honour's pawn, then stoop.

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By that, and all the rites of knighthood else,

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Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,

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What I have spoke or thou canst worse devise.

  

MOWBRAY

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(takes up the gage)

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I take it up; and by that sword I swear

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Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder,
gently (adv.) 1 like a gentleman, honourably, with dignity

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I'll answer thee in any fair degree
answer (v.) 3 satisfy, discharge, requite
degree (n.) 4 measure, extent, amount

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Or chivalrous design of knightly trial;

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And when I mount, alive may I not light
light (v.) 2 dismount, descend, alight

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If I be traitor or unjustly fight!

 

KING RICHARD

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What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's charge?
charge (n.) 5 responsibility, culpability
lay (v.) 2 attribute, ascribe, impute

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It must be great that can inherit us
inherit (v.) 4 put in possession of, provide [with]

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So much as of a thought of ill in him.
ill (n.) 1 wrong, injury, harm, evil

 

BOLINGBROKE

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Look what I speak, my life shall prove it true:

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That Mowbray hath received eight thousand nobles
noble (n.) 2 English gold coin, worth 6s. 8d [= c.??0.33]

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In name of lendings for your highness' soldiers,
lending (n.) 2 (plural) advance of money to soldiers [in lieu of regular pay]

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The which he hath detained for lewd employments,
detain (v.) keep back, withhold, retain
employment (n.) 3 use, purpose, end
lewd (adj.) 1 improper, unseemly

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Like a false traitor and injurious villain.
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious

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Besides I say, and will in battle prove
battle (n.) 4 single combat, individual fight

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Or here or elsewhere to the furthest verge

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That ever was surveyed by English eye,

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That all the treasons for these eighteen years

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Complotted and contrived in this land
complot (v.) plot together, collude
contrive (v.) 1 scheme, plot, conspire

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Fetch from false Mowbray, their first head and spring.
fetch (v.) 4 derive, stem

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Further I say, and further will maintain

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Upon his bad life to make all this good,

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That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester's death,

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Suggest his soon-believing adversaries,
suggest (v.) 1 tempt, prompt, incite

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And consequently, like a traitor coward,
consequently (adv.) subsequently, later, then

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Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood;

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Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries

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Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth
tongueless (adj.) dumb, silent, mute

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To me for justice and rough chastisement.

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And, by the glorious worth of my descent,

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This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.

 

KING RICHARD

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How high a pitch his resolution soars!
pitch (n.) 1 height [to which a bird of prey soars before swooping]

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Thomas of Norfolk, what sayst thou to this?

 

MOWBRAY

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O, let my sovereign turn away his face

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And bid his ears a little while be deaf

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Till I have told this slander of his blood
slander (n.) 1 dishonour, disgrace, disrepute

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How God and good men hate so foul a liar!

 

KING RICHARD

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Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears.

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Were he my brother – nay, my kingdom's heir –

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As he is but my father's brother's son,

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Now by my sceptre's awe I make a vow
awe (n.) 1 reverence, respect, esteem

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Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood

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Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize
partialize (v.) make partial, bias, make one-sided

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The unstooping firmness of my upright soul.

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He is our subject, Mowbray. So art thou.

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Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.

 

MOWBRAY

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Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart

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Through the false passage of thy throat thou liest!
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious

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Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais
receipt (n.) 4 sum received, amount obtained

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Disbursed I duly to his highness' soldiers.

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The other part reserved I by consent
reserve (v.) preserve, retain, keep

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For that my sovereign liege was in my debt

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Upon remainder of a dear account
account, accompt (n.) 2 reckoning, debt, sum owing
dear (adj.) 3 of great worth, valuable, precious
remainder (n.) 1 balance, amount remaining unpaid

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Since last I went to France to fetch his queen.

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Now swallow down that lie! For Gloucester's death,

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I slew him not, but to my own disgrace

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Neglected my sworn duty in that case.

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(To John of Gaunt)

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For you, my noble lord of Lancaster,

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The honourable father to my foe,

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Once did I lay an ambush for your life,

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A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul.

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But ere I last received the sacrament

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I did confess it, and exactly begged
exactly (adv.) 2 expressly, with great propriety

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Your grace's pardon; and I hope I had it.

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This is my fault. As for the rest appealed,
appeal (v.) 2 allege, accuse, charge

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It issues from the rancour of a villain,

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A recreant and most degenerate traitor,
recreant (adj.) cowardly, faint-hearted, craven

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Which in myself I boldly will defend,

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And interchangeably hurl down my gage
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down]
interchangeably (adv.) in turn, in exchange, reciprocally

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Upon this overweening traitor's foot,
overweening (adj.) arrogant, overambitious, high and mighty

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To prove myself a loyal gentleman

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Even in the best blood chambered in his bosom.
chamber (v.) enclose, lodge, contain

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(He throws down his gage)

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In haste whereof, most heartily I pray

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Your highness to assign our trial day.

 

KING RICHARD

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Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me:

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Let's purge this choler without letting blood.
choler (n.) anger, rage, wrath
purge (v.) 2 expel, get rid of, flush out

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This we prescribe, though no physician;

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Deep malice makes too deep incision.

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Forget, forgive, conclude, and be agreed;
conclude (v.) 3 come to terms, reach accord [over]

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Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.
doctor (n.) 2 learned man, scholar; or: astrologer, physician

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(To John of Gaunt)

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Good uncle, let this end where it begun.

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We'll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.

 

JOHN OF GAUNT

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To be a make-peace shall become my age.
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to
make-peace (n.) peacemaker

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Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk's gage.
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down]

 

KING RICHARD

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And, Norfolk, throw down his.

 

JOHN OF GAUNT

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                         When, Harry, when?

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Obedience bids I should not bid again.

 

KING RICHARD

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Norfolk, throw down! We bid: there is no boot.
boot (n.) 2 alternative, choice, better way

  

MOWBRAY

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(kneels)

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Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot.

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My life thou shalt command, but not my shame.

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The one my duty owes, but my fair name,

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Despite of death that lives upon my grave,

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To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have.
dark (adj.) 2 unfavourable, malignant, evil

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I am disgraced, impeached, and baffled here,
baffle (v.) 1 [of a knight] publicly disgrace, treat with infamy
impeach (v.) 1 accuse, charge, challenge

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Pierced to the soul with slander's venomed spear,
venomed (adj.) poisoned, venomous

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The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood

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Which breathed this poison.
breathe (v.) 1 speak, utter, talk

 

KING RICHARD

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                         Rage must be withstood.

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Give me his gage. Lions make leopards tame.
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down]

 

MOWBRAY

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Yea, but not change his spots. Take but my shame
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down]
shame (n.) 1 disgrace, dishonour, affront

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And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,

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The purest treasure mortal times afford
mortal (adj.) 2 human, subject to death, characterized by mortality
time (n.) 3 lifetime, life

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Is spotless reputation. That away,

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Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.

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A jewel in a ten-times barred-up chest

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Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.

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Mine honour is my life. Both grow in one.

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Take honour from me, and my life is done.

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Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try.
try (v.) 2 put to the test, test the goodness [of]

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In that I live and for that will I die.

  

KING RICHARD

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(to Bolingbroke)
gage (n.) pledge, challenge [usually, a glove or gauntlet thrown down]

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Cousin, throw up your gage. Do you begin.

 

BOLINGBROKE

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O God defend my soul from such deep sin!

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Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father's sight?
crest-fallen (adj.) humbled, abashed, shamed

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Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
beggar-fear (n.) fear that a beggar would show
height (n.) 2 rank, high birth, high degree
impeach (v.) 2 discredit, disparage, call into question

R2 I.i.190 
Before this outdared dastard? Ere my tongue
dastard (n.) coward, sissy, runaway, traitor
outdared (adj.) overcome by daring, cowed, outbraved; or: excessively daring, brazen, unabashed

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Shall wound my honour with such feeble wrong,

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Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear
base (adj.) 1 dishonourable, low, unworthy
parle, parley (n.) 1 negotiation, meeting [between enemies under a truce, to discuss terms]

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The slavish motive of recanting fear
motive (n.) 3 instrument, agent, moving organ
recanting (adj.) causing an action to be retracted, resulting in withdrawal

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And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace

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Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray's face.

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Exit John of Gaunt

 

KING RICHARD

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We were not born to sue, but to command;

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Which since we cannot do to make you friends,

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Be ready as your lives shall answer it

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At Coventry upon Saint Lambert's day.

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There shall your swords and lances arbitrate

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The swelling difference of your settled hate.
settled (adj.) 4 deep-rooted, firmly implanted
swelling (adj.) 5 inflated with anger, feeling strong emotion

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Since we cannot atone you, we shall see
atone (v.) 1 unite, join, reconcile

R2 I.i.203 
Justice design the victor's chivalry.
chivalry (n.) 1 knightly prowess, warlike distinction
design (v.) indicate, designate, mark out

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Lord Marshal, command our officers-at-arms

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Be ready to direct these home alarms.
alarm, alarum, 'larm, 'larum (n.) 3 disturbance, turbulence, trouble, loud noise

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Exeunt

 
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