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King Richard II Scenes

Scene 4

The court.

(King Richard; Green; Bagot; Lord Aumerle; Bushy)

Richard hears from Aumerle of Bullingbrook’s departure, and sneers at Bullingbrook’s popularity with the masses. He prepares to lead an expedition to Ireland, which he plans to pay for by imposing high taxes. Bushy comes in with the news that Gaunt is dying, and the King is delighted, seeing an opportunity to get his hands on Gaunt’s vast wealth. (65 lines)

Enter the King with Green and Bagot at one door and the Lord Aumerle at another.


We did observe. Cousin Aumerle,

How far brought you high Herford on his way?


I brought high Herford, if you call him so,

But to the next high way, and there I left him.


And say, what store of parting tears were shed?


Faith, none for me, except the northeast wind,

Which then blew bitterly against our faces,

Awak’d the sleeping rheum, and so by chance

Did grace our hollow parting with a tear.


What said our cousin when you parted with him?



And for my heart disdained that my tongue

Should so profane the word, that taught me craft

To counterfeit oppression of such grief

That words seem’d buried in my sorrow’s grave.

Marry, would the word “farewell” have length’ned hours

And added years to his short banishment,

He should have had a volume of farewells;

But since it would not, he had none of me.


He is our cousin’s cousin, but ’tis doubt,

When time shall call him home from banishment,

Whether our kinsman come to see his friends.

Ourself and Bushy, Bagot here and Green,

Observ’d his courtship to the common people,

How he did seem to dive into their hearts

With humble and familiar courtesy,

What reverence he did throw away on slaves,

Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles

And patient underbearing of his fortune,

As ’twere to banish their affects with him.

Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench,

A brace of draymen bid God speed him well,

And had the tribute of his supple knee,

With “Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends,”

As were our England in reversion his,

And he our subjects’ next degree in hope.


Well, he is gone, and with him go these thoughts.

Now for the rebels which stand out in Ireland,

Expedient manage must be made, my liege,

Ere further leisure yield them further means

For their advantage and your Highness’ loss.


We will ourself in person to this war,

And for our coffers, with too great a court

And liberal largess, are grown somewhat light,

We are enforc’d to farm our royal realm,

The revenue whereof shall furnish us

For our affairs in hand. If that come short,

Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters,

Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich,

They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold,

And send them after to supply our wants,

For we will make for Ireland presently.

Enter Bushy.

Bushy, what news?


Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord,

Suddenly taken, and hath sent post-haste

To entreat your Majesty to visit him.


Where lies he?


At Ely House.


Now put it, God, in the physician’s mind

To help him to his grave immediately!

The lining of his coffers shall make coats

To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.

Come, gentlemen, let’s all go visit him.

Pray God we may make haste and come too late!





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