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King Richard II Scenes

Scene 1

Westminster Hall.

(Bullingbrook; Aumerle; Northumberland; Percy; Fitzwater; Surrey; Bishop of Carlisle; Abbot of Westminster; Another Lord; First Herald; Officers; Sir John Bagot; York; King Richard; Attendants)

Bullingbrook interrogates Bagot about the death of the Duke of Gloucester, and Bagot accuses York’s son Aumerle of the deed. Aumerle denies it and challenges Bagot to a duel, but Bullingbrook refuses to let Bagot accept. Fitzwater, Percy and another lord all challenge Aumerle as well, though Surrey accuses Fitzwater of lying. There is great confusion until Bullingbrook silences them, putting the question aside until he can have Mowbray return to tell his tale. But Mowbray, it turns out, is dead. Bullingbrook puts the whole affair off until he can try Aumerle. York enters to announce that Richard has named Bullingbrook his heir and resigned the throne, and acclaims Bullingbrook as Henry IV. The Bishop of Carlisle protests against this, and is arrested for high treason. Richard is sent for to abdicate publicly. He is torn and almost cannot bring himself to do it, but in the end he hands his crown over to Henry. He is then ordered to read a list of the accusations against him. He tries not to, and asks for a mirror so he can see whether there are any traces of the change in his status on his face. He can find none. He asks for permission to leave, and is sent to the Tower. Aumerle, Carlisle and Westminster plot against Henry. (340 lines)

Enter Bullingbrook with the Lords Aumerle, Northumberland, Percy, Fitzwater, Surrey, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Abbot of Westminster, and another Lord to parliament; Herald.


Call forth Bagot.

Enter Officers with Bagot.

Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind,

What thou dost know of noble Gloucester’s death,

Who wrought it with the King, and who perform’d

The bloody office of his timeless end.


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.

In that dead time when Gloucester’s death was plotted,

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

That reacheth from the restful English court

As far as Callice, 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 Bullingbrook’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?

Shall I so much dishonor my fair stars

On equal terms to give him chastisement?

Either I must, or have mine honor soil’d

With the attainder of his slanderous lips.

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

In thy heart-blood, though being all too base

To stain the temper of my knightly sword.


Bagot, forbear, thou shalt not take it up.


Excepting one, I would he were the best

In all this presence that hath mov’d me so.


If that thy valor stand on sympathy,

There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine.

By that fair sun which shows me where thou stand’st,

I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak’st 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,

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


Thou dar’st not, coward, live to see that day.


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


Fitzwater, thou art damn’d to hell for this.


Aumerle, thou liest, his honor is as true

In this appeal as thou art all unjust,

And that thou art so, there I throw my gage,

To prove it on thee to the extremest point

Of mortal breathing. Seize it, if thou dar’st.


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,

And spur thee on with full as many lies

As may be hollowed in thy treacherous ear

From sun to sun. There is my honor’s pawn,

Engage it to the trial, if thou darest.


Who sets me else? By heaven, I’ll throw at all!

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,

And you can witness with me this is true.


As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true.


Surrey, thou liest.


Dishonorable 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 honor’s pawn,

Engage it to the trial, if thou dar’st.


How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse!

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.

As I intend to thrive in this new world,

Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal;

Besides, I heard the banished Norfolk say

That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men

To execute the noble Duke at Callice.


Some honest Christian trust me with a gage—

That Norfolk lies, here do I throw down this,

If he may be repeal’d to try his honor.


These differences shall all rest under gage

Till Norfolk be repeal’d. Repeal’d he shall be,

And though mine enemy, restor’d again

To all his lands and signories. When he is return’d,

Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial.


That honorable day shall never be seen.

Many a time hath banish’d Norfolk fought

For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian field,

Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross

Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens,

And toil’d with works of war, retir’d himself

To Italy, and there at Venice gave

His body to that pleasant country’s earth,

And his pure soul unto his captain Christ,

Under whose colors he had fought so long.


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

Till we assign you to your days of trial.

Enter York attended.


Great Duke of Lancaster, I come to thee

From plume-pluck’d Richard, who with willing soul

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.

Would God that any in this noble presence

Were enough noble to be upright judge

Of noble Richard! Then true noblesse would

Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.

What subject can give sentence on his king?

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

Thieves are not judg’d but they are by to hear,

Although apparent guilt be seen in them,

And shall the figure of God’s majesty,

His captain, steward, deputy, elect,

Anointed, crowned, planted many years,

Be judg’d by subject and inferior breath,

And he himself not present? O, forfend it, God,

That in a Christian climate souls refin’d

Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!

I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,

Stirr’d up by God, thus boldly for his king.

My Lord of Herford here, whom you call king,

Is a foul traitor to proud Herford’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.

Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny

Shall here inhabit, and this land be call’d

The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls.

O, if you raise this house against this house,

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?


Fetch hither Richard, that in common view

He may surrender; so we shall proceed

Without suspicion.


I will be his conduct.



Lords, you that here are under our arrest,

Procure your sureties for your days of answer.

Little are we beholding to your love,

And little look’d for at your helping hands.

Enter Richard and York with Officers bearing the crown and sceptre.


Alack, why am I sent for to a king

Before I have shook off the regal thoughts

Wherewith I reign’d? I hardly yet have learn’d

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

Give sorrow leave a while to tutor me

To this submission. Yet I well remember

The favors of these men. Were they not mine?

Did they not sometimes 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.

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

Which tired majesty did make thee offer:

The resignation of thy state and crown

To Henry Bullingbrook.


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,

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,

But not my griefs; still am I king of those.


Part of your cares you give me with your crown.


Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down:

My care is loss of care, by old care done,

Your care is gain of care, by new care won;

The cares I give I have, though given away,

They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay.


Are you contented to resign the crown?


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:

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;

With mine own tears I wash away my balm,

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;

All pomp and majesty I do forswear;

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 griev’d,

And thou with all pleas’d, that hast all achiev’d!

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

And soon lie Richard in an earthy pit!

God save King Henry, unking’d Richard says,

And send him many years of sunshine days!

What more remains?


No more, but that you read

Presenting a paper.

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 depos’d.


Must I do so? And must I ravel out

My weav’d-up follies? Gentle Northumberland,

If thy offenses 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,

Containing the deposing of a king,

And cracking the strong warrant of an oath,

Mark’d with a blot, damn’d in the book of heaven.

Nay, all of you that stand and look upon me

Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself,

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

Showing an outward pity, yet you Pilates

Have here deliver’d me to my sour cross,

And water cannot wash away your sin.


My lord, dispatch, read o’er these articles.


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.

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

T’ undeck the pompous body of a king;

Made glory base, and sovereignty a slave;

Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant.


My lord—


No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,

Nor no man’s lord. I have no name, no title,

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

But ’tis usurp’d. Alack the heavy day,

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 Bullingbrook,

To melt myself away in water-drops!

Good king, great king, and yet not greatly good,

And if my word be sterling yet in England,

Let it command a mirror hither straight,

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.

Exit an Attendant.


Read o’er this paper while the glass doth come.


Fiend, thou torments me ere I come to hell!


Urge it no more, my Lord Northumberland.


The commons will not then be satisfied.


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.

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 flatt’ring glass,

Like to my followers in prosperity,

Thou dost beguile me! Was this face the face

That every day under his household roof

Did keep ten thousand men? Was this the face

That like the sun, did make beholders wink?

Is this the face which fac’d so many follies,

That was at last out-fac’d by Bullingbrook?

A brittle glory shineth in this face,

As brittle as the glory is the face,

Dashes the glass against the ground.

For there it is, crack’d in an hundred shivers.

Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport,

How soon my sorrow hath destroy’d my face.


The shadow of your sorrow hath destroy’d

The shadow of 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

That swells with silence in the tortur’d soul.

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

For thy great bounty, that not only giv’st

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,

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

Exeunt Richard, some Lords, and a Guard.


On Wednesday next we solemnly proclaim

Our coronation. Lords, be ready all.

Exeunt. Manent Abbot of Westminster, Carlisle, Aumerle.


A woeful pageant have we here beheld.


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

What ever I shall happen to devise.

I see your brows are full of discontent,

Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears.

Come home with me to supper, I’ll lay

A plot shall show us all a merry day.



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