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King Richard II Scenes

Scene 2

The Duke of York’s palace.

(Duke of York; Duchess of York; Aumerle; Servant; Man)

York tells his wife about Henry’s triumphant entrance into London and how the people insulted and threw dirt at Richard. Aumerle, who has lost his title, comes in, and York soon realizes from his demeanor that he is hiding something. In the end he grabs a letter from his son and discovers that Aumerle is involved in a plot against Henry. He prepares to rush off to Henry to tell him; hearing that this will likely mean her son’s death, the Duchess protests. York leaves all the same; the Duchess urges Aumerle to go after and get to the King first, and promises not to be long behind. (127 lines)

Enter Duke of York and the Duchess of York.


My lord, you told me you would tell the rest,

When weeping made you break the story off,

Of our two cousins coming into London.


Where did I leave?


At that sad stop, my lord,

Where rude misgoverned hands from windows’ tops

Threw dust and rubbish on King Richard’s head.


Then, as I said, the Duke, great Bullingbrook,

Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,

Which his aspiring rider seem’d to know,

With slow but stately pace kept on his course,

Whilst all tongues cried, “God save thee, Bullingbrook!”

You would have thought the very windows spake,

So many greedy looks of young and old

Through casements darted their desiring eyes

Upon his visage, and that all the walls

With painted imagery had said at once,

“Jesu preserve thee! Welcome, Bullingbrook!”

Whilst he, from the one side to the other turning,

Bare-headed, lower than his proud steed’s neck,

Bespake them thus: “I thank you, countrymen.”

And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along.


Alack, poor Richard, where rode he the whilst?


As in a theatre the eyes of men,

After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,

Are idly bent on him that enters next,

Thinking his prattle to be tedious,

Even so, or with much more contempt, men’s eyes

Did scowl on gentle Richard. No man cried “God save him!”

No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home,

But dust was thrown upon his sacred head,

Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,

His face still combating with tears and smiles,

The badges of his grief and patience,

That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel’d

The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,

And barbarism itself have pitied him.

But heaven hath a hand in these events,

To whose high will we bound our calm contents.

To Bullingbrook are we sworn subjects now,

Whose state and honor I for aye allow.


Here comes my son Aumerle.

Enter Aumerle.


Aumerle that was,

But that is lost for being Richard’s friend;

And, madam, you must call him Rutland now.

I am in parliament pledge for his truth

And lasting fealty to the new-made king.


Welcome, my son! Who are the violets now

That strew the green lap of the new-come spring?


Madam, I know not, nor I greatly care not,

God knows I had as lief be none as one.


Well, bear you well in this new spring of time,

Lest you be cropp’d before you come to prime.

What news from Oxford? Do these justs and triumphs hold?


For aught I know, my lord, they do.


You will be there, I know.


If God prevent not, I purpose so.


What seal is that, that hangs without thy bosom?

Yea, look’st thou pale? Let me see the writing.


My lord, ’tis nothing.


No matter then who see it.

I will be satisfied, let me see the writing.


I do beseech your Grace to pardon me.

It is a matter of small consequence,

Which for some reasons I would not have seen.


Which for some reasons, sir, I mean to see.

I fear, I fear—


What should you fear?

’Tis nothing but some band that he is ent’red into

For gay apparel ’gainst the triumph day.


Bound to himself! What doth he with a bond

That he is bound to? Wife, thou art a fool.

Boy, let me see the writing.


I do beseech you pardon me, I may not show it.


I will be satisfied, let me see it, I say.

He plucks it out of his bosom and reads it.

Treason, foul treason! Villain, traitor, slave!


What is the matter, my lord?


Ho, who is within there?

Enter a Servant.

Saddle my horse.

God for his mercy! What treachery is here!


Why, what is it, my lord?


Give me my boots, I say, saddle my horse.

Exit Servant.

Now by mine honor, by my life, by my troth,

I will appeach the villain.


What is the matter?


Peace, foolish woman.


I will not peace. What is the matter, Aumerle?


Good mother, be content, it is no more

Than my poor life must answer.


Thy life answer?


Bring me my boots, I will unto the King.

His Man enters with his boots.


Strike him, Aumerle. Poor boy, thou art amaz’d.

Hence, villain! Never more come in my sight.


Give me my boots, I say.

His Man helps him on with his boots and exit.


Why, York, what wilt thou do?

Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own?

Have we more sons? Or are we like to have?

Is not my teeming date drunk up with time?

And wilt thou pluck my fair son from mine age,

And rob me of a happy mother’s name?

Is he not like thee? Is he not thine own?


Thou fond mad woman,

Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy?

A dozen of them here have ta’en the sacrament,

And interchangeably set down their hands,

To kill the King at Oxford.


He shall be none,

We’ll keep him here, then what is that to him?


Away, fond woman, were he twenty times my son,

I would appeach him.


Hadst thou groan’d for him

As I have done, thou wouldst be more pitiful.

But now I know thy mind, thou dost suspect

That I have been disloyal to thy bed,

And that he is a bastard, not thy son.

Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind,

He is as like thee as a man may be,

Not like to me, or any of my kin,

And yet I love him.


Make way, unruly woman!



After, Aumerle! Mount thee upon his horse,

Spur post, and get before him to the King,

And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.

I’ll not be long behind; though I be old,

I doubt not but to ride as fast as York.

An’ never will I rise up from the ground

Till Bullingbrook have pardoned thee. Away, be gone!



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