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!”