Synopsis of RICHARD II. King Richard II and his uncle John of Gaunt try to settle a quarrel between Henry Bolingbroke. (Gaunt's son) and Thomas Mowbray. In Richard II, anger at a king's arbitrary rule leads to his downfall—and sets in motion a decades-long struggle for the crown that continues in several more. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.
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Enter KING RICHARD II, JOHN OF GAUNT, with other Nobles and Attendants .. Enter KING RICHARD II, with BAGOT and GREEN at one door; and the DUKE. the oxford shakespeare General Editor · Stanley Wells This page intentionally left blank the oxford shakespeareRi. Living Shakespeare. THE TRAGEDY OF. KING RICHARD II by. William Shakespeare edited under the supervision of. BERNARD GREBANIER.
Skip to main content. Richard not far from hence hath hid his head. Ye Playboy Advisor tells Romeo not to "freak out because of one chick" and prudently reminds him that "teenage marriages [even mature ones] don't usually work out […]. One, which we have looked at already, is negative. Lady Madam, we'll play at bowls.
Shakespeare's Richard is a monster who kills off his family to become king and a tyrant he has his nephews—the rightful heirs to the throne—murdered. This ended the Wars of the Roses and was the start of the great Tudor dynasty that brought us Shakeapeare's Queen, Elizabeth I, and a Golden Age for some people, and definitely in drama. From A. Essays in Shakespearean Criticism, eds. Calderwood and H. The use of the old play Woodstock to elucidate Richard II, here figuring out what the initial argument between Bolingbroke and Mowbray might be about.
The most unquestionably historical thing that [Richard's uncle] Woodstock [the Duke of Gloucester] does is to get murdered; and here the events of Woodstock, assumed to be known, have their most important bearing on the moral structure of Shakespeare's play: To say they are all liars is no more than they all say to one another. The whole thing makes sense and makes the plots of Acts I and II far more coherent, as soon as we know that Woodstock was l kidnapped in [i.
Thus in the quarrel, Mowbray knows that Richard knows the truth, and that Bolingbroke knows most of it. Hence his "How high a pitch his resolution soars! The lines in Shakespeare mean, then, that Mowbray admits he was Governor which is known to everyone , and that he failed in his sworn duty to protect the blood royal which again is obvious.
But simultaneously he reminds Richard of why he failed Richard threatened his life if Woodstock was not killed , while giving nothing away. For "I slew him not" is prefectly true of Lapoole himself: Woodstock was killed by agents, and all Lapoole-Mowbray did was not to prevent them. In Shakespeare's very selective treatment of this royal tragedy, careful study can detect a consistent concern […] to show the downfall of a traditional conception of royalty and its replacement by political force at once more competent, more truly self-aware, and more precariously built on the foundations of its own desire for power.
They include the embezzlement of royal revenues for "lewd employments," persistent intrigue, and, above all, a part in the plotting of the Duke of Gloucester's [Woodstock's] death; the last accusation, most ominously of all, involves the king himself, the center of the feudal structure of loyalty to which lip service is still being paid, in ambiguity and a suggestion of guilt.
Mowbray's reply, though rhetorically impressive, is notably evasive in the realm of fact […]. The most damaging expression of this is the tone in which he greets the news of John of Gaunt's sickness: The presence of a Christian aspiration will be balanced, in the king's own later tragic utterances, by a sense of betrayal, the shadow of the gesture of Judas which will accompany him through his decline […]. Gaunt is dying indeed, and his world with him: On the one hand, the claim of lineage, the rights of normal inheritance, are being properly defended by "the last of noble Edward's sons"; on the other, a world of covetousness and mutual distrust is already feeling its way toward the overthrow of legitimate authority.
What is in York's indecision, a clash of loyalties, is soon seen to involve in others a more direct awareness of threatened interests. The contradiction thus indicated between means and ends, between Lancaster's desires and the manner in which he usurps the crown, will dominate the following history. Richard in effect reduces tragedy to melodrama […]. His best, his most nearly profound utterances, reveal incapacity to act consistently, even a marked tendency to hysterical evasion of the truth.
Richard […] is perfectly aware of his situation [from 3. It has never been intelligence he has lacked, but something else, less easily definable but not, for a man placed as he is, less important. We may […] call this something consistency of character; and its lack expresses itself […] in the awareness that a stern reality is undermining the content of his words […]. Richard is engaged to the last in exhibiting his emotions, playing with feelings the seriousness of which we cannot, in the light of his known failings and consequent responsibility for his state, fully accept; and yet the betrayal, based on the calculation that everywhere surrounds him, implies a setting aside of every normal human obligation, and its effect is deepened by the fact that it is a king whom his subjects, sworn to loyalty, are engaged in deserting.
It is the tragedy of betrayal, as well as that of fallen royalty, that is being enacted round Richard's isolated and unhappy person; and the treachery, moreover, is doubly personal, insomuch as Richard has, by his own past behavior and dubious choices, betrayed himself before he was in turn betrayed […].
Richard has betrayed the office which he has held unworthily, and the betrayal has bred a corresponding treachery which leads to his destruction. This culminates in his request for a mirror, in which once more artificiality, conscious self-exhibition, and a measure of true self-exploration are variously blended.
Everything in the action at this stage—Richard's increasingly severe imprisonment, the fear which prompts York servilely to accuse his own son of treason, to his new master V. Richard feels that what he is about to say is valid not only for himself, but "for any man that but man is," who shares the essential limitations of the human state.
After the murder [of Richard], the play ends with a brief and sinister indication of the triumph of the new order. Already, it is becoming clear that Bolingbroke's crime, tacitly admitted as such, will bring neither personal nor political peace.
The "latest news" is that the "rebels"—not now his own supporters, but those who have in turn risen against his usurped power—have "consumed with fire" the town of Cicester. On all sides, executions respond to a renewal of civil strife; the heads of numerous "traitors"—so called by he who has just ceased to be such—are on their way to London. Start your heavy thinking on the play by considering what the nature of the world in Richard II is.
Do angels come down and take Richard's part? Does God fight for his annointed deputy Richard? Who are the traitors in this play? How is York important for the theme? Note that Richard tends to attract people's love—Bolingbroke gets their loyalty and aid. Note parallels between Richard and Bolingbroke as rulers. The most obvious one is the gage- throwing business. Richard can't get Mowbray and Bolingbroke to call off their fight. Bolingbroke is always in command during the gage-throwing contest over Aumerle.
Note the image of two buckets in a well—and rising and falling in general.
Eventually, Richard is going to die with the words "Mount, mount, my soul! More than many plays, Richard II can usefully be analyzed with the techniques of close reading at one time in the first half of the 20th c. Note such words as "tears," "kneeling," "pride," "father," "treason," "friend," "great," "good," "time," "wisdom," "folly," "order," "wash," "sun," "nothing," "fond," "wise," "foolish," "play," "actor," and "scene.
Richard seems to think he rules by divine right. He is a successive monarch—the last direct descendant of William the Conquerer and the last representative of medieval monarchy. His ideas on divine right are somewhat anachronistic: How does Shakespeare suggest the "medievalness" of Richard's reign?
How does he contrast this with the new-model monarchy of Bolingbroke? To what extent is Richard's rule shown to be corrupt? What do we learn on this subject from Gaunt, York, and the Gardener? Is any evidence presented that Richard didn't have Uncle Woodstock killed? Does Richard cross the line between simple corruption and tyranny?
Is he ever accused of being a tyrant? Note the rule of thumb for Shakespeare's plays: Does the King kill kids? Is Richard politically naive? Consider his prophecy of Northumberland and Bolingbroke's falling out. It comes true in the next play. Does it seem astute in context? Is part of England's tragedy the fact that the successive monarch just looks like a king, while his cousin has the substance of kingship?
Is the moral here that rebellion is never justified? Who is better for England, Richard or Bolingbroke? What should we think of Northumberland? Why does he serve as Bolingbroke's hatchet man? How do the old Dukes of Lancaster and York function in the play? Is Gaunt a norm for the play? Is York an indicator of how our sympathies should go? Are he and his wife just comic figures?
Falstaff asks "What is honor? Philosophical Realism is what we would call "Idealism. A chair is a chair because it participates in Chairness—and Chairness would exist even if all material chairs were destroyed and everyone died off who had ever seen or heard of a chair. Nominalism denies the existence of Chairness. A Nominalist would hold that a bunch of chairs exist, and from these chairs people abstract the idea, chair—and we give the name "chair" to chairs.
To a Nominalist, Chairness is just an abstraction in our heads; "chair" is a word, a name Latin, nomen , a breath of air. Now this is hardly a crucial matter when it comes to chairs. But what if you're asked to die for honor, England, democracy, the United States, liberty, justice, or for the legitimate king?
Should the substantial reality of life be sacrificed for a mere word? Ernest H. Kantorowicz handles such matters in Richard II in ch. In legal theory, one of the king's bodies was the Body Natural—his material body, subject to arrows and heat and cold and disease and death. The other body was his Body Politic: While the king lives, his two bodies should be totally joined and cooperating. In Richard we may have only Richard's natural body plus the name of king—until Richard deposes himself in "an inverted rite, a rite of degradation and a long agonizing ceremony in which the order of coronation is reversed" Of the seven plays eventually performed between and and produced for television in , Richard II was in many ways the most conservative, and certainly the most formal.
In fact, the original plan was to start with Henry IV and leave the earlier play out altogether. But it became clear to company founders Michael Bogdanov and Michael Pennington that for the audience to understand the full sweep of the history, Richard II, which initiates the internecine wars, would be indispensable; so it was added in Bogdanov, who directed all the plays, saw them as directly relevant to Thatcherite Britain: Nothing had changed in six hundred years, save the means.
For some critics at least, this showed the openness of the interpretation, which was more than willing to play the complexities and not limit itself through the imposition of heavy ideological freight.
Since it takes a large dedicated acting company and a fair bit of money, the full sequence does not get played very often. When the play stands alone, the focus tends to be personal and the tonality tragic, though it can still be given a strong political colouring. The only tragedy here was, oddly, that of Aumerle, the young idealist bullied by Richard and reduced to near catatonia by the tide of events that overcame him.
But the intention was not to highlight gender, nor was the cross casting designed to establish a simple correspondence— quite the opposite. Rather, the point seems to have been to disrupt audience expectation— the strategy also that lay behind the move to infantilize Richard throughout most notoriously Shaw sucked her thumb as she sat upon the ground Fiona Shaw in her celebrated performance as Richard directed by Deborah Warner at the Cottesloe, in , alternately needling and pleading with her obdurate cousin during the deposition scene.
Shaw saw it thus: Theirs was a jokey but deeply serious connection; during the lists 1. The gender of the actor was the means, though 1 See Lopez, pp. Rutter consistently uses female pronouns when describing Richard, while most male critics describing this production tend to use the masculine. While there have been attempts in the English-speaking world to highlight other modes, if one goes to the Globe Theatre in London or any of the major repertory theatres in Britain, the US, or Canada, one will typically encounter an interpretation that puts individual character at the centre.
The moment establishes a great deal about the character and the interpretation. Sharply aware that he has to handle this looming confrontation right, and unsure of his capacity to meet the challenge, he knows he must play the game through.
For the emphasis on the diminishment of ceremony could also suggest the futility of such ceremony, the sharply political awareness that playing, whether that of the king, the president or the actor, should not really be taken all that seriously. This kind of thing is continued in the scene that follows, during which Richard modulates between public speech and softer more intimate tones, punctuated by close-ups and tracked eye movement.
The presence of John Gielgud, the British actor most closely associated with the part of Richard, also adds a special touch. No wonder Richard, with his arch comments and slightly high pitch, is so wary. The performance continues with alternating moments of public pronouncement and intimate exchange— Gaunt and the Duchess, the lists, then Bolingbroke showing some emotion as he takes leave of England and his father. On stage, this is almost inevitably spoken, if not directly to Northumberland, at least in his presence, since he has just returned as an emissary from Henry.
Meanwhile, Bolingbroke gets tougher and Introduction more unyielding, his brutal henchman Northumberland only an extension of his own obdurateness. During 4.
As the play draws to a close, he becomes slightly unwound. It appears that the disease which plagues him in the plays to come has already lodged in his seemingly invulnerable body, his triumph as empty as his repentant promise to visit the holy land. Here, as throughout its history, Richard II locates its politics in the minds and bodies of the men that make the politics, and it reminds us again and again of the symbols and rituals that tend to bind the protagonists to courses of action that they would be better to avoid.
If that psychology is itself an actorly one, both sustained and maimed by Introduction an awareness of its own performances, that too suits the medium, even while it complicates what it means for either a king or a player to be real. The play poses a dilemma about how we are to understand these royal performers, and it leaves in the hands and minds of the audience a central question about what constitutes a just polity.
The last two scenes stake out that dilemma. The play then ends with a dominating Bolingbroke who accepts with relief the murder of the former King but condemns and exiles the useful murderer, Exton. Barton made the groom who comes to visit Richard into Bolingbroke in disguise, thus cementing his concept of the balanced link between them.
But Shakespeare has quite deliberately kept them separate here, giving each a scene, and leaving the contrarieties for the audience to resolve if they can. Textual Analysis1 While there are a number of uncertainties about the early texts of Richard II and their relations to each other, the overall picture is relatively clear.
As we have already outlined in this introduction pp. Pollard, ed. A New Quarto London, The fullest discussion is to be found in Jowett and Taylor.
Throughout this analysis, the early texts are quoted in the original spelling. The Folio text, like the later quartos, is also derivative, but unlike them it is something of a composite. How it did so has been the subject of some debate; but it is clear that the copy of Q3 that was used by the F printers must have been annotated in some way.
The most obvious evidence for this is the presence of the deposition scene, which does not appear in Q3. Other evidence, such as the restoration of some of the Q1 readings, also points to the existence of a manuscript that seems to have been consulted though on a somewhat irregular basis by the people responsible for the editing and printing of F.
What was the nature of that manuscript? Because Q1 stands closest to the hand of Shakespeare, all modern editors have based their texts on it. Ours is no exception. Evans put it? Why we have done so will, we hope, become clearer after a brief examination of the uncertainties surrounding the F text. As we said, certain features of F point to a theatrical origin. Most prominent in this regard are the stage directions. If Shakespeare himself did not initiate this change, he would probably have concurred with it and so we, like most editors, follow F.
A little later, when Richard and his entourage arrive to visit the sick Gaunt 2. Similarly, the King, when he enters at 1. This makes no sense Introduction since Exton has not been on stage. What seems to have happened is that Shakespeare or the scribe has failed to mark the break in the manuscript behind Q1, and, with the following lines given to Exton, an editor or possibly a compositor has added the incorrect direction.
F adds entry or exit directions in several other places which Q1 omits, though it leaves out one Exeunt that appears in Q at the end of 1. It is worth noting one particular example which cuts against what we have been saying. At the end of the opening scene in Q1 Gaunt exits with the others, while in F he is given an exit ten lines earlier, an entirely unmotivated exit but in keeping with the general principle of Elizabethan staging, that characters who exit at the end of a scene do not re-enter immediately for the beginning of the following one as Gaunt does with the Duchess of Gloucester in 1.
Most editors follow F here, though we do not. Several passages in 1. The last of these substantially reduces the rather tedious discussion between Bolingbroke and his father about coping with the pain of exile and thus helps move the scene more briskly to its conclusion.
Other cuts include 3. One other feature of F points to its theatrical provenance: In our text we follow Q1 in all such cases. This is consistent with its having been used in the theatre, where occasional verbal substitutions, some perhaps made by the author, others by actors or the bookkeeper, could easily have slipped in.
Jowett and Taylor have argued that the process went something like this: An annotator, that is, compared the manuscript version with the printed Q3 and made a number of changes which were then incorporated in F. If we assume that the F compositors were working from an annotated copy of Q3, we have to ask why an annotator would have crossed out correct readings in that printed text and introduced nonsense arising from a misreading of secretary hand.
They conjecture that a defect in the prompt book had, some time in the past, been remedied by reference to Q5, which provided the missing lines, and in the collation process a few divergences from Q3 found their way into F. The evidence for this is sparse, and to us not entirely convincing, but we mention it here to indicate the kinds of uncertainties that surround the F text. Despite all this, there is reason to trust some of the F variants. For this reason, in our edition, we have most often preferred quarto readings, except in cases where F seems to have successfully corrected Q1 error or is otherwise manifestly superior and hence accepted by almost all editors.
As we stated above, we have admitted fewer F readings than Oxford, but more than most other modern editions. Both texts are somewhat inconsistent, though Q1 more so. As for stage directions, in Q1 he is uniformly referred to as King, with the exception of 5. As for Bolingbroke, he is usually designated Bullingbrooke or some abbreviated form , though sometimes in both texts he is called by his title, Duke of Hereford or simply Hereford.
In our text, we have regularized the names, calling the two principals, simply, Richard and Bolingbroke. In general we have resisted this, since it seems to us that theatrical speech need not always follow the strict demands of pentameter.
Our assumption in doing so is that where contractions of verb forms and the like appear in F, they represent the lines as spoken in the theatre, and would probably have had authorial approval, even though the author may not have written such contractions into his initial manuscript. In summary, then, for all but the abdication passage in 4. In the end though, it has to be admitted that the many variants between the texts do not add up to anything major again with the exception of the deposition scene.
The fact that it did so speaks to its textual stability but its several editions speak also to its political relevance and theatrical viability, even years after the death of Elizabeth and the execution of her former favourite, the Earl of Essex.
Since Q1 is the base text for all those that follow it, it stands as our copy-text for this edition, except, of course, for the deposition scene, for which F serves that function. While we generally follow Q1, there are many instances where F seems the better choice the grounds for such choices are outlined in the Textual Analysis section.
Since these kinds of judgements are necessarily subjective, readers interested in this aspect of the play are encouraged to pay close attention to the collation the small print below the play text on each page , which records all substantive variants between Q1 and F.
If a later quarto provides an adopted reading not in either Q1 or F, that too is indicated in the notes. The citations in the collation always begin with the line number and the reading adopted in this text, followed by the source of that reading. As noted above, when the F reading is itself derived from one of the intervening quartos, that too is indicated. Occasionally, editorial emendations that have been frequently adopted by subsequent editors, and are thus well established, are included in the collation even if we have not adopted them.
In identifying the source, the textual notes use short forms keyed to the Abbreviations and References below. Reading the collation, which is written in a kind of shorthand, takes some practice. If an editor has made a conjecture conj. Stage directions are indicated by decimal numbers: Stage directions embedded in a line are keyed to that line.
Here are some examples of entries that may serve as a brief guide to an interested but potentially confused reader: Modernizing the text means bringing spelling and punctuation into conformity with modern practice, eliminating misprints and Editorial Procedures the like.
We stress again that any edition of a Shakespeare play is a construction on the part of the editor s , the result of hundreds of small decisions, and readers interested in how such texts are put together should have at their disposal whatever means the editors can reasonably put before them. Of particular interest in that regard are the stage directions.
In printing the directions we have bracketed anything that appears in neither Q1 nor F, since, though Q1 is our copy-text, F shows many signs of theatrical provenance and can therefore serve as a possible guide to early performance practice. In the text we have frequently combined Q and F SDs and recorded the exact wording of each in the notes. Editorial SDs help readers make sense of the action, but they can be intrusive and restrictive.
Hence, when stage action appears to be ambiguous, it seems best to us to indicate this in the commentary instead of specifying particular stage action see, for example, notes to 1.
Our hope is that this approach will stimulate readers to imagine their own performances— reading a play is, we insist, itself a kind of theatrical enterprise. While modernized, the punctuation in this edition is lighter than in many earlier ones. Our aim has been to punctuate for the voice as much as the eye, though the constraints of modern grammatical punctuation were always before us.
Nevertheless, in an attempt to provide a feel for Elizabethan or at times modern theatrical styles of speech, we use more dashes and colons and fewer full stops than is usual, and frequently omit commas where they might appear in modern discourse around vocatives for example.
While it is not always possible to achieve the lightness one might desire, our hope is that readers will try to imagine the text aloud— try indeed to get their breath and voices around the words, using the punctuation as a guide but not a straitjacket. Clark and W. Wright, Works, The Cambridge Shakespeare, 9 vols. Cambridge, —6 , vol. Craig, Works Nicolaus Delius, Works, 7 vols.
Oxford, —4 , vol. Hudson, Works, 11 vols. Boston, Mass. Hudson, Works, 20 vols. Marshall, Works, 8 vols. New York, —90 , vol. Oxford, —94 , vol.
Singer, Dramatic Works, 10 vols. Sisson, William Shakespeare: Abbott, A Shakespearian Grammar James Spedding, 7 vols. A Facsimile of the Edition, ed. Lloyd E. Berry Madison, Wisc. Chambers, William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems, 2 vols. A Selection, ed. Foakes conj. An Index Berkeley, Calif. Leiter, Shakespeare Around the Globe: Elton and William B. Lily B. Elton, ed.
The fourth son of Edward III, and the most powerful baron in England, a skilled player on both the national and the international stage; his name, a source of some wordplay in the text, derives from modern-day Ghent in Belgium. In real life, he appears to have been more complex and ambitious, and less gracious, than in the play. Duke of YORK — He became Duke of York in Shakespeare, following Holinshed, makes him a loving and loyal follower of Richard, though there is some doubt about whether he actually joined the conspiracy against Henry.
This suspicion stands behind the accusations hurled at him in 1. Like Bushy, an active member of Parliament, regency councillor, and friend of Richard, executed at Bristol in In Holinshed he lays a trap for Richard, but Shakespeare omits this detail.
Became Lord High Treasurer under Henry. Turned against Richard despite his having been made Knight of the Garter. Closely associated with Woodstock, he accused Aumerle in Parliament of murdering the Duke 4. Holinshed mentions that he is with York at Berkeley Castle but Shakespeare invents his role as a messenger to Bolingbroke and the rather sarcastic tone with which he greets the rebellious Henry see 2.
That seems to establish him as sympathetic to Richard, though he has no further role in the play. A member of the conspiracy hatched in 4. A close friend of Richard, and a political churchman who probably never lived in his diocese; arrested in for his part in the conspiracy and put in the friendly custody of the Abbot of Westminster, later reprieved and granted a country vicarage, though he continued to lead a fairly active public life.
He remained faithful to Richard, joined the conspiracy against Henry, and was executed with Salisbury and others in see 5. He acted as Lord Marshal in the lists at Coventry dramatized in 1. The two roles could conceivably be played by the same actor.
Shakespeare takes from Holinshed the claims that he spearheaded the conspiracy by holding a dinner party at which it was planned 4. There was, however, a play written about him mentioned by theatrical entrepreneur Philip Henslowe in but no longer extant , which suggests his reputation as a regicide was well established soon after Richard II was written. This page intentionally left blank Richard II 1. On the surface a spectacle of royal judgement, the scene is in essence a proxy attack on the King for the killing of Thomas of Woodstock that is couched as an appeal against Mowbray.
That means that the various participants are saying more than they appear to be saying and that Richard is in the uncomfortable position of playing the impartial judge when he is implicitly the accused. Enter Bolingbroke and Mowbray bolingbroke Many years of happy days befall My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege. Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee, And mark my greeting well; for what I speak, My body shall make good upon this earth Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
Thou art a traitor and a miscreant! The blood is hot that must be cooled for this, Yet can I not of such tame patience boast As to be hushed and naught at all to say. First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me From giving reins and spurs to my free speech, Which else would post until it had returned These terms of treason doubled down his throat. The reference is to the medical practice of blood-letting, which was thought to cool the overheated body.
Meantime, let this defend my loyalty: By all my hopes most falsely doth he lie. By that and all the rites of knighthood else Will I make good against thee, arm to arm, What I have spoke or thou canst worse devise. See 69 n. It must be great that can inherit us So much as of a thought of ill in him. Bolingbroke carefully omits mentioning that Richard may have been involved in the murder. See headnote and Introduction, pp. And by the glorious worth of my descent, This arm shall do it or this life be spent.
Thomas of Norfolk, what sayst thou to this? He is our subject, Mowbray, so art thou. Free speech and fearless I to thee allow. Gloucester is compared to Abel, whose blood cried out from the ground for justice Genesis 4: In performance, this line is often spoken with an ironic edge. Now swallow down that lie. This is my fault. Bolingbroke takes it up] 1. His phrasing, however, might also suggest that he failed in his duty by not killing the Duke. This we prescribe, though no physician— Deep malice makes too deep incision.
Forget, forgive, conclude and be agreed, Our doctors say this is no month to bleed. Obedience bids I should not bid again. My life thou shalt command, but not my shame. Obedience bids q1; When Harrie when? Obedience bids, Obedience bids f kneeling] wells subs. For the medical metaphor, see 51 n. Give me his gage. Lions make leopards tame. Take but my shame And I resign my gage. A jewel in a ten-times-barred-up chest Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
Mine honour is my life, both grow in one— Take honour from me and my life is done. Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try; In that I live and for that will I die. Do you begin. Ere my tongue reputation;] f subs.
Exeunt my] q1; mine f parley] q1 parlee ; parle f face. Exit Gaunt. Mulryne, New Mermaids , 4. Because early modern staging required each scene to follow the preceding one without a pause, convention dictated that characters on stage at the end of one scene would not appear at the beginning of the next. The trial by combat was based on the idea that divine justice would assure that the victor was indeed in the right. Gloucester] q1; Enter Gaunt, and Duchesse of Gloucester.
See Isaiah Ah Gaunt, his blood was thine! Call it not patience, Gaunt, it is despair. That which in mean men we entitle patience Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts. What shall I say? Note that 19 follows from 17 as 20 continues Farewell, old Gaunt. Psalm I must to Coventry. As much good stay with thee as go with me. Grief boundeth where it falls, Not with the empty hollowness, but weight. I take my leave before I have begun, For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.
Commend me to thy brother, Edmund York. Lo, this is all. Nay, yet depart not so; Though this be all, do not so quickly go. I shall remember more. Bid him— ah what? Therefore commend me; let him not come there To seek out sorrow that dwells everywhere. Desolate, desolate will I hence and die. The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.
Exeunt 60 65 70 58 it] q2—f; is q1 59 empty] q1c, f; emptines, q1u 60 begun] q2—f; begone q1 62 thy] q1; my q2—f 65 ah] q1; Oh f 70 hear] q1c, f; cheere q1u 58—9 Grief.
At 71 she decides that he should not visit. Richard II 1. When they are set, enter Mowbray, the Duke of Norfolk, in arms, defendant, [with a] herald richard Marshal, demand of yonder champion The cause of his arrival here in arms.
Ask him his name and orderly proceed To swear him in the justice of his cause. Aumerle] q1; Enter Marshall, and Aumerle f 1 lord marshal] oxford; Mar. Enter King f 6. The stage directions of the early texts pay careful attention to sound and spectacle in this scene. Speak truly on thy knighthood and thy oath, As so defend thee heaven and thy valour. The trumpets sound. Enter [Bolingbroke,] Duke of Hereford, appellant, in armour [with a] herald richard Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms Both who he is and why he cometh hither Thus plated in habiliments of war, And formally, according to our law, Depose him in the justice of his cause.
Enter Hereford f Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven. Bolingbroke] oxford subs. Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet The daintiest last to make the end most sweet.
Gurr quotes Francis Bacon: Be swift like lightning in the execution And let thy blows, doubly redoubled, Fall like amazing thunder on the casque Of thy adverse pernicious enemy. Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live. Most mighty liege, and my companion peers, Take from my mouth the wish of happy years. Truth hath a quiet breast. Order the trial, Marshal, and begin. A charge sounded Stay. The King hath thrown his warder down.
Withdraw with us and let the trumpets sound to an attendant] capell subs. Richard II While we return these dukes what we decree.
Shakespeare transforms the conference into a mimed discussion that must, given the necessities of the stage, be brief. However this is handled, it is clear from —4 that a decision has been taken, even though, realistically, such a momentous verdict could never be thrashed out in such ashort time.
The vehemence of the speech in part gives vent to the discomfort Richard must have experienced in the face of both the veiled attack made on him by Bolingbroke in 1. This must my comfort be: That sun that warms you here shall shine on me And those his golden beams to you here lent Shall point on me and gild my banishment. Within my mouth you have enjailed my tongue, Doubly portcullised with my teeth and lips, And dull unfeeling barren ignorance Is made my jailer to attend on me.
I am too old to fawn upon a nurse, Too far in years to be a pupil now. What is thy sentence then but speechless death, Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath? After our sentence, plaining comes too late.
Bolingbroke] wells subs. Swear by the duty that you owe to God— Our part therein we banish with yourselves— To keep the oath that we administer: Farewell, my liege. Thy sad aspect Hath from the number of his banished years Plucked four away. Four lagging winters and four wanton springs End in a word— such is the breath of kings.
But little vantage shall I reap thereby, For ere the six years that he hath to spend Can change their moons and bring their times about, My oil-dried lamp and time-bewasted light Shall be extinct with age and endless night.
My inch of taper will be burnt and done And blindfold death not let me see my son. Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow. Thou canst help time to furrow me with age But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage. Thy word is current with him for my death, But dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.
You urged me as a judge, but I had rather You would have bid me argue like a father. O, had it been a stranger, not my child, To smooth his fault I should have been more mild; A partial slander sought I to avoid And in the sentence my own life destroyed. Alas, I looked when some of you should say I was too strict to make mine own away, But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue Against my will to do myself this wrong.
Six years we banish him, and he shall go. Exit [Richard and his train] sullen] q1; sudden f —42 O. Gaunt hoped that the other lords would compensate for his strict impartiality by voting against banishment. What presence must not know, From where you do remain let paper show. They are quickly gone. Must I not serve a long apprenticehood To foreign passages and in the end, Having my freedom, boast of nothing else But that I was a journeyman to grief? Teach thy necessity to reason thus— There is no virtue like necessity— Think not the King did banish thee But thou the King.
Woe doth the heavier sit Where it perceives it is but faintly borne. Look what thy soul holds dear, imagine it as foil] q1; a foyle q2; a soyle q3—5, f —93 bolingbroke. My enforced exile will serve only to make me an accomplished artisan of sorrow. O no, the apprehension of the good Gives but the greater feeling to the worse. Had I thy youth and cause I would not stay. Though banished, yet a true born Englishman.
Here we see Richard and his friends in an unguarded moment, often highlighted in performance by the use of an intimate setting. Their conversation reveals their contempt for Bolingbroke, feelings that were carefully hidden in the previous scene. Aumerle enters to them from having seen Bolingbroke on his way out of England.
In retrospect, it begins to look as if he was seeking to cultivate a correspondence with his cousin in order to gather intelligence about him. Bolingbroke bowed to them. The courtly bow involves a bending of the knee.
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? Pray God we may make haste and come too late. Exeunt 2. Scena Prima. York] q1; Enter Gaunt, sicke with Yorke.
Two elements of the organization of the scene alleviate somewhat the harm that the King does to himself. However he enters, his forceful speaking coupled with his enfeebled condition suggests his seniority and moral authority in relation to the King. The idea that lewd words and music were poisons that could gain entry to the body by way of the ear was a commonplace in the antitheatrical writing of the period.
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short; He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes; With eager feeding, food doth choke the feeder; Light vanity, insatiate cormorant, Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle, 22 tardy-apish] hyphen dyce 2. Tilley N and S His claim to be capable of inspired prophecy seems convincing only when he begins to praise England.
Christ tenement property that is rented, rather than owned, by the occupant pelting paltry 2. That England that was wont to conquer others Hath made a shameful conquest of itself. Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life, How happy then were my ensuing death! Deal mildly with his youth, For young hot colts, being reined, do rage the more.
Old Gaunt indeed and gaunt in being old. Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast, And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt? For sleeping England long time have I watched; Watching breeds leanness; leanness is all gaunt. Willoughby] f subs.
Ill in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill. I might see you as sick, he says to the King, because I am sick myself, but I also see you as sick because you perceive and treat your land wrongfully.
Why cousin, wert thou regent of the world It were a shame to let this land by lease, But, for thy world, enjoying but this land, Is it not more than shame to shame it so?
Gaunt has already said that Richard is killing him 81 by taking away his son, and he unleashes a full-scale accusation at — See Introduction, pp. That blood already, like the pelican, Hast thou tapped out and drunkenly caroused. Convey me to my bed, then to my grave. Love they to live that love and honour have.
Exit [with attendants] richard And let them die that age and sullens have, For both hast thou and both become the grave. He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear As Harry Duke of Hereford, were he here. Enter Northumberland northumberland My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majesty.
All is said— His tongue is now a stringless instrument. Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent. His time is spent— our pilgrimage must be. So much for that. Now for our Irish wars: We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns, Which live like venom where no venom else, But only they, have privilege to live.
Tilley L , pilgrimage is a recurrent motif in the play and in the two that follow it 1 and 2 Henry IV. Ireland famously was purged of snakes by St Patrick; Richard suggests that the kerns have taken their place.
His face thou hast, for even so looked he, Accomplished with the number of thy hours; But when he frowned, it was against the French And not against his friends.
His hands were guilty of no kindred blood But bloody with the enemies of his kin. O Richard! Seek you to seize and gripe into your hands The royalties and rights of banished Hereford? Is not Gaunt dead, and doth not Hereford live?
Was not Gaunt just, and is not Harry true? Did not the one deserve to have an heir? Is not his heir a well-deserving son? Indeed, Richard responds as if to someone overcome by emotion. My liege, farewell. And we create in absence of ourself Our uncle York lord governor of England, For he is just and always loved us well.
Come on, our Queen, tomorrow must we part. Be merry, for our time of stay is short. Queen] q1 subs. Bagot] capell; not in q1, f It is a remarkable instance of foolhardiness that Richard deputizes York as regent immediately after his uncle has so categorically denounced his treatment of Bolingbroke.
If it be so, out with it boldly, man— Quick is mine ear to hear of good towards him.
But lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm. We see the wind sit sore upon our sails And yet we strike not but securely perish. Even through the hollow eyes of death I spy life peering; but I dare not say How near the tidings of our comfort is.
OED v. We three are but thyself, and speaking so Thy words are but as thoughts; therefore, be bold. But if you faint, as fearing to do so, Stay and be secret, and myself will go.
To horse! Urge doubts to them that fear. You promised when you parted with the King To lay aside life-harming heaviness And entertain a cheerful disposition. Yet I know no cause Why I should welcome such a guest as grief, Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest As my sweet Richard. Bagot] Enter the Queene, Bushie, Bagot. King i. Conceit is still derived From some forefather grief.
Enter Green 2. Conceit imagined sorrow still always 36 something substantial, real not just felt 37 Or. I hope the King is not yet shipped for Ireland. Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipped? The banished Bolingbroke repeals himself, And with uplifted arms is safe arrived At Ravenspur.
Ravenspur] f; one line q1 52 Ah] q1; O f 53 son young] q1; yong sonne q2—f Harry] q1 H. I will despair and be at enmity With cozening hope. Enter York green Here comes the Duke of York. O, full of careful business are his looks! Here am I left to underprop his land Who, weak with age, cannot support myself. Enter a Servant servant My lord, your son was gone before I came.
Why so, go all which way it will. Sirrah, get thee to Pleshey, to my sister Gloucester, Bid her send me presently a thousand pound— Hold, take my ring. When the King and Aumerle enter together at the beginning of 3. In fact, the Duchess died several months after these events.
Richard II Comes rushing on this woeful land at once! I know not what to do. What, are there no posts dispatched for Ireland? How shall we do for money for these wars? Come, sister— cousin I would say— pray pardon me. Go, fellow, get thee home, provide some carts And bring away the armour that is there. Exit Servant Gentlemen, will you go muster men?
Both are my kinsmen: Well, somewhat we must do. Gentlemen, go muster up your men And meet me presently at Berkeley Castle. For us to levy power Proportionable to the enemy is all unpossible.
The Earl of Wiltshire is already there. All is. In Shakespeare, the Earl never appears on stage and is not mentioned when Bushy and Green are taken and killed at 3. Will you go along with us? Farewell at once— for once, for all and ever. These high wild hills and rough uneven ways Draws out our miles and makes them wearisome, And yet your fair discourse hath been as sugar, Making the hard way sweet and delectable. But I bethink me what a weary way From Ravenspur to Cotswold will be found In Ross and Willoughby, wanting your company, Which I protest hath very much beguiled The tediousness and process of my travel.
By this the weary lords Shall make their way seem short, as mine hath done By sight of what I have, your noble company. Enter Harry Percy But who comes here? Northumberland, from the Scottish border regions in the north, is unfamiliar with the countryside of south-west England.
The 5 10 15 20 14 which] q1; that q2—f dying Gaunt and the distraught York are notable exceptions. Harry, how fares your uncle? He was not so resolved when last we spoke together. To my knowledge, I never in my life did look on him. This is the Duke. The misunderstanding, which can get a laugh in performance, provides a character note for the irreverent Percy.
My heart this covenant makes, my hand thus seals it. I wot your love pursues 53 yon] q1; yond f 45 50 55 Willoughby] f; not in q1 45—50 In 1 Henry IV 1.
York what is York doing York is the subject of the clause 58 Bloody with spurring bloody with the blood of the horses they have spurred in hard pursuit of Bolingbroke. Holinshed tells us that Ross and Willoughby joined Bolingbroke at Ravenspur. Enter Berkeley But who comes here? Shakespeare changes his source in order to create two separate encounters between Henry and those still loyal to the King. To you, my lord, I come— what lord you will— From the most gracious regent of this land, The Duke of York, to know what pricks you on To take advantage of the absent time And fright our native peace with self-borne arms.
Enter York [with attendants] bolingbroke I shall not need transport my words by you. Here comes his grace in person. My noble uncle! Gurr suggests that there is a pun on birth i. Malone points out the parallel with Romeo and Juliet: Capulet uses the same phrasing to upbraid his daughter: Why, foolish boy, the King is left behind, And in my loyal bosom lies his power.
Were I but now the lord of such hot youth As when brave Gaunt, thy father, and myself Rescued the Black Prince, that young Mars of men, From forth the ranks of many thousand French, O then how quickly should this arm of mine, Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee And minister correction to thy fault.
On what condition stands it and wherein? In gross rebellion and detested treason. Thou art a banished man and here art come, 2. Richard might be absent but his authority is present, vested in his deputy. You are my father, for methinks in you I see old Gaunt alive. O then, my father, Will you permit that I shall stand condemned A wandering vagabond, my rights and royalties Plucked from my arms perforce and given away To upstart unthrifts?
Wherefore was I born? You have a son, Aumerle, my noble cousin. I am denied to sue my livery here And yet my letters patents give me leave. What would you have me do? I am a subject And I challenge law. Note, however, that Bolingbroke immediately asks York to regard him as his son. Bolingbroke has been deprived of his right to claim his inheritance. And you that do abet him in this kind Cherish rebellion and are rebels all. I cannot mend it, I must needs confess, Because my power is weak and all ill-left.
But since I cannot, be it known unto you I do remain as neuter. So fare you well, Unless you please to enter in the castle And there repose you for this night. Nor friends nor foes, to me welcome you are, Things past redress are now with me past care. Exeunt unto] q1; to q2—f attach arrest stoop bow neuter neutral. The metaphor has biblical origins see Isaiah I can do nothing more about things that are past redress. We will not stay.
The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth And lean-looked prophets whisper fearful change. Captain] q1; Enter Salisbury, and a Captaine. Holinshed also reports that Richard could not return to England in a timely way because of bad weather and bad planning.
Shakespeare omits mention of this, although he does adopt stormy weather as a metaphor for the dangers Richard now faces Shakespeare adapts his source material for the metre and for focus. Shakespeare relocates the trees to Wales and excises the detail about their regeneration so as to make the observation more ominous.
The bay laurel was classically the symbol of victory. Thy sun sets weeping in the lowly west, Witnessing storms to come, woe and unrest. Bolingbroke is moving to establish his power and from here the momentum of his rise begins to build, leading inexorably to his triumph over Richard.
As in 1. While the Queen is clearly unhappy see 2. This and much more, much more than twice all this Condemns you to the death. See them delivered over To execution and the hand of death. Lords, farewell. Take special care my greetings be delivered. The importance of noble reputation and honour is recurrent in the play: Exeunt 3. How brooks your grace the air After your late tossing on the breaking seas?
That this line both refers to an episode that is not mentioned elsewhere, and interrupts a rhyming couplet, has led to the supposition originating with Theobald that it may have been inserted at a later time, perhaps to link the skirmishes here with the war in 1 Henry IV. Immediately upon his departure at that point, the conspiracy against him began to build.
So when Richard now appears, he seems already at a disadvantage, a sense that is augmented by his somewhat maudlin and self-pitying reaction to the series of escalating misfortunes which mark the scene; and of course, by its end, he is on the ropes. Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords. This earth shall have a feeling and these stones 8 long-parted] hyphen pope 11 favours] q1; fauor q2—f 8—11 As. Chambers Falcon edn. Edward Topsell tells us: Lady Macbeth uses the same metaphor 1.
That power that made you king Hath power to keep you king in spite of all. The means that heavens yield must be embraced And not neglected; else heaven would And we will not: Collier ; bouldy q1; bloody f 27 power i. For variations on the theme of comfort in the scene, see ll. Richard of course has been in Ireland, not the antipodes, but in terms of his extended simile he, like the sun at night, has been under the earth.
Speech and breath are frequently linked in the play: There may also be an allusion to Matthew Discomfort guides my tongue And bids me speak of nothing but despair. One day too late, I fear me, noble lord, Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth. Why looks your grace so pale? Am I not king? Arm, arm, my name! A puny subject strikes At thy great glory.
Look not to the ground, Ye favourites of a king.
Are we not high? High be our thoughts. I know my uncle York Hath power enough to serve our turn. Enter Scroop But who comes here? Say, is my kingdom lost? Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we? Greater he shall not be: Revolt our subjects? That we cannot mend; They break their faith to God as well as us. Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay— The worst is death, and death will have his day.
God his fellow i. Hamlet 5. Both young and old rebel, And all goes worse than I have power to tell. Here it is their advanced age that is stressed: At the end of 2.
But he is not among the accused in 3. Later, at the beginning of 4. The confusion is augmented by the fact that the Earl of Wiltshire, while frequently mentioned, does not actually appear in the play. I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.
Again uncurse their souls, their peace is made With heads and not with hands.