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Boling. O, let no noble eye profane a tear
For me, if I be gored with Mowbray's spear;
As confident as is the falcon's flight
Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight.-
My loving lord [To Lord MARSHAL], I take my leave of you;
Of you, my noble cousin, lord Aumerle:-
Not, sick, although I have to do with death;
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.-
Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet
The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet:
O thou, the earthly author of my blood,-
Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,
Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up
To reach at victory above my head,-
Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers;
And with thy blessings steel my lance's point,
That it may enter Mowbray's waxen* coat,
And furbish new the name of John of Gaunt,
Even in the lusty 'haviour of his son.
Gaunt. Heaven in thy good cause make thee prosperous!
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.
Boling. Mine innocency, and Saint George to thrive !
[He takes his seat. Nor. [Rising.] However heaven, or fortune, cast my lot, There lives or dies, true to king Richard's throne, A loyal, just, and upright gentleman: Never did captive with a freer heart Cast off his chains of bondage, and embrace His golden uncontroll'd enfranchisement, More than my dancing soul doth celebrate This feast of battle with mine adversary.Most mighty liege, and my companion peers, Take from my mouth the wish of happy years. As gentle and as jocund, as to jest, Go I to fight; Truth hath a quiet breast.
K. Rich. Farewell, my lord: securely I espy Virtue with valour couched in thine eye.Order the trial, marshal, and begin.
[The KING and the Lords return to their seats. Mar. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Receive thy lance; and God defend the right!
Boling. [Rising.] Strong as a tower in hope, I cry-Amen. Mar. Go bear this lance [To an Officer] to Thomas duke of
1 Her. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself, On pain to be found false and recreant,
To prove the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,
A traitor to his God, his king, and him,
And dares him to set forward to the fight.
2 Her. Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
Both to defend himself, and to approve
Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
To God, his sovereign, and to him, disloyal;
Courageously, and with a free desire,
Attending but the signal to begin.
Mar. Sound, trumpets; and set forward combatants.
Stay, the king hath thrown his warder* down.
K. Rich. Let them lay by their helmets and their spears,
And both return back to their chairs again:
Withdraw with us :-and let the trumpets sound,
While we return these dukes what we decree.-A long flourish. Draw near, [To the Combatants.
And list, what with our council we have done.
For that our kingdom's earth should not be soil'd
With that dear blood which it hath foster'd;
And for our eyes do hate the dire aspéct
Of civil wounds plough'd up with neighbours' swords
(And for we think the eagle-winged pride
Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,
With rival-hating envy, set you on
To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle
Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep);
Which so roused up with boisterous untuned drums,
With harsh resounding trumpets' dreadful bray,
And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,
Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace,
And make us wade even in our kindred's blood;-
Therefore, we banish you our territories:-
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of death,
Till twice five summers have enrich'd our fields,
Shall not regreet our fair dominions,
But tread the stranger paths of banishment.
Boling. Your will be done: 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.
K. Rich. Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,
Which I with some unwillingness pronounce :
The fly-slow hours shall not determinate
The dateless limit of thy dear exile ;-
The hopeless word of-never to return
Breathe I against thee upon pain of life.
Nor. A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
And all unlook'd for from your highness' mouth:
A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
As to be cast forth in the common air,
Have I deserved at your highness' hand.
The language I have learn'd these forty years,
My native English, now I must forego:
And now my tongue's use is to me no more,
Than an unstring'd viol or a harp;
Or like a cunning instrument cased up,
Or, being open, put into his hands
That knows no touch to tune the harmony.
Within my mouth you have enjail'd 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?
K. Rich. It boots thee not to be compassionate ;*
After our sentence plaining comes too late.
Nor. Then thus I turn me from my country's light,
To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.
K. Rich. Return again, and take an oath with thee,
Lay on our royal sword your banish'd hands;
Swear by the duty that you owe to heaven
(Our part therein we banish with yourselves),
To keep the oath that we administer:-
You never shall (so help you truth and heaven!)
Embrace each other's love in banishment;
Nor never look upon each other's face;
Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
This lowering tempest of your home-bred hate,
Nor never by advised+ purpose meet,
To plot, contrive, or complot any ill,
'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.
Boling. I swear.
Nor. And I, to keep all this.
Boling. Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy-
By this time, had the king permitted us,
One of our souls had wander'd in the air,
Banish'd this frail sepúlchre of our flesh,
As now our flesh is banish'd from this land-
Confess thy treasons, ere thou fly the realm;
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
The clogging burden of a guilty soul.
Nor. No, Bolingbroke; if ever I were traitor,
My name be blotted from the book of life,
And I from heaven banish'd, as from hence!
But what thou art, heaven, thou, and I do know;
And all too soon, I fear the king shall rue.-
Farewell, my liege:-Now no way can I stray;
Save back to England, all the world's my way.
* Seeking to move compassion.
K. Rich. Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes
I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect
Hath from the number of his banish'd years
Pluck'd four away;-Six frozen winters spent,
Return [To BOLING.] with welcome home from banishment.
Boling. How long a time lies in one little word!
Four lagging winters, and four wanton springs,
End in a word; Such is the breath of kings.
Gaunt. I thank my liege, that, in regard of me,
He shortens four years of my son's exile:
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.
K. Rich. Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.
Gaunt. But not a minute, king, that thou canst give:
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.
K. Rich. Thy son is banish'd upon good advice,
Whereto thy tongue a partyt verdict gave;
Why at our justice seem'st thou then to lower ?
Gaunt. Things sweet to taste, prove in digestion sour.
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 destroy'd.
Alas, I look'd, 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.
K. Rich. Cousin, farewell :-and, uncle, bid him so;
Six years we banish him, and he shall go.
[Flourish. Exeunt K. RICHARD and Train. Aum. Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know, From where you do remain, let paper show.
Mar. My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride, As far as land will let me, by your side.
Gaunt. O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words,
That thou return'st no greeting to thy friends?
Boling. I have too few to take my leave of you,
When the tongue's office should be prodigal
To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart.
+ Reproach of partiality.
Gaunt. Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.
Boling. Joy absent, grief is present for that time.
Gaunt. What is six winters? they are quickly gone.
Boling. To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.
Gaunt. Call it a travel that thou tak'st for pleasure.
Boling. My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,
Which finds it an enforced pilgrimage.
Gaunt. The sullen passage of thy weary steps
Esteem a foil, wherein thou art to set
The precious jewel of thy home-return.
Boling. Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make
Will but remember me, what a deal of world
I wander from the jewels that I love.
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?
Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven visits,
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens :
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.
Go, say-I sent thee forth to purchase honour,
And not-The king exiled thee: or suppose,
Devouring pestilence hangs in our air,
And thou art flying to a fresher clime.
Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it
To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou com❜st:
Suppose the singing birds, musicians;
The grass whereon thou tread'st, the presence strew'd ;*
The flowers fair ladies; and thy steps, no more
Than a delightful measure,t or a dance:
For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
The man that mocks at it, and sets it light.
Boling. O, who can hold a fire in his hand,
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus ?
Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite,
By bare imagination of a feast?
Or wallow naked in December's snow,
By thinking on fantastic summer's heat?
O, no! the apprehension of the good,
Gives but the greater feeling to the worse:
Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more,
Than when it bites, but lanceth not the sore.
Gaunt. Come, come, my son, I'll bring thee on thy way:
Had I thy youth, and cause, I would not stay.
Boling. Then, England's ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu;
My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet!
* Presence-chamber strewed with rushes.
† A slow dance.