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To me, for justice, and rough chastisement;
And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.
K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars!Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this?
Nor. O, let my sovereign turn away his face,
And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
Till I have told this slander of his blood,*
How God, and good men, hate so foul a liar.
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and ears:
Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom's heir
(As he is but my father's brother's son),
Now by my sceptre's awet I make a vow,
Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood
Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul;
He is our subject, Mowbray, so art thou;
Free speech, and fearless, I to thee allow.
Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest!
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais,
Disbursed I duly to his highness' soldiers:
The other part reserved I by consent;
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt,
Upon remainder of a dear account,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen:
Now swallow down that lie.-For Gloster's death,—
I slew him not; but to my own disgrace,
Neglected my sworn duty in that case,-
For you, my noble lord of Lancaster,
The honourable father to my foe,
Once did I lay in ambush for your life,
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul:
But, ere I last received the sacrament,
I did confess it; and exactly begg'd
Your grace's pardon, and, I hope, I had it.
This is my fault: As for the rest appeal'd, ‡
It issues from the rancour of a villain,
A recreant and most degenerate traitor :
Which in myself I boldly will defend;
And interchangeably hurl down my gage
Upon this overweening § traitor's foot,
To prove myself a loyal gentleman
Even in the best blood chamber'd in his bosom :
In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
Your highness to assign our trial-day.
K. Rich. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me; Let's purge this choler without letting blood: This we prescribe, though no physician; Deep malice makes too deep incision:
* Reproach to his ancestry.
Forget, forgive; conclude, and be agreed;
Our doctors say, this is no time to bleed.-
Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
We'll calm the duke of Norfolk, you your son.
Gaunt. To be a make-peace shall become my age:
Throw down, my son, the duke of Norfolk's gage.
K. Rich. And, Norfolk, throw down his.
Gaunt. When, Harry? when?
Obedience bids, I should not bid again.
K. Rich. Norfolk, throw down; we bid; there is no boot.*
Nor. Myself, I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot;
My life thou shalt command, but not my shame;
The one my duty owes; but my fair name
(Despite of death, that lives upon my grave),
To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have.
I am disgraced, impeach'd, and baffled here;
Pierced to the soul with slander's venom'd spear;
The which no balm can cure, but his heart-blood
Which breathed this poison.
K. Rich. Rage must be withstood:
Give me his gage:-Lions make leopards tame.
Nor. Yea, but not change their spots: take but my shame,
And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,
The purest treasure mortal times afford,
Is-spotless reputation; that away,
Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
A jewel in a ten-times-barr'd-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.
K. Rich. Cousin, throw down your gage; do you begin.
Boling. O, God defend my soul from such foul sin!
Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father's sight?
Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
Before this out-dared dastard! Ere my tongue
Shall wound mine honour with such feeble wrong,
Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear
The slavish motive of recanting fear,
And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,
Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray's face.
K. Rich. We were not born to sue, but to command:
Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,
At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert's day;
There shall your swords and lances arbitrate
The swelling difference of your settled hate;
Since we cannot atonet you, we shall see
Justice design the victor's chivalry.-
* I. e. refusal,
SCENE II.-The same. A Room in the Duke of LANCASTER'S
Marshal, command our officers at arms
Be ready to direct these home-alarms.
Enter GAUNT, and Duchess of GLOSTER.
Gaunt. Alas! the part* I had in Gloster's blood
Doth more solicit me, than your exclaims,
To stir against the butchers of his life.
But since correction lieth in those hands,
Which made the fault that we cannot correct,
Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven;
Who when he sees the hours ripe on earth,
Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads.
Duch. Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur?
Hath love in thy old blood no living fire?
Edward's seven sons, whereof thyself art one,
Were as seven phials of his sacred blood,
Or seven fair branches springing from one root:
Some of those seven are dried by nature's course,
Some of those branches by the destinies cut:
But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloster,-
One phial full of Edward's sacred blood,
One flourishing branch of his most royal root,-
Is crack'd, and all the precious liquor spilt;
Is hack'd down, and his summer leaves all faded,
By envy's hand, and murder's bloody axe.
Ah, Gaunt! his blood was thine; that bed, that womb,
That mettle, that self-mould, that fashion'd thee,
Made him a man; and though thou liv'st, and breath'st,
Yet art thou slain in him: Thou dost consent†
In some large measure to thy father's death,
In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,
Who was the model of thy father's life.
Call it not patience, Gaunt, it is despair:
In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughter'd,
Thou show'st the naked pathway to thy life,
Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee:
That which in mean men we entitle-patience,
Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.
What shall I say? to safeguard thine own life,
The best way is-to 'venge my Gloster's death.
Gaunt. Heaven's is the quarrel; for heaven's substitute,
His deputy anointed in his sight,
Hath caused his death: the which if wrongfully,
Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift
An angry arm against his minister.
Duch. Where then, alas! may I complain myself?
Gaunt. To heaven, the widow's champion and defence.
Duch. Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.
Thou go'st to Coventry, there to behold
Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight.
O, sit my husband's wrongs on Hereford's spear,
That it may enter butcher Mowbray's breast:
Or, if misfortune miss the first career,
Be Mowbray's sins so heavy in his bosom,
That they may break his foaming courser's back,
And throw the rider headlong in the lists,
A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford!
Farewell, old Gaunt; thy sometime brother's wife,
With her companion grief must end her life.
Gaunt. Sister, farewell; I must to Coventry: As much good stay with thee, as go with me!
Duch. Yet one word more ;-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 my 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-O, what?-
With all good speed at Plashy visit me.
Alack, and what shall good old York there see,
But empty lodgings and unfurnish❜d walls,
Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?
And what cheer there for welcome, but my groans?
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.
SCENE III-Gosford Green, near Coventry.
Lists set out, and a Throne. HERALDS, &c. attending.
Enter the Lord MARSHAL, and AUMERLE.
Mar. My lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm'd?
Aum. Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in.
Mar. The duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold,
Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet.
Aum. Why then, the champions are prepared, and stay For nothing but his majesty's approach.
K. Rich. Marshal, demand of yonder champion The cause of his arrival here in arms:
Flourish of Trumpets.-Enter KING RICHARD, who takes his seat on his throne; GAUNT, and several Noblemen, who take their places. A Trumpet is sounded, and answered by another Trumpet within. Then enter NORFOLK in armour, preceded by a Herald.
Ask him his name; and orderly proceed
To swear him in the justice of his cause.
Mar. In God's name, and the king's, say who thou art,
And why thou com'st, thus knightly clad in arms:
Against what man thou com'st, and what thy quarrel :
Speak truly, on thy knighthood, and thy oath;
And so defend thee heaven, and thy valour!
Nor. My name is Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk ;
Who hither come engaged by my oath
(Which, heaven defend, a knight should violate!),
Both to defend my loyalty and truth,
To God, my king, and my succeeding issue,
Against the duke of Hereford that appeals me;
And, by the grace of God, and this mine arm,
To prove him, in defending of himself,
A traitor to my God, my king, and me:
And, as I truly fight, defend me heaven! [He takes his seat.
Trumpet sounds.-Enter BOLINGBROKE, in armour; preceded
by a Herald.
K. Rich. 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.
Mar. What is thy name? and wherefore com'st thou hither,
Before king Richard, in his royal lists ?
Against whom comest thou; and what's thy quarrel?
Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!
Boling. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
Am I; who ready here do stand in arms,
To prove, by heaven's grace, and my body's valour,
In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk,
That he's a traitor, foul and dangerous,
To God of heaven, king Richard, and to me:
And, as I truly fight, defend me heaven!
Mar. On pain of death, no person be so bold,
Or daring-hardy, as to touch the lists;
Except the marshal, and such officers
Appointed to direct these fair designs.
Boling. Lord Marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's hand,
And bow my knee before his majesty :
For Mowbray, and myself, are like two men
That vow a long and weary pilgrimage;
Then let us take a ceremonious leave,
And loving farewell, of our several friends.
Mar. The appellant in all duty greets your highness,
And craves to kiss your hand, and take his leave.
K. Rich. We will descend, and fold him in our arms.
Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,
So be thy fortune in this royal fight!
Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed,
Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.