Abbildungen der Seite

Where'er I wander, boast of this I can,
Though banish'd, yet a true-born Englishman.


SCENE IV.-The same. A Room in the King's Castle.


K. Rich. We did observe.-Cousin Aumerle,
How far brought you high Hereford on his way?
Aum. I brought high Hereford, if you call him so,
But to the next highway, and there I left him.

K. Rich. And, say what store of parting tears were shed?
Aum. 'Faith, none by me: except the north-east wind,
Which then blew bitterly against our faces,
Awaked the sleeping rheum; and so, by chance,
Did grace our hollow parting with a tear.

K. Rich. What said our cousin, when you parted with him?
Aum. Farewell:

And, for my heart disdained that my tongue

Should so profane the word, that taught me craft
To counterfeit oppression of such grief,
That words seem buried in my sorrow's grave.
Marry, would the word farewell have lengthen'd hours,
And added years to his short banishment,

He should have had a volume of farewells;
But, since it would not, he had none of me.

K. Rich. He is our cousin, cousin; but 'tis doubt,
When time shall call him home from banishment,
Whether our kinsman come to see his friends.
Ourself, and Bushy, Bagot here, and Green,
Observed his courtship to the common people:-
How he did seem to dive into their hearts,
With humble and familiar courtesy ;

What reverence he did throw away on slaves;
Wooing poor craftsmen, with the craft of smiles,
And patient underbearing of his fortune,
As 'twere, to banish their effects with him.
Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench;
A brace of draymen bid-God speed him well,
And had the tribute of his supple knee,*
With-Thanks my countrymen, my loving friends;
As were our England in reversion his,
And he our subjects' next degree in hope.

Green. Well, he is gone; and with him go these thoughts.
Now for the rebels, which stand out in Ireland ;—
Expedient† manage must be made, my liege;
Ere further leisure yield them further means,
For their advantage, and your highness' loss.

K. Rich. We will ourself in person to this war. And, for our coffers-with too great a court,

*I.e. a courtesy, such as now is only practised by women.
† Expeditious.
+ Because.

And liberal largess, are grown somewhat light,
We are enforced to farm our royal realm;
The revenue whereof shall furnish us
For our affairs in hand: 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?

Bushy. Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord;
Suddenly taken; and hath sent post-haste,
To entreat your majesty to visit him.
K. Rich. Where lies he?

Bushy. At Ely-house.

K. Rich. Now put it, heaven, in his physician's mind,
To help him to his grave immediately!
The lining of his coffers shall make coats

To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.-
Come, gentlemen, let's all go visit him:
Pray God, we may make haste, and come too late!"



SCENE I.-London. A Room in Ely-house.

GAUNT on a Couch; the Duke of YORK, and others standing by him.

Gaunt. Will the king come? that I may breathe my last In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth.

York. Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath; For all in vain comes counsel to his ear.

Gaunt. O, but they say, the tongues of dying men
Enforce attention, like deep harmony:
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain:
For they breathe truth, that breathe their words in pain.
He, that no more may say, is listen'd more

Than they whom youth and ease have taught to glose ;*
More are men's ends mark'd, than their lives before:

The setting sun, and music at the close,
As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last:
Writ in remembrance, more than things long past;
Though Richard my life's counsel would not hear,
My death's sad tale may yet undeaf his ear.


York. No; it is stopp'd with other flattering sounds,
As, praises of his state: then there are found
Lascivious metres; to whose venom sound
The open ear of youth doth always listen:
Report of fashions in proud Italy;
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation
Limps after, in base imitation,

Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity
(So it be new, there's no respect how vile),
That is not quickly buzz'd into his ears?
Then all too late comes counsel to be heard,
Where will doth mutiny with wit's regard.*
Direct not him, whose way himself will choose;
"Tis breath thou lack'st, and that breath wilt thou lose.
Gaunt. Methinks, I am a prophet new inspired;
And thus expiring, do foretell of him;

His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last;
For violent fires soon burn out themselves:

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 sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise;
This fortress, built by nature for herself,
Against infection, and the hand of war;
This happy breed of men, this little world;
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed, and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home
(For Christian service, and true chivalry),
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's son:
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out (I die pronouncing it)
Like to a tenement, or peltingt farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds;
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself:

*The observation of the understanding.
+ Written disgraces.

† Paltry.

O, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!


York. The king is come: deal mildly with his youth; For young hot colts, being raged, do rage the more.

Queen. How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster?

K. Rich. What, comfort, man? How is't with aged Gaunt?
Gaunt. O, how that name befits my composition!
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 watch'd;
Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt:
The pleasure, that some fathers feed upon,
Is my strict fast, I mean-my children's looks;
And, therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt:
Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,
Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.

K. Rich. Can sick men play so nicely with their names?
Gaunt. No; misery makes sport to mock itself:
Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me,
I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee.

K. Rich. Should dying men flatter with those that live?
Gaunt. No, no; men living flatter those that die.
K. Rich. Thou, now a dying, say'st thou flatter'st me.
Gaunt. Oh! no; thou diest, though I the sicker be.
K. Rich. I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.
Gaunt. Now, He that made me, knows I see thee ill;
Ill in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill.
Thy death-bed is no lesser than the land,
Wherein thou liest in reputation sick :
And thou, too careless patient as thou art,
Commit'st thy anointed body to the cure
Of those physicians that first wounded thee:
A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown,
Whose compass is no bigger than thy head:
And yet, incaged in so small a verge,
The waste is no whit lesser than thy land.
O, had thy grandsire, with a prophet's eye,
Seen how his son's son should destroy his sons,
From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame;
Deposing thee before thou wert possess'd,
Which art possess'd now to depose thyself.
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 ?
Landlord of England art thou now, not king:

[blocks in formation]

Thy state of law is bondslave to the law;

K. Rich. And thou a lunatic lean-witted fool,
Presuming on an ague's privilege,
Dar'st with thy frozen admonition

Make pale our cheek; chasing the royal blood,
With fury, from his native residence.
Now by my seat's right royal majesty,
Wert thou not brother to great Edward's son,
This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head,
Should run thy head from thy unreverend shoulders.

Gaunt. O, spare me not, my brother Edward's son,
For that I was his father Edward's son;
That blood already, like the pelican,
Hast thou tapp'd out, and drunkenly caroused:
My brother Gloster, plain well-meaning soul,
(Whom fair befall in heaven 'mongst happy souls!)
May be a precedent and witness good,

That thou respect'st not spilling Edward's blood:
Join with the present sickness that I have;
And thy unkindness be like crooked age,
To crop at once a too-long wither'd flower.
Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!→→→
These words hereafter thy tormentors be !-
Convey me to my bed, then to my grave:
Love they to live, that love and honour have.
[Exit, borne out by his Attendants.
K. Rich. And let them die, that age and sullens have;
For both hast thou, and both become the grave.

York. 'Beseech your majesty, impute his words
To wayward sickliness and age in him:
He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear
As Harry duke of Hereford, were he here.

K. Rich. Right; you say true: as Hereford's love, so his :
As theirs, so mine; and all be as it is.


North. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majesty. K. Rich. What says he now?

North. Nay, nothing; all is said:

His tongue is now a stringless instrument;
Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent.

York. Bé York the next that must be bankrupt so!
Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.

K. Rich. The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he;
His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be:
So much for that.- -Now for our Irish wars:

We must supplant those rough rug-headed kernes ;*
Which live like venom, where no venom else,
But only they, hath privilege to live.†

*Light troops.

† Alluding to the idea that no venomous reptiles live in Ireland.

« ZurückWeiter »