« ZurückWeiter »
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 buzzed 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,
Feared 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,)
1 Where the will rebels against the notices of the understanding.
2 i. e. by reason of their breed. The quarto of 1598 reads thus :-
“ Feared by their breed, and famous for their birth.”
Like to a tenement, or pelting' 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.
O, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!
Enter King RICHARD and Queen ;? AUMERLE, Bushy,
GREEN, Bagot, Ross, and Willoughby.“
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. 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 watched;
Watching breeds leanness; leanness is all gaunt.
The pleasure, that some fathers feed upon,
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 inhabits nought but bones.
K. Rich. Can sick men play so nicely with their
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
Gaunt. No, no; men living, flatter those that die.
K. Rich. Thou, now a dying, say'st—thou flatter'st
Gaunt. O, no; thou diest, though I the sicker be.
K. Rich. I am in health, 1 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 thy land,
Wherein thou liest in reputation sick;
And thou, too careless patient as thou art,
Committ'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;
0, 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 possessed,
Which art possessed' 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;
Thy state of law is bondslave to the law
-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 unreverent 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 tapped 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,
crop at once a too-long withered 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 honor 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. I do beseech your majesty, impute his words To wayward sickliness and age in him. He loves you, on my life, and holds 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.
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND. North. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your
majesty K. Rich. What says he ?
North. Nay, nothing; all is said :
His tongue is now a stringless instrument;
Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent.
York. Be 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.3 And, for these great affairs do ask some charge, Towards our assistance, we do seize to us The plate, coin, revenues, and movables, Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possessed.
York. How long shall I be patient ? Ah, how long
Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?
Not Gloster's death, nor Hereford's banishment,
Not Gaunt's rebukes, nor England's private wrongs,
Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke
About his marriage,* nor my own disgrace,
Have ever made me sour my patient cheek,
Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign's face.-
I am the last of noble Edward's sons,
Of whom thy father, prince of Wales, was first;
In war, was never lion raged more fierce,
peace, was never gentle lamb more mild,
Than was that young and princely gentleman.
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 noble hand
Did win what he did spend, and spent not that