Richard II by William Shakespeare

Richard II

by

5.0 — 1 ratings — 0 reviews

subjects: Plays: Classic & Pre-20th Century

Description

Richard II is one of Shakespeare’s finest works: lucid, eloquent, and boldly structured. It can be seen as a tragedy, or a historical play, or a political drama, or as one part of a vast dramatic cycle which helped to generate England’s national identity. Today, to some of us, Richard II may appear conservative; but, in Shakespeare’s day, it could appear subversive: ‘I am Richard II’, declared an indignant Queen Elizabeth. Numerous recent revivals in the theatre and on screen have demonstrated the enduring power and poignancy of this drama of the downfall of an egoistic but pitiable monarch.


95 pages, with a reading time of ~3.0 hours (23,774 words), and first published in 1595. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

Community Reviews

Your Review

Sign up or Log in to rate this book and submit a review.

There are currently no other reviews for this book.

Excerpt

SCENE I

London. KING RICHARD II’s palace.

[Enter KING RICHARD II, JOHN OF GAUNT, with other Nobles and Attendants]

KING RICHARD II

Old John of Gaunt, time-honour’d Lancaster, Hast thou, according to thy oath and band, Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son, Here to make good the boisterous late appeal, Which then our leisure would not let us hear, Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

JOHN OF GAUNT

I have, my liege.

KING RICHARD II

Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him, If he appeal the duke on ancient malice; Or worthily, as a good subject should, On some known ground of treachery in him?

JOHN OF GAUNT

As near as I could sift him on that argument, On some apparent danger seen in him Aim’d at your highness, no inveterate malice.

KING RICHARD II

Then call them to our presence; face to face, And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear The accuser and the accused freely speak: High-stomach’d are they both, and full of ire, In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.

[Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE and THOMAS MOWBRAY]

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Many years of happy days befal My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Each day still better other’s happiness; Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!

KING RICHARD II

We thank you both: yet one but flatters us, As well appeareth by the cause you come; Namely to appeal each other of high treason. Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

First, heaven be the record to my speech! In the devotion of a subject’s love, Tendering the precious safety of my prince, And free from other misbegotten hate, Come I appellant to this princely presence. 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, Too good to be so and too bad to live, Since the more fair and crystal is the sky, The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly. Once more, the more to aggravate the note, With a foul traitor’s name stuff I thy throat; And wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move, What my tongue speaks my right drawn sword may prove.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal: ‘Tis not the trial of a woman’s war, The bitter clamour of two eager tongues, Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain; The blood is hot that must be cool’d for this: Yet can I not of such tame patience boast As to be hush’d and nought 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 return’d These terms of treason doubled down his throat. Setting aside his high blood’s royalty, And let him be no kinsman to my liege, I do defy him, and I spit at him; Call him a slanderous coward and a villain: Which to maintain I would allow him odds, And meet him, were I tied to run afoot Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps, Or any other ground inhabitable, Where ever Englishman durst set his foot. Mean time let this defend my loyalty, By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage, Disclaiming here the kindred of the king, And lay aside my high blood’s royalty, Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except. If guilty dread have left thee so much strength As to take up mine honour’s pawn, then stoop: 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.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

I take it up; and by that sword I swear Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder, I’ll answer thee in any fair degree, Or chivalrous design of knightly trial: And when I mount, alive may I not light, If I be traitor or unjustly fight!

KING RICHARD II

What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray’s charge? It must be great that can inherit us So much as of a thought of ill in him.