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As confident, as is the falcon's flight
My loving lord, [To lord marshal.] I take my leave of you;—
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, uncontrolled 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,1
Virtue with valor 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 Norfolk.
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
Mar. Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants. [A charge sounded. Stay; the king hath thrown his warder2 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.
1 To jest in old language sometimes signified to play apart in a mask.
2 A warder was a Kind of truncheon or staff carried by persons who presided at these single combats; the throwing down of which seems to have been a solemn act of prohibition to stay proceedings. A different movement of the warder had an opposite effect
And list, what with our council we have done.
For that our kingdom's earth should not be soiled
With that dear blood which it hath fostered;
And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect
Of civil1 wounds ploughed up with neighbors' 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;2]
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 enriched 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-slow3 hours shall not determinate The dateless limit of thy dear exile ;— The hopeless word4 of—never to return. Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.
1 Capel's copy of the quarto edition of this play reads, "Of cruel wounds," &c. Malone's copy of the same edition, and all the other editions, read " Of civil wounds," &c.
2 The five lines in brackets are omitted in the folio.
3 The old copies read "sly-slow hours." Pope reads "Jly-slow hours," which lias been admitted into the text It is, however, remarkable that Pope, in the fourth book of his Essay on Man, v. 226, has employed the epiphe; which, in the present instance, he has rejected,
4 Word, for sentence; any short phrase was called a word.
Nor. A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege, And all unlooked for from your highness' mouth: A dearer merit,1 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 learned these forty years, My native English, now I must forego: And now my tongue's use is to me no more, Than an unstringed 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 enjailed 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 ;2 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 banished 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;
1 Shakspeare uses merit, in this place, in the sense of reward. The word is used in the same sense by Prior.
2 Compassionate is apparently here used in the sense of complaining, plaintive; but no other instance of the word in this sense has occurred to the commentators. May it not be an error of the press, for"so passionate"?
Nor never by advised1 purpose meet,
Boling. I swear.
Nor. And I, to keep all this.
Boling. Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy.2—
Nor. No, Bolingbroke; if ever I were traitor,
K. Rich. Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes I see thy grieved heart; thy sad aspect Hath from the number of his banished years Plucked 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,
i Premeditated, deliberated.
2 The first folio reads "So fare." This line seems to be addressed byway of caution to Mowbray, lest he should think that Bolingbroke was about to conciliate him.
3 The duke of Norfolk went to Venice, "where for thought and melancholy he deceased."—Holinshed,