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Shall be extinct with age, and endless night;
K. Rich. Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.
Gaunt. But not a minute, king, that thou canst give. Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow, And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow; Thou canst help time to furrow me with age, But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage; Thy word is current with him for my death; But, dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.
K. Rich. Thy son is banished upon good advice, Whereto thy tongue a party1 verdict gave. Why at our justice seem'st thou then to lower?
Gaunt. Things sweet to taste, prove in digestion sour. You urged me as a judge; but I had rather, You would have bid me argue like a father.— O, had it been a stranger, not my child, To smooth his fault I should have been more mild;2 A partial slander3 sought I to avoid, And in the sentence my own life destroyed. Alas, I looked, when some of you should say I was too strict, to make mine own away; But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue, Against my will, to do myself this wrong.
K. Rich. Cousin, farewell;—and, uncle, bid him so, Six years we banish him, and he shall go.
[Flourish. Exeunt K. Rich, and Train.
Aura. Cousin, farewell; what presence must not know, From where you do remain, let paper show.
Mar. My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride, As far as land will let me, by your side.
Gaunt. O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words, That thou return'st no greeting to thy friends?
Boling. I have too few to take my leave of you,
1 Had a part or share in it
2 This couplet is wanting in the folio.
3 i. e. the reproach of partiality.
When the tongue's office should be prodigal
Gaunt. Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.
Boling. Joy absent, grief is present for that time.
Gaunt. What is six winters? they are quickly gone
Boling. To men in joy; but grief makes one hour ten.
Gaunt. Call it a travel that thou tak'st for pleasure.
Boling. My heart will sigh, when I miscall it so, Which finds it an enforced pilgrimage.
Gaunt. The sullen passage of thy weary steps
Boling. Nay, rather, every tedious stride I makel
Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven 2 visits, Are to a wise man ports and happy havens. Teach thy necessity to reason thus; There is no virtue like necessity. Think not the king did banish thee; But thou the king. Woe doth the heavier sit, Where it perceives it is but faintly borne. Go, say—I sent thee forth to purchase honor, And not—the king exiled thee; or suppose, Devouring pestilence hangs in our air, And thou art flying to a fresher clime. Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou com'st. Suppose the singing birds, musicians; The grass whereon thou tread'st, the presence strewed;3
1 This speech and that which follows are not in the folio.
2 i. e. the sun.
3 We have other allusions to the practice of strewing rushes over the floor of the presence-chamber, in Shakspeare. Vol. in. 48
The flowers, fair ladies; and thy steps, no more
Boling. O, who can hold a fire in his hand,
Gaunt. Come, come, my son, I'll bring thee on thy way: •Had I thy youth, and cause, I would not stay. Boling. Then, England's ground, farewell; sweet soil, adieu;My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet! Where'er I wander, boast of this I can,— Though banished, yet a trueborn Englishman.1
SCENE IV. The same. A Room in the King's Castle.
Enter King Richard, Bagot, and Greein ; Aumerle following.
K. Rich. We did observe.2—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?
1 Dr. Johnson thought that the first act should end here.
2 The king here addressed Green and Bagot, who, we may suppose, had been talking to him of Bolingbroke's "courtship to the common people," at the time of his departure. "Yes," says Richard, " we did observe it" i The first folio and toe dpito^^ The
Aum. 'Faith, none byl me; except the north-east wind, Which then blew bitterly against our feces, t 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 seemed buried in my sorrow's grave. Marry, would the word farewell have lengthened 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 borne k^m banishment, Whether our kinsman come to see his friends. Ourself, and Bushy,5 Bagog her% a^nd Gye^n, 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 affects with turn. Off goes his bonnet to an ffiptfNM^I^ , r„,.-. A brace of draymen Ud^0^ s^ed Turn wfcll, And had the tribute of his supple knee,3 With—Thanks, w§ wmtegmp^^;
emendation was made in tne feud, 18&&.
2 The earlier quarto co^i^Trtd^**C>tn«elf and Bushy," and no more. The folio:— ^ ,j„
"Ourself, and Bushy here, Bagot, and Greene. In the quarto, the stage-direction says, " Enter the King, with Bushie," &c.; but in the folio, " Enter the King, Aumerle," &c, because it was observed that Bmkf *mmw afterward. On this account we have adopted a transposition made in the quarto of 1634.
3 To illustrate this, it should be remembered that courfryny (the act of reverence now confined to women) was anciently practised by men.
As were our England in reversion his,
Green. Well, he is gone; and with him go these
K. Rich. We will ourself in person to this war. And, for2 our coffers—with too great a court, 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.
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.
1 Shakspeare often uses expedient for expeditious; but here its ordinary signification of Jit, proper, will suit the context equally well.
2 i. e. cause.