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Which I with some unwillingness pronounce :
The sly slow hours' shall not determinate
The dateless limit of thy dear exile.
The hopeless word of—never to return
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.
Nor. A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
And all unlook'd for from your highness' mouth:
A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
As to be cast forth in the common air,
Have I deserved at your highness' hands.
The language I have learn'd 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 cas’d up,
Or, being open, put into his hands
That knows no touch to tune the harmony.
Within my mouth you have enjail'd my tongue,
Doubly portcullis’d, with my teeth and lips;
And dull, unfeeling, barren ignorance
Is made my jailor 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: After our sentence plaining comes too late.
Nor. Then, thus I turn me from my country's light, To dwell in solemn shades of endle is night. [Retiring.
K. Rich. Return again, and take an oath with thee. Lay on our royal sword your banish'd hands; Swear by the duty that ye owe to God, (Our part therein we banish with yourselves)
To keep the oath that we administer :-
You never shall (so help you truth and God !)
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;
Nor never by advised purpose meet,
To plot, contrive, or complot any ill,
'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.
Boling. I swear.
Nor. And I, to keep all this.
Boling. Norfolk, so fare, as to mine enemy?.-
By this time, had the king permitted us,
One of our souls had wander'd in the air,
Banish'd this frail sepulchre of our flesh,
As now our flesh is banish'd from this land :
Confess thy treasons, ere thou fly the realm ;
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
The clogging burden of a guilty soul.
Nor. No, Bolingbroke: if ever I were traitor,
My name be blotted from the book of life,
And I from heaven banish'd, as from hence.
But what thou art, God, thou, and I do know;
And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue.-
Farewell, my liege.-Now no way can I stray:
Save back to England, all the world's my way. [Exit.
K. Rich. Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect Hath from the number of his banish'd years Pluck'd four away.—[To Boling.] Six frozen winters
9 Nor never look upon each other's face ;] This reduplication of the negative was the language of Shakespeare's time, and is preserved in all the quarto editions : the folio, 1623, has “ Nor ever," &c.
1 Norfolk, so PARE, as to mine enemy.] i.e. "so fare as I wish my enemy to fare." Our text is that of all the quartos and the first folio ; and why the clear meaning and ancient reading has been abandoned by the modern editors we know not, excepting that the second folio misprints "fare” farre. The correct text makes the sense complete, which is otherwise left imperfect. VOL. IV.
Return 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,
Shall be extinct with age and endless night :
My inch of taper will be burnt and done,
And blindfold death not let me see my son.
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 banish'd upon good advice,
Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave:
Why at our justice seem'st thou, then, to lower?
Gaunt. Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
You urg'd 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 :
A partial slander sought I to avoid,
And in the sentence my own life destroy'd'.]
Alas! I look'd when some of you should say,
I was too strict, to make mine own away;
But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue,
with SULLEN sorrow,] The folio, 1623, alone reads, sudden. 3 And in the sentence my own life destroy’d.] This and the three preceding lines are omitted in the folio editions.
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 King RICHARD and Train. Aum. Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know, From where do you 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. 0! to what purpose dost thou hoard thy
That thou return'st no greeting to thy friends ?
Boling. I have too few to take my leave of you,
When the tongue's office should be prodigal
To breathe th' abundant dolour of the heart.
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
Esteem a foil, wherein thou art to set
The precious jewel of thy home-return.
[Boling. Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make
Will but remember me, what a deal of world
I wander from the jewels that I love.
Must I not serve a long apprenticehood
To foreign passages, and in the end,
Having my freedom, boast of nothing else
But that I was a journeyman to grief?
Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven visits,
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.
Teach thy necessity to reason thus ;
• Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make] This and the twenty-five next lines, inclosed within brackets, are in all the quarto editions, but unaccountably omitted in the folio of 1623, and in the other folios reprinted from it.
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 honour,
And not the king exild 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 strew'd,
The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more
Than a delightful measure, or a dance;
For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite
The man that mocks at it, and sets it light.]
Boling. 0! who can hold a fire in his hand,
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus ?
Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite,
By bare imagination of a feast?
Or wallow naked in December snow,
By thinking on fantastic summer's heat?
0! no: the apprehension of the good,
Gives but the greater feeling to the worse :
Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more,
Than when it bites', but lanceth not the sore.
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-e'er I wander, boast of this I can, Though banish’d, yet a trueborn Englishman. [Exeunt.
$ Than when it bites,] Only the quarto of 1597 reads he for “it :" the pronoun refers to the tooth, and not to the impersonation of sorrow. In the preceding line the folio misprints ever for “never.”