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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.
Ah! 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 rag'd, do rage the more.

. Queen. How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster ? K. Rich. What, comfort, man ! How is't with aged

Gaunt? 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 watch'd ; Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt: The pleasure that some fathers feed upon Is 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 inherits nought but bones. K. Rich. Can sick men play so nicely with their

names? 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

lives? Gaunt. No, no; men living flatter those that die. K. Rich. Thou, now a-dying, say’st—thou flatter’st me. Gaunt. O! no; thou diest, though I the sicker be.

8 — flatter with those that live ?] The folio omits the preposition. Farther on it reads, “I see thee ill :" the quartos, “and see thee ill."

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K. Rich. I am in health, I 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 the land,
Wherein thou liest in reputation sick;
And thou, too careless patient as thou art,
Commit'st thy 'nointed 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.
O! 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 possess'd,
Which art possess'd 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,
And thou-

K. Rich. A lunatic lean-witted fool”,

. And yet, INCAGED in so small a verge,] The four early quartos have inraged: the error is corrected in the first folio.

| Landlord of England art thou now, not king :] In the old copies, this line is differently printed : in the quarto, 1597, thus :

“ Landlord of England art thou now not, not king ;" and so it is repeated in the quartos of 1598 and 1608 ; but that of 1615 substitutes nor for the last not. The folio, 1623, reads,

“ Landlord of England art thou, and not king ; ” which is much less forcible than our text, in which the repetition of the negative, injurious to the metre and to the sense of the passage, is omitted. None of the commentators have pointed out the variation. The allusion, of course, is to the manner in which Richard had let out his kingdom“ to farm.”

A lunatic lean-witted fool,] This is the reading of all the quarto editions : the folio gives it thus :

2

* And

Rich. And thou a lunatic lean-witted fool,” &c.

Presuming on an ague's privilege,
Dar’st with thy frozen admonition
Make pale our cheek, chasing the royal blood 3
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 unreverend 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 tapp'd out, and drunkenly carous'd.
My brother Gloster, plain well-meaning soul,
Whom fair befal 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,
To 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 honour 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 :

3

CHASING the royal blood] So all the quartos: the folio, 1623, chafing. 4 And let them die, that age and sullens have,] This is the reading of all the old copies, and therefore to be adopted ; but it may be doubted whether it be correct. In a MS. common-place book of the time, already quoted, the couplet runs as follows, under the head of “ Age and Fulness,"

“ And let them die, that age and fulness have,

For both hast thou, and both become the grave.” “ Sullens ” might be easily misread by the compositor for fulness ; but, nevertheless, what York says seems to show, that the King meant to reproach Gaunt with ill-temper.

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He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear
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 kerns, Which live like venom, where no venom else, But only they, hath privilege to live: And for these great affairs do ask some charge, Towards our assistance we do seize to us The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables, Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.

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 rag'd more fierce, In peace was never gentle lamb more mild,

Than was that young and princely gentleman.
His face thou hast, for even so look'd he,
Accomplish'd with the number of thy hours”;
But when he frown'd, it was against the French,
And not against his friends: his noble hand
Did win what he did spend, and spent not that
Which his triumphant father's hand had won :
His hands were guilty of no kindred blood,
But bloody with the enemies of his kin.
O, Richard ! York is too far gone with grief,
Or else he never would compare between.

K. Rich. Why, uncle, what's the matter?
York.

O, my liege!
Pardon me, if you please ; if not, I, pleas'd
Not to be pardon’d, am content withal.
Seek you to seize, and gripe into your hands,
The royalties and rights of banish'd Hereford ?
Is not Gaunt dead, and doth not Hereford live?
Was not Gaunt just, and is not Harry true ?
Did not the one deserve to have an heir ?
Is not his heir a well-deserving son?
Take Hereford's rights away, and take from time
Ilis charters and his customary rights;
Let not to-morrow, then, ensue to-day;
Be not thyself; for how art thou a king,
But by fair sequence and succession?
Now, afore God (God forbid, I say true!)
If you do wrongfully seize Hereford's rights,
Call in the letters patents that he hath
By his attornies-general to sue
His liveryo, and deny his offer'd homage,

5 Accomplished with the number of thy hours ;] This is the correct reading of the folio : the quartos all have the indefinite for the definite article. 6 His LIVERY,]

“ On the death of every person (says Malone) who held by knight's service, the escheator of the court in which he died summoned a jury, who inquired what estate he died seized of, and of what age his next heir was. If he was under age, he became a ward of the king ; but if he was found to be of full age, he then had a right to sue out a writ of ouster le main, that is, his litery, that the king's hand might be taken off, and the land delivered to him.”

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