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As to take up mine honor's pawn, then stoop;
Or chivalrous design of knightly trial;
And, when I mount, alive may I not light,
K. Rich. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's charge?
It must be great, that can inherit1 us
So much as of a thought of ill in him.
Boling. Look, what I speak my life shall prove it
That Mowbray hath received eight thousand nobles,
Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
Upon his bad life, to make all this good,
That he did plot the duke of Gloster's death; 3
Suggest his soon-believing adversaries;
And, consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood;
1 To inherit, in the language of Shakspeare, is to possess.
2 Lewd formerly signified knavish, ungracious, naughty, idle, beside its now general acceptation.
3 Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III., who was murdered at Calais in 1397.
4 i. e. prompt them, set them on by injurious hints.
And by the glorious worth of my descent,
K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars !— Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this?
Nor. O, let my sovereign turn away his face,
How God, and good men, hate so foul a liar.
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears.
Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
Upon remainder of a dear account,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen.2
Now swallow down that lie.—For Gloster's death,—
I slew him not, but, to my own disgrace,
Neglected my sworn duty in that case.-
The honorable father to my foe,
Once did I lay in ambush for
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul;
1 Reproach to his ancestry.
2 The duke of Norfolk was joined in commission with Edward, earl of Rutland (the Aumerle of this play), to go to France in the year 1395, to demand in marriage Isabel, eldest daughter of Charles VI., then between seven and eight years of age. Richard was married to his young consort in November, 1396, at Calais; his first wife, Anne, daughter of Charles IV., emperor of Germany, died at Shene, on Whit Sunday, 1394. His marriage with Isabella was merely political: it was accompanied with an agreement for a truce between France and England for thirty years.
I did confess it; and exactly begged
Even in the best blood chambered in his bosom.
Your highness to assign our trial day.
K. Rich. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me. Let's purge this choler without letting blood: This we prescribe, though no physician; Deep malice makes too deep incision: Forget, forgive; conclude, and be agreed; Our doctors say, this is no time to bleed.— Good uncle, let this end where it begun; We'll calm the duke of Norfolk, you your son. Gaunt. To be a make-peace shall become my age. Throw down, my son, the duke of Norfolk's gage. K. Rich. And, Norfolk, throw down his.
Gaunt. When, Harry? when?3
Obedience bids, I should not bid again.
K. Rich. Norfolk, throw down; we bid; there is no boot.1
Nor. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot. My life thou shalt command, but not my shame: The one my duty owes; but my fair name (Despite of death, that lives upon my grave) 5 To dark dishonor's use thou shalt not have.
2 Pope thought that some of the rhyming verses in this play were not from the hand of Shakspeare.
3 This abrupt elliptical exclamation of impatience is again used in the Taming of the Shrew :-"Why, when, I say! Nay, good, sweet Kate, be merry." It appears to be equivalent to "when will such a thing be done?"
4 "There is no boot," or it booteth not, is as much as to say resistance would be profitless.
5 i. e. my name that lives on my grave in despite of death.
I am disgraced, impeached, and baffled1 here;
Rage must be withstood; Give me his gage;-Lions make leopards 2 tame. Nor. Yea, but not change their3 spots; take but my
And I resign my gage. My dear, dear lord,
K. Rich. Cousin, throw down your gage; do you begin.
Boling. O, God defend my soul from such foul sin! Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father's sight? Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height Before this out-dared dastard! Ere my tongue Shall wound mine honor with such feeble wrong, Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear The slavish motive of recanting fear; And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace,
Where shame doth harbor, even in Mowbray's face.
K. Rich. We were not born to sue, but to com
Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
1 Baffled, in this place, signifies "abused, reviled, reproached in base terms;" which was the ancient signification of the word, as well as to deceive or circumvent.
2 There is an allusion here to the crest of Norfolk, which was a golden leopard.
The old copies have "his spots." The alteration was made by Pope.
At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert's day;
SCENE II. The same. A Room in the Duke of Lancaster's Palace.
Enter GAUNT, and Duchess of Gloster.3
Gaunt. Alas! the part I had in Gloster's blood
Duch. Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur? Hath love in thy old blood no living fire? Edward's seven sons, whereof thyself art one, Were as seven phials of his sacred blood, Or seven fair branches springing from one root. Some of those seven are dried by nature's course, Some of those branches by the destinies cut; But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloster,One phial full of Edward's sacred blood, One flourishing branch of his most royal root,— Is cracked, and all the precious liquor spilt; Is hacked down, and his summer leaves all faded,
1 i. e. make them friends, reconcile them.
2 To design is to mark out, to show by a token. It is the sense of the Latin designo.
3 The duchess of Gloster was Eleanor Bohun, widow of duke Thomas, son of Edward III.
4 i. e. my relationship of consanguinity to Gloster.
5 The old copy erroneously reads "Who, when they see.”