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herents behave towards him as if he really were so, he still continues to give out that he comes with an armed band, merely for the sake of demanding his birthright and the removal of abuses. The usurpation has been long completed before the word is pronounced, and the thing publicly avowed. John of Gaunt is a model of chivalrous truth: he stands there like a pillar of the olden time which he had outlived."*
This drama abounds in passages of eminent poetical beauty; among which every reader will recollect the pathetic description of Richard's entrance into London with Bolingbroke, of which Dryden said that "he knew nothing comparable to it in any other language; " John of Gaunt's praise of England,
"Dear for her reputation through the world;" and Mowbray's complaint at being banished for life.
Schlegel's Lectures on Dramatic Literature, vol. ii. p. 224.
Uncles to the
KING RICHARd the Second.
Earl of Northumberland.
HENRY PERCY, his Son.
Lord Ross. Lord Willoughby. Lord Fitzwater.
SIR PIERCE of Exton. SIR STEPHEN SCROOP.
Queen to King Richard.
Duchess of Gloster.
Duchess of York.
Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, two Gardeners, Keeper, Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants.
SCENE, dispersedly in England and Wales.
KING RICHARD II.
SCENE I. London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter KING RICHARD, attended; JOHN of GAUNT, and other Nobles with him.
King Richard. OLD' John of Gaunt, time-honored
Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,2
Gaunt. I have, my liege.
K. Rich. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him, If he appeal the duke on ancient malice; Or worthily, as a good subject should, On some known ground of treachery in him?
1 "Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster." Our ancestors, in their estimate of old age, appear to have reckoned somewhat differently from us, and to have considered men as old whom we should now esteem as middle-aged. With them, every man that had passed fifty seems to have been accounted an old man. John of Gaunt, at the period when the commencement of this play is laid (1398), was only fifty-eight years old: he died in 1399, aged fifty-nine. This may have arisen from its being customary in former times to enter life at an earlier period than we do now. Those who married at fifteen, had at fifty been masters of a house and family for thirty-five years.
2 When these public challenges were accepted, each combatant found a pledge for his appearance at the time and place appointed. Band and bond were formerly synonymous.
3 In the old play, and in Harding's Chronicle, Bolingbroke's title is written Herford and Harford. This was the pronunciation of our Poet's time, and he therefore uses this word as a dissyllable.
Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that
On some apparent danger seen in him,
And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE1 and NOR
Boling. Many years of happy days befall My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!
Nor. Each day still better other's happiness, Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown!
K. Rich. We thank you both; yet one but flatters us, As well appeareth by the cause you come :2 Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
Boling. First, (Heaven be the record to my speech!) In the devotion of a subject's love, Tendering the precious safety of my prince, And free from other misbegotten hate, Come I appellant to this princely presence.― Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee; And mark my greeting well; for what I speak, My body shall make good upon this earth, Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
1 Drayton asserts that Henry Plantagenet, the eldest son of John of Gaunt, was not distinguished by the name of Bolingbroke till after he had assumed the crown. He is called earl of Hereford by the old historians, and was surnamed Bolingbroke from having been born at the town of that name in Lincolnshire, about 1366.
2 i. e. "by the cause you come on." The suppression of the preposition has been shown to have been frequent with Shakspeare.
Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant;
Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal. 'Tis not the trial of a woman's war,
The bitter clamor of two eager tongues,
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain.
Call him—a slanderous coward, and a villaın ;
Boling. Pale, trembling coward, there I throw my gage,
Disclaiming here the kindred of the king;
1 My right-drawn sword is my sword drawn in a right or just cause. 2 i. e. uninhabitable.