Richard II


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Bolingbroke, now King Henry, with Harry

Percy and other lords


KING HENRY

Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son?
unthrifty (adj.) 1 prodigal, profligate, wasteful

'Tis full three months since I did see him last.

If any plague hang over us, 'tis he.
plague (n.) calamity, affliction, scourge

I would to God, my lords, he might be found.

Inquire at London 'mongst the taverns there;

For there, they say, he daily doth frequent

With unrestrained loose companions,

Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes

And beat our watch, and rob our passengers,
passenger (n.) wayfarer, traveller, passer-by
watch (n.) 1 watchmen, officers, street patrol

Which he – young wanton, and effeminate boy –
effeminate (adj.) 1 feeble, soft, unmanly
wanton (n.) 6 spoilt child, pampered baby, weakling

Takes on the point of honour to support
take (v.) 12 swear, take an oath

So dissolute a crew.


PERCY

My lord, some two days since I saw the Prince,

And told him of those triumphs held at Oxford.
triumph (n.) 1 public festivity, pageant, display of celebration, tournament


KING HENRY

And what said the gallant?
gallant (n.) 1 fine gentleman, man of fashion See Topics: Address forms


PERCY

His answer was he would unto the stews,
stew (n.) 1 brothel, house of ill-repute

And from the commonest creature pluck a glove,

And wear it as a favour; and with that

He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager


KING HENRY

As dissolute as desperate. Yet through both
desperate (adj.) 3 disregarding, careless, reckless

I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years

May happily bring forth. But who comes here?

Enter Aumerle, amazed
amaze (v.) 1 confuse, perplex, bewilder


AUMERLE

Where is the King?


KING HENRY

What means our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly?


AUMERLE

God save your grace. I do beseech your majesty

To have some conference with your grace alone.


KING HENRY

Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

Exeunt Harry Percy and the other lords

What is the matter with our cousin now?


AUMERLE

For ever may my knees grow to the earth,

My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth,

Unless a pardon ere I rise or speak.


KING HENRY

Intended or committed was this fault?

If on the first, how heinous e'er it be

To win thy after-love I pardon thee.
after-love (n.) later gratitude, future loyalty


AUMERLE

Then give me leave that I may turn the key

That no man enter till my tale be done.


KING HENRY

Have thy desire.

Aumerle locks the door. The Duke of York knocks at

the door and crieth


YORK

(within)

My liege, beware, look to thyself,

Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.


KING HENRY

(to Aumerle)
safe (adj.) 1 harmless, not dangerous

Villain, I'll make thee safe!


AUMERLE

Stay thy revengeful hand, thou hast no cause to fear.


YORK

Open the door, secure foolhardy King.
secure (adj.) 2 over-confident, unsuspecting, too self-confident

Shall I for love speak treason to thy face?

Open the door, or I will break it open.

King Henry opens the door. Enter York


KING HENRY

What is the matter, uncle? Speak, recover breath,

Tell us how near is danger,

That we may arm us to encounter it.


YORK

Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know

The treason that my haste forbids me show.


AUMERLE

Remember, as thou readest, thy promise passed.

I do repent me. Read not my name there.

My heart is not confederate with my hand.
hand (n.) 5 handwriting


YORK

It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.

I tore it from the traitor's bosom, King.

Fear, and not love, begets his penitence.

Forget to pity him lest thy pity prove

A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.


KING HENRY

O, heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy!
strong (adj.) 5 flagrant, barefaced; or: resolute, determined

O loyal father of a treacherous son,

Thou sheer immaculate and silver fountain
sheer (adj.) 1 pure, translucent, unadulterated

From whence this stream through muddy passages

Hath held his current and defiled himself –

Thy overflow of good converts to bad,
convert (v.) change, transform, alter

And thy abundant goodness shall excuse

This deadly blot in thy digressing son.
digressing (adj.) transgressing, offending, wrongdoing


YORK

So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count

An he shall spend mine honour with his shame,

As thriftless sons their scraping fathers' gold.

Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,

Or my shamed life in his dishonour lies.

Thou killest me in his life – giving him breath,

The traitor lives, the true man's put to death.


DUCHESS OF YORK

(within)

What ho, my liege, for God's sake let me in!


KING HENRY

What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?
eager (adj.) 5 impetuous, fierce, impassioned


DUCHESS OF YORK

A woman, and thy aunt, great King. 'Tis I.

Speak with me, pity me, open the door!

A beggar begs that never begged before.


KING HENRY

Our scene is altered from a serious thing,

And now changed to ‘ The Beggar and the King.’

My dangerous cousin, let your mother in.

I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.

Aumerle admits the Duchess. She kneels


YORK

If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,

More sins for this forgiveness prosper may.

This festered joint cut off, the rest rest sound;

This let alone will all the rest confound.
confound (v.) 1 destroy, overthrow, ruin


DUCHESS OF YORK

O King, believe not this hard-hearted man.

Love loving not itself, none other can.


YORK

Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
make (v.) 1 do, have to do

Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?


DUCHESS OF YORK

Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege.
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count


KING HENRY

Rise up, good aunt!


DUCHESS OF YORK

                         Not yet, I thee beseech.

For ever will I walk upon my knees,

And never see day that the happy sees

Till thou give joy, until thou bid me joy

By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.


AUMERLE

Unto my mother's prayers I bend my knee.

He kneels
true (adj.) 1 loyal, firm, faithful in allegiance


YORK

Against them both my true joints bended be.

He kneels
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count

Ill mayst thou thrive if thou grant any grace.


DUCHESS OF YORK

Pleads he in earnest? Look upon his face.

His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest;

His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast.

He prays but faintly, and would be denied;
deny (v.) 1 refuse, rebuff, reject
faintly (adv.) 2 timidly, half-heartedly, without conviction

We pray with heart and soul, and all beside.

His weary joints would gladly rise, I know;

Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow.

His prayers are full of false hypocrisy,
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial

Ours of true zeal and deep integrity.

Our prayers do outpray his: then let them have

That mercy which true prayer ought to have.


KING HENRY

Good aunt, stand up!


DUCHESS OF YORK

                         Nay, do not say ‘ Stand up!’

Say ‘ Pardon ’ first, and afterwards, ‘ Stand up!’

An if I were thy nurse thy tongue to teach,

‘ Pardon ’ should be the first word of thy speech.

I never longed to hear a word till now.

Say ‘ Pardon,’ King. Let pity teach thee how.

The word is short, but not so short as sweet.

No word like ‘ Pardon ’ for kings' mouths so meet.
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count


YORK

Speak it in French, King: say, ‘ Pardonne-moi.’


DUCHESS OF YORK

Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy?

Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord!

That sets the word itself against the word.

Speak ‘ Pardon ’ as 'tis current in our land;

The chopping French we do not understand.
chopping (adj.) [unclear meaning] equivocating, chopping and changing

Thine eye begins to speak. Set thy tongue there;

Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear,

That hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce,
plaint (n.) lamentation, expression of sorrow

Pity may move thee pardon to rehearse.
rehearse (v.) 2 pronounce, speak, utter


KING HENRY

Good aunt, stand up.


DUCHESS OF YORK

                         I do not sue to stand.

Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count


KING HENRY

I pardon him as God shall pardon me.


DUCHESS OF YORK

O happy vantage of a kneeling knee!
vantage (n.) 3 advantage, benefit, advancement, profit

Yet am I sick for fear. Speak it again.

Twice saying pardon doth not pardon twain,

But makes one pardon strong.


KING HENRY

                         With all my heart

I pardon him.


DUCHESS OF YORK

                         A god on earth thou art!

York, Duchess of York, and Aumerle stand


KING HENRY

But for our trusty brother-in-law and the Abbot,

With all the rest of that consorted crew,
consorted (adj.) 1 conspiring, associated, in league together
crew (n.) 2 gang, mob, ring

Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Good uncle, help to order several powers
power (n.) 1 armed force, troops, host, army See Topics: Frequency count
several (adj.) 2 various, sundry, respective, individual

To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are.

They shall not live within this world, I swear,

But I will have them if I once know where.

Uncle, farewell; and cousin, adieu.

Your mother well hath prayed; and prove you true.


DUCHESS OF YORK

Come, my old son. I pray God make thee new.
old (adj.) 3 degenerate, lapsed, unregenerate

Exeunt

 
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