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By envy's hand, and murder's bloody axe.
Ah, Gaunt! his blood was thine; that bed, that womb,
That mettle, that self-mould, that fashioned thee, Made him a man; and though thou liv'st, and breath'st,
Yet art thou slain in him; thou dost consent
In some large measure to thy father's death,
In that thou seest thy wretched brother die,
Who was the model of thy father's life.
Call it not patience, Gaunt, it is despair;
In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughtered,
Thou show'st the naked pathway to thy life,
Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee.
That which in mean men we entitle-patience,
Is pale, cold cowardice in noble breasts.
What shall I say? To safeguard thine own life,
The best way is-to 'venge my Gloster's death.
Gaunt. Heaven's is the quarrel; for Heaven's sub-
His deputy anointed in his sight,
Hath caused his death; the which, if wrongfully,
Let Heaven revenge; for I may never lift
An angry arm against his minister.
Duch. Where then, alas! may I complain myself?1
Gaunt. To Heaven, the widow's champion and de-
Duch. Why, then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.
Thou go'st to Coventry, there to behold
Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight;
O, sit my husband's wrongs on Hereford's spear,
That it may enter butcher Mowbray's breast!
Or, if misfortune miss the first career,
Be Mowbray's sins so heavy in his bosom,
That they may break his foaming courser's back,
And throw the rider headlong in the lists,
A caitiff, recreant to my cousin Hereford!
1 To complain is commonly a verb neuter; but it is here used as a verb active. It is a literal translation of the old French phrase me complaindre, and is not peculiar to Shakspeare.
Farewell, old Gaunt; thy sometime brother's wife,
With her companion grief must end her life.
Gaunt. Sister, farewell; I must to Coventry.
As much good stay with thee, as go with me!
Duch. Yet one word more.-Grief boundeth where it falls,
Not with the empty hollowness, but weight.
I take my leave before I have begun;
For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done.
Commend me to my brother, Edmund York.
Lo, this is all.-Nay, yet depart not so:
Though this be all, do not so quickly go;
I shall remember more. Bid him-O, what?—
With all good speed at Plashy1 visit me.
Alack, and what shall good old York there see,
But empty lodgings and unfurnished walls,2
Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?
And what cheer there for welcome, but my groans?
Therefore commend me; let him not come there,
To seek out sorrow that dwells every where.
Desolate, desolate, will I hence, and die;
The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.
SCENE III. Gosford Green, near Coventry. Lists set out, and a throne. Heralds, &c. attending.
Enter the Lord Marshal, and AUMERLE.3
Mar. My lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford armed? Aum. Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in.
1 Her house in Essex.
2 In our ancient castles the naked stone walls were only covered with tapestry or arras, hung upon tenterhooks, from which it was easily taken down on every removal of the family.
3 The duke of Norfolk was earl marshal of England; but being himself one of the combatants, the duke of Surry (Thomas Holland) officiated. Shakspeare has made a slight mistake by introducing that nobleman as a distinct person from the marshal in the present drama. Edward, duke of Aumerle (so created by his cousin-german, Richard II., in 1397), was the eldest son of Edward, duke of York, fifth son of Edward III., officiated as high constable at the lists of Coventry. He was killed at the battle of Agincourt, in 1415.
Mar. The duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold, Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet. Aum. Why then, the champions are prepared, and
stay For nothing but his majesty's approach.
Flourish of trumpets. Enter KING RICHARD, who
takes his seat on his throne; GAUNT, and several Noblemen, who take their places. A trumpet is sounded, and answered by another trumpet within. Then enter NORFOLK, in armor, preceded by a Herald.
K. Rich. Marshal, demand of yonder champion
The cause of his arrival here in arms.
Ask him his name; and orderly proceed
To swear him in the justice of his cause.
Mar. In God's name, and the king's, say who thou
And why thou com'st, thus knightly clad in arms?
Against what man thou com'st, and what thy quarrel?
Speak truly, on thy knighthood, and thy oath;
As so defend thee Heaven, and thy valor!
Nor. My name is Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk;1
Who hither come engaged by my oath,
(Which Heaven defend a knight should violate!)
Both to defend my loyalty and truth,
To God, my king, and my succeeding issue,
Against the duke of Hereford that appeals me;
And, by the grace of God, and this mine arm,
To prove him, in defending of myself,
A traitor to my God, my king, and me:
And, as I truly fight, defend me Heaven!
1 The duke of Hereford, being the appellant, entered the lists first, according to the historians.
2 "His succeeding issue" is the reading of the first folio: the quartos all read my.
K. Rich. Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms,
Both who he is, and why he cometh hither
Thus plated in habiliments of war;
And formally, according to our law,
Depose him in the justice of his cause.
Mar. What is thy name? and wherefore com'st
Enter BOLINGBROKE, in armor; preceded by a Herald.
Before king Richard, in his royal lists?
Against whom com'st thou? and what's thy quarrel?
Speak like a true knight, so defend thee Heaven!
Boling. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
Am I; who ready here do stand in arms,
prove, by Heaven's grace, and my body's valor,
In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk,
That he's a traitor, foul and dangerous,
To God of heaven, king Richard, and to me :
And, as I truly fight, defend me Heaven!
Mar. On pain of death, no person be so bold,
Or daring-hardy, as to touch the lists;
Except the marshal, and such officers
Appointed to direct these fair designs.
Boling. Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's
And bow my knee before his majesty ;
For Mowbray, and myself, are like two men
That vow a long and weary pilgrimage ;
Then let us take a ceremonious leave,
And loving farewell, of our several friends.
Mar. The appellant in all duty greets your highness,
And craves to kiss your hand and take his leave.
K. Rich. We will descend, and fold him in our arms.
Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right,
So be thy fortune in this royal fight!
Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed,
Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.
Boling. O, let no noble eye profane a tear
For me, if I be gored with Mowbray's spear;
As confident, as is the falcon's flight
Against a bird, do I with Mowbray fight.
My loving lord, [To lord marshal.] I take my leave of you;
Of you, my noble cousin, lord Aumerle ;-
Not sick, although I have to do with death;
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath.
Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet
The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet.
O thou, the earthly author of my blood,—
Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,
Doth with a twofold vigor lift me up
To reach at victory above my head,-
Add proof unto mine armor with thy prayers;
And with thy blessings steel my lance's point,
That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat,
And furbish new the name of John of Gaunt,
Even in the lusty 'havior of his son.
Gaunt. Heaven in thy good cause make thee pros
Be swift like lightning in the execution;
And let thy blows, doubly redoubled,
Fall like amazing thunder on the casque
Of thy adverse, pernicious enemy.
Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live.
Boling. Mine innocency, and Saint George to thrive!
[He takes his seat.
Nor. [Rising.] However Heaven, or fortune, cast
There lives or dies, true to king Richard's throne,
A loyal, just, and upright gentleman.
Never did captive with a freer heart
Cast off his chains of bondage, and embrace
His golden, uncontrolled enfranchisement,
More than my dancing soul doth celebrate
This feast of battle with mine adversary.—
Most mighty liege, and my companion peers,—
Take from my mouth the wish of happy years.