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SCENE I.-London. A room in the palace. Enter King RICHARD, attended; JOHN of GAUNT, and other nobles, with him.
K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster, Hast thou, according to thy oath and band, Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son; Here to make good the boisterous late appeal, Which then our leisure would not let us hear, Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray? 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?
Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that argument,
On some apparent danger seen in him,
Aim'd at your highness, no inveterate malice.
K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face to face And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear Th' accuser, and th' accused, freely speak :
[Exeunt some Attendants
High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire,
In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.
Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and Norfolk
Boling. May many years of happy days befal
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;
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,
divine soul answer it in heaven.
Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant;
Too good to be so, and too bad to live;
Since, the more fair and crystal is the sky,
The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.
Once more, the more to aggravate the note,
With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat;
And wish, (so please my sovereign,) ere I move,
What my tongue speaks, my right-drawn sword may
Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal: 'Tis not the trial of a woman's war,
The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain:
The blood is hot, that must be cool'd for this,
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast,
As to be hush'd, and nought at all to say:
First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me
From giving reins and spurs to my free speech;
Which else would post, until it had return'd
These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
Setting aside his high blood's royalty,
And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
I do defy him, and I spit at him;
Call him-a slanderous coward, and a villain:
Which to maintain, I would allow him odds;
And meet him, were I tied to run a-foot
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
Or any other ground inhabitable
Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
Mean time, let this defend my loyalty,—
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.
Boling. Pale trembling coward, there I throw my
Disclaiming here the kindred of a king;
And lay aside my high blood's royalty,
Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except.
If guilty dread hath left thee so much strength,
As to take up mine honour's pawn, then stoop;
By that, and all the rites of knighthood else,
Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.
Nor. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear,
Which gently lay'd my knighthood on my shoulder,
I'll answer thee in any fair degree,
Or chivalrous design of knightly trial:
And, when I mount, alive may I not light,
If I be traitor, or unjustly fight!
K. Rich. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's charge?
It must be great, that can inherit us
So much as of a thought of ill in him.
Boling. Look, what I speak my life shall prove it true;
That Mowbray hath receiv'd eight thousand nobles,
In name of lendings for your highness' soldiers;
The which he hath detain'd for lewd employments,
Like a false traitor, and injurious villain.
Besides I say, and will in battle prove,-
Or here, or elsewhere, to the furthest verge
That ever was survey'd by English eye,—
That all the treasons, for these eighteen years
Complotted and contrived in this land,
Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring.
Further I say, and further will maintain
Upon his bad life, to make all this good,—
That he did plot the duke of Gloster's death;
Suggest his soon-believing adversaries;
And, consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluic'd out his innocent soul through streams of blood
Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
To me, for justice, and rough chastisement;
And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.
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,
And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
Till I have told this slander of his blood,
How God, and good men, hate so foul a liar.
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and ears:
Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom's heir,
(As he is but my father's brother's son,)
Now by my scepter's awe I make a vow,
Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood
Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul;
He is our subject, Mowbray, so art thou;
Free speech, and fearless, I to thee allow.
Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest!
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais,
Disburs'd I duly to his highness' soldiers:
The other part reserv'd I by consent;
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt,
Upon remainder of a dear account,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen:
Now swallow down that lie.-
I slew him not; but to my own disgrace,
Neglected my sworn duty in that case.—
For you, my noble lord of Lancaster,
The honourable father to my foe,
Once did I lay an ambush for your life,
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul:
But, ere I last receiv'd the sacrament,