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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
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.For Gloster's
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,
Í did confess it; and exactly begg'd
7 this slander of his blood,] i. e. this reproach to his an
my scepter's awe] The reverence due to my sceptre.
Your grace's pardon, and, I hope, I had it.
This is my fault: As for the rest appeal'd,
It issues from the rancour of a villain,
A recreant and most degenerate traitor:
Which in myself I boldly will defend;
And interchangeably hurl down my gage
Upon this overweening traitor's foot,
To prove myself a loyal gentleman
Even in the best blood chamber'd in his bosom:
In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
Your highness to assign our trial day.
K. Rich. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul'd by
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
Throw down, my son, the duke of Norfolk's gage. K. Rich. And, Norfolk, throw down his.
Obedience bids, I should not bid again.
K. Rich. Norfolk, throw down; we bid; there is no boot."
Nor. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy
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,)
To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have.
I am disgrac'd, impeach'd, and baffled here;
Pierc'd to the soul with slander's venom'd spear;
no boot.] That is, no use, in delay, or refusal.
The which no balm can cure, but his heart-blood Which breath'd this poison.
Rage must be withstood:
Give me his gage:-Lions make leopards tame.
Nor. Yea, but not change their spots: take but
And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,
The purest treasure mortal times afford,
Is-spotless reputation; that away,
Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
A jewel in a ten-times-barr'd-up chest
Is-a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
Mine honour is my life; both grow in one;
Take honour from me, and my life is done:
Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;
In that I live, and for that will I die.
K. Rich. Cousin, throw down your gage; do you begin.
Boling. O, God defend my soul from such foul
Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father's sight?
Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
Before this outdar'd dastard? Ere my tongue
Shall wound mine honour with such feeble
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 harbour, even in Mowbray's face. [Exit GAUNT.
K. Rich. We were not born to sue, but to com
Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
Be ready, as your lives shall answer it, -
At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert's day;
There shall your swords and lances arbitrate
The swelling difference of your settled hate;
Since we cannot atone you, we shall see
Justice design the victor's chivalry.—
Marshal, command our officers at arms
Be ready to direct these home-alarms.
The same. A Room in the Duke of Lancaster's
Enter GAUNT, and Duchess of Gloster.3
Gaunt. Alas! the part I had in Gloster's blood Doth more solicit me, than your exclaims,
To stir against the butchers of his life.
But since correction lieth in those hands,
Which made the fault that we cannot correct,
Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven;
Who when he sees the hours ripe on earth,
Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads.
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 crack'd, and all the precious liquor spilt;
Duchess of Gloster.] The Duchess of Gloster was Eleanor Bohun, widow of duke Thomas, son of Edward III. the part] That is, my relation of consanguinity to
Is hack'd down, and his summer leaves all faded,
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 fashion'd thee, Made him a man; and though thou liv'st, and breath'st,
Yet art thou slain in him: thou dost consent3
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 slaughter'd,
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
His deputy anointed in his sight,
Hath caus'd 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? Gaunt. To heaven, the widow's champion and defence.
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,
thou dost consent, &c.] i. e. assent.