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Is not the king's name forty thousand names?
Arm, arm, my name! a puny subject strikes
At thy great glory.-Look not to the ground,
Ye favourites of a king; Are we not high?
High be our thoughts: I know, my uncle York
Hath power enough to serve our turn. But who
Scroop. More health and happiness betide my
Than can my care-tun'd tongue deliver him.
K. Rich. Mine ear is open, and my heart
The worst is worldly loss, thou canst unfold.
Say, is my kingdom lost? why, 'twas my care;
And what loss is it, to be rid of care?
Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?
Greater he shall not be; if he serve God,
We'll serve him too, and be his fellow so:
Revolt our subjects? that we cannot mend;
They break their faith to God, as well as us:
Cry, woe, destruction, ruin, loss, decay;
The worst is death, and death will have his day.
Scroop. Glad am I, that your highness is so arm'd
To bear the tidings of calamity.
Like an unseasonable stormy day,
Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores,
As if the world were all dissolv'd to tears;
So high above his limits swells the rage
Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land
6 Mine ear is open, &c.] It seems to be the design of the poet to raise Richard to esteem in his fall, and consequently to interest the reader in his favour. He gives him only passive fortitude, the virtue of a confessor, rather than of a king. In his prosperity we saw him imperious and oppressive; but in his distress he is wise, patient, and pious. JOHNSON.
With hard bright steel, and hearts harder than steel.
White-beards have arm'd their thin and hairless
Against thy majesty; boys, with women's voices,
Strive to speak big, and clap their female joints
In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown:
Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows
Of double-fatal yew' against thy state;
Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills
Against thy seat: both young and old rebel,
And all goes worse than I have power to tell.
K. Rich. Too well, too well, thou tell'st a tale so
Where is the earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot?
What is become of Bushy? where is Green?
That they have let the dangerous enemy
Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?
If we prevail, their heads shall
pay for it.
I warrant, they have made peace with Bolingbroke.
Scroop. Peace have they made with him, indeed,
K. Rich. Ó villains, vipers, damn'd without re-
Dogs, easily won to fawn on any man!
Snakes, in my heart-blood warm'd, that sting my
Three Judasses, each one thrice worse than Judas!
Would they make peace? terrible hell make war
Upon their spotted souls for this offence!
Scroop. Sweet love, I see, changing his property,
7 Of double-fatal yew-] From some of the ancient statutes it appears that every Englishman, while archery was practised, was obliged to keep in his house either a bow of yew or some other wood. It should seem therefore that yews were not only planted in church-yards to defend the churches from the wind, but on account of their use in inaking bows; while by the benefit of being secured in enclosed places, their poisonous quality was kept from doing mischief to cattle. STEEVENS.
Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate:-
Again uncurse their souls; their peace is made
With heads, and not with hands: those whom you
Have felt the worst of death's destroying wound,
And lie full low, grav'd in the hollow ground.
Aum. Is Bushy, Green, and the earl of Wilt-
Scroop. Yea, all of them at Bristol lost their
Aum. Where is the duke my father with his
K. Rich. No matter where;' of comfort no man
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
Let's choose executors, and talk of wills:
yet not so, for what can we bequeath,
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke's,
And nothing can we call our own, but death;
And that small model of the barren earth,
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones,
For heaven's sake, let us sit upon the ground,
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:-
How some have been depos'd, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos'd;
Some poison'd by their wives, some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd:-For within the hollow crown,
That rounds the mortal temples of a king,
Keeps death his court: and there the antick sits,
Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp;
Allowing him a breath, a little scene
there the antick sits,] Here is an allusion to the antick or fool of old farces, whose chief part is to deride and disturb the graver and more splendid personages. JOHNSON.
To monarchize, be fear'd, and kill with looks;
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,-
As if this flesh, which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable; and, humour'd thus,
Comes at the last, and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and-farewell king!
Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence; throw away respect,
Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief,
Need friends:-Subjected thus,
How can you say to me-I am a king?
Car. My lord, wise men ne'er wail their present woes,
But presently prevent the ways to wail.
To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
Gives, in your weakness, strength unto your foe,
And so your follies fight against yourself.
Fear, and be slain; no worse can come, to fight:
And fight and die, is death destroying death;
Where fearing dying, pays death servile breath.
Aum. My father hath a power, enquire of him;
And learn to make a body of a limb.
K. Rich. Thou chid'st me well:-Proud Bolingbroke, I come
To change blows with thee for our day of doom.
This ague-fit of fear is over-blown ;
An easy task it is, to win our own.
Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?
Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.
Scroop. Men judge by the complexion of the sky
The state and inclination of the day:
So may you by my dull and heavy eye,
My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
• Tradition,] This word seems here used for traditional pras tices: that is, established, or customary homage.
I play the torturer, by small and small,
To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken:-
Your uncle York hath join'd with Bolingbroke;
And all your northern castles yielded up,
And all your southern gentlemen in arms
Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth
Of that sweet way I was in to despair!
What say you now? What comfort have we now?
By heaven, I'll hate him everlastingly,
That bids me be of comfort1
Go, to Flint castle; there I'll pine away;
A king, woe's slave, shall kingly woe obey.
That power I have, discharge; and let them go
To ear2 the land that hath some hope to grow,
For I have none:-Let no man speak again
To alter this, for counsel is but vain,
Aum. My liege, one word.
He does me double wrong,
That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.
Discharge my followers, let them hence;-Away,
From Richard's night, to Bolingbroke's fair day.
1 I'll hate him everlastingly,
That bids me be of comfort - This sentiment is drawn from nature. Nothing is more offensive to a mind convinced that its distress is without a remedy, and preparing to submit quietly to irresistible calamity, than these petty and conjectured comforts which unskilful officiousness thinks it virtue to administer,
2 To ear] i. e. to plough it.