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Richard II

Richard II Translation Act 2, Scene 2

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Enter QUEEN, BUSHY, and BAGOT

BUSHY

Madam, your majesty is too much sad: You promised, when you parted with the king, To lay aside life-harming heaviness And entertain a cheerful disposition.

BUSHY

Madam, your majesty is sad too often: you promised, when you parted with the king, to lay aside depression and be cheerful. 

QUEEN

To please the king I did; to please myself I cannot do it; yet I know no cause Why I should welcome such a guest as grief, Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest As my sweet Richard : yet again, methinks, Some unborn sorrow, ripe in fortune's womb, Is coming towards me, and my inward soul With nothing trembles : at some thing it grieves, More than with parting from my lord the king.

QUEEN

To please the king I did, but to please myself I cannot do it. Yet I don't know why I welcome such a guest as grief, except because I had to say goodbye to so sweet a guest as my sweet Richard. And yet again, I feel as if some unborn sorrow, ready to be birthed by fortune, is coming towards me, and my soul is afraid of something; it grieves at something more than just my parting from the king. 

BUSHY

Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows, Which shows like grief itself, but is not so; For sorrow's eye, glazed with blinding tears, Divides one thing entire to many objects; Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon Show nothing but confusion, eyed awry Distinguish form: so your sweet majesty, Looking awry upon your lord's departure, Find shapes of grief, more than himself, to wail; Which, look'd on as it is, is nought but shadows Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen, More than your lord's departure weep not: more's not seen; Or if it be, 'tis with false sorrow's eye, Which for things true weeps things imaginary.

BUSHY

For each real grief there are twenty imaginary shadows, which look like grief but are not so: for sorrow's eye, blurred with blinding tears, divides one thing into many objects. Like a perspective painting (which looked at directly is a mass of confusing shapes, but looked at from an angle shows a clear form), you, looking from an angle at your lord's departure, find more shapes of grief to distress you. But, looked at it is, it's nothing but unreal shadows. Then, most gracious queen, don't cry at anything more than your lord's departure: there isn't anything else, or if there is, you're seeing it with the eye of sorrow, whose tears create imaginary images.

QUEEN

It may be so; but yet my inward soul Persuades me it is otherwise: howe'er it be, I cannot but be sad; so heavy sad As, though on thinking on no thought I think, Makes me with heavy nothing faint and shrink.

QUEEN

It may be so; and yet my inward soul tells me it's not. For whatever reason, I can't help but be sad: so extremely sad that, even if I'm not thinking of anything in particular, I feel exhausted and frightened by this heavy nothing weighing on me. 

BUSHY

'Tis nothing but conceit, my gracious lady.

BUSHY

It's nothing but your imagination, my gracious lady.

QUEEN

'Tis nothing less: conceit is still derived From some forefather grief; mine is not so, For nothing had begot my something grief; Or something hath the nothing that I grieve: 'Tis in reversion that I do possess; But what it is, that is not yet known; what I cannot name; 'tis nameless woe, I wot.

QUEEN

It's less than even that: at least imagination has some grief at the root of it, whereas mine has no clear cause. Nothing has caused me grief about something, or something has caused me to grieve about nothing. Something is coming towards me, something that isn't yet known; what it is I cannot name; it's a nameless sadness, I know. 

Enter GREEN

GREEN

God save your majesty! and well met, gentlemen:I hope the king is not yet shipp'd for Ireland.

GREEN

God save your majesty! and greetings, gentlemen: I hope the king has not left for Ireland yet.

QUEEN

Why hopest thou so? 'tis better hope he is; For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope: Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipp'd?

QUEEN

Why do you hope so? One had better hope he is, for he's in a hurry, and his success against the rebels requires speed—so why do you hope he isn't gone yet?

GREEN

That he, our hope, might have retired his power, And driven into despair an enemy's hope, Who strongly hath set footing in this land: The banish'd Bolingbroke repeals himself, And with uplifted arms is safe arrived At Ravenspurgh.

GREEN

Because then he, our hope, might have brought his army here and defeated our enemy's hopes—for banished Bolingbroke is back in England, and is safely arrived at Ravenspurgh with an army at his back.  

QUEEN

Now God in heaven forbid!

QUEEN

Now God in heaven forbid!

GREEN

Ah, madam, 'tis too true: and that is worse, The Lord Northumberland, his son young Henry Percy, The Lords of Ross, Beaumond, and Willoughby, With all their powerful friends, are fled to him.

GREEN

Ah, madam, it's too true. And what's worse, the Lord Northumberland, his son young Henry Percy, and the Lords of Ross, Beaumond, and Willoughby, with all their powerful friends, have gone to fight with them. 

BUSHY

Why have you not proclaim'd NorthumberlandAnd all the rest revolted faction traitors?

BUSHY

Why have you not proclaimed Northumberland and all the rest of the rebels as traitors?

GREEN

We have: whereupon the Earl of Worcester Hath broke his staff, resign'd his stewardship, And all the household servants fled with him To Bolingbroke.

GREEN

We have: and when we did so, the Earl of Worcester broke his staff and resigned his stewardship, and all the household servants went with him to Bolingbroke.

QUEEN

So, Green, thou art the midwife to my woe, And Bolingbroke my sorrow's dismal heir: Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy, And I, a gasping new-deliver'd mother, Have woe to woe, sorrow to sorrow join'd.

QUEEN

So, Green, you are the midwife to my sadness, and Bolingbroke is the child of my sorrow: now my soul has brought forth her offspring, and I, a gasping new mother, have joined my unborn sorrow with a real one. 

BUSHY

Despair not, madam.

BUSHY

Don't despair, madam.

QUEEN

Who shall hinder me? I will despair, and be at enmity With cozening hope: he is a flatterer, A parasite, a keeper back of death, Who gently would dissolve the bands of life, Which false hope lingers in extremity.

QUEEN

Who shall stop me? I will despair, and be an enemy to false hope: he is a flatterer, a parasite, and a keeper back of death—death, which would let us end our lives gently, when hope makes up live on and suffer.  

Enter DUKE OF YORK

GREEN

Here comes the Duke of York.

GREEN

Here comes the Duke of York.

QUEEN

With signs of war about his aged neck: O, full of careful business are his looks! Uncle, for God's sake, speak comfortable words.

QUEEN

He's wearing armor; oh, and he looks worried! Uncle, for God's sake, speak comforting words.

DUKE OF YORK

Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts: Comfort's in heaven; and we are on the earth, Where nothing lives but crosses, cares and grief. Your husband, he is gone to save far off, Whilst others come to make him lose at home: Here am I left to underprop his land, Who, weak with age, cannot support myself: Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made; Now shall he try his friends that flatter'd him.

DUKE OF YORK

If I did so, I would be lying: comfort's in heaven; and we are on the earth, where nothing lives but problems, cares and grief. Your husband went to save a far-away place, while others make him lose at home: I'm here to prop him up, but weak with age, I can't even support myself. Now comes the sickness after his over-indulgence; now he shall test the loyalty of the friends that flattered him.

Enter a Servant

SERVANT

My lord, your son was gone before I came.

SERVANT

My lord, your son was gone before I came.

DUKE OF YORK

He was? Why, so! go all which way it will! The nobles they are fled, the commons they are cold, And will, I fear, revolt on Hereford's side. Sirrah, get thee to Plashy, to my sister Gloucester; Bid her send me presently a thousand pound: Hold, take my ring.

DUKE OF YORK

He was? Why, then! What will be will be! The nobles are fled; the common people are cold and will, I fear, join Hereford's side. 

[To servant] Go to Plashy, to my sister Gloucester; tell her to send me a thousand pounds as soon as she can; wait, take my ring.

SERVANT

My lord, I had forgot to tell your lordship,To-day, as I came by, I called there;But I shall grieve you to report the rest.

SERVANT

My lord, I had forgot to tell your lordship. Today, on way here, I stopped there—but I will grieve you to report the rest.

DUKE OF YORK

What is't, knave?

DUKE OF YORK

What is it, scoundrel?

SERVANT

An hour before I came, the duchess died.

SERVANT

An hour before I came, the duchess died.

DUKE OF YORK

God for his mercy! what a tide of woes Comes rushing on this woeful land at once! I know not what to do: I would to God, So my untruth had not provoked him to it, The king had cut off my head with my brother's. What, are there no posts dispatch'd for Ireland? How shall we do for money for these wars? Come, sister,—cousin, I would say—pray, pardon me.Go, fellow, get thee home, provide some cartsAnd bring away the armour that is there.

DUKE OF YORK

God for his mercy! What a tide of woes comes rushing on this sad land at once! I don't know what to do: I wish to God, provided I hadn't done anything disloyal, the king had cut off my head with my brother's. What, are there no messages sent to Ireland? How will we have money for these wars? 

[To Queen] Come, sister—cousin, I would say—pray, pardon me. Go, man, go home, find some carts and bring us the armor that is there.

Exit Servant

DUKE OF YORK

Gentlemen, will you go muster men? If I know how or which way to order these affairs Thus thrust disorderly into my hands, Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen: The one is my sovereign, whom both my oath And duty bids defend; the other again Is my kinsman, whom the king hath wrong'd, Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right. Well, somewhat we must do. Come, cousin, I'll Dispose of you. Gentlemen, go, muster up your men, And meet me presently at Berkeley. I should to Plashy too; But time will not permit: all is uneven, And every thing is left at six and seven.

DUKE OF YORK

Gentlemen, will you go raise men for battle? I don't  know how or which way to order the disorderly affairs that have been thrust into my hands, believe me. Both are of my family: the one is my sovereign, whom both my oath and duty bids me to defend; the other is also my kinsman, who the king has wronged, and conscience and my family bids me to fight for his rights. Well, we have to do something. 

[To Queen] Come, cousin, I'll take you somewhere safe.

[To others] Gentlemen, go, raise your men, and meet me at Berkeley as soon as you can. I should go to Plashy too, but there's no time; everything is a mess. 

Exeunt DUKE OF YORK and QUEEN

BUSHY

The wind sits fair for news to go to Ireland, But none returns . For us to levy power Proportionable to the enemy Is all unpossible.

BUSHY

The wind is good to send messages to Ireland, but we've heard nothing back. We can't raise an army the size of Bolingbroke's. 

GREEN

Besides, our nearness to the king in loveIs near the hate of those love not the king.

GREEN

Besides, the king's enemies hate us because he loves us. 

BAGOT

And that's the wavering commons: for their love Lies in their purses, and whoso empties them By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate.

BAGOT

And the wavering common people are his enemies too: they love their wallets, and whoever takes money from them fills their hearts with deadly hate.

BUSHY

Wherein the king stands generally condemn'd.

BUSHY

In that the king is condemned by everyone.

BAGOT

If judgement lie in them, then so do we,Because we ever have been near the king.

BAGOT

If they have power over us, we'll be condemned too, because we've been always  near the king.

GREEN

Well, I will for refuge straight to Bristol castle:The Earl of Wiltshire is already there.

GREEN

Well, I'll go to Bristol castle now for safety; the Earl of Wiltshire is already there.

BUSHY

Thither will I with you; for little office The hateful commons will perform for us, Except like curs to tear us all to pieces. Will you go along with us?

BUSHY

I'll go there for you; for the common people won't do anything for us, except to tear us to pieces like dogs. Will you go along with us?

BAGOT

No; I will to Ireland to his majesty. Farewell: if heart's presages be not vain, We three here art that ne'er shall meet again.

BAGOT

No; I'll go to Ireland to his majesty. Goodbye: if the heart can predict the future, the three of us will never meet again.

BUSHY

That's as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke.

BUSHY

Unless York succeeds in beating back Bolingbroke.

GREEN

Alas, poor duke! the task he undertakes Is numbering sands and drinking oceans dry: Where one on his side fights, thousands will fly. Farewell at once, for once, for all, and ever.

GREEN

Oh, poor duke! His task is like counting the sands or drinking an ocean dry; where one fights for him, thousands will fly to the other side. Goodbye at once, for once, forever.

BUSHY

Well, we may meet again.

BUSHY

Well, we may meet again.

BAGOT

I fear me, never.

BAGOT

I fear never. 

Exeunt

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Eve houghton
About the Translator: Eve Houghton

Eve Houghton graduated from Yale College in 2017 and is currently pursuing the MPhil in Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge. In 2018, she will return to Yale to begin her PhD in English. Her research interests include early modern commonplace books and note-taking practices, paratexts, reception studies, and the history of reading.