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Richard II

Richard II Translation Act 3, Scene 3

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Enter, with drum and colours, HENRY BOLINGBROKE, DUKE OF YORK, NORTHUMBERLAND, Attendants, and forces

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

So that by this intelligence we learn The Welshmen are dispersed, and Salisbury Is gone to meet the king, who lately landed With some few private friends upon this coast.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

So we hear that the Welshmen have abandoned him, and Salisbury went to meet the king, who recently landed with a few close friends upon this coast.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The news is very fair and good, my lord:Richard not far from hence hath hid his head.

NORTHUMBERLAND

The news is very favorable and good, my lord: Richard is hiding not far from here.

DUKE OF YORK

It would beseem the Lord Northumberland To say 'King Richard': alack the heavy day When such a sacred king should hide his head.

DUKE OF YORK

Lord Northumberland should be more respectful and say "King Richard"; God forbid such a sacred king should have to hide. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

Your grace mistakes; only to be briefLeft I his title out.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Your grace has misunderstood me; I left his title out only to be brief. 

DUKE OF YORK

The time hath been, Would you have been so brief with him, he would Have been so brief with you, to shorten you, For taking so the head, your whole head's length .

DUKE OF YORK

There was a time when, if you had been so brief with him, he would have been so brief with you as to shorten your body by a head. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Mistake not, uncle, further than you should.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Careful, uncle—don't misunderstand me further than you should. 

DUKE OF YORK

Take not, good cousin, further than you should.Lest you mistake the heavens are o'er our heads.

DUKE OF YORK

Don't take, good cousin, further than you should, lest you should forget that heaven watches our actions. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I know it, uncle, and oppose not myselfAgainst their will. But who comes here?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I know it, uncle,  and would not oppose myself against the will of heaven. But who's here now? 

Enter HENRY PERCY

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Welcome, Harry: what, will not this castle yield?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Welcome, Harry: what, won't this castle surrender?

HENRY PERCY

The castle royally is mann'd, my lord,Against thy entrance.

HENRY PERCY

The castle is royally defended against your entrance, my lord. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Royally!Why, it contains no king?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Royally! Why, since it contains no king?

HENRY PERCY

Yes, my good lord, It doth contain a king; King Richard lies Within the limits of yon lime and stone: And with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury, Sir Stephen Scroop, besides a clergyman Of holy reverence; who, I cannot learn.

HENRY PERCY

Yes, my good lord, it does contain a king; King Richard is inside those lime and stone walls, and with him are the Lord Aumerle, Lord Salisbury, Sir Stephen Scroop, and a clergyman whose name I can't find out. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

O, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle.

NORTHUMBERLAND

Oh, no doubt it is the Bishop of Carlisle.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Noble lords, Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle; Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley Into his ruin'd ears, and thus deliver: Henry Bolingbroke On both his knees doth kiss King Richard's hand And sends allegiance and true faith of heart To his most royal person, hither come Even at his feet to lay my arms and power, Provided that my banishment repeal'd And lands restored again be freely granted: If not, I'll use the advantage of my power And lay the summer's dust with showers of blood Rain'd from the wounds of slaughter'd Englishmen: The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke It is, such crimson tempest should bedrench The fresh green lap of fair King Richard's land, My stooping duty tenderly shall show. Go, signify as much, while here we march Upon the grassy carpet of this plain. Let's march without the noise of threatening drum, That from this castle's tatter'd battlements Our fair appointments may be well perused. Methinks King Richard and myself should meet With no less terror than the elements Of fire and water, when their thundering shock At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven. Be he the fire, I'll be the yielding water: The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain My waters; on the earth, and not on him. March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Noble lords, go to the old outer walls of that ancient castle, and sound the trumpet to announce our intention to talk with him. Say: Henry Bolingbroke kneels to King Richard and kisses his hand, in allegiance and true good faith, and comes here to lay my army and power at his feet—provided that my banishment be repealed and he freely returns my property to me. If not, I'll use the advantage of my numbers to cover the summer's dust with showers of blood rained from the wounds of slaughtered Englishmen—although to drench fair King Richard's green land with such a scarlet storm could not be further from my intention, as this show of respect demonstrates! Go, tell him that, while we march here on this grassy plain. But let's march without the noise of threatening war drums, so that our offer of peace may be taken favorably from this castle's old battlements. I think King Richard and I should meet with no less force than fire and water, when they thunder and bring tears to the cheek of heaven. But if he's the fire, I'll be the submissive water: he'll rage while I rain my waters on the earth, and not on him. March on, and make sure to tell me how King Richard looks. 

Parle without, and answer within. Then a flourish. Enter on the walls, KING RICHARD II, the BISHOP OF CARLISLE, DUKE OF AUMERLE, SIR STEPHEN SCROOP, and EARL OF SALISBURY

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

See, see, King Richard doth himself appear, As doth the blushing discontented sun From out the fiery portal of the east, When he perceives the envious clouds are bent To dim his glory and to stain the track Of his bright passage to the occident.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Look, look, King Richard has appeared in person, like the angry sun from the fiery portal of the east, when it seems the jealous clouds intend to dim his brightness as he travels to the west. 

DUKE OF YORK

Yet looks he like a king: behold, his eye, As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth Controlling majesty: alack, alack, for woe, That any harm should stain so fair a show!

DUKE OF YORK

Yet he looks like a king: see, his eye, as bright as the eagle's, shoots majestic glances. Oh, it would be a pity if any harm should come to something so fair!

KING RICHARD II

We are amazed; and thus long have we stood To watch the fearful bending of thy knee, Because we thought ourself thy lawful king:And if we be, how dare thy joints forgetTo pay their awful duty to our presence?If we be not, show us the hand of GodThat hath dismissed us from our stewardship;For well we know, no hand of blood and boneCan gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre,Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.And though you think that all, as you have done,Have torn their souls by turning them from us,And we are barren and bereft of friends;Yet know, my master, God omnipotent,Is mustering in his clouds on our behalfArmies of pestilence; and they shall strikeYour children yet unborn and unbegot,That lift your vassal hands against my headAnd threat the glory of my precious crown.Tell Bolingbroke—for yond methinks he stands—That every stride he makes upon my land Is dangerous treason: he is come to open The purple testament of bleeding war;But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sonsShall ill become the flower of England's face,Change the complexion of her maid-pale peaceTo scarlet indignation and bedewHer pastures' grass with faithful English blood.

KING RICHARD II

We are amazed; and have waited a long time for you to kneel to us, because we thought ourself your lawful king.

[To NORTHUMBERLAND] And if we are, how do your joints forget to pay respect to our presence by kneeling? If we aren't your king, show us the hand of God that has dismissed us from our throne; for we know well that no hand of blood and bone can grip the sacred handle of our scepter—unless he disrespects, steals, or usurps. And although you might think that everyone as turned against us as you have, and that we are entirely abandoned by our friends, know that my master—omnipotent God—is raising an army on my behalf, which will strike your children that aren't even born yet, for daring to raise your vassal hands against my precious crown. Tell Bolingbroke—for there I think I see him—that every step he takes on my land is dangerous treason: he comes to start a war, but before he lives in peace with my crown, ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons will bleed, changing the complexion of England's innocent, pale peace to scarlet rage and fear, and covering the grass of this land with faithful English blood. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

The king of heaven forbid our lord the king Should so with civil and uncivil arms Be rush'd upon! Thy thrice noble cousin Harry Bolingbroke doth humbly kiss thy hand; And by the honourable tomb he swears, That stands upon your royal grandsire's bones, And by the royalties of both your bloods, Currents that spring from one most gracious head, And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt, And by the worth and honour of himself, Comprising all that may be sworn or said, His coming hither hath no further scope Than for his lineal royalties and to beg Enfranchisement immediate on his knees: Which on thy royal party granted once, His glittering arms he will commend to rust, His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart To faithful service of your majesty. This swears he, as he is a prince, is just; And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.

NORTHUMBERLAND

God forbid that we should threaten our lord the king with such violence! Your noble cousin Henry Bolingbroke humbly kisses your hand, swearing by the honorable tomb of your royal grandfather—and by the royal blood that runs in both your veins, and by the hands of his father Gaunt—that he comes here only to reclaim his righful property and to beg on his knees that you take back his banishment. Once he has that, he will let his glittering sword rust away, confining his horses to their stables and his heart to the faithful service of your majesty. As a prince, his word is good; as I am a gentleman, I believe him. 

KING RICHARD II

Northumberland, say thus the king returns: His noble cousin is right welcome hither; And all the number of his fair demands Shall be accomplish'd without contradiction: With all the gracious utterance thou hast Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends. We do debase ourselves, cousin, do we not, To look so poorly and to speak so fair? Shall we call back Northumberland, and send Defiance to the traitor, and so die?

KING RICHARD II

Northumberland, tell him that the king says this: his noble cousin is very welcome here, and all his fair demands will be accepted without contradiction. Say this to him as graciously as you can.

[To DUKE OF AUMERLE] We shame ourselves, cousin, don't you think, by looking so poorly and speaking so fair. Shall we call back Northumberland, and send defiant words to the traitor, and so die?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

No, good my lord; let's fight with gentle wordsTill time lend friends and friends their helpful swords.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

No, my good lord; let's fight with gentle words, and wait it out until our friends can come to our aid with their swords. 

KING RICHARD II

O God, O God! that e'er this tongue of mine, That laid the sentence of dread banishment On yon proud man, should take it off again With words of sooth! O that I were as great As is my grief, or lesser than my name! Or that I could forget what I have been, Or not remember what I must be now! Swell'st thou, proud heart? I'll give thee scope to beat, Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.

KING RICHARD II

Oh God, oh God—that my tongue, which laid the sentence of banishment on this proud man, should ever take it off again with accommodating words! Oh, that I were as a great as my grief, or less than a king! Or that I could forget what I have been, or not remember what I must be now! Do you swell, proud heart? I'll give you some room to beat, since my enemies will soon beat both you and me. 

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Northumberland returns with a message from Bolingbroke.

KING RICHARD II

What must the king do now? must he submit? The king shall do it: must he be deposed? The king shall be contented: must he lose The name of king? o' God's name, let it go: I'll give my jewels for a set of beads, My gorgeous palace for a hermitage, My gay apparel for an almsman's gown, My figured goblets for a dish of wood, My sceptre for a palmer's walking staff, My subjects for a pair of carved saints And my large kingdom for a little grave, A little little grave, an obscure grave; Or I'll be buried in the king's highway, Some way of common trade, where subjects' feet May hourly trample on their sovereign's head; For on my heart they tread now whilst I live; And buried once, why not upon my head? Aumerle, thou weep'st, my tender-hearted cousin! We'll make foul weather with despised tears; Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn, And make a dearth in this revolting land. Or shall we play the wantons with our woes, And make some pretty match with shedding tears? As thus, to drop them still upon one place, Till they have fretted us a pair of graves Within the earth; and, therein laid,—there lies Two kinsmen digg'd their graves with weeping eyes. Would not this ill do well? Well, well, I see I talk but idly, and you laugh at me. Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland, What says King Bolingbroke? will his majesty Give Richard leave to live till Richard die? You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay.

KING RICHARD II

What does the king have to do now? Must he submit? The king shall do it. Must he be deposed? The king will be satisfied. Must he lose the name of king? In God's name, let it go: I'll exchange my jewels for a set of beads, my gorgeous palace for a hermitage, my fine clothes for a beggar's gown, my engraved goblets for a wooden dish, my scepter for a pilgrim's walking staff, and my large kingdom for a little grave, a little little grave, an obscure grave. Or I'll be buried in the king's highway, some common road, where the feet of my subjects can trample on their sovereigns' head—for they tread on my heart while I live, so why not on my head after I'm dead[Notices that Aumerle is crying]  Aumerle, you're crying, my tender-hearted cousin! Our tears will make bad weather; our sighs will tear the summer corn from its stems, making a famine in this rebellious land. Or, shall we make a game of it, dropping all our tears in one place, until they have made a pair of graves within the earth, and lie in them—there lies two kinsmen who digged their own graves with tears. Wouldn't that be funny? Well, well, I see I'm just babbling, and you laugh at me.

[To Northumberland] What does King Bolingbroke say? Will his majesty let Richard live until Richard dies?[Northumerland bows] You're still bowing to me, which must mean Bolingbroke says yes. 

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord, in the base court he doth attendTo speak with you; may it please you to come down.

NORTHUMBERLAND

My lord, he waits to speak with you in the lower courtyard, if you'll come down. 

KING RICHARD II

Down, down I come; like glistering Phaethon, Wanting the manage of unruly jades. In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base, To come at traitors' calls and do them grace. In the base court? Come down? Down, court! down, king! For night-owls shriek where mounting larks should sing.

KING RICHARD II

Down, down I come, like glittering Phaethon, unable to manage his unruly horses. In the lower courtyard? Lower courtyard, where kings are made low, coming when a traitor calls and acting respectful to him. In the lower courtyard? Come down? Down, court! Down, king! For it's night when it should be day. 

Exeunt from above

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What says his majesty?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What does his majesty say?

NORTHUMBERLAND

Sorrow and grief of heart Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man Yet he is come.

NORTHUMBERLAND

His sorrow and grief make him sound unhinged—but he's here. 

Enter KING RICHARD and his attendants below

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Stand all apart,And show fair duty to his majesty.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Everyone make way, and show respect to his majesty. 

He kneels down

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious lord,—

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious lord—

KING RICHARD II

Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee To make the base earth proud with kissing it: Me rather had my heart might feel your love Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy. Up, cousin, up; your heart is up, I know, Thus high at least, although your knee be low.

KING RICHARD II

Fair cousin, you shouldn't shame your knee by kneeling on the ground. I'd rather that my heart feel you love than my eye see this sign of respect. Up, cousin, up; your heart is up, I know—this high[points to crown]at least, although your knee is low. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious lord, I come but for mine own.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

My gracious lord, I come only for what belongs to me.

KING RICHARD II

Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.

KING RICHARD II

Your own is yours, and I am yours, and everything. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

So far be mine, my most redoubted lord,As my true service shall deserve your love.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Let it be mine, my most noble lord, only as my true service deserves your love.

KING RICHARD II

Well you deserve: they well deserve to have, That know the strong'st and surest way to get. Uncle, give me your hands: nay, dry your eyes; Tears show their love, but want their remedies. Cousin, I am too young to be your father, Though you are old enough to be my heir. What you will have, I'll give, and willing too; For do we must what force will have us do. Set on towards London, cousin, is it so?

KING RICHARD II

Oh, you deserve: they deserve who know the strongest and best way to get what they want. [To York]  Uncle, give me your hands: no, dry your eyes; tears show their love, but won't fix anything. [To Bolingbroke] Cousin, I am too young to be your father, though you are old enough to be my heir. What you want, I'll give you willingly, for we must do what force compels us to do. We'll go to London, cousin, isn't that so?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Yea, my good lord.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Yes, my good lord.

KING RICHARD II

Then I must not say no.

KING RICHARD II

Then I must not say no.

Flourish. 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.