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Richard II

Richard II Translation Act 5, Scene 3

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Enter HENRY BOLINGBROKE, HENRY PERCY, and other Lords

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son? 'Tis full three months since I did see him last; If any plague hang over us, 'tis he. I would to God, my lords, he might be found: Inquire at London, 'mongst the taverns there, For there, they say, he daily doth frequent, With unrestrained loose companions, Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes, And beat our watch, and rob our passengers; Which he, young wanton and effeminate boy, Takes on the point of honour to support So dissolute a crew.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Can’t anyone tell me where my wasteful son has gone? I haven’t seen him for three months; if we have a plague, it’s him. I wish we could find him—ask around at London, among the taverns, for they say he spends his time there with the sort of companions who rob people in the streets, while he, young, stupid, and effeminate boy, spends my money supporting that crew.

HENRY PERCY

My lord, some two days since I saw the prince,And told him of those triumphs held at Oxford.

HENRY PERCY

My lord, I saw the prince about two days ago, and told him about the tournament happening at Oxford.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

And what said the gallant?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

And what did the young man say?

HENRY PERCY

His answer was, he would unto the stews, And from the common'st creature pluck a glove, And wear it as a favour; and with that He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.

HENRY PERCY

He said he would go to the slums and take a glove from a beggar, and wear it as a favor, and with that would defeat the champion in a joust.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

As dissolute as desperate; yet through both I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years May happily bring forth. But who comes here?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Foolish and out-of-control; yet even so, I see some sparks of something better which might come out when he’s older. But who’s here now?

Enter DUKE OF AUMERLE

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the king?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the king?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What means our cousin, that he stares and looksSo wildly?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What's wrong with you—why do you look so wild?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

God save your grace! I do beseech your majesty,To have some conference with your grace alone.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

God save your grace! I beg you to give me some time to talk to you alone.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Leave us alone.

Exeunt HENRY PERCY and Lords

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What is the matter with our cousin now?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What is the matter with our cousin now?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

For ever may my knees grow to the earth,My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouthUnless a pardon ere I rise or speak.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

[Kneels]May my knees grow into the earth and my tongue stick to roof of my mouth, unless you pardon me before I stand up or speak.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Intended or committed was this fault? If on the first, how heinous e'er it be, To win thy after-love I pardon thee.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Did you intend to do something wrong, or did you already do it? If it’s the first, no matter how bad it is, I’ll forgive you to make you love me from now on.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Then give me leave that I may turn the key,That no man enter till my tale be done.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Then let me lock the door, so that no one can come in until I've explained myself. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Have thy desire.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

As you wish.

DUKE OF YORK

[Within] My liege, beware; look to thyself;Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.

DUKE OF YORK

(From outside the door) My liege, beware; protect yourself; you have a traitor in there with you.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Villain, I'll make thee safe.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Villain, I know how to protect myself. 

Drawing

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Stay thy revengeful hand; thou hast no cause to fear.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Wait, don't draw your sword; you have no reason to be afraid. 

DUKE OF YORK

[Within] Open the door, secure, foolhardy king: Shall I for love speak treason to thy face? Open the door, or I will break it open.

DUKE OF YORK

[Outside] Open this locked door, foolish king: will you make me speak in this treasonous way to you when I'm trying to protect you? Open the door, or I will break it open.

Enter DUKE OF YORK

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What is the matter, uncle? speak; Recover breath; tell us how near is danger, That we may arm us to encounter it.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What’s the matter, uncle? Speak [wheezes]; recover breath. Tell us how close we are to danger, so that we can protect ourselves.

DUKE OF YORK

Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt knowThe treason that my haste forbids me show.

DUKE OF YORK

[Shows the letter]Read this, and you’ll know about the treason that I’m too out of breath to explain.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Remember, as thou read'st, thy promise pass'd: I do repent me; read not my name there My heart is not confederate with my hand.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Remember, as you read, what you promised me! I’m sorry for what I did; don’t see my name signed there, since my hand didn’t follow my heart.

DUKE OF YORK

It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down. I tore it from the traitor's bosom, king; Fear, and not love, begets his penitence: Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.

DUKE OF YORK

Your heart was with them even before you signed this. I took it from the traitor, king; fear, and not love, motivates his confession now. Don’t forgive him, lest you regret your pity later when he stabs you in the back.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

O heinous, strong and bold conspiracy ! O loyal father of a treacherous son! Thou sheer, immaculate and silver fountain, From when this stream through muddy passages Hath held his current and defiled himself! Thy overflow of good converts to bad, And thy abundant goodness shall excuse This deadly blot in thy digressing son.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Oh, horrible plot! Oh, loyal father of a treacherous soon! You’re a clear fountain and he’s the stream that muddies your water. But your overflow of goodness will redeem your son, even though he’s committed a crime punishable by death.

DUKE OF YORK

So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd; And he shall spend mine honour with his shame, As thriftless sons their scraping fathers' gold. Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies, Or my shamed life in his dishonour lies: Thou kill'st me in his life; giving him breath, The traitor lives, the true man's put to death.

DUKE OF YORK

My virtue will pay for his vice, then, so that he can spend my honor with his shame, like a spendthrift son who steals his father’s money. You dishonour me by letting him live: the traitor survives, the true man dies. 

DUCHESS OF YORK

[Within] What ho, my liege! for God's sake,let me in.

DUCHESS OF YORK

[Outside]Are you there, my liege? For God’s sake, let me in.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What shrill-voiced petitioner is shouting at us? 

DUCHESS OF YORK

A woman, and thy aunt, great king; 'tis I.Speak with me, pity me, open the door.A beggar begs that never begg'd before.

DUCHESS OF YORK

A woman, and your aunt, great king: it's me. Speak with me, take pity on me, open the door. I'm a beggar that's never begged before. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Our scene is alter'd from a serious thing,And now changed to 'The Beggar and the King.'My dangerous cousin, let your mother in:I know she is come to pray for your foul sin.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

This scene now looks less like a serious thing, and more like "The Beggar and the King." My dangerous cousin, let your mother in: I know she's come to pray that I forgive you for your crime. 

DUKE OF YORK

If thou do pardon, whosoever pray, More sins for this forgiveness prosper may. This fester'd joint cut off, the rest rest sound; This let alone will all the rest confound.

DUKE OF YORK

If you forgive him, whoever prays against it, bad things will come of it. If you cut off this diseased limb, the rest of the body will live; but if you leave it, it will poison you. 

Enter DUCHESS OF YORK

DUCHESS OF YORK

O king, believe not this hard-hearted man!Love loving not itself none other can.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Oh king, don't believe this hard-hearted man! He doesn't know how to love his own, so how can he love you? 

DUKE OF YORK

Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?

DUKE OF YORK

You crazy woman, what are you doing here? Shall your old breasts wean another traitor? 

DUCHESS OF YORK

Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Sweet York, shut up. Listen to me, gentle liege.

Kneels

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Rise up, good aunt.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Get up, good aunt. 

DUCHESS OF YORK

Not yet, I thee beseech: For ever will I walk upon my knees, And never see day that the happy sees, Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy, By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Not yet, I beseech you: I'll stay on my knees forever and never have a happy day in my life, until you give me joy again by pardoning Rutland, my son, who has offended you.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Unto my mother's prayers I bend my knee.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

[Kneeling]  I kneel to add my pleas to my mother's.

DUKE OF YORK

Against them both my true joints bended be.Ill mayst thou thrive, if thou grant any grace!

DUKE OF YORK

[Kneels] I kneel against them with my loyal joints! It won't go well for you, if you grant any forgiveness! 

DUCHESS OF YORK

Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face; His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest; His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast: He prays but faintly and would be denied; We pray with heart and soul and all beside: His weary joints would gladly rise, I know; Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow: His prayers are full of false hypocrisy; Ours of true zeal and deep integrity. Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have That mercy which true prayer ought to have.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Do you think he really means it? Look at his face; he's not crying, his prayers are false; his words come from his mouth, but ours from our hearts. He begs weakly and would rather that you not grant his request; we pray with heart and soul and everything else. His tired joints would rather rise, I know; our knees will kneel to the ground until they take root there. His prayers are full of false hypocrisy; ours are full of true emotion and deep honesty. Our prayers out-pray his—so let us have the mercy which true prayer should receive.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Nay, do not say, 'stand up;' Say, 'pardon' first, and afterwards 'stand up.' And if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach, 'Pardon' should be the first word of thy speech. I never long'd to hear a word till now; Say 'pardon,' king; let pity teach thee how: The word is short, but not so short as sweet; No word like 'pardon' for kings' mouths so meet.

DUCHESS OF YORK

No, don't say "stand up"; say "pardon" first, and "stand up" afterwards. If I were your nurse teaching you your first words, "pardon" would be the first word you knew. I never wanted to hear any word so much; say "pardon," king, and let pity teach you how: the word is short, but short is sweet, and no word is better to hear from a king. 

DUKE OF YORK

Speak it in French, king; say, 'pardonne moi.'

DUKE OF YORK

[Sarcastically] Speak it in French, king; say, 'pardonne moi.'

DUCHESS OF YORK

Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy? Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord, That set'st the word itself against the word! Speak 'pardon' as 'tis current in our land; The chopping French we do not understand. Thine eye begins to speak; set thy tongue there; Or in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear; That hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce, Pity may move thee 'pardon' to rehearse.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Are you trying to ruin this? Oh, my bitter husband, my hard-hearted lord, to set our words against yours! [To Bolingbroke] Say "pardon" as we do it in our country; we don't understand French. Your eye begins to say it; may your tongue say it too; or put your heart in your ear, so that, hearing our prayers, it might take pity on us and command your mouth to say the words.  

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I do not sue to stand;Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.

DUCHESS OF YORK

I don't beg to stand; I only ask for pardon. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.

DUCHESS OF YORK

O happy vantage of a kneeling knee! Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again; Twice saying 'pardon' doth not pardon twain, But makes one pardon strong.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Oh, happy outcome from my kneeling! But I am still afraid; say it again. Two pardons is better than one. 

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

With all my heartI pardon him.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

With all my heart I pardon him. 

DUCHESS OF YORK

A god on earth thou art.

DUCHESS OF YORK

You're a god on earth.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

But for our trusty brother-in-law and the abbot, With all the rest of that consorted crew, Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels. Good uncle, help to order several powers To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are: They shall not live within this world, I swear, But I will have them, if I once know where. Uncle, farewell: and, cousin too, adieu: Your mother well hath pray'd, and prove you true.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

But as for our trusty brother-in-law and the abbot, they'll be destroyed with the rest of the plotters. Good uncle, help us send an army to Oxford, or wherever the traitors are: they won't live much longer if I can help it, once we find them. Uncle, goodbye, and cousin too; your mother has begged well for you, so be loyal going forward. 

DUCHESS OF YORK

Come, my old son: I pray God make thee new.

DUCHESS OF YORK

Come on, my old son; I hope God makes you new. 

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.