A line-by-line translation

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

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

And what said the gallant?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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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

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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

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Enter DUKE OF AUMERLE

DUKE OF AUMERLE

Where is the king?

DUKE OF AUMERLE

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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DUKE OF AUMERLE

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

DUKE OF AUMERLE

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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Exeunt HENRY PERCY and Lords

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What is the matter with our cousin now?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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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

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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

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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

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Have thy desire.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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DUKE OF YORK

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

DUKE OF YORK

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Villain, I'll make thee safe.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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Drawing

DUKE OF AUMERLE

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

DUKE OF AUMERLE

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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

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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

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DUKE OF YORK

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

DUKE OF YORK

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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

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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

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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

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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

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DUCHESS OF YORK

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

DUCHESS OF YORK

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

What shrill-voiced suppliant makes this eager cry?

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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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

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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

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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

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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

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DUKE OF YORK

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

DUKE OF YORK

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DUCHESS OF YORK

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

DUCHESS OF YORK

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Kneels

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Rise up, good aunt.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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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

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DUKE OF AUMERLE

Unto my mother's prayers I bend my knee.

DUKE OF AUMERLE

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DUKE OF YORK

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

DUKE OF YORK

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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

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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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

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DUKE OF YORK

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

DUKE OF YORK

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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

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

Good aunt, stand up.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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DUCHESS OF YORK

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

DUCHESS OF YORK

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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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

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HENRY BOLINGBROKE

With all my heartI pardon him.

HENRY BOLINGBROKE

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DUCHESS OF YORK

A god on earth thou art.

DUCHESS OF YORK

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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

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DUCHESS OF YORK

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

DUCHESS OF YORK

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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.