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I do defy him, and I spit at him;
any other ground inhabitable7
gage, Disclaiming here the kindred of the king; And lay aside my high blood's royalty, Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except: If guilty dread hath left thee so much strength, As to take
mine honour's pawn, then stoop; By that, and all the rites of knighthood else, Will I make good against thee, arm to arm, What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.
Nor. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear, Which gently lay'd my knighthood on my shoulder, I'll answer thee in any fair degree, Or chivalrous design of knightly trial; And, when I mount, alive may I not light, If I be traitor, or unjustly fight! K. Rich. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's
charge ? It must be great, that can inherit 8 us So much as of a thought of ill in him. Boling. Look, what I speak my life shall prove
7 i. e. uninhabitable.
That Mowbray hath receiv'd eight thousand nobles,
K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars ! — Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this?
Nor. O, let my sovereign turn away his face,
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and
Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom's heir
9 Lewd formerly signified knavish, ungracious, naughty, idle, beside its now general acceptation. Vide note on Much Ado about Nothing, Act v. Sc. 1. Vol. ii. p. 206.
10 Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III. who was murdered at Calais in 1397. See Froissart, chap. ccxxvi.
11 i. e. prompt them, set them on by injurious hints. 12 Reproach to his ancestry.
(As he is but my father's brother's son),
Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
fault: As for the rest appeald 14, It issues from the rancour of a villain,
13 The duke of Norfolk was joined in commission with Edward earl of Rutland (the Aumerle of this play) to go to France in the year 1395, to demand in marriage Isabel, eldest daughter of Charles VI. then between seven and eight years of age. Richard was married to his young consort in November 1396, at Calais ; his first wife, Anne, daughter of Charles IV. emperor of Germany, died at Shene on Whit Sunday, 1394. His marriage with Isabella was merely political, it was accompanied with an agreement for a truce between France and England for thirty years.
A recreant and most degenerate traitor:
K.Rich. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul'd by me: Let's
purge this choler without letting blood :
Gaunt. To be a make-peace shall become my age: Throw down, my son,
the duke of Norfolk's gage. K. Rich. And, Norfolk, throw down his. Gaunt.
When, Harry? when 17? Obedience bids, I should not bid again. K. Rich. Norfolk, throw down; we bid; there
is no boot 18 Nor. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot: My life thou shalt command, but not my shame : The one my duty owes; but my fair name (Despite of death, that lives upon my grave 19, To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have.
16 Pope thought that some of the rhyming verses in this play were not from the hand of Shakspeare.
17 This abrupt eliptical exclamation of impatience is again used in the Taming of a Shrew :-_Why when, I say! Nay, good sweet Kate, be merry. It appears to be equivalent to when will such a thing be done ?
18 • There is no boot,' or it booteth not, is as much as to say 'there is no help,' resistance would be vain, or profitless.
19 i. e. my name that lives on my grave in despite of death.
spots : take but
I am disgrac'd, impeach'd, and baffled 20 here;
Rage must be withstood : Give me his gage:—Lions make leopards 21 tame. Nor. Yea, but not change their 22
life is done : Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try; In that I live, and for that will I die. K. Rich. Cousin, throw down your gage; do you
begin. Boling. O, God defend my soul from such foul sin! Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father's sight ? Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height Before this outdar'd dastard! Ere my tongue Shall wound mine honour with such feeble wrong, Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear The slavish motive of recanting fear; And spit it bleeding in his high disgrace, Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray's face.
[Exit GAUNT. 20 Bufjled in this place signifies abused, reviled, reproached in base terms ;' which was the ancient signification of the word, as well as to deceive or circumvent. Vide Cotgrave in v. Baffouer. See also a note on King Henry IV. Part 1. Act i. Sc. 2.
21 There is an allusion here to the crest of Norfolk, which was a golden leopard.
22 The old copies have' his spots.' The alteration was made by Pope.