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K. Rich. The devil take Henry of Lancaster, and
thee! Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.
(Beats the Keeper. Keep. Help, help, help!
Enter Exton, and Servants, armed. K. Rich. How now? what means death in this
rude assault ? Villain, thy own hand yields thy death’s instrument.
[Snatching a weapon and killing one. Go thou, and fill another room in hell.
[He kills another, and then Exton strikes
him down 14. That hand shall burn in never quenching fire, That staggers thus my person.—Exton, thy fierce
hand Hath with the king's blood stain’d the king's own land. Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high ; Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.
[Dies 15 14 These stage directions are not in the old copies.
15 The representation here given of the king's death is perfectly agreeable to Hall and Holinshed (who copied from Fabian, with whom the story of Exton is thought to have its origin). But the fact was otherwise. He refused food for several days, and died of abstinence and a broken heart. See Walsingham, Otterburne, the Monk of Evesham, the Continuator of the History of Croyland, and The Godstow Chronicle. His body, after being submitted to public inspection in the church of Pomfret, was brought to London, and exposed in Cheapside for two hours,
his heade on a black cushion, and his visage open,' when it was viewed, says Froissart, by twenty thousand persons, and finally in St. Paul's Cathedral. Stowe seems to have had before him a manuscript history of the latter part of King Richard's life, written by a person who was with him in Wales. He
says he was imprisoned in Pomfrait Castle, where xv dayes and nightes they vexed him with continual hunger, thirst, and cold, and finally bereft him of bis life with such a kind of death as never before that time was knowen in England.'
Exton. As full of valour, as of royal blood: Both have I spilt! 0, 'would the deed were good! For now the devil, that told me-I did well, Says, that this deed is chronicled in hell. This dead king to the living king I'll bear;Take hence the rest, and give them burial here.
SCENE VI. Windsor. A Room in the Castle.
Flourish. Enter BOLINGBROKE, and YORK,
with Lords and Attendants. Boling. Kind uncle York, the latest news we hear Is—that the rebels have consum’d with fire Our town of Cicester in Glocestershire; But whether they be ta’en, or slain, we hear not.
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND. Welcome, my lord: What is the news ? North. First, to thy sacred state wish I all hap
piness. The next news is, I have to London sent The heads of Salisbury, Spencer, Blunt, and Kent1: The manner of their taking may appear At large discoursed in this paper here.
[Presenting a paper. Boling. We thank thee, gentle Percy,for thy pains; And to thy worth will add right worthy gains.
Enter FITZWATER. Fitz. My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London The heads of Brocas and Sir Bennet Seely; Two of the dangerous consorted traitors, That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow.
So the folio. The quarto reads of Oxford, Salisbury, Blunt, and Kent. The folio is right according to the histories.
Boling. Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot; Right noble is thy merit, well I wot.
Enter PERCY, with the Bishop of Carlisle. Percy. The grand conspirator, abbot of West
Boling. Carlisle, this is your doom 3: -
Enter Exton, with Attendants bearing a Coffin.
Exton. Great king, within this coffin I present Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies The mightiest of thy greatest enemies, Richard of Bourdeaux, by me hither brought. Boling. Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast
wrought A deed of slander, with thy fatal hand, Upon my head, and all this famous land.
2 This abbot of Westminster was William de Colchester. The relation, which is taken from Holinshed, is untrue, as he survived the king many years; and though called “the grand conspirator,' it is very doubtful whether he had any concern in the conspiracy; at least nothing was proved against him.
3 The bishop of Carlisle was committed to the Tower, but on the intercession of his friends obtained leave to change bis prison for Westminster Abbey. In order to deprive him of his tbe pope, at the king's instance, translated him to a bishoprick in partibus infidelium; and the only perferment he could ever after obtain was a rectory in Gloucestershire.
Exton. From your own mouth, my lord, did I this
deed. Boling. They love not poison that do poison need, Nor do I thee; though I did wish him dead, I hate the murderer, love him murdered. The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour, But neither my good word, nor princely favour: With Cain go wander through the shade of night, And never show thy head by day nor light. Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe, That blood should sprinkle me, to make me grow: Come, mourn with me for what I do lament, And put on sullen black incontinent 4 : I'll make a voyage to the Holy Land, To wash this blood off from my guilty hand :March sadly after; grace my mournings here, In weeping after this untimely bier. [Exeunt.
This play is one of those which Shakspeare has apparently revised; but as success in works of invention is not always proportionate to labour, it is not finished at last with the happy force of some other of his tragedies, nor can it be said much to affect the passions, or enlarge the understanding. JOHNSON.