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Trumpet sounds. Enter BOLINGBROKE, in
armour; preceded by a Herald. K. Rich. Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms, Both who he is, and why he cometh hither Thus plated in habiliments of war; And formally according to our law Depose him in the justice of his cause. Mar. What is thy name? and wherefore com’st
thou hither, Before King Richard, in his royal lists ? Against whom comest thou; and what's thy quarrel ? Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven!
Boling. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Am I; who ready here do stand in arms, To prove, by heaven's grace, and my body's valour, In lists, on Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, That he's a traitor, foul and dangerous, To God of heaven, King Richard, and to me; And, as I truly fight, defend me heaven!
Mar. On pain of death, no person be so bold, Or daring-hardy, as to touch the lists; Except the marshal, and such officers Appointed to direct these fair designs. Boling. Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's
hand, And bow my knee before his majesty : For Mowbray, and myself, are like two men. That vow a long and weary pilgrimage; Then let us take a ceremonious leave, And loving farewell, of our several friends. Mar. The appellant in all duty greets your high
ness, And craves to kiss your hand, and take his leave.
K.Rich. We will descend, and fold him in our arms. Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right, So be thy fortune in this royal fight!
Farewell, my blood; which if to-day thou shed, Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead.
Boling. O, let no noble eye profane a tear
[T. GAUNT. Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate, Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up To reach at victory above my head, Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers ; And with thy blessings steel my lance's point, That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat, And furbish new the name of John of Gaunt, Even in the lusty ’haviour of his son. Gaunt. Heaven in thy good cause make thee
prosperous ! Be swift like lightning in the execution; And let thy blows, doubly redoubled, Fall like amazing thunder on the casque Of thy adverse pernicious enemy: Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live. Boling. Mine innocency, and Saint George to thrive!
[He takes his seat. Nor. (Rising.] However heaven, or fortune, cast
There lives or dies, true to King Richard's throne, A loyal, just, and upright gentleman:
Never did captive with a freer heart
my dancing soul doth celebrate
K. Rich. Farewell, my lord: securely I espy
[The King and the Lords return to their seats. Mar. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Receive thy lance; and God defend the right! Boling. [Rising.] Strong as a tower in hope, I
cry-amen. Mar. Go bear this lance [To an Officer) to Tho
mas duke of Norfolk. 1 Her. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself, On pain to be found false and recreant, To prove the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray, A traitor to his God, his king, and him, And dares him to set forward to the fight. 2 Her. Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, duke
4 To jest, in old language, sometimes signified to play a part in a masque. Thus in Hieronymo :
• He promised us, in honour of our guest,
To grace our banquet with some pompous jest.' And accordingly a masque is performed.
Courageously, and with a free desire,
[A Charge sounded. Stay, the king hath thrown his warder5 down. K. Rich. Let them lay by their helmets and their
spears, And both return back to their chairs again : Withdraw with us:—and let the trumpets sound, While we return these dukes what we decree.
[A long flourish.
[To the Combatants. And list, what with our council we have done. For that our kingdom's earth should not be soild With that dear blood which it hath foster’d; And for our eyes do hate the dire aspéct Of civil6 wounds plough'd up with neighbours?
swords; [And for we think the eagle-winged pride Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts, With rival-hating envy, set you on To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep? ;] Which so rous’d up with boisterous untun'd drums, With harsh resounding trumpets' dreadful bray, And grating shock of wrathful iron arms, Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace, And make us wade even in our kindred's blood ;
5 A warder was a kind of truncheon or staff carried by persons who presided at these single combats; the throwing down of which seems to have been a solemn act of prohibition to stay proceedings. A different movement of the warder had an opposite effect. In Drayton's Battle of Agincourt, Erpingham is represented throwing it up as a signal for a charge.
Capel's copy of the quarto edition of this play reads · Of cruel wounds,' &c. Malone's copy of the same edition, and all the other editions read · Of civil wounds,' &c.
? The five lines in brackets are omitted in the folio.
Therefore, we banish you our territories:
K. Rich. Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom, Which I with some unwillingness pronounce: The fly-slow 8 hours shall not determinate The dateless limit of thy dear exíle; The hopeless word of—never to return Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.
Nor. A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege, And all unlook’d for from your highness' mouth : A dearer merit 10; not so deep à maim
8 The old copies read “sly-slow hours. Pope reads 'fly-slow hours,' which has been admitted into the text, and conveys an image highly beautiful and just. It is however remarkable that Pope, in the fourth book of his Essay on Man, v. 226, has employed the epithet which, in the present instance, he has rejected :
• All sly-slow things with circumspective eyes.' 9 Word, for sentence ; any short phrase was called a word. Thus Ascham, in a Letter to Queen Elizabeth, · Savinge that one unpleasaunte word in that Patent, called “ Duringe pleasure,” turned me after to great displeasure.'--Conway Papers.
10 As Shakspeare used merit, in this place, in the sense of reward, he frequently uses the word meed, which properly signifies reward, to express merit. Thus in Timon of Athens :
no meed but he repays
Sevenfold above itself.'
• We are the sons of brave Plantagenet,
Each one already blazing by our meeds.' Again, in the same play, King Henry says :
• That's not my fear, my meed hath got me fame.'