Richard II

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

A camp in Wales.
A camp in Wales.
Enter EARL OF SALISBURY and a Welsh Captain
The EARL OF SALISBURY and a Welsh Captain enter.
My lord of Salisbury, we have stay’d ten days,
And hardly kept our countrymen together,
And yet we hear no tidings from the king;
Therefore we will disperse ourselves: farewell.
My lord of Salisbury, we’ve waited here for ten days and have had difficulty keeping our countrymen together. Since we’ve heard nothing from the king, we’re going to leave. Goodbye.
5Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman:
The king reposeth all his confidence in thee.
My trusty Welshman, please stay one more day. The king has placed all his confidence in you.
’Tis thought the king is dead; we will not stay.
The bay-trees in our country are all wither’d
And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven;
10The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth
And lean-look’d prophets whisper fearful change;
Rich men look sad and ruffians dance and leap,
The one in fear to lose what they enjoy,
The other to enjoy by rage and war:
15These signs forerun the death or fall of kings.
Farewell: our countrymen are gone and fled,
As well assured Richard their king is dead.
It’s believed that the king is dead, and we’re not going to stay. The trees in our country are all withered, and there are meteors flashing in the sky and scaring the stars. The moon has turned red, and the fortunetellers say that bad things are going to happen. Rich men suddenly look sad because they’re afraid they’re going to lose their possessions. And criminals are dancing because they know they’re going to steal those possessions violently. All of these signs point to the death, or at least the fall, of kings. Goodbye. My countrymen have already fled, as they know that King Richard II is dead.
He exits.
Ah, Richard, with the eyes of heavy mind
I see thy glory like a shooting star
20Fall to the base earth from the firmament.
Thy sun sets weeping in the lowly west,
Witnessing storms to come, woe and unrest:
Thy friends are fled to wait upon thy foes,
And crossly to thy good all fortune goes.
Ah, Richard, I can see that your glory, like a shooting star, is falling from the sky to the ground, and the thought is weighing heavily on my mind. Your sun is setting in the west and it’s crying, which tells me that storms of grief and chaos are coming. All of your friends have left you and pledged allegiance to your enemies, and fortune works against you.