Richard II

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 5

Original Text

Modern Text

KING RICHARD II

How high a pitch his resolution soars!
110Thomas of Norfolk, what say’st thou to this?

KING RICHARD II

He is so determined! Thomas, how do you respond?

THOMAS MOWBRAY

O, let my sovereign turn away his face
And bid his ears a little while be deaf,
Till I have told this slander of his blood,
How God and good men hate so foul a liar.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

I wish you would turn away and not listen till I’ve told this fellow, who disgraces his bloodline, how much God and good men hate liars like him.

KING RICHARD II

115Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears:
Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom’s heir,
As he is but my father’s brother’s son,
Now, by my sceptre’s awe, I make a vow,
Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood
120Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul:
He is our subject, Mowbray; so art thou:
Free speech and fearless I to thee allow.

KING RICHARD II

Mowbray, my eyes and ears are impartial, even if he were my brother, or even my heir, rather than just my cousin. I vow on my scepter that his relation to me doesn’t give him any advantage or prejudice me in his favor. He’s my subject, Mowbray, and so are you, so speak freely and without fear.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
125Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest.
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais
Disbursed I duly to his highness’ soldiers;
The other part reserved I by consent,
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt
130Upon remainder of a dear account,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen:
Now swallow down that lie. For Gloucester’s death,
I slew him not; but to my own disgrace
Neglected my sworn duty in that case.
135For you, my noble Lord of Lancaster,
The honourable father to my foe
Once did I lay an ambush for your life,
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul
But ere I last received the sacrament
140I did confess it, and exactly begg’d
Your grace’s pardon, and I hope I had it.
This is my fault: as for the rest appeall’d,
It issues from the rancour of a villain,
A recreant and most degenerate traitor
145Which in myself I boldly will defend;
And interchangeably hurl down my gage
Upon this overweening traitor’s foot,
To prove myself a loyal gentleman
Even in the best blood chamber’d in his bosom.
150In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
Your highness to assign our trial day.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

Then, Bolingbroke, you lie from your heart up through your false throat. I gave three quarters of the money I received to the king’s soldiers. The other quarter I had permission to keep, because I was owed the money for my service in going to fetch the queen from France. Now take back your lie. As for Gloucester, I didn’t kill him, but I admit I disgracefully neglected my duty. I once laid in wait to kill you, my noble lord of Lancaster, the father of my enemy. It was a terrible sin and troubles me greatly. But I confessed it already and specifically begged your pardon, and I hoped you had forgiven me. That is my fault. As for the rest of the charges, they come from a villain’s evil nature, and I’ll defend myself against this faithless and cowardly traitor. I’ll throw my glove down onto this arrogant traitor’s foot, and I’ll show that I’m loyal even compared to this member of the royal bloodline. I therefore pray that your highness will assign a day for our duel soon.

Richard II: Popular pages