Richard II

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 6

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KING RICHARD II

Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me;
Let’s purge this choler without letting blood:
This we prescribe, though no physician;
155Deep malice makes too deep incision;
Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed;
Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.
Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
We’ll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.

KING RICHARD II

Obey what I say, my hot-headed gentlemen. Let’s settle this feud without violence. Such fierce anger causes too great an injury. Forget it and forgive each other. Come to terms and agree to put this to an end. The astrologers have said that this is no month to shed blood. Good uncle, let’s end this now. I’ll calm down the Duke of Norfolk. You calm down your son.

JOHN OF GAUNT

160To be a make-peace shall become my age:
Throw down, my son, the Duke of Norfolk’s gage.

JOHN OF GAUNT

For someone my age it is appropriate to make peace. My son, throw down the Duke of Norfolk’s glove.

KING RICHARD II

And, Norfolk, throw down his.

KING RICHARD II

And Norfolk, throw down his.

JOHN OF GAUNT

When, Harry, when?
Obedience bids I should not bid again.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Come on, Henry, when are you going to do it? I shouldn’t have to ask you again.

KING RICHARD II

165Norfolk, throw down, we bid; there is no boot.

KING RICHARD II

Throw it down, Norfolk, I’m telling you. There is no advantage in refusing.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

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,
170To dark dishonour’s use thou shalt not have.
I am disgraced, impeach’d and baffled here,
Pierced to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear,
The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood
Which breathed this poison.

THOMAS MOWBRAY

I’ll throw myself at your feet, most revered king. You may command my life but not my shame. I owe you my life out of duty, but I cannot, even under pain of death, let you order this dishonor of my good reputation. I am accused and disgraced publicly here, pierced by the venom of slander. The only thing that will ease that pain is to kill the man who uttered these poisonous words.

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