KING RICHARD II
No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
145Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let’s choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
150Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke’s,
And nothing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
155For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d;
160All murder’d: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
165To monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour’d thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
170Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence: throw away respect,
Tradition, form and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
175I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?
KING RICHARD II
It doesn’t matter where he is. Let’s not try to cheer ourselves up. We must talk about graves and worms and
An inscription on a tombstone.epitaphs . We’ll make the dust our paper and use our tears to write a message of sorrow on the earth. Let’s choose our
A person appointed by another to carry out the terms of his or her will.executors and talk of wills. And, yet, what can we bequeath to anyone other than leaving our rotting bodies to the ground? Our lands and our lives now belong to Bolingbroke, and we can call nothing our own except for our deaths and that little patch of earth that will cover our buried bodies. For God’s sake, let’s sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings, how some were overthrown and others killed in war. Some were haunted by the ghosts of the kings they had overthrown. Still others were poisoned by their wives, while others were killed in their sleep. All of them, however, were murdered. There is always death around kings, and there’s no way to escape it. Death laughs at the king’s reign and mocks his great ceremonies, allowing him to live a little while and play the monarch. Death fills him with pride as if the king’s body were immortal, and at the end death comes and with little effort kills the body. Then goodbye, king! So stop treating me so respectfully. There’s no need to pretend that I am any different than you. You’ve been wrong about me all this time. I feel all the same things that you do. I have desires and feel sad and need friends, just like you. How, then, can you say that I’m a king?