The king of heaven forbid our lord the king
Should so with civil and uncivil arms
105Be rush’d upon! Thy thrice noble cousin
Harry Bolingbroke doth humbly kiss thy hand;
And by the honourable tomb he swears,
That stands upon your royal grandsire’s bones,
And by the royalties of both your bloods,
110Currents that spring from one most gracious head,
And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt,
And by the worth and honour of himself,
Comprising all that may be sworn or said,
His coming hither hath no further scope
115Than for his lineal royalties and to beg
Enfranchisement immediate on his knees:
Which on thy royal party granted once,
His glittering arms he will commend to rust,
His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart
120To faithful service of your majesty.
This swears he, as he is a prince, is just;
And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.
God forbid that anyone would attack the king! Your noble cousin Harry Bolingbroke kisses your hand. He swears by your grandfather’s grave, by the royal blood you share, by the buried hand of his father Gaunt, and by his own honor that he has no intention of doing anything but kneeling down and asking for his land and money back. Once you’ve given him that, he’ll commit to never use his weapons, to put his warhorses in stables, and to dedicate himself to your faithful service. He swears that this is fair to him as a prince. I, as a gentleman, believe him.
KING RICHARD II
Northumberland, say thus the king returns:
His noble cousin is right welcome hither;
125And all the number of his fair demands
Shall be accomplish’d without contradiction:
With all the gracious utterance thou hast
Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.
We do debase ourselves, cousin, do we not,
KING RICHARD II
Cousin, aren’t I dishonoring myself by looking so wretched and speaking so kindly? Should I call back Northumberland and tell him to send only words of defiance to the traitor—and in doing so ensure that Bolingbroke’s army will kill me?