Richard II

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 4

page Act 3 Scene 4 Page 2

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LADY

I could weep, madam, would it do you good.

LADY

If it would do you any good, madam, I could weep.

QUEEN

And I could sing, would weeping do me good,
25And never borrow any tear of thee.

QUEEN

And if weeping would do me any good, I would do it enough that I’d be able to sing.
Enter a Gardener, and two Servants
A Gardener enters, with two Servants.
But stay, here come the gardeners:
Let’s step into the shadow of these trees.
My wretchedness unto a row of pins,
They’ll talk of state; for every one doth so
30Against a change; woe is forerun with woe.
But stop, here come the gardeners. Let’s move into the shadows of these trees. I’d only bet my most worthless possessions that they won’t talk about politics, since that’s what everyone does in anticipation of a change. Sorrow is always announced with sorrow.
QUEEN and Ladies retire
The QUEEN and her Ladies step into the background.

GARDENER

Go, bind thou up yon dangling apricocks,
Which, like unruly children, make their sire
Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight:
Give some supportance to the bending twigs.
35Go thou, and like an executioner,
Cut off the heads of too fast growing sprays,
That look too lofty in our commonwealth:
All must be even in our government.
You thus employ’d, I will go root away
40The noisome weeds, which without profit suck
The soil’s fertility from wholesome flowers.

GARDENER

Go, gather up those dangling apricots. The tree is bending under their excessive weight, like a father oppressed by his unruly children. Give the twigs some support. Cut off the branches that are growing too fast and high in our country. Everything must be equal. While you’re doing that, I’ll go dig up those harmful weeds that are stealing all the nutrients in the soil from the flowers.

SERVANT

Why should we in the compass of a pale
Keep law and form and due proportion,
Showing, as in a model, our firm estate,
45When our sea-walled garden, the whole land,
Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
Her fruit-trees all upturned, her hedges ruin’d,
Her knots disorder’d and her wholesome herbs
Swarming with caterpillars?

SERVANT

Why should we make this garden look like a model of beauty and order when the whole country is in disarray? If England were a garden, it would be full of weeds, with the most beautiful flowers choked to death. All the fruit trees would be torn out of the ground, the hedges would be ruined, the carefully designed flowerbeds would be a mess, and the herbs would be covered in caterpillars.

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