Richard II

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 4

page Act 3 Scene 4 Page 3

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GARDENER

50Hold thy peace:
He that hath suffer’d this disorder’d spring
Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf:
The weeds which his broad-spreading leaves did shelter,
That seem’d in eating him to hold him up,
55Are pluck’d up root and all by Bolingbroke,
I mean the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green.

GARDENER

Be quiet. The one who allowed this disordered mess to grow is now withering like a tree in autumn. The weeds that he sheltered with his leaves, and that seemed to prop him up while simultaneously destroying him, have been ripped up by Bolingbroke. I’m talking about the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, and Green.

SERVANT

What, are they dead?

SERVANT

What, they are dead?

GARDENER

They are; and Bolingbroke
Hath seized the wasteful king. O, what pity is it
60That he had not so trimm’d and dress’d his land
As we this garden! We at time of year
Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees,
Lest, being over-proud in sap and blood,
With too much riches it confound itself:
65Had he done so to great and growing men,
They might have lived to bear and he to taste
Their fruits of duty: superfluous branches
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live:
Had he done so, himself had borne the crown,
70Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down.

GARDENER

They are, and Bolingbroke has taken the wasteful king into custody. Oh, it’s too bad that the king didn’t take care of his land as carefully as we tend this garden! At this time of year we pierce the bark, so that the fruit trees aren’t spoiled by too much of their own rich sap. If he had done the same thing to his men, who were spoiling from too much wealth and power, they might have served him better, and he would have profited. We cut the unnecessary branches off the trees, so that the ones that bear fruit will live. If he had done the same and cut away the unnecessary men in his service, he would still have the crown. But he wasted his time and lost it.

SERVANT

What, think you then the king shall be deposed?

SERVANT

What, do you think the king will be dethroned?

GARDENER

Depress’d he is already, and deposed
’Tis doubt he will be: letters came last night
To a dear friend of the good Duke of York’s,
75That tell black tidings.

GARDENER

He’s already been brought low, and it’s feared he’ll be dethroned. A dear friend of the Duke of York received letters last night with bad news.

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