Richard II

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 4

page Act 3 Scene 4 Page 4

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QUEEN

O, I am press’d to death through want of speaking!

QUEEN

Oh, not saying anything is killing me!
Coming forward
She comes forward.
Thou, old Adam’s likeness, set to dress this garden,
How dares thy harsh rude tongue sound this unpleasing news?
What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee
80To make a second fall of cursed man?
Why dost thou say King Richard is deposed?
Darest thou, thou little better thing than earth,
Divine his downfall? Say, where, when, and how,
Camest thou by this ill tidings? speak, thou wretch.
You, gardener, how dare you say such awful things? What snake has tempted you to invent a second fall of man? Why do you say that King Richard is deposed? Do you dare predict his downfall when you are as low as the dirt? Tell me where, when, and how you heard these terrible things. Speak, you wretch.

GARDENER

85Pardon me, madam: little joy have I
To breathe this news; yet what I say is true.
King Richard, he is in the mighty hold
Of Bolingbroke: their fortunes both are weigh’d:
In your lord’s scale is nothing but himself,
90And some few vanities that make him light;
But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,
Besides himself, are all the English peers,
And with that odds he weighs King Richard down.
Post you to London, and you will find it so;
95I speak no more than every one doth know.

GARDENER

Forgive me, madam. I’m not happy to say it, but it’s true. Bolingbroke has captured King Richard. Their fortunes are being weighed out. Your lord has only himself and his vanity, which makes him lighter. Great Bolingbroke has all the English peers with him, and that gives him greater weight than King Richard. If you hurry to London, you’ll see. I’m only saying what everyone knows.

QUEEN

Nimble mischance, that art so light of foot,
Doth not thy embassage belong to me,
And am I last that knows it? O, thou think’st
To serve me last, that I may longest keep
100Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go,
To meet at London London’s king in woe.
What, was I born to this, that my sad look
Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke?
Gardener, for telling me these news of woe,
105Pray God the plants thou graft’st may never grow.

QUEEN

Why am I the last to hear this bad news that concerns me? I’ll feel the sorrow the longest and yet I’m the last to know. Come, ladies, let’s go. We must go to London to see the king in his sorrow. Was this why I was born, to show my sad face while great Bolingbroke triumphs? Gardener, for telling me this awful news, I pray that your plants never grow.

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