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  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 2

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What, is my Richard both in shape and mind
Transform’d and weaken’d? hath Bolingbroke deposed
Thine intellect? hath he been in thy heart?
The lion dying thrusteth forth his paw,
30And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage
To be o’erpower’d; and wilt thou, pupil-like,
Take thy correction mildly, kiss the rod,
And fawn on rage with base humility,
Which art a lion and a king of beasts?


What, has my Richard been changed and weakened in both body and mind? Has Bolingbroke overthrown your mind? Has he turned your heart? The dying lion claws at the earth, if nothing else, in his rage at being defeated. Will you act like a rebuked student and take your punishment meekly, kiss the cane that beats you, and return rage with humility, when you are a lion and king of beasts?


35A king of beasts, indeed; if aught but beasts,
I had been still a happy king of men.
Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France:
Think I am dead and that even here thou takest,
As from my death-bed, thy last living leave.
40In winter’s tedious nights sit by the fire
With good old folks and let them tell thee tales
Of woeful ages long ago betid;
And ere thou bid good night, to quit their griefs,
Tell thou the lamentable tale of me
45And send the hearers weeping to their beds:
For why, the senseless brands will sympathize
The heavy accent of thy moving tongue
And in compassion weep the fire out;
And some will mourn in ashes, some coal-black,
50For the deposing of a rightful king.


A king of beasts, indeed. If only they weren’t beasts, I would still be a happy king of men. Good former queen, get ready to go to France. Think of me as dead, and say goodbye to me now as if I were on my deathbed. Through long winter nights sit by the fire with good people and let them tell you stories of sad times long ago. And before you say good night, tell them my sadder story and send them weeping to their beds. Even the firewood will sympathize and cry out their fires. And some will be so unhappy at the story of the overthrow of a rightful king that they will cover themselves in ashes.

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