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  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 3

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Enter KING RICHARD II and QUEEN, DUKE OF AUMERLE, BUSHY, GREEN, BAGOT, LORD ROSS, and LORD WILLOUGHBY
KING RICHARD II, the QUEEN, the DUKE OF AUMERLE, BUSHY, GREEN, BAGOT, LORD ROSS, and LORD WILLOUGHBY enter.

DUKE OF YORK

[to John of Gaunt]The king is come: deal mildly with his youth;
70For young hot colts being raged do rage the more.

DUKE OF YORK

(to John of Guant) The king is here. Go easy with him. He is young and easy to make angry, and if you give him a hard time, you’re likely to do nothing but make him angrier.

QUEEN

How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster?

QUEEN

How are you, John of Gaunt?

KING RICHARD II

What comfort, man? how is’t with aged Gaunt?

KING RICHARD II

Yes, John of Gaunt, tell us how you are.

JOHN OF GAUNT

O how that name befits my composition!
Old Gaunt indeed, and gaunt in being old:
75Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast;
And who abstains from meat that is not gaunt?
For sleeping England long time have I watch’d;
Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt:
The pleasure that some fathers feed upon,
80Is my strict fast; I mean, my children’s looks;
And therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt:
Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave,
Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones.

JOHN OF GAUNT

My name is Gaunt, and I feel gaunt. I am gaunt because of my old age. And who can go without food and not be gaunt? I have stayed awake and watched England crumble for a long time, and from all the lack of sleep I’ve grown gaunt. Fathers receive nourishment from seeing their children, and since I can’t see my child it has made me gaunt. I’m ready for my grave, and when I’m laid in it I’ll be nothing but bones.

KING RICHARD II

Can sick men play so nicely with their names?

KING RICHARD II

Can men who are really sick play so subtly with their names?

JOHN OF GAUNT

85No, misery makes sport to mock itself:
Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me,
I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee.

JOHN OF GAUNT

Misery likes to make fun of itself. And I thought you might enjoy listening to me make fun of my name since you are banishing my son, who, of course, shares my name.

KING RICHARD II

Should dying men flatter with those that live?

KING RICHARD II

Should dying men try to amuse the living?

JOHN OF GAUNT

No, no, men living flatter those that die.

JOHN OF GAUNT

No, no, the living should try to amuse the dying.

KING RICHARD II

90Thou, now a-dying, say’st thou flatterest me.

KING RICHARD II

You, who are dying, tell me that you’re trying to please me.

Richard II: Popular pages