Richard II

by: William Shakespeare

Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 1

Original Text

Modern Text

The palace.
King Richard II’s palace.
The QUEEN, BUSHY, and BAGOT enter.


Madam, your majesty is too much sad:
You promised, when you parted with the king,
To lay aside life-harming heaviness
And entertain a cheerful disposition.


Madam, you are too sad. When we left the king, you promised to stop worrying so much and to try to act more cheerfully.


5To please the king I did; to please myself
I cannot do it; yet I know no cause
Why I should welcome such a guest as grief,
Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest
As my sweet Richard: yet again, methinks,
10Some unborn sorrow, ripe in fortune’s womb,
Is coming towards me, and my inward soul
With nothing trembles: at some thing it grieves,
More than with parting from my lord the king.


I promised that to make the king happy, but for myself I cannot do it. I don’t know why I should be so sad, except that I had to say goodbye to my sweet Richard. But I also think that something bad is going to happen to me and I’m inwardly grieving. It’s making me more sad than the king’s leaving does.


Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,
15Which shows like grief itself, but is not so;
For sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears,
Divides one thing entire to many objects;
Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon
Show nothing but confusion, eyed awry
20Distinguish form: so your sweet majesty,
Looking awry upon your lord’s departure,
Find shapes of grief, more than himself, to wail;
Which, look’d on as it is, is nought but shadows
Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen,
25More than your lord’s departure weep not: more’s not seen;
Or if it be, ’tis with false sorrow’s eye,
Which for things true weeps things imaginary.


When you’re already sad it seems like everything is awful and your grief is multiplied. But, in reality, that’s not the case. Because you’re sad, things don’t appear to you as they actually are, so in your husband’s departure you see many things to grieve. Those are just shadows. So don’t cry for anything but your husband’s leaving. Any other causes of grief are just imaginary.

Richard II: Popular pages