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LIFE AND DEATH
KING RICHARD II.
ACT I.....SCENE I.
London. A Room in the Palace.
Enter King RICHARD, attended; John of GAUNT, and
other Nobles, with him,
K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster, Hast thou, according to thy oath and band, Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son; Here to make good the boisterous late appeal, Which then our leisure would not let us hear, Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray? Gaunt. I have, my liege.
K. Rich. Tell me moreover, hast thou sounded him, If he appeal the duke on ancient malice; Or worthily, as a good subject should, On some known ground of treachery in him?
thy oath and band,] When these public challenges were accepted, each combatant found a pledge for his appearance at the time and place appointed. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. IV, c. ii, st. 3:
“ The day was set, that all might understand,
“ And pledges pawnd the same to keep aright.” The old copies read band instead of bond. The former is right. So, in The Comedy of Errors:
“My master is arrested on a band.” Steevens. Band and Bond were formerly synonymous. See note on The Comedy of Errors, Act IV, sc. ii. Malone.
Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that argu
ment,On some apparent danger seen in him, Aini'd at your highness, no inveterate malice.
K. Rich. Then call them to our presence; face to face, And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear The accuser, and the accused, freely speak:
[Exeunt some Attend. High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire, In rage
deaf as the sea, hasty as fire. Re-enter Attendants, with BOLINGBROKE and NORFOLK.
Boling. May many years of happy days befal My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege!
Nor. Each day still better other's happiness; Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap, Add an immortal title to your crown
K. Rich. We thank you both: yet one but flatters us, As well appeareth by the cause you come; Namely, to appeal each other of high treason. Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
Boling. First, (heaven be the record to my speech!) In the devotion of a subject's love, Tendering the precious safety of my prince, And free from other misbegotten hate, Come I appellant to this princely presence.Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee, And mark my greeting well; for what I speak, My body shall make good upon this earth, Or my divine soul answer it in heaven. Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant; Too good to be so, and too bad to live; Since, the more fair and crystal is the sky, The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly. Once more, the more to aggravate the note, With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat; And wish, (so please my sovereign) ere I move, What my tongue speaks, my right-drawnó sword may
prove. Nor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal:
- right-drawn -] Drawn in a right or just cause.
'Tis not the trial of a woman's war,
Nor. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear,
ney, &c. “
inhabitable,] That is, not habitable, uninhabitable.
Johnson. Ben Jonson uses the word in the same sense in his Catiline :
“ And pour'd on some inhabitable place.” Again, in Taylor the water-poet's Short Relation of a long Jour
- there stands a strong castle, but the town is all spoil'd, and almost inhabitable by the late lamentable troubles."
Steevens. So also, Braithwaite, in his Survey of Histories, 1614: “Others, in imitation of some valiant knights, have frequented desarts and inhabited provinces.” Malone.
Which gently lay'd my knighthood on my shoulder,
true; That Mowbray hath receiv'd eight thousand nobles, In name of lendings for your highness' soldiers; The which he hath detain'd for lewd employments, Like a false traitor, and injurious villain. Besides I say, and will in battle prove,Or here, or elsewhere, to the furthest verge That ever was survey'd by English eye,That all the treasons, for these eighteen years Complotted and contrived in this land, Fetch from false Mowbray their first head and spring. Further I say,—and further will maintain Upon his bad life, to make all this good, That he did plot the duke of Gloster's death;' Suggest his soon-believing adversaries;
that can inherit us &c.] To inherit no more than to possess, though such a use of the word may be peculiar to Shakspeare. Again, in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, sc. ii:
“ Inherit at my house.” Steevens. See Vol. II, p. 108, n. 4. Malone.
- for lewd employments,] Lewd here signifies wicked. It is so used in many of our old statutes. Malone.
It sometimes signifies-iile. Thus, in King Richard 111: “But you inust trouble him with lewd complaints.” Steevens.
the duke of Gloster's death;] Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of Edward III; who was murdered at Calais, in 1397. Malone.
See Froissart's Chronicle, Vol. II, cap. CC.xxvi. Steevens.
1 Suggest his soon-believing a 'versaries ;] i.e. prompt, set them on by injurious hints. Thus, in The Tempest:
« They 'll take suggestion, as a cat laps milk." Steevens.
And, consequently, like a traitor coward,
K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars !
Nor. O, let my sovereign turn away his face,
K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and ears:
Nor. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
this slander of his blood,] i.e. this reproach to his ancestry. Steevens. my sceptre's awe --] The reverence due to my sceptre.