Mort. Kind Keepers of my weake decaying Age, Let dying Mortimer here rest himselfe. Euen like a man new haled from the Wrack, So fare my Limbes with long Imprisonment: And these gray Locks, the Pursuiuants of death, Nestor-like aged, in an Age of Care, Argue the end of Edmund Mortimer. These Eyes like Lampes, whose wasting Oyle is spent, Waxe dimme, as drawing to their Exigent. Weake Shoulders, ouer-borne with burthening Griefe, And pyth-lesse Armes, like to a withered Vine, That droupes his sappe-lesse Branches to the ground. Yet are these Feet, whose strength-lesse stay is numme, (Vnable to support this Lumpe of Clay) Swift-winged with desire to get a Graue, As witting I no other comfort haue. But tell me, Keeper, will my Nephew come? Keeper. Richard Plantagenet, my Lord, will come: We sent vnto the Temple, vnto his Chamber, And answer was return'd, that he will come

Mort. Enough: my Soule shall then be satisfied. Poore Gentleman, his wrong doth equall mine. Since Henry Monmouth first began to reigne, Before whose Glory I was great in Armes, This loathsome sequestration haue I had; And euen since then, hath Richard beene obscur'd, Depriu'd of Honor and Inheritance. But now, the Arbitrator of Despaires, Iust Death, kinde Vmpire of mens miseries, With sweet enlargement doth dismisse me hence: I would his troubles likewise were expir'd, That so he might recouer what was lost. Enter Richard.

Keeper. My Lord, your louing Nephew now is come

Mor. Richard Plantagenet, my friend, is he come? Rich. I, Noble Vnckle, thus ignobly vs'd, Your Nephew, late despised Richard, comes

Mort. Direct mine Armes, I may embrace his Neck, And in his Bosome spend my latter gaspe. Oh tell me when my Lippes doe touch his Cheekes, That I may kindly giue one fainting Kisse. And now declare sweet Stem from Yorkes great Stock, Why didst thou say of late thou wert despis'd? Rich. First, leane thine aged Back against mine Arme, And in that ease, Ile tell thee my Disease. This day in argument vpon a Case, Some words there grew 'twixt Somerset and me: Among which tearmes, he vs'd his lauish tongue, And did vpbrayd me with my Fathers death; Which obloquie set barres before my tongue, Else with the like I had requited him. Therefore good Vnckle, for my Fathers sake, In honor of a true Plantagenet, And for Alliance sake, declare the cause My Father, Earle of Cambridge, lost his Head

Mort. That cause (faire Nephew) that imprison'd me, And hath detayn'd me all my flowring Youth, Within a loathsome Dungeon, there to pyne, Was cursed Instrument of his decease

Rich. Discouer more at large what cause that was, For I am ignorant, and cannot guesse

Mort. I will, if that my fading breath permit, And Death approach not, ere my Tale be done. Henry the Fourth, Grandfather to this King, Depos'd his Nephew Richard, Edwards Sonne, The first begotten, and the lawfull Heire Of Edward King, the Third of that Descent. During whose Reigne, the Percies of the North, Finding his Vsurpation most vniust, Endeuour'd my aduancement to the Throne. The reason mou'd these Warlike Lords to this, Was, for that (young Richard thus remou'd, Leauing no Heire begotten of his Body) I was the next by Birth and Parentage: For by my Mother, I deriued am From Lionel Duke of Clarence, third Sonne To King Edward the Third; whereas hee, From Iohn of Gaunt doth bring his Pedigree, Being but fourth of that Heroick Lyne. But marke: as in this haughtie great attempt, They laboured, to plant the rightfull Heire, I lost my Libertie, and they their Liues. Long after this, when Henry the Fift (Succeeding his Father Bullingbrooke) did reigne; Thy Father, Earle of Cambridge, then deriu'd From famous Edmund Langley, Duke of Yorke, Marrying my Sister, that thy Mother was; Againe, in pitty of my hard distresse, Leuied an Army, weening to redeeme, And haue install'd me in the Diademe: But as the rest, so fell that Noble Earle, And was beheaded. Thus the Mortimers, In whom the Title rested, were supprest

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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