Ric. Can sicke men play so nicely with their names? Gau. No, misery makes sport to mocke it selfe: Since thou dost seeke to kill my name in mee, I mocke my name (great King) to flatter thee

Ric. Should dying men flatter those that liue? Gau. No, no, men liuing flatter those that dye

Rich. Thou now a dying, sayst thou flatter'st me

Gau. Oh no, thou dyest, though I the sicker be

Rich. I am in health, I breath, I see thee ill

Gau. Now he that made me, knowes I see thee ill: Ill in my selfe to see, and in thee, seeing ill, Thy death-bed is no lesser then the Land, Wherein thou lyest in reputation sicke, And thou too care-lesse patient as thou art, Commit'st thy 'anointed body to the cure Of those Physitians, that first wounded thee. A thousand flatterers sit within thy Crowne, Whose compasse is no bigger then thy head, And yet incaged in so small a Verge, The waste is no whit lesser then thy Land: Oh had thy Grandsire with a Prophets eye, Seene how his sonnes sonne, should destroy his sonnes, From forth thy reach he would haue laid thy shame, Deposing thee before thou wert possest, Which art possest now to depose thy selfe. Why (Cosine) were thou Regent of the world, It were a shame to let his Land by lease: But for thy world enioying but this Land, Is it not more then shame, to shame it so? Landlord of England art thou, and not King: Thy state of Law, is bondslaue to the law, And- Rich. And thou, a lunaticke leane-witted foole, Presuming on an Agues priuiledge, Dar'st with thy frozen admonition Make pale our cheeke, chasing the Royall blood With fury, from his natiue residence? Now by my Seates right Royall Maiestie, Wer't thou not Brother to great Edwards sonne, This tongue that runs so roundly in thy head, Should run thy head from thy vnreuerent shoulders

Gau. Oh spare me not, my brothers Edwards sonne, For that I was his Father Edwards sonne: That blood already (like the Pellican) Thou hast tapt out, and drunkenly carows'd. My brother Gloucester, plaine well meaning soule (Whom faire befall in heauen 'mongst happy soules) May be a president, and witnesse good, That thou respect'st not spilling Edwards blood: Ioyne with the present sicknesse that I haue, And thy vnkindnesse be like crooked age, To crop at once a too-long wither'd flowre. Liue in thy shame, but dye not shame with thee, These words heereafter, thy tormentors bee. Conuey me to my bed, then to my graue, Loue they to liue, that loue and honor haue.


Rich. And let them dye, that age and sullens haue, For both hast thou, and both become the graue

Yor. I do beseech your Maiestie impute his words To wayward sicklinesse, and age in him: He loues you on my life, and holds you deere As Harry Duke of Herford, were he heere

Rich. Right, you say true: as Herfords loue, so his; As theirs, so mine: and all be as it is. Enter Northumberland.

Nor. My Liege, olde Gaunt commends him to your Maiestie

Rich. What sayes he? Nor. Nay nothing, all is said: His tongue is now a stringlesse instrument, Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent

Yor. Be Yorke the next, that must be bankrupt so, Though death be poore, it ends a mortall wo

Rich. The ripest fruit first fals, and so doth he, His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be: So much for that. Now for our Irish warres, We must supplant those rough rug-headed Kernes, Which liue like venom, where no venom else But onely they, haue priuiledge to liue. And for these great affayres do aske some charge Towards our assistance, we do seize to vs The plate, coine, reuennewes, and moueables, Whereof our Vncle Gaunt did stand possest

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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