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Nor. A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
And all unlook'd for from your highness' mouth:
A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
As to be cast forth in the common air,
Have I deserved at your highness' hand.
The language I have learn'd these forty years,
My native English, now I must forego:
And now my tongue's use is to me no more,
Than an unstringed viol or a harp;
Or like a cunning instrument cas'd up,
Or, being open, put into his hands
That knows no touch to tune the harmony.
Within my mouth you have engaol'd my tongue,
Doubly portcullis'd, with my teeth, and lips;
And dull, unfeeling, barren ignorance
Is made my gaoler to attend on me.
I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,
Too far in years to be a pupil now;
What is thy sentence then, but speechless death,
Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath?
K. Rich. It boots thee not to be compassionate;
After our sentence plaining comes too late.
Nor. Then thus I turn me from my country's light,
To dwell in solemn shades of endless night. [Retiring.
K. Rich. Return again, and take an oath with thee.
Lay on our royal sword your banish'd hands;
Swear by the duty that vou owe to heaven,
(Our part therein we banish with yourselves,)
To keep the oath that we administer:-
You never shall (so help you truth and heaven!)
Embrace each other's love in banishment;
Nor never look upon each other's face;
Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
This lowering tempest of your home-bred hate;
Nor never by advised purpose meet,
To plot, contrive, or complot any ill,
'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land. Boling. I swear.
Nor. And I, to keep all this.
Boling. Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy;-
By this time, had the king permitted us,
One of our souls had wander'd in the air,
Banish'd this frail sepulchre of our flesh,
As now our flesh is banish'd from this land:
Confess thy treasons, ere thou fly the realm;
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
The clogging burden of a guilty soul.
Nor. No, Bolingbroke; if ever I were traitor,
My name be blotted from the book of life,
And I from heaven banish'd, as from hence!
But what thou art, heaven, thou, and I do know;
And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue.-
Farewell, my liege:-Now no way can I stray;
Save back to England, all the world's my way. [Exit.
K. Rich. Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes
I see thy grieved heart: thy sad aspect
Hath from the number of his banish'd years
Pluck'd four away;-Six frozen winters spent,
Return [To BOLING.] with welcome home from banish-
Boling. How long a time lies in one little word!
Four lagging winters, and four wanton springs,
End in a word; Such is the breath of kings.
Gaunt. I thank my liege, that, in regard of me,
He shortens four years of my son's exile:
But little vantage shall I reap thereby;
For, ere the six years, that he hath to spend,
Can change their moons, and bring their times about
My oil-dried lamp, and time-bewasted light,
Shall be extinct with age, and endless night;
My inch of taper will be burnt and done,
And blindfold death not let me see my son.
K. Rich. Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.
Gaunt. But not a minute, king, that thou canst give:
Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow,
And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow:
Thou canst help time to furrow me with age,
But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage;
Thy word is current with him for my death;
But, dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath.
K. Rich. Thy son is banish'd upon good advice,
Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave;
Why at our justice seem'st thou then to lower?
Gaunt. Things sweet to taste, prove in digestion sour You urg'd me as a judge; but I had rather, You would have bid me argue like a father:O, had it been a stranger, not my child,
To smooth his fault I should have been more mild:
A partial slander sought I to avoid,
And in the sentence my own life destroy'd.
Alas, I look'd, when some of you should say,
I was too strict, to make mine own away;
But you gave leave to my unwilling tongue,
Against my will, to do myself this wrong.
K. Rich. Cousin, farewell:—and, uncle, bid him so;
Six years we banish him, and he shall go.
[Flourish. Exeunt King RICHARD and train Aum. Cousin, farewell: what presence must not know From where you do remain, let
GO. SAY I SENT THE FORTH TO PURCHASE HONOUR.
London, Published by Thomas Tegg, Nem, Cheapside, August 28,1813