Main Text

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus3.2

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Drums, flourish, and colours. Enter Richard, Aumerle, Carlisle, and soldiers
Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 1

richard Barkloughly Castle call they this at hand?

Editor’s Note2

aumerle Yea, my lord. How brooks your grace the air

Link 3After your late tossing on the breaking seas?

Editor’s Note Link 4

richard Needs must I like it well. I weep for joy

5To stand upon my kingdom once again;

Editor’s Note Link 6Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand

7Though rebels wound thee with their horses' hoofs.

pg 206

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 8As a long-parted mother with her child

Link 9Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,

10So weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,

Critical Apparatus11And do thee favours with my royal hands.

12Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle earth,

Editor’s Note13Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense,

Editor’s Note Link 14But let thy spiders that suck up thy venom

Editor’s Note Link 15And heavy-gaited toads lie in their way,

Editor’s Note16Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet

Editor’s Note17Which with usurping steps do trample thee.

Link 18Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies

19And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus20Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder,

Editor’s Note21Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch

22Throw death upon thy sovereign's enemies.

Editor’s Note23Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords.

Editor’s Note24This earth shall have a feeling and these stones

pg 207

Link 25Prove armèd soldiers ere her native king

Critical Apparatus26Shall falter under foul rebellion's arms.

Editor’s Note27

carlisle Fear not, my lord. That power that made you king

Link 28Hath power to keep you king in spite of all.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus29The means that heavens yield must be embraced

Editor’s Note30And not neglected; else heaven would

Critical Apparatus31And we will not: heaven's offer we refuse,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus32The proffered means of succours and redress.


aumerle He means, my lord, that we are too remiss

Editor’s Note34Whilst Bolingbroke, through our security,

Critical Apparatus35Grows strong and great in substance and in friends.

Editor’s Note36

richard Discomfortable cousin, know'st thou not

Editor’s Note Link 37That when the searching eye of heaven is hid

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 38Behind the globe and lights the lower world,

Link 39Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus40In murders and in outrage boldly here;

Editor’s Note Link 41But when from under this terrestrial ball

Editor’s Note Link 42He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines

pg 208

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus43And darts his light through every guilty hole,

44Then murders, treasons and detested sins,

45The cloak of night being plucked from off their backs,

46Stand bare and naked trembling at themselves.

Editor’s Note47So when this thief, this traitor Bolingbroke,

48Who all this while hath revelled in the night

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus49Whilst we were wandering with th'antipodes,

Link 50Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,

Editor’s Note Link 51His treasons will sit blushing in his face,

52Not able to endure the sight of day

Editor’s Note Link 53But, self-affrighted, tremble at his sin.

Editor’s Note54Not all the water in the rough rude sea

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 55Can wash the balm off from an anointed king.

Editor’s Note56The breath of worldly men cannot depose

Link 57The deputy elected by the Lord;

Editor’s Note58For every man that Bolingbroke hath pressed

Editor’s Note Link 59To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,

Critical Apparatus60God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay

61A glorious angel. Then if angels fight,

Editor’s Note Link 62Weak men must fall, for heaven still guards the right.

pg 209 Enter Salisbury

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus63Welcome, my lord. How far off lies your power?

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus64

salisbury Nor nea'er nor farther off, my gracious lord,

Editor’s Note65Than this weak arm. Discomfort guides my tongue

66And bids me speak of nothing but despair.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus67One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,

Editor’s Note68Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth.

69O call back yesterday, bid time return,

70And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men;

71Today, today, unhappy day too late,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus72O'erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune and thy state—

73For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead,

74Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispersed and fled.

Link 75

aumerle Comfort, my liege. Why looks your grace so pale?

Editor’s Note76

richard But now the blood of twenty thousand men

Link 77Did triumph in my face and they are fled;

78And till so much blood thither come again

79Have I not reason to look pale and dead?

Editor’s Note Link 80All souls that will be safe fly from my side,

Editor’s Note81For time hath set a blot upon my pride.

Link 82

aumerle Comfort, my liege, remember who you are.


richard I had forgot myself. Am I not king?

pg 210

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus84Awake, thou sluggard majesty, thou sleep'st.

Critical Apparatus85Is not the king's name twenty thousand names?

86Arm, arm, my name! A puny subject strikes

87At thy great glory. Look not to the ground,

Editor’s Note Link 88Ye favourites of a king. Are we not high?

89High be our thoughts. I know my uncle York

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus90Hath power enough to serve our turn.

Enter Scroop

But who comes here?

Editor’s Note91

scroop More health and happiness betide my liege

Editor’s Note Link 92Than can my care-tuned tongue deliver him.


richard Mine ear is open and my heart prepared,

94The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.

Editor’s Note95Say, is my kingdom lost? Why, 'twas my care

96And what loss is it to be rid of care?

97Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we?

98Greater he shall not be: if he serve God,

Editor’s Note99We'll serve him too and be his fellow so.

Editor’s Note100Revolt our subjects? That we cannot mend;

101They break their faith to God as well as us.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 102Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay—

Editor’s Note103The worst is death, and death will have his day.


scroop Glad am I that your highness is so armed

Editor’s Note105To bear the tidings of calamity.

pg 211

Link 106Like an unseasonable stormy day,

Critical Apparatus107Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores

108As if the world were all dissolved to tears,

Editor’s Note109So high above his limits swells the rage

Critical Apparatus110Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land

111With hard bright steel and hearts harder than steel.

Critical Apparatus112Whitebeards have armed their thin and hairless scalps

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus113Against thy majesty; boys with women's voices

Editor’s Note Link 114Strive to speak big and clap their female joints

Editor’s Note Link 115In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown;

Editor’s Note Link 116The very beadsmen learn to bend their bows

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 117Of double-fatal yew against thy state;

Editor’s Note Link 118Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills

Editor’s Note119Against thy seat. Both young and old rebel,

120And all goes worse than I have power to tell.


richard Too well, too well thou tell'st a tale so ill.

Editor’s Note122Where is the Earl of Wiltshire, where is Bagot,

123What is become of Bushy, where is Green,

124That they have let the dangerous enemy

Editor’s Note125Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?

pg 212

126If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it.

127I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke.


scroop Peace have they made with him indeed, my lord.

Editor’s Note129

richard O villains, vipers, damned without redemption,

130Dogs easily won to fawn on any man,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus131Snakes in my heart-blood warmed that sting my heart;

Editor’s Note Link 132Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas,

Critical Apparatus133Would they make peace? Terrible hell make war

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus134Upon their spotted souls for this offence.

Editor’s Note135

scroop Sweet love, I see, changing his property,

Critical Apparatus136Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate.

Link 137Again uncurse their souls, their peace is made

Editor’s Note138With heads and not with hands. Those whom you curse

Critical Apparatus139Have felt the worst of death's destroying wound

140And lie full low, graved in the hollow ground.


aumerle Is Bushy, Green and the Earl of Wiltshire dead?

Critical Apparatus142

scroop Ay, all of them at Bristol lost their heads.


aumerle Where is the Duke my father with his power?


richard No matter where. Of comfort no man speak—

145Let's talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs,

Editor’s Note146Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes

pg 213

147Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.

148Let's choose executors and talk of wills—

149And yet not so, for what can we bequeath

Editor’s Note150Save our deposèd bodies to the ground?

151Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke's,

Link 152And nothing can we call our own but death

Editor’s Note Link 153And that small model of the barren earth

Editor’s Note Link 154Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus155For God's sake let us sit upon the ground

156And tell sad stories of the death of kings,

157How some have been deposed, some slain in war,

Editor’s Note Link 158Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,

159Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed—

Editor’s Note160All murdered. For within the hollow crown

Link 161That rounds the mortal temples of a king

Link 162Keeps death his court, and there the antic sits,

Link 163Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,

Editor’s Note164Allowing him a breath, a little scene

Link 165To monarchize, be feared and kill with looks,

166Infusing him with self and vain conceit,

Editor’s Note Link 167As if this flesh which walls about our life

pg 214

Editor’s Note168Were brass impregnable, and humoured thus

169Comes at the last and with a little pin

Critical Apparatus Link 170Bores through his castle wall—and farewell king.

Editor’s Note171Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood

172With solemn reverence. Throw away respect,

Link 173Tradition, form and ceremonious duty.

Editor’s Note Link 174For you have but mistook me all this while,

175I live with bread like you, feel want,

Editor’s Note176Taste grief, need friends. Subjected thus,

177How can you say to me I am a king?

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus178

carlisle My lord, wise men ne'er wail their present woes,

Editor’s Note179But presently prevent the ways to wail.

Editor’s Note180To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,

181Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus182And so your follies fight against yourself.

Editor’s Note183Fear and be slain, no worse can come to fight,

Editor’s Note184And fight and die is death destroying death,

185Where fearing dying pays death servile breath.

Editor’s Note186

aumerle My father hath a power: inquire of him,

Editor’s Note187And learn to make a body of a limb.

pg 215 Editor’s Note188

richard Thou chid'st me well. Proud Bolingbroke, I come

Editor’s Note Link 189To change blows with thee for our day of doom.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus190This ague fit of fear is over-blown,

Editor’s Note191An easy task it is to win our own.

192Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?

193Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour.

Editor’s Note Link 194

scroop Men judge by the complexion of the sky

Editor’s Note Link 195The state and inclination of the day—

196So may you by my dull and heavy eye

197My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.

Editor’s Note Link 198I play the torturer by small and small

199To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken:

200Your uncle York is joined with Bolingbroke

201And all your northern castles yielded up

202And all your southern gentlemen in arms

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus203Upon his party.

richard Thou hast said enough.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus204 [To Aumerle] Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth

205Of that sweet way I was in to despair.

Editor’s Note206What say you now, what comfort have we now?

Link 207By heaven, I'll hate him everlastingly

208That bids me be of comfort any more.

Editor’s Note209Go to Flint Castle, there I'll pine away—

pg 216

Editor’s Note210A king, woe's slave, shall kingly woe obey.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus211That power I have, discharge, and let them go

Editor’s Note212To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,

213For I have none. Let no man speak again

214To alter this, for counsel is but vain.

Editor’s Note215

aumerle My liege, one word.

richard He does me double wrong

Link 216That wounds me with the flatteries of his tongue.

217Discharge my followers, let them hence away

Editor’s Note Link 218From Richard's night to Bolingbroke's fair day.

Critical Apparatus Exeunt

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
3.2] f (Scena Secunda.); not in q1
Editor’s Note
3.2 Richard has been absent from the stage, and from England, since 2.1.223. Immediately upon his departure at that point, the conspiracy against him began to build. Bolingbroke's presence in 2.3 and 3.1 gives him a theatrical as well as a political advantage, which we have just seen him exploit. So when Richard now appears, he seems already at a disadvantage, a sense that is augmented by his somewhat maudlin and self-pitying reaction to the series of escalating misfortunes which mark the scene; and of course, by its end, he is on the ropes.
Critical Apparatus
0.1–2 Drums … soldiers ] f; Enter the King Aumerle, Carleil, &c. q1
Editor’s Note
0.1 colours flags (carried in by extras)
Critical Apparatus
1 Barkloughly] q1, f; Harlechly oxford
they] q1; you q2f
Editor’s Note
1 Barkloughly i.e. Harlech. Shakespeare derives the name from Holinshed, who calls it 'Barclowie', though the real name of the castle was Hertlowie (modernized to Harlechy by Oxford). Berkeley ('Barkly' or 'Barkely') Castle, mentioned in 2.2.119, is a different place altogether, though Shakespeare's spelling here may have been influenced by it.
Editor’s Note
2 brooks likes
Editor’s Note
4 Needs must A common phrase meaning simply 'must', but rather odd in this context since it usually implies unwillingness or inescapability of some sort, whereas Richard is apparently delighted to be back on his native soil.
Editor’s Note
6 earth … hand He stoops to touch the ground; earth is a persistent feature of the text's imagery, one that was graphically represented in a production at Stratford's Other Place in 2000 through the presence of a large mound of actual soil on the stage which at this point Richard sifted lovingly through his hands.
Critical Apparatus
8 long-parted] hyphen pope
Editor’s Note
8–11 As … hands An extended simile in which Richard compares his feelings to those of a loving mother who has been separated ('parted') from her child and now enjoys a tearful reunion, sad and happy at once. (This contrasts with Bolingbroke's characterization of the earth as his mother or nurse at 1.3.306–7.)
Critical Apparatus
11 favours] q1; fauor q2f
Editor’s Note
13 sense appetite, desire
Editor’s Note
14 spiders … venom Referring to a supposition of natural history, that spiders absorbed poison from the earth; E. K. Chambers (Falcon edn., 1891) cites Edward III, where the King compares himself to 'a poison-sucking envious spider' who 'turn(s) the juice I take to deadly venom' (2.1.284–5). For other instances of 'venom' in Richard II, see 1.1.171, and 2.1.19 and 157.
Editor’s Note
15 heavy-gaited slow-moving. Edward Top-sell tells us: 'Toads do not leap as frogs do, but because of their … short legs, their pace is … soft [and] creeping' (History of Serpents (1608, p. 191)); like spiders, toads were regarded as venomous.
Editor’s Note
16 annoyance injury
Editor’s Note
16 treacherous feet i.e. the feet of the soldiers whose 'usurping steps' (17) support the traitor, Bolingbroke
Editor’s Note
17 thee i.e. the earth, which Richard is addressing throughout this passage
Critical Apparatus
20 pray thee] q1; prethee f
Editor’s Note
20 adder A species of snake, the only poisonous kind in Great Britain; Richard adds yet another venomous, earth-bound creature to his list. Lady Macbeth uses the same metaphor (1.5.65–6); Black points to the proverb 'a snake in the grass' (Tilley S585).
Editor’s Note
21 double forked. Shakespeare's contemporaries thought the poison of the adder resided in the tongue, whose 'mortal touch', Richard hopes, will bring death to his enemies (22).
Editor’s Note
23 Richard, characteristically aware of his propensity to self-dramatization, brings himself up short, calling his extensive apostrophe to the earth a 'senseless conjuration'; i.e. a solemn appeal or incantation that seems 'senseless' (foolish) in that it is addressed to a 'senseless' (unfeeling) object: the earth.
Editor’s Note
24–6 An example of Richard's magical thinking: his tendency to believe that his kingship alone will spark both natural and supernatural forces to come automatically to his aid.
Critical Apparatus
26 rebellion's] q1; Rebellious q3f
Editor’s Note
27 power i.e. that of God (a reference to the divine right of kings)
Critical Apparatus
29–32 The means … redress ] q1; not in f
Editor’s Note
29–32 Carlisle modifies what he says in the previous two lines, reminding Richard that magical thinking is not enough; the king must embrace the material means available to fight his enemies, not just rely on God. These four lines are omitted in F, perhaps because of their relative obscurity, but their omission erases the point of Aumerle's simpler, more direct, and perhaps slightly comic, translation (33–5).
Editor’s Note
30–1 heaven … refuse i.e. we turn our wills against that of heaven, refusing heaven's offer which, as explained in the following line, is the military support needed to 'redress' the situation (see next note).
Critical Apparatus
31 will] q12; would q35
Critical Apparatus
32 succours] q1 (succors); succour pope
Editor’s Note
32 succours and redress military reinforcements (OED, succour, 3) and assistance; the plural form, 'succours', was common until the early 17th century; hence Pope's emendation, accepted by most editors, is unnecessary.
Editor’s Note
34 security overconfidence (resulting in inaction)
Critical Apparatus
35 friends] f; power q1
Editor’s Note
36 Discomfortable causing discomfort. For variations on the theme of comfort in the scene, see ll. 13, 65, 75, 82, 144, 206, and 208.
Editor’s Note
37 searching eye sun. The phrase initiates an extended, and common, analogy between sun and king ('searching' = keenly observant, penetrating).
Critical Apparatus
38 and] hanmer; that q1, f
Editor’s Note
38 lower world the other side of the world, the 'antipodes' (49)
Critical Apparatus
40 boldly] hudson (conj. Collier); bouldy q1; bloody f
Editor’s Note
40 murders Though Richard is here speaking in general, the audience might be led to recall the murder of Gloucester as well as the execution of Bushy and Green in 3.1 (Forker).
Editor’s Note
41 this terrestrial ball the earth
Editor’s Note
42 The reference is to a bright dawn when the sun lights up the tree-tops.
Critical Apparatus
43 light] q1; Lightning f
Editor’s Note
43 every guilty hole the places where the guilty have been hiding
Editor’s Note
47–53 Having spun out the sun analogy for eleven lines, Richard now applies it to the immediate situation: Bolingbroke is the night-lurking thief, Richard the bright sun who will expose his crimes to the 'sight of day' (52).
Critical Apparatus
49] q1; not in f
Editor’s Note
49 antipodes those who live in the 'lower world' as well as that nether region itself (see 38 n.). Richard of course has been in Ireland, not the antipodes, but in terms of his extended simile he, like the sun at night, has been under the earth.
Editor’s Note
51–2 His … day i.e. Bolingbroke's treasons will make him blush with shame when they are rendered visible by Richard's dawn
Editor’s Note
53 self-affrighted frightened by the sudden revelation of his own crimes. The syntax is compressed, 'he shall' being understood.
tremble Repeating the idea of thieves 'trembling' from l. 46, with specific reference to Bolingbroke.
Editor’s Note
54–62 Once again Richard reverts to magical thinking; see 24–6 n.
Editor’s Note
54 rude stormy, turbulent
Critical Apparatus
55 off] q1; not in f
Editor’s Note
55 balm holy oil with which the King is 'anointed' during the coronation ceremony (cf. 1.2.38 and 4.1.128)
Editor’s Note
56 breath words. Speech and breath are frequently linked in the play: see 1.3.215, 3.4.82, and 4.1.129.
Editor’s Note
58–61 The wordplay on 'crown' and 'angel', both also Elizabethan coins, suggests the economic basis of Richard's grandiose opposition of 'shrewd steel' against 'golden crown' and Bolingbroke's 'pressed' (= conscripted) soldiers against God's 'glorious angel[s]'. There may also be an allusion to Matthew 26: 53, where Jesus tells his disciples that, if he wanted to escape death, God would send legions of angels to defend him.
Editor’s Note
59 shrewd sharp
Critical Apparatus
60 God] q1; Heauen f
Editor’s Note
62 still guards always protects
Critical Apparatus
63 Welcome] f; King Welcome q1 (repeating prefix from 36)
Editor’s Note
63 power army
Critical Apparatus
64 nea'er] oxford; near q1, f; near' hudson 1881
Editor’s Note
64 Nor nea'er no nearer
Editor’s Note
65 Discomfort pain (that I feel)
Critical Apparatus
67 me, noble lord] q1 (subs.); (my Noble Lord) f
Editor’s Note
67 One day having arrived one day
Editor’s Note
68 clouded Continuing the sun-king analogy; the idea of 'envious clouds' (3.3.64) obscuring the sun is recurrent in the play.
Critical Apparatus
72 O'erthrows] f; Ouerthrowes q1
Editor’s Note
72 state high rank or position (OED n. 15)
Editor’s Note
76 Richard identifies the blood which has drained from his face, leaving him 'pale' (75); with the actual blood of the Welsh soldiers. The King's self-conscious despair has made him exaggerate the numbers of the soldiers he has lost from twelve (70) to twenty thousand (F, at l. 85, increases the number still higher, to forty thousand).
Editor’s Note
76 But now just now
Editor’s Note
80 will want to
Editor’s Note
81 pride glory, grandeur. Richard ignores the implications of the word's more sinister meaning as the first of the deadly sins.
Critical Apparatus
84 sluggard] f; coward q1
sleep'st] capell; sleepest q1, f
Editor’s Note
84 sluggard lazy. F's emendation of Q1's 'coward' (see textual notes), which could hardly be a misreading and must have been a deliberate revision, fits better with 'Awake' and 'sleep'st'.
Critical Apparatus
85 twenty] q1; fortie f
Editor’s Note
88–9 Are … thoughts i.e. since we are of high rank, our thoughts should be lofty
Critical Apparatus
90 Hath … here? ] q1; two lines ending 'turne.' 'here?' f
Enter Scroop] placed as in oxford; after 'here?' q1, f
Editor’s Note
90 serve our turn tip the balance in our favour
Editor’s Note
91 betide be the lot of, befall
Editor’s Note
92 care-tuned tongue voice that is tuned to the note of care (both 'woe' and 'concern')
Editor’s Note
95, 96 care Richard picks up on Scroop's word, adding the sense of 'responsibility'.
Editor’s Note
99 him i.e. God
his fellow i.e. Bolingbroke's equal
Editor’s Note
100 mend remedy
Critical Apparatus
102 and] q1; Losse f
Editor’s Note
102 Cry proclaim
and F prints 'Losse' as a fifth term in the series of potential disasters, but the word is rather colourless beside the others in the line.
Editor’s Note
103 death … day Perhaps a variation on the proverb, 'Every dog has his day' (Tilley D464); cf. Hamlet 5.1.289: 'The cat will mew, and dog will have his day'.
Editor’s Note
105 bear … calamity endure calamitous news
Critical Apparatus
107 makes] q1; make f
Editor’s Note
109–11 So … steel Scroop applies the analogy of an overflowing river (107–8) to Bolingbroke (So = thus) whose rage 'swells' above its proper 'limits' flooding ('covering') the land with steel and hard hearts.
Critical Apparatus
110 covering] q1, fc; coueting fu
Critical Apparatus
112 Whitebeards] q1 (White beards); White Beares f
Critical Apparatus
113 boys] q1; and Boyes q2f
Editor’s Note
113 women's i.e. high, shrill
Editor’s Note
114 clap press, enclose (with a suggestion of hurry; see OED v. 10)
Editor’s Note
115 arms armour
Editor’s Note
116 beadsmen pensioners paid to pray for others. Here it is their advanced age that is stressed: as in l. 112, even the old have taken up arms against Richard.
Critical Apparatus
117 double-fatal] hyphen warburton
Editor’s Note
117 double-fatal yew Yew wood was used to make bows; 'double', while it may be simply an intensifier, probably refers to the fact that the yew can kill with its poisonous berries, as well as by providing the material to make deadly weapons.
Editor’s Note
118 distaff-women women who spin thread
bills weapons (long-handled, with a blade and sometimes a spike or spear-head)
Editor’s Note
119 seat throne
Editor’s Note
122 Bagot There is some confusion about Bagot in the text. At the end of 2.2, he presumably departs for Ireland to join the King (2.2.140), but Shakespeare appears to have forgotten that here. Scroop's response to Richard's enquiry (128) would seem to include him and would therefore suggest that, like the other three, he too has 'made peace' and been executed. But he is not among the accused in 3.1, and at 141 of this scene, Aumerle does not name him, nor does Scroop's reply suggest that he is among those killed. Later, at the beginning of 4.1, he appears as a prisoner but apparently escapes execution (the historical Bagot lived on until 1407). The confusion is augmented by the fact that the Earl of Wiltshire, while frequently mentioned, does not actually appear in the play.
Editor’s Note
125 Measure … steps travel our land without resistance
Editor’s Note
129 vipers, damned Cf. Matthew 23: 33: 'O serpents, the generation of vipers, how should ye escape the damnation of hell?'
Critical Apparatus
131 heart-blood] hyphen f3
Editor’s Note
131 Snakes … heart The King alludes to Aesop's fable of a man who warmed a frozen snake against his chest only to be bitten for his trouble. The idea of treacherous snakes and vipers (129) was proverbial (Tilley V68).
Editor’s Note
132 Three Judases Judas was the betrayer of Christ; this is the first of many comparisons that Richard makes between himself and Jesus. He says 'three' when he had asked about four of his supporters earlier; see 122 n.
Critical Apparatus
133–4] as f; lines ending 'hel,' 'this.' q1
Critical Apparatus
134 this offence] f; this q1
Editor’s Note
134 spotted tainted, sinful
Editor’s Note
135 his property its essential quality
Critical Apparatus
136 hate.] f (subs.); hate, q1
Editor’s Note
138 With … hands by surrendering their heads not by shaking hands (with Bolingbroke)
Critical Apparatus
139 wound] q1; hand f
Critical Apparatus
142 Ay] q1; Yea q2f
Editor’s Note
146–7 Richard develops an extravagant metaphor in which the dust of the earth becomes paper on which he and his companions will write with their tears.
Editor’s Note
150 deposèd removed from the throne (see 157 and 158), but also buried. The latter meaning applies to the others on stage as well as Richard himself. The first person plural in these lines (145–54) is not the 'royal we' but rather indicates that Richard, as he does later as well (175–6), is thinking of himself as one with his companions.
Editor’s Note
153 model … earth i.e. our flesh, made from dust and hence a kind of miniature or microcosm ('model') of the earth
Editor’s Note
154 paste and cover 'A metaphor, not of the most sublime kind, taken from a pie' (Johnson). The flesh, made from earth, is like a pastry covering the bones.
Critical Apparatus
155 God's] q1; Heauens f
Editor’s Note
155 sit upon the ground Sitting on the earth was emblematic of sadness and human mortality. It is not clear if his followers join him, or indeed if Richard himself sits on the stage at this moment.
Editor’s Note
158 ghosts i.e. the ghosts of the kings
Editor’s Note
160–70 For within … farewell king In Richard's wonderfully elaborated conceit, the space within the crown becomes Death's 'court' or presence chamber, and Death a mock-king, an 'antic' or court fool, who both controls and derides the life of the actual king. Death allows the king time and space to play at being a monarch ('monarchize'), all the while 'scoffing' at the ceremonious attention he receives ('state' and 'pomp'). Thus is the king 'infused' with vanity, to the point that he becomes persuaded of his own invincibility, until Death comes along with a tiny pin to prick out his life.
Editor’s Note
160 hollow crown Note the parallelism with the 'hollow ground' or grave in 140.
Editor’s Note
164 scene The word establishes the theatrical nature of the process of 'monarchizing'.
Editor’s Note
167 flesh which walls The king's body is likened to a seemingly 'impregnable' fortress (168), only to be penetrated by the 'pin' that breaches the 'castle wall' (169–70).
Editor’s Note
168 humoured indulged. Death gratifies the king's fantasy of invulnerability; a kind of absolute construction, referring to the king.
Critical Apparatus
170 through] q2f; thorough q1
wall] q1; walls q2f
Editor’s Note
171–3 mock … duty do not treat me with the exaggerated respect normally offered to kings, since I am only 'flesh and blood'. In a paradoxical figure, 'solemn reverence' is redefined as mockery.
Editor’s Note
174–7 For … king Richard for the first time stresses his common humanity, what he shares with other people rather than what differentiates him from them.
Editor’s Note
176 Subjected (a) made into a subject (not a monarch); (b) subjugated, overawed
Critical Apparatus
178 wail … woes ] f; sit and waile theyr woes q1
Editor’s Note
178 wail … woes The F reading, which is clearly a revision, plays wittily with 'presently' in the next line.
Editor’s Note
179 presently … wail immediately move to avoid the courses that lead to grief
Editor’s Note
180–1 To … foe i.e. fearing the enemy only weakens you and thus strengthens your foe
Critical Apparatus
182] q1; not in f
Editor’s Note
182 so … yourself hence your foolish fears are self-destructive
Editor’s Note
183–5 Carlisle's speech is once again somewhat gnomic (cf. 29–32 above), but his general point is clear: the worst that can happen is death in battle, but that is a way to defeat death, while to fear is to offer slavish homage ('servile breath') to death.
Editor’s Note
184–97 The persistent rhyming in this section, as frequently elsewhere in the play, is characteristic of its style. The rhymes maintain a formal tone, but can be suggestive of a wide range of meanings and feelings; see Introduction, pp. 64–6.
Editor’s Note
186 power army
Editor’s Note
187 make … limb turn what we at first thought was only an arm into the whole body of our army
Editor’s Note
188 well appropriately
Editor’s Note
189 change exchange
doom judgement (recalling the tournament (see 1.3.148 n.) as well as dooms-day, the last judgement)
Critical Apparatus
190 over-blown] f; ouerblowne q1
Editor’s Note
190 ague fever
is over-blown has passed
Editor’s Note
191 An … own What he had earlier seen as impossible, Richard now regards as easy: to win the hearts of his people.
Editor’s Note
194 complexion appearance
Editor’s Note
195 state … day condition and tendency of the weather
Editor’s Note
198 by small and small little by little (modifying 'lengthen' in the next line)
Critical Apparatus
203 party] q1; Faction f
Editor’s Note
203 Upon his party i.e. on Bolingbroke's side
Critical Apparatus
204 To Aumerle] theobald; not in q1, f
Editor’s Note
204 Beshrew curse
Editor’s Note
204–5 which … despair who led me off the pleasant path to despair that I was on
Editor’s Note
206, 208 comfort See l. 36 n.
Editor’s Note
209 Flint Castle At this point in Holinshed, Richard steals away to Conwy Castle, though the marginal note mistakenly mentions Flint, to which Richard later repairs; perhaps Shakespeare seized on 'Flint' because of the connotation of the word, which signifies a very hard stone, and thus suggests an appropriate refuge for a despairing king.
Editor’s Note
210 A king … obey Turning back to the idea of the king who is a plaything of death and woe (155–70), Richard lapses into self-indulgence: kings are inevitably the slaves of sorrow.
Critical Apparatus
211 them] q1; 'em f
Editor’s Note
211 discharge release from military obligation
Editor’s Note
212 ear the land till the soil (i.e. support Bolingbroke who is now, as Richard was, identified with the English earth)
Editor’s Note
215–16 double … tongue The image recalls the adder that poisons with double tongue (21 and n.).
Editor’s Note
218 night … day The traditional association of sun and king, developed earlier with regard to Richard, is now applied to Bolingbroke (see 37 n. and 47–53 n.).
Critical Apparatus
218.1 Exeunt] f; not in q1
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