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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-drawn sword
may prove.


NOR. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal:

'Tis not the trial of a woman's war,
The bitter clamour of two eager tongues,
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain:
The blood is hot that must be cool'd for this,
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast,
As to be hush'd, and nought at all to say:
First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me
From giving reins and spurs to my free speech;
Which else would post, until it had return'd
These terms of treason doubled down his throat.
Setting aside his high blood's royalty,
And let him be no kinsman to my liege,
I do defy him, and I spit at him;

Call him-a slanderous coward, and a villain :
Which to maintain, I would allow him odds;
And meet him, were I tied to run a-foot
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,
Or any other ground inhabitable '

9-right-drawn-] Drawn in a right or just cause.


JOHNSON. 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 Journey, &c. " there stands a strong castle, but the town is all spoil'd, and almost inhabitable by the late lamentable troubles."




Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.
Mean time, let this defend my loyalty,-
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.
BOLING. Pale trembling coward, there I throw
my gage,


Disclaiming here the kindred of the king 2;
And lay aside my high blood's royalty,
Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except:
If guilty dread hath left thee so much strength,
As to take up mine honour's pawn, then stoop;
By that and all the rites of knighthood else,
Will I make good against thee, arm to arm,
What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise 3.

NOR. I take it up; and, by that sword I swear,
Which gently lay'd my knighthood on my shoulder,
I'll answer thee in any fair degree,
Or chivalrous design of knightly trial:
And, when I mount, alive may I not light*,
If I be traitor, or unjustly fight!

K. RICH. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's charge?


It must be great, that can inherit us *
So much as of a thought of ill in him.

* Quarto 1608,-And when I mount alive, alive may I not light.

So also, Braithwaite, in his Survey of Histories, 1614: Others, in imitation of some valiant knights, have frequented desarts and inhabited provinces." MALONE.


the king;] So the first quarto. The second quarto reads a king, and was followed by all subsequent editors. MALONE.

3 What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.] So the quarto 1597. Quarto 1598, "What I have spoke, or thou canst devise." Quarto 1608, "What I have spoke, or what thou canst devise." Folio, "What I have spoken, or thou canst devise." BOSWELL.

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that can INHERIT us, &c.] To inherit is 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.:

such delight


Among fresh female buds shall you this night "Inherit at my house." STEEVENS. See vol. vi. p. 28, n. 8. MALONE.


BOLING. Look, what I speak my life shall prove it 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";
And, consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluic'd out his innocent soul through streams of blood:
Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
To me, for justice, and rough chastisement;
And, by the glorious worth of my descent,
This arm shall do it, or this life be spent.

K. RICH. How high a pitch his resolution soars!Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this?

NOR. O, let my sovereign turn away his face, And bid his ears a little while be deaf,

for LEWD employments,] Lewd here signifies wicked. It is so used in many of our old statutes. MALONE. It sometimes signifies-idle.

Thus, in King Richard III. :

"But you must trouble him with lewd complaints."



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.


6 SUGGEST his soon-believing adversaries;] i. e. prompt, set them on by injurious hints. Thus, in The Tempest:


They'll take suggestion, as a cat laps milk." STEEVENS.

Till I have told this slander of his blood",
How God, and good men, hate so foul a liar.
K. RICH. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes, and


Were he my brother, nay, my kingdom's heir,
(As he is but my father's brother's son,)
Now by my scepter's awes I make a vow,
Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood
Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul;
He is our subject, Mowbray, so art thou;
Free speech and fearless, I to thee allow.

NOR. Then, Bolingbroke, as low as to thy heart,
Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest!
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais,
Disburs'd I duly to his highness' soldiers:
The other part reserv'd I by consent;

For that my sovereign liege was in my debt,
Upon remainder of a dear account,
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen 9:




To the king's ancestry, as Richard's answer shows. MALONE. my scepter's awe-] The reverence due to my scepter. JOHNSON.


9 Since last I went to France to fetch his queen :] The Duke of Norfolk was joined in commission with Edward Earl of Rutland (the Aumerle of this play) to go to France in the year 1395, in the king's name, to demand in marriage (Isabel, the queen of our present drama) the eldest daughter of Charles the Sixth, then between seven and eight years of age. The contract of marriage was confirmed by the French King in March, 1396; and on November, 1396, Richard was married to his young consort in the chapel of St. Nicholas, in Calais, by, Archbishop of Canterbury. His first wife, Anne, daughter to the Emperor of Germany, Charles the Fourth, whom he had married in 1382, died at Shene, on Whitsunday, 1394. His marriage with Isabella, as is manifest from her age, was merely political; and accordingly it was accompanied with an agreement for a truce between France and England, for thirty years. MALONE.

this slander of his blood,] i. e. this reproach to his anSTEEVENS.

Now swallow down that lie.For Gloster's

I slew him not; but to my own disgrace,
Neglected my sworn duty in that case.—
For you, my noble lord of Lancaster,
The honourable father to my foe,
Once did I lay an ambush for your life,
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul:
But, ere I last receiv'd the sacrament,
I did confess it; and exactly begg'd
Your grace's pardon, and, I hope, I had it.
This is my fault: As for the rest appeal'd,
It issues from the rancour of a villain,
A recreant and most degenerate traitor:
Which in myself I boldly will defend;
And interchangeably hurl down my gage
Upon this overweening traitor's foot,
To prove myself a loyal gentleman

Even in the best blood chamber'd in his bosom :
In haste whereof, most heartily I pray
Your highness to assign our trial day.

K. RICH. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul'd by


Let's purge this choler without letting blood:
This we prescribe, though no physician1;
Deep malice makes too deep incision :

This we prescribe, though no physician; &c.] I must make one remark in general on the rhymes throughout this whole play; they are so much inferior to the rest of the writing, that they appear to me of a different hand. What confirms this, is, that the context does every where exactly (and frequently much better) connect, without the inserted rhymes, except in a very few places; and just there too, the rhyming verses are of a much better taste than all the others, which rather strengthens my conjecture.


"This observation of Mr. Pope's (says Mr. Edwards) happens to be very unluckily placed here, because the context, without the inserted rhymes, will not connect at all. Read this passage as it would stand corrected by this rule, and we shall find, when the rhyming part of the dialogue is left out, King Richard

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