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While we return these dukes what we decrec.
[A long flourish. Draw near,
[To the Combatants.
And list, what with our council we have done.
For that our kingdom's earth should not be soil'd
With that dear blood which it hath fostered ;
And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect
Of civil wounds plough'd up with neighbours' swords ;
[And for we think the eagle-winged pride
Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts,
With rival-hating envy, set on you
To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle
Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep ;]"
Which so rous'd up with boisterous untun'd drums,
With harsh resounding trumpets' dreadful bray,
And grating shock of wrathful iron arms,
Might from our quiet confines fright fair
And make us wade even in our kindred's blood ;-
Therefore, we banish you our territories:
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of death,
Till twice five summers have enrich'd our fields,
Shall not regreet our fair dominions,
But tread the stranger paths of banishment.
Boling. Your will be done : This must my comfort be,
That sun, that warms you here, shall shine on me;
And those his golden beams, to you here lent,
Shall point on me, and gild my banishment.
K. Rich. Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom,
Which I with some unwillingness pronounce :
The sly slow hours shall not determinate
The dateless limit of thy deard exile ;-
a On you. So the old copies. Pope and subsequent editors read
b These five lines, enclosed in brackets, are omitted in the folio. (See Introductory Notice.)
c Sly slow hours. So the old copies. Pope would read fly-slow. Chapman, in his translation of the 'Odyssey,' bas “those sly hours." It would hardly be fair to think that Pope changed the text that he might have the credit of originality in the following line :
“ All sly slow things, with circumspective eye.” d Dear exile. The manner in which Shakspere uses the word dear often presents a difficulty to the modern reader. Twenty-five lines before this we have the “ dear
The hopeless word of, never to return,
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.
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' hands.
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.
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 ; b
After our sentence plaining comes too late.
blood” of the kingdom—the valued blood. We have now the “ dear exile” of Norfolk—the harmful exile. The apparent contradiction is immediately reconciled by looking at the etymology of the word. To dere, the old English verb, from the Anglo-Saxon der-ian, is to hurt,—to do mischief; and thence dearth, meaning, which hurteth, dereth, or maketh dear. In the expression dear exile we have the primitive meaning of to dere. But in the other expression, dear blood, we have the secondary meaning. One of the most painful consequences of mischief on a large scale, such as the mischief of a bad season, was dearth—the barrenness, the scarcity, produced by the hurtful agent. What was spared was thence called dear-precious -costly-greatly coveted— highly prized.
* A dearer merit. A more valued reward. Johnson says to deserve a merit is a phrase of which he knows not any example. Shakspere here distinctly means to deserve a reward; for merit is strictly the part or share earned or gained. Prior, who wrote a century after Shakspere, uses the word in the same sense :
“ Those laurel-groves, the merits of thy youth,
Which thou from Mahomet didst greatly gain.” b Compassionate. This is the only instance in which Shakspere uses compassionate in the sense of complaining.
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 you owe to heaven,
(Our part therein we banish 13 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 ever look
each other's face;
Nor ever write, regreet, or reconcile
This lowering tempest of your home-bred hate;
Nor ever by advised purpose meet
To plot, contrive, or complot any
'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 ; 4-
By this time, had the king permitted us,
One of our souls had wanderd 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 this realm ;
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along
The clogging burthen 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
a Johnson's interpretation of this passage seems to be just : “ Norfolk, so far I have addressed myself to thee as to mine enemy; I now utter my last words with kindness and tenderness; confess thy treasons.”
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 cxile;
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 scem'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 mild :
A partial slander sought I to avoid,
And in the sentence my own lise destroy’d.] a
Alas, I look'd when some of you should say,
I was too strict, to make mine own away;
But you gave leave to mine unwilling tongue,
Against my will, to do myself this wrong.
a These four lines, enclosed in brackets, are omitted in the folio.
K. Rich. Cousin, farewell :-and, uncle, bid him so; Six years we banish him, and he shall
go. [Flourish. Exeunt K. RICHARD and Train. Aum. Cousin, farewell : what presence must not know, From where you do remain, let paper show.
Mar. My lord, no leave take I; for I will ride As far as land will let me by your side.
Gaunt. O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words, That thou return'st no greeting to thy friends?
Boling. I have too few to take my leave of you,
When the tongue's office should be prodigal
To breathe the abundant dolour of the licart.
Gaunt. Thy grief is but thy absence for a time.
Boling. Joy absent, grief is present for that time.
Gaunt. What is six winters? they are quickly gone.
Boling. To men in joy ; but grief makes one hour ten.
Gaunt. Call it a travel that thou tak’st for pleasure.
Boling. My heart will sigh when I miscall it so,
Which finds it an enforced pilgrimage.
Gaunt. The sullen passage of thy weary steps
Esteem a foil,a wherein thou art to set
The precious jewel of thy home-return.
[Boling. Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make
Will but remember me, what a deal of world
I wander from the jewels that I love.
Must I not serve a long apprenticchood
To foreign passages, and in the end,
Having my freedom, boast of nothing else
But that I was a journeyman to grief?
Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven visits
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens:
Teach thy necessity to reason thus;
There is no virtue like necessity.
Think not, the king did banish thee;
But thou the king: Woe doth the heavier sit,
Where it perceives it is but faintly borne.
Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour,
And not, the king exil'd thee: or suppose,
a Foil or foyl, the thin plate or leaf of metal used in setting jewellery.