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Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom

King Richard
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 dear exile.
The hopeless word of “never to return”
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life.
A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
And all unlooked-for from your Highness’ mouth.

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.

A dearer merit, not so deep a maim
As to be cast forth in the common air,
Have I deservèd at your Highness’ hands.
The language I have learnt these forty years,
My native English, now I must forgo;
And now my tongue’s use is to me no more
Than an unstringèd viol or a harp,
Or like a cunning instrument cased up,
Or, being open, put into his hands
That knows no touch to tune the harmony.
Within my mouth you have enjailed my tongue,
Doubly portcullised with my teeth and lips,
And dull unfeeling barren ignorance
Is made my jailor 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?
King Richard
It boots thee not to be compassionate.
After our sentence plaining comes too late.
Then thus I turn me from my country’s light,
To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.
 He begins to exit.
King Richard
Return again, and take an oath with thee.
 To Mowbray and Bolingbroke.
Lay on our royal sword your banished hands.
 They place their right hands on the hilts of
 Richard’s sword.
Swear by the duty that you owe to God—
Our part therein we banish with yourselves—
To keep the oath that we administer:
You never shall, so help you truth and God,
Embrace each other’s love in banishment,
Nor never look upon each other’s face,
Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile
This louring tempest of your homebred hate,
Nor never by advisèd purpose meet
To plot, contrive, or complot any ill
’Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.
I swear.
And I, to keep all this.
 They step back.
Norfolk, so far as to mine enemy:
By this time, had the King permitted us,
One of our souls had wandered in the air,
Banished this frail sepulcher of our flesh,
As now our flesh is banished 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.
No, Bolingbroke; if ever I were traitor,
My name be blotted from the book of life,
And I from heaven banished as from hence.
But what thou art, God, 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.
 He exits.
King Richard, to Gaunt
Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes
I see thy grievèd heart. Thy sad aspect
Hath from the number of his banished years
Plucked four away.
 To Bolingbroke. Six frozen winters spent,
Return with welcome home from banishment.
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.
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.
King Richard
Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live.
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.
King Richard
Thy son is banished upon good advice,
Whereto thy tongue a party verdict gave.
Why at our justice seem’st thou then to lour?
Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
You urged 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 destroyed.
Alas, I looked 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.
King Richard, to Bolingbroke
Cousin, farewell.—And, uncle, bid him so.
Six years we banish him, and he shall go.
 Flourish. King Richard exits with his Attendants.

Act 1
Scene 3
Line 150

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