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Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster

King Richard
Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster,
Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
Brought hither Henry Hereford, thy bold son,
Here to make good the boist’rous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
I have, my liege.

Since the more fair and crystal is the sky,
The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly.

King Richard
Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him
If he appeal the Duke on ancient malice
Or worthily, as a good subject should,
On some known ground of treachery in him?
As near as I could sift him on that argument,
On some apparent danger seen in him
Aimed at your Highness, no inveterate malice.
King Richard
Then call them to our presence.
 An Attendant exits.
Face to face
And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear
The accuser and the accusèd freely speak.
High stomached are they both and full of ire,
In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire.
 Enter Bolingbroke and Mowbray.
Many years of happy days befall
My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege.
Each day still better other’s happiness
Until the heavens, envying earth’s good hap,
Add an immortal title to your crown.
King Richard
We thank you both. Yet one but flatters us,
As well appeareth by the cause you come:
Namely, to appeal each other of high treason.
Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
First—heaven be the record to my speech!—
In the devotion of a subject’s love,
Tend’ring the precious safety of my prince
And free from other misbegotten hate,
Come I appellant to this princely presence.—
Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee;
And mark my greeting well, for what I speak
My body shall make good upon this earth
Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.
Thou art a traitor and a miscreant,
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.
Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal.
’Tis not the trial of a woman’s war,
The bitter clamor of two eager tongues,
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain.
The blood is hot that must be cooled for this.
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast
As to be hushed and naught 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 returned
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 afoot
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps
Or any other ground inhabitable
Wherever Englishman durst set his foot.
Meantime let this defend my loyalty:
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie.

Act 1
Scene 1
Line 1

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