Richard II: Act IV, Scene i


Richard II   Act 4, Scene 1  Bishop of Carlisle

(This text is featured in our interview with David McCann)

116    Marry. God forbid!
117    Worst in this royal presence may I speak,
118    Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth.
119    Would God that any in this noble presence
120    Were enough noble to be upright judge
121    Of noble Richard! then true noblesse would
122    Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong.
123    What subject can give sentence on his king?
124    And who sits here that is not Richard’s subject?
125    Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear,
126    Although apparent guilt be seen in them;
127    And shall the figure of God’s majesty,
128    His captain, steward, deputy-elect,
129    Anointed, crowned, planted many years,
130    Be judged by subject and inferior breath,
131    And he himself not present? O, forfend it, God,
132    That in a Christian climate souls refined
133    Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!
134    I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks,
135    Stirr’d up by God, thus boldly for his king:
136    My Lord of Hereford here, whom you call king,
137    Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford’s king:
138    And if you crown him, let me prophesy:
139    The blood of English shall manure the ground,
140    And future ages groan for this foul act;
141    Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
142    And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
143    Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;
144    Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny
145    Shall here inhabit, and this land be call’d
146    The field of Golgotha and dead men’s skulls.
147    O, if you raise this house against this house,
148    It will the woefullest division prove
149    That ever fell upon this cursed earth.
150    Prevent it, resist it, let it not be so,
151    Lest child, child’s children, cry against you woe!

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