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"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*
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
Disclaiming here the kindred of the king;
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.
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.
Boling. Look, what I speak my life shall prove it
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
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,
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 awe I make a vow,
§ Reproach to his ancestry.
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 : Now swallow down that lie:For Gloster's death,
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 in 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 me;
Let's purge this choler without letting blood:
This we prescribe, though no physician;
Deep malice makes too deep incision :
Forget, forgive; conclude, and be agreed;
Our doctors say, this is no time to bleed.-
Good uncle, let this end where it begun ;
We'll calm the duke of Norfolk, you your son.
Gaunt. To be a make-peace shall become my age;
Throw down, my son, the duke of Norfolk's gage.
K. Rich. And, Norfolk, throw down his.
When, Harry? when ?
Obedience bids, I should not bid again.
K. Rich. Norfolk, throw down; we bid; there is no boot*.
Nor. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot: My life thou shalt command, but not my shame: The one my duty owes; but my fair name, (Despite of death, that lives upon my grave,) To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have. I am disgrac'd, impeach'd, and baffled here; Pierc'd to the soul with slander's venom'd spear; The which no balm can cure, but his heart-blood Which breath'd this poison.
Rage must be withstood :
Give me his gage :-Lions make leopards tame.
Nor. Yea, but not change their spots: take but
And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord,
The purest treasure mortal times afford,
Is-spotless reputation; that away,
Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
A jewel in a ten-times-barr'd-up chest
Is-a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
Mine honour is my life; both grow in one;
Take honour from me, and my life is done :
Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;
In that I live, and for that will I die.
K. Rich. Cousin, throw down your gage; do you begin.
Boling. O, God defend my soul from such foul sin!
Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father's sight?
Or with pale beggar-fear impeach my height
Before this outdar'd dastard? Ere my tongue
Shall wound mine honour with such feeble wrong,
Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear
The slavish motive of recanting fear;
And spit it bleeding, in his high disgrace,
Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray's face.
K. Rich. We were not born to sue, but to com-
Which since we cannot do to make you friends,
Be ready, as your lives shall answer it,
At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert's day;
There shall your swords and lances arbitrate
The swelling difference of your settled hate;
Since we cannot atone* you, we shall see
Justice design† the victor's chivalry.—
Marshal, command our officers at arms
Be ready to direct these home-alarms.
A room in the Duke of Lancaster's palace.
Enter Gaunt, and Duchess of Gloster.
Gaunt. Alas! the part‡ I had in Gloster's blood Doth more solicit me, than your exclaims, To stir against the butchers of his life. But since correction lieth in those hands, Which made the fault that we cannot correct, Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven; Who, when he sees the hours ripe on earth, Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads. Duch. Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur? Hath love in thy old blood no living fire? Edward's seven sons, whereof thyself art one, Relationship.