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To check time broke in a disordered string;
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Groom. Hail, royal prince!
Thanks, noble peer;
1 The folio reads "To hear."
3 It should be recollected that there are three ways in which a clock notices the progress of time, viz. by the vibration of the pendulum, the index on the dial, and the striking of the hour. To these the king, in his comparison, severally alludes; his sighs corresponding to the jarring or ticking of the pendulum, which, at the same time that it watches or numbers the seconds, marks also their progress in minutes on the dial-plate, or outward watch, to which the king compares his eyes; and their want of figures is supplied by a succession of tears (or minute drops, to use an expression of Milton); his finger, by as regularly wiping these away, performs the office of the dial's point; his clamorous groans are the sounds that tell the hour.
4 That is, I strike for him. One of these automatons is alluded to in King Richard III. Act iv. Sc. 3.
Where no man never comes, but that sad dog
Groom. I was a poor groom of thy stable, king, When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York, With much ado, at length have gotten leave To look upon my (sometimes' royal) master's face. O, how it yearned my heart, when I beheld, In London streets, that coronation day, When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary! That horse, that thou so often hast bestrid; That horse, that I so carefully have dressed!
K. Rich. Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle friend, How went he under him?
Groom. So proudly, as if he disdained the ground. K. Rich. So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back!
That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand;
Enter Keeper, with a dish.
Keep. Fellow, give place; here is no longer stay. [To the Groom. K. Rich. If thou love me, 'tis time thou wert away. Groom. What my tongue dares not, that my heart shall say.
1 Sometimes was used for former, as well as sometime.
2 Jauncing is hard riding, from the old French word jancer, which Cotgrave explains, "to stir a horse in the stable till he sweat withal; or (as our) to jaunt."
Keep. My lord, will't please you to fall to?
Lately came from the king, commands the contrary. K. Rich. The devil take Henry of Lancaster, and thee!
Patience is stale, and I am weary of it.
Keep. Help, help, help!
[Beats the Keeper.
Enter EXTON and Servants, armed.
K. Rich. How now? what means death in this rude assault?
Villain, thy own hand yields thy death's instrument. [Snatching a weapon, and killing one. Go thou, and fill another room in hell.
[He kills another, and then ExTON strikes him down.1 That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire, That staggers thus my person.-Exton, thy fierce hand Hath with the king's blood stained the king's own land. Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high, Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die.
Exton. As full of valor, as of royal blood. Both have I spilled! O, 'would the deed were good!
1 These stage directions are not in the old copies.
2 The representation here given of the king's death is perfectly agreeable to Hall and Holinshed (who copied from Fabian, with whom the story of Exton is thought to have its origin). But the fact was otherwise. He refused food for several days, and died of abstinence and a broken heart. See Walsingham, Otterburne, the Monk of Evesham, the Continuator of the History of Croyland, and the Godstow Chronicle. His body, after being submitted to public inspection in the church of Pomfret, was brought to London, and exposed in Cheapside for two hours, "his heade on a black cushion, and his visage open," when it was viewed, says Froissart, by twenty thousand persons, and finally in St. Paul's cathedral. Stowe seems to have had before him a manuscript history of the latter part of king Richard's life, written by a person who was with him in Wales. He says "he was imprisoned in Pomfrait Castle, where xv dayes and nightes they vexed him with continual hunger, thirst, and cold, and finally bereft him of his life with such a kind of death as never before that time was knowen in England."
For now the devil, that told me I did well,
SCENE VI. Windsor. A Room in the Castle. Flourish.
Enter BOLINGBROKE and YORK, with Lords and Attendants.
Boling. Kind uncle York, the latest news we hear Is that the rebels have consumed with fire Our town of Cicester in Glocestershire! But whether they be ta'en, or slain, we hear not.
Welcome, my lord. What is the news?
North. First, to thy sacred state wish I all happiness. The next news is,-I have to London sent
The heads of Salisbury, Spencer, Blunt, and Kent.1
[Presenting a paper. Boling. We thank thee, gentle Percy, for thy pains; And to thy worth will add right worthy gains.
Fitz. My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London The heads of Brocas and sir Bennet Seely; Two of the dangerous, consorted traitors, That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow.
Boling. Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot; Right noble is thy merit, well I wot.
1 So the folio. The quarto reads, of Oxford, Salisbury, Blunt, and Kent. The folio is right according to the histories.
Enter PERCY, with the Bishop of Carlisle.
Percy. The grand conspirator, abbot of Westminster,' With clog of conscience, and sour melancholy, Hath yielded up his body to the grave; But here is Carlisle living to abide Thy kingly doom, and sentence of his pride. Boling. Carlisle, this is your doom:-2 Choose out some secret place, some reverend room, More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life; So, as thou liv'st in peace, die free from strife. For though mine enemy thou hast ever been, High sparks of honor in thee have I seen.
Enter EXTON, with Attendants bearing a coffin.
Exton. Great king, within this coffin I
Boling. Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast wrought
A deed of slander, with thy fatal hand,
Upon my head, and all this famous land.
Exton. From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed.
Boling. They love not poison that do poison need, Nor do I thee; though I did wish him dead, I hate the murderer, love him murdered. The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labor, But neither my good word nor princely favor.
1 This abbot of Westminster was William de Colchester. The relation, which is taken from Holinshed, is untrue, as he survived the king many years; and though called "the grand conspirator," it is very doubtful whether he had any concern in the conspiracy; at least, nothing was proved against him.
2 The bishop of Carlisle was committed to the tower, but, on the intercession of his friends, obtained leave to change his prison for Westminster abbey. In order to deprive him of his see, the pope, at the king's instance, translated him to a bishopric in partibus infidelium; and the only preferment he could ever after obtain was a rectory in Gloucestershire.