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MonkeyNotes-Richard II by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 2

Arriving at Barkloughly Castle in Wales, Richard is happy to return to his kingdom. York's son, Aumerle, is present, as is the Bishop of Carlisle. He humbly addresses England with emotionally charged words. He salutes the "dear earth" of England and proclaims his intense affection for her: "As a long- parted mother with her child / Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting, / So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth . . . "

He commands the earth itself to launch an offensive against the rebel, Bolingbroke: "Throw death upon thy sovereign's enemies." The Bishop of Carlisle senses Richard's feeling of dread and comforts him with this remark: "Fear not, my lord: that power that made you king / Hath power to keep you king in spite of all." He urges Richard to take some concrete action and not wait for God to perform a miracle. Simply waiting for divine help amounts to a rejection of the "proffer'd means of succour and redress." Aumerle agrees with Carlisle's views and warns that Bolingbroke is growing stronger even as they speak. Richard, however, believes that God will protect him from Bolingbroke and his fellow rebels.

The Lord of Salisbury arrives with the devastating news that the Welsh soldiers, believing the rumor of Richard's death to be true, have abandoned the cause. He laments that if Richard had returned a day earlier, he would have supplied him with twelve thousand soldiers. He says regretfully, "To-day, to-day, unhappy day too late, / O'erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state." Richard falls into premature despair and reflects that everybody who desires to be safe has deserted his side because "time hath set a blot upon (his) pride." Aumerle tries to rouse his spirits and urges him to behave in accordance with the dignity of his office. Richard regains his composure, but at this moment, Scroop enters bad news. He informs Richard that the entire populace has rebelled against him.


He also confirms that Bushy and Green have "made peace" with Bolingbroke. Richard angrily denounces his former friends, who have chosen to desert him in a time of woe. Only after Richard stops raving is Scroop able to reveal that Bushy and Green have been executed by Bolingbroke. But it is too late. Richard has given himself up to the deadly sin of despair and launches into another poetic speech concerning "graves . . . worms, and epitaphs." He loses all hope and proposes that they sit on the ground, and "tell sad stories of the death of kings." Carlisle attempts to instill some confidence in Richard and says that it is foolishness to admit defeat before fighting. Undue fear of the enemy only results in strengthening the foe. Aumerle reminds Richard of the army under York. Richard immediately feels roused by Carlisle's admonition. However, Richard again falls into despair when Scroop says that he has a "heavier tale" to deliver, and he reveals that York has also defected to Bolingbroke's side and that all his northern castles have been seized. Richard sinks into abject despair. He announces his decision to seek refuge at Flint Castle where he will "pine away" and orders the dismissal of his soldiers so that they too may flee "from Richard's night to Bolingbroke's fair day."

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