Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed
Which his aspiring rider seem’d to know,
With slow but stately pace kept on his course,
Whilst all tongues cried “God save thee, Bolingbroke!”
You would have thought the very windows spake,
So many greedy looks of young and old
Through casements darted their desiring eyes
Upon his visage, and that all the walls
With painted imagery had said at once
“Jesu preserve thee! welcome, Bolingbroke!”
Whilst he, from the one side to the other turning,
Bareheaded, lower than his proud steed’s neck,
Bespake them thus: “I thank you, countrymen:”
And thus still doing, thus he pass’d along.
After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious;
Even so, or with much more contempt, men’s eyes
Did scowl on gentle Richard; no man cried “God save him!”
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home:
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head:
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off,
His face still combating with tears and smiles,
The badges of his grief and patience,
That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel’d
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted
And barbarism itself have pitied him.
But heaven hath a hand in these events,
To whose high will we bound our calm contents.
To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now,
Whose state and honour I for aye allow.
As I have done, thou wouldst be more pitiful.
But now I know thy mind; thou dost suspect
That I have been disloyal to thy bed,
And that he is a bastard, not thy son:
Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind:
He is as like thee as a man may be,
Not like to me, or any of my kin,
And yet I love him.
Spur post, and get before him to the king,
And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.
I’ll not be long behind; though I be old,
I doubt not but to ride as fast as York:
And never will I rise up from the ground
Till Bolingbroke have pardon’d thee. Away, be gone!