Richard II – Act 3 Scene 3 (King Richard monologue)

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IMAGE: Wikipedia – anonymous artist’s impressions of Richard II in the 16th Century



Richard II – Act 3 Scene 3

By William Shakespeare


Hope you enjoy this recording of my student Edward Young performing this monologue.  This piece was one of three pieces that were selected and performed for his Grade 8 Acting Gold Medal.  Congratulations Edward an outstanding distinction. (You’ll find the names of his other pieces and some interesting links at the end.)


The transcript of this monologue can also be found below.



King Richard II: O God, O God! That e’er this tongue of mine,

That laid the sentence of dread banishment

On yon proud man, should take it off again

With words of sooth! O that I were as great

As is my grief, or lesser than my name!

Or that I could forget what I have been,

Or not remember what I must be now!

Swell’st thou, proud heart? I’ll give the scope to beat,

Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me.


[Duke of Aumerle: Northumberland comes back from Boilingbroke.]


King Richard II: What must the king do now? Must he submit?

The king shall do it: must he be deposed?

The king shall be contented: must he lose

The name of king? O’ God’s name, let it go:

I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,

My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,

My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,

My figured goblets for a dish of wood,

My sceptre for a palmer’s walking staff,

My subjects for a pair of carved saints

And my large kingdom for a little grave,

A little, little grave, an obscure grave;

Or I’ll be buried on the king’s highway,

Some way of common trade, where subjects’ feet

May hourly trample on their sovereign’s head;

For on my heart they tread now whilst I live;

And buried once, why not upon my head?

Aumerle, thou weep’st, my tender-hearted cousin!

We’ll make foul weather with despised tears;

Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn,

And make a dearth in this revolting land.

Or shall we play the wantons with our woes,

And make some pretty match with shedding tears?

And thus, to drop them still upon one place,

Till they have fretted us a pair of graves

Within the Earth; and, therein laid, – there lies

Two kinsmen digg’d their graves with weeping eyes.

Would this not ill do well? Well, well, I see

I talk but idly and you laugh at me.

Most mighty prince, my Lord Northumberland,

What says king Bolingbroke? Will his majesty

Give Richard leave to live, till Richard die?

You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says ay.


[Earl of Northumberland: my lord, in the base court he doth attend

To speak with you; may it please you to come down.]


King Richard II: Down, Down I come; like glistering Phaethon,

Wanting the manage of unruly jades.

In the base court? Base court, where kings grow base,

To come to traitors’ calls and do them grace.

In the base court? Come down? Down court! Down king!

For night-owls shriek where mounting larks should sing.



Pieces selected for this LAMDA Grade 8 Acting Gold Medal (with links to Amazon – student promotion available)

  • Richard II by William Shakespeare (King Richard)  << here >>
  • The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde  (Algernon) << here >>
  • Mojo by Jez Butterworth (Baby) << here >>


Interested in finding a LAMDA tutor << here >>

Interested in finding a LAMDA exam tutor in Norwich contact me << here >>


Resources for Richard II:

  • Sparknotes << here >>
  • Gradesaver << here >>



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