Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Entrance of Bolingbroke into London
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
(See full text.)

  Duchess.—My lord, you told me you would tell the rest,
When weeping made you break the story off,
Of our two cousins coming into London.
  York.—Where did I leave?
  Duch.—At that sad stop, my lord,        5
Where rude misgoverned hands, from windows’ tops,
Threw dust and rubbish on King Richard’s head,
  York.—Then as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke,—
Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,
Which his aspiring rider seemed to know,—        10
With slow but stately pace, kept on his course,
While 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        15
Upon his visage, and that all the walls,
With painted imagery, had said at once,—
“Jesu preserve thee! welcome, Bolingbroke!”
Whilst he, from one side to the other turning,
Bareheaded, lower than his proud steed’s neck,        20
Bespake them thus,—“I thank you, countrymen:”
And thus still doing, thus he passed along.
  Duch.—Alas, poor Richard, where rides he the while?
  York.—As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,        25
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 Richard; no man cried, God save him!
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home:        30
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, steeled        35
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,
And barbarism itself have pitied him.
 
 
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