King Richard II | England

A Book Review, in Verse

Dramatis Personae: (aka Characters)

Allison Weber, the master of the blog

Lizzy, hedgehog and faithful companion to Allison

Scene: On the Couch

[Enter Allison and Lizzy]

Allison. This day doth be to Talk Like Shakespeare Day.

In honor of the bard, revieweth I

His history of King Richard II

In poor verse and imabic pentameter.

Act 1: Overview

Lizzy. Why am I on the couch on this mid-day?

Allison. We’re discussing King Richard the II;

Without you, I’d be talking to myself.

Lizzy. Doth well for me; I’d rather be asleep

[Aside] Between the twain of us, alone am I

Sounding like the famed Shakespeare, I do say.

Allison. This play dramatizes the last two years

Of King Richard II’s life, aged 33

From 1398 to 1400

—In Shakespeare’s trademark dramatic fashion.

He was deposed by his cousin Henry,

Formerly Bolingbroke, then Henry IV.

Henry’s mother and Richard’s father, Edward,

Were siblings, making Henry a royal prince.

Richard’s random, impulsive behavior

And overtaxation were the keys

To his eventual downfall and doom.

Lizzy. [Squeaky snores]

Act 2: Thoughts

Scene 1: The Characters

Allison. I rather liked many characters—

Lizzy. [Yawning] Your imabic pentameter and verse

Doth begin to disintegrate and fail.

Allison. I suppose you can do better?

Lizzy. Of course. Extra meal worms to the true victor.

Allison. Proceed.

Lizzy. Henry Bolingbroke was earnest and wise,

Clever with his words and daring in arms.

Even King Richard was somewhat likeble,

Possibly because, rather than in spite,

Of his failings.

Allison.                      How do you know all this?   

Lizzy. What do you think I do all the night long?

Scene 2: The Storyline

Lizzy. The story begins with a dispute

That sees Henry exiled for a time.

But upon his father’s death, Henry returns.

With suspicion that Richard is to blame

For many ills to kith, kin, and kingdom

Most of the aristocracy support him.

Richard is later murdered; Henry mourns.

Allison. And the writing?

Lizzy.                                   Patience, mother of my heart.

Scene 3: The Writing

Lizzy. Per usual, the bard writes with style,

And beauty drips from pen to paper.

Mother’s favorite quotations include,

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;

For now hath time made me his numbering clock:

My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar

Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,

Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,

Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.

Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is

Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,

Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans

Show minutes, times, and hours.”

Time, though, means but little to the hedgehog.

Accept as it is wasted with no naps.

“You may my glories and my state depose,

But not my griefs; still am I king of those.”

This quote doth be short and sweet, as I like.

Now, goodnight.

[Snuggles into shoulder and drops off to sleep]

Act 3: Final Musings

Allison. The rest lies on me.

While better than King JohnKing Richard II

Lacks the depth and character development

Of Shakespeare’s other histories.

Yet King Richard is a more likable villain

Than King John. And King Henry is complex,

Conflicted, and torn.

Act 4: Rating 6/10


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