Richard II "Death Will Have His Day"

William Shakespeare

"Death Will Have His Day"

Context: King Richard II has returned from Ireland to find England invaded by Bolingbroke, whom the King had arbitrarily exiled. Richard's associates, the Bishop of Carlisle and Aumerle, urge the king to be about his business of stamping out the rebellion. But Richard is confident of his victory because, "Not all the water in the rough rude sea/ Can wash the balm off from an anointed King./ The breath of worldly men cannot depost/ The deputy elected by the Lord." But Richard's hopes are dashed by news that all his soldiers have deserted to Bolingbroke. He then comforts himself by saying that his kindgom was, at best, a care. He reveals his resignation in this speech:

Revolt our subjects? That we cannot mend;
They break their faith to God as well as us.
Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay,
The worst is death, and death will have his day.