"He In Twelve, Found Truth In All, But One"

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Last Updated on July 28, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 215

Context: Richard II, who has banished Henry Bolingbroke on charge of treason and has seized his inheritance on the death of John of Gaunt, father of Bolingbroke and uncle of the king, returns to England from the Irish wars. Bolingbroke, who has invaded England to claim his inheritance, confronts Richard with turn-coat accusers and demands a confession of guilt and finally the crown itself from the monarch. The Duke of York, weak and aged uncle of both Richard and Henry Bolingbroke, announces the abdication of Richard and the accession of Bolingbroke, as Henry IV, to the throne. Richard, summoned before the new king, claims that the accusers assembled here have previously pledged to him their allegiance even as the traitor Judas had originally pledged his faith to Christ:

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. . . Yet I well remember
The favours of these men: were they not mine?
Did they not sometime cry all hail to me?
So Judas did to Christ: but he in twelve,
Found truth in all, but one; I, in twelve thousand, none.
God save the King! Will no man say, amen?
Am I both priest, and clerk? Well then, amen.
God save the King, although I be not he,
And yet, amen, if heaven do think him me.
To do what service am I sent for hither?

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