"Tell Sad Stories Of The Death Of Kings"

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Last Updated on July 28, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 161

Context: Richard II comes back from Ireland to find his cousin, the banished Bolingbroke, back in the land and gaining power every minute. At first Richard's hopes are high in opposing Bolingbroke, but every messenger brings the report of the strength of Richard's opponent. One by one the king names his former adherents, only to have each name written off as dead or his forces dispersed. He has returned too late to save his kingdom. Finally realizing the extent of his helplessness, Richard, the victim of his own mercurial nature, sinks into despair.

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. . .
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs,
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes,
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
Let's choose executors and talk of wills.
. . .
And that a small model of the barren earth,
Which serves as paste, and cover to our bones.
For God's sake let us sit upon the ground,
And tell sad stories of the death of kings,
. . .

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