"This Royal Throne Of Kings, This Sceptered Isle"

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Last Updated on July 28, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 171

Context: Richard II is approached by his uncle, John of Gaunt, and his uncle's son, Henry Bolingbroke, later King Henry IV, with accusations against Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. Rather than have the accuser and the accused test the accusation by resort to trial by combat, Richard banishes both Bolingbroke and Mowbray from England. John of Gaunt protests the long banishment of his son, saying that by the time Bolingbroke returns he, John, will be dead; however, Richard will not revoke his decree. Gaunt later is carried in a chair to see Richard, and "a prophet new inspired / And thus expiring do foretell of him, / His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last." Gaunt then comments on the nobility and greatness of England and prophesies its decline:

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. . .
This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-Paradise,
. . .
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
. . .
That England that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
. . .

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