John of Gaunt's Death Bed Speech

January 13, 2019

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,


This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,


This other Eden, demi-paradise,


This fortress built by Nature for her self


Against infection and the hand of war,


This happy breed of men, this little world,


This precious stone set in a silver sea


Which serves it in the office of a wall


Or as a moat defensive to a house,


Against the envy of less happier lands,


This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,


This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,


Feared by their breed and famous for their birth,


Renownèd for their deeds as far from home


For Christian service and true chivalry


As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry


Of the world's ransom, blessèd Mary's son.


This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,


Dear for her reputation through the world,


Is now leased out - I die pronouncing it -


Like to a tenement or pelting farm.


England, bound in with the triumphant sea,


Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege


Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,


With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.


That England that was wont to conquer others


Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.


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