‘This England’
John of Gaunt watches in despair as his country is milked for its wealth and shared out among the king’s favourites.
UK summer time
‘This England’

Written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Abridged from ‘Richard II’ (Act II, Scene 1), by William Shakespeare.

It is 1399, and for two years King Richard II has (in addition to legalised murder) been levying extortionate rents on the property of his opponents, and handing out grace-and-favour homes to his cronies. As John of Gaunt lies dying, he charges his nephew with being ‘landlord of England, not king’.

THIS throne of kings, this sceptr’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the 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 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.

* ‘Pelting’ in this case is an adjective with a meaning similar to ‘paltry, mean’.

Abridged from ‘Richard II’ (Act II, Scene 1), by William Shakespeare.

More like this

William Shakespeare (7) Extracts from Literature (62) Fiction (63)

About these language games

Confusables Opposites Spinner Précis Sevens Jigsaw Verb or Noun? Active or Passive? Subject and Object Adjectives Word Class
Picture: Sheep on Nab Hill in the Lune Valley in Cumbria, England.
© Karl and Ali, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0.

amazon books

featured music

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: ‘Countdown’ letters game Games with Words

numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps Mental arithmetic

top posts

A Roman commander facing court martial took refuge in politics, and for ten years London was an imperial capital.
A princess covets the belt of a warrior-queen, so Heracles is despatched to get it for her.
The earliest Christians longed to celebrate the resurrection together at Passover, but that was not as easy as it sounds.
By Richard Whately (1787-1863)
Jane Austen wrote as a Christian, but all the better for doing so unobtrusively.
By Jane Austen (1775-1817)
For Jane Austen, the best education a father can give to his child is to befriend her.
Do you know ‘princes and princesses, kings and queens’ (7 letters), and ‘jump up and down on one foot’ (3 letters)?
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a 9-letter word. Can you beat our score?
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a 9-letter word. Can you beat our score?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.