Where Will doth mutiny with Wit’s regard – RICHARD II, II i

Still hard at work on trimming and annotating Richard II today, and for some reason (which though well known to me, I yet will gag), rang louder today than when last I read it.

At the top of Act Two, a dying John of Gaunt is talking to his brother Ed (let’s call him York) about hopes that the uncounselable Richard will at least listen to a dying man’s advice. Or, In Gaunt’s words:

           Though Richard my lives counsell would not heare,

          My death’s sad tale, may yet undeafe his eare.

To which his brother responds (ellipses, emphases, and a bit of clarifying punctuation are mine):

         No, it is stopt with other flatt’ring sounds

          As praises, of whose taste th’unwise are fond

          Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity

          (So it be new, there’s no respect how vile)

          That is not quickly buz’d into his eares?

          That all too late comes Counsell to be heard,

         Where Will doth mutiny with Wit’s regard:

          Direct not him, whose way himselfe will choose,

          Tis breath thou lackst, and that breath wilt thou lose.


One chunk of this that stood out to me could roughly be restated as, “When any novelty is so distracting to him, can well-reasoned & perspective-considering advice ever come fast enough to be heard by ears where stubbornness rebels against sense?”

Just sittin’ here, readin’ Shakespeare, tryin’ to avoid the news. Good day, all.

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