Extra Credit Assignment
Two famous garden scenes of Shakespeare are found in Richard II and The Winter's Tale.
Choose one and delineate and discuss the horticultural knowledge revealed in these excerpts.
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Richard II, Act III, Scene IV, lines 1-107, especially 29-71.
The Winter's Tale, Act IV, Scene IV, lines 55-165, especially 70-134.
Shakespeare's Richard II records the beginning of an era of political upheaval insurrection in
England. Richard, an unsatisfactory head of state, is surrounded by self-seeking advisors who
burdened his country with heavy taxes to support a luxurious court life. Richard's cousin, Henry
Bullingbrook, a man of action, fills the void created through Richard's misrule by usurping the
throne. Richard's fall from power and Bullingbrook's ascension to the throne may have been
political necessities for England yet Shakespeare regards them with mixed feelings.
Richard's mismanagement of England is reflected in a following garden scene in Act III, Scene
IV, lines 1-107. Location: Langley. The Duke Of York's garden.
Enter the Queen and two Ladies
What sport shall we devise here in this garden,
To drive away the heavy thought of care?
Madam, we'll play at bowls.
'Twill make me think the world is full of rubs,
4. rubs: impediments (a term
And that my fortune rubs against the bias.
5. against the bias: i.e.
unnaturally crooked. In the game
of bowls, bias=the desirable
swerve or curving course of a
bowl in motion.
Madam, we'll dance.
My legs can keep no measure in delight,
7. measure: stately dance.
When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief;
8. measure: moderation.
Therefore, no dancing, girl, some other sport.
Madam, we'll tell tales.