The Revolution of 1399

  • A. L. Rowse


The Revolution of 1399 was really rooted in Richard’s revenge, the completeness of it and the personal vindictiveness of it. It was understandable that Richard should seek revenge upon the enemies who had humiliated him and killed his friends. All the same, it was not right in a king: Richard should have contented himself with their defeat. He had no magnanimity—that quality so necessary in highest place—such as Bolingbroke showed when he sat in Richard’s throne. If a king was more than a man then he had to rise above human littlenesses and weaknesses. Men looked to the kingship for justice above all, for impartiality so far as possible; they looked to the king to rectify their wrongs, not to take sides and certainly not to add further wrongs of a personal kind to add to the miseries of society. Richard was caught in the cleft stick of a psychotic personality: he demanded to be regarded as more than a man, but in his conduct he fell below the average standards expected of a man. The result was to be seen in the deep-seated sense of insecurity within himself, and the insecurity he spread all round him.


Official Account Faithful Common Personal Kind Psychotic Personality Full Confession 
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© A. L. Rowse 1966

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  • A. L. Rowse

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