The lining of his coffers shall make coats to deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.

From Richard II. I feel I’ve read/seen this exchange over a dozen times without ever fully taking in the coldness. There is, by the way, an OED definition of coffer as coffin. The last attestation they provide is 1550 but it’s close enough in time to suggest that the associative flow is dictated by more than just sound.

BUSHY

Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord,

Suddenly taken; and hath sent post haste

To entreat your majesty to visit him.

KING RICHARD II

Where lies he?

BUSHY

At Ely House.

KING RICHARD II

Now put it, God, in the physician’s mind

To help him to his grave immediately!

The lining of his coffers shall make coats

To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.

Come, gentlemen, let’s all go visit him:

Pray God we may make haste, and come too late

One thought on “The lining of his coffers shall make coats to deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.

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