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This precious stone:

In Richard II, Act 2, Scene 1, Shakespeare has John of Gaunt say:

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
. . .
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....

John of Gaunt continues:

Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world,
It were a shame to let this land by lease;
But for thy world enjoying but this land,
Is it not more than shame to shame it so?
Landlord of England art thou now, not king....

Does anyone know what program of leasing John of Gaunt is referring to?

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