Please wait

The text you requested is loading.
This shouldn't take more than a minute, depending on
the speed of your Internet connection.

progress graphic

Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.

      — King Henry VIII, Act III Scene 2

History of Richard III

(complete text)

print/save print/save view

Act I

1. London. A street.

2. The same. Another street.

3. The palace.

4. London. The Tower.

Act II

1. London. The palace.

2. The palace.

3. London. A street.

4. London. The palace.

Act III

1. London. A street.

2. Before Lord Hastings’ house.

3. Pomfret Castle.

4. The Tower of London.

5. The Tower-walls.

6. The same.

7. Baynard’s Castle.

Act IV

1. Before the Tower.

2. London. The palace.

3. The same.

4. Before the palace.

5. Lord Derby’s house.

Act V

1. Salisbury. An open place.

2. The camp near Tamworth.

3. Bosworth Field.

4. Another part of the field.

5. Another part of the field.

---
       

Act I, Scene 1

London. A street.

      next scene .
---

[Enter GLOUCESTER, solus]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
    And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. 5
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
    Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front; 10
    And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
    But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks, 15
    Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
    I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
    To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
    I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
    Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, 20
    Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
    Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
    And that so lamely and unfashionable
    That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
    Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace, 25
    Have no delight to pass away the time,
    Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
    And descant on mine own deformity:
    And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
    To entertain these fair well-spoken days, 30
    I am determined to prove a villain
    And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
    Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
    By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
    To set my brother Clarence and the king 35
    In deadly hate the one against the other:
    And if King Edward be as true and just
    As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
    This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up,
    About a prophecy, which says that 'G' 40
    Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
    Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
    Clarence comes.
    [Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY]
    Brother, good day; what means this armed guard 45
    That waits upon your grace?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
    He should, for that, commit your godfathers:
    O, belike his majesty hath some intent
    That you shall be new-christen'd in the Tower. 55
    But what's the matter, Clarence? may I know?
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Yea, Richard, when I know; for I protest
    As yet I do not: but, as I can learn,
    He hearkens after prophecies and dreams;
    And from the cross-row plucks the letter G. 60
    And says a wizard told him that by G
    His issue disinherited should be;
    And, for my name of George begins with G,
    It follows in his thought that I am he.
    These, as I learn, and such like toys as these 65
    Have moved his highness to commit me now.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, this it is, when men are ruled by women:
    'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower:
    My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, 'tis she
    That tempers him to this extremity. 70
    Was it not she and that good man of worship,
    Anthony Woodville, her brother there,
    That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
    From whence this present day he is deliver'd?
    We are not safe, Clarence; we are not safe. 75
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). By heaven, I think there's no man is secure
    But the queen's kindred and night-walking heralds
    That trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.
    Heard ye not what an humble suppliant
    Lord hastings was to her for his delivery? 80
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Humbly complaining to her deity
    Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
    I'll tell you what; I think it is our way,
    If we will keep in favour with the king,
    To be her men and wear her livery: 85
    The jealous o'erworn widow and herself,
    Since that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen.
    Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.
  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. I beseech your graces both to pardon me;
    His majesty hath straitly given in charge 90
    That no man shall have private conference,
    Of what degree soever, with his brother.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Even so; an't please your worship, Brakenbury,
    You may partake of any thing we say:
    We speak no treason, man: we say the king 95
    Is wise and virtuous, and his noble queen
    Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous;
    We say that Shore's wife hath a pretty foot,
    A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
    And that the queen's kindred are made gentle-folks: 100
    How say you sir? Can you deny all this?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Naught to do with mistress Shore! I tell thee, fellow,
    He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
    Were best he do it secretly, alone. 105
  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. I beseech your grace to pardon me, and withal
    Forbear your conference with the noble duke.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). We are the queen's abjects, and must obey.
    Brother, farewell: I will unto the king;
    And whatsoever you will employ me in,
    Were it to call King Edward's widow sister,
    I will perform it to enfranchise you. 115
    Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
    Touches me deeper than you can imagine.

[Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and Guard]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return.
    Simple, plain Clarence! I do love thee so,
    That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven, 125
    If heaven will take the present at our hands.
    But who comes here? the new-deliver'd Hastings?

[Enter HASTINGS]

  • Lord Hastings. With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must:
    But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
    That were the cause of my imprisonment. 135
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too;
    For they that were your enemies are his,
    And have prevail'd as much on him as you.
  • Lord Hastings. More pity that the eagle should be mew'd,
    While kites and buzzards prey at liberty. 140
  • Lord Hastings. No news so bad abroad as this at home;
    The King is sickly, weak and melancholy,
    And his physicians fear him mightily.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now, by Saint Paul, this news is bad indeed. 145
    O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
    And overmuch consumed his royal person:
    'Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
    What, is he in his bed?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Go you before, and I will follow you.
    [Exit HASTINGS]
    He cannot live, I hope; and must not die
    Till George be pack'd with post-horse up to heaven.
    I'll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence, 155
    With lies well steel'd with weighty arguments;
    And, if I fall not in my deep intent,
    Clarence hath not another day to live:
    Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
    And leave the world for me to bustle in! 160
    For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter.
    What though I kill'd her husband and her father?
    The readiest way to make the wench amends
    Is to become her husband and her father:
    The which will I; not all so much for love 165
    As for another secret close intent,
    By marrying her which I must reach unto.
    But yet I run before my horse to market:
    Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns:
    When they are gone, then must I count my gains. 170

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 2

The same. Another street.

      next scene .
---

[Enter the corpse of KING HENRY the Sixth, Gentlemen] with halberds to guard it; LADY ANNE being the mourner]

  • Lady Anne. Set down, set down your honourable load,
    If honour may be shrouded in a hearse, 175
    Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
    The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.
    Poor key-cold figure of a holy king!
    Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster!
    Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood! 180
    Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost,
    To hear the lamentations of Poor Anne,
    Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughter'd son,
    Stabb'd by the selfsame hand that made these wounds!
    Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life, 185
    I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.
    Cursed be the hand that made these fatal holes!
    Cursed be the heart that had the heart to do it!
    Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!
    More direful hap betide that hated wretch, 190
    That makes us wretched by the death of thee,
    Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads,
    Or any creeping venom'd thing that lives!
    If ever he have child, abortive be it,
    Prodigious, and untimely brought to light, 195
    Whose ugly and unnatural aspect
    May fright the hopeful mother at the view;
    And that be heir to his unhappiness!
    If ever he have wife, let her he made
    A miserable by the death of him 200
    As I am made by my poor lord and thee!
    Come, now towards Chertsey with your holy load,
    Taken from Paul's to be interred there;
    And still, as you are weary of the weight,
    Rest you, whiles I lament King Henry's corse. 205

[Enter GLOUCESTER]

  • Lady Anne. What black magician conjures up this fiend,
    To stop devoted charitable deeds?
  • Gentleman. My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Unmanner'd dog! stand thou, when I command:
    Advance thy halbert higher than my breast,
    Or, by Saint Paul, I'll strike thee to my foot, 215
    And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.
  • Lady Anne. What, do you tremble? are you all afraid?
    Alas, I blame you not; for you are mortal,
    And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil.
    Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of hell! 220
    Thou hadst but power over his mortal body,
    His soul thou canst not have; therefore be gone.
  • Lady Anne. Foul devil, for God's sake, hence, and trouble us not;
    For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell, 225
    Fill'd it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
    If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
    Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.
    O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's wounds
    Open their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh! 230
    Blush, Blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
    For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
    From cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells;
    Thy deed, inhuman and unnatural,
    Provokes this deluge most unnatural. 235
    O God, which this blood madest, revenge his death!
    O earth, which this blood drink'st revenge his death!
    Either heaven with lightning strike the
    murderer dead,
    Or earth, gape open wide and eat him quick, 240
    As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood
    Which his hell-govern'd arm hath butchered!
  • Lady Anne. Villain, thou know'st no law of God nor man: 245
    No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.
  • Lady Anne. O wonderful, when devils tell the truth!
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). More wonderful, when angels are so angry.
    Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman, 250
    Of these supposed-evils, to give me leave,
    By circumstance, but to acquit myself.
  • Lady Anne. Vouchsafe, defused infection of a man,
    For these known evils, but to give me leave,
    By circumstance, to curse thy cursed self. 255
  • Lady Anne. Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make
    No excuse current, but to hang thyself.
  • Lady Anne. And, by despairing, shouldst thou stand excused;
    For doing worthy vengeance on thyself,
    Which didst unworthy slaughter upon others.
  • Lady Anne. Why, then they are not dead: 265
    But dead they are, and devilish slave, by thee.
  • Lady Anne. In thy foul throat thou liest: Queen Margaret saw 270
    Thy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;
    The which thou once didst bend against her breast,
    But that thy brothers beat aside the point.
  • Lady Anne. Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind.
    Which never dreamt on aught but butcheries:
    Didst thou not kill this king?
  • Lady Anne. Dost grant me, hedgehog? then, God grant me too 280
    Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!
    O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous!
  • Lady Anne. He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.
  • Lady Anne. And thou unfit for any place but hell.
  • Lady Anne. I'll rest betide the chamber where thou liest!
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,
    To leave this keen encounter of our wits, 295
    And fall somewhat into a slower method,
    Is not the causer of the timeless deaths
    Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,
    As blameful as the executioner?
  • Lady Anne. Thou art the cause, and most accursed effect. 300
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Your beauty was the cause of that effect;
    Your beauty: which did haunt me in my sleep
    To undertake the death of all the world,
    So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.
  • Lady Anne. If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide, 305
    These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). These eyes could never endure sweet beauty's wreck;
    You should not blemish it, if I stood by:
    As all the world is cheered by the sun,
    So I by that; it is my day, my life. 310
  • Lady Anne. Black night o'ershade thy day, and death thy life!
  • Lady Anne. I would I were, to be revenged on thee.
  • Lady Anne. It is a quarrel just and reasonable,
    To be revenged on him that slew my husband.
  • Lady Anne. His better doth not breathe upon the earth. 320
  • Lady Anne. Would it were mortal poison, for thy sake! 330
  • Lady Anne. Never hung poison on a fouler toad.
    Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.
  • Lady Anne. Would they were basilisks, to strike thee dead! 335
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I would they were, that I might die at once;
    For now they kill me with a living death.
    Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt tears,
    Shamed their aspect with store of childish drops:
    These eyes that never shed remorseful tear, 340
    No, when my father York and Edward wept,
    To hear the piteous moan that Rutland made
    When black-faced Clifford shook his sword at him;
    Nor when thy warlike father, like a child,
    Told the sad story of my father's death, 345
    And twenty times made pause to sob and weep,
    That all the standers-by had wet their cheeks
    Like trees bedash'd with rain: in that sad time
    My manly eyes did scorn an humble tear;
    And what these sorrows could not thence exhale, 350
    Thy beauty hath, and made them blind with weeping.
    I never sued to friend nor enemy;
    My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word;
    But now thy beauty is proposed my fee,
    My proud heart sues, and prompts my tongue to speak. 355
    [She looks scornfully at him]
    Teach not thy lips such scorn, for they were made
    For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.
    If thy revengeful heart cannot forgive,
    Lo, here I lend thee this sharp-pointed sword; 360
    Which if thou please to hide in this true bosom.
    And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,
    I lay it naked to the deadly stroke,
    And humbly beg the death upon my knee.
    [He lays his breast open: she offers at it with his sword] 365
    Nay, do not pause; for I did kill King Henry,
    But 'twas thy beauty that provoked me.
    Nay, now dispatch; 'twas I that stabb'd young Edward,
    But 'twas thy heavenly face that set me on.
    [Here she lets fall the sword] 370
    Take up the sword again, or take up me.
  • Lady Anne. Arise, dissembler: though I wish thy death,
    I will not be the executioner.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Tush, that was in thy rage:
    Speak it again, and, even with the word,
    That hand, which, for thy love, did kill thy love,
    Shall, for thy love, kill a far truer love;
    To both their deaths thou shalt be accessary. 380
  • Lady Anne. Well, well, put up your sword. 385
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Look, how this ring encompasseth finger.
    Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart;
    Wear both of them, for both of them are thine.
    And if thy poor devoted suppliant may 395
    But beg one favour at thy gracious hand,
    Thou dost confirm his happiness for ever.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). That it would please thee leave these sad designs
    To him that hath more cause to be a mourner, 400
    And presently repair to Crosby Place;
    Where, after I have solemnly interr'd
    At Chertsey monastery this noble king,
    And wet his grave with my repentant tears,
    I will with all expedient duty see you: 405
    For divers unknown reasons. I beseech you,
    Grant me this boon.
  • Lady Anne. With all my heart; and much it joys me too,
    To see you are become so penitent.
    Tressel and Berkeley, go along with me. 410
  • Lady Anne. 'Tis more than you deserve;
    But since you teach me how to flatter you,
    Imagine I have said farewell already.

[Exeunt LADY ANNE, TRESSEL, and BERKELEY]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). No, to White-Friars; there attend my coining.
    [Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER]
    Was ever woman in this humour woo'd? 420
    Was ever woman in this humour won?
    I'll have her; but I will not keep her long.
    What! I, that kill'd her husband and his father,
    To take her in her heart's extremest hate,
    With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes, 425
    The bleeding witness of her hatred by;
    Having God, her conscience, and these bars
    against me,
    And I nothing to back my suit at all,
    But the plain devil and dissembling looks, 430
    And yet to win her, all the world to nothing!
    Ha!
    Hath she forgot already that brave prince,
    Edward, her lord, whom I, some three months since,
    Stabb'd in my angry mood at Tewksbury? 435
    A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman,
    Framed in the prodigality of nature,
    Young, valiant, wise, and, no doubt, right royal,
    The spacious world cannot again afford
    And will she yet debase her eyes on me, 440
    That cropp'd the golden prime of this sweet prince,
    And made her widow to a woful bed?
    On me, whose all not equals Edward's moiety?
    On me, that halt and am unshapen thus?
    My dukedom to a beggarly denier, 445
    I do mistake my person all this while:
    Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,
    Myself to be a marvellous proper man.
    I'll be at charges for a looking-glass,
    And entertain some score or two of tailors, 450
    To study fashions to adorn my body:
    Since I am crept in favour with myself,
    Will maintain it with some little cost.
    But first I'll turn yon fellow in his grave;
    And then return lamenting to my love. 455
    Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
    That I may see my shadow as I pass.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 3

The palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, RIVERS, and GREY]

  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Have patience, madam: there's no doubt his majesty 460
    Will soon recover his accustom'd health.
  • Lord Grey. In that you brook it in, it makes him worse:
    Therefore, for God's sake, entertain good comfort,
    And cheer his grace with quick and merry words.
  • Lord Grey. The heavens have bless'd you with a goodly son,
    To be your comforter when he is gone.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Oh, he is young and his minority 470
    Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,
    A man that loves not me, nor none of you.
  • Queen Elizabeth. It is determined, not concluded yet:
    But so it must be, if the king miscarry. 475

[Enter BUCKINGHAM and DERBY]

  • Lord Grey. Here come the lords of Buckingham and Derby.
  • Queen Elizabeth. The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Derby. 480
    To your good prayers will scarcely say amen.
    Yet, Derby, notwithstanding she's your wife,
    And loves not me, be you, good lord, assured
    I hate not you for her proud arrogance.
  • Sir William Stanley. I do beseech you, either not believe 485
    The envious slanders of her false accusers;
    Or, if she be accused in true report,
    Bear with her weakness, which, I think proceeds
    From wayward sickness, and no grounded malice.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Madam, we did: he desires to make atonement
    Betwixt the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers,
    And betwixt them and my lord chamberlain;
    And sent to warn them to his royal presence.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Would all were well! but that will never be 500
    I fear our happiness is at the highest.

[Enter GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and DORSET]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). They do me wrong, and I will not endure it:
    Who are they that complain unto the king,
    That I, forsooth, am stern, and love them not? 505
    By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly
    That fill his ears with such dissentious rumours.
    Because I cannot flatter and speak fair,
    Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive and cog,
    Duck with French nods and apish courtesy, 510
    I must be held a rancorous enemy.
    Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
    But thus his simple truth must be abused
    By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace.
    When have I injured thee? when done thee wrong?
    Or thee? or thee? or any of your faction?
    A plague upon you all! His royal person,—
    Whom God preserve better than you would wish!— 520
    Cannot be quiet scarce a breathing-while,
    But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the matter.
    The king, of his own royal disposition,
    And not provoked by any suitor else; 525
    Aiming, belike, at your interior hatred,
    Which in your outward actions shows itself
    Against my kindred, brothers, and myself,
    Makes him to send; that thereby he may gather
    The ground of your ill-will, and so remove it. 530
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I cannot tell: the world is grown so bad,
    That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch:
    Since every Jack became a gentleman
    There's many a gentle person made a Jack.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Come, come, we know your meaning, brother 535
    Gloucester;
    You envy my advancement and my friends':
    God grant we never may have need of you!
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Meantime, God grants that we have need of you:
    Your brother is imprison'd by your means, 540
    Myself disgraced, and the nobility
    Held in contempt; whilst many fair promotions
    Are daily given to ennoble those
    That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.
  • Queen Elizabeth. By Him that raised me to this careful height 545
    From that contented hap which I enjoy'd,
    I never did incense his majesty
    Against the Duke of Clarence, but have been
    An earnest advocate to plead for him.
    My lord, you do me shameful injury, 550
    Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). She may, Lord Rivers! why, who knows not so? 555
    She may do more, sir, than denying that:
    She may help you to many fair preferments,
    And then deny her aiding hand therein,
    And lay those honours on your high deserts.
    What may she not? She may, yea, marry, may she— 560
  • Queen Elizabeth. My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne 565
    Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs:
    By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
    With those gross taunts I often have endured.
    I had rather be a country servant-maid
    Than a great queen, with this condition, 570
    To be thus taunted, scorn'd, and baited at:
    [Enter QUEEN MARGARET, behind]
    Small joy have I in being England's queen.
  • Queen Margaret. And lessen'd be that small, God, I beseech thee!
    Thy honour, state and seat is due to me. 575
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What! threat you me with telling of the king?
    Tell him, and spare not: look, what I have said
    I will avouch in presence of the king:
    I dare adventure to be sent to the Tower.
    'Tis time to speak; my pains are quite forgot. 580
  • Queen Margaret. Out, devil! I remember them too well:
    Thou slewest my husband Henry in the Tower,
    And Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ere you were queen, yea, or your husband king,
    I was a pack-horse in his great affairs; 585
    A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,
    A liberal rewarder of his friends:
    To royalize his blood I spilt mine own.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). In all which time you and your husband Grey 590
    Were factious for the house of Lancaster;
    And, Rivers, so were you. Was not your husband
    In Margaret's battle at Saint Alban's slain?
    Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
    What you have been ere now, and what you are; 595
    Withal, what I have been, and what I am.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). To fight on Edward's party for the crown;
    And for his meed, poor lord, he is mew'd up.
    I would to God my heart were flint, like Edward's;
    Or Edward's soft and pitiful, like mine
    I am too childish-foolish for this world. 605
  • Queen Margaret. Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave the world,
    Thou cacodemon! there thy kingdom is.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. My Lord of Gloucester, in those busy days
    Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
    We follow'd then our lord, our lawful king: 610
    So should we you, if you should be our king.
  • Queen Elizabeth. As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
    You should enjoy, were you this country's king, 615
    As little joy may you suppose in me.
    That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.
  • Queen Margaret. A little joy enjoys the queen thereof;
    For I am she, and altogether joyless.
    I can no longer hold me patient. 620
    [Advancing]
    Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
    In sharing that which you have pill'd from me!
    Which of you trembles not that looks on me?
    If not, that, I being queen, you bow like subjects, 625
    Yet that, by you deposed, you quake like rebels?
    O gentle villain, do not turn away!
  • Queen Margaret. But repetition of what thou hast marr'd;
    That will I make before I let thee go. 630
  • Queen Margaret. I was; but I do find more pain in banishment
    Than death can yield me here by my abode.
    A husband and a son thou owest to me;
    And thou a kingdom; all of you allegiance: 635
    The sorrow that I have, by right is yours,
    And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The curse my noble father laid on thee,
    When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper
    And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his eyes, 640
    And then, to dry them, gavest the duke a clout
    Steep'd in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland—
    His curses, then from bitterness of soul
    Denounced against thee, are all fall'n upon thee;
    And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed. 645
  • Lord Hastings. O, 'twas the foulest deed to slay that babe,
    And the most merciless that e'er was heard of!
  • Queen Margaret. What were you snarling all before I came,
    Ready to catch each other by the throat,
    And turn you all your hatred now on me?
    Did York's dread curse prevail so much with heaven? 655
    That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death,
    Their kingdom's loss, my woful banishment,
    Could all but answer for that peevish brat?
    Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?
    Why, then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses! 660
    If not by war, by surfeit die your king,
    As ours by murder, to make him a king!
    Edward thy son, which now is Prince of Wales,
    For Edward my son, which was Prince of Wales,
    Die in his youth by like untimely violence! 665
    Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen,
    Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self!
    Long mayst thou live to wail thy children's loss;
    And see another, as I see thee now,
    Deck'd in thy rights, as thou art stall'd in mine! 670
    Long die thy happy days before thy death;
    And, after many lengthen'd hours of grief,
    Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen!
    Rivers and Dorset, you were standers by,
    And so wast thou, Lord Hastings, when my son 675
    Was stabb'd with bloody daggers: God, I pray him,
    That none of you may live your natural age,
    But by some unlook'd accident cut off!
  • Queen Margaret. And leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me. 680
    If heaven have any grievous plague in store
    Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
    O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe,
    And then hurl down their indignation
    On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace! 685
    The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul!
    Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou livest,
    And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
    No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
    Unless it be whilst some tormenting dream 690
    Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils!
    Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog!
    Thou that wast seal'd in thy nativity
    The slave of nature and the son of hell!
    Thou slander of thy mother's heavy womb! 695
    Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins!
    Thou rag of honour! thou detested—
  • Queen Margaret. Why, so I did; but look'd for no reply.
    O, let me make the period to my curse! 705
  • Queen Margaret. Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my fortune!
    Why strew'st thou sugar on that bottled spider,
    Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about? 710
    Fool, fool! thou whet'st a knife to kill thyself.
    The time will come when thou shalt wish for me
    To help thee curse that poisonous bunchback'd toad.
  • Lord Hastings. False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse,
    Lest to thy harm thou move our patience. 715
  • Queen Margaret. To serve me well, you all should do me duty,
    Teach me to be your queen, and you my subjects:
    O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty! 720
  • Queen Margaret. Peace, master marquess, you are malapert:
    Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current.
    O, that your young nobility could judge
    What 'twere to lose it, and be miserable! 725
    They that stand high have many blasts to shake them;
    And if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Yea, and much more: but I was born so high, 730
    Our aery buildeth in the cedar's top,
    And dallies with the wind and scorns the sun.
  • Queen Margaret. And turns the sun to shade; alas! alas!
    Witness my son, now in the shade of death;
    Whose bright out-shining beams thy cloudy wrath 735
    Hath in eternal darkness folded up.
    Your aery buildeth in our aery's nest.
    O God, that seest it, do not suffer it!
    As it was won with blood, lost be it so!
  • Queen Margaret. Urge neither charity nor shame to me:
    Uncharitably with me have you dealt,
    And shamefully by you my hopes are butcher'd.
    My charity is outrage, life my shame
    And in that shame still live my sorrow's rage. 745
  • Queen Margaret. O princely Buckingham I'll kiss thy hand,
    In sign of league and amity with thee:
    Now fair befal thee and thy noble house!
    Thy garments are not spotted with our blood, 750
    Nor thou within the compass of my curse.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Nor no one here; for curses never pass
    The lips of those that breathe them in the air.
  • Queen Margaret. I'll not believe but they ascend the sky,
    And there awake God's gentle-sleeping peace. 755
    O Buckingham, take heed of yonder dog!
    Look, when he fawns, he bites; and when he bites,
    His venom tooth will rankle to the death:
    Have not to do with him, beware of him;
    Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him, 760
    And all their ministers attend on him.
  • Queen Margaret. What, dost thou scorn me for my gentle counsel?
    And soothe the devil that I warn thee from? 765
    O, but remember this another day,
    When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow,
    And say poor Margaret was a prophetess!
    Live each of you the subjects to his hate,
    And he to yours, and all of you to God's! 770

[Exit]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I cannot blame her: by God's holy mother,
    She hath had too much wrong; and I repent 775
    My part thereof that I have done to her.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). But you have all the vantage of her wrong.
    I was too hot to do somebody good,
    That is too cold in thinking of it now. 780
    Marry, as for Clarence, he is well repaid,
    He is frank'd up to fatting for his pains
    God pardon them that are the cause of it!
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion,
    To pray for them that have done scathe to us. 785

[Enter CATESBY]

  • Sir William Catesby. Madam, his majesty doth call for you,
    And for your grace; and you, my noble lords.

[Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl.
    The secret mischiefs that I set abroach
    I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
    Clarence, whom I, indeed, have laid in darkness,
    I do beweep to many simple gulls 800
    Namely, to Hastings, Derby, Buckingham;
    And say it is the queen and her allies
    That stir the king against the duke my brother.
    Now, they believe it; and withal whet me
    To be revenged on Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: 805
    But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
    Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
    And thus I clothe my naked villany
    With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
    And seem a saint, when most I play the devil. 810
    [Enter two Murderers]
    But, soft! here come my executioners.
    How now, my hardy, stout resolved mates!
    Are you now going to dispatch this deed?
  • First Murderer. We are, my lord; and come to have the warrant 815
    That we may be admitted where he is.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well thought upon; I have it here about me.
    [Gives the warrant]
    When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.
    But, sirs, be sudden in the execution, 820
    Withal obdurate, do not hear him plead;
    For Clarence is well-spoken, and perhaps
    May move your hearts to pity if you mark him.
  • First Murderer. Tush!
    Fear not, my lord, we will not stand to prate; 825
    Talkers are no good doers: be assured
    We come to use our hands and not our tongues.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act I, Scene 4

London. The Tower.

      next scene .
---

[Enter CLARENCE and BRAKENBURY]

  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). O, I have pass'd a miserable night, 835
    So full of ugly sights, of ghastly dreams,
    That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
    I would not spend another such a night,
    Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days,
    So full of dismal terror was the time! 840
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower,
    And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy;
    And, in my company, my brother Gloucester;
    Who from my cabin tempted me to walk 845
    Upon the hatches: thence we looked toward England,
    And cited up a thousand fearful times,
    During the wars of York and Lancaster
    That had befall'n us. As we paced along
    Upon the giddy footing of the hatches, 850
    Methought that Gloucester stumbled; and, in falling,
    Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard,
    Into the tumbling billows of the main.
    Lord, Lord! methought, what pain it was to drown!
    What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears! 855
    What ugly sights of death within mine eyes!
    Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
    Ten thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon;
    Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
    Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels, 860
    All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea:
    Some lay in dead men's skulls; and, in those holes
    Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept,
    As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
    Which woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep, 865
    And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Methought I had; and often did I strive
    To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood 870
    Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth
    To seek the empty, vast and wandering air;
    But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
    Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). O, no, my dream was lengthen'd after life;
    O, then began the tempest to my soul,
    Who pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood,
    With that grim ferryman which poets write of,
    Unto the kingdom of perpetual night. 880
    The first that there did greet my stranger soul,
    Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick;
    Who cried aloud, 'What scourge for perjury
    Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?'
    And so he vanish'd: then came wandering by 885
    A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
    Dabbled in blood; and he squeak'd out aloud,
    'Clarence is come; false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,
    That stabb'd me in the field by Tewksbury;
    Seize on him, Furies, take him to your torments!' 890
    With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends
    Environ'd me about, and howled in mine ears
    Such hideous cries, that with the very noise
    I trembling waked, and for a season after
    Could not believe but that I was in hell, 895
    Such terrible impression made the dream.
  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. No marvel, my lord, though it affrighted you;
    I promise, I am afraid to hear you tell it.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). O Brakenbury, I have done those things,
    Which now bear evidence against my soul, 900
    For Edward's sake; and see how he requites me!
    O God! if my deep prayers cannot appease thee,
    But thou wilt be avenged on my misdeeds,
    Yet execute thy wrath in me alone,
    O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children! 905
    I pray thee, gentle keeper, stay by me;
    My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. I will, my lord: God give your grace good rest!
    [CLARENCE sleeps]
    Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours, 910
    Makes the night morning, and the noon-tide night.
    Princes have but their tides for their glories,
    An outward honour for an inward toil;
    And, for unfelt imagination,
    They often feel a world of restless cares: 915
    So that, betwixt their tides and low names,
    There's nothing differs but the outward fame.

[Enter the two Murderers]

  • First Murderer. I would speak with Clarence, and I came hither on my legs.
  • Second Murderer. O sir, it is better to be brief than tedious. Show
    him our commission; talk no more.

[BRAKENBURY reads it]

  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. I am, in this, commanded to deliver
    The noble Duke of Clarence to your hands:
    I will not reason what is meant hereby,
    Because I will be guiltless of the meaning.
    Here are the keys, there sits the duke asleep: 930
    I'll to the king; and signify to him
    That thus I have resign'd my charge to you.

[Exit BRAKENBURY]

  • First Murderer. No; then he will say 'twas done cowardly, when he wakes.
  • Second Murderer. When he wakes! why, fool, he shall never wake till
    the judgment-day.
  • Second Murderer. The urging of that word 'judgment' hath bred a kind 940
    of remorse in me.
  • Second Murderer. Not to kill him, having a warrant for it; but to be
    damned for killing him, from which no warrant can defend us.
  • Second Murderer. I pray thee, stay a while: I hope my holy humour
    will change; 'twas wont to hold me but while one
    would tell twenty. 950
  • Second Murderer. 'Faith, some certain dregs of conscience are yet
    within me.
  • First Murderer. So when he opens his purse to give us our reward,
    thy conscience flies out.
  • Second Murderer. I'll not meddle with it: it is a dangerous thing: it
    makes a man a coward: a man cannot steal, but it
    accuseth him; he cannot swear, but it cheques him;
    he cannot lie with his neighbour's wife, but it 965
    detects him: 'tis a blushing shamefast spirit that
    mutinies in a man's bosom; it fills one full of
    obstacles: it made me once restore a purse of gold
    that I found; it beggars any man that keeps it: it
    is turned out of all towns and cities for a 970
    dangerous thing; and every man that means to live
    well endeavours to trust to himself and to live
    without it.
  • First Murderer. 'Zounds, it is even now at my elbow, persuading me
    not to kill the duke. 975
  • Second Murderer. Take the devil in thy mind, and relieve him not: he
    would insinuate with thee but to make thee sigh.
  • First Murderer. Tut, I am strong-framed, he cannot prevail with me,
    I warrant thee.
  • Second Murderer. Spoke like a tail fellow that respects his 980
    reputation. Come, shall we to this gear?
  • First Murderer. Take him over the costard with the hilts of thy
    sword, and then we will chop him in the malmsey-butt
    in the next room.
  • Both. To, to, to—
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Are you call'd forth from out a world of men
    To slay the innocent? What is my offence?
    Where are the evidence that do accuse me? 1010
    What lawful quest have given their verdict up
    Unto the frowning judge? or who pronounced
    The bitter sentence of poor Clarence' death?
    Before I be convict by course of law,
    To threaten me with death is most unlawful. 1015
    I charge you, as you hope to have redemption
    By Christ's dear blood shed for our grievous sins,
    That you depart and lay no hands on me
    The deed you undertake is damnable.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Erroneous vassal! the great King of kings
    Hath in the tables of his law commanded
    That thou shalt do no murder: and wilt thou, then,
    Spurn at his edict and fulfil a man's? 1025
    Take heed; for he holds vengeance in his hands,
    To hurl upon their heads that break his law.
  • Second Murderer. And that same vengeance doth he hurl on thee,
    For false forswearing and for murder too:
    Thou didst receive the holy sacrament, 1030
    To fight in quarrel of the house of Lancaster.
  • First Murderer. And, like a traitor to the name of God,
    Didst break that vow; and with thy treacherous blade
    Unrip'dst the bowels of thy sovereign's son.
  • First Murderer. How canst thou urge God's dreadful law to us,
    When thou hast broke it in so dear degree?
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Alas! for whose sake did I that ill deed?
    For Edward, for my brother, for his sake: Why, sirs,
    He sends ye not to murder me for this 1040
    For in this sin he is as deep as I.
    If God will be revenged for this deed.
    O, know you yet, he doth it publicly,
    Take not the quarrel from his powerful arm;
    He needs no indirect nor lawless course 1045
    To cut off those that have offended him.
  • First Murderer. Who made thee, then, a bloody minister,
    When gallant-springing brave Plantagenet,
    That princely novice, was struck dead by thee?
  • First Murderer. Thy brother's love, our duty, and thy fault,
    Provoke us hither now to slaughter thee.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Oh, if you love my brother, hate not me;
    I am his brother, and I love him well.
    If you be hired for meed, go back again, 1055
    And I will send you to my brother Gloucester,
    Who shall reward you better for my life
    Than Edward will for tidings of my death.
  • Both. Ay, so we will.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Tell him, when that our princely father York
    Bless'd his three sons with his victorious arm,
    And charged us from his soul to love each other, 1065
    He little thought of this divided friendship:
    Bid Gloucester think of this, and he will weep.
  • First Murderer. Right, 1070
    As snow in harvest. Thou deceivest thyself:
    'Tis he that sent us hither now to slaughter thee.
  • Second Murderer. Why, so he doth, now he delivers thee
    From this world's thraldom to the joys of heaven.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Hast thou that holy feeling in thy soul,
    To counsel me to make my peace with God, 1080
    And art thou yet to thy own soul so blind,
    That thou wilt war with God by murdering me?
    Ah, sirs, consider, he that set you on
    To do this deed will hate you for the deed.
  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish.
    Which of you, if you were a prince's son,
    Being pent from liberty, as I am now, 1090
    if two such murderers as yourselves came to you,
    Would not entreat for life?
    My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks:
    O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,
    Come thou on my side, and entreat for me, 1095
    As you would beg, were you in my distress
    A begging prince what beggar pities not?
  • First Murderer. Take that, and that: if all this will not do,
    [Stabs him] 1100
    I'll drown you in the malmsey-butt within.

[Exit, with the body]

  • Second Murderer. A bloody deed, and desperately dispatch'd!
    How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
    Of this most grievous guilty murder done! 1105

[Re-enter First Murderer]

  • First Murderer. How now! what mean'st thou, that thou help'st me not?
    By heavens, the duke shall know how slack thou art!
  • Second Murderer. I would he knew that I had saved his brother!
    Take thou the fee, and tell him what I say; 1110
    For I repent me that the duke is slain.

[Exit]

  • First Murderer. So do not I: go, coward as thou art.
    Now must I hide his body in some hole,
    Until the duke take order for his burial: 1115
    And when I have my meed, I must away;
    For this will out, and here I must not stay.
---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 1

London. The palace.

      next scene .
---

[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV sick, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DORSET, RIVERS, HASTINGS, BUCKINGHAM, GREY, and others]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Why, so: now have I done a good day's work:
    You peers, continue this united league:
    I every day expect an embassage
    From my Redeemer to redeem me hence;
    And now in peace my soul shall part to heaven, 1125
    Since I have set my friends at peace on earth.
    Rivers and Hastings, take each other's hand;
    Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. By heaven, my heart is purged from grudging hate:
    And with my hand I seal my true heart's love. 1130
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Take heed you dally not before your king;
    Lest he that is the supreme King of kings
    Confound your hidden falsehood, and award
    Either of you to be the other's end. 1135
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Madam, yourself are not exempt in this,
    Nor your son Dorset, Buckingham, nor you;
    You have been factious one against the other, 1140
    Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand;
    And what you do, do it unfeignedly.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Here, Hastings; I will never more remember
    Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!
  • Marquis of Dorset. This interchange of love, I here protest,
    Upon my part shall be unviolable.

[They embrace]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league 1150
    With thy embracements to my wife's allies,
    And make me happy in your unity.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
    On you or yours,
    [To the Queen] 1155
    but with all duteous love
    Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
    With hate in those where I expect most love!
    When I have most need to employ a friend,
    And most assured that he is a friend 1160
    Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,
    Be he unto me! this do I beg of God,
    When I am cold in zeal to yours.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
    is this thy vow unto my sickly heart. 1165
    There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here,
    To make the perfect period of this peace.

[Enter GLOUCESTER]

  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Happy, indeed, as we have spent the day.
    Brother, we done deeds of charity;
    Made peace enmity, fair love of hate,
    Between these swelling wrong-incensed peers. 1175
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A blessed labour, my most sovereign liege:
    Amongst this princely heap, if any here,
    By false intelligence, or wrong surmise,
    Hold me a foe;
    If I unwittingly, or in my rage, 1180
    Have aught committed that is hardly borne
    By any in this presence, I desire
    To reconcile me to his friendly peace:
    'Tis death to me to be at enmity;
    I hate it, and desire all good men's love. 1185
    First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,
    Which I will purchase with my duteous service;
    Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
    If ever any grudge were lodged between us;
    Of you, Lord Rivers, and, Lord Grey, of you; 1190
    That without desert have frown'd on me;
    Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.
    I do not know that Englishman alive
    With whom my soul is any jot at odds
    More than the infant that is born to-night 1195
    I thank my God for my humility.
  • Queen Elizabeth. A holy day shall this be kept hereafter:
    I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
    My sovereign liege, I do beseech your majesty
    To take our brother Clarence to your grace. 1200
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, madam, have I offer'd love for this
    To be so bouted in this royal presence?
    Who knows not that the noble duke is dead?
    [They all start]
    You do him injury to scorn his corse. 1205
  • Marquis of Dorset. Ay, my good lord; and no one in this presence
    But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks. 1210
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). But he, poor soul, by your first order died,
    And that a winged Mercury did bear:
    Some tardy cripple bore the countermand,
    That came too lag to see him buried. 1215
    God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
    Nearer in bloody thoughts, but not in blood,
    Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
    And yet go current from suspicion!

[Enter DERBY]

  • Marquis of Dorset. The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life; 1225
    Who slew to-day a righteous gentleman
    Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
  • King Edward IV (Plantagenet). Have a tongue to doom my brother's death,
    And shall the same give pardon to a slave?
    My brother slew no man; his fault was thought, 1230
    And yet his punishment was cruel death.
    Who sued to me for him? who, in my rage,
    Kneel'd at my feet, and bade me be advised
    Who spake of brotherhood? who spake of love?
    Who told me how the poor soul did forsake 1235
    The mighty Warwick, and did fight for me?
    Who told me, in the field by Tewksbury
    When Oxford had me down, he rescued me,
    And said, 'Dear brother, live, and be a king'?
    Who told me, when we both lay in the field 1240
    Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
    Even in his own garments, and gave himself,
    All thin and naked, to the numb cold night?
    All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
    Sinfully pluck'd, and not a man of you 1245
    Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
    But when your carters or your waiting-vassals
    Have done a drunken slaughter, and defaced
    The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
    You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon; 1250
    And I unjustly too, must grant it you
    But for my brother not a man would speak,
    Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
    For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
    Have been beholding to him in his life; 1255
    Yet none of you would once plead for his life.
    O God, I fear thy justice will take hold
    On me, and you, and mine, and yours for this!
    Come, Hastings, help me to my closet.
    Oh, poor Clarence! 1260

[Exeunt some with KING EDWARD IV and QUEEN MARGARET]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). This is the fruit of rashness! Mark'd you not
    How that the guilty kindred of the queen
    Look'd pale when they did hear of Clarence' death?
    O, they did urge it still unto the king! 1265
    God will revenge it. But come, let us in,
    To comfort Edward with our company.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 2

The palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter the DUCHESS OF YORK, with the two children of CLARENCE]

  • Boy. Tell me, good grandam, is our father dead?
  • Boy. Why do you wring your hands, and beat your breast,
    And cry 'O Clarence, my unhappy son!'
  • Girl. Why do you look on us, and shake your head, 1275
    And call us wretches, orphans, castaways
    If that our noble father be alive?
  • Duchess of York. My pretty cousins, you mistake me much;
    I do lament the sickness of the king.
    As loath to lose him, not your father's death; 1280
    It were lost sorrow to wail one that's lost.
  • Boy. Then, grandam, you conclude that he is dead.
    The king my uncle is to blame for this:
    God will revenge it; whom I will importune
    With daily prayers all to that effect. 1285
  • Girl. And so will I.
  • Duchess of York. Peace, children, peace! the king doth love you well:
    Incapable and shallow innocents,
    You cannot guess who caused your father's death.
  • Boy. Grandam, we can; for my good uncle Gloucester 1290
    Told me, the king, provoked by the queen,
    Devised impeachments to imprison him :
    And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
    And hugg'd me in his arm, and kindly kiss'd my cheek;
    Bade me rely on him as on my father, 1295
    And he would love me dearly as his child.
  • Duchess of York. Oh, that deceit should steal such gentle shapes,
    And with a virtuous vizard hide foul guile!
    He is my son; yea, and therein my shame;
    Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit. 1300
  • Boy. Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?
  • Boy. I cannot think it. Hark! what noise is this?
    [Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, with her hair about her]
    ears; RIVERS, and DORSET after her] 1305
  • Queen Elizabeth. Oh, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,
    To chide my fortune, and torment myself?
    I'll join with black despair against my soul,
    And to myself become an enemy.
  • Queen Elizabeth. To make an act of tragic violence:
    Edward, my lord, your son, our king, is dead.
    Why grow the branches now the root is wither'd?
    Why wither not the leaves the sap being gone?
    If you will live, lament; if die, be brief, 1315
    That our swift-winged souls may catch the king's;
    Or, like obedient subjects, follow him
    To his new kingdom of perpetual rest.
  • Duchess of York. Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow
    As I had title in thy noble husband! 1320
    I have bewept a worthy husband's death,
    And lived by looking on his images:
    But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
    Are crack'd in pieces by malignant death,
    And I for comfort have but one false glass, 1325
    Which grieves me when I see my shame in him.
    Thou art a widow; yet thou art a mother,
    And hast the comfort of thy children left thee:
    But death hath snatch'd my husband from mine arms,
    And pluck'd two crutches from my feeble limbs, 1330
    Edward and Clarence. O, what cause have I,
    Thine being but a moiety of my grief,
    To overgo thy plaints and drown thy cries!
  • Boy. Good aunt, you wept not for our father's death;
    How can we aid you with our kindred tears? 1335
  • Girl. Our fatherless distress was left unmoan'd;
    Your widow-dolour likewise be unwept!
  • Queen Elizabeth. Give me no help in lamentation;
    I am not barren to bring forth complaints
    All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes, 1340
    That I, being govern'd by the watery moon,
    May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world!
    Oh for my husband, for my dear lord Edward!
  • Children. Oh for our father, for our dear lord Clarence!
  • Children. What stay had we but Clarence? and he's gone.
  • Children. Were never orphans had so dear a loss! 1350
  • Duchess of York. Was never mother had so dear a loss!
    Alas, I am the mother of these moans!
    Their woes are parcell'd, mine are general.
    She for an Edward weeps, and so do I;
    I for a Clarence weep, so doth not she: 1355
    These babes for Clarence weep and so do I;
    I for an Edward weep, so do not they:
    Alas, you three, on me, threefold distress'd,
    Pour all your tears! I am your sorrow's nurse,
    And I will pamper it with lamentations. 1360
  • Marquis of Dorset. Comfort, dear mother: God is much displeased
    That you take with unthankfulness, his doing:
    In common worldly things, 'tis call'd ungrateful,
    With dull unwilligness to repay a debt
    Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent; 1365
    Much more to be thus opposite with heaven,
    For it requires the royal debt it lent you.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Madam, bethink you, like a careful mother,
    Of the young prince your son: send straight for him
    Let him be crown'd; in him your comfort lives: 1370
    Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward's grave,
    And plant your joys in living Edward's throne.

[Enter GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, DERBY, HASTINGS, and RATCLIFF]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Madam, have comfort: all of us have cause
    To wail the dimming of our shining star; 1375
    But none can cure their harms by wailing them.
    Madam, my mother, I do cry you mercy;
    I did not see your grace: humbly on my knee
    I crave your blessing.
  • Duchess of York. God bless thee; and put meekness in thy mind, 1380
    Love, charity, obedience, and true duty!
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] Amen; and make me die a good old man!
    That is the butt-end of a mother's blessing:
    I marvel why her grace did leave it out.
  • Duke of Buckingham. You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers, 1385
    That bear this mutual heavy load of moan,
    Now cheer each other in each other's love
    Though we have spent our harvest of this king,
    We are to reap the harvest of his son.
    The broken rancour of your high-swoln hearts, 1390
    But lately splinter'd, knit, and join'd together,
    Must gently be preserved, cherish'd, and kept:
    Me seemeth good, that, with some little train,
    Forthwith from Ludlow the young prince be fetch'd
    Hither to London, to be crown'd our king. 1395
  • Duke of Buckingham. Marry, my lord, lest, by a multitude,
    The new-heal'd wound of malice should break out,
    Which would be so much the more dangerous
    By how much the estate is green and yet ungovern'd: 1400
    Where every horse bears his commanding rein,
    And may direct his course as please himself,
    As well the fear of harm, as harm apparent,
    In my opinion, ought to be prevented.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. And so in me; and so, I think, in all:
    Yet, since it is but green, it should be put
    To no apparent likelihood of breach,
    Which haply by much company might be urged: 1410
    Therefore I say with noble Buckingham,
    That it is meet so few should fetch the prince.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then be it so; and go we to determine
    Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow. 1415
    Madam, and you, my mother, will you go
    To give your censures in this weighty business?

[Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM and GLOUCESTER]

  • Duke of Buckingham. My lord, whoever journeys to the Prince, 1420
    For God's sake, let not us two be behind;
    For, by the way, I'll sort occasion,
    As index to the story we late talk'd of,
    To part the queen's proud kindred from the king.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My other self, my counsel's consistory, 1425
    My oracle, my prophet! My dear cousin,
    I, like a child, will go by thy direction.
    Towards Ludlow then, for we'll not stay behind.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 3

London. A street.

      next scene .
---

[Enter two Citizens meeting]

  • Second Citizen. I promise you, I scarcely know myself:
    Hear you the news abroad?
  • Second Citizen. Bad news, by'r lady; seldom comes the better: 1435
    I fear, I fear 'twill prove a troublous world.

[Enter another Citizen]

  • Third Citizen. Doth this news hold of good King Edward's death? 1440
  • Second Citizen. In him there is a hope of government, 1445
    That in his nonage council under him,
    And in his full and ripen'd years himself,
    No doubt, shall then and till then govern well.
  • First Citizen. So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
    Was crown'd in Paris but at nine months old. 1450
  • Third Citizen. Stood the state so? No, no, good friends, God wot;
    For then this land was famously enrich'd
    With politic grave counsel; then the king
    Had virtuous uncles to protect his grace.
  • First Citizen. Why, so hath this, both by the father and mother. 1455
  • Third Citizen. Better it were they all came by the father,
    Or by the father there were none at all;
    For emulation now, who shall be nearest,
    Will touch us all too near, if God prevent not.
    O, full of danger is the Duke of Gloucester! 1460
    And the queen's sons and brothers haught and proud:
    And were they to be ruled, and not to rule,
    This sickly land might solace as before.
  • First Citizen. Come, come, we fear the worst; all shall be well.
  • Third Citizen. When clouds appear, wise men put on their cloaks; 1465
    When great leaves fall, the winter is at hand;
    When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
    Untimely storms make men expect a dearth.
    All may be well; but, if God sort it so,
    'Tis more than we deserve, or I expect. 1470
  • Second Citizen. Truly, the souls of men are full of dread:
    Ye cannot reason almost with a man
    That looks not heavily and full of fear.
  • Third Citizen. Before the times of change, still is it so:
    By a divine instinct men's minds mistrust 1475
    Ensuing dangers; as by proof, we see
    The waters swell before a boisterous storm.
    But leave it all to God. whither away?

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act II, Scene 4

London. The palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, young YORK, QUEEN ELIZABETH, and the DUCHESS OF YORK]

  • Thomas Rotherham. Last night, I hear, they lay at Northampton;
    At Stony-Stratford will they be to-night: 1485
    To-morrow, or next day, they will be here.
  • Duchess of York. I long with all my heart to see the prince:
    I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.
  • Queen Elizabeth. But I hear, no; they say my son of York
    Hath almost overta'en him in his growth. 1490
  • Duke of York. Grandam, one night, as we did sit at supper,
    My uncle Rivers talk'd how I did grow
    More than my brother: 'Ay,' quoth my uncle 1495
    Gloucester,
    'Small herbs have grace, great weeds do grow apace:'
    And since, methinks, I would not grow so fast,
    Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.
  • Duchess of York. Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold 1500
    In him that did object the same to thee;
    He was the wretched'st thing when he was young,
    So long a-growing and so leisurely,
    That, if this rule were true, he should be gracious.
  • Duke of York. Now, by my troth, if I had been remember'd,
    I could have given my uncle's grace a flout,
    To touch his growth nearer than he touch'd mine.
  • Duke of York. Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
    That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old
    'Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
    Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.
  • Duke of York. If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. Such news, my lord, as grieves me to unfold.
  • Messenger. Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
    With them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.
  • Messenger. The mighty dukes
    Gloucester and Buckingham.
  • Messenger. The sum of all I can, I have disclosed;
    Why or for what these nobles were committed 1535
    Is all unknown to me, my gracious lady.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Ay me, I see the downfall of our house!
    The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind;
    Insulting tyranny begins to jet
    Upon the innocent and aweless throne: 1540
    Welcome, destruction, death, and massacre!
    I see, as in a map, the end of all.
  • Duchess of York. Accursed and unquiet wrangling days,
    How many of you have mine eyes beheld!
    My husband lost his life to get the crown; 1545
    And often up and down my sons were toss'd,
    For me to joy and weep their gain and loss:
    And being seated, and domestic broils
    Clean over-blown, themselves, the conquerors.
    Make war upon themselves; blood against blood, 1550
    Self against self: O, preposterous
    And frantic outrage, end thy damned spleen;
    Or let me die, to look on death no more!
  • Queen Elizabeth. Come, come, my boy; we will to sanctuary.
    Madam, farewell. 1555
  • Thomas Rotherham. My gracious lady, go;
    And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
    For my part, I'll resign unto your grace 1560
    The seal I keep: and so betide to me
    As well I tender you and all of yours!
    Come, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 1

London. A street.

      next scene .
---

[The trumpets sound. Enter the young PRINCE EDWARD, GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, CARDINAL, CATESBY, and others]

  • Prince Edward. No, uncle; but our crosses on the way 1570
    Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy
    I want more uncles here to welcome me.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Sweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years
    Hath not yet dived into the world's deceit
    Nor more can you distinguish of a man 1575
    Than of his outward show; which, God he knows,
    Seldom or never jumpeth with the heart.
    Those uncles which you want were dangerous;
    Your grace attended to their sugar'd words,
    But look'd not on the poison of their hearts : 1580
    God keep you from them, and from such false friends!
  • Prince Edward. God keep me from false friends! but they were none.

[Enter the Lord Mayor and his train]

  • Prince Edward. I thank you, good my lord; and thank you all.
    I thought my mother, and my brother York,
    Would long ere this have met us on the way
    Fie, what a slug is Hastings, that he comes not
    To tell us whether they will come or no! 1590

[Enter HASTINGS]

  • Lord Hastings. On what occasion, God he knows, not I,
    The queen your mother, and your brother York, 1595
    Have taken sanctuary: the tender prince
    Would fain have come with me to meet your grace,
    But by his mother was perforce withheld.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Fie, what an indirect and peevish course
    Is this of hers! Lord cardinal, will your grace 1600
    Persuade the queen to send the Duke of York
    Unto his princely brother presently?
    If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him,
    And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.
  • Cardinal Bourchier. My Lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory 1605
    Can from his mother win the Duke of York,
    Anon expect him here; but if she be obdurate
    To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid
    We should infringe the holy privilege
    Of blessed sanctuary! not for all this land 1610
    Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.
  • Duke of Buckingham. You are too senseless—obstinate, my lord,
    Too ceremonious and traditional
    Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,
    You break not sanctuary in seizing him. 1615
    The benefit thereof is always granted
    To those whose dealings have deserved the place,
    And those who have the wit to claim the place:
    This prince hath neither claim'd it nor deserved it;
    And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it: 1620
    Then, taking him from thence that is not there,
    You break no privilege nor charter there.
    Oft have I heard of sanctuary men;
    But sanctuary children ne'er till now.
  • Cardinal Bourchier. My lord, you shall o'er-rule my mind for once. 1625
    Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?
  • Prince Edward. Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.
    [Exeunt CARDINAL and HASTINGS]
    Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come, 1630
    Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Where it seems best unto your royal self.
    If I may counsel you, some day or two
    Your highness shall repose you at the Tower:
    Then where you please, and shall be thought most fit 1635
    For your best health and recreation.
  • Prince Edward. I do not like the Tower, of any place.
    Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?
  • Duke of Buckingham. He did, my gracious lord, begin that place;
    Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified. 1640
  • Prince Edward. Is it upon record, or else reported
    Successively from age to age, he built it?
  • Prince Edward. But say, my lord, it were not register'd,
    Methinks the truth should live from age to age, 1645
    As 'twere retail'd to all posterity,
    Even to the general all-ending day.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I say, without characters, fame lives long.
    [Aside]
    Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,
    I moralize two meanings in one word.
  • Prince Edward. That Julius Caesar was a famous man; 1655
    With what his valour did enrich his wit,
    His wit set down to make his valour live
    Death makes no conquest of this conqueror;
    For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
    I'll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham,— 1660
  • Prince Edward. An if I live until I be a man,
    I'll win our ancient right in France again,
    Or die a soldier, as I lived a king.

[Enter young YORK, HASTINGS, and the CARDINAL]

  • Prince Edward. Ay, brother, to our grief, as it is yours: 1670
    Too late he died that might have kept that title,
    Which by his death hath lost much majesty.
  • Prince Edward. My Lord of York will still be cross in talk:
    Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him. 1700
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). You mean, to bear me, not to bear with me:
    Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me;
    Because that I am little, like an ape,
    He thinks that you should bear me on your shoulders.
  • Duke of Buckingham. With what a sharp-provided wit he reasons! 1705
    To mitigate the scorn he gives his uncle,
    He prettily and aptly taunts himself:
    So cunning and so young is wonderful.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My lord, will't please you pass along?
    Myself and my good cousin Buckingham 1710
    Will to your mother, to entreat of her
    To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.
  • Prince Edward. An if they live, I hope I need not fear.
    But come, my lord; and with a heavy heart,
    Thinking on them, go I unto the Tower.
    [A Sennet. Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM]
    and CATESBY] 1725
  • Duke of Buckingham. Think you, my lord, this little prating York
    Was not incensed by his subtle mother
    To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). No doubt, no doubt; O, 'tis a parlous boy;
    Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable 1730
    He is all the mother's, from the top to toe.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Well, let them rest. Come hither, Catesby.
    Thou art sworn as deeply to effect what we intend
    As closely to conceal what we impart:
    Thou know'st our reasons urged upon the way; 1735
    What think'st thou? is it not an easy matter
    To make William Lord Hastings of our mind,
    For the instalment of this noble duke
    In the seat royal of this famous isle?
  • Sir William Catesby. He for his father's sake so loves the prince, 1740
    That he will not be won to aught against him.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Well, then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
    And, as it were far off sound thou Lord Hastings, 1745
    How doth he stand affected to our purpose;
    And summon him to-morrow to the Tower,
    To sit about the coronation.
    If thou dost find him tractable to us,
    Encourage him, and show him all our reasons: 1750
    If he be leaden, icy-cold, unwilling,
    Be thou so too; and so break off your talk,
    And give us notice of his inclination:
    For we to-morrow hold divided councils,
    Wherein thyself shalt highly be employ'd. 1755
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Commend me to Lord William: tell him, Catesby,
    His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
    To-morrow are let blood at Pomfret-castle;
    And bid my friend, for joy of this good news,
    Give mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more. 1760

[Exit CATESBY]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Now, my lord, what shall we do, if we perceive
    Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Chop off his head, man; somewhat we will do:
    And, look, when I am king, claim thou of me 1770
    The earldom of Hereford, and the moveables
    Whereof the king my brother stood possess'd.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And look to have it yielded with all willingness.
    Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards 1775
    We may digest our complots in some form.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

Before Lord Hastings’ house.

      next scene .
---

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. A messenger from the Lord Stanley.

[Enter HASTINGS]

  • Lord Hastings. Cannot thy master sleep these tedious nights? 1785
  • Messenger. So it should seem by that I have to say.
    First, he commends him to your noble lordship.
  • Messenger. And then he sends you word
    He dreamt to-night the boar had razed his helm: 1790
    Besides, he says there are two councils held;
    And that may be determined at the one
    which may make you and him to rue at the other.
    Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,
    If presently you will take horse with him, 1795
    And with all speed post with him toward the north,
    To shun the danger that his soul divines.
  • Lord Hastings. Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
    Bid him not fear the separated councils
    His honour and myself are at the one, 1800
    And at the other is my servant Catesby
    Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
    Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
    Tell him his fears are shallow, wanting instance:
    And for his dreams, I wonder he is so fond 1805
    To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers
    To fly the boar before the boar pursues,
    Were to incense the boar to follow us
    And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
    Go, bid thy master rise and come to me 1810
    And we will both together to the Tower,
    Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.
  • Messenger. My gracious lord, I'll tell him what you say.

[Exit]

[Enter CATESBY]

  • Lord Hastings. Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring
    What news, what news, in this our tottering state?
  • Sir William Catesby. It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord;
    And I believe twill never stand upright 1820
    Tim Richard wear the garland of the realm.
  • Lord Hastings. I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
    Ere I will see the crown so foul misplaced. 1825
    But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
  • Sir William Catesby. Ay, on my life; and hopes to find forward
    Upon his party for the gain thereof:
    And thereupon he sends you this good news,
    That this same very day your enemies, 1830
    The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.
  • Lord Hastings. Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
    Because they have been still mine enemies:
    But, that I'll give my voice on Richard's side,
    To bar my master's heirs in true descent, 1835
    God knows I will not do it, to the death.
  • Lord Hastings. But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,
    That they who brought me in my master's hate
    I live to look upon their tragedy. 1840
    I tell thee, Catesby—
  • Lord Hastings. Ere a fortnight make me elder,
    I'll send some packing that yet think not on it.
  • Sir William Catesby. 'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord, 1845
    When men are unprepared and look not for it.
  • Lord Hastings. O monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out
    With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill do
    With some men else, who think themselves as safe
    As thou and I; who, as thou know'st, are dear 1850
    To princely Richard and to Buckingham.
  • Sir William Catesby. The princes both make high account of you;
    [Aside]
    For they account his head upon the bridge.
  • Lord Hastings. I know they do; and I have well deserved it. 1855
    [Enter STANLEY]
    Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
    Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?
  • Sir William Stanley. My lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby:
    You may jest on, but, by the holy rood, 1860
    I do not like these several councils, I.
  • Lord Hastings. My lord,
    I hold my life as dear as you do yours;
    And never in my life, I do protest,
    Was it more precious to me than 'tis now: 1865
    Think you, but that I know our state secure,
    I would be so triumphant as I am?
  • Sir William Stanley. The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
    Were jocund, and supposed their state was sure,
    And they indeed had no cause to mistrust; 1870
    But yet, you see how soon the day o'ercast.
    This sudden stag of rancour I misdoubt:
    Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
    What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.
  • Lord Hastings. Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my lord? 1875
    To-day the lords you talk of are beheaded.
  • Sir William Stanley. They, for their truth, might better wear their heads
    Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
    But come, my lord, let us away.

[Enter a Pursuivant]

  • Lord Hastings. Go on before; I'll talk with this good fellow.
    [Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY]
    How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee?
  • Pursuivant. The better that your lordship please to ask.
  • Lord Hastings. I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now 1885
    Than when I met thee last where now we meet:
    Then was I going prisoner to the Tower,
    By the suggestion of the queen's allies;
    But now, I tell thee—keep it to thyself—
    This day those enemies are put to death, 1890
    And I in better state than e'er I was.
  • Pursuivant. God hold it, to your honour's good content!

[Throws him his purse]

[Exit]

[Enter a Priest]

  • Priest. Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.
  • Lord Hastings. I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
    I am in your debt for your last exercise; 1900
    Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.

[He whispers in his ear]

[Enter BUCKINGHAM]

  • Duke of Buckingham. What, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain?
    Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest; 1905
    Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.
  • Lord Hastings. Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
    Those men you talk of came into my mind.
    What, go you toward the Tower?
  • Duke of Buckingham. I do, my lord; but long I shall not stay 1910
    I shall return before your lordship thence.
  • Duke of Buckingham. [Aside] And supper too, although thou know'st it not.
    Come, will you go?

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

Pomfret Castle.

      next scene .
---

[Enter RATCLIFF, with halberds, carrying RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN to death]

  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Sir Richard Ratcliff, let me tell thee this: 1920
    To-day shalt thou behold a subject die
    For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.
  • Lord Grey. God keep the prince from all the pack of you!
    A knot you are of damned blood-suckers!
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
    Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
    Within the guilty closure of thy walls
    Richard the second here was hack'd to death; 1930
    And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
    We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.
  • Lord Grey. Now Margaret's curse is fall'n upon our heads,
    For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Then cursed she Hastings, then cursed she Buckingham, 1935
    Then cursed she Richard. O, remember, God
    To hear her prayers for them, as now for us
    And for my sister and her princely sons,
    Be satisfied, dear God, with our true blood,
    Which, as thou know'st, unjustly must be spilt. 1940
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Come, Grey, come, Vaughan, let us all embrace:
    And take our leave, until we meet in heaven.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 4

The Tower of London.

      next scene .
---

[Enter BUCKINGHAM, DERBY, HASTINGS, the BISHOP OF ELY, RATCLIFF, LOVEL, with others, and take their seats at a table]

  • Lord Hastings. My lords, at once: the cause why we are met
    Is, to determine of the coronation.
    In God's name, speak: when is the royal day? 1950
  • Duke of Buckingham. Who knows the lord protector's mind herein?
    Who is most inward with the royal duke? 1955
  • John Morton. Your grace, we think, should soonest know his mind.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Who, I, my lord I we know each other's faces,
    But for our hearts, he knows no more of mine,
    Than I of yours;
    Nor I no more of his, than you of mine. 1960
    Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.
  • Lord Hastings. I thank his grace, I know he loves me well;
    But, for his purpose in the coronation.
    I have not sounded him, nor he deliver'd
    His gracious pleasure any way therein: 1965
    But you, my noble lords, may name the time;
    And in the duke's behalf I'll give my voice,
    Which, I presume, he'll take in gentle part.

[Enter GLOUCESTER]

  • John Morton. Now in good time, here comes the duke himself. 1970
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
    I have been long a sleeper; but, I hope,
    My absence doth neglect no great designs,
    Which by my presence might have been concluded.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Had not you come upon your cue, my lord 1975
    William Lord Hastings had pronounced your part,—
    I mean, your voice,—for crowning of the king.
  • John Morton. Marry, and will, my lord, with all my heart.

[Exit]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
    [Drawing him aside]
    Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business, 1990
    And finds the testy gentleman so hot,
    As he will lose his head ere give consent
    His master's son, as worshipful as he terms it,
    Shall lose the royalty of England's throne.

[Exit GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM following]

  • Sir William Stanley. We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
    To-morrow, in mine opinion, is too sudden;
    For I myself am not so well provided
    As else I would be, were the day prolong'd. 2000

[Re-enter BISHOP OF ELY]

  • John Morton. Where is my lord protector? I have sent for these
    strawberries.
  • Lord Hastings. His grace looks cheerfully and smooth to-day;
    There's some conceit or other likes him well, 2005
    When he doth bid good morrow with such a spirit.
    I think there's never a man in Christendom
    That can less hide his love or hate than he;
    For by his face straight shall you know his heart.
  • Sir William Stanley. What of his heart perceive you in his face 2010
    By any likelihood he show'd to-day?
  • Lord Hastings. Marry, that with no man here he is offended;
    For, were he, he had shown it in his looks.

[Re-enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I pray you all, tell me what they deserve
    That do conspire my death with devilish plots
    Of damned witchcraft, and that have prevail'd
    Upon my body with their hellish charms?
  • Lord Hastings. The tender love I bear your grace, my lord, 2020
    Makes me most forward in this noble presence
    To doom the offenders, whatsoever they be
    I say, my lord, they have deserved death.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then be your eyes the witness of this ill:
    See how I am bewitch'd; behold mine arm 2025
    Is, like a blasted sapling, wither'd up:
    And this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,
    Consorted with that harlot strumpet Shore,
    That by their witchcraft thus have marked me.
  • Lord Hastings. If they have done this thing, my gracious lord— 2030
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). If I thou protector of this damned strumpet—
    Tellest thou me of 'ifs'? Thou art a traitor:
    Off with his head! Now, by Saint Paul I swear,
    I will not dine until I see the same.
    Lovel and Ratcliff, look that it be done: 2035
    The rest, that love me, rise and follow me.

[Exeunt all but HASTINGS, RATCLIFF, and LOVEL]

  • Lord Hastings. Woe, woe for England! not a whit for me;
    For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
    Stanley did dream the boar did raze his helm; 2040
    But I disdain'd it, and did scorn to fly:
    Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
    And startled, when he look'd upon the Tower,
    As loath to bear me to the slaughter-house.
    O, now I want the priest that spake to me: 2045
    I now repent I told the pursuivant
    As 'twere triumphing at mine enemies,
    How they at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd,
    And I myself secure in grace and favour.
    O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse 2050
    Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head!
  • Sir Richard Ratcliff. Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner:
    Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.
  • Lord Hastings. O momentary grace of mortal men,
    Which we more hunt for than the grace of God! 2055
    Who builds his hopes in air of your good looks,
    Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
    Ready, with every nod, to tumble down
    Into the fatal bowels of the deep.
  • Lord Lovel. Come, come, dispatch; 'tis bootless to exclaim. 2060
  • Lord Hastings. O bloody Richard! miserable England!
    I prophesy the fearful'st time to thee
    That ever wretched age hath look'd upon.
    Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head.
    They smile at me that shortly shall be dead. 2065

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 5

The Tower-walls.

      next scene .
---

[Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, in rotten armour, marvellous ill-favoured]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, cousin, canst thou quake, and change thy colour,
    Murder thy breath in the middle of a word, 2070
    And then begin again, and stop again,
    As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?
  • Duke of Buckingham. Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian;
    Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
    Tremble and start at wagging of a straw, 2075
    Intending deep suspicion: ghastly looks
    Are at my service, like enforced smiles;
    And both are ready in their offices,
    At any time, to grace my stratagems.
    But what, is Catesby gone? 2080

[Enter the Lord Mayor and CATESBY]

[Enter LOVEL and RATCLIFF, with HASTINGS' head]

  • Lord Lovel. Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
    The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). So dear I loved the man, that I must weep.
    I took him for the plainest harmless creature 2095
    That breathed upon this earth a Christian;
    Made him my book wherein my soul recorded
    The history of all her secret thoughts:
    So smooth he daub'd his vice with show of virtue,
    That, his apparent open guilt omitted, 2100
    I mean, his conversation with Shore's wife,
    He lived from all attainder of suspect.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Well, well, he was the covert'st shelter'd traitor
    That ever lived.
    Would you imagine, or almost believe, 2105
    Were't not that, by great preservation,
    We live to tell it you, the subtle traitor
    This day had plotted, in the council-house
    To murder me and my good Lord of Gloucester?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What, think You we are Turks or infidels?
    Or that we would, against the form of law,
    Proceed thus rashly to the villain's death,
    But that the extreme peril of the case,
    The peace of England and our persons' safety, 2115
    Enforced us to this execution?
  • Lord Mayor of London. Now, fair befall you! he deserved his death;
    And you my good lords, both have well proceeded,
    To warn false traitors from the like attempts.
    I never look'd for better at his hands, 2120
    After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Yet had not we determined he should die,
    Until your lordship came to see his death;
    Which now the loving haste of these our friends,
    Somewhat against our meaning, have prevented: 2125
    Because, my lord, we would have had you heard
    The traitor speak, and timorously confess
    The manner and the purpose of his treason;
    That you might well have signified the same
    Unto the citizens, who haply may 2130
    Misconstrue us in him and wail his death.
  • Lord Mayor of London. But, my good lord, your grace's word shall serve,
    As well as I had seen and heard him speak
    And doubt you not, right noble princes both,
    But I'll acquaint our duteous citizens 2135
    With all your just proceedings in this cause.
  • Duke of Buckingham. But since you come too late of our intents,
    Yet witness what you hear we did intend: 2140
    And so, my good lord mayor, we bid farewell.

[Exit Lord Mayor]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Go, after, after, cousin Buckingham.
    The mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post:
    There, at your meet'st advantage of the time, 2145
    Infer the bastardy of Edward's children:
    Tell them how Edward put to death a citizen,
    Only for saying he would make his son
    Heir to the crown; meaning indeed his house,
    Which, by the sign thereof was termed so. 2150
    Moreover, urge his hateful luxury
    And bestial appetite in change of lust;
    Which stretched to their servants, daughters, wives,
    Even where his lustful eye or savage heart,
    Without control, listed to make his prey. 2155
    Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:
    Tell them, when that my mother went with child
    Of that unsatiate Edward, noble York
    My princely father then had wars in France
    And, by just computation of the time, 2160
    Found that the issue was not his begot;
    Which well appeared in his lineaments,
    Being nothing like the noble duke my father:
    But touch this sparingly, as 'twere far off,
    Because you know, my lord, my mother lives. 2165
  • Duke of Buckingham. Fear not, my lord, I'll play the orator
    As if the golden fee for which I plead
    Were for myself: and so, my lord, adieu.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard's Castle;
    Where you shall find me well accompanied 2170
    With reverend fathers and well-learned bishops.
  • Duke of Buckingham. I go: and towards three or four o'clock
    Look for the news that the Guildhall affords.

[Exit BUCKINGHAM]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Go, Lovel, with all speed to Doctor Shaw; 2175
    [To CATESBY]
    Go thou to Friar Penker; bid them both
    Meet me within this hour at Baynard's Castle.
    [Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER]
    Now will I in, to take some privy order, 2180
    To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight;
    And to give notice, that no manner of person
    At any time have recourse unto the princes.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 6

The same.

      next scene .
---

[Enter a Scrivener, with a paper in his hand]

  • Scrivener. This is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings;
    Which in a set hand fairly is engross'd,
    That it may be this day read over in Paul's.
    And mark how well the sequel hangs together:
    Eleven hours I spent to write it over, 2190
    For yesternight by Catesby was it brought me;
    The precedent was full as long a-doing:
    And yet within these five hours lived Lord Hastings,
    Untainted, unexamined, free, at liberty
    Here's a good world the while! Why who's so gross, 2195
    That seeth not this palpable device?
    Yet who's so blind, but says he sees it not?
    Bad is the world; and all will come to nought,
    When such bad dealings must be seen in thought.

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 7

Baynard’s Castle.

      next scene .
---

[Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, at several doors]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
    The citizens are mum and speak not a word.
  • Duke of Buckingham. I did; with his contract with Lady Lucy,
    And his contract by deputy in France;
    The insatiate greediness of his desires,
    And his enforcement of the city wives;
    His tyranny for trifles; his own bastardy, 2210
    As being got, your father then in France,
    His resemblance, being not like the duke;
    Withal I did infer your lineaments,
    Being the right idea of your father,
    Both in your form and nobleness of mind; 2215
    Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
    Your dicipline in war, wisdom in peace,
    Your bounty, virtue, fair humility:
    Indeed, left nothing fitting for the purpose
    Untouch'd, or slightly handled, in discourse 2220
    And when mine oratory grew to an end
    I bid them that did love their country's good
    Cry 'God save Richard, England's royal king!'
  • Duke of Buckingham. No, so God help me, they spake not a word; 2225
    But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
    Gazed each on other, and look'd deadly pale.
    Which when I saw, I reprehended them;
    And ask'd the mayor what meant this wilful silence:
    His answer was, the people were not wont 2230
    To be spoke to but by the recorder.
    Then he was urged to tell my tale again,
    'Thus saith the duke, thus hath the duke inferr'd;'
    But nothing spake in warrant from himself.
    When he had done, some followers of mine own, 2235
    At the lower end of the hall, hurl'd up their caps,
    And some ten voices cried 'God save King Richard!'
    And thus I took the vantage of those few,
    'Thanks, gentle citizens and friends,' quoth I;
    'This general applause and loving shout 2240
    Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard:'
    And even here brake off, and came away.
  • Duke of Buckingham. The mayor is here at hand: intend some fear;
    Be not you spoke with, but by mighty suit:
    And look you get a prayer-book in your hand,
    And stand betwixt two churchmen, good my lord;
    For on that ground I'll build a holy descant: 2250
    And be not easily won to our request:
    Play the maid's part, still answer nay, and take it.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Go, go, up to the leads; the lord mayor knocks.
    [Exit GLOUCESTER]
    [Enter the Lord Mayor and Citizens]
    Welcome my lord; I dance attendance here;
    I think the duke will not be spoke withal. 2260
    [Enter CATESBY]
    Here comes his servant: how now, Catesby,
    What says he?
  • Sir William Catesby. My lord: he doth entreat your grace;
    To visit him to-morrow or next day: 2265
    He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
    Divinely bent to meditation;
    And no worldly suit would he be moved,
    To draw him from his holy exercise.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Return, good Catesby, to thy lord again; 2270
    Tell him, myself, the mayor and citizens,
    In deep designs and matters of great moment,
    No less importing than our general good,
    Are come to have some conference with his grace.

[Exit]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Ah, ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward!
    He is not lolling on a lewd day-bed,
    But on his knees at meditation;
    Not dallying with a brace of courtezans, 2280
    But meditating with two deep divines;
    Not sleeping, to engross his idle body,
    But praying, to enrich his watchful soul:
    Happy were England, would this gracious prince
    Take on himself the sovereignty thereof: 2285
    But, sure, I fear, we shall ne'er win him to it.
  • Duke of Buckingham. I fear he will.
    [Re-enter CATESBY]
    How now, Catesby, what says your lord? 2290
  • Sir William Catesby. My lord,
    He wonders to what end you have assembled
    Such troops of citizens to speak with him,
    His grace not being warn'd thereof before:
    My lord, he fears you mean no good to him. 2295
  • Duke of Buckingham. Sorry I am my noble cousin should
    Suspect me, that I mean no good to him:
    By heaven, I come in perfect love to him;
    And so once more return and tell his grace.
    [Exit CATESBY] 2300
    When holy and devout religious men
    Are at their beads, 'tis hard to draw them thence,
    So sweet is zealous contemplation.
    [Enter GLOUCESTER aloft, between two Bishops.]
    CATESBY returns] 2305
  • Duke of Buckingham. Two props of virtue for a Christian prince,
    To stay him from the fall of vanity:
    And, see, a book of prayer in his hand,
    True ornaments to know a holy man. 2310
    Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
    Lend favourable ears to our request;
    And pardon us the interruption
    Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My lord, there needs no such apology: 2315
    I rather do beseech you pardon me,
    Who, earnest in the service of my God,
    Neglect the visitation of my friends.
    But, leaving this, what is your grace's pleasure?
  • Duke of Buckingham. Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above, 2320
    And all good men of this ungovern'd isle.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I do suspect I have done some offence
    That seems disgracious in the city's eyes,
    And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.
  • Duke of Buckingham. You have, my lord: would it might please your grace, 2325
    At our entreaties, to amend that fault!
  • Duke of Buckingham. Then know, it is your fault that you resign
    The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
    The scepter'd office of your ancestors, 2330
    Your state of fortune and your due of birth,
    The lineal glory of your royal house,
    To the corruption of a blemished stock:
    Whilst, in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
    Which here we waken to our country's good, 2335
    This noble isle doth want her proper limbs;
    Her face defaced with scars of infamy,
    Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
    And almost shoulder'd in the swallowing gulf
    Of blind forgetfulness and dark oblivion. 2340
    Which to recure, we heartily solicit
    Your gracious self to take on you the charge
    And kingly government of this your land,
    Not as protector, steward, substitute,
    Or lowly factor for another's gain; 2345
    But as successively from blood to blood,
    Your right of birth, your empery, your own.
    For this, consorted with the citizens,
    Your very worshipful and loving friends,
    And by their vehement instigation, 2350
    In this just suit come I to move your grace.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I know not whether to depart in silence,
    Or bitterly to speak in your reproof.
    Best fitteth my degree or your condition
    If not to answer, you might haply think 2355
    Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
    To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
    Which fondly you would here impose on me;
    If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
    So season'd with your faithful love to me. 2360
    Then, on the other side, I cheque'd my friends.
    Therefore, to speak, and to avoid the first,
    And then, in speaking, not to incur the last,
    Definitively thus I answer you.
    Your love deserves my thanks; but my desert 2365
    Unmeritable shuns your high request.
    First if all obstacles were cut away,
    And that my path were even to the crown,
    As my ripe revenue and due by birth
    Yet so much is my poverty of spirit, 2370
    So mighty and so many my defects,
    As I had rather hide me from my greatness,
    Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,
    Than in my greatness covet to be hid,
    And in the vapour of my glory smother'd. 2375
    But, God be thank'd, there's no need of me,
    And much I need to help you, if need were;
    The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
    Which, mellow'd by the stealing hours of time,
    Will well become the seat of majesty, 2380
    And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.
    On him I lay what you would lay on me,
    The right and fortune of his happy stars;
    Which God defend that I should wring from him!
  • Duke of Buckingham. My lord, this argues conscience in your grace; 2385
    But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
    All circumstances well considered.
    You say that Edward is your brother's son:
    So say we too, but not by Edward's wife;
    For first he was contract to Lady Lucy— 2390
    Your mother lives a witness to that vow—
    And afterward by substitute betroth'd
    To Bona, sister to the King of France.
    These both put by a poor petitioner,
    A care-crazed mother of a many children, 2395
    A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
    Even in the afternoon of her best days,
    Made prize and purchase of his lustful eye,
    Seduced the pitch and height of all his thoughts
    To base declension and loathed bigamy 2400
    By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
    This Edward, whom our manners term the prince.
    More bitterly could I expostulate,
    Save that, for reverence to some alive,
    I give a sparing limit to my tongue. 2405
    Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
    This proffer'd benefit of dignity;
    If non to bless us and the land withal,
    Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
    From the corruption of abusing times, 2410
    Unto a lineal true-derived course.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Alas, why would you heap these cares on me? 2415
    I am unfit for state and majesty;
    I do beseech you, take it not amiss;
    I cannot nor I will not yield to you.
  • Duke of Buckingham. If you refuse it,—as, in love and zeal,
    Loath to depose the child, Your brother's son; 2420
    As well we know your tenderness of heart
    And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
    Which we have noted in you to your kin,
    And egally indeed to all estates,—
    Yet whether you accept our suit or no, 2425
    Your brother's son shall never reign our king;
    But we will plant some other in the throne,
    To the disgrace and downfall of your house:
    And in this resolution here we leave you.—
    Come, citizens: 'zounds! I'll entreat no more. 2430

[Exit BUCKINGHAM with the Citizens]

  • Another. Do, good my lord, lest all the land do rue it.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Would you enforce me to a world of care? 2435
    Well, call them again. I am not made of stone,
    But penetrable to your. kind entreats,
    Albeit against my conscience and my soul.
    [Re-enter BUCKINGHAM and the rest]
    Cousin of Buckingham, and you sage, grave men, 2440
    Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
    To bear her burthen, whether I will or no,
    I must have patience to endure the load:
    But if black scandal or foul-faced reproach
    Attend the sequel of your imposition, 2445
    Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
    From all the impure blots and stains thereof;
    For God he knows, and you may partly see,
    How far I am from the desire thereof.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Then I salute you with this kingly title:
    Long live Richard, England's royal king!
  • Duke of Buckingham. To-morrow, then, we will attend your grace:
    And so most joyfully we take our leave.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 1

Before the Tower.

      next scene .
---

[Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF YORK, and DORSET; on the other, ANNE, Duchess of Gloucester, leading Lady Margaret Plantagenet, CLARENCE's young Daughter]

  • Duchess of York. Who meets us here? my niece Plantagenet
    Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?
    Now, for my life, she's wandering to the Tower,
    On pure heart's love to greet the tender princes.
    Daughter, well met. 2470
  • Lady Anne. God give your graces both
    A happy and a joyful time of day!
  • Lady Anne. No farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,
    Upon the like devotion as yourselves, 2475
    To gratulate the gentle princes there.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Kind sister, thanks: we'll enter all together.
    [Enter BRAKENBURY]
    And, in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
    Master lieutenant, pray you, by your leave, 2480
    How doth the prince, and my young son of York?
  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
    I may not suffer you to visit them;
    The king hath straitly charged the contrary.
  • Queen Elizabeth. The Lord protect him from that kingly title!
    Hath he set bounds betwixt their love and me?
    I am their mother; who should keep me from them?
  • Lady Anne. Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother:
    Then bring me to their sights; I'll bear thy blame
    And take thy office from thee, on my peril.
  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. No, madam, no; I may not leave it so:
    I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me. 2495

[Exit]

[Enter LORD STANLEY]

  • Sir William Stanley. Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence,
    And I'll salute your grace of York as mother,
    And reverend looker on, of two fair queens. 2500
    [To LADY ANNE]
    Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,
    There to be crowned Richard's royal queen.
  • Queen Elizabeth. O, cut my lace in sunder, that my pent heart
    May have some scope to beat, or else I swoon 2505
    With this dead-killing news!
  • Lady Anne. Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!
  • Queen Elizabeth. O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee hence!
    Death and destruction dog thee at the heels; 2510
    Thy mother's name is ominous to children.
    If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,
    And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell
    Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughter-house,
    Lest thou increase the number of the dead; 2515
    And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
    Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.
  • Sir William Stanley. Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.
    Take all the swift advantage of the hours;
    You shall have letters from me to my son 2520
    To meet you on the way, and welcome you.
    Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
  • Duchess of York. O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
    O my accursed womb, the bed of death!
    A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world, 2525
    Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
  • Lady Anne. And I in all unwillingness will go.
    I would to God that the inclusive verge
    Of golden metal that must round my brow 2530
    Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain!
    Anointed let me be with deadly venom,
    And die, ere men can say, God save the queen!
  • Queen Elizabeth. Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory
    To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm. 2535
  • Lady Anne. No! why? When he that is my husband now
    Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse,
    When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his hands
    Which issued from my other angel husband
    And that dead saint which then I weeping follow'd; 2540
    O, when, I say, I look'd on Richard's face,
    This was my wish: 'Be thou,' quoth I, ' accursed,
    For making me, so young, so old a widow!
    And, when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
    And be thy wife—if any be so mad— 2545
    As miserable by the life of thee
    As thou hast made me by my dear lord's death!
    Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
    Even in so short a space, my woman's heart
    Grossly grew captive to his honey words 2550
    And proved the subject of my own soul's curse,
    Which ever since hath kept my eyes from rest;
    For never yet one hour in his bed
    Have I enjoy'd the golden dew of sleep,
    But have been waked by his timorous dreams. 2555
    Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick;
    And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
  • Lady Anne. No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.
  • Lady Anne. Adieu, poor soul, that takest thy leave of it!
  • Duchess of York. [To DORSET]
    Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!
    [To LADY ANNE]
    Go thou to Richard, and good angels guard thee! 2565
    [To QUEEN ELIZABETH]
    Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee!
    I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me!
    Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen,
    And each hour's joy wrecked with a week of teen. 2570
  • Queen Elizabeth. Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.
    Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
    Whom envy hath immured within your walls!
    Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!
    Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow 2575
    For tender princes, use my babies well!
    So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

London. The palace.

      next scene .
---

[Sennet. Enter KING RICHARD III, in pomp, crowned; BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, a page, and others]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Give me thy hand.
    [Here he ascendeth his throne]
    Thus high, by thy advice 2585
    And thy assistance, is King Richard seated;
    But shall we wear these honours for a day?
    Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O Buckingham, now do I play the touch, 2590
    To try if thou be current gold indeed
    Young Edward lives: think now what I would say.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O bitter consequence,
    That Edward still should live! 'True, noble prince!'
    Cousin, thou wert not wont to be so dull: 2600
    Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead;
    And I would have it suddenly perform'd.
    What sayest thou? speak suddenly; be brief.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Give me some breath, some little pause, my lord
    Before I positively herein:
    I will resolve your grace immediately.

[Exit]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I will converse with iron-witted fools
    And unrespective boys: none are for me
    That look into me with considerate eyes: 2615
    High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
    Boy!
  • Page. My lord, I know a discontented gentleman,
    Whose humble means match not his haughty mind:
    Gold were as good as twenty orators,
    And will, no doubt, tempt him to any thing.
  • Page. His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I partly know the man: go, call him hither.
    [Exit Page]
    The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
    No more shall be the neighbour to my counsel: 2630
    Hath he so long held out with me untired,
    And stops he now for breath?
    [Enter STANLEY]
    How now! what news with you?
  • Sir William Stanley. My lord, I hear the Marquis Dorset's fled 2635
    To Richmond, in those parts beyond the sea
    Where he abides.

[Stands apart]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Rumour it abroad
    That Anne, my wife, is sick and like to die:
    I will take order for her keeping close.
    Inquire me out some mean-born gentleman,
    Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter: 2645
    The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.
    Look, how thou dream'st! I say again, give out
    That Anne my wife is sick and like to die:
    About it; for it stands me much upon,
    To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me. 2650
    [Exit CATESBY]
    I must be married to my brother's daughter,
    Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.
    Murder her brothers, and then marry her!
    Uncertain way of gain! But I am in 2655
    So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin:
    Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.
    [Re-enter Page, with TYRREL]
    Is thy name Tyrrel?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, there thou hast it: two deep enemies,
    Foes to my rest and my sweet sleep's disturbers
    Are they that I would have thee deal upon:
    Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
  • Sir James Tyrrel. Let me have open means to come to them, 2670
    And soon I'll rid you from the fear of them.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thou sing'st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel
    Go, by this token: rise, and lend thine ear:
    [Whispers]
    There is no more but so: say it is done, 2675
    And I will love thee, and prefer thee too.

[Exit]

[Re-enter BUCKINGHAM]

  • Duke of Buckingham. My Lord, I have consider'd in my mind. The late demand that you did sound me in.
  • Duke of Buckingham. My lord, I claim your gift, my due by promise,
    For which your honour and your faith is pawn'd;
    The earldom of Hereford and the moveables
    The which you promised I should possess.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). As I remember, Henry the Sixth
    Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
    When Richmond was a little peevish boy. 2695
    A king, perhaps, perhaps,—
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
    The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle,
    And call'd it Rougemont: at which name I started,
    Because a bard of Ireland told me once
    I should not live long after I saw Richmond. 2705
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Because that, like a Jack, thou keep'st the stroke
    Betwixt thy begging and my meditation. 2715
    I am not in the giving vein to-day.

[Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Is it even so? rewards he my true service
    With such deep contempt made I him king for this?
    O, let me think on Hastings, and be gone
    To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on!

[Exit]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

The same.

      next scene .
---

[Enter TYRREL]

  • Sir James Tyrrel. The tyrannous and bloody deed is done.
    The most arch of piteous massacre
    That ever yet this land was guilty of.
    Dighton and Forrest, whom I did suborn 2730
    To do this ruthless piece of butchery,
    Although they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs,
    Melting with tenderness and kind compassion
    Wept like two children in their deaths' sad stories.
    'Lo, thus' quoth Dighton, 'lay those tender babes:' 2735
    'Thus, thus,' quoth Forrest, 'girdling one another
    Within their innocent alabaster arms:
    Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
    Which in their summer beauty kiss'd each other.
    A book of prayers on their pillow lay; 2740
    Which once,' quoth Forrest, 'almost changed my mind;
    But O! the devil'—there the villain stopp'd
    Whilst Dighton thus told on: 'We smothered
    The most replenished sweet work of nature,
    That from the prime creation e'er she framed.' 2745
    Thus both are gone with conscience and remorse;
    They could not speak; and so I left them both,
    To bring this tidings to the bloody king.
    And here he comes.
    [Enter KING RICHARD III] 2750
    All hail, my sovereign liege!
  • Sir James Tyrrel. If to have done the thing you gave in charge
    Beget your happiness, be happy then,
    For it is done, my lord. 2755
  • Sir James Tyrrel. The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them;
    But how or in what place I do not know. 2760
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper,
    And thou shalt tell the process of their death.
    Meantime, but think how I may do thee good,
    And be inheritor of thy desire.
    Farewell till soon. 2765
    [Exit TYRREL]
    The son of Clarence have I pent up close;
    His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage;
    The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom,
    And Anne my wife hath bid the world good night. 2770
    Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims
    At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter,
    And, by that knot, looks proudly o'er the crown,
    To her I go, a jolly thriving wooer.

[Enter CATESBY]

  • Sir William Catesby. Bad news, my lord: Ely is fled to Richmond;
    And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen,
    Is in the field, and still his power increaseth. 2780
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
    Than Buckingham and his rash-levied army.
    Come, I have heard that fearful commenting
    Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
    Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary 2785
    Then fiery expedition be my wing,
    Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king!
    Come, muster men: my counsel is my shield;
    We must be brief when traitors brave the field.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

Before the palace.

      next scene .
---

[Enter QUEEN MARGARET]

  • Queen Margaret. So, now prosperity begins to mellow
    And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
    Here in these confines slily have I lurk'd,
    To watch the waning of mine adversaries. 2795
    A dire induction am I witness to,
    And will to France, hoping the consequence
    Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.
    Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret: who comes here?

[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and the DUCHESS OF YORK]

  • Queen Elizabeth. Ah, my young princes! ah, my tender babes!
    My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets!
    If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
    And be not fix'd in doom perpetual,
    Hover about me with your airy wings 2805
    And hear your mother's lamentation!
  • Queen Margaret. Hover about her; say, that right for right
    Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.
  • Duchess of York. So many miseries have crazed my voice,
    That my woe-wearied tongue is mute and dumb, 2810
    Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
  • Queen Margaret. Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet.
    Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs,
    And throw them in the entrails of the wolf? 2815
    When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?
  • Duchess of York. Blind sight, dead life, poor mortal living ghost,
    Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd,
    Brief abstract and record of tedious days, 2820
    Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
    [Sitting down]
    Unlawfully made drunk with innocents' blood!
  • Queen Elizabeth. O, that thou wouldst as well afford a grave
    As thou canst yield a melancholy seat! 2825
    Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
    O, who hath any cause to mourn but I?

[Sitting down by her]

  • Queen Margaret. If ancient sorrow be most reverend,
    Give mine the benefit of seniory, 2830
    And let my woes frown on the upper hand.
    If sorrow can admit society,
    [Sitting down with them]
    Tell o'er your woes again by viewing mine:
    I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him; 2835
    I had a Harry, till a Richard kill'd him:
    Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
    Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard killed him;
  • Duchess of York. I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
    I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him. 2840
  • Queen Margaret. Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard kill'd him.
    From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
    A hell-hound that doth hunt us all to death:
    That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
    To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood, 2845
    That foul defacer of God's handiwork,
    That excellent grand tyrant of the earth,
    That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,
    Thy womb let loose, to chase us to our graves.
    O upright, just, and true-disposing God, 2850
    How do I thank thee, that this carnal cur
    Preys on the issue of his mother's body,
    And makes her pew-fellow with others' moan!
  • Duchess of York. O Harry's wife, triumph not in my woes!
    God witness with me, I have wept for thine. 2855
  • Queen Margaret. Bear with me; I am hungry for revenge,
    And now I cloy me with beholding it.
    Thy Edward he is dead, that stabb'd my Edward:
    Thy other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
    Young York he is but boot, because both they 2860
    Match not the high perfection of my loss:
    Thy Clarence he is dead that kill'd my Edward;
    And the beholders of this tragic play,
    The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
    Untimely smother'd in their dusky graves. 2865
    Richard yet lives, hell's black intelligencer,
    Only reserved their factor, to buy souls
    And send them thither: but at hand, at hand,
    Ensues his piteous and unpitied end:
    Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray. 2870
    To have him suddenly convey'd away.
    Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I prey,
    That I may live to say, The dog is dead!
  • Queen Elizabeth. O, thou didst prophesy the time would come
    That I should wish for thee to help me curse 2875
    That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back'd toad!
  • Queen Margaret. I call'd thee then vain flourish of my fortune;
    I call'd thee then poor shadow, painted queen;
    The presentation of but what I was;
    The flattering index of a direful pageant; 2880
    One heaved a-high, to be hurl'd down below;
    A mother only mock'd with two sweet babes;
    A dream of what thou wert, a breath, a bubble,
    A sign of dignity, a garish flag,
    To be the aim of every dangerous shot, 2885
    A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
    Where is thy husband now? where be thy brothers?
    Where are thy children? wherein dost thou, joy?
    Who sues to thee and cries 'God save the queen'?
    Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee? 2890
    Where be the thronging troops that follow'd thee?
    Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
    For happy wife, a most distressed widow;
    For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
    For queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care; 2895
    For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
    For one that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
    For one being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
    For one commanding all, obey'd of none.
    Thus hath the course of justice wheel'd about, 2900
    And left thee but a very prey to time;
    Having no more but thought of what thou wert,
    To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
    Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
    Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow? 2905
    Now thy proud neck bears half my burthen'd yoke;
    From which even here I slip my weary neck,
    And leave the burthen of it all on thee.
    Farewell, York's wife, and queen of sad mischance:
    These English woes will make me smile in France. 2910
  • Queen Elizabeth. O thou well skill'd in curses, stay awhile,
    And teach me how to curse mine enemies!
  • Queen Margaret. Forbear to sleep the nights, and fast the days;
    Compare dead happiness with living woe;
    Think that thy babes were fairer than they were, 2915
    And he that slew them fouler than he is:
    Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse:
    Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.
  • Queen Margaret. Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine. 2920

[Exit]

  • Queen Elizabeth. Windy attorneys to their client woes,
    Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
    Poor breathing orators of miseries! 2925
    Let them have scope: though what they do impart
    Help not all, yet do they ease the heart.
  • Duchess of York. If so, then be not tongue-tied: go with me.
    And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
    My damned son, which thy two sweet sons smother'd. 2930
    I hear his drum: be copious in exclaims.

[Enter KING RICHARD III, marching, with drums and trumpets]

  • Duchess of York. O, she that might have intercepted thee,
    By strangling thee in her accursed womb 2935
    From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!
  • Queen Elizabeth. Hidest thou that forehead with a golden crown,
    Where should be graven, if that right were right,
    The slaughter of the prince that owed that crown,
    And the dire death of my two sons and brothers? 2940
    Tell me, thou villain slave, where are my children?
  • Duchess of York. Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?
    And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A flourish, trumpets! strike alarum, drums! 2945
    Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
    Rail on the Lord's enointed: strike, I say!
    [Flourish. Alarums]
    Either be patient, and entreat me fair,
    Or with the clamorous report of war 2950
    Thus will I drown your exclamations.
  • Duchess of York. Art thou so hasty? I have stay'd for thee,
    God knows, in anguish, pain and agony.
  • Duchess of York. No, by the holy rood, thou know'st it well,
    Thou camest on earth to make the earth my hell. 2965
    A grievous burthen was thy birth to me;
    Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy;
    Thy school-days frightful, desperate, wild, and furious,
    Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous,
    Thy age confirm'd, proud, subdued, bloody, 2970
    treacherous,
    More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred:
    What comfortable hour canst thou name,
    That ever graced me in thy company?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Faith, none, but Humphrey Hour, that call'd 2975
    your grace
    To breakfast once forth of my company.
    If I be so disgracious in your sight,
    Let me march on, and not offend your grace.
    Strike the drum. 2980
  • Duchess of York. Either thou wilt die, by God's just ordinance,
    Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror,
    Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
    And never look upon thy face again.
    Therefore take with thee my most heavy curse; 2990
    Which, in the day of battle, tire thee more
    Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
    My prayers on the adverse party fight;
    And there the little souls of Edward's children
    Whisper the spirits of thine enemies 2995
    And promise them success and victory.
    Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end;
    Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.

[Exit]

  • Queen Elizabeth. Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse 3000
    Abides in me; I say amen to all.
  • Queen Elizabeth. I have no more sons of the royal blood
    For thee to murder: for my daughters, Richard,
    They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens; 3005
    And therefore level not to hit their lives.
  • Queen Elizabeth. And must she die for this? O, let her live,
    And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty; 3010
    Slander myself as false to Edward's bed;
    Throw over her the veil of infamy:
    So she may live unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
    I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.
  • Queen Elizabeth. True, when avoided grace makes destiny:
    My babes were destined to a fairer death,
    If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen'd
    Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
    Whose hand soever lanced their tender hearts,
    Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:
    No doubt the murderous knife was dull and blunt 3030
    Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
    To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
    But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
    My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
    Till that my nails were anchor'd in thine eyes; 3035
    And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
    Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
    Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
    And dangerous success of bloody wars, 3040
    As I intend more good to you and yours,
    Than ever you or yours were by me wrong'd!
  • Queen Elizabeth. What good is cover'd with the face of heaven,
    To be discover'd, that can do me good?
  • Queen Elizabeth. Flatter my sorrows with report of it;
    Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour, 3050
    Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Even all I have; yea, and myself and all,
    Will I withal endow a child of thine;
    So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
    Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs 3055
    Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Be brief, lest that be process of thy kindness
    Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.
  • Queen Elizabeth. That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul:
    So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers;
    And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Be not so hasty to confound my meaning: 3065
    I mean, that with my soul I love thy daughter,
    And mean to make her queen of England.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
    A pair of bleeding-hearts; thereon engrave
    Edward and York; then haply she will weep:
    Therefore present to her—as sometime Margaret 3080
    Did to thy father, steep'd in Rutland's blood,—
    A handkerchief; which, say to her, did drain
    The purple sap from her sweet brother's body
    And bid her dry her weeping eyes therewith.
    If this inducement force her not to love, 3085
    Send her a story of thy noble acts;
    Tell her thou madest away her uncle Clarence,
    Her uncle Rivers; yea, and, for her sake,
    Madest quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
  • Queen Elizabeth. There is no other way
    Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,
    And not be Richard that hath done all this.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
    Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Look, what is done cannot be now amended:
    Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
    Which after hours give leisure to repent. 3100
    If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
    To make amends, Ill give it to your daughter.
    If I have kill'd the issue of your womb,
    To quicken your increase, I will beget
    Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter 3105
    A grandam's name is little less in love
    Than is the doting title of a mother;
    They are as children but one step below,
    Even of your mettle, of your very blood;
    Of an one pain, save for a night of groans 3110
    Endured of her, for whom you bid like sorrow.
    Your children were vexation to your youth,
    But mine shall be a comfort to your age.
    The loss you have is but a son being king,
    And by that loss your daughter is made queen. 3115
    I cannot make you what amends I would,
    Therefore accept such kindness as I can.
    Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul
    Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
    This fair alliance quickly shall call home 3120
    To high promotions and great dignity:
    The king, that calls your beauteous daughter wife.
    Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother;
    Again shall you be mother to a king,
    And all the ruins of distressful times 3125
    Repair'd with double riches of content.
    What! we have many goodly days to see:
    The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
    Shall come again, transform'd to orient pearl,
    Advantaging their loan with interest 3130
    Of ten times double gain of happiness.
    Go, then my mother, to thy daughter go
    Make bold her bashful years with your experience;
    Prepare her ears to hear a wooer's tale
    Put in her tender heart the aspiring flame 3135
    Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the princess
    With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys
    And when this arm of mine hath chastised
    The petty rebel, dull-brain'd Buckingham,
    Bound with triumphant garlands will I come 3140
    And lead thy daughter to a conqueror's bed;
    To whom I will retail my conquest won,
    And she shall be sole victress, Caesar's Caesar.
  • Queen Elizabeth. What were I best to say? her father's brother
    Would be her lord? or shall I say, her uncle? 3145
    Or, he that slew her brothers and her uncles?
    Under what title shall I woo for thee,
    That God, the law, my honour and her love,
    Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
  • Queen Elizabeth. O no, my reasons are too deep and dead;
    Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their grave. 3170
  • Queen Elizabeth. By nothing; for this is no oath:
    The George, profaned, hath lost his holy honour;
    The garter, blemish'd, pawn'd his knightly virtue;
    The crown, usurp'd, disgraced his kingly glory.
    if something thou wilt swear to be believed, 3180
    Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.
  • Queen Elizabeth. God's wrong is most of all.
    If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him, 3190
    The unity the king thy brother made
    Had not been broken, nor my brother slain:
    If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
    The imperial metal, circling now thy brow,
    Had graced the tender temples of my child, 3195
    And both the princes had been breathing here,
    Which now, two tender playfellows to dust,
    Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
    What canst thou swear by now?
  • Queen Elizabeth. That thou hast wronged in the time o'erpast;
    For I myself have many tears to wash
    Hereafter time, for time past wrong'd by thee.
    The children live, whose parents thou hast
    slaughter'd, 3205
    Ungovern'd youth, to wail it in their age;
    The parents live, whose children thou hast butcher'd,
    Old wither'd plants, to wail it with their age.
    Swear not by time to come; for that thou hast
    Misused ere used, by time misused o'erpast. 3210
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). As I intend to prosper and repent,
    So thrive I in my dangerous attempt
    Of hostile arms! myself myself confound!
    Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours!
    Day, yield me not thy light; nor, night, thy rest! 3215
    Be opposite all planets of good luck
    To my proceedings, if, with pure heart's love,
    Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
    I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter!
    In her consists my happiness and thine; 3220
    Without her, follows to this land and me,
    To thee, herself, and many a Christian soul,
    Death, desolation, ruin and decay:
    It cannot be avoided but by this;
    It will not be avoided but by this. 3225
    Therefore, good mother,—I must can you so—
    Be the attorney of my love to her:
    Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
    Not my deserts, but what I will deserve:
    Urge the necessity and state of times, 3230
    And be not peevish-fond in great designs.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). But in your daughter's womb I bury them:
    Where in that nest of spicery they shall breed
    Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
  • Queen Elizabeth. I go. Write to me very shortly.
    And you shall understand from me her mind.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Bear her my true love's kiss; and so, farewell.
    [Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH] 3245
    Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!
    [Enter RATCLIFF; CATESBY following]
    How now! what news?
  • Sir Richard Ratcliff. My gracious sovereign, on the western coast
    Rideth a puissant navy; to the shore 3250
    Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
    Unarm'd, and unresolved to beat them back:
    'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
    And there they hull, expecting but the aid
    Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore. 3255
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Fly to the duke:
    [To RATCLIFF] 3260
    Post thou to Salisbury
    When thou comest thither—
    [To CATESBY]
    Dull, unmindful villain,
    Why stand'st thou still, and go'st not to the duke? 3265
  • Sir William Catesby. First, mighty sovereign, let me know your mind,
    What from your grace I shall deliver to him.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O, true, good Catesby: bid him levy straight
    The greatest strength and power he can make,
    And meet me presently at Salisbury. 3270

[Exit]

  • Sir William Stanley. None good, my lord, to please you with the hearing; 3280
    Nor none so bad, but it may well be told.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Hoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
    Why dost thou run so many mile about,
    When thou mayst tell thy tale a nearer way?
    Once more, what news? 3285
  • Sir William Stanley. Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Ely,
    He makes for England, there to claim the crown.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Is the chair empty? is the sword unsway'd?
    Is the king dead? the empire unpossess'd?
    What heir of York is there alive but we? 3295
    And who is England's king but great York's heir?
    Then, tell me, what doth he upon the sea?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
    You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes. 3300
    Thou wilt revolt, and fly to him, I fear.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
    Where are thy tenants and thy followers?
    Are they not now upon the western shore. 3305
    Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships!
  • Sir William Stanley. They have not been commanded, mighty sovereign: 3310
    Please it your majesty to give me leave,
    I'll muster up my friends, and meet your grace
    Where and what time your majesty shall please.
  • Sir William Stanley. Most mighty sovereign,
    You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful:
    I never was nor never will be false.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well,
    Go muster men; but, hear you, leave behind 3320
    Your son, George Stanley: look your faith be firm.
    Or else his head's assurance is but frail.

[Exit]

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
    As I by friends am well advertised,
    Sir Edward Courtney, and the haughty prelate
    Bishop of Exeter, his brother there,
    With many more confederates, are in arms. 3330

[Enter another Messenger]

  • Second Messenger. My liege, in Kent the Guildfords are in arms;
    And every hour more competitors
    Flock to their aid, and still their power increaseth.

[Enter another Messenger]

  • Third Messenger. The news I have to tell your majesty 3340
    Is, that by sudden floods and fall of waters,
    Buckingham's army is dispersed and scatter'd;
    And he himself wander'd away alone,
    No man knows whither.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I cry thee mercy: 3345
    There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
    Hath any well-advised friend proclaim'd
    Reward to him that brings the traitor in?

[Enter another Messenger]

  • Fourth Messenger. Sir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis Dorset,
    'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
    Yet this good comfort bring I to your grace,
    The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest:
    Richmond, in Yorkshire, sent out a boat 3355
    Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks
    If they were his assistants, yea or no;
    Who answer'd him, they came from Buckingham.
    Upon his party: he, mistrusting them,
    Hoisted sail and made away for Brittany. 3360
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). March on, march on, since we are up in arms;
    If not to fight with foreign enemies,
    Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

[Re-enter CATESBY]

  • Sir William Catesby. My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken; 3365
    That is the best news: that the Earl of Richmond
    Is with a mighty power landed at Milford,
    Is colder tidings, yet they must be told.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Away towards Salisbury! while we reason here,
    A royal battle might be won and lost 3370
    Some one take order Buckingham be brought
    To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.

[Flourish. Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 5

Lord Derby’s house.

      next scene .
---

[Enter DERBY and SIR CHRISTOPHER URSWICK]

  • Sir William Stanley. Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me: 3375
    That in the sty of this most bloody boar
    My son George Stanley is frank'd up in hold:
    If I revolt, off goes young George's head;
    The fear of that withholds my present aid.
    But, tell me, where is princely Richmond now? 3380
  • Christopher Urswick. Sir Walter Herbert, a renowned soldier;
    Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley;
    Oxford, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt, 3385
    And Rice ap Thomas with a valiant crew;
    And many more of noble fame and worth:
    And towards London they do bend their course,
    If by the way they be not fought withal.
  • Sir William Stanley. Return unto thy lord; commend me to him: 3390
    Tell him the queen hath heartily consented
    He shall espouse Elizabeth her daughter.
    These letters will resolve him of my mind. Farewell.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 1

Salisbury. An open place.

      next scene .
---

[Enter the Sheriff, and BUCKINGHAM, with halberds, led to execution]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Hastings, and Edward's children, Rivers, Grey,
    Holy King Henry, and thy fair son Edward, 3400
    Vaughan, and all that have miscarried
    By underhand corrupted foul injustice,
    If that your moody discontented souls
    Do through the clouds behold this present hour,
    Even for revenge mock my destruction! 3405
    This is All-Souls' day, fellows, is it not?
  • Duke of Buckingham. Why, then All-Souls' day is my body's doomsday.
    This is the day that, in King Edward's time,
    I wish't might fall on me, when I was found 3410
    False to his children or his wife's allies
    This is the day wherein I wish'd to fall
    By the false faith of him I trusted most;
    This, this All-Souls' day to my fearful soul
    Is the determined respite of my wrongs: 3415
    That high All-Seer that I dallied with
    Hath turn'd my feigned prayer on my head
    And given in earnest what I begg'd in jest.
    Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men
    To turn their own points on their masters' bosoms: 3420
    Now Margaret's curse is fallen upon my head;
    'When he,' quoth she, 'shall split thy heart with sorrow,
    Remember Margaret was a prophetess.'
    Come, sirs, convey me to the block of shame;
    Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame. 3425

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

The camp near Tamworth.

      next scene .
---

[Enter RICHMOND, OXFORD, BLUNT, HERBERT, and others, with drum and colours]

  • Richmond (Henry VII). Fellows in arms, and my most loving friends,
    Bruised underneath the yoke of tyranny, 3430
    Thus far into the bowels of the land
    Have we march'd on without impediment;
    And here receive we from our father Stanley
    Lines of fair comfort and encouragement.
    The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar, 3435
    That spoil'd your summer fields and fruitful vines,
    Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
    In your embowell'd bosoms, this foul swine
    Lies now even in the centre of this isle,
    Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn 3440
    From Tamworth thither is but one day's march.
    In God's name, cheerly on, courageous friends,
    To reap the harvest of perpetual peace
    By this one bloody trial of sharp war.
  • Earl Oxford. Every man's conscience is a thousand swords, 3445
    To fight against that bloody homicide.
  • Blunt. He hath no friends but who are friends for fear.
    Which in his greatest need will shrink from him.
  • Richmond (Henry VII). All for our vantage. Then, in God's name, march: 3450
    True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings:
    Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

Bosworth Field.

      next scene .
---

[Enter KING RICHARD III in arms, with NORFOLK, SURREY, and others]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Up with my tent there! here will I lie tonight;
    But where to-morrow? Well, all's one for that.
    Who hath descried the number of the foe? 3465
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, our battalion trebles that account:
    Besides, the king's name is a tower of strength,
    Which they upon the adverse party want.
    Up with my tent there! Valiant gentlemen, 3470
    Let us survey the vantage of the field
    Call for some men of sound direction
    Let's want no discipline, make no delay,
    For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.
    [Exeunt] 3475
    [Enter, on the other side of the field, RICHMOND,]
    Sir William Brandon, OXFORD, and others. Some of
    the Soldiers pitch RICHMOND's tent]
  • Richmond (Henry VII). The weary sun hath made a golden set,
    And by the bright track of his fiery car, 3480
    Gives signal, of a goodly day to-morrow.
    Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard.
    Give me some ink and paper in my tent
    I'll draw the form and model of our battle,
    Limit each leader to his several charge, 3485
    And part in just proportion our small strength.
    My Lord of Oxford, you, Sir William Brandon,
    And you, Sir Walter Herbert, stay with me.
    The Earl of Pembroke keeps his regiment:
    Good Captain Blunt, bear my good night to him 3490
    And by the second hour in the morning
    Desire the earl to see me in my tent:
    Yet one thing more, good Blunt, before thou go'st,
    Where is Lord Stanley quarter'd, dost thou know?
  • Blunt. Unless I have mista'en his colours much, 3495
    Which well I am assured I have not done,
    His regiment lies half a mile at least
    South from the mighty power of the king.
  • Richmond (Henry VII). If without peril it be possible,
    Good Captain Blunt, bear my good-night to him, 3500
    And give him from me this most needful scroll.
  • Blunt. Upon my life, my lord, I'll under-take it;
    And so, God give you quiet rest to-night!
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Good night, good Captain Blunt. Come gentlemen,
    Let us consult upon to-morrow's business 3505
    In to our tent; the air is raw and cold.
    [They withdraw into the tent]
    [Enter, to his tent, KING RICHARD III, NORFOLK,]
    RATCLIFF, CATESBY, and others]
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I will not sup to-night.
    Give me some ink and paper.
    What, is my beaver easier than it was? 3515
    And all my armour laid into my tent?

[Exit]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Send out a pursuivant at arms
    To Stanley's regiment; bid him bring his power
    Before sunrising, lest his son George fall
    Into the blind cave of eternal night.
    [Exit CATESBY] 3530
    Fill me a bowl of wine. Give me a watch.
    Saddle white Surrey for the field to-morrow.
    Look that my staves be sound, and not too heavy.
    Ratcliff!
  • Sir Richard Ratcliff. Thomas the Earl of Surrey, and himself,
    Much about cock-shut time, from troop to troop
    Went through the army, cheering up the soldiers.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). So, I am satisfied. Give me a bowl of wine: 3540
    I have not that alacrity of spirit,
    Nor cheer of mind, that I was wont to have.
    Set it down. Is ink and paper ready?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Bid my guard watch; leave me. 3545
    Ratcliff, about the mid of night come to my tent
    And help to arm me. Leave me, I say.
    [Exeunt RATCLIFF and the other Attendants]
    [Enter DERBY to RICHMOND in his tent, Lords and]
    others attending] 3550
  • Richmond (Henry VII). All comfort that the dark night can afford
    Be to thy person, noble father-in-law!
    Tell me, how fares our loving mother?
  • Sir William Stanley. I, by attorney, bless thee from thy mother 3555
    Who prays continually for Richmond's good:
    So much for that. The silent hours steal on,
    And flaky darkness breaks within the east.
    In brief,—for so the season bids us be,—
    Prepare thy battle early in the morning, 3560
    And put thy fortune to the arbitrement
    Of bloody strokes and mortal-staring war.
    I, as I may—that which I would I cannot,—
    With best advantage will deceive the time,
    And aid thee in this doubtful shock of arms: 3565
    But on thy side I may not be too forward
    Lest, being seen, thy brother, tender George,
    Be executed in his father's sight.
    Farewell: the leisure and the fearful time
    Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love 3570
    And ample interchange of sweet discourse,
    Which so long sunder'd friends should dwell upon:
    God give us leisure for these rites of love!
    Once more, adieu: be valiant, and speed well!
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Good lords, conduct him to his regiment: 3575
    I'll strive, with troubled thoughts, to take a nap,
    Lest leaden slumber peise me down to-morrow,
    When I should mount with wings of victory:
    Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.
    [Exeunt all but RICHMOND] 3580
    O Thou, whose captain I account myself,
    Look on my forces with a gracious eye;
    Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath,
    That they may crush down with a heavy fall
    The usurping helmets of our adversaries! 3585
    Make us thy ministers of chastisement,
    That we may praise thee in the victory!
    To thee I do commend my watchful soul,
    Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes:
    Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still! 3590

[Sleeps]

[Enter the Ghost of Prince Edward, son to King Henry VI]

  • Prince Edward. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
    Think, how thou stab'dst me in my prime of youth 3595
    At Tewksbury: despair, therefore, and die!
    [To RICHMOND]
    Be cheerful, Richmond; for the wronged souls
    Of butcher'd princes fight in thy behalf
    King Henry's issue, Richmond, comforts thee. 3600

[Enter the Ghost of King Henry VI]

  • Henry VI. [To KING RICHARD III]
    When I was mortal, my anointed body
    By thee was punched full of deadly holes
    Think on the Tower and me: despair, and die! 3605
    Harry the Sixth bids thee despair, and die!
    [To RICHMOND]
    Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror!
    Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king,
    Doth comfort thee in thy sleep: live, and flourish! 3610

[Enter the Ghost of CLARENCE]

  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). [To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
    I, that was wash'd to death with fulsome wine,
    Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death! 3615
    To-morrow in the battle think on me,
    And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!—
    [To RICHMOND]
    Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster
    The wronged heirs of York do pray for thee 3620
    Good angels guard thy battle! live, and flourish!

[Enter the Ghosts of RIVERS, GRAY, and VAUGHAN]

  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow,
    Rivers. that died at Pomfret! despair, and die! 3625
  • Lord Grey. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!
  • Sir Thomas Vaughan. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Think upon Vaughan, and, with guilty fear,
    Let fall thy lance: despair, and die! 3630
  • All. [To RICHMOND]
    Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard's bosom
    Will conquer him! awake, and win the day!

[Enter the Ghost of HASTINGS]

  • Lord Hastings. [To KING RICHARD III] 3635
    Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake,
    And in a bloody battle end thy days!
    Think on Lord Hastings: despair, and die!
    [To RICHMOND]
    Quiet untroubled soul, awake, awake! 3640
    Arm, fight, and conquer, for fair England's sake!

[Enter the Ghosts of the two young Princes]

  • Princes. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Dream on thy cousins smother'd in the Tower:
    Let us be led within thy bosom, Richard, 3645
    And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death!
    Thy nephews' souls bid thee despair and die!
    [To RICHMOND]
    Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace, and wake in joy;
    Good angels guard thee from the boar's annoy! 3650
    Live, and beget a happy race of kings!
    Edward's unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.

[Enter the Ghost of LADY ANNE]

  • Lady Anne. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife, 3655
    That never slept a quiet hour with thee,
    Now fills thy sleep with perturbations
    To-morrow in the battle think on me,
    And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!
    [To RICHMOND] 3660
    Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep
    Dream of success and happy victory!
    Thy adversary's wife doth pray for thee.

[Enter the Ghost of BUCKINGHAM]

  • Duke of Buckingham. [To KING RICHARD III] 3665
    The last was I that helped thee to the crown;
    The last was I that felt thy tyranny:
    O, in the battle think on Buckingham,
    And die in terror of thy guiltiness!
    Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death: 3670
    Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath!
    [To RICHMOND]
    I died for hope ere I could lend thee aid:
    But cheer thy heart, and be thou not dismay'd:
    God and good angel fight on Richmond's side; 3675
    And Richard falls in height of all his pride.

[The Ghosts vanish]

[KING RICHARD III starts out of his dream]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Give me another horse: bind up my wounds.
    Have mercy, Jesu!—Soft! I did but dream. 3680
    O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!
    The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.
    Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
    What do I fear? myself? there's none else by:
    Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I. 3685
    Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am:
    Then fly. What, from myself? Great reason why:
    Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?
    Alack. I love myself. Wherefore? for any good
    That I myself have done unto myself? 3690
    O, no! alas, I rather hate myself
    For hateful deeds committed by myself!
    I am a villain: yet I lie. I am not.
    Fool, of thyself speak well: fool, do not flatter.
    My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 3695
    And every tongue brings in a several tale,
    And every tale condemns me for a villain.
    Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree
    Murder, stem murder, in the direst degree;
    All several sins, all used in each degree, 3700
    Throng to the bar, crying all, Guilty! guilty!
    I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;
    And if I die, no soul shall pity me:
    Nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself
    Find in myself no pity to myself? 3705
    Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd
    Came to my tent; and every one did threat
    To-morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.

[Enter RATCLIFF]

  • Sir Richard Ratcliff. Ratcliff, my lord; 'tis I. The early village-cock
    Hath twice done salutation to the morn;
    Your friends are up, and buckle on their armour.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). By the apostle Paul, shadows to-night 3720
    Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard
    Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers
    Armed in proof, and led by shallow Richmond.
    It is not yet near day. Come, go with me;
    Under our tents I'll play the eaves-dropper, 3725
    To see if any mean to shrink from me.

[Exeunt]

[Enter the Lords to RICHMOND, sitting in his tent]

  • Lords. Good morrow, Richmond!
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen, 3730
    That you have ta'en a tardy sluggard here.
  • Lords. How have you slept, my lord?
  • Richmond (Henry VII). The sweetest sleep, and fairest-boding dreams
    That ever enter'd in a drowsy head,
    Have I since your departure had, my lords. 3735
    Methought their souls, whose bodies Richard murder'd,
    Came to my tent, and cried on victory:
    I promise you, my soul is very jocund
    In the remembrance of so fair a dream.
    How far into the morning is it, lords? 3740
  • Lords. Upon the stroke of four.
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Why, then 'tis time to arm and give direction.
    [His oration to his soldiers]
    More than I have said, loving countrymen,
    The leisure and enforcement of the time 3745
    Forbids to dwell upon: yet remember this,
    God and our good cause fight upon our side;
    The prayers of holy saints and wronged souls,
    Like high-rear'd bulwarks, stand before our faces;
    Richard except, those whom we fight against 3750
    Had rather have us win than him they follow:
    For what is he they follow? truly, gentlemen,
    A bloody tyrant and a homicide;
    One raised in blood, and one in blood establish'd;
    One that made means to come by what he hath, 3755
    And slaughter'd those that were the means to help him;
    Abase foul stone, made precious by the foil
    Of England's chair, where he is falsely set;
    One that hath ever been God's enemy:
    Then, if you fight against God's enemy, 3760
    God will in justice ward you as his soldiers;
    If you do sweat to put a tyrant down,
    You sleep in peace, the tyrant being slain;
    If you do fight against your country's foes,
    Your country's fat shall pay your pains the hire; 3765
    If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,
    Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors;
    If you do free your children from the sword,
    Your children's children quit it in your age.
    Then, in the name of God and all these rights, 3770
    Advance your standards, draw your willing swords.
    For me, the ransom of my bold attempt
    Shall be this cold corpse on the earth's cold face;
    But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt
    The least of you shall share his part thereof. 3775
    Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully;
    God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!
    [Exeunt]
    [Re-enter KING RICHARD, RATCLIFF, Attendants]
    and Forces] 3780
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). He was in the right; and so indeed it is. 3785
    [Clock striketh]
    Ten the clock there. Give me a calendar.
    Who saw the sun to-day?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then he disdains to shine; for by the book 3790
    He should have braved the east an hour ago
    A black day will it be to somebody. Ratcliff!
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The sun will not be seen to-day;
    The sky doth frown and lour upon our army. 3795
    I would these dewy tears were from the ground.
    Not shine to-day! Why, what is that to me
    More than to Richmond? for the selfsame heaven
    That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.

[Enter NORFOLK]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, bustle, bustle; caparison my horse.
    Call up Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power:
    I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain,
    And thus my battle shall be ordered: 3805
    My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,
    Consisting equally of horse and foot;
    Our archers shall be placed in the midst
    John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey,
    Shall have the leading of this foot and horse. 3810
    They thus directed, we will follow
    In the main battle, whose puissance on either side
    Shall be well winged with our chiefest horse.
    This, and Saint George to boot! What think'st thou, Norfolk?
  • Duke of Norfolk. A good direction, warlike sovereign. 3815
    This found I on my tent this morning.

[He sheweth him a paper]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Reads]
    'Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,
    For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.' 3820
    A thing devised by the enemy.
    Go, gentleman, every man unto his charge
    Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls:
    Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
    Devised at first to keep the strong in awe: 3825
    Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.
    March on, join bravely, let us to't pell-mell
    If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell.
    [His oration to his Army]
    What shall I say more than I have inferr'd? 3830
    Remember whom you are to cope withal;
    A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,
    A scum of Bretons, and base lackey peasants,
    Whom their o'er-cloyed country vomits forth
    To desperate ventures and assured destruction. 3835
    You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest;
    You having lands, and blest with beauteous wives,
    They would restrain the one, distain the other.
    And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,
    Long kept in Bretagne at our mother's cost? 3840
    A milk-sop, one that never in his life
    Felt so much cold as over shoes in snow?
    Let's whip these stragglers o'er the seas again;
    Lash hence these overweening rags of France,
    These famish'd beggars, weary of their lives; 3845
    Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,
    For want of means, poor rats, had hang'd themselves:
    If we be conquer'd, let men conquer us,
    And not these bastard Bretons; whom our fathers
    Have in their own land beaten, bobb'd, and thump'd, 3850
    And in record, left them the heirs of shame.
    Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives?
    Ravish our daughters?
    [Drum afar off]
    Hark! I hear their drum. 3855
    Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yoemen!
    Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!
    Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood;
    Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!
    [Enter a Messenger] 3860
    What says Lord Stanley? will he bring his power?
  • Duke of Norfolk. My lord, the enemy is past the marsh
    After the battle let George Stanley die. 3865
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A thousand hearts are great within my bosom:
    Advance our standards, set upon our foes
    Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
    Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!
    Upon them! victory sits on our helms. 3870

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 4

Another part of the field.

      next scene .
---

[Alarum: excursions. Enter NORFOLK and forces fighting; to him CATESBY]

  • Sir William Catesby. Rescue, my Lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!
    The king enacts more wonders than a man, 3875
    Daring an opposite to every danger:
    His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights,
    Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death.
    Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!

[Alarums. Enter KING RICHARD III]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
    And I will stand the hazard of the die:
    I think there be six Richmonds in the field; 3885
    Five have I slain to-day instead of him.
    A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

[Exeunt]

---
. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 5

Another part of the field.

       
---

[Alarum. Enter KING RICHARD III and RICHMOND; they] fight. KING RICHARD III is slain. Retreat and flourish. Re-enter RICHMOND, DERBY bearing the crown, with divers other Lords]

  • Richmond (Henry VII). God and your arms be praised, victorious friends,
    The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead.
  • Sir William Stanley. Courageous Richmond, well hast thou acquit thee. 3895
    Lo, here, this long-usurped royalty
    From the dead temples of this bloody wretch
    Have I pluck'd off, to grace thy brows withal:
    Wear it, enjoy it, and make much of it.
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Great God of heaven, say Amen to all! 3900
    But, tell me, is young George Stanley living?
  • Sir William Stanley. He is, my lord, and safe in Leicester town;
    Whither, if it please you, we may now withdraw us.
  • Sir William Stanley. John Duke of Norfolk, Walter Lord Ferrers, 3905
    Sir Robert Brakenbury, and Sir William Brandon.
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Inter their bodies as becomes their births:
    Proclaim a pardon to the soldiers fled
    That in submission will return to us:
    And then, as we have ta'en the sacrament, 3910
    We will unite the white rose and the red:
    Smile heaven upon this fair conjunction,
    That long have frown'd upon their enmity!
    What traitor hears me, and says not amen?
    England hath long been mad, and scarr'd herself; 3915
    The brother blindly shed the brother's blood,
    The father rashly slaughter'd his own son,
    The son, compell'd, been butcher to the sire:
    All this divided York and Lancaster,
    Divided in their dire division, 3920
    O, now, let Richmond and Elizabeth,
    The true succeeders of each royal house,
    By God's fair ordinance conjoin together!
    And let their heirs, God, if thy will be so.
    Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace, 3925
    With smiling plenty and fair prosperous days!
    Abate the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,
    That would reduce these bloody days again,
    And make poor England weep in streams of blood!
    Let them not live to taste this land's increase 3930
    That would with treason wound this fair land's peace!
    Now civil wounds are stopp'd, peace lives again:
    That she may long live here, God say amen!

[Exeunt]

Plays + Sonnets + Poems + Concordance + Character Search + Advanced Search + About OSS