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Speeches (Lines) for Queen Elizabeth
in "Richard III"

Total: 98

# Act, Scene, Line
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Speech text



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.

Queen Elizabeth. If he were dead, what would betide of me?



Lord (Earl) Rivers. No other harm but loss of such a lord.

Queen Elizabeth. The loss of such a lord includes all harm.



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
Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,
A man that loves not me, nor none of you.



Lord (Earl) Rivers. Is it concluded that he shall be protector?

Queen Elizabeth. It is determined, not concluded yet:
But so it must be, if the king miscarry.



Sir William Stanley. God make your majesty joyful as you have been!

Queen Elizabeth. The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Derby.
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. But now the Duke of Buckingham and I
Are come from visiting his majesty.

Queen Elizabeth. What likelihood of his amendment, lords?



Duke of Buckingham. Madam, good hope; his grace speaks cheerfully.

Queen Elizabeth. God grant him health! Did you confer with him?



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
I fear our happiness is at the highest.



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!—
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;
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.



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
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,
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
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,
Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What, marry, may she! marry with a king,
A bachelor, a handsome stripling too:
I wis your grandam had a worser match.

Queen Elizabeth. My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne
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,
To be thus taunted, scorn'd, and baited at:
[Enter QUEEN MARGARET, behind]
Small joy have I in being England's queen.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). If I should be! I had rather be a pedlar:
Far be it from my heart, the thought of it!

Queen Elizabeth. As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
You should enjoy, were you this country's king,
As little joy may you suppose in me.
That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.



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,
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.

Queen Elizabeth. So just is God, to right the innocent.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 'Tis done by me, and ends in 'Margaret.'

Queen Elizabeth. Thus have you breathed your curse against yourself.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I cannot blame her: by God's holy mother,
She hath had too much wrong; and I repent
My part thereof that I have done to her.

Queen Elizabeth. I never did her any, to my knowledge.



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

Queen Elizabeth. Catesby, we come. Lords, will you go with us?



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,
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!



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,
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.
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;
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
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.



Lord (Earl) Rivers. Who knows not he is dead! who knows he is?

Queen Elizabeth. All seeing heaven, what a world is this!



Boy. I cannot think it. Hark! what noise is this?
[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, with her hair about her]
ears; RIVERS, and DORSET after her]

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.



Duchess of York. What means this scene of rude impatience?

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,
That our swift-winged souls may catch the king's;
Or, like obedient subjects, follow him
To his new kingdom of perpetual rest.



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,
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!



Duchess of York. Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence!

Queen Elizabeth. What stay had I but Edward? and he's gone.



Duchess of York. What stays had I but they? and they are gone.

Queen Elizabeth. Was never widow had so dear a loss!



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then be it so; and go we to determine
Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow.
Madam, and you, my mother, will you go
To give your censures in this weighty business?

Queen Elizabeth. [with the Duchess of York] With all our harts.



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.



Duke of York. If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

Queen Elizabeth. A parlous boy: go to, you are too shrewd.



Thomas Rotherham. Good madam, be not angry with the child.

Queen Elizabeth. Pitchers have ears.



Messenger. Such news, my lord, as grieves me to unfold.

Queen Elizabeth. How fares the prince?



Messenger. The mighty dukes
Gloucester and Buckingham.

Queen Elizabeth. For what offence?



Messenger. The sum of all I can, I have disclosed;
Why or for what these nobles were committed
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:
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;
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,
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.



Duchess of York. I'll go along with you.

Queen Elizabeth. You have no cause.



Lady Anne. God give your graces both
A happy and a joyful time of day!

Queen Elizabeth. As much to you, good sister! Whither away?



Lady Anne. No farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,
Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
To gratulate the gentle princes there.

Queen Elizabeth. Kind sister, thanks: we'll enter all together.
And, in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
Master lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,
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 king! why, who's that?



Sir Robert Brakenbury. I cry you mercy: I mean the lord protector.

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?



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.
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
With this dead-killing news!



Marquis of Dorset. Be of good cheer: mother, how fares your grace?

Queen Elizabeth. O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee hence!
Death and destruction dog thee at the heels;
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;
And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.



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
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.



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;
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—
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
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.
Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick;
And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.

Queen Elizabeth. Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy complaining.



Lady Anne. No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.

Queen Elizabeth. Farewell, thou woful welcomer of glory!



Duchess of York. [To DORSET]
Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!
Go thou to Richard, and good angels guard thee!
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.

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
For tender princes, use my babies well!
So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell.



(stage directions). [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
And hear your mother's lamentation!



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?
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,
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!
Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
O, who hath any cause to mourn but I?



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
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.
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.
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
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;
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,
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?
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;
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,
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?
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.

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,
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 Elizabeth. My words are dull; O, quicken them with thine!



Duchess of York. Why should calamity be full of words?

Queen Elizabeth. Windy attorneys to their client woes,
Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries!
Let them have scope: though what they do impart
Help not all, yet do they ease the heart.



Duchess of York. O, she that might have intercepted thee,
By strangling thee in her accursed womb
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?
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?

Queen Elizabeth. Where is kind Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?



(stage directions). [Exit]

Queen Elizabeth. Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse
Abides in me; I say amen to all.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Stay, madam; I must speak a word with you.

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;
And therefore level not to hit their lives.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). You have a daughter call'd Elizabeth,
Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.

Queen Elizabeth. And must she die for this? O, let her live,
And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty;
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.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Wrong not her birth, she is of royal blood.

Queen Elizabeth. To save her life, I'll say she is not so.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Her life is only safest in her birth.

Queen Elizabeth. And only in that safety died her brothers.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.

Queen Elizabeth. No, to their lives bad friends were contrary.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). All unavoided is the doom of destiny.

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.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.

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
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;
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,
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?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The advancement of your children, gentle lady.

Queen Elizabeth. Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). No, to the dignity and height of honour
The high imperial type of this earth's glory.

Queen Elizabeth. Flatter my sorrows with report of it;
Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour,
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
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.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.

Queen Elizabeth. My daughter's mother thinks it with her soul.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What do you think?

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:
I mean, that with my soul I love thy daughter,
And mean to make her queen of England.

Queen Elizabeth. Say then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Even he that makes her queen who should be else?

Queen Elizabeth. What, thou?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I, even I: what think you of it, madam?

Queen Elizabeth. How canst thou woo her?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). That would I learn of you,
As one that are best acquainted with her humour.

Queen Elizabeth. And wilt thou learn of me?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Madam, with all my heart.

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
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,
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.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, come, you mock me; this is not the way
To win our daughter.

Queen Elizabeth. There is no other way
Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,
And not be Richard that hath done all this.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say that I did all this for love of her.

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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Infer fair England's peace by this alliance.

Queen Elizabeth. Which she shall purchase with still lasting war.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say that the king, which may command, entreats.

Queen Elizabeth. That at her hands which the king's King forbids.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say, she shall be a high and mighty queen.

Queen Elizabeth. To wail the tide, as her mother doth.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say, I will love her everlastingly.

Queen Elizabeth. But how long shall that title 'ever' last?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Sweetly in force unto her fair life's end.

Queen Elizabeth. But how long fairly shall her sweet lie last?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). So long as heaven and nature lengthens it.

Queen Elizabeth. So long as hell and Richard likes of it.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say, I, her sovereign, am her subject love.

Queen Elizabeth. But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Be eloquent in my behalf to her.

Queen Elizabeth. An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then in plain terms tell her my loving tale.

Queen Elizabeth. Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.

Queen Elizabeth. O no, my reasons are too deep and dead;
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their grave.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.

Queen Elizabeth. Harp on it still shall I till heart-strings break.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now, by my George, my garter, and my crown,—

Queen Elizabeth. Profaned, dishonour'd, and the third usurp'd.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I swear—

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,
Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now, by the world—

Queen Elizabeth. 'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My father's death—

Queen Elizabeth. Thy life hath that dishonour'd.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then, by myself—

Queen Elizabeth. Thyself thyself misusest.



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why then, by God—

Queen Elizabeth. God's wrong is most of all.
If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
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,
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?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The time to come.

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
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.



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!
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;
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.
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,
And be not peevish-fond in great designs.

Queen Elizabeth. Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, if the devil tempt thee to do good.

Queen Elizabeth. Shall I forget myself to be myself?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, if yourself's remembrance wrong yourself.

Queen Elizabeth. But thou didst kill my children.



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. Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?



Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And be a happy mother by the deed.

Queen Elizabeth. I go. Write to me very shortly.
And you shall understand from me her mind.

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