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History of Richard III

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Act II, Scene 1

London. The palace.



  • 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.


  • 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.