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History of Richard III

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Act II, Scene 4

London. The palace.



  • 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
    '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.