Open Source Shakespeare

History of Richard III

• To print this text, click here
• To save this text, go to your browser's File menu, then select Save As


Act III, Scene 1

London. A street.


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

  • Duke of Buckingham. Welcome, sweet prince, to London, to your chamber.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts' sovereign
    The weary way hath made you melancholy.
  • 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.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My lord, the mayor of London comes to greet you.

[Enter the Lord Mayor and his train]

  • Lord Mayor of London. God bless your grace with health and happy days! 1585
  • 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


  • Duke of Buckingham. And, in good time, here comes the sweating lord.
  • Prince Edward. Welcome, my lord: what, will our mother come?
  • 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?
  • Lord Hastings. I go, my lord.
  • 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?
  • Duke of Buckingham. Upon record, my gracious lord.
  • 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). [Aside] So wise so young, they say, do never
    live long.
  • Prince Edward. What say you, uncle? 1650
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I say, without characters, fame lives long.
    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
  • Duke of Buckingham. What, my gracious lord?
  • 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.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] Short summers lightly have a forward spring. 1665

[Enter young YORK, HASTINGS, and the CARDINAL]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Now, in good time, here comes the Duke of York.
  • Prince Edward. Richard of York! how fares our loving brother?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Well, my dread lord; so must I call you now.
  • 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.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). How fares our cousin, noble Lord of York?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord,
    You said that idle weeds are fast in growth 1675
    The prince my brother hath outgrown me far.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). He hath, my lord.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). And therefore is he idle?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O, my fair cousin, I must not say so.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Then is he more beholding to you than I. 1680
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). He may command me as my sovereign;
    But you have power in me as in a kinsman.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My dagger, little cousin? with all my heart.
  • Prince Edward. A beggar, brother? 1685
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Of my kind uncle, that I know will give;
    And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A greater gift than that I'll give my cousin.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). A greater gift! O, that's the sword to it.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A gentle cousin, were it light enough. 1690
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). O, then, I see, you will part but with light gifts;
    In weightier things you'll say a beggar nay.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). It is too heavy for your grace to wear.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What, would you have my weapon, little lord? 1695
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I would, that I might thank you as you call me.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). How?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Little.
  • 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.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?
  • Prince Edward. My lord protector needs will have it so.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower. 1715
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, what should you fear?
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost:
    My grandam told me he was murdered there.
  • Prince Edward. I fear no uncles dead.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Nor none that live, I hope. 1720
  • 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. What think'st thou, then, of Stanley? what will he?
  • Sir William Catesby. He will do all in all as Hastings doth.
  • 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
  • Duke of Buckingham. Good Catesby, go, effect this business soundly.
  • Sir William Catesby. My good lords both, with all the heed I may.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?
  • Sir William Catesby. You shall, my lord.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). At Crosby Place, there shall you find us both. 1765


  • 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.
  • Duke of Buckingham. I'll claim that promise at your grace's hands.
  • 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.