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History of Richard III

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Act III, Scene 5

The Tower-walls.


[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.


  • 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.