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A kind
Of excellent dumb discourse.

      — The Tempest, Act III Scene 3


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History of Richard III


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Scene 1. London. A street.

Scene 2. Before Lord Hastings’ house.

Scene 3. Pomfret Castle.

Scene 4. The Tower of London.

Scene 5. The Tower-walls.

Scene 6. The same.

Scene 7. Baynard’s Castle.


Act III, Scene 1

London. A street.

      next scene .

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

  • 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.

[Enter the Lord Mayor and his train]

  • 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


  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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). 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
  • 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.

[Enter young YORK, HASTINGS, and the CARDINAL]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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. 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.
  • 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.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 2

Before Lord Hastings’ house.

      next scene .

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. A messenger from the Lord Stanley.


  • Lord Hastings. Cannot thy master sleep these tedious nights? 1785
  • Messenger. So it should seem by that I have to say.
    First, he commends him to your noble lordship.
  • Messenger. And then he sends you word
    He dreamt to-night the boar had razed his helm: 1790
    Besides, he says there are two councils held;
    And that may be determined at the one
    which may make you and him to rue at the other.
    Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,
    If presently you will take horse with him, 1795
    And with all speed post with him toward the north,
    To shun the danger that his soul divines.
  • Lord Hastings. Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
    Bid him not fear the separated councils
    His honour and myself are at the one, 1800
    And at the other is my servant Catesby
    Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
    Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
    Tell him his fears are shallow, wanting instance:
    And for his dreams, I wonder he is so fond 1805
    To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers
    To fly the boar before the boar pursues,
    Were to incense the boar to follow us
    And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
    Go, bid thy master rise and come to me 1810
    And we will both together to the Tower,
    Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.
  • Messenger. My gracious lord, I'll tell him what you say.



  • Lord Hastings. Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring
    What news, what news, in this our tottering state?
  • Sir William Catesby. It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord;
    And I believe twill never stand upright 1820
    Tim Richard wear the garland of the realm.
  • Lord Hastings. I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
    Ere I will see the crown so foul misplaced. 1825
    But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
  • Sir William Catesby. Ay, on my life; and hopes to find forward
    Upon his party for the gain thereof:
    And thereupon he sends you this good news,
    That this same very day your enemies, 1830
    The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.
  • Lord Hastings. Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
    Because they have been still mine enemies:
    But, that I'll give my voice on Richard's side,
    To bar my master's heirs in true descent, 1835
    God knows I will not do it, to the death.
  • Lord Hastings. But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,
    That they who brought me in my master's hate
    I live to look upon their tragedy. 1840
    I tell thee, Catesby—
  • Lord Hastings. Ere a fortnight make me elder,
    I'll send some packing that yet think not on it.
  • Sir William Catesby. 'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord, 1845
    When men are unprepared and look not for it.
  • Lord Hastings. O monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out
    With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill do
    With some men else, who think themselves as safe
    As thou and I; who, as thou know'st, are dear 1850
    To princely Richard and to Buckingham.
  • Sir William Catesby. The princes both make high account of you;
    For they account his head upon the bridge.
  • Lord Hastings. I know they do; and I have well deserved it. 1855
    [Enter STANLEY]
    Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
    Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?
  • Sir William Stanley. My lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby:
    You may jest on, but, by the holy rood, 1860
    I do not like these several councils, I.
  • Lord Hastings. My lord,
    I hold my life as dear as you do yours;
    And never in my life, I do protest,
    Was it more precious to me than 'tis now: 1865
    Think you, but that I know our state secure,
    I would be so triumphant as I am?
  • Sir William Stanley. The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
    Were jocund, and supposed their state was sure,
    And they indeed had no cause to mistrust; 1870
    But yet, you see how soon the day o'ercast.
    This sudden stag of rancour I misdoubt:
    Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
    What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.
  • Lord Hastings. Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my lord? 1875
    To-day the lords you talk of are beheaded.
  • Sir William Stanley. They, for their truth, might better wear their heads
    Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
    But come, my lord, let us away.

[Enter a Pursuivant]

  • Lord Hastings. Go on before; I'll talk with this good fellow.
    [Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY]
    How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee?
  • Pursuivant. The better that your lordship please to ask.
  • Lord Hastings. I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now 1885
    Than when I met thee last where now we meet:
    Then was I going prisoner to the Tower,
    By the suggestion of the queen's allies;
    But now, I tell thee—keep it to thyself—
    This day those enemies are put to death, 1890
    And I in better state than e'er I was.
  • Pursuivant. God hold it, to your honour's good content!

[Throws him his purse]


[Enter a Priest]

  • Priest. Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.
  • Lord Hastings. I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
    I am in your debt for your last exercise; 1900
    Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.

[He whispers in his ear]


  • Duke of Buckingham. What, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain?
    Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest; 1905
    Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.
  • Lord Hastings. Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
    Those men you talk of came into my mind.
    What, go you toward the Tower?
  • Duke of Buckingham. I do, my lord; but long I shall not stay 1910
    I shall return before your lordship thence.
  • Duke of Buckingham. [Aside] And supper too, although thou know'st it not.
    Come, will you go?


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 3

Pomfret Castle.

      next scene .

[Enter RATCLIFF, with halberds, carrying RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN to death]

  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Sir Richard Ratcliff, let me tell thee this: 1920
    To-day shalt thou behold a subject die
    For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.
  • Lord Grey. God keep the prince from all the pack of you!
    A knot you are of damned blood-suckers!
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
    Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
    Within the guilty closure of thy walls
    Richard the second here was hack'd to death; 1930
    And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
    We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.
  • Lord Grey. Now Margaret's curse is fall'n upon our heads,
    For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son.
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Then cursed she Hastings, then cursed she Buckingham, 1935
    Then cursed she Richard. O, remember, God
    To hear her prayers for them, as now for us
    And for my sister and her princely sons,
    Be satisfied, dear God, with our true blood,
    Which, as thou know'st, unjustly must be spilt. 1940
  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. Come, Grey, come, Vaughan, let us all embrace:
    And take our leave, until we meet in heaven.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 4

The Tower of London.

      next scene .

[Enter BUCKINGHAM, DERBY, HASTINGS, the BISHOP OF ELY, RATCLIFF, LOVEL, with others, and take their seats at a table]

  • Lord Hastings. My lords, at once: the cause why we are met
    Is, to determine of the coronation.
    In God's name, speak: when is the royal day? 1950
  • Duke of Buckingham. Who knows the lord protector's mind herein?
    Who is most inward with the royal duke? 1955
  • John Morton. Your grace, we think, should soonest know his mind.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Who, I, my lord I we know each other's faces,
    But for our hearts, he knows no more of mine,
    Than I of yours;
    Nor I no more of his, than you of mine. 1960
    Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.
  • Lord Hastings. I thank his grace, I know he loves me well;
    But, for his purpose in the coronation.
    I have not sounded him, nor he deliver'd
    His gracious pleasure any way therein: 1965
    But you, my noble lords, may name the time;
    And in the duke's behalf I'll give my voice,
    Which, I presume, he'll take in gentle part.


  • John Morton. Now in good time, here comes the duke himself. 1970
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
    I have been long a sleeper; but, I hope,
    My absence doth neglect no great designs,
    Which by my presence might have been concluded.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Had not you come upon your cue, my lord 1975
    William Lord Hastings had pronounced your part,—
    I mean, your voice,—for crowning of the king.
  • John Morton. Marry, and will, my lord, with all my heart.


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
    [Drawing him aside]
    Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business, 1990
    And finds the testy gentleman so hot,
    As he will lose his head ere give consent
    His master's son, as worshipful as he terms it,
    Shall lose the royalty of England's throne.


  • Sir William Stanley. We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
    To-morrow, in mine opinion, is too sudden;
    For I myself am not so well provided
    As else I would be, were the day prolong'd. 2000

[Re-enter BISHOP OF ELY]

  • John Morton. Where is my lord protector? I have sent for these
  • Lord Hastings. His grace looks cheerfully and smooth to-day;
    There's some conceit or other likes him well, 2005
    When he doth bid good morrow with such a spirit.
    I think there's never a man in Christendom
    That can less hide his love or hate than he;
    For by his face straight shall you know his heart.
  • Sir William Stanley. What of his heart perceive you in his face 2010
    By any likelihood he show'd to-day?
  • Lord Hastings. Marry, that with no man here he is offended;
    For, were he, he had shown it in his looks.


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I pray you all, tell me what they deserve
    That do conspire my death with devilish plots
    Of damned witchcraft, and that have prevail'd
    Upon my body with their hellish charms?
  • Lord Hastings. The tender love I bear your grace, my lord, 2020
    Makes me most forward in this noble presence
    To doom the offenders, whatsoever they be
    I say, my lord, they have deserved death.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then be your eyes the witness of this ill:
    See how I am bewitch'd; behold mine arm 2025
    Is, like a blasted sapling, wither'd up:
    And this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,
    Consorted with that harlot strumpet Shore,
    That by their witchcraft thus have marked me.
  • Lord Hastings. If they have done this thing, my gracious lord— 2030
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). If I thou protector of this damned strumpet—
    Tellest thou me of 'ifs'? Thou art a traitor:
    Off with his head! Now, by Saint Paul I swear,
    I will not dine until I see the same.
    Lovel and Ratcliff, look that it be done: 2035
    The rest, that love me, rise and follow me.

[Exeunt all but HASTINGS, RATCLIFF, and LOVEL]

  • Lord Hastings. Woe, woe for England! not a whit for me;
    For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
    Stanley did dream the boar did raze his helm; 2040
    But I disdain'd it, and did scorn to fly:
    Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
    And startled, when he look'd upon the Tower,
    As loath to bear me to the slaughter-house.
    O, now I want the priest that spake to me: 2045
    I now repent I told the pursuivant
    As 'twere triumphing at mine enemies,
    How they at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd,
    And I myself secure in grace and favour.
    O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse 2050
    Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head!
  • Sir Richard Ratcliff. Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner:
    Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.
  • Lord Hastings. O momentary grace of mortal men,
    Which we more hunt for than the grace of God! 2055
    Who builds his hopes in air of your good looks,
    Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
    Ready, with every nod, to tumble down
    Into the fatal bowels of the deep.
  • Lord Lovel. Come, come, dispatch; 'tis bootless to exclaim. 2060
  • Lord Hastings. O bloody Richard! miserable England!
    I prophesy the fearful'st time to thee
    That ever wretched age hath look'd upon.
    Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head.
    They smile at me that shortly shall be dead. 2065


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 5

The Tower-walls.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 6

The same.

      next scene .

[Enter a Scrivener, with a paper in his hand]

  • Scrivener. This is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings;
    Which in a set hand fairly is engross'd,
    That it may be this day read over in Paul's.
    And mark how well the sequel hangs together:
    Eleven hours I spent to write it over, 2190
    For yesternight by Catesby was it brought me;
    The precedent was full as long a-doing:
    And yet within these five hours lived Lord Hastings,
    Untainted, unexamined, free, at liberty
    Here's a good world the while! Why who's so gross, 2195
    That seeth not this palpable device?
    Yet who's so blind, but says he sees it not?
    Bad is the world; and all will come to nought,
    When such bad dealings must be seen in thought.


. previous scene      

Act III, Scene 7

Baynard’s Castle.


[Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, at several doors]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
    The citizens are mum and speak not a word.
  • Duke of Buckingham. I did; with his contract with Lady Lucy,
    And his contract by deputy in France;
    The insatiate greediness of his desires,
    And his enforcement of the city wives;
    His tyranny for trifles; his own bastardy, 2210
    As being got, your father then in France,
    His resemblance, being not like the duke;
    Withal I did infer your lineaments,
    Being the right idea of your father,
    Both in your form and nobleness of mind; 2215
    Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
    Your dicipline in war, wisdom in peace,
    Your bounty, virtue, fair humility:
    Indeed, left nothing fitting for the purpose
    Untouch'd, or slightly handled, in discourse 2220
    And when mine oratory grew to an end
    I bid them that did love their country's good
    Cry 'God save Richard, England's royal king!'
  • Duke of Buckingham. No, so God help me, they spake not a word; 2225
    But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
    Gazed each on other, and look'd deadly pale.
    Which when I saw, I reprehended them;
    And ask'd the mayor what meant this wilful silence:
    His answer was, the people were not wont 2230
    To be spoke to but by the recorder.
    Then he was urged to tell my tale again,
    'Thus saith the duke, thus hath the duke inferr'd;'
    But nothing spake in warrant from himself.
    When he had done, some followers of mine own, 2235
    At the lower end of the hall, hurl'd up their caps,
    And some ten voices cried 'God save King Richard!'
    And thus I took the vantage of those few,
    'Thanks, gentle citizens and friends,' quoth I;
    'This general applause and loving shout 2240
    Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard:'
    And even here brake off, and came away.
  • Duke of Buckingham. The mayor is here at hand: intend some fear;
    Be not you spoke with, but by mighty suit:
    And look you get a prayer-book in your hand,
    And stand betwixt two churchmen, good my lord;
    For on that ground I'll build a holy descant: 2250
    And be not easily won to our request:
    Play the maid's part, still answer nay, and take it.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Go, go, up to the leads; the lord mayor knocks.
    [Enter the Lord Mayor and Citizens]
    Welcome my lord; I dance attendance here;
    I think the duke will not be spoke withal. 2260
    [Enter CATESBY]
    Here comes his servant: how now, Catesby,
    What says he?
  • Sir William Catesby. My lord: he doth entreat your grace;
    To visit him to-morrow or next day: 2265
    He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
    Divinely bent to meditation;
    And no worldly suit would he be moved,
    To draw him from his holy exercise.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Return, good Catesby, to thy lord again; 2270
    Tell him, myself, the mayor and citizens,
    In deep designs and matters of great moment,
    No less importing than our general good,
    Are come to have some conference with his grace.


  • Duke of Buckingham. Ah, ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward!
    He is not lolling on a lewd day-bed,
    But on his knees at meditation;
    Not dallying with a brace of courtezans, 2280
    But meditating with two deep divines;
    Not sleeping, to engross his idle body,
    But praying, to enrich his watchful soul:
    Happy were England, would this gracious prince
    Take on himself the sovereignty thereof: 2285
    But, sure, I fear, we shall ne'er win him to it.
  • Duke of Buckingham. I fear he will.
    [Re-enter CATESBY]
    How now, Catesby, what says your lord? 2290
  • Sir William Catesby. My lord,
    He wonders to what end you have assembled
    Such troops of citizens to speak with him,
    His grace not being warn'd thereof before:
    My lord, he fears you mean no good to him. 2295
  • Duke of Buckingham. Sorry I am my noble cousin should
    Suspect me, that I mean no good to him:
    By heaven, I come in perfect love to him;
    And so once more return and tell his grace.
    [Exit CATESBY] 2300
    When holy and devout religious men
    Are at their beads, 'tis hard to draw them thence,
    So sweet is zealous contemplation.
    [Enter GLOUCESTER aloft, between two Bishops.]
    CATESBY returns] 2305
  • Duke of Buckingham. Two props of virtue for a Christian prince,
    To stay him from the fall of vanity:
    And, see, a book of prayer in his hand,
    True ornaments to know a holy man. 2310
    Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
    Lend favourable ears to our request;
    And pardon us the interruption
    Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My lord, there needs no such apology: 2315
    I rather do beseech you pardon me,
    Who, earnest in the service of my God,
    Neglect the visitation of my friends.
    But, leaving this, what is your grace's pleasure?
  • Duke of Buckingham. Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above, 2320
    And all good men of this ungovern'd isle.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I do suspect I have done some offence
    That seems disgracious in the city's eyes,
    And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.
  • Duke of Buckingham. You have, my lord: would it might please your grace, 2325
    At our entreaties, to amend that fault!
  • Duke of Buckingham. Then know, it is your fault that you resign
    The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
    The scepter'd office of your ancestors, 2330
    Your state of fortune and your due of birth,
    The lineal glory of your royal house,
    To the corruption of a blemished stock:
    Whilst, in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
    Which here we waken to our country's good, 2335
    This noble isle doth want her proper limbs;
    Her face defaced with scars of infamy,
    Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
    And almost shoulder'd in the swallowing gulf
    Of blind forgetfulness and dark oblivion. 2340
    Which to recure, we heartily solicit
    Your gracious self to take on you the charge
    And kingly government of this your land,
    Not as protector, steward, substitute,
    Or lowly factor for another's gain; 2345
    But as successively from blood to blood,
    Your right of birth, your empery, your own.
    For this, consorted with the citizens,
    Your very worshipful and loving friends,
    And by their vehement instigation, 2350
    In this just suit come I to move your grace.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I know not whether to depart in silence,
    Or bitterly to speak in your reproof.
    Best fitteth my degree or your condition
    If not to answer, you might haply think 2355
    Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
    To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
    Which fondly you would here impose on me;
    If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
    So season'd with your faithful love to me. 2360
    Then, on the other side, I cheque'd my friends.
    Therefore, to speak, and to avoid the first,
    And then, in speaking, not to incur the last,
    Definitively thus I answer you.
    Your love deserves my thanks; but my desert 2365
    Unmeritable shuns your high request.
    First if all obstacles were cut away,
    And that my path were even to the crown,
    As my ripe revenue and due by birth
    Yet so much is my poverty of spirit, 2370
    So mighty and so many my defects,
    As I had rather hide me from my greatness,
    Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,
    Than in my greatness covet to be hid,
    And in the vapour of my glory smother'd. 2375
    But, God be thank'd, there's no need of me,
    And much I need to help you, if need were;
    The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
    Which, mellow'd by the stealing hours of time,
    Will well become the seat of majesty, 2380
    And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.
    On him I lay what you would lay on me,
    The right and fortune of his happy stars;
    Which God defend that I should wring from him!
  • Duke of Buckingham. My lord, this argues conscience in your grace; 2385
    But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
    All circumstances well considered.
    You say that Edward is your brother's son:
    So say we too, but not by Edward's wife;
    For first he was contract to Lady Lucy— 2390
    Your mother lives a witness to that vow—
    And afterward by substitute betroth'd
    To Bona, sister to the King of France.
    These both put by a poor petitioner,
    A care-crazed mother of a many children, 2395
    A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
    Even in the afternoon of her best days,
    Made prize and purchase of his lustful eye,
    Seduced the pitch and height of all his thoughts
    To base declension and loathed bigamy 2400
    By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
    This Edward, whom our manners term the prince.
    More bitterly could I expostulate,
    Save that, for reverence to some alive,
    I give a sparing limit to my tongue. 2405
    Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
    This proffer'd benefit of dignity;
    If non to bless us and the land withal,
    Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
    From the corruption of abusing times, 2410
    Unto a lineal true-derived course.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Alas, why would you heap these cares on me? 2415
    I am unfit for state and majesty;
    I do beseech you, take it not amiss;
    I cannot nor I will not yield to you.
  • Duke of Buckingham. If you refuse it,—as, in love and zeal,
    Loath to depose the child, Your brother's son; 2420
    As well we know your tenderness of heart
    And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
    Which we have noted in you to your kin,
    And egally indeed to all estates,—
    Yet whether you accept our suit or no, 2425
    Your brother's son shall never reign our king;
    But we will plant some other in the throne,
    To the disgrace and downfall of your house:
    And in this resolution here we leave you.—
    Come, citizens: 'zounds! I'll entreat no more. 2430

[Exit BUCKINGHAM with the Citizens]

  • Another. Do, good my lord, lest all the land do rue it.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Would you enforce me to a world of care? 2435
    Well, call them again. I am not made of stone,
    But penetrable to your. kind entreats,
    Albeit against my conscience and my soul.
    [Re-enter BUCKINGHAM and the rest]
    Cousin of Buckingham, and you sage, grave men, 2440
    Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
    To bear her burthen, whether I will or no,
    I must have patience to endure the load:
    But if black scandal or foul-faced reproach
    Attend the sequel of your imposition, 2445
    Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
    From all the impure blots and stains thereof;
    For God he knows, and you may partly see,
    How far I am from the desire thereof.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Then I salute you with this kingly title:
    Long live Richard, England's royal king!
  • Duke of Buckingham. To-morrow, then, we will attend your grace:
    And so most joyfully we take our leave.