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Let there be gall enough in thy ink; though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter.

      — Twelfth Night, Act III Scene 2


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History of Richard III

Act IV

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Scene 1. Before the Tower.

Scene 2. London. The palace.

Scene 3. The same.

Scene 4. Before the palace.

Scene 5. Lord Derby’s house.


Act IV, Scene 1

Before the Tower.

      next scene .

[Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF YORK, and DORSET; on the other, ANNE, Duchess of Gloucester, leading Lady Margaret Plantagenet, CLARENCE's young Daughter]

  • Duchess of York. Who meets us here? my niece Plantagenet
    Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?
    Now, for my life, she's wandering to the Tower,
    On pure heart's love to greet the tender princes.
    Daughter, well met. 2470
  • Lady Anne. God give your graces both
    A happy and a joyful time of day!
  • Lady Anne. No farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,
    Upon the like devotion as yourselves, 2475
    To gratulate the gentle princes there.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Kind sister, thanks: we'll enter all together.
    [Enter BRAKENBURY]
    And, in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
    Master lieutenant, pray you, by your leave, 2480
    How doth the prince, and my young son of York?
  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
    I may not suffer you to visit them;
    The king hath straitly charged the contrary.
  • Queen Elizabeth. The Lord protect him from that kingly title!
    Hath he set bounds betwixt their love and me?
    I am their mother; who should keep me from them?
  • Lady Anne. Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother:
    Then bring me to their sights; I'll bear thy blame
    And take thy office from thee, on my peril.
  • Sir Robert Brakenbury. No, madam, no; I may not leave it so:
    I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me. 2495



  • Sir William Stanley. Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence,
    And I'll salute your grace of York as mother,
    And reverend looker on, of two fair queens. 2500
    [To LADY ANNE]
    Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,
    There to be crowned Richard's royal queen.
  • Queen Elizabeth. O, cut my lace in sunder, that my pent heart
    May have some scope to beat, or else I swoon 2505
    With this dead-killing news!
  • Lady Anne. Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!
  • Queen Elizabeth. O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee hence!
    Death and destruction dog thee at the heels; 2510
    Thy mother's name is ominous to children.
    If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,
    And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell
    Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughter-house,
    Lest thou increase the number of the dead; 2515
    And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
    Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.
  • Sir William Stanley. Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.
    Take all the swift advantage of the hours;
    You shall have letters from me to my son 2520
    To meet you on the way, and welcome you.
    Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
  • Duchess of York. O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
    O my accursed womb, the bed of death!
    A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world, 2525
    Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
  • Lady Anne. And I in all unwillingness will go.
    I would to God that the inclusive verge
    Of golden metal that must round my brow 2530
    Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain!
    Anointed let me be with deadly venom,
    And die, ere men can say, God save the queen!
  • Queen Elizabeth. Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory
    To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm. 2535
  • Lady Anne. No! why? When he that is my husband now
    Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse,
    When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his hands
    Which issued from my other angel husband
    And that dead saint which then I weeping follow'd; 2540
    O, when, I say, I look'd on Richard's face,
    This was my wish: 'Be thou,' quoth I, ' accursed,
    For making me, so young, so old a widow!
    And, when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
    And be thy wife—if any be so mad— 2545
    As miserable by the life of thee
    As thou hast made me by my dear lord's death!
    Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
    Even in so short a space, my woman's heart
    Grossly grew captive to his honey words 2550
    And proved the subject of my own soul's curse,
    Which ever since hath kept my eyes from rest;
    For never yet one hour in his bed
    Have I enjoy'd the golden dew of sleep,
    But have been waked by his timorous dreams. 2555
    Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick;
    And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
  • Lady Anne. No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.
  • Lady Anne. Adieu, poor soul, that takest thy leave of it!
  • Duchess of York. [To DORSET]
    Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!
    [To LADY ANNE]
    Go thou to Richard, and good angels guard thee! 2565
    Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee!
    I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me!
    Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen,
    And each hour's joy wrecked with a week of teen. 2570
  • Queen Elizabeth. Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.
    Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
    Whom envy hath immured within your walls!
    Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!
    Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow 2575
    For tender princes, use my babies well!
    So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

London. The palace.

      next scene .

[Sennet. Enter KING RICHARD III, in pomp, crowned; BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, a page, and others]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Give me thy hand.
    [Here he ascendeth his throne]
    Thus high, by thy advice 2585
    And thy assistance, is King Richard seated;
    But shall we wear these honours for a day?
    Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O Buckingham, now do I play the touch, 2590
    To try if thou be current gold indeed
    Young Edward lives: think now what I would say.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O bitter consequence,
    That Edward still should live! 'True, noble prince!'
    Cousin, thou wert not wont to be so dull: 2600
    Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead;
    And I would have it suddenly perform'd.
    What sayest thou? speak suddenly; be brief.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Give me some breath, some little pause, my lord
    Before I positively herein:
    I will resolve your grace immediately.


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I will converse with iron-witted fools
    And unrespective boys: none are for me
    That look into me with considerate eyes: 2615
    High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
  • Page. My lord, I know a discontented gentleman,
    Whose humble means match not his haughty mind:
    Gold were as good as twenty orators,
    And will, no doubt, tempt him to any thing.
  • Page. His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I partly know the man: go, call him hither.
    [Exit Page]
    The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
    No more shall be the neighbour to my counsel: 2630
    Hath he so long held out with me untired,
    And stops he now for breath?
    [Enter STANLEY]
    How now! what news with you?
  • Sir William Stanley. My lord, I hear the Marquis Dorset's fled 2635
    To Richmond, in those parts beyond the sea
    Where he abides.

[Stands apart]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Rumour it abroad
    That Anne, my wife, is sick and like to die:
    I will take order for her keeping close.
    Inquire me out some mean-born gentleman,
    Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter: 2645
    The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.
    Look, how thou dream'st! I say again, give out
    That Anne my wife is sick and like to die:
    About it; for it stands me much upon,
    To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me. 2650
    [Exit CATESBY]
    I must be married to my brother's daughter,
    Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.
    Murder her brothers, and then marry her!
    Uncertain way of gain! But I am in 2655
    So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin:
    Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.
    [Re-enter Page, with TYRREL]
    Is thy name Tyrrel?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, there thou hast it: two deep enemies,
    Foes to my rest and my sweet sleep's disturbers
    Are they that I would have thee deal upon:
    Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
  • Sir James Tyrrel. Let me have open means to come to them, 2670
    And soon I'll rid you from the fear of them.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thou sing'st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel
    Go, by this token: rise, and lend thine ear:
    There is no more but so: say it is done, 2675
    And I will love thee, and prefer thee too.



  • Duke of Buckingham. My Lord, I have consider'd in my mind. The late demand that you did sound me in.
  • Duke of Buckingham. My lord, I claim your gift, my due by promise,
    For which your honour and your faith is pawn'd;
    The earldom of Hereford and the moveables
    The which you promised I should possess.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). As I remember, Henry the Sixth
    Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
    When Richmond was a little peevish boy. 2695
    A king, perhaps, perhaps,—
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
    The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle,
    And call'd it Rougemont: at which name I started,
    Because a bard of Ireland told me once
    I should not live long after I saw Richmond. 2705
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Because that, like a Jack, thou keep'st the stroke
    Betwixt thy begging and my meditation. 2715
    I am not in the giving vein to-day.

[Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Is it even so? rewards he my true service
    With such deep contempt made I him king for this?
    O, let me think on Hastings, and be gone
    To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on!


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

The same.

      next scene .

[Enter TYRREL]

  • Sir James Tyrrel. The tyrannous and bloody deed is done.
    The most arch of piteous massacre
    That ever yet this land was guilty of.
    Dighton and Forrest, whom I did suborn 2730
    To do this ruthless piece of butchery,
    Although they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs,
    Melting with tenderness and kind compassion
    Wept like two children in their deaths' sad stories.
    'Lo, thus' quoth Dighton, 'lay those tender babes:' 2735
    'Thus, thus,' quoth Forrest, 'girdling one another
    Within their innocent alabaster arms:
    Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
    Which in their summer beauty kiss'd each other.
    A book of prayers on their pillow lay; 2740
    Which once,' quoth Forrest, 'almost changed my mind;
    But O! the devil'—there the villain stopp'd
    Whilst Dighton thus told on: 'We smothered
    The most replenished sweet work of nature,
    That from the prime creation e'er she framed.' 2745
    Thus both are gone with conscience and remorse;
    They could not speak; and so I left them both,
    To bring this tidings to the bloody king.
    And here he comes.
    [Enter KING RICHARD III] 2750
    All hail, my sovereign liege!
  • Sir James Tyrrel. If to have done the thing you gave in charge
    Beget your happiness, be happy then,
    For it is done, my lord. 2755
  • Sir James Tyrrel. The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them;
    But how or in what place I do not know. 2760
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper,
    And thou shalt tell the process of their death.
    Meantime, but think how I may do thee good,
    And be inheritor of thy desire.
    Farewell till soon. 2765
    [Exit TYRREL]
    The son of Clarence have I pent up close;
    His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage;
    The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom,
    And Anne my wife hath bid the world good night. 2770
    Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims
    At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter,
    And, by that knot, looks proudly o'er the crown,
    To her I go, a jolly thriving wooer.


  • Sir William Catesby. Bad news, my lord: Ely is fled to Richmond;
    And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen,
    Is in the field, and still his power increaseth. 2780
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
    Than Buckingham and his rash-levied army.
    Come, I have heard that fearful commenting
    Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
    Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary 2785
    Then fiery expedition be my wing,
    Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king!
    Come, muster men: my counsel is my shield;
    We must be brief when traitors brave the field.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 4

Before the palace.

      next scene .


  • Queen Margaret. So, now prosperity begins to mellow
    And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
    Here in these confines slily have I lurk'd,
    To watch the waning of mine adversaries. 2795
    A dire induction am I witness to,
    And will to France, hoping the consequence
    Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.
    Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret: who comes here?


  • Queen Elizabeth. Ah, my young princes! ah, my tender babes!
    My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets!
    If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
    And be not fix'd in doom perpetual,
    Hover about me with your airy wings 2805
    And hear your mother's lamentation!
  • Queen Margaret. Hover about her; say, that right for right
    Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.
  • Duchess of York. So many miseries have crazed my voice,
    That my woe-wearied tongue is mute and dumb, 2810
    Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
  • Queen Margaret. Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet.
    Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs,
    And throw them in the entrails of the wolf? 2815
    When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?
  • Duchess of York. Blind sight, dead life, poor mortal living ghost,
    Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd,
    Brief abstract and record of tedious days, 2820
    Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
    [Sitting down]
    Unlawfully made drunk with innocents' blood!
  • Queen Elizabeth. O, that thou wouldst as well afford a grave
    As thou canst yield a melancholy seat! 2825
    Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
    O, who hath any cause to mourn but I?

[Sitting down by her]

  • Queen Margaret. If ancient sorrow be most reverend,
    Give mine the benefit of seniory, 2830
    And let my woes frown on the upper hand.
    If sorrow can admit society,
    [Sitting down with them]
    Tell o'er your woes again by viewing mine:
    I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him; 2835
    I had a Harry, till a Richard kill'd him:
    Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
    Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard killed him;
  • Duchess of York. I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
    I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him. 2840
  • Queen Margaret. Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard kill'd him.
    From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
    A hell-hound that doth hunt us all to death:
    That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
    To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood, 2845
    That foul defacer of God's handiwork,
    That excellent grand tyrant of the earth,
    That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,
    Thy womb let loose, to chase us to our graves.
    O upright, just, and true-disposing God, 2850
    How do I thank thee, that this carnal cur
    Preys on the issue of his mother's body,
    And makes her pew-fellow with others' moan!
  • Duchess of York. O Harry's wife, triumph not in my woes!
    God witness with me, I have wept for thine. 2855
  • Queen Margaret. Bear with me; I am hungry for revenge,
    And now I cloy me with beholding it.
    Thy Edward he is dead, that stabb'd my Edward:
    Thy other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
    Young York he is but boot, because both they 2860
    Match not the high perfection of my loss:
    Thy Clarence he is dead that kill'd my Edward;
    And the beholders of this tragic play,
    The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
    Untimely smother'd in their dusky graves. 2865
    Richard yet lives, hell's black intelligencer,
    Only reserved their factor, to buy souls
    And send them thither: but at hand, at hand,
    Ensues his piteous and unpitied end:
    Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray. 2870
    To have him suddenly convey'd away.
    Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I prey,
    That I may live to say, The dog is dead!
  • Queen Elizabeth. O, thou didst prophesy the time would come
    That I should wish for thee to help me curse 2875
    That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back'd toad!
  • Queen Margaret. I call'd thee then vain flourish of my fortune;
    I call'd thee then poor shadow, painted queen;
    The presentation of but what I was;
    The flattering index of a direful pageant; 2880
    One heaved a-high, to be hurl'd down below;
    A mother only mock'd with two sweet babes;
    A dream of what thou wert, a breath, a bubble,
    A sign of dignity, a garish flag,
    To be the aim of every dangerous shot, 2885
    A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
    Where is thy husband now? where be thy brothers?
    Where are thy children? wherein dost thou, joy?
    Who sues to thee and cries 'God save the queen'?
    Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee? 2890
    Where be the thronging troops that follow'd thee?
    Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
    For happy wife, a most distressed widow;
    For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
    For queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care; 2895
    For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
    For one that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
    For one being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
    For one commanding all, obey'd of none.
    Thus hath the course of justice wheel'd about, 2900
    And left thee but a very prey to time;
    Having no more but thought of what thou wert,
    To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
    Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
    Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow? 2905
    Now thy proud neck bears half my burthen'd yoke;
    From which even here I slip my weary neck,
    And leave the burthen of it all on thee.
    Farewell, York's wife, and queen of sad mischance:
    These English woes will make me smile in France. 2910
  • Queen Elizabeth. O thou well skill'd in curses, stay awhile,
    And teach me how to curse mine enemies!
  • Queen Margaret. Forbear to sleep the nights, and fast the days;
    Compare dead happiness with living woe;
    Think that thy babes were fairer than they were, 2915
    And he that slew them fouler than he is:
    Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse:
    Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.
  • Queen Margaret. Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine. 2920


  • Queen Elizabeth. Windy attorneys to their client woes,
    Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
    Poor breathing orators of miseries! 2925
    Let them have scope: though what they do impart
    Help not all, yet do they ease the heart.
  • Duchess of York. If so, then be not tongue-tied: go with me.
    And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
    My damned son, which thy two sweet sons smother'd. 2930
    I hear his drum: be copious in exclaims.

[Enter KING RICHARD III, marching, with drums and trumpets]

  • Duchess of York. O, she that might have intercepted thee,
    By strangling thee in her accursed womb 2935
    From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!
  • Queen Elizabeth. Hidest thou that forehead with a golden crown,
    Where should be graven, if that right were right,
    The slaughter of the prince that owed that crown,
    And the dire death of my two sons and brothers? 2940
    Tell me, thou villain slave, where are my children?
  • Duchess of York. Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?
    And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A flourish, trumpets! strike alarum, drums! 2945
    Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
    Rail on the Lord's enointed: strike, I say!
    [Flourish. Alarums]
    Either be patient, and entreat me fair,
    Or with the clamorous report of war 2950
    Thus will I drown your exclamations.
  • Duchess of York. Art thou so hasty? I have stay'd for thee,
    God knows, in anguish, pain and agony.
  • Duchess of York. No, by the holy rood, thou know'st it well,
    Thou camest on earth to make the earth my hell. 2965
    A grievous burthen was thy birth to me;
    Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy;
    Thy school-days frightful, desperate, wild, and furious,
    Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous,
    Thy age confirm'd, proud, subdued, bloody, 2970
    More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred:
    What comfortable hour canst thou name,
    That ever graced me in thy company?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Faith, none, but Humphrey Hour, that call'd 2975
    your grace
    To breakfast once forth of my company.
    If I be so disgracious in your sight,
    Let me march on, and not offend your grace.
    Strike the drum. 2980
  • Duchess of York. Either thou wilt die, by God's just ordinance,
    Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror,
    Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
    And never look upon thy face again.
    Therefore take with thee my most heavy curse; 2990
    Which, in the day of battle, tire thee more
    Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
    My prayers on the adverse party fight;
    And there the little souls of Edward's children
    Whisper the spirits of thine enemies 2995
    And promise them success and victory.
    Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end;
    Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.


  • Queen Elizabeth. Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse 3000
    Abides in me; I say amen to all.
  • Queen Elizabeth. I have no more sons of the royal blood
    For thee to murder: for my daughters, Richard,
    They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens; 3005
    And therefore level not to hit their lives.
  • Queen Elizabeth. And must she die for this? O, let her live,
    And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty; 3010
    Slander myself as false to Edward's bed;
    Throw over her the veil of infamy:
    So she may live unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
    I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.
  • Queen Elizabeth. True, when avoided grace makes destiny:
    My babes were destined to a fairer death,
    If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen'd
    Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
    Whose hand soever lanced their tender hearts,
    Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:
    No doubt the murderous knife was dull and blunt 3030
    Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
    To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
    But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
    My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
    Till that my nails were anchor'd in thine eyes; 3035
    And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
    Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
    Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
    And dangerous success of bloody wars, 3040
    As I intend more good to you and yours,
    Than ever you or yours were by me wrong'd!
  • Queen Elizabeth. What good is cover'd with the face of heaven,
    To be discover'd, that can do me good?
  • Queen Elizabeth. Flatter my sorrows with report of it;
    Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour, 3050
    Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Even all I have; yea, and myself and all,
    Will I withal endow a child of thine;
    So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
    Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs 3055
    Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Be brief, lest that be process of thy kindness
    Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.
  • Queen Elizabeth. That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul:
    So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers;
    And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Be not so hasty to confound my meaning: 3065
    I mean, that with my soul I love thy daughter,
    And mean to make her queen of England.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
    A pair of bleeding-hearts; thereon engrave
    Edward and York; then haply she will weep:
    Therefore present to her—as sometime Margaret 3080
    Did to thy father, steep'd in Rutland's blood,—
    A handkerchief; which, say to her, did drain
    The purple sap from her sweet brother's body
    And bid her dry her weeping eyes therewith.
    If this inducement force her not to love, 3085
    Send her a story of thy noble acts;
    Tell her thou madest away her uncle Clarence,
    Her uncle Rivers; yea, and, for her sake,
    Madest quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
  • Queen Elizabeth. There is no other way
    Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,
    And not be Richard that hath done all this.
  • Queen Elizabeth. Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
    Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Look, what is done cannot be now amended:
    Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
    Which after hours give leisure to repent. 3100
    If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
    To make amends, Ill give it to your daughter.
    If I have kill'd the issue of your womb,
    To quicken your increase, I will beget
    Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter 3105
    A grandam's name is little less in love
    Than is the doting title of a mother;
    They are as children but one step below,
    Even of your mettle, of your very blood;
    Of an one pain, save for a night of groans 3110
    Endured of her, for whom you bid like sorrow.
    Your children were vexation to your youth,
    But mine shall be a comfort to your age.
    The loss you have is but a son being king,
    And by that loss your daughter is made queen. 3115
    I cannot make you what amends I would,
    Therefore accept such kindness as I can.
    Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul
    Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
    This fair alliance quickly shall call home 3120
    To high promotions and great dignity:
    The king, that calls your beauteous daughter wife.
    Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother;
    Again shall you be mother to a king,
    And all the ruins of distressful times 3125
    Repair'd with double riches of content.
    What! we have many goodly days to see:
    The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
    Shall come again, transform'd to orient pearl,
    Advantaging their loan with interest 3130
    Of ten times double gain of happiness.
    Go, then my mother, to thy daughter go
    Make bold her bashful years with your experience;
    Prepare her ears to hear a wooer's tale
    Put in her tender heart the aspiring flame 3135
    Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the princess
    With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys
    And when this arm of mine hath chastised
    The petty rebel, dull-brain'd Buckingham,
    Bound with triumphant garlands will I come 3140
    And lead thy daughter to a conqueror's bed;
    To whom I will retail my conquest won,
    And she shall be sole victress, Caesar's Caesar.
  • Queen Elizabeth. What were I best to say? her father's brother
    Would be her lord? or shall I say, her uncle? 3145
    Or, he that slew her brothers and her uncles?
    Under what title shall I woo for thee,
    That God, the law, my honour and her love,
    Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
  • Queen Elizabeth. O no, my reasons are too deep and dead;
    Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their grave. 3170
  • Queen Elizabeth. By nothing; for this is no oath:
    The George, profaned, hath lost his holy honour;
    The garter, blemish'd, pawn'd his knightly virtue;
    The crown, usurp'd, disgraced his kingly glory.
    if something thou wilt swear to be believed, 3180
    Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.
  • Queen Elizabeth. God's wrong is most of all.
    If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him, 3190
    The unity the king thy brother made
    Had not been broken, nor my brother slain:
    If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
    The imperial metal, circling now thy brow,
    Had graced the tender temples of my child, 3195
    And both the princes had been breathing here,
    Which now, two tender playfellows to dust,
    Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
    What canst thou swear by now?
  • Queen Elizabeth. That thou hast wronged in the time o'erpast;
    For I myself have many tears to wash
    Hereafter time, for time past wrong'd by thee.
    The children live, whose parents thou hast
    slaughter'd, 3205
    Ungovern'd youth, to wail it in their age;
    The parents live, whose children thou hast butcher'd,
    Old wither'd plants, to wail it with their age.
    Swear not by time to come; for that thou hast
    Misused ere used, by time misused o'erpast. 3210
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). As I intend to prosper and repent,
    So thrive I in my dangerous attempt
    Of hostile arms! myself myself confound!
    Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours!
    Day, yield me not thy light; nor, night, thy rest! 3215
    Be opposite all planets of good luck
    To my proceedings, if, with pure heart's love,
    Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
    I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter!
    In her consists my happiness and thine; 3220
    Without her, follows to this land and me,
    To thee, herself, and many a Christian soul,
    Death, desolation, ruin and decay:
    It cannot be avoided but by this;
    It will not be avoided but by this. 3225
    Therefore, good mother,—I must can you so—
    Be the attorney of my love to her:
    Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
    Not my deserts, but what I will deserve:
    Urge the necessity and state of times, 3230
    And be not peevish-fond in great designs.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). But in your daughter's womb I bury them:
    Where in that nest of spicery they shall breed
    Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
  • Queen Elizabeth. I go. Write to me very shortly.
    And you shall understand from me her mind.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Bear her my true love's kiss; and so, farewell.
    [Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH] 3245
    Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!
    [Enter RATCLIFF; CATESBY following]
    How now! what news?
  • Sir Richard Ratcliff. My gracious sovereign, on the western coast
    Rideth a puissant navy; to the shore 3250
    Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
    Unarm'd, and unresolved to beat them back:
    'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
    And there they hull, expecting but the aid
    Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore. 3255
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Fly to the duke:
    [To RATCLIFF] 3260
    Post thou to Salisbury
    When thou comest thither—
    [To CATESBY]
    Dull, unmindful villain,
    Why stand'st thou still, and go'st not to the duke? 3265
  • Sir William Catesby. First, mighty sovereign, let me know your mind,
    What from your grace I shall deliver to him.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O, true, good Catesby: bid him levy straight
    The greatest strength and power he can make,
    And meet me presently at Salisbury. 3270


  • Sir William Stanley. None good, my lord, to please you with the hearing; 3280
    Nor none so bad, but it may well be told.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Hoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
    Why dost thou run so many mile about,
    When thou mayst tell thy tale a nearer way?
    Once more, what news? 3285
  • Sir William Stanley. Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Ely,
    He makes for England, there to claim the crown.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Is the chair empty? is the sword unsway'd?
    Is the king dead? the empire unpossess'd?
    What heir of York is there alive but we? 3295
    And who is England's king but great York's heir?
    Then, tell me, what doth he upon the sea?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
    You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes. 3300
    Thou wilt revolt, and fly to him, I fear.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
    Where are thy tenants and thy followers?
    Are they not now upon the western shore. 3305
    Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships!
  • Sir William Stanley. They have not been commanded, mighty sovereign: 3310
    Please it your majesty to give me leave,
    I'll muster up my friends, and meet your grace
    Where and what time your majesty shall please.
  • Sir William Stanley. Most mighty sovereign,
    You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful:
    I never was nor never will be false.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well,
    Go muster men; but, hear you, leave behind 3320
    Your son, George Stanley: look your faith be firm.
    Or else his head's assurance is but frail.


[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
    As I by friends am well advertised,
    Sir Edward Courtney, and the haughty prelate
    Bishop of Exeter, his brother there,
    With many more confederates, are in arms. 3330

[Enter another Messenger]

  • Second Messenger. My liege, in Kent the Guildfords are in arms;
    And every hour more competitors
    Flock to their aid, and still their power increaseth.

[Enter another Messenger]

  • Third Messenger. The news I have to tell your majesty 3340
    Is, that by sudden floods and fall of waters,
    Buckingham's army is dispersed and scatter'd;
    And he himself wander'd away alone,
    No man knows whither.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I cry thee mercy: 3345
    There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
    Hath any well-advised friend proclaim'd
    Reward to him that brings the traitor in?

[Enter another Messenger]

  • Fourth Messenger. Sir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis Dorset,
    'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
    Yet this good comfort bring I to your grace,
    The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest:
    Richmond, in Yorkshire, sent out a boat 3355
    Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks
    If they were his assistants, yea or no;
    Who answer'd him, they came from Buckingham.
    Upon his party: he, mistrusting them,
    Hoisted sail and made away for Brittany. 3360
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). March on, march on, since we are up in arms;
    If not to fight with foreign enemies,
    Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

[Re-enter CATESBY]

  • Sir William Catesby. My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken; 3365
    That is the best news: that the Earl of Richmond
    Is with a mighty power landed at Milford,
    Is colder tidings, yet they must be told.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Away towards Salisbury! while we reason here,
    A royal battle might be won and lost 3370
    Some one take order Buckingham be brought
    To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.

[Flourish. Exeunt]

. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 5

Lord Derby’s house.



  • Sir William Stanley. Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me: 3375
    That in the sty of this most bloody boar
    My son George Stanley is frank'd up in hold:
    If I revolt, off goes young George's head;
    The fear of that withholds my present aid.
    But, tell me, where is princely Richmond now? 3380
  • Christopher Urswick. Sir Walter Herbert, a renowned soldier;
    Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley;
    Oxford, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt, 3385
    And Rice ap Thomas with a valiant crew;
    And many more of noble fame and worth:
    And towards London they do bend their course,
    If by the way they be not fought withal.
  • Sir William Stanley. Return unto thy lord; commend me to him: 3390
    Tell him the queen hath heartily consented
    He shall espouse Elizabeth her daughter.
    These letters will resolve him of my mind. Farewell.