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History of Richard III

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Act V, Scene 3

Bosworth Field.


[Enter KING RICHARD III in arms, with NORFOLK, SURREY, and others]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Up with my tent there! here will I lie tonight;
    But where to-morrow? Well, all's one for that.
    Who hath descried the number of the foe? 3465
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, our battalion trebles that account:
    Besides, the king's name is a tower of strength,
    Which they upon the adverse party want.
    Up with my tent there! Valiant gentlemen, 3470
    Let us survey the vantage of the field
    Call for some men of sound direction
    Let's want no discipline, make no delay,
    For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.
    [Exeunt] 3475
    [Enter, on the other side of the field, RICHMOND,]
    Sir William Brandon, OXFORD, and others. Some of
    the Soldiers pitch RICHMOND's tent]
  • Richmond (Henry VII). The weary sun hath made a golden set,
    And by the bright track of his fiery car, 3480
    Gives signal, of a goodly day to-morrow.
    Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard.
    Give me some ink and paper in my tent
    I'll draw the form and model of our battle,
    Limit each leader to his several charge, 3485
    And part in just proportion our small strength.
    My Lord of Oxford, you, Sir William Brandon,
    And you, Sir Walter Herbert, stay with me.
    The Earl of Pembroke keeps his regiment:
    Good Captain Blunt, bear my good night to him 3490
    And by the second hour in the morning
    Desire the earl to see me in my tent:
    Yet one thing more, good Blunt, before thou go'st,
    Where is Lord Stanley quarter'd, dost thou know?
  • Blunt. Unless I have mista'en his colours much, 3495
    Which well I am assured I have not done,
    His regiment lies half a mile at least
    South from the mighty power of the king.
  • Richmond (Henry VII). If without peril it be possible,
    Good Captain Blunt, bear my good-night to him, 3500
    And give him from me this most needful scroll.
  • Blunt. Upon my life, my lord, I'll under-take it;
    And so, God give you quiet rest to-night!
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Good night, good Captain Blunt. Come gentlemen,
    Let us consult upon to-morrow's business 3505
    In to our tent; the air is raw and cold.
    [They withdraw into the tent]
    [Enter, to his tent, KING RICHARD III, NORFOLK,]
    RATCLIFF, CATESBY, and others]
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I will not sup to-night.
    Give me some ink and paper.
    What, is my beaver easier than it was? 3515
    And all my armour laid into my tent?


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Send out a pursuivant at arms
    To Stanley's regiment; bid him bring his power
    Before sunrising, lest his son George fall
    Into the blind cave of eternal night.
    [Exit CATESBY] 3530
    Fill me a bowl of wine. Give me a watch.
    Saddle white Surrey for the field to-morrow.
    Look that my staves be sound, and not too heavy.
  • Sir Richard Ratcliff. Thomas the Earl of Surrey, and himself,
    Much about cock-shut time, from troop to troop
    Went through the army, cheering up the soldiers.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). So, I am satisfied. Give me a bowl of wine: 3540
    I have not that alacrity of spirit,
    Nor cheer of mind, that I was wont to have.
    Set it down. Is ink and paper ready?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Bid my guard watch; leave me. 3545
    Ratcliff, about the mid of night come to my tent
    And help to arm me. Leave me, I say.
    [Exeunt RATCLIFF and the other Attendants]
    [Enter DERBY to RICHMOND in his tent, Lords and]
    others attending] 3550
  • Richmond (Henry VII). All comfort that the dark night can afford
    Be to thy person, noble father-in-law!
    Tell me, how fares our loving mother?
  • Sir William Stanley. I, by attorney, bless thee from thy mother 3555
    Who prays continually for Richmond's good:
    So much for that. The silent hours steal on,
    And flaky darkness breaks within the east.
    In brief,—for so the season bids us be,—
    Prepare thy battle early in the morning, 3560
    And put thy fortune to the arbitrement
    Of bloody strokes and mortal-staring war.
    I, as I may—that which I would I cannot,—
    With best advantage will deceive the time,
    And aid thee in this doubtful shock of arms: 3565
    But on thy side I may not be too forward
    Lest, being seen, thy brother, tender George,
    Be executed in his father's sight.
    Farewell: the leisure and the fearful time
    Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love 3570
    And ample interchange of sweet discourse,
    Which so long sunder'd friends should dwell upon:
    God give us leisure for these rites of love!
    Once more, adieu: be valiant, and speed well!
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Good lords, conduct him to his regiment: 3575
    I'll strive, with troubled thoughts, to take a nap,
    Lest leaden slumber peise me down to-morrow,
    When I should mount with wings of victory:
    Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.
    [Exeunt all but RICHMOND] 3580
    O Thou, whose captain I account myself,
    Look on my forces with a gracious eye;
    Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath,
    That they may crush down with a heavy fall
    The usurping helmets of our adversaries! 3585
    Make us thy ministers of chastisement,
    That we may praise thee in the victory!
    To thee I do commend my watchful soul,
    Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes:
    Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still! 3590


[Enter the Ghost of Prince Edward, son to King Henry VI]

  • Prince Edward. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
    Think, how thou stab'dst me in my prime of youth 3595
    At Tewksbury: despair, therefore, and die!
    Be cheerful, Richmond; for the wronged souls
    Of butcher'd princes fight in thy behalf
    King Henry's issue, Richmond, comforts thee. 3600

[Enter the Ghost of King Henry VI]

    When I was mortal, my anointed body
    By thee was punched full of deadly holes
    Think on the Tower and me: despair, and die! 3605
    Harry the Sixth bids thee despair, and die!
    Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror!
    Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king,
    Doth comfort thee in thy sleep: live, and flourish! 3610

[Enter the Ghost of CLARENCE]

  • George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence). [To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
    I, that was wash'd to death with fulsome wine,
    Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death! 3615
    To-morrow in the battle think on me,
    And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!—
    Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster
    The wronged heirs of York do pray for thee 3620
    Good angels guard thy battle! live, and flourish!

[Enter the Ghosts of RIVERS, GRAY, and VAUGHAN]

  • Lord (Earl) Rivers. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow,
    Rivers. that died at Pomfret! despair, and die! 3625
  • Lord Grey. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!
  • Sir Thomas Vaughan. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Think upon Vaughan, and, with guilty fear,
    Let fall thy lance: despair, and die! 3630
  • All. [To RICHMOND]
    Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard's bosom
    Will conquer him! awake, and win the day!

[Enter the Ghost of HASTINGS]

  • Lord Hastings. [To KING RICHARD III] 3635
    Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake,
    And in a bloody battle end thy days!
    Think on Lord Hastings: despair, and die!
    Quiet untroubled soul, awake, awake! 3640
    Arm, fight, and conquer, for fair England's sake!

[Enter the Ghosts of the two young Princes]

  • Princes. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Dream on thy cousins smother'd in the Tower:
    Let us be led within thy bosom, Richard, 3645
    And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death!
    Thy nephews' souls bid thee despair and die!
    Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace, and wake in joy;
    Good angels guard thee from the boar's annoy! 3650
    Live, and beget a happy race of kings!
    Edward's unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.

[Enter the Ghost of LADY ANNE]

  • Lady Anne. [To KING RICHARD III]
    Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife, 3655
    That never slept a quiet hour with thee,
    Now fills thy sleep with perturbations
    To-morrow in the battle think on me,
    And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!
    [To RICHMOND] 3660
    Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep
    Dream of success and happy victory!
    Thy adversary's wife doth pray for thee.

[Enter the Ghost of BUCKINGHAM]

  • Duke of Buckingham. [To KING RICHARD III] 3665
    The last was I that helped thee to the crown;
    The last was I that felt thy tyranny:
    O, in the battle think on Buckingham,
    And die in terror of thy guiltiness!
    Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death: 3670
    Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath!
    I died for hope ere I could lend thee aid:
    But cheer thy heart, and be thou not dismay'd:
    God and good angel fight on Richmond's side; 3675
    And Richard falls in height of all his pride.

[The Ghosts vanish]

[KING RICHARD III starts out of his dream]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Give me another horse: bind up my wounds.
    Have mercy, Jesu!—Soft! I did but dream. 3680
    O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!
    The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.
    Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
    What do I fear? myself? there's none else by:
    Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I. 3685
    Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am:
    Then fly. What, from myself? Great reason why:
    Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?
    Alack. I love myself. Wherefore? for any good
    That I myself have done unto myself? 3690
    O, no! alas, I rather hate myself
    For hateful deeds committed by myself!
    I am a villain: yet I lie. I am not.
    Fool, of thyself speak well: fool, do not flatter.
    My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 3695
    And every tongue brings in a several tale,
    And every tale condemns me for a villain.
    Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree
    Murder, stem murder, in the direst degree;
    All several sins, all used in each degree, 3700
    Throng to the bar, crying all, Guilty! guilty!
    I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;
    And if I die, no soul shall pity me:
    Nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself
    Find in myself no pity to myself? 3705
    Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd
    Came to my tent; and every one did threat
    To-morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.


  • Sir Richard Ratcliff. Ratcliff, my lord; 'tis I. The early village-cock
    Hath twice done salutation to the morn;
    Your friends are up, and buckle on their armour.
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). By the apostle Paul, shadows to-night 3720
    Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard
    Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers
    Armed in proof, and led by shallow Richmond.
    It is not yet near day. Come, go with me;
    Under our tents I'll play the eaves-dropper, 3725
    To see if any mean to shrink from me.


[Enter the Lords to RICHMOND, sitting in his tent]

  • Lords. Good morrow, Richmond!
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen, 3730
    That you have ta'en a tardy sluggard here.
  • Lords. How have you slept, my lord?
  • Richmond (Henry VII). The sweetest sleep, and fairest-boding dreams
    That ever enter'd in a drowsy head,
    Have I since your departure had, my lords. 3735
    Methought their souls, whose bodies Richard murder'd,
    Came to my tent, and cried on victory:
    I promise you, my soul is very jocund
    In the remembrance of so fair a dream.
    How far into the morning is it, lords? 3740
  • Lords. Upon the stroke of four.
  • Richmond (Henry VII). Why, then 'tis time to arm and give direction.
    [His oration to his soldiers]
    More than I have said, loving countrymen,
    The leisure and enforcement of the time 3745
    Forbids to dwell upon: yet remember this,
    God and our good cause fight upon our side;
    The prayers of holy saints and wronged souls,
    Like high-rear'd bulwarks, stand before our faces;
    Richard except, those whom we fight against 3750
    Had rather have us win than him they follow:
    For what is he they follow? truly, gentlemen,
    A bloody tyrant and a homicide;
    One raised in blood, and one in blood establish'd;
    One that made means to come by what he hath, 3755
    And slaughter'd those that were the means to help him;
    Abase foul stone, made precious by the foil
    Of England's chair, where he is falsely set;
    One that hath ever been God's enemy:
    Then, if you fight against God's enemy, 3760
    God will in justice ward you as his soldiers;
    If you do sweat to put a tyrant down,
    You sleep in peace, the tyrant being slain;
    If you do fight against your country's foes,
    Your country's fat shall pay your pains the hire; 3765
    If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,
    Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors;
    If you do free your children from the sword,
    Your children's children quit it in your age.
    Then, in the name of God and all these rights, 3770
    Advance your standards, draw your willing swords.
    For me, the ransom of my bold attempt
    Shall be this cold corpse on the earth's cold face;
    But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt
    The least of you shall share his part thereof. 3775
    Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully;
    God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!
    [Re-enter KING RICHARD, RATCLIFF, Attendants]
    and Forces] 3780
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). He was in the right; and so indeed it is. 3785
    [Clock striketh]
    Ten the clock there. Give me a calendar.
    Who saw the sun to-day?
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then he disdains to shine; for by the book 3790
    He should have braved the east an hour ago
    A black day will it be to somebody. Ratcliff!
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The sun will not be seen to-day;
    The sky doth frown and lour upon our army. 3795
    I would these dewy tears were from the ground.
    Not shine to-day! Why, what is that to me
    More than to Richmond? for the selfsame heaven
    That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.


  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, bustle, bustle; caparison my horse.
    Call up Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power:
    I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain,
    And thus my battle shall be ordered: 3805
    My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,
    Consisting equally of horse and foot;
    Our archers shall be placed in the midst
    John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey,
    Shall have the leading of this foot and horse. 3810
    They thus directed, we will follow
    In the main battle, whose puissance on either side
    Shall be well winged with our chiefest horse.
    This, and Saint George to boot! What think'st thou, Norfolk?
  • Duke of Norfolk. A good direction, warlike sovereign. 3815
    This found I on my tent this morning.

[He sheweth him a paper]

  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Reads]
    'Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,
    For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.' 3820
    A thing devised by the enemy.
    Go, gentleman, every man unto his charge
    Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls:
    Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
    Devised at first to keep the strong in awe: 3825
    Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.
    March on, join bravely, let us to't pell-mell
    If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell.
    [His oration to his Army]
    What shall I say more than I have inferr'd? 3830
    Remember whom you are to cope withal;
    A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,
    A scum of Bretons, and base lackey peasants,
    Whom their o'er-cloyed country vomits forth
    To desperate ventures and assured destruction. 3835
    You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest;
    You having lands, and blest with beauteous wives,
    They would restrain the one, distain the other.
    And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,
    Long kept in Bretagne at our mother's cost? 3840
    A milk-sop, one that never in his life
    Felt so much cold as over shoes in snow?
    Let's whip these stragglers o'er the seas again;
    Lash hence these overweening rags of France,
    These famish'd beggars, weary of their lives; 3845
    Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,
    For want of means, poor rats, had hang'd themselves:
    If we be conquer'd, let men conquer us,
    And not these bastard Bretons; whom our fathers
    Have in their own land beaten, bobb'd, and thump'd, 3850
    And in record, left them the heirs of shame.
    Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives?
    Ravish our daughters?
    [Drum afar off]
    Hark! I hear their drum. 3855
    Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yoemen!
    Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!
    Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood;
    Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!
    [Enter a Messenger] 3860
    What says Lord Stanley? will he bring his power?
  • Duke of Norfolk. My lord, the enemy is past the marsh
    After the battle let George Stanley die. 3865
  • Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A thousand hearts are great within my bosom:
    Advance our standards, set upon our foes
    Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
    Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!
    Upon them! victory sits on our helms. 3870