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Richard III
Act 3, scene 4

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

As Richard III opens, Richard is Duke of Gloucester and his brother, Edward IV, is king. Richard is eager to clear his…

Act 1, scene 1

Richard, alone onstage, reveals his intention to play the villain. He then pretends to console Clarence, the first victim of…

Act 1, scene 2

Richard woos Lady Anne over the corpse of King Henry VI, Anne’s father-in-law, whom Richard murdered.

Act 1, scene 3

Queen Elizabeth bemoans her situation in the face of her husband’s serious illness; Richard quarrels with Queen Elizabeth, her brother,…

Act 1, scene 4

Richard’s agents murder the imprisoned Clarence.

Act 2, scene 1

The dying King Edward IV attempts to reconcile the quarreling factions in his royal court. Queen Elizabeth and her kindred,…

Act 2, scene 2

As the Duchess of York mourns Clarence’s death, Queen Elizabeth enters grieving for the death of King Edward IV. Richard…

Act 2, scene 3

Three citizens discuss the possibly tumultuous succession of Prince Edward.

Act 2, scene 4

As Queen Elizabeth awaits the coming of Prince Edward, news arrives that Richard has imprisoned her brother Rivers, her son…

Act 3, scene 1

Richard and Buckingham arrive in London with Prince Edward and order that Edward’s brother, the Duke of York, be taken…

Act 3, scene 2

Responding to Catesby, Hastings flatly refuses to support Richard’s bid for the throne, and takes great satisfaction in the news…

Act 3, scene 3

The Queen’s brother Rivers, her son Grey, and Sir Thomas Vaughan are led to execution. They recall Margaret’s curse, and…

Act 3, scene 4

A council of lords meets to plan the coronation of Edward V. Richard, learning from Buckingham of Hastings’ refusal to…

Act 3, scene 5

Richard and Buckingham excuse the summary execution of Hastings to the Mayor of London by staging an “uprising” that they…

Act 3, scene 6

The professional scribe who has just finished transcribing Hastings’ indictment shows how the charge against Hastings had been prepared and…

Act 3, scene 7

Richard and Buckingham, having failed to persuade London’s officials and citizens that Richard should be king, stage a scene of…

Act 4, scene 1

Queen Elizabeth, her son Dorset, and the Duchess of York meet Lady Anne and Clarence’s daughter as all approach the…

Act 4, scene 2

The newly crowned Richard asks Buckingham to arrange the deaths of Prince Edward and the Duke of York. When Buckingham…

Act 4, scene 3

Tyrrel reports the deaths of Edward IV’s sons. Richard then reveals that Anne is dead and that he will now…

Act 4, scene 4

Queen Margaret, Queen Elizabeth, and the Duchess of York grieve for their dead. Richard enters on his way to confront…

Act 4, scene 5

Lord Stanley sends news to Richmond, whose army is marching on London: Stanley will be unable to help because Richard…

Act 5, scene 1

Buckingham is led to execution.

Act 5, scene 2

Richmond and his army march against Richard.

Act 5, scene 3

Richard and Richmond and their supporters prepare for battle. Asleep, Richard and Richmond are each visited by the ghosts of…

Act 5, scene 4

In battle Richard has been unhorsed and faces defeat.

Act 5, scene 5

Richmond kills Richard and is given the crown that he will wear as King Henry VII. His coming marriage to…

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Scene 4
Enter Buckingham, Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby,
Hastings, Bishop of Ely, Norfolk, Ratcliffe, Lovell, with
others, at a table.


HASTINGS 
 Now, noble peers, the cause why we are met
 Is to determine of the coronation.
 In God’s name, speak. When is the royal day?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Is all things ready for the royal time?
STANLEY 
5 It is, and wants but nomination.
ELY 
 Tomorrow, then, I judge a happy day.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Who knows the Lord Protector’s mind herein?
 Who is most inward with the noble duke?
ELY 
 Your Grace, we think, should soonest know his
10 mind.
BUCKINGHAM 
 We know each other’s faces; for our hearts,
 He knows no more of mine than I of yours,
 Or I of his, my lord, than you of mine.—
 Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.
HASTINGS 
15 I thank his Grace, I know he loves me well.
 But for his purpose in the coronation,
 I have not sounded him, nor he delivered
 His gracious pleasure any way therein.
 But you, my honorable lords, may name the time,
20 And in the Duke’s behalf I’ll give my voice,
 Which I presume he’ll take in gentle part.

Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester.


161
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 4

ELY 
 In happy time here comes the Duke himself.
RICHARD 
 My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
 I have been long a sleeper; but I trust
25 My absence doth neglect no great design
 Which by my presence might have been concluded.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Had you not come upon your cue, my lord,
 William Lord Hastings had pronounced your part—
 I mean your voice for crowning of the King.
RICHARD 
30 Than my Lord Hastings no man might be bolder.
 His Lordship knows me well and loves me well.—
 My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn
 I saw good strawberries in your garden there;
 I do beseech you, send for some of them.
ELY 
35 Marry and will, my lord, with all my heart.
Exit Bishop of Ely.
RICHARD 
 Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
They move aside.
 Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business
 And finds the testy gentleman so hot
 That he will lose his head ere give consent
40 His master’s child, as worshipfully he terms it,
 Shall lose the royalty of England’s throne.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Withdraw yourself awhile. I’ll go with you.
Richard and Buckingham exit.
STANLEY 
 We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
 Tomorrow, in my judgment, is too sudden,
45 For I myself am not so well provided
 As else I would be, were the day prolonged.

163
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 4

Enter the Bishop of Ely.

ELY 
 Where is my lord the Duke of Gloucester?
 I have sent for these strawberries.
HASTINGS 
 His Grace looks cheerfully and smooth this
50 morning.
 There’s some conceit or other likes him well
 When that he bids good morrow with such spirit.
 I think there’s never a man in Christendom
 Can lesser hide his love or hate than he,
55 For by his face straight shall you know his heart.
STANLEY 
 What of his heart perceive you in his face
 By any livelihood he showed today?
HASTINGS 
 Marry, that with no man here he is offended,
 For were he, he had shown it in his looks.

Enter Richard and Buckingham.

RICHARD 
60 I pray you all, tell me what they deserve
 That do conspire my death with devilish plots
 Of damnèd witchcraft, and that have prevailed
 Upon my body with their hellish charms?
HASTINGS 
 The tender love I bear your Grace, my lord,
65 Makes me most forward in this princely presence
 To doom th’ offenders, whosoe’er they be.
 I say, my lord, they have deservèd death.
RICHARD 
 Then be your eyes the witness of their evil.
He shows his arm.
 Look how I am bewitched! Behold mine arm
70 Is like a blasted sapling withered up;

165
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 4

 And this is Edward’s wife, that monstrous witch,
 Consorted with that harlot, strumpet Shore,
 That by their witchcraft thus have markèd me.
HASTINGS 
 If they have done this deed, my noble lord—
RICHARD 
75 If? Thou protector of this damnèd strumpet,
 Talk’st thou to 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.—
 Lovell and Ratcliffe, look that it be done.—
80 The rest that love me, rise and follow me.
They exit. Lovell and Ratcliffe remain,
with the Lord Hastings.

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,
 And I did scorn it and disdain to fly.
85 Three times today my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
 And started when he looked upon the Tower,
 As loath to bear me to the slaughterhouse.
 O, now I need the priest that spake to me!
 I now repent I told the pursuivant,
90 As too triumphing, how mine enemies
 Today at Pomfret bloodily were butchered,
 And I myself secure in grace and favor.
 O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
 Is lighted on poor Hastings’ wretched head.
RATCLIFFE 
95 Come, come, dispatch. The Duke would be at
 dinner.
 Make a short shrift. He longs to see your head.
HASTINGS 
 O momentary grace of mortal men,
 Which we more hunt for than the grace of God!

167
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 5

100 Who builds his hope 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.
LOVELL 
 Come, come, dispatch. ’Tis bootless to exclaim.
HASTINGS 
105 O bloody Richard! Miserable England,
 I prophesy the fearfull’st time to thee
 That ever wretched age hath looked upon.—
 Come, lead me to the block. Bear him my head.
 They smile at me who shortly shall be dead.
They exit.