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Richard III
Act 3, scene 7

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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 7
Enter Richard and Buckingham at several doors.

RICHARD 
 How now, how now? What say the citizens?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
 The citizens are mum, say not a word.
RICHARD 
 Touched you the bastardy of Edward’s children?
BUCKINGHAM 
5 I did; with his contract with Lady Lucy
 And his contract by deputy in France;
 Th’ unsatiate greediness of his desire
 And his enforcement of the city wives;
 His tyranny for trifles; his own bastardy,
10 As being got, your father then in France,
 And 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;
15 Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
 Your discipline in war, wisdom in peace,
 Your bounty, virtue, fair humility;
 Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose
 Untouched or slightly handled in discourse.
20 And when mine oratory drew toward end,
 I bid them that did love their country’s good
 Cry “God save Richard, England’s royal king!”
RICHARD And did they so?

179
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

BUCKINGHAM 
 No. So God help me, they spake not a word
25 But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
 Stared each on other and looked deadly pale;
 Which when I saw, I reprehended them
 And asked the Mayor what meant this willful silence.
 His answer was, the people were not used
30 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
 inferred”—
 But nothing spoke in warrant from himself.
35 When he had done, some followers of mine own,
 At lower end of the hall, hurled 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.
40 “This general applause and cheerful shout
 Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard”—
 And even here brake off and came away.
RICHARD 
 What tongueless blocks were they! Would they not
 speak?
45 Will not the Mayor then and his brethren come?
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 between two churchmen, good my lord,
50 For on that ground I’ll make a holy descant.
 And be not easily won to our requests.
 Play the maid’s part: still answer “nay,” and take it.
RICHARD 
 I go. An if you plead as well for them
 As I can say “nay” to thee for myself,
55 No doubt we bring it to a happy issue.
Knocking within.

181
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

BUCKINGHAM 
 Go, go, up to the leads. The Lord Mayor knocks.
Richard exits.

Enter the Mayor and Citizens.

 Welcome, my lord. I dance attendance here.
 I think the Duke will not be spoke withal.

Enter Catesby.

 Now, Catesby, what says your lord to my request?
CATESBY 
60 He doth entreat your Grace, my noble lord,
 To visit him tomorrow or next day.
 He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
 Divinely bent to meditation,
 And in no worldly suits would he be moved
65 To draw him from his holy exercise.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Return, good Catesby, to the gracious duke.
 Tell him myself, the Mayor, and aldermen,
 In deep designs, in matter of great moment
 No less importing than our general good,
70 Are come to have some conference with his Grace.
CATESBY 
 I’ll signify so much unto him straight.He exits.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Ah ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward!
 He is not lolling on a lewd love-bed,
 But on his knees at meditation;
75 Not dallying with a brace of courtesans,
 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 virtuous prince

183
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

80 Take on his Grace the sovereignty thereof.
 But sure I fear we shall not win him to it.
MAYOR 
 Marry, God defend his Grace should say us nay.
BUCKINGHAM 
 I fear he will. Here Catesby comes again.

Enter Catesby.

 Now, Catesby, what says his Grace?
CATESBY 
85 He wonders to what end you have assembled
 Such troops of citizens to come to him,
 His Grace not being warned thereof before.
 He fears, my lord, you mean no good to him.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Sorry I am my noble cousin should
90 Suspect me that I mean no good to him.
 By heaven, we come to him in perfect love,
 And so once more return and tell his Grace.
Catesby exits.
 When holy and devout religious men
 Are at their beads, ’tis much to draw them thence,
95 So sweet is zealous contemplation.

Enter Richard aloft, between two Bishops.
Catesby reenters.

MAYOR 
 See where his Grace stands, ’tween two clergymen.
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,
100 True ornaments to know a holy man.—
 Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
 Lend favorable ear to our requests,

185
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

 And pardon us the interruption
 Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.
RICHARD 
105 My lord, there needs no such apology.
 I do beseech your Grace to pardon me,
 Who, earnest in the service of my God,
 Deferred the visitation of my friends.
 But, leaving this, what is your Grace’s pleasure?
BUCKINGHAM 
110 Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above
 And all good men of this ungoverned isle.
RICHARD 
 I do suspect I have done some offense
 That seems disgracious in the city’s eye,
 And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.
BUCKINGHAM 
115 You have, my lord. Would it might please your
 Grace,
 On our entreaties, to amend your fault.
RICHARD 
 Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Know, then, it is your fault that you resign
120 The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
 The sceptered office of your ancestors,
 Your state of fortune, and your due of birth,
 The lineal glory of your royal house,
 To the corruption of a blemished stock,
125 Whiles in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
 Which here we waken to our country’s good,
 The noble isle doth want her proper limbs—
 Her face defaced with scars of infamy,
 Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
130 And almost shouldered in the swallowing gulf
 Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion;
 Which to recure, we heartily solicit

187
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

 Your gracious self to take on you the charge
 And kingly government of this your land,
135 Not as Protector, steward, substitute,
 Or lowly factor for another’s gain,
 But as successively, from blood to blood,
 Your right of birth, your empery, your own.
 For this, consorted with the citizens,
140 Your very worshipful and loving friends,
 And by their vehement instigation,
 In this just cause come I to move your Grace.
RICHARD 
 I cannot tell if to depart in silence
 Or bitterly to speak in your reproof
145 Best fitteth my degree or your condition.
 If not to answer, you might haply think
 Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
 To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
 Which fondly you would here impose on me.
150 If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
 So seasoned with your faithful love to me,
 Then on the other side I checked my friends.
 Therefore, to speak, and to avoid the first,
 And then, in speaking, not to incur the last,
155 Definitively thus I answer you:
 Your love deserves my thanks, but my desert
 Unmeritable shuns your high request.
 First, if all obstacles were cut away
 And that my path were even to the crown
160 As the ripe revenue and due of birth,
 Yet so much is my poverty of spirit,
 So mighty and so many my defects,
 That I would rather hide me from my greatness,
 Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,
165 Than in my greatness covet to be hid
 And in the vapor of my glory smothered.
 But, God be thanked, there is no need of me,

189
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

 And much I need to help you, were there need.
 The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
170 Which, mellowed by the stealing hours of time,
 Will well become the seat of majesty,
 And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.
 On him I lay that you would lay on me,
 The right and fortune of his happy stars,
175 Which God defend that I should wring from him.
BUCKINGHAM 
 My lord, this argues conscience in your Grace,
 But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
 All circumstances well considerèd.
 You say that Edward is your brother’s son;
180 So say we too, but not by Edward’s wife.
 For first was he contract to Lady Lucy—
 Your mother lives a witness to his vow—
 And afterward by substitute betrothed
 To Bona, sister to the King of France.
185 These both put off, a poor petitioner,
 A care-crazed mother to a many sons,
 A beauty-waning and distressèd widow,
 Even in the afternoon of her best days,
 Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
190 Seduced the pitch and height of his degree
 To base declension and loathed bigamy.
 By her in his unlawful bed he got
 This Edward, whom our manners call “the Prince.”
 More bitterly could I expostulate,
195 Save that, for reverence to some alive,
 I give a sparing limit to my tongue.
 Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
 This proffered benefit of dignity,
 If not to bless us and the land withal,
200 Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
 From the corruption of abusing times
 Unto a lineal, true-derivèd course.

191
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

MAYOR 
 Do, good my lord. Your citizens entreat you.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffered love.
CATESBY 
205 O, make them joyful. Grant their lawful suit.
RICHARD 
 Alas, why would you heap this care on me?
 I am unfit for state and majesty.
 I do beseech you, take it not amiss;
 I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you.
BUCKINGHAM 
210 If you refuse it, as in love and zeal
 Loath to depose the child, your brother’s son—
 As well we know your tenderness of heart
 And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
 Which we have noted in you to your kindred
215 And equally indeed to all estates—
 Yet know, whe’er you accept our suit or no,
 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.
220 And in this resolution here we leave you.—
 Come, citizens. Zounds, I’ll entreat no more.
RICHARD 
 O, do not swear, my lord of Buckingham!
Buckingham and some others exit.
CATESBY 
 Call him again, sweet prince. Accept their suit.
 If you deny them, all the land will rue it.
RICHARD 
225 Will you enforce me to a world of cares?
 Call them again. I am not made of stones,
 But penetrable to your kind entreaties,
 Albeit against my conscience and my soul.

Enter Buckingham and the rest.


193
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

 Cousin of Buckingham and sage, grave men,
230 Since you will buckle Fortune on my back,
 To bear her burden, whe’er 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,
235 Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
 From all the impure blots and stains thereof,
 For God doth know, and you may partly see,
 How far I am from the desire of this.
MAYOR 
 God bless your Grace! We see it and will say it.
RICHARD 
240 In saying so, you shall but say the truth.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Then I salute you with this royal title:
 Long live Richard, England’s worthy king!
ALL Amen.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Tomorrow may it please you to be crowned?
RICHARD 
245 Even when you please, for you will have it so.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Tomorrow, then, we will attend your Grace,
 And so most joyfully we take our leave.
RICHARD, to the Bishops 
 Come, let us to our holy work again.—
 Farewell, my cousin. Farewell, gentle friends.
They exit.