List iconRichard III:
Act 4, scene 4
List icon

Richard III
Act 4, scene 4



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 old Queen Margaret.

 So now prosperity begins to mellow
 And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
 Here in these confines slyly have I lurked
 To watch the waning of mine enemies.
5 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?She steps aside.

Enter Duchess of York and Queen Elizabeth.

10 Ah, my poor princes! Ah, my tender babes,
 My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets,
 If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
 And be not fixed in doom perpetual,
 Hover about me with your airy wings
15 And hear your mother’s lamentation.
 Hover about her; say that right for right
 Hath dimmed your infant morn to agèd night.
 So many miseries have crazed my voice
 That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.
20 Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
 Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet;
 Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
 Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs
 And throw them in the entrails of the wolf?
25 When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 When holy Harry died, and my sweet son.
DUCHESS, to Queen Elizabeth  
 Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal living ghost,
 Woe’s scene, world’s shame, grave’s due by life
30 Brief abstract and record of tedious days,
 Rest thy unrest on England’s lawful earth,
 Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.
QUEEN ELIZABETH, as they both sit down  
 Ah, that thou wouldst as soon afford a grave
 As thou canst yield a melancholy seat,
35 Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
 Ah, who hath any cause to mourn but we?
QUEEN MARGARET, coming   forward  
 If ancient sorrow be most reverend,
 Give mine the benefit of seigniory,
 And let my griefs frown on the upper hand.
40 If sorrow can admit society,
 Tell over your woes again by viewing mine.
 I had an Edward till a Richard killed him;
 I had a husband till a Richard killed him.
 Thou hadst an Edward till a Richard killed him;
45 Thou hadst a Richard till a Richard killed him.
 I had a Richard too, and thou did’st kill him;
 I had a Rutland too; thou holp’st to kill him.
 Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard killed him.
 From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
50 A hellhound that doth hunt us all to death—
 That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
 To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood;
 That excellent grand tyrant of the Earth,
 That reigns in gallèd eyes of weeping souls;
55 That foul defacer of God’s handiwork

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Thy womb let loose to chase us to our graves.
 O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
 How do I thank thee that this carnal cur
 Preys on the issue of his mother’s body
60 And makes her pew-fellow with others’ moan!
DUCHESS ,   standing  
 O Harry’s wife, triumph not in my woes!
 God witness with me, I have wept for thine.
 Bear with me. I am hungry for revenge,
 And now I cloy me with beholding it.
65 Thy Edward he is dead, that killed my Edward,
 Thy other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
 Young York, he is but boot, because both they
 Matched not the high perfection of my loss.
 Thy Clarence he is dead that stabbed my Edward,
70 And the beholders of this frantic play,
 Th’ adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
 Untimely smothered in their dusky graves.
 Richard yet lives, hell’s black intelligencer,
 Only reserved their factor to buy souls
75 And send them thither. But at hand, at hand
 Ensues his piteous and unpitied end.
 Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray,
 To have him suddenly conveyed from hence.
 Cancel his bond of life, dear God I pray,
80 That I may live and say “The dog is dead.”
QUEEN ELIZABETH ,   standing  
 O, thou didst prophesy the time would come
 That I should wish for thee to help me curse
 That bottled spider, that foul bunch-backed toad!
 I called thee then “vain flourish of my fortune.”
85 I called thee then poor shadow, “painted queen,”
 The presentation of but what I was,
 The flattering index of a direful pageant,

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 One heaved a-high to be hurled down below,
 A mother only mocked with two fair babes,
90 A dream of what thou wast, a garish flag
 To be the aim of every dangerous shot,
 A sign of dignity, a breath, a bubble,
 A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
 Where is thy husband now? Where be thy brothers?
95 Where are thy two sons? Wherein dost thou joy?
 Who sues and kneels and says “God save the
 Where be the bending peers that flattered thee?
 Where be the thronging troops that followed thee?
100 Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
 For happy wife, a most distressèd widow;
 For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
 For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
 For queen, a very caitiff crowned with care;
105 For she that scorned at me, now scorned of me;
 For she being feared of all, now fearing one;
 For she commanding all, obeyed of none.
 Thus hath the course of justice whirled about
 And left thee but a very prey to time,
110 Having no more but thought of what thou wast
 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?
 Now thy proud neck bears half my burdened yoke,
115 From which even here I slip my weary head
 And leave the burden of it all on thee.
 Farewell, York’s wife, and queen of sad mischance.
 These English woes shall make me smile in France.
She begins to exit.
 O, thou well-skilled in curses, stay awhile,
120 And teach me how to curse mine enemies.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Forbear to sleep the nights, and fast the days;
 Compare dead happiness with living woe;
 Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were,
 And he that slew them fouler than he is.
125 Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse.
 Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.
 My words are dull. O, quicken them with thine!
 Thy woes will make them sharp and pierce like
 mine.Margaret exits.
130 Why should calamity be full of words?
 Windy attorneys to their clients’ woes,
 Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
 Poor breathing orators of miseries,
 Let them have scope; though what they will impart
135 Help nothing else, yet do they ease the heart.
 If so, then be not tongue-tied. Go with me,
 And in the breath of bitter words let’s smother
 My damnèd son that thy two sweet sons smothered.
A trumpet sounds.
 The trumpet sounds. Be copious in exclaims.

Enter King Richard and his train, including Catesby.

140 Who intercepts me in my expedition?
 O, she that might have intercepted thee,
 By strangling thee in her accursèd womb,
 From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Hid’st thou that forehead with a golden crown
145 Where should be branded, if that right were right,
 The slaughter of the prince that owed that crown
 And the dire death of my poor sons and brothers?
 Tell me, thou villain-slave, where are my children?
DUCHESS, to Richard 
 Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence,
150 And little Ned Plantagenet his son?
 Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
DUCHESS, to Richard Where is kind Hastings?
 A flourish, trumpets! Strike alarum, drums!
 Let not the heavens hear these telltale women
155 Rail on the Lord’s anointed. Strike, I say!
Flourish. Alarums.
 Either be patient and entreat me fair,
 Or with the clamorous report of war
 Thus will I drown your exclamations.
DUCHESS Art thou my son?
160 Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.
 Then patiently hear my impatience.
 Madam, I have a touch of your condition,
 That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
 O, let me speak!
RICHARD 165 Do then, but I’ll not hear.
 I will be mild and gentle in my words.
 And brief, good mother, for I am in haste.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Art thou so hasty? I have stayed for thee,
 God knows, in torment and in agony.
170 And came I not at last to comfort you?
 No, by the Holy Rood, thou know’st it well.
 Thou cam’st on Earth to make the Earth my hell.
 A grievous burden was thy birth to me;
 Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy;
175 Thy school days frightful, desp’rate, wild, and
 Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous;
 Thy age confirmed, proud, subtle, sly, and bloody,
 More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred.
180 What comfortable hour canst thou name,
 That ever graced me with thy company?
 Faith, none but Humfrey Hower, that called your
 To breakfast once, forth of my company.
185 If I be so disgracious in your eye,
 Let me march on and not offend you, madam.—
 Strike up the drum.
DUCHESS  I prithee, hear me speak.
 You speak too bitterly.
DUCHESS 190 Hear me a word,
 For I shall never speak to thee again.
 Either thou wilt die by God’s just ordinance
 Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror,
195 Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
 And nevermore behold thy face again.
 Therefore take with thee my most grievous curse,

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Which in the day of battle tire thee more
 Than all the complete armor that thou wear’st.
200 My prayers on the adverse party fight,
 And there the little souls of Edward’s children
 Whisper the spirits of thine enemies
 And promise them success and victory.
 Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end.
205 Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.
She exits.
 Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to
 Abides in me. I say amen to her.
 Stay, madam. I must talk a word with you.
210 I have no more sons of the royal blood
 For thee to slaughter. For my daughters, Richard,
 They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens,
 And therefore level not to hit their lives.
 You have a daughter called Elizabeth,
215 Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
 And must she die for this? O, let her live,
 And I’ll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty,
 Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed,
 Throw over her the veil of infamy.
220 So she may live unscarred of bleeding slaughter,
 I will confess she was not Edward’s daughter.
 Wrong not her birth. She is a royal princess.
 To save her life, I’ll say she is not so.
 Her life is safest only in her birth.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

225 And only in that safety died her brothers.
 Lo, at their birth good stars were opposite.
 No, to their lives ill friends were contrary.
 All unavoided is the doom of destiny.
 True, when avoided grace makes destiny.
230 My babes were destined to a fairer death
 If grace had blessed thee with a fairer life.
 You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.
 Cousins, indeed, and by their uncle cozened
 Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
235 Whose hand soever launched their tender hearts,
 Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction.
 No doubt the murd’rous knife was dull and blunt
 Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
 To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
240 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 anchored in thine eyes,
 And I, in such a desp’rate bay of death,
 Like a poor bark of sails and tackling reft,
245 Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.
 Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
 And dangerous success of bloody wars
 As I intend more good to you and yours
 Than ever you or yours by me were harmed!
250 What good is covered with the face of heaven,
 To be discovered, that can do me good?

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Th’ advancement of your children, gentle lady.
 Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads.
 Unto the dignity and height of fortune,
255 The high imperial type of this Earth’s glory.
 Flatter my sorrow with report of it.
 Tell me what state, what dignity, what honor,
 Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
 Even all I have—ay, and myself and all—
260 Will I withal endow a child of thine;
 So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
 Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs
 Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
 Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness
265 Last longer telling than thy kindness’ date.
 Then know that from my soul I love thy daughter.
 My daughter’s mother thinks it with her soul.
RICHARD What do you think?
 That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul.
270 So from thy soul’s love didst thou love her brothers,
 And from my heart’s love I do thank thee for it.
 Be not so hasty to confound my meaning.
 I mean that with my soul I love thy daughter
 And do intend to make her Queen of England.
275 Well then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 Even he that makes her queen. Who else should be?
 What, thou?
RICHARD  Even so. How think you of it?
 How canst thou woo her?
RICHARD 280 That would I learn of you,
 As one being best acquainted with her humor.
QUEEN ELIZABETH And wilt thou learn of me?
RICHARD Madam, with all my heart.
 Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
285 A pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave
 “Edward” and “York.” Then haply will she weep.
 Therefore present to her—as sometime Margaret
 Did to thy father, steeped in Rutland’s blood—
 A handkerchief, which say to her did drain
290 The purple sap from her sweet brother’s body,
 And bid her wipe her weeping eyes withal.
 If this inducement move her not to love,
 Send her a letter of thy noble deeds;
 Tell her thou mad’st away her uncle Clarence,
295 Her uncle Rivers, ay, and for her sake
 Mad’st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
 You mock me, madam. This is not the way
 To win your daughter.
QUEEN ELIZABETH  There is no other way,
300 Unless thou couldst put on some other shape
 And not be Richard, that hath done all this.
 Say that I did all this for love of her.
 Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
 Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

305 Look what is done cannot be now amended.
 Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
 Which after-hours gives leisure to repent.
 If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
 To make amends I’ll give it to your daughter.
310 If I have killed the issue of your womb,
 To quicken your increase I will beget
 Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter.
 A grandam’s name is little less in love
 Than is the doting title of a mother.
315 They are as children but one step below,
 Even of your metal, of your very blood,
 Of all one pain, save for a night of groans
 Endured of her for whom you bid like sorrow.
 Your children were vexation to your youth,
320 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.
 I cannot make you what amends I would;
 Therefore accept such kindness as I can.
325 Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul
 Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
 This fair alliance quickly shall call home
 To high promotions and great dignity.
 The king that calls your beauteous daughter wife
330 Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother.
 Again shall you be mother to a king,
 And all the ruins of distressful times
 Repaired with double riches of content.
 What, we have many goodly days to see!
335 The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
 Shall come again, transformed to orient pearl,
 Advantaging their love with interest
 Of ten times double gain of happiness.
 Go then, my mother; to thy daughter go.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

340 Make bold her bashful years with your experience;
 Prepare her ears to hear a wooer’s tale;
 Put in her tender heart th’ aspiring flame
 Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the Princess
 With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys;
345 And when this arm of mine hath chastisèd
 The petty rebel, dull-brained Buckingham,
 Bound with triumphant garlands will I come
 And lead thy daughter to a conqueror’s bed,
 To whom I will retail my conquest won,
350 And she shall be sole victoress, Caesar’s Caesar.
 What were I best to say? Her father’s brother
 Would be her lord? Or shall I say her uncle?
 Or he that slew her brothers and her uncles?
 Under what title shall I woo for thee,
355 That God, the law, my honor, and her love
 Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
 Infer fair England’s peace by this alliance.
 Which she shall purchase with still-lasting war.
 Tell her the King, that may command, entreats—
360 That, at her hands, which the King’s King forbids.
 Say she shall be a high and mighty queen.
 To vail the title, as her mother doth.
 Say I will love her everlastingly.
 But how long shall that title “ever” last?
365 Sweetly in force unto her fair life’s end.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?
 As long as heaven and nature lengthens it.
 As long as hell and Richard likes of it.
 Say I, her sovereign, am her subject low.
370 But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.
 Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
 An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.
 Then plainly to her tell my loving tale.
 Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.
375 Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.
 O no, my reasons are too deep and dead—
 Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves.
 Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.
 Harp on it still shall I till heart-strings break.
380 Now by my George, my Garter, and my crown—
 Profaned, dishonored, and the third usurped.
 I swear—
QUEEN ELIZABETH  By nothing, for this is no oath.
 Thy George, profaned, hath lost his lordly honor;

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

385 Thy Garter, blemished, pawned his knightly virtue;
 Thy crown, usurped, disgraced his kingly glory.
 If something thou wouldst swear to be believed,
 Swear then by something that thou hast not
390 Then, by myself—
QUEEN ELIZABETH  Thyself is self-misused.
 Now, by the world—
QUEEN ELIZABETH  ’Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
 My father’s death—
QUEEN ELIZABETH 395 Thy life hath it dishonored.
 Why then, by God.
QUEEN ELIZABETH  God’s wrong is most of all.
 If thou didst fear to break an oath with Him,
 The unity the King my husband made
400 Thou hadst not broken, nor my brothers died.
 If thou hadst feared to break an oath by Him,
 Th’ imperial metal circling now thy head
 Had graced the tender temples of my child,
 And both the Princes had been breathing here,
405 Which now, two tender bedfellows for dust,
 Thy broken faith hath made the prey for worms.
 What canst thou swear by now?
RICHARD  The time to come.
 That thou hast wrongèd in the time o’erpast;
410 For I myself have many tears to wash
 Hereafter time, for time past wronged by thee.
 The children live whose fathers thou hast
 Ungoverned youth, to wail it in their age;

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

415 The parents live whose children thou hast
 Old barren plants, to wail it with their age.
 Swear not by time to come, for that thou hast
 Misused ere used, by times ill-used o’erpast.
420 As I intend to prosper and repent,
 So thrive I in my dangerous affairs
 Of hostile arms! Myself myself confound,
 Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours,
 Day, yield me not thy light, nor night thy rest,
425 Be opposite all planets of good luck
 To my proceeding if, with dear heart’s love,
 Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
 I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter.
 In her consists my happiness and thine.
430 Without her follows to myself and thee,
 Herself, the land, 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.
435 Therefore, dear mother—I must call 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,
440 And be not peevish found in great designs.
 Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
 Ay, if the devil tempt you to do good.
 Shall I forget myself to be myself?
 Ay, if your self’s remembrance wrong yourself.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 445Yet thou didst kill my children.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 But in your daughter’s womb I bury them,
 Where, in that nest of spicery, they will breed
 Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
 Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?
450 And be a happy mother by the deed.
QUEEN ELIZABETH I go. Write to me very shortly,
 And you shall understand from me her mind.
 Bear her my true love’s kiss; and so, farewell.
Queen exits.
 Relenting fool and shallow, changing woman!

Enter Ratcliffe.

455 How now, what news?
 Most mighty sovereign, on the western coast
 Rideth a puissant navy. To our shores
 Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
 Unarmed and unresolved to beat them back.
460 ’Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
 And there they hull, expecting but the aid
 Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.
 Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of
465 Ratcliffe thyself, or Catesby. Where is he?
 Here, my good lord.
RICHARD  Catesby, fly to the Duke.
 I will, my lord, with all convenient haste.
 Ratcliffe, come hither. Post to Salisbury.
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

470When thou com’st thither—To Catesby. Dull,
 unmindful villain,
 Why stay’st thou here and go’st not to the Duke?
 First, mighty liege, tell me your Highness’ pleasure,
 What from your Grace I shall deliver to him.
475 O true, good Catesby. Bid him levy straight
 The greatest strength and power that he can make
 And meet me suddenly at Salisbury.
CATESBY I go.He exits.
 What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?
480 Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go?
 Your Highness told me I should post before.
 My mind is changed.

Enter Lord Stanley.

 Stanley, what news with you?
 None good, my liege, to please you with the hearing,
485 Nor none so bad but well may be reported.
 Hoyday, a riddle! Neither good nor bad.
 What need’st thou run so many miles about
 When thou mayst tell thy tale the nearest way?
 Once more, what news?
STANLEY 490 Richmond is on the seas.
 There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
 White-livered runagate, what doth he there?
 I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

RICHARD Well, as you guess?
495 Stirred up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton,
 He makes for England, here to claim the crown.
 Is the chair empty? Is the sword unswayed?
 Is the King dead, the empire unpossessed?
 What heir of York is there alive but we?
500 And who is England’s king but great York’s heir?
 Then tell me, what makes he upon the seas?
 Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
 Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
 You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
505 Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.
 No, my good lord. Therefore mistrust me not.
 Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
 Where be thy tenants and thy followers?
 Are they not now upon the western shore,
510 Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?
 No, my good lord. My friends are in the north.
 Cold friends to me. What do they in the north
 When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
 They have not been commanded, mighty king.
515 Pleaseth your Majesty to give me leave,
 I’ll muster up my friends and meet your Grace
 Where and what time your Majesty shall please.
 Ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond,
 But I’ll not trust thee.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

STANLEY 520 Most mighty sovereign,
 You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful.
 I never was nor never will be false.
 Go then and muster men, but leave behind
 Your son George Stanley. Look your heart be firm,
525 Or else his head’s assurance is but frail.
 So deal with him as I prove true to you.
Stanley exits.

Enter a Messenger.

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

Enter another Messenger.

 In Kent, my liege, the Guilfords are in arms,
 And every hour more competitors
 Flock to the rebels, and their power grows strong.

Enter another Messenger.

535 My lord, the army of great Buckingham—
 Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of death.
He striketh him.
 There, take thou that till thou bring better news.
 The news I have to tell your Majesty
 Is that by sudden floods and fall of waters
540 Buckingham’s army is dispersed and scattered,

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

 And he himself wandered away alone,
 No man knows whither.
RICHARD  I cry thee mercy.
 There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
He gives money.
545 Hath any well-advisèd friend proclaimed
 Reward to him that brings the traitor in?
 Such proclamation hath been made, my lord.

Enter another Messenger.

 Sir Thomas Lovell and Lord Marquess Dorset,
 ’Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
550 But this good comfort bring I to your Highness:
 The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest.
 Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat
 Unto the shore to ask those on the banks
 If they were his assistants, yea, or no—
555 Who answered him they came from Buckingham
 Upon his party. He, mistrusting them,
 Hoised sail and made his course again for Brittany.
 March on, march on, since we are up in arms,
 If not to fight with foreign enemies,
560 Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

Enter Catesby.

 My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken.
 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.
565 Away towards Salisbury! While we reason here,
 A royal battle might be won and lost.

Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 5

 Someone take order Buckingham be brought
 To Salisbury. The rest march on with me.
Flourish. They exit.