List iconRichard III:
Act 5, scene 3
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Richard III
Act 5, scene 3



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 3
Enter King Richard, in arms, with Norfolk, Ratcliffe, and
the Earl of Surrey, with Soldiers.

 Here pitch our tent, even here in Bosworth field.
Soldiers begin to pitch the tent.
 My lord of Surrey, why look you so sad?
 My heart is ten times lighter than my looks.
 My lord of Norfolk—
NORFOLK 5 Here, most gracious liege.
 Norfolk, we must have knocks, ha, must we not?
 We must both give and take, my loving lord.
 Up with my tent!—Here will I lie tonight.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 But where tomorrow? Well, all’s one for that.
10 Who hath descried the number of the traitors?
 Six or seven thousand is their utmost power.
 Why, our battalia trebles that account.
 Besides, the King’s name is a tower of strength
 Which they upon the adverse faction want.—
15 Up with the tent!—Come, noble gentlemen,
 Let us survey the vantage of the ground.
 Call for some men of sound direction;
 Let’s lack no discipline, make no delay,
 For, lords, tomorrow is a busy day.
The tent now in place, they exit.

Enter Richmond, Sir William Brandon, Oxford,
Dorset, Herbert, Blunt, and others who set up
Richmond’s tent.

20 The weary sun hath made a golden set,
 And by the bright track of his fiery car
 Gives token of a goodly day tomorrow.—
 Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard.—
 Give me some ink and paper in my tent;
25 I’ll draw the form and model of our battle,
 Limit each leader to his several charge,
 And part in just proportion our small power.—
 My Lord of Oxford, you, Sir William Brandon,
 And you, Sir Walter Herbert, stay with me.
30 The Earl of Pembroke keeps his regiment.—
 Good Captain Blunt, bear my goodnight to him,
 And by the second hour in the morning
 Desire the Earl to see me in my tent.
 Yet one thing more, good captain, do for me.
35 Where is Lord Stanley quartered, do you know?

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Unless I have mista’en his colors much,
 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.
40 If without peril it be possible,
 Sweet Blunt, make some good means to speak with
 And give him from me this most needful note.
He gives a paper.
 Upon my life, my lord, I’ll undertake it,
45 And so God give you quiet rest tonight.
 Good night, good Captain Blunt.Blunt exits.
 Come, gentlemen,
 Let us consult upon tomorrow’s business.
 Into my tent. The dew is raw and cold.
Richmond, Brandon, Dorset, Herbert, and Oxford
withdraw into the tent.
 The others exit.

Enter to his tent Richard, Ratcliffe, Norfolk, and
Catesby, with Soldiers.

RICHARD 50What is ’t o’clock?
 It’s suppertime, my lord. It’s nine o’clock.
 I will not sup tonight. Give me some ink and paper.
 What, is my beaver easier than it was,
 And all my armor laid into my tent?
55 It is, my liege, and all things are in readiness.
 Good Norfolk, hie thee to thy charge.
 Use careful watch. Choose trusty [sentinels.]

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

NORFOLK I go, my lord.
 Stir with the lark tomorrow, gentle Norfolk.
NORFOLK 60I warrant you, my lord.[He exits.]
RICHARD Catesby.
CATESBY My lord.
RICHARD Send out a pursuivant-at-arms
 To Stanley’s regiment. Bid him bring his power
65 Before sunrising, lest his son George fall
 Into the blind cave of eternal night.Catesby exits.
 To Soldiers. Fill me a bowl of wine. Give me a
 Saddle white Surrey for the field tomorrow.
70 Look that my staves be sound and not too heavy.—
 Sawst thou the melancholy Lord Northumberland?
 Thomas the Earl of Surrey and himself,
75 Much about cockshut time, from troop to troop
 Went through the army cheering up the soldiers.
 So, I am satisfied. Give me a bowl of wine.
 I have not that alacrity of spirit
 Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have.
Wine is brought.
80 Set it down. Is ink and paper ready?
 It is, my lord.
RICHARD  Bid my guard watch. Leave me.
 Ratcliffe, about the mid of night come to my tent
 And help to arm me. Leave me, I say.
Ratcliffe exits. Richard sleeps in his tent,
which is guarded by Soldiers.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

Enter Stanley, Earl of Derby to Richmond in his tent.

85 Fortune and victory sit on thy helm!
 All comfort that the dark night can afford
 Be to thy person, noble father-in-law.
 Tell me, how fares our loving mother?
 I, by attorney, bless thee from thy mother,
90 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,
95 And put thy fortune to the arbitrament
 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.
100 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
105 And ample interchange of sweet discourse,
 Which so-long-sundered friends should dwell upon.
 God give us leisure for these rites of love!
 Once more, adieu. Be valiant and speed well.
 Good lords, conduct him to his regiment.
110 I’ll strive with troubled thoughts to take a nap,
 Lest leaden slumber peise me down tomorrow
 When I should mount with wings of victory.
 Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

All but Richmond leave his tent and exit.
Richmond kneels.
 O Thou, whose captain I account myself,
115 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.
 Make us Thy ministers of chastisement,
120 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![Sleeps.]

Enter the Ghost of young Prince Edward, son [to] Harry
the Sixth.

GHOST OF EDWARD, (to Richard) 
 Let me sit heavy on thy soul tomorrow.
125 Think how thou stabbed’st me in my prime of
 At Tewkesbury. Despair therefore, and die!
 (To Richmond.) Be cheerful, Richmond, for the
 wrongèd souls
130 Of butchered princes fight in thy behalf.
 King Henry’s issue, Richmond, comforts thee.
He exits.

Enter the Ghost of Henry the Sixth.

GHOST OF HENRY, (to Richard) 
 When I was mortal, my anointed body
 By thee was punchèd full of deadly holes.
 Think on the Tower and me. Despair and die!
135 Harry the Sixth bids thee despair and die.
 (To Richmond.) Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror.
 Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king,
 Doth comfort thee in thy sleep. Live and flourish.
He exits.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

Enter the Ghost of Clarence.

GHOST OF CLARENCE, (to Richard) 
 Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow,
140 I, that was washed to death with fulsome wine,
 Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death.
 Tomorrow in the battle think on me,
 And fall thy edgeless sword. Despair and die!
 (To Richmond.) Thou offspring of the house of
145 Lancaster,
 The wrongèd heirs of York do pray for thee.
 Good angels guard thy battle. Live and flourish.
He exits.

Enter the Ghosts of Rivers, Grey, [and] Vaughan.

GHOST OF RIVERS, (to Richard) 
 Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow,
 Rivers, that died at Pomfret. Despair and die!
GHOST OF GREY, (to Richard) 
150 Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!
GHOST OF VAUGHAN, (to Richard) 
 Think upon Vaughan, and with guilty fear
 Let fall thy lance. Despair and die!
ALL, (to Richmond) 
 Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard’s bosom
 [Will] conquer him. Awake, and win the day.
They exit.

Enter the Ghosts of the two young Princes.

GHOSTS OF PRINCES, (to Richard) 
155 Dream on thy cousins smothered in the Tower.
 Let us be lead within thy bosom, Richard,
 And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death.
 Thy nephews’ souls bid thee despair and die.
 (To Richmond.) Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace
160 and wake in joy.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Good angels guard thee from the boar’s annoy.
 Live, and beget a happy race of kings.
 Edward’s unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.
They exit.

Enter the Ghost of Hastings.

GHOST OF HASTINGS, (to Richard) 
 Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake,
165 And in a bloody battle end thy days.
 Think on Lord Hastings. Despair and die!
 (To Richmond.) Quiet, untroubled soul, awake, awake.
 Arm, fight, and conquer for fair England’s sake.
He exits.

Enter the Ghost of Lady Anne his wife.

GHOST OF ANNE, (to Richard) 
 Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife,
170 That never slept a quiet hour with thee,
 Now fills thy sleep with perturbations.
 Tomorrow, in the battle, think on me,
 And fall thy edgeless sword. Despair and die!
 (To Richmond.) Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet
175 sleep.
 Dream of success and happy victory.
 Thy adversary’s wife doth pray for thee.She exits.

Enter the Ghost of Buckingham.

 The first was I that helped thee to the crown;
 The last was I that felt thy tyranny.
180 O, in the battle think on Buckingham,
 And die in terror of thy guiltiness.
 Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death.
 Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath.
 (To Richmond.) I died for hope ere I could lend
185 thee aid,

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 But cheer thy heart, and be thou not dismayed.
 God and good angels fight on Richmond’s side,
 And Richard [fall] in height of all his pride.
He exits.
Richard starteth up out of a dream.
 Give me another horse! Bind up my wounds!
190 Have mercy, Jesu!—Soft, I did but dream.
 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.
195 Richard loves Richard, that is, I [am] I.
 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
200 That I myself have done unto myself?
 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.
205 My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
 And every tongue brings in a several tale,
 And every tale condemns me for a villain.
 Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree;
 Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree;
210 All several sins, all used in each degree,
 Throng to the bar, crying all “Guilty, guilty!”
 I shall despair. There is no creature loves me,
 And if I die no soul will pity me.
 And wherefore should they, since that I myself
215 Find in myself no pity to myself?
 Methought the souls of all that I had murdered
 Came to my tent, and every one did threat
 Tomorrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

Enter Ratcliffe.

RICHARD 220Zounds, who is there?
 Ratcliffe, my lord, ’tis I. The early village cock
 Hath twice done salutation to the morn.
 Your friends are up and buckle on their armor.
 O Ratcliffe, I have dreamed a fearful dream!
225 What think’st thou, will our friends prove all true?
 No doubt, my lord.
RICHARD  O Ratcliffe, I fear, I fear.
 Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.
 By the apostle Paul, shadows tonight
230 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.
 ’Tis not yet near day. Come, go with me.
 Under our tents I’ll play the eavesdropper
235 To see if any mean to shrink from me.
[Richard and Ratcliffe] exit.

Enter the Lords to Richmond, [in his tent.]

LORDS Good morrow, Richmond.
 Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen,
 That you have ta’en a tardy sluggard here.
A LORD How have you slept, my lord?
240 The sweetest sleep and fairest-boding dreams
 That ever entered in a drowsy head
 Have I since your departure had, my lords.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Methought their souls whose bodies Richard
245 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?
A LORD Upon the stroke of four.
RICHMOND, leaving the tent 
250 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
 Forbids to dwell upon. Yet remember this:
 God, and our good cause, fight upon our side.
255 The prayers of holy saints and wrongèd souls,
 Like high-reared bulwarks, stand before our faces.
 Richard except, those whom we fight against
 Had rather have us win than him they follow.
 For what is he they follow? Truly, gentlemen,
260 A bloody tyrant and a homicide;
 One raised in blood, and one in blood established;
 One that made means to come by what he hath,
 And slaughtered those that were the means to help
265 A base 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,
 God will, in justice, ward you as his soldiers.
270 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.
 If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,
275 Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 If you do free your children from the sword,
 Your children’s children quits it in your age.
 Then, in the name of God and all these rights,
 Advance your standards; draw your willing swords.
280 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.
 Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully.
285 God, and Saint George, Richmond, and victory!
They exit.

Enter King Richard, Ratcliffe, and Soldiers.

 What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?
 That he was never trainèd up in arms.
 He said the truth. And what said Surrey then?
 He smiled and said “The better for our purpose.”
290 He was in the right, and so indeed it is.
The clock striketh.
 Tell the clock there. Give me a calendar.
He looks in an almanac.
 Who saw the sun today?
RATCLIFFE  Not I, my lord.
 Then he disdains to shine, for by the book
295 He should have braved the east an hour ago.
 A black day will it be to somebody.
 My lord.
RICHARD  The sun will [not] be seen today.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

300 The sky doth frown and lour upon our army.
 I would these dewy tears were from the ground.
 Not shine today? Why, what is that to me
 More than to Richmond, for the selfsame heaven
 That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.

Enter Norfolk.

305 Arm, arm, my lord. The foe vaunts in the field.
 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 orderèd:
310 My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,
 Consisting equally of horse and foot;
 Our archers shall be placèd in the midst.
 John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey,
 Shall have the leading of this foot and horse.
315 They thus directed, we will follow
 In the main battle, whose puissance on either side
 Shall be well wingèd with our chiefest horse.
 This, and Saint George to [boot]!—What think’st
 thou, Norfolk?
320 A good direction, warlike sovereign.
He sheweth him a paper.
 This found I on my tent this morning.
RICHARD reads 
 Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold.
 For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.

 A thing devisèd by the enemy.—
325 Go, gentlemen, 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.

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.
330 March on. Join bravely. Let us to it 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 inferred?
 Remember whom you are to cope withal,
 A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,
335 A scum of Bretons and base lackey peasants,
 Whom their o’ercloyèd country vomits forth
 To desperate adventures and assured destruction.
 You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest;
 You having lands and blessed with beauteous wives,
340 They would restrain the one, distain the other.
 And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,
 Long kept in Brittany at our mother’s cost,
 A milksop, one that never in his life
 Felt so much cold as overshoes in snow?
345 Let’s whip these stragglers o’er the seas again,
 Lash hence these overweening rags of France,
 These famished beggars weary of their lives,
 Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,
 For want of means, poor rats, had hanged
350 themselves.
 If we be conquered, let men conquer us,
 And not these bastard Bretons, whom our fathers
 Have in their own land beaten, bobbed, and
355 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.
 Fight, gentlemen of England.—Fight, bold
360 yeomen.—
 Draw, archers; draw your arrows to the head.—

Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 4

 Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood.
 Amaze the welkin with your broken staves.—

[Enter a Messenger.]

 What says Lord Stanley? Will he bring his power?
MESSENGER 365My lord, he doth deny to come.
RICHARD Off with his son George’s head!
 My lord, the enemy is past the marsh.
 After the battle let George Stanley die.
 A thousand hearts are great within my bosom.
370 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.
They exit.