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Richard III
Entire Play

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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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ACT 1
Scene 1
Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, alone.

RICHARD 
 Now is the winter of our discontent
 Made glorious summer by this son of York,
 And all the clouds that loured upon our house
 In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
5 Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
 Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
 Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
 Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
 Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front;
10 And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
 To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
 He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
 To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
 But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
15 Nor made to court an amorous looking glass;
 I, that am rudely stamped and want love’s majesty
 To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
 I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
 Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
20 Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
 Into this breathing world scarce half made up,
 And that so lamely and unfashionable
 That dogs bark at me as I halt by them—
9

11
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
25 Have no delight to pass away the time,
 Unless to see my shadow in the sun
 And descant on mine own deformity.
 And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
 To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
30 I am determinèd to prove a villain
 And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
 Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
 By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
 To set my brother Clarence and the King
35 In deadly hate, the one against the other;
 And if King Edward be as true and just
 As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
 This day should Clarence closely be mewed up
 About a prophecy which says that “G”
40 Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
 Dive, thoughts, down to my soul. Here Clarence
 comes.

Enter Clarence, guarded, and Brakenbury.

 Brother, good day. What means this armèd guard
 That waits upon your Grace?
CLARENCE 45 His Majesty,
 Tend’ring my person’s safety, hath appointed
 This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
RICHARD 
 Upon what cause?
CLARENCE  Because my name is
50 George.
RICHARD 
 Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours.
 He should, for that, commit your godfathers.
 O, belike his Majesty hath some intent
 That you should be new christened in the Tower.
55 But what’s the matter, Clarence? May I know?

13
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 1

CLARENCE 
 Yea, Richard, when I know, for I protest
 As yet I do not. But, as I can learn,
 He hearkens after prophecies and dreams,
 And from the crossrow plucks the letter G,
60 And says a wizard told him that by “G”
 His issue disinherited should be.
 And for my name of George begins with G,
 It follows in his thought that I am he.
 These, as I learn, and such like toys as these
65 Hath moved his Highness to commit me now.
RICHARD 
 Why, this it is when men are ruled by women.
 ’Tis not the King that sends you to the Tower.
 My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, ’tis she
 That tempers him to this extremity.
70 Was it not she and that good man of worship,
 Anthony Woodeville, her brother there,
 That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
 From whence this present day he is delivered?
 We are not safe, Clarence; we are not safe.
CLARENCE 
75 By heaven, I think there is no man secure
 But the Queen’s kindred and night-walking heralds
 That trudge betwixt the King and Mistress Shore.
 Heard you not what an humble suppliant
 Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
RICHARD 
80 Humbly complaining to her Deity
 Got my Lord Chamberlain his liberty.
 I’ll tell you what: I think it is our way,
 If we will keep in favor with the King,
 To be her men and wear her livery.
85 The jealous o’erworn widow and herself,
 Since that our brother dubbed them gentlewomen,
 Are mighty gossips in our monarchy.

15
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 1

BRAKENBURY 
 I beseech your Graces both to pardon me.
 His Majesty hath straitly given in charge
90 That no man shall have private conference,
 Of what degree soever, with your brother.
RICHARD 
 Even so. An please your Worship, Brakenbury,
 You may partake of anything we say.
 We speak no treason, man. We say the King
95 Is wise and virtuous, and his noble queen
 Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous.
 We say that Shore’s wife hath a pretty foot,
 A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue,
 And that the Queen’s kindred are made gentlefolks.
100 How say you, sir? Can you deny all this?
BRAKENBURY 
 With this, my lord, myself have naught to do.
RICHARD 
 Naught to do with Mistress Shore? I tell thee,
 fellow,
 He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
105 Were best to do it secretly, alone.
BRAKENBURY 
 I do beseech your Grace to pardon me, and withal
 Forbear your conference with the noble duke.
CLARENCE 
 We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.
RICHARD 
 We are the Queen’s abjects and must obey.—
110 Brother, farewell. I will unto the King,
 And whatsoe’er you will employ me in,
 Were it to call King Edward’s widow “sister,”
 I will perform it to enfranchise you.
 Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
115 Touches me deeper than you can imagine.

17
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 1

CLARENCE 
 I know it pleaseth neither of us well.
RICHARD 
 Well, your imprisonment shall not be long.
 I will deliver you or else lie for you.
 Meantime, have patience.
CLARENCE 120 I must, perforce. Farewell.
Exit Clarence, Brakenbury, and guard.
RICHARD 
 Go tread the path that thou shalt ne’er return.
 Simple, plain Clarence, I do love thee so
 That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
 If heaven will take the present at our hands.
125 But who comes here? The new-delivered Hastings?

Enter Lord Hastings.

HASTINGS 
 Good time of day unto my gracious lord.
RICHARD 
 As much unto my good Lord Chamberlain.
 Well are you welcome to the open air.
 How hath your Lordship brooked imprisonment?
HASTINGS 
130 With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must.
 But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
 That were the cause of my imprisonment.
RICHARD 
 No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too,
 For they that were your enemies are his
135 And have prevailed as much on him as you.
HASTINGS 
 More pity that the eagles should be mewed,
 Whiles kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
RICHARD What news abroad?
HASTINGS 
 No news so bad abroad as this at home:

19
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 1

140 The King is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
 And his physicians fear him mightily.
RICHARD 
 Now, by Saint John, that news is bad indeed.
 O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
 And overmuch consumed his royal person.
145 ’Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
 Where is he, in his bed?
HASTINGS He is.
RICHARD 
 Go you before, and I will follow you.
Exit Hastings.
 He cannot live, I hope, and must not die
150 Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
 I’ll in to urge his hatred more to Clarence
 With lies well steeled with weighty arguments,
 And, if I fail not in my deep intent,
 Clarence hath not another day to live;
155 Which done, God take King Edward to His mercy,
 And leave the world for me to bustle in.
 For then I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter.
 What though I killed her husband and her father?
 The readiest way to make the wench amends
160 Is to become her husband and her father;
 The which will I, not all so much for love
 As for another secret close intent
 By marrying her which I must reach unto.
 But yet I run before my horse to market.
165 Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns.
 When they are gone, then must I count my gains.
He exits.




21
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

Scene 2
Enter the corse of Henry the Sixth on a bier, with
Halberds to guard it, Lady Anne being the mourner,
accompanied by Gentlemen.


ANNE 
 Set down, set down your honorable load,
 If honor may be shrouded in a hearse,
 Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
 Th’ untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.
They set down the bier.
5 Poor key-cold figure of a holy king,
 Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster,
 Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood,
 Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost
 To hear the lamentations of poor Anne,
10 Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son,
 Stabbed by the selfsame hand that made these
 wounds.
 Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life
 I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.
15 O, cursèd be the hand that made these holes;
 Cursèd the heart that had the heart to do it;
 Cursèd the blood that let this blood from hence.
 More direful hap betide that hated wretch
 That makes us wretched by the death of thee
20 Than I can wish to wolves, to spiders, toads,
 Or any creeping venomed thing that lives.
 If ever he have child, abortive be it,
 Prodigious, and untimely brought to light,
 Whose ugly and unnatural aspect
25 May fright the hopeful mother at the view,
 And that be heir to his unhappiness.
 If ever he have wife, let her be made
 More miserable by the death of him
 Than I am made by my young lord and thee.—

23
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

30 Come now towards Chertsey with your holy load,
 Taken from Paul’s to be interrèd there.
They take up the bier.
 And still, as you are weary of this weight,
 Rest you, whiles I lament King Henry’s corse.

Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

RICHARD 
 Stay, you that bear the corse, and set it down.
ANNE 
35 What black magician conjures up this fiend
 To stop devoted charitable deeds?
RICHARD 
 Villains, set down the corse or, by Saint Paul,
 I’ll make a corse of him that disobeys.
GENTLEMAN 
 My lord, stand back and let the coffin pass.
RICHARD 
40 Unmannered dog, stand thou when I command!—
 Advance thy halberd higher than my breast,
 Or by Saint Paul I’ll strike thee to my foot
 And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.
They set down the bier.
ANNE, to the Gentlemen and Halberds 
 What, do you tremble? Are you all afraid?
45 Alas, I blame you not, for you are mortal,
 And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil.—
 Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of hell.
 Thou hadst but power over his mortal body;
 His soul thou canst not have. Therefore begone.
RICHARD 
50 Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.
ANNE 
 Foul devil, for God’s sake, hence, and trouble us
 not,
 For thou hast made the happy Earth thy hell,

25
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Filled it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
55 If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
 Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.
She points to the corpse.
 O, gentlemen, see, see dead Henry’s wounds
 Open their congealed mouths and bleed afresh!—
 Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity,
60 For ’tis thy presence that exhales this blood
 From cold and empty veins where no blood dwells.
 Thy deeds, inhuman and unnatural,
 Provokes this deluge most unnatural.—
 O God, which this blood mad’st, revenge his death!
65 O Earth, which this blood drink’st, revenge his
 death!
 Either heaven with lightning strike the murderer
 dead,
 Or Earth gape open wide and eat him quick,
70 As thou dost swallow up this good king’s blood,
 Which his hell-governed arm hath butcherèd.
RICHARD 
 Lady, you know no rules of charity,
 Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.
ANNE 
 Villain, thou know’st nor law of God nor man.
75 No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.
RICHARD 
 But I know none, and therefore am no beast.
ANNE 
 O, wonderful, when devils tell the truth!
RICHARD 
 More wonderful, when angels are so angry.
 Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,
80 Of these supposèd crimes to give me leave
 By circumstance but to acquit myself.
ANNE 
 Vouchsafe, defused infection of a man,

27
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Of these known evils but to give me leave
 By circumstance to curse thy cursèd self.
RICHARD 
85 Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have
 Some patient leisure to excuse myself.
ANNE 
 Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make
 No excuse current but to hang thyself.
RICHARD 
 By such despair I should accuse myself.
ANNE 
90 And by despairing shalt thou stand excused
 For doing worthy vengeance on thyself
 That didst unworthy slaughter upon others.
RICHARD Say that I slew them not.
ANNE Then say they were not slain.
95 But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.
RICHARD I did not kill your husband.
ANNE Why then, he is alive.
RICHARD 
 Nay, he is dead, and slain by Edward’s hands.
ANNE 
 In thy foul throat thou liest. Queen Margaret saw
100 Thy murd’rous falchion smoking in his blood,
 The which thou once didst bend against her breast,
 But that thy brothers beat aside the point.
RICHARD 
 I was provokèd by her sland’rous tongue,
 That laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.
ANNE 
105 Thou wast provokèd by thy bloody mind,
 That never dream’st on aught but butcheries.
 Didst thou not kill this king?
RICHARD I grant you.
ANNE 
 Dost grant me, hedgehog? Then, God grant me too

29
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

110 Thou mayst be damnèd for that wicked deed.
 O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous.
RICHARD 
 The better for the King of heaven that hath him.
ANNE 
 He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.
RICHARD 
 Let him thank me, that holp to send him thither,
115 For he was fitter for that place than Earth.
ANNE 
 And thou unfit for any place but hell.
RICHARD 
 Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.
ANNE Some dungeon.
RICHARD Your bedchamber.
ANNE 
120 Ill rest betide the chamber where thou liest!
RICHARD 
 So will it, madam, till I lie with you.
ANNE 
 I hope so.
RICHARD  I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,
 To leave this keen encounter of our wits
125 And fall something into a slower method:
 Is not the causer of the timeless deaths
 Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,
 As blameful as the executioner?
ANNE 
 Thou wast the cause and most accursed effect.
RICHARD 
130 Your beauty was the cause of that effect—
 Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep
 To undertake the death of all the world,
 So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.
ANNE 
 If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide,

31
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

135 These nails should rend that beauty from my
 cheeks.
RICHARD 
 These eyes could not endure that beauty’s wrack.
 You should not blemish it, if I stood by.
 As all the world is cheerèd by the sun,
140 So I by that. It is my day, my life.
ANNE 
 Black night o’ershade thy day, and death thy life.
RICHARD 
 Curse not thyself, fair creature; thou art both.
ANNE 
 I would I were, to be revenged on thee.
RICHARD 
 It is a quarrel most unnatural
145 To be revenged on him that loveth thee.
ANNE 
 It is a quarrel just and reasonable
 To be revenged on him that killed my husband.
RICHARD 
 He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband
 Did it to help thee to a better husband.
ANNE 
150 His better doth not breathe upon the earth.
RICHARD 
 He lives that loves thee better than he could.
ANNE 
 Name him.
RICHARD  Plantagenet.
ANNE  Why, that was he.
RICHARD 
155 The selfsame name, but one of better nature.
ANNE 
 Where is he?
RICHARD  Here. (She spits at him.) Why dost
 thou spit at me?

33
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

ANNE 
 Would it were mortal poison for thy sake.
RICHARD 
160 Never came poison from so sweet a place.
ANNE 
 Never hung poison on a fouler toad.
 Out of my sight! Thou dost infect mine eyes.
RICHARD 
 Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine.
ANNE 
 Would they were basilisks’ to strike thee dead.
RICHARD 
165 I would they were, that I might die at once,
 For now they kill me with a living death.
 Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt
 tears,
 Shamed their aspects with store of childish drops.
170 These eyes, which never shed remorseful tear—
 No, when my father York and Edward wept
 To hear the piteous moan that Rutland made
 When black-faced Clifford shook his sword at him;
 Nor when thy warlike father, like a child,
175 Told the sad story of my father’s death
 And twenty times made pause to sob and weep,
 That all the standers-by had wet their cheeks
 Like trees bedashed with rain—in that sad time,
 My manly eyes did scorn an humble tear;
180 And what these sorrows could not thence exhale
 Thy beauty hath, and made them blind with
 weeping.
 I never sued to friend nor enemy;
 My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word.
185 But now thy beauty is proposed my fee,
 My proud heart sues and prompts my tongue to
 speak.She looks scornfully at him.
 Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made

35
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

 For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.
190 If thy revengeful heart cannot forgive,
 Lo, here I lend thee this sharp-pointed sword,
 Which if thou please to hide in this true breast
 And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,
 I lay it naked to the deadly stroke
195 And humbly beg the death upon my knee.
He kneels and lays his breast open;
she offers at it with his sword.

 Nay, do not pause, for I did kill King Henry—
 But ’twas thy beauty that provokèd me.
 Nay, now dispatch; ’twas I that stabbed young
 Edward—
200 But ’twas thy heavenly face that set me on.
She falls the sword.
 Take up the sword again, or take up me.
ANNE 
 Arise, dissembler. Though I wish thy death,
 I will not be thy executioner.
RICHARD, rising 
 Then bid me kill myself, and I will do it.
ANNE 
205 I have already.
RICHARD  That was in thy rage.
 Speak it again and, even with the word,
 This hand, which for thy love did kill thy love,
 Shall for thy love kill a far truer love.
210 To both their deaths shalt thou be accessory.
ANNE I would I knew thy heart.
RICHARD ’Tis figured in my tongue.
ANNE I fear me both are false.
RICHARD Then never was man true.
ANNE 215Well, well, put up your sword.
RICHARD Say then my peace is made.
ANNE That shalt thou know hereafter.
RICHARD But shall I live in hope?

37
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

ANNE All men I hope live so.
RICHARD 220Vouchsafe to wear this ring.
ANNE To take is not to give.
He places the ring on her hand.
RICHARD 
 Look how my ring encompasseth thy finger;
 Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart.
 Wear both of them, for both of them are thine.
225 And if thy poor devoted servant may
 But beg one favor at thy gracious hand,
 Thou dost confirm his happiness forever.
ANNE What is it?
RICHARD 
 That it may please you leave these sad designs
230 To him that hath most cause to be a mourner,
 And presently repair to Crosby House,
 Where, after I have solemnly interred
 At Chertsey monast’ry this noble king
 And wet his grave with my repentant tears,
235 I will with all expedient duty see you.
 For divers unknown reasons, I beseech you,
 Grant me this boon.
ANNE 
 With all my heart, and much it joys me too
 To see you are become so penitent.—
240 Tressel and Berkeley, go along with me.
RICHARD 
 Bid me farewell.
ANNE  ’Tis more than you deserve;
 But since you teach me how to flatter you,
 Imagine I have said “farewell” already.
Two exit with Anne. The bier is taken up.
GENTLEMAN 245Towards Chertsey, noble lord?
RICHARD 
 No, to Whitefriars. There attend my coming.
Halberds and gentlemen exit with corse.

39
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Was ever woman in this humor wooed?
 Was ever woman in this humor won?
 I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long.
250 What, I that killed her husband and his father,
 To take her in her heart’s extremest hate,
 With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,
 The bleeding witness of my hatred by,
 Having God, her conscience, and these bars against
255 me,
 And I no friends to back my suit at all
 But the plain devil and dissembling looks?
 And yet to win her, all the world to nothing!
 Ha!
260 Hath she forgot already that brave prince,
 Edward, her lord, whom I some three months since
 Stabbed in my angry mood at Tewkesbury?
 A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman,
 Framed in the prodigality of nature,
265 Young, valiant, wise, and, no doubt, right royal,
 The spacious world cannot again afford.
 And will she yet abase her eyes on me,
 That cropped the golden prime of this sweet prince
 And made her widow to a woeful bed?
270 On me, whose all not equals Edward’s moiety?
 On me, that halts and am misshapen thus?
 My dukedom to a beggarly denier,
 I do mistake my person all this while!
 Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,
275 Myself to be a marv’lous proper man.
 I’ll be at charges for a looking glass
 And entertain a score or two of tailors
 To study fashions to adorn my body.
 Since I am crept in favor with myself,
280 I will maintain it with some little cost.
 But first I’ll turn yon fellow in his grave

41
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 3

 And then return lamenting to my love.
 Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
 That I may see my shadow as I pass.
He exits.


Scene 3
Enter Queen Elizabeth, the Lord Marquess of Dorset,
Lord Rivers, and Lord Grey.


RIVERS 
 Have patience, madam. There’s no doubt his
 Majesty
 Will soon recover his accustomed health.
GREY 
 In that you brook it ill, it makes him worse.
5 Therefore, for God’s sake, entertain good comfort
 And cheer his Grace with quick and merry eyes.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 If he were dead, what would betide on me?
GREY 
 No other harm but loss of such a lord.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 The loss of such a lord includes all harms.
GREY 
10 The heavens have blessed you with a goodly son
 To be your comforter when he is gone.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Ah, he is young, and his minority
 Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,
 A man that loves not me nor none of you.
RIVERS 
15 Is it concluded he shall be Protector?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 It is determined, not concluded yet;
 But so it must be if the King miscarry.

43
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 3

Enter Buckingham and Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby.

GREY 
 Here comes the lord of Buckingham, and Derby.
BUCKINGHAM, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Good time of day unto your royal Grace.
STANLEY 
20 God make your Majesty joyful, as you have been.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 The Countess Richmond, good my lord of Derby,
 To your good prayer will scarcely say amen.
 Yet, Derby, notwithstanding she’s your wife
 And loves not me, be you, good lord, assured
25 I hate not you for her proud arrogance.
STANLEY 
 I do beseech you either not believe
 The envious slanders of her false accusers,
 Or if she be accused on true report,
 Bear with her weakness, which I think proceeds
30 From wayward sickness and no grounded malice.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Saw you the King today, my lord of Derby?
STANLEY 
 But now the Duke of Buckingham and I
 Are come from visiting his Majesty.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 What likelihood of his amendment, lords?
BUCKINGHAM 
35 Madam, good hope. His Grace speaks cheerfully.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 God grant him health. Did you confer with him?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Ay, madam. He desires to make atonement
 Between the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers,
 And between them and my Lord Chamberlain,
40 And sent to warn them to his royal presence.

45
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 3

QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Would all were well—but that will never be.
 I fear our happiness is at the height.

Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Hastings.

RICHARD 
 They do me wrong, and I will not endure it!
 Who is it that complains unto the King
45 That I, forsooth, am stern and love them not?
 By holy Paul, they love his Grace but lightly
 That fill his ears with such dissentious rumors.
 Because I cannot flatter and look fair,
 Smile in men’s faces, smooth, deceive, and cog,
50 Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
 I must be held a rancorous enemy.
 Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
 But thus his simple truth must be abused
 With silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?
GREY 
55 To who in all this presence speaks your Grace?
RICHARD 
 To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace.
 When have I injured thee? When done thee
 wrong?—
 Or thee?—Or thee? Or any of your faction?
60 A plague upon you all! His royal Grace,
 Whom God preserve better than you would wish,
 Cannot be quiet scarce a breathing while
 But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the matter.
65 The King, on his own royal disposition,
 And not provoked by any suitor else,
 Aiming belike at your interior hatred
 That in your outward action shows itself
 Against my children, brothers, and myself,
70 Makes him to send, that he may learn the ground.

47
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 3

RICHARD 
 I cannot tell. The world is grown so bad
 That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.
 Since every Jack became a gentleman,
 There’s many a gentle person made a Jack.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
75 Come, come, we know your meaning, brother
 Gloucester.
 You envy my advancement, and my friends’.
 God grant we never may have need of you.
RICHARD 
 Meantime God grants that we have need of
80 you.
 Our brother is imprisoned by your means,
 Myself disgraced, and the nobility
 Held in contempt, while great promotions
 Are daily given to ennoble those
85 That scarce some two days since were worth a
 noble.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 By Him that raised me to this careful height
 From that contented hap which I enjoyed,
 I never did incense his Majesty
90 Against the Duke of Clarence, but have been
 An earnest advocate to plead for him.
 My lord, you do me shameful injury
 Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.
RICHARD 
 You may deny that you were not the mean
95 Of my Lord Hastings’ late imprisonment.
RIVERS She may, my lord, for—
RICHARD 
 She may, Lord Rivers. Why, who knows not so?
 She may do more, sir, than denying that.
 She may help you to many fair preferments

49
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 3

100 And then deny her aiding hand therein,
 And lay those honors on your high desert.
 What may she not? She may, ay, marry, may she—
RIVERS What, marry, may she?
RICHARD 
 What, marry, may she? Marry with a king,
105 A bachelor, and a handsome stripling too.
 Iwis, your grandam had a worser match.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 My lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne
 Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs.
 By heaven, I will acquaint his Majesty
110 Of those gross taunts that oft I have endured.
 I had rather be a country servant-maid
 Than a great queen with this condition,
 To be so baited, scorned, and stormèd at.

Enter old Queen Margaret, apart from the others.

 Small joy have I in being England’s queen.
QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
115 And lessened be that small, God I beseech Him!
 Thy honor, state, and seat is due to me.
RICHARD, to Queen Elizabeth 
 What, threat you me with telling of the King?
 Tell him and spare not. Look, what I have said,
 I will avouch ’t in presence of the King;
120 I dare adventure to be sent to th’ Tower.
 ’Tis time to speak. My pains are quite forgot.
QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
 Out, devil! I do remember them too well:
 Thou killed’st my husband Henry in the Tower,
 And Edward, my poor son, at Tewkesbury.
RICHARD, to Queen Elizabeth 
125 Ere you were queen, ay, or your husband king,
 I was a packhorse in his great affairs,
 A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,

51
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ACT 1. SC. 3

 A liberal rewarder of his friends.
 To royalize his blood, I spent mine own.
QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
130 Ay, and much better blood than his or thine.
RICHARD, to Queen Elizabeth 
 In all which time, you and your husband Grey
 Were factious for the House of Lancaster.—
 And, Rivers, so were you.—Was not your husband
 In Margaret’s battle at Saint Albans slain?
135 Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
 What you have been ere this, and what you are;
 Withal, what I have been, and what I am.
QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
 A murd’rous villain, and so still thou art.
RICHARD, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Poor Clarence did forsake his father Warwick,
140 Ay, and forswore himself—which Jesu pardon!—
QUEEN MARGARET, aside Which God revenge!
RICHARD 
 To fight on Edward’s party for the crown;
 And for his meed, poor lord, he is mewed up.
 I would to God my heart were flint, like Edward’s,
145 Or Edward’s soft and pitiful, like mine.
 I am too childish-foolish for this world.
QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
 Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave this world,
 Thou cacodemon! There thy kingdom is.
RIVERS 
 My lord of Gloucester, in those busy days
150 Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
 We followed then our lord, our sovereign king.
 So should we you, if you should be our king.
RICHARD 
 If I should be? I had rather be a peddler.
 Far be it from my heart, the thought thereof.

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ACT 1. SC. 3

QUEEN ELIZABETH 
155 As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
 You should enjoy were you this country’s king,
 As little joy you may suppose in me
 That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.
QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
 As little joy enjoys the queen thereof,
160 For I am she, and altogether joyless.
 I can no longer hold me patient.
She steps forward.
 Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
 In sharing that which you have pilled from me!
 Which of you trembles not that looks on me?
165 If not, that I am queen, you bow like subjects,
 Yet that, by you deposed, you quake like rebels.—
 Ah, gentle villain, do not turn away.
RICHARD 
 Foul, wrinkled witch, what mak’st thou in my
 sight?
QUEEN MARGARET 
170 But repetition of what thou hast marred.
 That will I make before I let thee go.
RICHARD 
 Wert thou not banishèd on pain of death?
QUEEN MARGARET 
 I was, but I do find more pain in banishment
 Than death can yield me here by my abode.
175 A husband and a son thou ow’st to me;
 To Queen Elizabeth. And thou a kingdom;—all
 of you, allegiance.
 This sorrow that I have by right is yours,
 And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.
RICHARD 
180 The curse my noble father laid on thee
 When thou didst crown his warlike brows with
 paper,

55
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 3

 And with thy scorns drew’st rivers from his eyes,
 And then, to dry them, gav’st the Duke a clout
185 Steeped in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland—
 His curses then, from bitterness of soul
 Denounced against thee, are all fall’n upon thee,
 And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 So just is God to right the innocent.
HASTINGS 
190 O, ’twas the foulest deed to slay that babe,
 And the most merciless that e’er was heard of!
RIVERS 
 Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported.
DORSET 
 No man but prophesied revenge for it.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Northumberland, then present, wept to see it.
QUEEN MARGARET 
195 What, were you snarling all before I came,
 Ready to catch each other by the throat,
 And turn you all your hatred now on me?
 Did York’s dread curse prevail so much with
 heaven
200 That Henry’s death, my lovely Edward’s death,
 Their kingdom’s loss, my woeful banishment,
 Should all but answer for that peevish brat?
 Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?
 Why then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick
205 curses!
 Though not by war, by surfeit die your king,
 As ours by murder to make him a king.
 To Queen Elizabeth. Edward thy son, that now is
 Prince of Wales,
210 For Edward our son, that was Prince of Wales,
 Die in his youth by like untimely violence.
 Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen,

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ACT 1. SC. 3

 Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self.
 Long mayst thou live to wail thy children’s death
215 And see another, as I see thee now,
 Decked in thy rights, as thou art stalled in mine.
 Long die thy happy days before thy death,
 And, after many lengthened hours of grief,
 Die neither mother, wife, nor England’s queen.—
220 Rivers and Dorset, you were standers-by,
 And so wast thou, Lord Hastings, when my son
 Was stabbed with bloody daggers. God I pray Him
 That none of you may live his natural age,
 But by some unlooked accident cut off.
RICHARD 
225 Have done thy charm, thou hateful, withered hag.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 And leave out thee? Stay, dog, for thou shalt hear
 me.
 If heaven have any grievous plague in store
 Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
230 O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe
 And then hurl down their indignation
 On thee, the troubler of the poor world’s peace.
 The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul.
 Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv’st,
235 And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends.
 No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
 Unless it be while some tormenting dream
 Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils.
 Thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog,
240 Thou that wast sealed in thy nativity
 The slave of nature and the son of hell,
 Thou slander of thy heavy mother’s womb,
 Thou loathèd issue of thy father’s loins,
 Thou rag of honor, thou detested—
RICHARD 245 Margaret.

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Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 3

QUEEN MARGARET Richard!
RICHARD Ha?
QUEEN MARGARET I call thee not.
RICHARD 
 I cry thee mercy, then, for I did think
250 That thou hadst called me all these bitter names.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Why, so I did, but looked for no reply.
 O, let me make the period to my curse!
RICHARD 
 ’Tis done by me and ends in “Margaret.”
QUEEN ELIZABETH, to Queen Margaret 
 Thus have you breathed your curse against yourself.
QUEEN MARGARET 
255 Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my fortune,
 Why strew’st thou sugar on that bottled spider,
 Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about?
 Fool, fool, thou whet’st a knife to kill thyself.
 The day will come that thou shalt wish for me
260 To help thee curse this poisonous bunch-backed
 toad.
HASTINGS 
 False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse,
 Lest to thy harm thou move our patience.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Foul shame upon you, you have all moved mine.
RIVERS 
265 Were you well served, you would be taught your
 duty.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 To serve me well, you all should do me duty:
 Teach me to be your queen, and you my subjects.
 O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty!
DORSET, to Rivers 
270 Dispute not with her; she is lunatic.

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ACT 1. SC. 3

QUEEN MARGARET 
 Peace, Master Marquess, you are malapert.
 Your fire-new stamp of honor is scarce current.
 O, that your young nobility could judge
 What ’twere to lose it and be miserable!
275 They that stand high have many blasts to shake
 them,
 And if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.
RICHARD 
 Good counsel, marry.—Learn it, learn it, marquess.
DORSET 
 It touches you, my lord, as much as me.
RICHARD 
280 Ay, and much more; but I was born so high.
 Our aerie buildeth in the cedar’s top,
 And dallies with the wind and scorns the sun.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 And turns the sun to shade. Alas, alas,
 Witness my son, now in the shade of death,
285 Whose bright out-shining beams thy cloudy wrath
 Hath in eternal darkness folded up.
 Your aerie buildeth in our aerie’s nest.
 O God, that seest it, do not suffer it!
 As it is won with blood, lost be it so.
BUCKINGHAM 
290 Peace, peace, for shame, if not for charity.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Urge neither charity nor shame to me.
 Addressing the others. Uncharitably with me have
 you dealt,
 And shamefully my hopes by you are butchered.
295 My charity is outrage, life my shame,
 And in that shame still live my sorrows’ rage.
BUCKINGHAM Have done, have done.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 O princely Buckingham, I’ll kiss thy hand

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ACT 1. SC. 3

 In sign of league and amity with thee.
300 Now fair befall thee and thy noble house!
 Thy garments are not spotted with our blood,
 Nor thou within the compass of my curse.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Nor no one here, for curses never pass
 The lips of those that breathe them in the air.
QUEEN MARGARET 
305 I will not think but they ascend the sky,
 And there awake God’s gentle sleeping peace.
 Aside to Buckingham. O Buckingham, take heed of
 yonder dog!
 Look when he fawns, he bites; and when he bites,
310 His venom tooth will rankle to the death.
 Have not to do with him. Beware of him.
 Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,
 And all their ministers attend on him.
RICHARD 
 What doth she say, my lord of Buckingham?
BUCKINGHAM 
315 Nothing that I respect, my gracious lord.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 What, dost thou scorn me for my gentle counsel,
 And soothe the devil that I warn thee from?
 O, but remember this another day,
 When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow,
320 And say poor Margaret was a prophetess.—
 Live each of you the subjects to his hate,
 And he to yours, and all of you to God’s.She exits.
BUCKINGHAM 
 My hair doth stand an end to hear her curses.
RIVERS 
 And so doth mine. I muse why she’s at liberty.
RICHARD 
325 I cannot blame her. By God’s holy mother,

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ACT 1. SC. 3

 She hath had too much wrong, and I repent
 My part thereof that I have done to her.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 I never did her any, to my knowledge.
RICHARD 
 Yet you have all the vantage of her wrong.
330 I was too hot to do somebody good
 That is too cold in thinking of it now.
 Marry, as for Clarence, he is well repaid;
 He is franked up to fatting for his pains.
 God pardon them that are the cause thereof.
RIVERS 
335 A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion
 To pray for them that have done scathe to us.
RICHARD 
 So do I ever—(speaks to himself) being well advised,
 For had I cursed now, I had cursed myself.

Enter Catesby.

CATESBY 
 Madam, his Majesty doth call for you,—
340 And for your Grace,—and yours, my gracious
 lords.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Catesby, I come.—Lords, will you go with me?
RIVERS We wait upon your Grace.
All but Richard, Duke of Gloucester exit.
RICHARD 
 I do the wrong and first begin to brawl.
345 The secret mischiefs that I set abroach
 I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
 Clarence, who I indeed have cast in darkness,
 I do beweep to many simple gulls,
 Namely, to Derby, Hastings, Buckingham,
350 And tell them ’tis the Queen and her allies
 That stir the King against the Duke my brother.

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ACT 1. SC. 3

 Now they believe it and withal whet me
 To be revenged on Rivers, Dorset, Grey;
 But then I sigh and, with a piece of scripture,
355 Tell them that God bids us do good for evil;
 And thus I clothe my naked villainy
 With odd old ends stol’n forth of Holy Writ,
 And seem a saint when most I play the devil.

Enter two Murderers.

 But soft, here come my executioners.—
360 How now, my hardy, stout, resolvèd mates?
 Are you now going to dispatch this thing?
MURDERER 
 We are, my lord, and come to have the warrant
 That we may be admitted where he is.
RICHARD 
 Well thought upon. I have it here about me.
He gives a paper.
365 When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.
 But, sirs, be sudden in the execution,
 Withal obdurate; do not hear him plead,
 For Clarence is well-spoken and perhaps
 May move your hearts to pity if you mark him.
MURDERER 
370 Tut, tut, my lord, we will not stand to prate.
 Talkers are no good doers. Be assured
 We go to use our hands and not our tongues.
RICHARD 
 Your eyes drop millstones when fools’ eyes fall
 tears.
375 I like you lads. About your business straight.
 Go, go, dispatch.
MURDERERS  We will, my noble lord.
They exit.




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Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 4

Scene 4
Enter Clarence and Keeper.

KEEPER 
 Why looks your Grace so heavily today?
CLARENCE 
 O, I have passed a miserable night,
 So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
 That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
5 I would not spend another such a night
 Though ’twere to buy a world of happy days,
 So full of dismal terror was the time.
KEEPER 
 What was your dream, my lord? I pray you tell me.
CLARENCE 
 Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower
10 And was embarked to cross to Burgundy,
 And in my company my brother Gloucester,
 Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
 Upon the hatches. Thence we looked toward
 England
15 And cited up a thousand heavy times,
 During the wars of York and Lancaster,
 That had befall’n us. As we paced along
 Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
 Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling
20 Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard
 Into the tumbling billows of the main.
 O Lord, methought what pain it was to drown,
 What dreadful noise of waters in my ears,
 What sights of ugly death within my eyes.
25 Methoughts I saw a thousand fearful wracks,
 A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon,
 Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
 Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
 All scattered in the bottom of the sea.

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ACT 1. SC. 4

30 Some lay in dead men’s skulls, and in the holes
 Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept—
 As ’twere in scorn of eyes—reflecting gems,
 That wooed the slimy bottom of the deep
 And mocked the dead bones that lay scattered by.
KEEPER 
35 Had you such leisure in the time of death
 To gaze upon these secrets of the deep?
CLARENCE 
 Methought I had, and often did I strive
 To yield the ghost, but still the envious flood
 Stopped in my soul and would not let it forth
40 To find the empty, vast, and wand’ring air,
 But smothered it within my panting bulk,
 Who almost burst to belch it in the sea.
KEEPER 
 Awaked you not in this sore agony?
CLARENCE 
 No, no, my dream was lengthened after life.
45 O, then began the tempest to my soul.
 I passed, methought, the melancholy flood,
 With that sour ferryman which poets write of,
 Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
 The first that there did greet my stranger-soul
50 Was my great father-in-law, renownèd Warwick,
 Who spake aloud “What scourge for perjury
 Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?”
 And so he vanished. Then came wand’ring by
 A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
55 Dabbled in blood, and he shrieked out aloud
 “Clarence is come—false, fleeting, perjured
 Clarence,
 That stabbed me in the field by Tewkesbury.
 Seize on him, furies. Take him unto torment.”
60 With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends

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ACT 1. SC. 4

 Environed me and howlèd in mine ears
 Such hideous cries that with the very noise
 I trembling waked, and for a season after
 Could not believe but that I was in hell,
65 Such terrible impression made my dream.
KEEPER 
 No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you.
 I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.
CLARENCE 
 Ah keeper, keeper, I have done these things,
 That now give evidence against my soul,
70 For Edward’s sake, and see how he requites me.—
 O God, if my deep prayers cannot appease thee,
 But thou wilt be avenged on my misdeeds,
 Yet execute thy wrath in me alone!
 O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children!—
75 Keeper, I prithee sit by me awhile.
 My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
KEEPER 
 I will, my lord. God give your Grace good rest.
Clarence sleeps.

Enter Brakenbury the Lieutenant.

BRAKENBURY 
 Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,
 Makes the night morning, and the noontide night.
80 Princes have but their titles for their glories,
 An outward honor for an inward toil,
 And, for unfelt imaginations,
 They often feel a world of restless cares,
 So that between their titles and low name
85 There’s nothing differs but the outward fame.

Enter two Murderers.

FIRST MURDERER Ho, who’s here?

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Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 4

BRAKENBURY 
 What wouldst thou, fellow? And how cam’st thou
 hither?
SECOND MURDERER I would speak with Clarence, and I
90 came hither on my legs.
BRAKENBURY What, so brief?
FIRST MURDERER ’Tis better, sir, than to be tedious.—
 Let him see our commission, and talk no more.
Brakenbury reads the commission.
BRAKENBURY 
 I am in this commanded to deliver
95 The noble Duke of Clarence to your hands.
 I will not reason what is meant hereby
 Because I will be guiltless from the meaning.
 There lies the Duke asleep, and there the keys.
He hands them keys.
 I’ll to the King and signify to him
100 That thus I have resigned to you my charge.
FIRST MURDERER You may, sir. ’Tis a point of wisdom.
 Fare you well.
Brakenbury and the Keeper exit.
SECOND MURDERER What, shall I stab him as he
 sleeps?
FIRST MURDERER 105No. He’ll say ’twas done cowardly,
 when he wakes.
SECOND MURDERER Why, he shall never wake until the
 great Judgment Day.
FIRST MURDERER Why, then he’ll say we stabbed him
110 sleeping.
SECOND MURDERER The urging of that word “judgment”
 hath bred a kind of remorse in me.
FIRST MURDERER What, art thou afraid?
SECOND MURDERER Not to kill him, having a warrant,
115 but to be damned for killing him, from the which
 no warrant can defend me.
FIRST MURDERER I thought thou hadst been resolute.

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ACT 1. SC. 4

SECOND MURDERER So I am—to let him live.
FIRST MURDERER I’ll back to the Duke of Gloucester
120 and tell him so.
SECOND MURDERER Nay, I prithee stay a little. I hope
 this passionate humor of mine will change. It was
 wont to hold me but while one tells twenty.
FIRST MURDERER How dost thou feel thyself now?
SECOND MURDERER 125Faith, some certain dregs of conscience
 are yet within me.
FIRST MURDERER Remember our reward when the
 deed’s done.
SECOND MURDERER Zounds, he dies! I had forgot the
130 reward.
FIRST MURDERER Where’s thy conscience now?
SECOND MURDERER O, in the Duke of Gloucester’s
 purse.
FIRST MURDERER When he opens his purse to give us
135 our reward, thy conscience flies out.
SECOND MURDERER ’Tis no matter. Let it go. There’s
 few or none will entertain it.
FIRST MURDERER What if it come to thee again?
SECOND MURDERER I’ll not meddle with it. It makes a
140 man a coward: a man cannot steal but it accuseth
 him; a man cannot swear but it checks him; a man
 cannot lie with his neighbor’s wife but it detects
 him. ’Tis a blushing, shamefaced spirit that mutinies
 in a man’s bosom. It fills a man full of
145 obstacles. It made me once restore a purse of gold
 that by chance I found. It beggars any man that
 keeps it. It is turned out of towns and cities for a
 dangerous thing, and every man that means to live
 well endeavors to trust to himself and live without it.
FIRST MURDERER 150Zounds, ’tis even now at my elbow,
 persuading me not to kill the Duke.
SECOND MURDERER Take the devil in thy mind, and

79
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ACT 1. SC. 4

 believe him not. He would insinuate with thee but
 to make thee sigh.
FIRST MURDERER 155I am strong-framed. He cannot prevail
 with me.
SECOND MURDERER Spoke like a tall man that respects
 thy reputation. Come, shall we fall to work?
FIRST MURDERER Take him on the costard with the
160 hilts of thy sword, and then throw him into the
 malmsey butt in the next room.
SECOND MURDERER O, excellent device—and make a
 sop of him!
FIRST MURDERER Soft, he wakes.
SECOND MURDERER 165Strike!
FIRST MURDERER No, we’ll reason with him.
Clarence wakes.
CLARENCE 
 Where art thou, keeper? Give me a cup of wine.
SECOND MURDERER 
 You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon.
CLARENCE 
 In God’s name, what art thou?
FIRST MURDERER 170 A man, as you are.
CLARENCE But not, as I am, royal.
FIRST MURDERER Nor you, as we are, loyal.
CLARENCE 
 Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are humble.
FIRST MURDERER 
 My voice is now the King’s, my looks mine own.
CLARENCE 
175 How darkly and how deadly dost thou speak!
 Your eyes do menace me. Why look you pale?
 Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come?
SECOND MURDERER To, to, to—
CLARENCE To murder me?
BOTH 180Ay, ay.

81
Richard III
ACT 1. SC. 4

CLARENCE 
 You scarcely have the hearts to tell me so
 And therefore cannot have the hearts to do it.
 Wherein, my friends, have I offended you?
FIRST MURDERER 
 Offended us you have not, but the King.
CLARENCE 
185 I shall be reconciled to him again.
SECOND MURDERER 
 Never, my lord. Therefore prepare to die.
CLARENCE 
 Are you drawn forth among a world of men
 To slay the innocent? What is my offense?
 Where is the evidence that doth accuse me?
190 What lawful quest have given their verdict up
 Unto the frowning judge? Or who pronounced
 The bitter sentence of poor Clarence’ death
 Before I be convict by course of law?
 To threaten me with death is most unlawful.
195 I charge you, as you hope to have redemption,
 By Christ’s dear blood shed for our grievous sins,
 That you depart, and lay no hands on me.
 The deed you undertake is damnable.
FIRST MURDERER 
 What we will do, we do upon command.
SECOND MURDERER 
200 And he that hath commanded is our king.
CLARENCE 
 Erroneous vassals, the great King of kings
 Hath in the table of His law commanded
 That thou shalt do no murder. Will you then
 Spurn at His edict and fulfill a man’s?
205 Take heed, for He holds vengeance in His hand
 To hurl upon their heads that break His law.
SECOND MURDERER 
 And that same vengeance doth He hurl on thee

83
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ACT 1. SC. 4

 For false forswearing and for murder too.
 Thou didst receive the sacrament to fight
210 In quarrel of the House of Lancaster.
FIRST MURDERER 
 And, like a traitor to the name of God,
 Didst break that vow, and with thy treacherous
 blade
 Unrippedst the bowels of thy sovereign’s son.
SECOND MURDERER 
215 Whom thou wast sworn to cherish and defend.
FIRST MURDERER 
 How canst thou urge God’s dreadful law to us
 When thou hast broke it in such dear degree?
CLARENCE 
 Alas! For whose sake did I that ill deed?
 For Edward, for my brother, for his sake.
220 He sends you not to murder me for this,
 For in that sin he is as deep as I.
 If God will be avengèd for the deed,
 O, know you yet He doth it publicly!
 Take not the quarrel from His powerful arm;
225 He needs no indirect or lawless course
 To cut off those that have offended Him.
FIRST MURDERER 
 Who made thee then a bloody minister
 When gallant-springing, brave Plantagenet,
 That princely novice, was struck dead by thee?
CLARENCE 
230 My brother’s love, the devil, and my rage.
FIRST MURDERER 
 Thy brother’s love, our duty, and thy faults
 Provoke us hither now to slaughter thee.
CLARENCE 
 If you do love my brother, hate not me.
 I am his brother, and I love him well.
235 If you are hired for meed, go back again,

85
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ACT 1. SC. 4

 And I will send you to my brother Gloucester,
 Who shall reward you better for my life
 Than Edward will for tidings of my death.
SECOND MURDERER 
 You are deceived. Your brother Gloucester hates
240 you.
CLARENCE 
 O no, he loves me, and he holds me dear.
 Go you to him from me.
FIRST MURDERER  Ay, so we will.
CLARENCE 
 Tell him, when that our princely father York
245 Blessed his three sons with his victorious arm,
 He little thought of this divided friendship.
 Bid Gloucester think of this, and he will weep.
FIRST MURDERER 
 Ay, millstones, as he lessoned us to weep.
CLARENCE 
 O, do not slander him, for he is kind.
FIRST MURDERER 
250 Right, as snow in harvest. Come, you deceive
 yourself.
 ’Tis he that sends us to destroy you here.
CLARENCE 
 It cannot be, for he bewept my fortune,
 And hugged me in his arms, and swore with sobs
255 That he would labor my delivery.
FIRST MURDERER 
 Why, so he doth, when he delivers you
 From this Earth’s thralldom to the joys of heaven.
SECOND MURDERER 
 Make peace with God, for you must die, my lord.
CLARENCE 
 Have you that holy feeling in your souls
260 To counsel me to make my peace with God,
 And are you yet to your own souls so blind

87
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ACT 1. SC. 4

 That you will war with God by murd’ring me?
 O sirs, consider: they that set you on
 To do this deed will hate you for the deed.
SECOND MURDERER, to First Murderer 
265 What shall we do?
CLARENCE  Relent, and save your souls.
 Which of you—if you were a prince’s son
 Being pent from liberty, as I am now—
 If two such murderers as yourselves came to you,
270 Would not entreat for life? Ay, you would beg,
 Were you in my distress.
FIRST MURDERER 
 Relent? No. ’Tis cowardly and womanish.
CLARENCE 
 Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish.
 To Second Murderer. My friend, I spy some pity
275 in thy looks.
 O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,
 Come thou on my side and entreat for me.
 A begging prince what beggar pities not?
SECOND MURDERER Look behind you, my lord.
FIRST MURDERER 
280 Take that, and that. (Stabs him.) If all this will not
 do,
 I’ll drown you in the malmsey butt within.
He exits with the body.
SECOND MURDERER 
 A bloody deed, and desperately dispatched.
 How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
285 Of this most grievous murder.

Enter First Murderer.

FIRST MURDERER 
 How now? What mean’st thou that thou help’st me
 not?

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ACT 1. SC. 4

 By heavens, the Duke shall know how slack you
 have been.
SECOND MURDERER 
290 I would he knew that I had saved his brother.
 Take thou the fee, and tell him what I say,
 For I repent me that the Duke is slain.He exits.
FIRST MURDERER 
 So do not I. Go, coward as thou art.
 Well, I’ll go hide the body in some hole
295 Till that the Duke give order for his burial.
 And when I have my meed, I will away,
 For this will out, and then I must not stay.
He exits.


ACT 2
Scene 1
Flourish. Enter King Edward, sick, Queen Elizabeth,
Lord Marquess Dorset, Rivers, Hastings, Buckingham,
Woodeville, Grey, and Scales.


KING EDWARD 
 Why, so. Now have I done a good day’s work.
 You peers, continue this united league.
 I every day expect an embassage
 From my Redeemer to redeem me hence,
5 And more in peace my soul shall part to heaven
 Since I have made my friends at peace on Earth.
 Rivers and Hastings, take each other’s hand.
 Dissemble not your hatred. Swear your love.
RIVERS, taking Hastings’ hand 
 By heaven, my soul is purged from grudging hate,
10 And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love.
HASTINGS 
 So thrive I as I truly swear the like.
KING EDWARD 
 Take heed you dally not before your king,
 Lest He that is the supreme King of kings
 Confound your hidden falsehood and award
15 Either of you to be the other’s end.
HASTINGS 
 So prosper I as I swear perfect love.
93

95
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 1

RIVERS 
 And I as I love Hastings with my heart.
KING EDWARD, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Madam, yourself is not exempt from this,—
 Nor you, son Dorset,—Buckingham, nor you.
20 You have been factious one against the other.—
 Wife, love Lord Hastings. Let him kiss your hand,
 And what you do, do it unfeignedly.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 There, Hastings, I will never more remember
 Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine.
Hastings kisses her hand.
KING EDWARD 
25 Dorset, embrace him.—Hastings, love Lord
 Marquess.
DORSET 
 This interchange of love, I here protest,
 Upon my part shall be inviolable.
HASTINGS And so swear I.They embrace.
KING EDWARD 
30 Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
 With thy embracements to my wife’s allies
 And make me happy in your unity.
BUCKINGHAM, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
 Upon your Grace, but with all duteous love
35 Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
 With hate in those where I expect most love.
 When I have most need to employ a friend,
 And most assurèd that he is a friend,
 Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile
40 Be he unto me: this do I beg of God,
 When I am cold in love to you or yours.
Queen Elizabeth and Buckingham embrace.
KING EDWARD 
 A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,

97
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
 There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here
45 To make the blessèd period of this peace.
BUCKINGHAM And in good time
 Here comes Sir Richard Ratcliffe and the Duke.

Enter Ratcliffe, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

RICHARD 
 Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen,
 And, princely peers, a happy time of day.
KING EDWARD 
50 Happy indeed, as we have spent the day.
 Gloucester, we have done deeds of charity,
 Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate,
 Between these swelling, wrong-incensèd peers.
RICHARD 
 A blessèd labor, my most sovereign lord.
55 Among this princely heap, if any here
 By false intelligence or wrong surmise
 Hold me a foe,
 If I unwittingly, or in my rage,
 Have aught committed that is hardly borne
60 By any in this presence, I desire
 To reconcile me to his friendly peace.
 ’Tis death to me to be at enmity;
 I hate it, and desire all good men’s love.
 First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,
65 Which I will purchase with my duteous service;—
 Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
 If ever any grudge were lodged between us;—
 Of you and you, Lord Rivers and of Dorset,
 That all without desert have frowned on me;—
70 Of you, Lord Woodeville and Lord Scales;—of you,
 Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.
 I do not know that Englishman alive
 With whom my soul is any jot at odds

99
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 1

 More than the infant that is born tonight.
75 I thank my God for my humility.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 A holy day shall this be kept hereafter.
 I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
 My sovereign lord, I do beseech your Highness
 To take our brother Clarence to your grace.
RICHARD 
80 Why, madam, have I offered love for this,
 To be so flouted in this royal presence?
 Who knows not that the gentle duke is dead?
They all start.
 You do him injury to scorn his corse.
KING EDWARD 
 Who knows not he is dead! Who knows he is?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
85 All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!
BUCKINGHAM 
 Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?
DORSET 
 Ay, my good lord, and no man in the presence
 But his red color hath forsook his cheeks.
KING EDWARD 
 Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.
RICHARD 
90 But he, poor man, by your first order died,
 And that a wingèd Mercury did bear.
 Some tardy cripple bare the countermand,
 That came too lag to see him burièd.
 God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
95 Nearer in bloody thoughts, and not in blood,
 Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
 And yet go current from suspicion.

Enter Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby.


101
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 1

STANLEY, kneeling 
 A boon, my sovereign, for my service done.
KING EDWARD 
 I prithee, peace. My soul is full of sorrow.
STANLEY 
100 I will not rise unless your Highness hear me.
KING EDWARD 
 Then say at once what is it thou requests.
STANLEY 
 The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life,
 Who slew today a riotous gentleman
 Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
KING EDWARD 
105 Have I a tongue to doom my brother’s death,
 And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?
 My brother killed no man; his fault was thought,
 And yet his punishment was bitter death.
 Who sued to me for him? Who, in my wrath,
110 Kneeled at my feet, and bade me be advised?
 Who spoke of brotherhood? Who spoke of love?
 Who told me how the poor soul did forsake
 The mighty Warwick and did fight for me?
 Who told me, in the field at Tewkesbury,
115 When Oxford had me down, he rescued me,
 And said “Dear brother, live, and be a king”?
 Who told me, when we both lay in the field
 Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
 Even in his garments and did give himself,
120 All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?
 All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
 Sinfully plucked, and not a man of you
 Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
 But when your carters or your waiting vassals
125 Have done a drunken slaughter and defaced
 The precious image of our dear Redeemer,

103
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 2

 You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon,
 And I, unjustly too, must grant it you.
Stanley rises.
 But for my brother, not a man would speak,
130 Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
 For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
 Have been beholding to him in his life,
 Yet none of you would once beg for his life.
 O God, I fear Thy justice will take hold
135 On me and you, and mine and yours for this!—
 Come, Hastings, help me to my closet.—
 Ah, poor Clarence.
Some exit with King and Queen.
RICHARD 
 This is the fruits of rashness. Marked you not
 How that the guilty kindred of the Queen
140 Looked pale when they did hear of Clarence’ death?
 O, they did urge it still unto the King.
 God will revenge it. Come, lords, will you go
 To comfort Edward with our company?
BUCKINGHAM We wait upon your Grace.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter the old Duchess of York with the two
children of Clarence.


BOY 
 Good grandam, tell us, is our father dead?
DUCHESS No, boy.
DAUGHTER 
 Why do you weep so oft, and beat your breast,
 And cry “O Clarence, my unhappy son”?
BOY 
5 Why do you look on us and shake your head,

105
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 2

 And call us orphans, wretches, castaways,
 If that our noble father were alive?
DUCHESS 
 My pretty cousins, you mistake me both.
 I do lament the sickness of the King,
10 As loath to lose him, not your father’s death.
 It were lost sorrow to wail one that’s lost.
BOY 
 Then, you conclude, my grandam, he is dead.
 The King mine uncle is to blame for it.
 God will revenge it, whom I will importune
15 With earnest prayers, all to that effect.
DAUGHTER And so will I.
DUCHESS 
 Peace, children, peace. The King doth love you
 well.
 Incapable and shallow innocents,
20 You cannot guess who caused your father’s death.
BOY 
 Grandam, we can, for my good uncle Gloucester
 Told me the King, provoked to it by the Queen,
 Devised impeachments to imprison him;
 And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
25 And pitied me, and kindly kissed my cheek,
 Bade me rely on him as on my father,
 And he would love me dearly as a child.
DUCHESS 
 Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shape,
 And with a virtuous visor hide deep vice.
30 He is my son, ay, and therein my shame,
 Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.
BOY 
 Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?
DUCHESS Ay, boy.
BOY 
 I cannot think it. Hark, what noise is this?

107
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 2

Enter Queen Elizabeth with her hair about her ears,
Rivers and Dorset after her.


QUEEN ELIZABETH 
35 Ah, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,
 To chide my fortune and torment myself?
 I’ll join with black despair against my soul
 And to myself become an enemy.
DUCHESS 
 What means this scene of rude impatience?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
40 To make an act of tragic violence.
 Edward, my lord, thy son, our king, is dead.
 Why grow the branches when the root is gone?
 Why wither not the leaves that want their sap?
 If you will live, lament. If die, be brief,
45 That our swift-wingèd souls may catch the King’s,
 Or, like obedient subjects, follow him
 To his new kingdom of ne’er-changing night.
DUCHESS 
 Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow
 As I had title in thy noble husband.
50 I have bewept a worthy husband’s death
 And lived with looking on his images;
 But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
 Are cracked in pieces by malignant death,
 And I, for comfort, have but one false glass
55 That grieves me when I see my shame in him.
 Thou art a widow, yet thou art a mother,
 And hast the comfort of thy children left,
 But death hath snatched my husband from mine
 arms
60 And plucked two crutches from my feeble hands,
 Clarence and Edward. O, what cause have I,
 Thine being but a moiety of my moan,
 To overgo thy woes and drown thy cries!

109
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 2

BOY, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Ah, aunt, you wept not for our father’s death.
65 How can we aid you with our kindred tears?
DAUGHTER, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Our fatherless distress was left unmoaned.
 Your widow-dolor likewise be unwept!
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Give me no help in lamentation.
 I am not barren to bring forth complaints.
70 All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
 That I, being governed by the watery moon,
 May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world.
 Ah, for my husband, for my dear lord Edward!
CHILDREN 
 Ah, for our father, for our dear lord Clarence!
DUCHESS 
75 Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence!
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 What stay had I but Edward? And he’s gone.
CHILDREN 
 What stay had we but Clarence? And he’s gone.
DUCHESS 
 What stays had I but they? And they are gone.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Was never widow had so dear a loss.
CHILDREN 
80 Were never orphans had so dear a loss.
DUCHESS 
 Was never mother had so dear a loss.
 Alas, I am the mother of these griefs.
 Their woes are parceled; mine is general.
 She for an Edward weeps, and so do I;
85 I for a Clarence weep; so doth not she.
 These babes for Clarence weep, and so do I;
 I for an Edward weep; so do not they.
 Alas, you three, on me, threefold distressed,

111
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 2

 Pour all your tears. I am your sorrow’s nurse,
90 And I will pamper it with lamentation.
DORSET, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Comfort, dear mother. God is much displeased
 That you take with unthankfulness His doing.
 In common worldly things, ’tis called ungrateful
 With dull unwillingness to repay a debt
95 Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent;
 Much more to be thus opposite with heaven,
 For it requires the royal debt it lent you.
RIVERS 
 Madam, bethink you, like a careful mother,
 Of the young prince your son. Send straight for
100 him.
 Let him be crowned. In him your comfort lives.
 Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward’s grave
 And plant your joys in living Edward’s throne.

Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Buckingham, Lord
Stanley, Earl of Derby, Hastings, and Ratcliffe.


RICHARD, to Queen Elizabeth 
 Sister, have comfort. All of us have cause
105 To wail the dimming of our shining star,
 But none can help our harms by wailing them.—
 Madam my mother, I do cry you mercy;
 I did not see your Grace. Humbly on my knee
 I crave your blessing.He kneels.
DUCHESS 
110 God bless thee, and put meekness in thy breast,
 Love, charity, obedience, and true duty.
RICHARD, standing 
 Amen. Aside. And make me die a good old man!
 That is the butt end of a mother’s blessing;
 I marvel that her Grace did leave it out.
BUCKINGHAM 
115 You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers

113
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 2

 That bear this heavy mutual load of moan,
 Now cheer each other in each other’s love.
 Though we have spent our harvest of this king,
 We are to reap the harvest of his son.
120 The broken rancor of your high-swoll’n hates,
 But lately splintered, knit, and joined together,
 Must gently be preserved, cherished, and kept.
 Meseemeth good that with some little train
 Forthwith from Ludlow the young prince be fet
125 Hither to London, to be crowned our king.
RIVERS 
 Why “with some little train,” my lord of
 Buckingham?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Marry, my lord, lest by a multitude
 The new-healed wound of malice should break out,
130 Which would be so much the more dangerous
 By how much the estate is green and yet
 ungoverned.
 Where every horse bears his commanding rein
 And may direct his course as please himself,
135 As well the fear of harm as harm apparent,
 In my opinion, ought to be prevented.
RICHARD 
 I hope the King made peace with all of us;
 And the compact is firm and true in me.
RIVERS 
 And so in me, and so, I think, in all.
140 Yet since it is but green, it should be put
 To no apparent likelihood of breach,
 Which haply by much company might be urged.
 Therefore I say with noble Buckingham
 That it is meet so few should fetch the Prince.
HASTINGS 145And so say I.
RICHARD 
 Then be it so, and go we to determine

115
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 3

 Who they shall be that straight shall post to
 Ludlow.
 Madam, and you, my sister, will you go
150 To give your censures in this business?
All but Buckingham and Richard exit.
BUCKINGHAM 
 My lord, whoever journeys to the Prince,
 For God’s sake let not us two stay at home.
 For by the way I’ll sort occasion,
 As index to the story we late talked of,
155 To part the Queen’s proud kindred from the Prince.
RICHARD 
 My other self, my council’s consistory,
 My oracle, my prophet, my dear cousin,
 I, as a child, will go by thy direction.
 Toward Ludlow then, for we’ll not stay behind.
They exit.


Scene 3
Enter one Citizen at one door, and another at the other.

FIRST CITIZEN 
 Good morrow, neighbor, whither away so fast?
SECOND CITIZEN 
 I promise you I scarcely know myself.
 Hear you the news abroad?
FIRST CITIZEN Yes, that the King is dead.
SECOND CITIZEN 
5 Ill news, by ’r Lady. Seldom comes the better.
 I fear, I fear, ’twill prove a giddy world.

Enter another Citizen.

THIRD CITIZEN 
 Neighbors, God speed.
FIRST CITIZEN  Give you good morrow, sir.

117
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 3

THIRD CITIZEN 
 Doth the news hold of good King Edward’s death?
SECOND CITIZEN 
10 Ay, sir, it is too true, God help the while.
THIRD CITIZEN 
 Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.
FIRST CITIZEN 
 No, no, by God’s good grace, his son shall reign.
THIRD CITIZEN 
 Woe to that land that’s governed by a child.
SECOND CITIZEN 
 In him there is a hope of government,
15 Which, in his nonage, council under him,
 And, in his full and ripened years, himself,
 No doubt shall then, and till then, govern well.
FIRST CITIZEN 
 So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
 Was crowned in Paris but at nine months old.
THIRD CITIZEN 
20 Stood the state so? No, no, good friends, God wot,
 For then this land was famously enriched
 With politic grave counsel; then the King
 Had virtuous uncles to protect his Grace.
FIRST CITIZEN 
 Why, so hath this, both by his father and mother.
THIRD CITIZEN 
25 Better it were they all came by his father,
 Or by his father there were none at all,
 For emulation who shall now be nearest
 Will touch us all too near if God prevent not.
 O, full of danger is the Duke of Gloucester,
30 And the Queen’s sons and brothers haught and
 proud,
 And were they to be ruled, and not to rule,
 This sickly land might solace as before.

119
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 4

FIRST CITIZEN 
 Come, come, we fear the worst. All will be well.
THIRD CITIZEN 
35 When clouds are seen, wise men put on their
 cloaks;
 When great leaves fall, then winter is at hand;
 When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
 Untimely storms makes men expect a dearth.
40 All may be well; but if God sort it so,
 ’Tis more than we deserve or I expect.
SECOND CITIZEN 
 Truly, the hearts of men are full of fear.
 You cannot reason almost with a man
 That looks not heavily and full of dread.
THIRD CITIZEN 
45 Before the days of change, still is it so.
 By a divine instinct, men’s minds mistrust
 Ensuing danger, as by proof we see
 The water swell before a boist’rous storm.
 But leave it all to God. Whither away?
SECOND CITIZEN 
50 Marry, we were sent for to the Justices.
THIRD CITIZEN 
 And so was I. I’ll bear you company.
They exit.


Scene 4
Enter Archbishop, the young Duke of York,
Queen Elizabeth, and the Duchess of York.


ARCHBISHOP 
 Last night, I hear, they lay at Stony Stratford,
 And at Northampton they do rest tonight.
 Tomorrow or next day they will be here.

121
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ACT 2. SC. 4

DUCHESS 
 I long with all my heart to see the Prince.
5 I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 But I hear no; they say my son of York
 Has almost overta’en him in his growth.
YORK 
 Ay, mother, but I would not have it so.
DUCHESS 
 Why, my good cousin? It is good to grow.
YORK 
10 Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,
 My uncle Rivers talked how I did grow
 More than my brother. “Ay,” quoth my uncle
 Gloucester,
 “Small herbs have grace; great weeds do grow
15 apace.”
 And since, methinks I would not grow so fast
 Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make
 haste.
DUCHESS 
 Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
20 In him that did object the same to thee!
 He was the wretched’st thing when he was young,
 So long a-growing and so leisurely,
 That if his rule were true, he should be gracious.
YORK 
 And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.
DUCHESS 
25 I hope he is, but yet let mothers doubt.
YORK 
 Now, by my troth, if I had been remembered,
 I could have given my uncle’s Grace a flout
 To touch his growth nearer than he touched mine.
DUCHESS 
 How, my young York? I prithee let me hear it.

123
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 4

YORK 
30 Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
 That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old.
 ’Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
 Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.
DUCHESS 
 I prithee, pretty York, who told thee this?
YORK 35Grandam, his nurse.
DUCHESS 
 His nurse? Why, she was dead ere thou wast born.
YORK 
 If ’twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 A parlous boy! Go to, you are too shrewd.
DUCHESS 
 Good madam, be not angry with the child.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 40Pitchers have ears.

Enter a Messenger.

ARCHBISHOP Here comes a messenger.—What news?
MESSENGER 
 Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.
QUEEN ELIZABETH How doth the Prince?
MESSENGER Well, madam, and in health.
DUCHESS 45What is thy news?
MESSENGER 
 Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
 And, with them, Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.
DUCHESS Who hath committed them?
MESSENGER 
 The mighty dukes, Gloucester and Buckingham.
ARCHBISHOP 50For what offense?
MESSENGER 
 The sum of all I can, I have disclosed.
 Why, or for what, the nobles were committed
 Is all unknown to me, my gracious lord.

125
Richard III
ACT 2. SC. 4

QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Ay me! I see the ruin of my house.
55 The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind.
 Insulting tyranny begins to jut
 Upon the innocent and aweless throne.
 Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre.
 I see, as in a map, the end of all.
DUCHESS 
60 Accursèd and unquiet wrangling days,
 How many of you have mine eyes beheld?
 My husband lost his life to get the crown,
 And often up and down my sons were tossed
 For me to joy, and weep, their gain and loss.
65 And being seated, and domestic broils
 Clean overblown, themselves the conquerors
 Make war upon themselves, brother to brother,
 Blood to blood, self against self. O, preposterous
 And frantic outrage, end thy damnèd spleen,
70 Or let me die, to look on Earth no more.
QUEEN ELIZABETH, to York 
 Come, come, my boy. We will to sanctuary.—
 Madam, farewell.
DUCHESS  Stay, I will go with you.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 You have no cause.
ARCHBISHOP, to Queen Elizabeth 75 My gracious lady, go,
 And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
 For my part, I’ll resign unto your Grace
 The seal I keep; and so betide to me
 As well I tender you and all of yours.
80 Go. I’ll conduct you to the sanctuary.
They exit.


[ACT 3]
[Scene 1]
The trumpets sound. Enter young Prince Edward,
Richard Duke of Gloucester, Buckingham,
the Cardinal, Catesby, and others.


BUCKINGHAM 
 Welcome, sweet prince, to London, to your chamber.
RICHARD, to Prince 
 Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts’ sovereign.
 The weary way hath made you melancholy.
PRINCE 
 No, uncle, but our crosses on the way
5 Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy.
 I want more uncles here to welcome me.
RICHARD 
 Sweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years
 Hath not yet dived into the world’s deceit;
 Nor more can you distinguish of a man
10 Than of his outward show, which, God He knows,
 Seldom or never jumpeth with the heart.
 Those uncles which you want were dangerous.
 Your Grace attended to their sugared words
 But looked not on the poison of their hearts.
15 God keep you from them, and from such false
 friends.
129

131
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 1

PRINCE 
 God keep me from false friends, but they were none.
RICHARD 
 My lord, the Mayor of London comes to greet you.

Enter Lord Mayor with others.

MAYOR 
 God bless your Grace with health and happy days.
PRINCE 
20 I thank you, good my lord, and thank you all.—
 I thought my mother and my brother York
 Would long ere this have met us on the way.
 Fie, what a slug is Hastings that he comes not
 To tell us whether they will come or no!

Enter Lord Hastings.

BUCKINGHAM 
25 And in good time here comes the sweating lord.
PRINCE 
 Welcome, my lord. What, will our mother come?
HASTINGS 
 On what occasion God He knows, not I,
 The Queen your mother and your brother York
 Have taken sanctuary. The tender prince
30 Would fain have come with me to meet your Grace,
 But by his mother was perforce withheld.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Fie, what an indirect and peevish course
 Is this of hers!—Lord Cardinal, will your Grace
 Persuade the Queen to send the Duke of York
35 Unto his princely brother presently?—
 If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him,
 And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.
CARDINAL 
 My lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory

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ACT 3. SC. 1

 Can from his mother win the Duke of York,
40 Anon expect him here; but if she be obdurate
 To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid
 We should infringe the holy privilege
 Of blessèd sanctuary! Not for all this land
 Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.
BUCKINGHAM 
45 You are too senseless obstinate, my lord,
 Too ceremonious and traditional.
 Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,
 You break not sanctuary in seizing him.
 The benefit thereof is always granted
50 To those whose dealings have deserved the place
 And those who have the wit to claim the place.
 This prince hath neither claimed it nor deserved it
 And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it.
 Then taking him from thence that is not there,
55 You break no privilege nor charter there.
 Oft have I heard of sanctuary men,
 But sanctuary children, never till now.
CARDINAL 
 My lord, you shall o’errule my mind for once.—
 Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?
HASTINGS 60I go, my lord.
PRINCE 
 Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.
[The Cardinal and Hastings exit.]
 Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come,
 Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?
RICHARD 
 Where it seems best unto your royal self.
65 If I may counsel you, some day or two
 Your Highness shall repose you at the Tower;
 Then where you please and shall be thought most fit
 For your best health and recreation.

135
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 1

PRINCE 
 I do not like the Tower, of any place.—
70 Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?
BUCKINGHAM 
 He did, my gracious lord, begin that place,
 Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.
PRINCE 
 Is it upon record, or else reported
 Successively from age to age, he built it?
BUCKINGHAM 75Upon record, my gracious lord.
PRINCE 
 But say, my lord, it were not registered,
 Methinks the truth should live from age to age,
 As ’twere retailed to all posterity,
 Even to the general all-ending day.
RICHARD, aside 
80 So wise so young, they say, do never live long.
PRINCE What say you, uncle?
RICHARD 
 I say, without characters fame lives long.
 Aside. Thus, like the formal Vice, Iniquity,
 I moralize two meanings in one word.
PRINCE 
85 That Julius Caesar was a famous man.
 With what his valor did enrich his wit,
 His wit set down to make his [valor] live.
 Death makes no conquest of this conqueror,
 For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
90 I’ll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham—
BUCKINGHAM What, my gracious lord?
PRINCE 
 An if I live until I be a man,
 I’ll win our ancient right in France again
 Or die a soldier, as I lived a king.
RICHARD, aside 
95 Short summers lightly have a forward spring.

137
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 1

Enter young Duke of York, Hastings, and the
Cardinal.


BUCKINGHAM 
 Now in good time here comes the Duke of York.
PRINCE 
 Richard of York, how fares our loving brother?
YORK 
 Well, my dread lord—so must I call you now.
PRINCE 
 Ay, brother, to our grief, as it is yours.
100 Too late he died that might have kept that title,
 Which by his death hath lost much majesty.
RICHARD 
 How fares our cousin, noble lord of York?
YORK 
 I thank you, gentle uncle. O my lord,
 You said that idle weeds are fast in growth.
105 The Prince my brother hath outgrown me far.
RICHARD 
 He hath, my lord.
YORK  And therefore is he idle?
RICHARD 
 O my fair cousin, I must not say so.
YORK 
 Then he is more beholding to you than I.
RICHARD 
110 He may command me as my sovereign,
 But you have power in me as in a kinsman.
YORK 
 I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.
RICHARD 
 My dagger, little cousin? With all my heart.
PRINCE A beggar, brother?
YORK 
115 Of my kind uncle, that I know will give,
 And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.

139
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 1

RICHARD 
 A greater gift than that I’ll give my cousin.
YORK 
 A greater gift? O, that’s the sword to it.
RICHARD 
 Ay, gentle cousin, were it light enough.
YORK 
120 O, then I see you will part but with light gifts.
 In weightier things you’ll say a beggar nay.
RICHARD 
 It is too heavy for your Grace to wear.
YORK 
 I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.
RICHARD 
 What, would you have my weapon, little lord?
YORK 
125 I would, that I might thank you as you call me.
RICHARD How?
YORK Little.
PRINCE 
 My lord of York will still be cross in talk.
 Uncle, your Grace knows how to bear with him.
YORK 
130 You mean, to bear me, not to bear with me.—
 Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me.
 Because that I am little, like an ape,
 He thinks that you should bear me on your
 shoulders.
BUCKINGHAM, aside 
135 With what a sharp-provided wit he reasons!
 To mitigate the scorn he gives his uncle,
 He prettily and aptly taunts himself.
 So cunning and so young is wonderful.
RICHARD, to Prince 
 My lord, will ’t please you pass along?

141
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 1

140 Myself and my good cousin Buckingham
 Will to your mother, to entreat of her
 To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.
YORK, to Prince 
 What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?
PRINCE 
 My Lord Protector needs will have it so.
YORK 
145 I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower.
RICHARD Why, what should you fear?
YORK 
 Marry, my uncle Clarence’ angry ghost.
 My grandam told me he was murdered there.
PRINCE I fear no uncles dead.
RICHARD 150Nor none that live, I hope.
PRINCE 
 An if they live, I hope I need not fear.
 To York. But come, my lord. With a heavy heart,
 Thinking on them, go I unto the Tower.
[A sennet. Prince Edward, the Duke of York,
and Hastings exit. Richard, Buckingham,
and Catesby remain.]

BUCKINGHAM, to Richard 
 Think you, my lord, this little prating York
155 Was not incensèd by his subtle mother
 To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?
RICHARD 
 No doubt, no doubt. O, ’tis a parlous boy,
 Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable.
 He is all the mother’s, from the top to toe.
BUCKINGHAM 
160 Well, let them rest.—Come hither, Catesby.
 Thou art sworn as deeply to effect what we intend
 As closely to conceal what we impart.
 Thou knowest our reasons, urged upon the way.

143
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 1

 What thinkest thou? Is it not an easy matter
165 To make William Lord Hastings of our mind
 For the installment of this noble duke
 In the seat royal of this famous isle?
CATESBY 
 He, for his father’s sake, so loves the Prince
 That he will not be won to aught against him.
BUCKINGHAM 
170 What think’st thou then of Stanley? Will not he?
CATESBY 
 He will do all in all as Hastings doth.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Well then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
 And, as it were far off, sound thou Lord Hastings
 How he doth stand affected to our purpose
175 And summon him tomorrow to the Tower
 To sit about the coronation.
 If thou dost find him tractable to us,
 Encourage him and tell him all our reasons.
 If he be leaden, icy, cold, unwilling,
180 Be thou so too, and so break off the talk,
 And give us notice of his inclination;
 For we tomorrow hold divided councils,
 Wherein thyself shalt highly be employed.
RICHARD 
 Commend me to Lord William. Tell him, Catesby,
185 His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
 Tomorrow are let blood at Pomfret Castle,
 And bid my lord, for joy of this good news,
 Give Mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Good Catesby, go effect this business soundly.
CATESBY 
190 My good lords both, with all the heed I can.
RICHARD 
 Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?

145
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 2

CATESBY You shall, my lord.
RICHARD 
 At Crosby House, there shall you find us both.
Catesby exits.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Now, my lord, what shall we do if we perceive
195 Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?
RICHARD 
 Chop off his head. Something we will determine.
 And look when I am king, claim thou of me
 The earldom of Hereford, and all the movables
 Whereof the King my brother was possessed.
BUCKINGHAM 
200 I’ll claim that promise at your Grace’s hand.
RICHARD 
 And look to have it yielded with all kindness.
 Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards
 We may digest our complots in some form.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter a Messenger to the door of Hastings.

MESSENGER, knocking My lord, my lord.
HASTINGS, within Who knocks?
MESSENGER One from the Lord Stanley.
HASTINGS, within What is ’t o’clock?
MESSENGER 5Upon the stroke of four.

Enter Lord Hastings.

HASTINGS 
 Cannot my Lord Stanley sleep these tedious nights?
MESSENGER 
 So it appears by that I have to say.
 First, he commends him to your noble self.

147
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 2

HASTINGS What then?
MESSENGER 
10 Then certifies your Lordship that this night
 He dreamt the boar had razèd off his helm.
 Besides, he says there are two councils kept,
 And that may be determined at the one
 Which may make you and him to rue at th’ other.
15 Therefore he sends to know your Lordship’s
 pleasure,
 If you will presently take horse with him
 And with all speed post with him toward the north
 To shun the danger that his soul divines.
HASTINGS 
20 Go, fellow, go. Return unto thy lord.
 Bid him not fear the separated council.
 His Honor and myself are at the one,
 And at the other is my good friend Catesby,
 Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
25 Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
 Tell him his fears are shallow, without instance.
 And for his dreams, I wonder he’s so simple
 To trust the mock’ry of unquiet slumbers.
 To fly the boar before the boar pursues
30 Were to incense the boar to follow us
 And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
 Go, bid thy master rise and come to me,
 And we will both together to the Tower,
 Where he shall see the boar will use us kindly.
MESSENGER 
35 I’ll go, my lord, and tell him what you say.He exits.

Enter Catesby.

CATESBY 
 Many good morrows to my noble lord.

149
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 2

HASTINGS 
 Good morrow, Catesby. You are early stirring.
 What news, what news in this our tott’ring state?
CATESBY 
 It is a reeling world indeed, my lord,
40 And I believe will never stand upright
 Till Richard wear the garland of the realm.
HASTINGS 
 How “wear the garland”? Dost thou mean the
 crown?
CATESBY Ay, my good lord.
HASTINGS 
45 I’ll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
 Before I’ll see the crown so foul misplaced.
 But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
CATESBY 
 Ay, on my life, and hopes to find you forward
 Upon his party for the gain thereof;
50 And thereupon he sends you this good news,
 That this same very day your enemies,
 The kindred of the Queen, must die at Pomfret.
HASTINGS 
 Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
 Because they have been still my adversaries.
55 But that I’ll give my voice on Richard’s side
 To bar my master’s heirs in true descent,
 God knows I will not do it, to the death.
CATESBY 
 God keep your Lordship in that gracious mind.
HASTINGS 
 But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,
60 That they which brought me in my master’s hate,
 I live to look upon their tragedy.
 Well, Catesby, ere a fortnight make me older
 I’ll send some packing that yet think not on ’t.

151
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 2

CATESBY 
 ’Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
65 When men are unprepared and look not for it.
HASTINGS 
 O monstrous, monstrous! And so falls it out
 With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey; and so ’twill do
 With some men else that think themselves as safe
 As thou and I, who, as thou know’st, are dear
70 To princely Richard and to Buckingham.
CATESBY 
 The Princes both make high account of you—
 Aside. For they account his head upon the Bridge.
HASTINGS 
 I know they do, and I have well deserved it.

Enter Lord Stanley.

 Come on, come on. Where is your boar-spear, man?
75 Fear you the boar and go so unprovided?
STANLEY 
 My lord, good morrow.—Good morrow, Catesby.—
 You may jest on, but, by the Holy Rood,
 I do not like these several councils, I.
HASTINGS 
 My lord, I hold my life as dear as you do yours,
80 And never in my days, I do protest,
 Was it so precious to me as ’tis now.
 Think you but that I know our state secure,
 I would be so triumphant as I am?
STANLEY 
 The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
85 Were jocund and supposed their states were sure,
 And they indeed had no cause to mistrust;
 But yet you see how soon the day o’ercast.
 This sudden stab of rancor I misdoubt.
 Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
90 What, shall we toward the Tower? The day is spent.

153
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 2

HASTINGS 
 Come, come. Have with you. Wot you what, my lord?
 Today the lords you talked of are beheaded.
STANLEY 
 They, for their truth, might better wear their heads
 Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
95 But come, my lord, let’s away.

Enter a Pursuivant.

HASTINGS 
 Go on before. I’ll talk with this good fellow.
Lord Stanley and Catesby exit.
 How now, sirrah? How goes the world with thee?
PURSUIVANT 
 The better that your Lordship please to ask.
HASTINGS 
 I tell thee, man, ’tis better with me now
100 Than when thou met’st me last where now we meet.
 Then was I going prisoner to the Tower
 By the suggestion of the Queen’s allies.
 But now, I tell thee—keep it to thyself—
 This day those enemies are put to death,
105 And I in better state than e’er I was.
PURSUIVANT 
 God hold it, to your Honor’s good content!
HASTINGS 
 Gramercy, fellow. There, drink that for me.
Throws him his purse.
PURSUIVANT I thank your Honor.Pursuivant exits.

Enter a Priest.

PRIEST 
 Well met, my lord. I am glad to see your Honor.
HASTINGS 
110 I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.

155
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 3

 I am in your debt for your last exercise.
 Come the next sabbath, and I will content you.
PRIEST I’ll wait upon your Lordship.Priest exits.

Enter Buckingham.

BUCKINGHAM 
 What, talking with a priest, Lord Chamberlain?
115 Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest;
 Your Honor hath no shriving work in hand.
HASTINGS 
 Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
 The men you talk of came into my mind.
 What, go you toward the Tower?
BUCKINGHAM 
120 I do, my lord, but long I cannot stay there.
 I shall return before your Lordship thence.
HASTINGS 
 Nay, like enough, for I stay dinner there.
BUCKINGHAM, aside 
 And supper too, although thou know’st it not.—
 Come, will you go?
HASTINGS 125 I’ll wait upon your Lordship.
They exit.


Scene 3
Enter Sir Richard Ratcliffe, with Halberds, carrying the
nobles Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan to death at Pomfret.


RIVERS 
 Sir Richard Ratcliffe, let me tell thee this:
 Today shalt thou behold a subject die
 For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.
GREY, to Ratcliffe 
 God bless the Prince from all the pack of you!
5 A knot you are of damnèd bloodsuckers.

157
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 3

VAUGHAN, to Ratcliffe 
 You live that shall cry woe for this hereafter.
RATCLIFFE 
 Dispatch. The limit of your lives is out.
RIVERS 
 O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
 Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
10 Within the guilty closure of thy walls,
 Richard the Second here was hacked to death,
 And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
 We give to thee our guiltless blood to drink.
GREY 
 Now Margaret’s curse is fall’n upon our heads,
15 When she exclaimed on Hastings, you, and I,
 For standing by when Richard stabbed her son.
RIVERS 
 Then cursed she Richard. Then cursed she
 Buckingham.
 Then cursed she Hastings. O, remember, God,
20 To hear her prayer for them as now for us!
 And for my sister and her princely sons,
 Be satisfied, dear God, with our true blood,
 Which, as thou know’st, unjustly must be spilt.
RATCLIFFE 
 Make haste. The hour of death is expiate.
RIVERS 
25 Come, Grey. Come, Vaughan. Let us here embrace.
They embrace.
 Farewell until we meet again in heaven.
They exit.




159
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 4

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
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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.


Scene 5
Enter Richard and Buckingham, in rotten armor,
marvelous ill-favored.


RICHARD 
 Come, cousin, canst thou quake and change thy
 color,
 Murder thy breath in middle of a word,
 And then again begin, and stop again,
5 As if thou were distraught and mad with terror?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian,
 Speak, and look back, and pry on every side,
 Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,
 Intending deep suspicion. Ghastly looks
10 Are at my service, like enforcèd smiles,
 And both are ready, in their offices,
 At any time to grace my stratagems.
 But what, is Catesby gone?
RICHARD 
 He is; and see he brings the Mayor along.

169
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 5

Enter the Mayor and Catesby.

BUCKINGHAM 15Lord Mayor—
RICHARD Look to the drawbridge there!
BUCKINGHAM Hark, a drum!
RICHARD Catesby, o’erlook the walls.
Catesby exits.
BUCKINGHAM Lord Mayor, the reason we have sent—
RICHARD 
20 Look back! Defend thee! Here are enemies.
BUCKINGHAM 
 God and our innocence defend and guard us!

Enter Lovell and Ratcliffe, with Hastings’ head.

RICHARD 
 Be patient. They are friends, Ratcliffe and Lovell.
LOVELL 
 Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
 The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.
RICHARD 
25 So dear I loved the man that I must weep.
 I took him for the plainest harmless creature
 That breathed upon the Earth a Christian;
 Made him my book, wherein my soul recorded
 The history of all her secret thoughts.
30 So smooth he daubed his vice with show of virtue
 That, his apparent open guilt omitted—
 I mean his conversation with Shore’s wife—
 He lived from all attainder of suspects.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Well, well, he was the covert’st sheltered traitor
35 That ever lived.—
 Would you imagine, or almost believe,
 Were ’t not that by great preservation
 We live to tell it, that the subtle traitor

171
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 5

 This day had plotted, in the council house,
40 To murder me and my good lord of Gloucester?
MAYOR Had he done so?
RICHARD 
 What, think you we are Turks or infidels?
 Or that we would, against the form of law,
 Proceed thus rashly in the villain’s death,
45 But that the extreme peril of the case,
 The peace of England, and our persons’ safety
 Enforced us to this execution?
MAYOR 
 Now fair befall you! He deserved his death,
 And your good Graces both have well proceeded
50 To warn false traitors from the like attempts.
BUCKINGHAM 
 I never looked for better at his hands
 After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.
 Yet had we not determined he should die
 Until your Lordship came to see his end
55 (Which now the loving haste of these our friends,
 Something against our meanings, have prevented),
 Because, my lord, I would have had you heard
 The traitor speak and timorously confess
 The manner and the purpose of his treasons,
60 That you might well have signified the same
 Unto the citizens, who haply may
 Misconster us in him, and wail his death.
MAYOR 
 But, my good lord, your Graces’ words shall serve
 As well as I had seen and heard him speak;
65 And do not doubt, right noble princes both,
 But I’ll acquaint our duteous citizens
 With all your just proceedings in this case.
RICHARD 
 And to that end we wished your Lordship here,
 T’ avoid the censures of the carping world.

173
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 5

BUCKINGHAM 
70 Which since you come too late of our intent,
 Yet witness what you hear we did intend.
 And so, my good Lord Mayor, we bid farewell.
Mayor exits.
RICHARD 
 Go after, after, cousin Buckingham.
 The Mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post.
75 There, at your meetest vantage of the time,
 Infer the bastardy of Edward’s children.
 Tell them how Edward put to death a citizen
 Only for saying he would make his son
 Heir to the Crown—meaning indeed his house,
80 Which, by the sign thereof, was termèd so.
 Moreover, urge his hateful luxury
 And bestial appetite in change of lust,
 Which stretched unto their servants, daughters,
 wives,
85 Even where his raging eye or savage heart,
 Without control, lusted to make a prey.
 Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:
 Tell them when that my mother went with child
 Of that insatiate Edward, noble York
90 My princely father then had wars in France,
 And, by true computation of the time,
 Found that the issue was not his begot,
 Which well appearèd in his lineaments,
 Being nothing like the noble duke my father.
95 Yet touch this sparingly, as ’twere far off,
 Because, my lord, you know my mother lives.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Doubt not, my lord. I’ll play the orator
 As if the golden fee for which I plead
 Were for myself. And so, my lord, adieu.
RICHARD 
100 If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard’s Castle,

175
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 6

 Where you shall find me well accompanied
 With reverend fathers and well-learnèd bishops.
BUCKINGHAM 
 I go; and towards three or four o’clock
 Look for the news that the Guildhall affords.
Buckingham exits.
RICHARD 
105 Go, Lovell, with all speed to Doctor Shaa.
 To Ratcliffe. Go thou to Friar Penker. Bid them
 both
 Meet me within this hour at Baynard’s Castle.
Ratcliffe and Lovell exit.
 Now will I go to take some privy order
110 To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight,
 And to give order that no manner person
 Have any time recourse unto the Princes.
He exits.


Scene 6
Enter a Scrivener.

SCRIVENER 
 Here is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings,
 Which in a set hand fairly is engrossed,
 That it may be today read o’er in Paul’s.
 And mark how well the sequel hangs together:
5 Eleven hours I have spent to write it over,
 For yesternight by Catesby was it sent me;
 The precedent was full as long a-doing,
 And yet within these five hours Hastings lived,
 Untainted, unexamined, free, at liberty.
10 Here’s a good world the while! Who is so gross
 That cannot see this palpable device?
 Yet who so bold but says he sees it not?

177
Richard III
ACT 3. SC. 7

 Bad is the world, and all will come to naught
 When such ill dealing must be seen in thought.
He exits.


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.


ACT 4
Scene 1
Enter Queen Elizabeth, with the Duchess of York, and
the Lord Marquess of Dorset, at one door; Anne,
Duchess of Gloucester with Clarence’s daughter, at
another door.


DUCHESS 
 Who meets us here? My niece Plantagenet
 Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?
 Now, for my life, she’s wandering to the Tower,
 On pure heart’s love, to greet the tender prince.—
5 Daughter, well met.
ANNE  God give your Graces both
 A happy and a joyful time of day.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 As much to you, good sister. Whither away?
ANNE 
 No farther than the Tower, and, as I guess,
10 Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
 To gratulate the gentle princes there.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Kind sister, thanks. We’ll enter all together.

Enter Brakenbury, the Lieutenant.

 And in good time here the Lieutenant comes.—
 Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,
15 How doth the Prince and my young son of York?
197

199
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 1

BRAKENBURY 
 Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
 I may not suffer you to visit them.
 The King hath strictly charged the contrary.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 The King? Who’s that?
BRAKENBURY 20 I mean, the Lord Protector.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 The Lord protect him from that kingly title!
 Hath he set bounds between their love and me?
 I am their mother. Who shall bar me from them?
DUCHESS 
 I am their father’s mother. I will see them.
ANNE 
25 Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother.
 Then bring me to their sights. I’ll bear thy blame
 And take thy office from thee, on my peril.
BRAKENBURY 
 No, madam, no. I may not leave it so.
 I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.
Brakenbury the Lieutenant exits.

Enter Stanley.

STANLEY 
30 Let me but meet you ladies one hour hence,
 And I’ll salute your Grace of York as mother
 And reverend looker-on of two fair queens.
 To Anne. Come, madam, you must straight to
 Westminster,
35 There to be crownèd Richard’s royal queen.
QUEEN ELIZABETH Ah, cut my lace asunder
 That my pent heart may have some scope to beat,
 Or else I swoon with this dead-killing news!
ANNE 
 Despiteful tidings! O, unpleasing news!

201
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 1

DORSET, to Queen Elizabeth 
40 Be of good cheer, mother. How fares your Grace?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 O Dorset, speak not to me. Get thee gone.
 Death and destruction dogs thee at thy heels.
 Thy mother’s name is ominous to children.
 If thou wilt outstrip death, go, cross the seas,
45 And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell.
 Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughterhouse,
 Lest thou increase the number of the dead
 And make me die the thrall of Margaret’s curse,
 Nor mother, wife, nor England’s counted queen.
STANLEY 
50 Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.
 To Dorset. Take all the swift advantage of the
 hours.
 You shall have letters from me to my son
 In your behalf, to meet you on the way.
55 Be not ta’en tardy by unwise delay.
DUCHESS 
 O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
 O my accursèd womb, the bed of death!
 A cockatrice hast thou hatched to the world,
 Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
STANLEY, to Anne 
60 Come, madam, come. I in all haste was sent.
ANNE 
 And I with all unwillingness will go.
 O, would to God that the inclusive verge
 Of golden metal that must round my brow
 Were red-hot steel to sear me to the brains!
65 Anointed let me be with deadly venom,
 And die ere men can say “God save the Queen.”
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory.
 To feed my humor, wish thyself no harm.

203
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ACT 4. SC. 1

ANNE 
 No? Why? When he that is my husband now
70 Came to me as I followed Henry’s corse,
 When scarce the blood was well washed from his
 hands
 Which issued from my other angel husband
 And that dear saint which then I weeping followed—
75 O, when, I say, I looked on Richard’s face,
 This was my wish: be thou, quoth I, accursed
 For making me, so young, so old a widow;
 And, when thou wedd’st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
 And be thy wife, if any be so mad,
80 More miserable by the life of thee
 Than thou hast made me by my dear lord’s death.
 Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
 Within so small a time my woman’s heart
 Grossly grew captive to his honey words
85 And proved the subject of mine own soul’s curse,
 Which hitherto hath held my eyes from rest,
 For never yet one hour in his bed
 Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep,
 But with his timorous dreams was still awaked.
90 Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick,
 And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Poor heart, adieu. I pity thy complaining.
ANNE 
 No more than with my soul I mourn for yours.
DORSET 
 Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory.
ANNE 
95 Adieu, poor soul that tak’st thy leave of it.
DUCHESS, to Dorset 
 Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee.
 To Anne. Go thou to Richard, and good angels
 tend thee.

205
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ACT 4. SC. 2

 To Queen Elizabeth. Go thou to sanctuary, and
100 good thoughts possess thee.
 I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me.
 Eighty-odd years of sorrow have I seen,
 And each hour’s joy wracked with a week of teen.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.—
105 Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
 Whom envy hath immured within your walls—
 Rough cradle for such little pretty ones.
 Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
 For tender princes, use my babies well.
110 So foolish sorrows bids your stones farewell.
They exit.


Scene 2
Sound a sennet. Enter Richard in pomp; Buckingham,
Catesby, Ratcliffe, Lovell, and others, including a Page.


RICHARD 
 Stand all apart.—Cousin of Buckingham.
The others move aside.
BUCKINGHAM My gracious sovereign.
RICHARD 
 Give me thy hand.
Here he ascendeth the throne. Sound trumpets.
 Thus high, by thy advice
5 And thy assistance is King Richard seated.
 But shall we wear these glories for a day,
 Or shall they last and we rejoice in them?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Still live they, and forever let them last.
RICHARD 
 Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
10 To try if thou be current gold indeed:
 Young Edward lives; think now what I would speak.

207
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ACT 4. SC. 2

BUCKINGHAM Say on, my loving lord.
RICHARD 
 Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Why so you are, my thrice-renownèd lord.
RICHARD 
15 Ha! Am I king? ’Tis so—but Edward lives.
BUCKINGHAM 
 True, noble prince.
RICHARD  O bitter consequence
 That Edward still should live “true noble prince”!
 Cousin, thou wast not wont to be so dull.
20 Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead,
 And I would have it suddenly performed.
 What sayst thou now? Speak suddenly. Be brief.
BUCKINGHAM Your Grace may do your pleasure.
RICHARD 
 Tut, tut, thou art all ice; thy kindness freezes.
25 Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
BUCKINGHAM 
 Give me some little breath, some pause, dear lord,
 Before I positively speak in this.
 I will resolve you herein presently.
Buckingham exits.
CATESBY, aside to the other Attendants 
 The King is angry. See, he gnaws his lip.
RICHARD, aside 
30 I will converse with iron-witted fools
 And unrespective boys. None are for me
 That look into me with considerate eyes.
 High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.—
 Boy!
PAGE, coming forward 35My lord?
RICHARD 
 Know’st thou not any whom corrupting gold
 Will tempt unto a close exploit of death?

209
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ACT 4. SC. 2

PAGE 
 I know a discontented gentleman
 Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit.
40 Gold were as good as twenty orators,
 And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.
RICHARD 
 What is his name?
PAGE  His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
RICHARD 
 I partly know the man. Go, call him hither, boy.
Page exits.
45 Aside. The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
 No more shall be the neighbor to my counsels.
 Hath he so long held out with me, untired,
 And stops he now for breath? Well, be it so.

Enter Stanley.

 How now, Lord Stanley, what’s the news?
STANLEY 50Know, my loving lord,
 The Marquess Dorset, as I hear, is fled
 To Richmond, in the parts where he abides.
He walks aside.
RICHARD 
 Come hither, Catesby. Rumor it abroad
 That Anne my wife is very grievous sick.
55 I will take order for her keeping close.
 Inquire me out some mean poor gentleman,
 Whom I will marry straight to Clarence’ daughter.
 The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.
 Look how thou dream’st! I say again, give out
60 That Anne my queen is sick and like to die.
 About it, for it stands me much upon
 To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.
Catesby exits.
 Aside. I must be married to my brother’s daughter,
 Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.

211
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 2

65 Murder her brothers, and then marry her—
 Uncertain way of gain. But I am in
 So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.
 Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.

Enter Tyrrel.

 Is thy name Tyrrel?
TYRREL 
70 James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.
RICHARD 
 Art thou indeed?
TYRREL  Prove me, my gracious lord.
RICHARD 
 Dar’st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
TYRREL 
 Please you. But I had rather kill two enemies.
RICHARD 
75 Why then, thou hast it. Two deep enemies,
 Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep’s disturbers,
 Are they that I would have thee deal upon.
 Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
TYRREL 
 Let me have open means to come to them,
80 And soon I’ll rid you from the fear of them.
RICHARD 
 Thou sing’st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel.
Tyrrel approaches Richard and kneels.
 Go, by this token. Rise, and lend thine ear.
Tyrrel rises, and Richard whispers
to him. Then Tyrrel steps back.

 There is no more but so. Say it is done,
 And I will love thee and prefer thee for it.
TYRREL 85I will dispatch it straight.He exits.

Enter Buckingham.


213
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 2

BUCKINGHAM 
 My lord, I have considered in my mind
 The late request that you did sound me in.
RICHARD 
 Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to Richmond.
BUCKINGHAM I hear the news, my lord.
RICHARD 
90 Stanley, he is your wife’s son. Well, look unto it.
BUCKINGHAM 
 My lord, I claim the gift, my due by promise,
 For which your honor and your faith is pawned—
 Th’ earldom of Hereford and the movables
 Which you have promisèd I shall possess.
RICHARD 
95 Stanley, look to your wife. If she convey
 Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.
BUCKINGHAM 
 What says your Highness to my just request?
RICHARD 
 I do remember me, Henry the Sixth
 Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
100 When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
 A king perhaps—
BUCKINGHAM My lord—
RICHARD 
 How chance the prophet could not at that time
 Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?
BUCKINGHAM 
105 My lord, your promise for the earldom—
RICHARD 
 Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
 The Mayor in courtesy showed me the castle
 And called it Rougemont, at which name I started,
 Because a bard of Ireland told me once
110 I should not live long after I saw Richmond.
BUCKINGHAM My lord—

215
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 3

RICHARD Ay, what’s o’clock?
BUCKINGHAM 
 I am thus bold to put your Grace in mind
 Of what you promised me.
RICHARD 115Well, but what’s o’clock?
BUCKINGHAM Upon the stroke of ten.
RICHARD Well, let it strike.
BUCKINGHAM Why let it strike?
RICHARD 
 Because that, like a jack, thou keep’st the stroke
120 Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
 I am not in the giving vein today.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Why then, resolve me whether you will or no.
RICHARD 
 Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.
He exits, and is followed by all but Buckingham.
BUCKINGHAM 
 And is it thus? Repays he my deep service
125 With such contempt? Made I him king for this?
 O, let me think on Hastings and be gone
 To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on!
He exits.


Scene 3
Enter Tyrrel.

TYRREL 
 The tyrannous and bloody act is done,
 The most arch deed of piteous massacre
 That ever yet this land was guilty of.
 Dighton and Forrest, who I did suborn
5 To do this piece of ruthless butchery,
 Albeit they were fleshed villains, bloody dogs,
 Melted with tenderness and mild compassion,

217
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 3

 Wept like two children in their deaths’ sad story.
 “O thus,” quoth Dighton, “lay the gentle babes.”
10 “Thus, thus,” quoth Forrest, “girdling one another
 Within their alabaster innocent arms.
 Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
 And in their summer beauty kissed each other.
 A book of prayers on their pillow lay,
15 Which once, quoth Forrest, “almost changed my
 mind,
 But, O, the devil—” There the villain stopped;
 When Dighton thus told on: “We smotherèd
 The most replenishèd sweet work of nature
20 That from the prime creation e’er she framed.”
 Hence both are gone with conscience and remorse;
 They could not speak; and so I left them both
 To bear this tidings to the bloody king.

Enter Richard.

 And here he comes.—All health, my sovereign lord.
RICHARD 
25 Kind Tyrrel, am I happy in thy news?
TYRREL 
 If to have done the thing you gave in charge
 Beget your happiness, be happy then,
 For it is done.
RICHARD  But did’st thou see them dead?
TYRREL 
30 I did, my lord.
RICHARD  And buried, gentle Tyrrel?
TYRREL 
 The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them,
 But where, to say the truth, I do not know.
RICHARD 
 Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after-supper,
35 When thou shalt tell the process of their death.
 Meantime, but think how I may do thee good,

219
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 3

 And be inheritor of thy desire.
 Farewell till then.
TYRREL  I humbly take my leave.
Tyrrel exits.
RICHARD 
40 The son of Clarence have I pent up close,
 His daughter meanly have I matched in marriage,
 The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham’s bosom,
 And Anne my wife hath bid this world goodnight.
 Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims
45 At young Elizabeth, my brother’s daughter,
 And by that knot looks proudly on the crown,
 To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.

Enter Ratcliffe.

RATCLIFFE My lord.
RICHARD 
 Good or bad news, that thou com’st in so bluntly?
RATCLIFFE 
50 Bad news, my lord. Morton is fled to Richmond,
 And Buckingham, backed with the hardy Welshmen,
 Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.
RICHARD 
 Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
 Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength.
55 Come, I have learned that fearful commenting
 Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
 Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary;
 Then fiery expedition be my wing,
 Jove’s Mercury, and herald for a king.
60 Go, muster men. My counsel is my shield.
 We must be brief when traitors brave the field.
They exit.




221
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

Scene 4
Enter old Queen Margaret.

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.

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.
QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
 Hover about her; say that right for right
 Hath dimmed your infant morn to agèd night.
DUCHESS 
 So many miseries have crazed my voice
 That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.
20 Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
 Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet;
 Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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?

223
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

QUEEN MARGARET, aside 
 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
 usurped,
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.
DUCHESS 
 I had a Richard too, and thou did’st kill him;
 I had a Rutland too; thou holp’st to kill him.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 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

225
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.
QUEEN MARGARET 
 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!
QUEEN MARGARET 
 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,

227
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
 Queen?”
 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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 O, thou well-skilled in curses, stay awhile,
120 And teach me how to curse mine enemies.

229
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

QUEEN MARGARET 
 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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 My words are dull. O, quicken them with thine!
QUEEN MARGARET 
 Thy woes will make them sharp and pierce like
 mine.Margaret exits.
DUCHESS 
130 Why should calamity be full of words?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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.
DUCHESS 
 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.

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

231
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

QUEEN ELIZABETH, to Richard 
 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?
QUEEN ELIZABETH, to Richard 
 Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
DUCHESS, to Richard Where is kind Hastings?
RICHARD 
 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?
RICHARD 
160 Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.
DUCHESS 
 Then patiently hear my impatience.
RICHARD 
 Madam, I have a touch of your condition,
 That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
DUCHESS 
 O, let me speak!
RICHARD 165 Do then, but I’ll not hear.
DUCHESS 
 I will be mild and gentle in my words.
RICHARD 
 And brief, good mother, for I am in haste.

233
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

DUCHESS 
 Art thou so hasty? I have stayed for thee,
 God knows, in torment and in agony.
RICHARD 
170 And came I not at last to comfort you?
DUCHESS 
 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
 furious;
 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?
RICHARD 
 Faith, none but Humfrey Hower, that called your
 Grace
 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.
RICHARD 
 You speak too bitterly.
DUCHESS 190 Hear me a word,
 For I shall never speak to thee again.
RICHARD So.
DUCHESS 
 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,

235
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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to
 curse
 Abides in me. I say amen to her.
RICHARD 
 Stay, madam. I must talk a word with you.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
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.
RICHARD 
 You have a daughter called Elizabeth,
215 Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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.
RICHARD 
 Wrong not her birth. She is a royal princess.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 To save her life, I’ll say she is not so.
RICHARD 
 Her life is safest only in her birth.

237
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

QUEEN ELIZABETH 
225 And only in that safety died her brothers.
RICHARD 
 Lo, at their birth good stars were opposite.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 No, to their lives ill friends were contrary.
RICHARD 
 All unavoided is the doom of destiny.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 True, when avoided grace makes destiny.
230 My babes were destined to a fairer death
 If grace had blessed thee with a fairer life.
RICHARD 
 You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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.
RICHARD 
 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!
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
250 What good is covered with the face of heaven,
 To be discovered, that can do me good?

239
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

RICHARD 
 Th’ advancement of your children, gentle lady.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads.
RICHARD 
 Unto the dignity and height of fortune,
255 The high imperial type of this Earth’s glory.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Flatter my sorrow with report of it.
 Tell me what state, what dignity, what honor,
 Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
RICHARD 
 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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness
265 Last longer telling than thy kindness’ date.
RICHARD 
 Then know that from my soul I love thy daughter.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 My daughter’s mother thinks it with her soul.
RICHARD What do you think?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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.
RICHARD 
 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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
275 Well then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?

241
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

RICHARD 
 Even he that makes her queen. Who else should be?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 What, thou?
RICHARD  Even so. How think you of it?
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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.
RICHARD 
 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.
RICHARD 
 Say that I did all this for love of her.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
 Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.

243
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

RICHARD 
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.

245
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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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?
RICHARD 
 Infer fair England’s peace by this alliance.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Which she shall purchase with still-lasting war.
RICHARD 
 Tell her the King, that may command, entreats—
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
360 That, at her hands, which the King’s King forbids.
RICHARD 
 Say she shall be a high and mighty queen.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 To vail the title, as her mother doth.
RICHARD 
 Say I will love her everlastingly.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 But how long shall that title “ever” last?
RICHARD 
365 Sweetly in force unto her fair life’s end.

247
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

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

249
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
 wronged.
RICHARD 
390 Then, by myself—
QUEEN ELIZABETH  Thyself is self-misused.
RICHARD 
 Now, by the world—
QUEEN ELIZABETH  ’Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
RICHARD 
 My father’s death—
QUEEN ELIZABETH 395 Thy life hath it dishonored.
RICHARD 
 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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 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
 slaughtered,
 Ungoverned youth, to wail it in their age;

251
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

415 The parents live whose children thou hast
 butchered,
 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.
RICHARD 
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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
RICHARD 
 Ay, if the devil tempt you to do good.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Shall I forget myself to be myself?
RICHARD 
 Ay, if your self’s remembrance wrong yourself.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 445Yet thou didst kill my children.

253
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

RICHARD 
 But in your daughter’s womb I bury them,
 Where, in that nest of spicery, they will breed
 Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 
 Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?
RICHARD 
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.
RICHARD 
 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?
RATCLIFFE 
 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.
RICHARD 
 Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of
 Norfolk—
465 Ratcliffe thyself, or Catesby. Where is he?
CATESBY 
 Here, my good lord.
RICHARD  Catesby, fly to the Duke.
CATESBY 
 I will, my lord, with all convenient haste.
RICHARD 
 Ratcliffe, come hither. Post to Salisbury.
255
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?
CATESBY 
 First, mighty liege, tell me your Highness’ pleasure,
 What from your Grace I shall deliver to him.
RICHARD 
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.
RATCLIFFE 
 What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?
RICHARD 
480 Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go?
RATCLIFFE 
 Your Highness told me I should post before.
RICHARD 
 My mind is changed.

Enter Lord Stanley.

 Stanley, what news with you?
STANLEY 
 None good, my liege, to please you with the hearing,
485 Nor none so bad but well may be reported.
RICHARD 
 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.
RICHARD 
 There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
 White-livered runagate, what doth he there?
STANLEY 
 I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.

257
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 4

RICHARD Well, as you guess?
STANLEY 
495 Stirred up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton,
 He makes for England, here to claim the crown.
RICHARD 
 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?
STANLEY 
 Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
RICHARD 
 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.
STANLEY 
 No, my good lord. Therefore mistrust me not.
RICHARD 
 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?
STANLEY 
 No, my good lord. My friends are in the north.
RICHARD 
 Cold friends to me. What do they in the north
 When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
STANLEY 
 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.
RICHARD 
 Ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond,
 But I’ll not trust thee.

259
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.
RICHARD 
 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.
STANLEY 
 So deal with him as I prove true to you.
Stanley exits.

Enter a Messenger.

FIRST 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.

SECOND 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.

THIRD MESSENGER 
535 My lord, the army of great Buckingham—
RICHARD 
 Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of death.
He striketh him.
 There, take thou that till thou bring better news.
THIRD MESSENGER 
 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,

261
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?
THIRD MESSENGER 
 Such proclamation hath been made, my lord.

Enter another Messenger.

FOURTH 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.
RICHARD 
 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.

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.
RICHARD 
565 Away towards Salisbury! While we reason here,
 A royal battle might be won and lost.

263
Richard III
ACT 4. SC. 5

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


Scene 5
Enter Stanley, Earl of Derby, and Sir Christopher.

STANLEY 
 Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me:
 That in the sty of the most deadly boar
 My son George Stanley is franked up in hold;
 If I revolt, off goes young George’s head;
5 The fear of that holds off my present aid.
 So get thee gone. Commend me to thy lord.
 Withal, say that the Queen hath heartily consented
 He should espouse Elizabeth her daughter.
 But tell me, where is princely Richmond now?
CHRISTOPHER 
10 At Pembroke, or at Ha’rfordwest in Wales.
STANLEY What men of name resort to him?
CHRISTOPHER 
 Sir Walter Herbert, a renownèd soldier;
 Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley,
 Oxford, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt,
15 And Rice ap Thomas, with a valiant crew,
 And many other of great name and worth;
 And towards London do they bend their power,
 If by the way they be not fought withal.
STANLEY, giving Sir Christopher a paper 
 Well, hie thee to thy lord. I kiss his hand.
20 My letter will resolve him of my mind.
 Farewell.
They exit.


ACT 5
Scene 1
Enter Buckingham, with Sheriff and Halberds, led to
execution.


BUCKINGHAM 
 Will not King Richard let me speak with him?
SHERIFF 
 No, my good lord. Therefore be patient.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Hastings and Edward’s children, Grey and Rivers,
 Holy King Henry and thy fair son Edward,
5 Vaughan, and all that have miscarrièd
 By underhand, corrupted, foul injustice,
 If that your moody, discontented souls
 Do through the clouds behold this present hour,
 Even for revenge mock my destruction.—
10 This is All Souls’ Day, fellow, is it not?
SHERIFF It is.
BUCKINGHAM 
 Why, then, All Souls’ Day is my body’s doomsday.
 This is the day which, in King Edward’s time,
 I wished might fall on me when I was found
15 False to his children and his wife’s allies.
 This is the day wherein I wished to fall
 By the false faith of him whom most I trusted.
 This, this All Souls’ Day to my fearful soul
267

269
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 2

 Is the determined respite of my wrongs.
20 That high All-seer which I dallied with
 Hath turned my feignèd prayer on my head
 And given in earnest what I begged in jest.
 Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men
 To turn their own points in their masters’ bosoms.
25 Thus Margaret’s curse falls heavy on my neck:
 “When he,” quoth she, “shall split thy heart with
 sorrow,
 Remember Margaret was a prophetess.”—
 Come, lead me, officers, to the block of shame.
30 Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame.
Buckingham exits with Officers.


Scene 2
Enter Richmond, Oxford, Blunt, Herbert, and others,
with Drum and Colors.


RICHMOND 
 Fellows in arms, and my most loving friends,
 Bruised underneath the yoke of tyranny,
 Thus far into the bowels of the land
 Have we marched on without impediment,
5 And here receive we from our father Stanley
 Lines of fair comfort and encouragement.
 The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
 That spoiled your summer fields and fruitful vines,
 Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his
10 trough
 In your embowelled bosoms—this foul swine
 Is now even in the center of this isle,
 Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn.
 From Tamworth thither is but one day’s march.
15 In God’s name, cheerly on, courageous friends,

271
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 To reap the harvest of perpetual peace
 By this one bloody trial of sharp war.
OXFORD 
 Every man’s conscience is a thousand men
 To fight against this guilty homicide.
HERBERT 
20 I doubt not but his friends will turn to us.
BLUNT 
 He hath no friends but what are friends for fear,
 Which in his dearest need will fly from him.
RICHMOND 
 All for our vantage. Then, in God’s name, march.
 True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings;
25 Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.
All exit.


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


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

273
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 But where tomorrow? Well, all’s one for that.
10 Who hath descried the number of the traitors?
NORFOLK 
 Six or seven thousand is their utmost power.
RICHARD 
 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.


RICHMOND 
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?

275
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

BLUNT 
 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.
RICHMOND 
40 If without peril it be possible,
 Sweet Blunt, make some good means to speak with
 him,
 And give him from me this most needful note.
He gives a paper.
BLUNT 
 Upon my life, my lord, I’ll undertake it,
45 And so God give you quiet rest tonight.
RICHMOND 
 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?
CATESBY 
 It’s suppertime, my lord. It’s nine o’clock.
RICHARD 
 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?
CATESBY 
55 It is, my liege, and all things are in readiness.
RICHARD 
 Good Norfolk, hie thee to thy charge.
 Use careful watch. Choose trusty [sentinels.]

277
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

NORFOLK I go, my lord.
RICHARD 
 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
 watch.
 Saddle white Surrey for the field tomorrow.
70 Look that my staves be sound and not too heavy.—
 Ratcliffe.
RATCLIFFE My lord.
RICHARD 
 Sawst thou the melancholy Lord Northumberland?
RATCLIFFE 
 Thomas the Earl of Surrey and himself,
75 Much about cockshut time, from troop to troop
 Went through the army cheering up the soldiers.
RICHARD 
 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?
RATCLIFFE 
 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.


279
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

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

STANLEY 
85 Fortune and victory sit on thy helm!
RICHMOND 
 All comfort that the dark night can afford
 Be to thy person, noble father-in-law.
 Tell me, how fares our loving mother?
STANLEY 
 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.
RICHMOND 
 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.

281
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
 youth
 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.

283
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.

285
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.

GHOST OF BUCKINGHAM, (to Richard) 
 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,

287
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.
RICHARD 
 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.

289
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

Enter Ratcliffe.

RATCLIFFE My lord.
RICHARD 220Zounds, who is there?
RATCLIFFE 
 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.
RICHARD 
 O Ratcliffe, I have dreamed a fearful dream!
225 What think’st thou, will our friends prove all true?
RATCLIFFE 
 No doubt, my lord.
RICHARD  O Ratcliffe, I fear, I fear.
RATCLIFFE 
 Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.
RICHARD 
 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.
RICHMOND 
 Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen,
 That you have ta’en a tardy sluggard here.
A LORD How have you slept, my lord?
RICHMOND 
240 The sweetest sleep and fairest-boding dreams
 That ever entered in a drowsy head
 Have I since your departure had, my lords.

291
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Methought their souls whose bodies Richard
 murdered
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
 him;
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.

293
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.

RICHARD 
 What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?
RATCLIFFE 
 That he was never trainèd up in arms.
RICHARD 
 He said the truth. And what said Surrey then?
RATCLIFFE 
 He smiled and said “The better for our purpose.”
RICHARD 
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.
RICHARD 
 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.
 Ratcliffe!
RATCLIFFE 
 My lord.
RICHARD  The sun will [not] be seen today.

295
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.

NORFOLK 
305 Arm, arm, my lord. The foe vaunts in the field.
RICHARD 
 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?
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.

297
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
 thumped,
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.—

299
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!
NORFOLK 
 My lord, the enemy is past the marsh.
 After the battle let George Stanley die.
RICHARD 
 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.


Scene 4
Alarum. Excursions. Enter Norfolk, with Soldiers, and
Catesby.


CATESBY 
 Rescue, my lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!
 The King enacts more wonders than a man,
 Daring an opposite to every danger.
 His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights,
5 Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death.
 Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost.
Norfolk exits with Soldiers.

[Alarums.] Enter Richard.

RICHARD 
 A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!
CATESBY 
 Withdraw, my lord. I’ll help you to a horse.

301
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 5

RICHARD 
 Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
10 And I will stand the hazard of the die.
 I think there be six Richmonds in the field;
 Five have I slain today instead of him.
 A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!
They exit.


Scene 5
Alarum. Enter Richard and Richmond. They fight.
Richard is slain.
 Then retreat being sounded, Richmond
exits, and Richard’s body is removed.
 [Flourish.] Enter
Richmond, Stanley, Earl of Derby, bearing the crown,
with other Lords, and Soldiers.


RICHMOND 
 God and your arms be praised, victorious friends!
 The day is ours; the bloody dog is dead.
STANLEY, offering him the crown 
 Courageous Richmond, well hast thou acquit thee.
 Lo, here this long-usurpèd royalty
5 From the dead temples of this bloody wretch
 Have I plucked off, to grace thy brows withal.
 Wear it, enjoy it, and make much of it.
RICHMOND 
 Great God of heaven, say amen to all!
 But tell me, is young George Stanley living?
STANLEY 
10 He is, my lord, and safe in Leicester town,
 Whither, if it please you, we may now withdraw us.
RICHMOND 
 What men of name are slain on either side?
[STANLEY] 
 John, Duke of Norfolk, [Walter], Lord Ferrers,
 Sir Robert Brakenbury, and Sir William Brandon.

303
Richard III
ACT 5. SC. 5

RICHMOND 
15 Inter their bodies as becomes their births.
 Proclaim a pardon to the soldiers fled
 That in submission will return to us.
 And then, as we have ta’en the sacrament,
 We will unite the white rose and the red;
20 Smile heaven upon this fair conjunction,
 That long have frowned upon their enmity.
 What traitor hears me and says not “Amen”?
 England hath long been mad and scarred herself:
 The brother blindly shed the brother’s blood;
25 The father rashly slaughtered his own son;
 The son, compelled, been butcher to the sire.
 All this divided York and Lancaster,
 Divided in their dire division.
 O, now let Richmond and Elizabeth,
30 The true succeeders of each royal house,
 By God’s fair ordinance conjoin together,
 And let their heirs, God, if Thy will be so,
 Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace,
 With smiling plenty and fair prosperous days.
35 Abate the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,
 That would reduce these bloody days again
 And make poor England weep in streams of blood.
 Let them not live to taste this land’s increase,
 That would with treason wound this fair land’s peace.
40 Now civil wounds are stopped, peace lives again.
 That she may long live here, God say amen.
[They exit.]