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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare King Richard III

Part 2 out of 3

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BUCKINGHAM. Good Catesby, go effect this business soundly.
CATESBY. My good lords both, with all the heed I can.
GLOUCESTER. Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?
CATESBY. You shall, my lord.
GLOUCESTER. At Crosby House, there shall you find us both.
BUCKINGHAM. Now, my lord, what shall we do if we
Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?
GLOUCESTER. Chop off his head-something we will
And, look when I am King, claim thou of me
The earldom of Hereford and all the movables
Whereof the King my brother was possess'd.
BUCKINGHAM. I'll claim that promise at your Grace's hand.
GLOUCESTER. And look to have it yielded with all kindness.
Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards
We may digest our complots in some form. Exeunt


Before LORD HASTING'S house

Enter a MESSENGER to the door of HASTINGS

MESSENGER. My lord, my lord! [Knocking]
HASTINGS. [Within] Who knocks?
MESSENGER. One from the Lord Stanley.
HASTINGS. [Within] What is't o'clock?
MESSENGER. Upon the stroke of four.


HASTINGS. Cannot my Lord Stanley sleep these tedious
MESSENGER. So it appears by that I have to say.
First, he commends him to your noble self.
HASTINGS. What then?
MESSENGER. Then certifies your lordship that this night
He dreamt the boar had razed off his helm.
Besides, he says there are two councils kept,
And that may be determin'd at the one
Which may make you and him to rue at th' other.
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. Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
Bid him not fear the separated council:
His honour and myself are at the one,
And at the other is my good friend Catesby;
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
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
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. I'll go, my lord, and tell him what you say.


CATESBY. Many good morrows to my noble lord!
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;
And I believe will never stand upright
Till Richard wear the garland of the realm.
HASTINGS. How, wear the garland! Dost thou mean the
CATESBY. Ay, my good lord.
HASTINGS. I'll have this crown of mine cut from my
Before I'll see the crown so foul misplac'd.
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;
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;
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,
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.
CATESBY. 'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepar'd 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 knowest, are dear
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 deserv'd it.


Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
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 yours,
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
Were jocund and suppos'd 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 rancour I misdoubt;
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward.
What, shall we toward the Tower? The day is spent.
HASTINGS. Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my
To-day the lords you talk'd of are beheaded.
STANLEY. They, for their truth, might better wear their
Than some that have accus'd them wear their hats.
But come, my lord, let's away.

Enter HASTINGS, a pursuivant

HASTINGS. Go on before; I'll talk with this good fellow.
How now, Hastings! 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
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 enernies are put to death,
And I in better state than e'er I was.
PURSUIVANT. God hold it, to your honour's good content!
HASTINGS. Gramercy, Hastings; there, drink that for me.
[Throws him his purse]
PURSUIVANT. I thank your honour. Exit

Enter a PRIEST

PRIEST. Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.
HASTINGS. I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
I am in your debt for your last exercise;
Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.
[He whispers in his ear]
PRIEST. I'll wait upon your lordship.


BUCKINGHAM. What, talking with a priest, Lord
Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest:
Your honour 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. 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
knowest it not.-
Come, will you go?
HASTINGS. I'll wait upon your lordship. Exeunt


Pomfret Castle

Enter SIR RICHARD RATCLIFF, with halberds, carrying the Nobles,
RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN, to death

RIVERS. Sir Richard Ratcliff, let me tell thee this:
To-day shalt thou behold a subject die
For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.
GREY. God bless the Prince from all the pack of you!
A knot you are of damned blood-suckers.
VAUGHAN. You live that shall cry woe for this hereafter.
RATCLIFF. Dispatch; the limit of your lives is out.
RIVERS. O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
Within the guilty closure of thy walls
RICHARD the Second here was hack'd 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,
When she exclaim'd on Hastings, you, and I,
For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son.
RIVERS. Then curs'd she Richard, then curs'd she
Then curs'd she Hastings. O, remember, God,
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.
RATCLIFF. Make haste; the hour of death is expiate.
RIVERS. Come, Grey; come, Vaughan; let us here embrace.
Farewell, until we meet again in heaven. Exeunt


London. The Tower

with others and seat themselves 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?
DERBY. It is, and wants but nomination.
BISHOP OF ELY. To-morrow then I judge a happy day.
BUCKINGHAM. Who knows the Lord Protector's mind
Who is most inward with the noble Duke?
BISHOP OF ELY. Your Grace, we think, should soonest know
his 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. I thank his Grace, I know he loves me well;
But for his purpose in the coronation
I have not sounded him, nor he deliver'd
His gracious pleasure any way therein.
But you, my honourable lords, may name the time;
And in the Duke's behalf I'll give my voice,
Which, I presume, he'll take in gentle part.


BISHOP OF ELY. In happy time, here comes the Duke himself.
GLOUCESTER. My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
I have been long a sleeper, but I trust
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 pronounc'd your part-
I mean, your voice for crowning of the King.
GLOUCESTER. Than my Lord Hastings no man might be
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.
BISHOP of ELY. Marry and will, my lord, with all my heart.
GLOUCESTER. Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
[Takes him aside]
Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business,
And finds the testy gentleman so hot
That he will lose his head ere give consent
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.
DERBY. We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
To-morrow, in my judgment, is too sudden;
For I myself am not so well provided
As else I would be, were the day prolong'd.

Re-enter the BISHOP OF ELY

BISHOP OF ELY. Where is my lord the Duke of Gloucester?
I have sent for these strawberries.
HASTINGS. His Grace looks cheerfully and smooth this
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;
For by his face straight shall you know his heart.
DERBY. What of his heart perceive you in his face
By any livelihood he show'd to-day?
HASTINGS. Marry, that with no man here he is offended;
For, were he, he had shown it in his looks.


GLOUCESTER. I pray you all, tell me what they deserve
That do conspire my death with devilish plots
Of damned witchcraft, and that have prevail'd
Upon my body with their hellish charms?
HASTINGS. The tender love I bear your Grace, my lord,
Makes me most forward in this princely presence
To doom th' offenders, whosoe'er they be.
I say, my lord, they have deserved death.
GLOUCESTER. Then be your eyes the witness of their evil.
Look how I am bewitch'd; behold, mine arm
Is like a blasted sapling wither'd up.
And this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,
Consorted with that harlot strumpet Shore,
That by their witchcraft thus have marked me.
HASTINGS. If they have done this deed, my noble lord-
GLOUCESTER. If?-thou protector of this damned 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.
Lovel and Ratcliff, look that it be done.
The rest that love me, rise and follow me.
Exeunt all but HASTINGS, LOVEL, and RATCLIFF
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 our helms,
And I did scorn it and disdain to fly.
Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
And started when he look'd upon the Tower,
As loath to bear me to the slaughter-house.
O, now I need the priest that spake to me!
I now repent I told the pursuivant,
As too triumphing, how mine enemies
To-day at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd,
And I myself secure in grace and favour.
O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head!
RATCLIFF. Come, come, dispatch; the Duke would be at
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!
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.
LOVEL. Come, come, dispatch; 'tis bootless to exclaim.
HASTINGS. O bloody Richard! Miserable England!
I prophesy the fearfull'st time to thee
That ever wretched age hath look'd upon.
Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head.
They smile at me who shortly shall be dead. Exeunt


London. The Tower-walls

Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM in rotten armour, marvellous

GLOUCESTER. Come, cousin, canst thou quake and change
thy colour,
Murder thy breath in middle of a word,
And then again begin, and stop again,
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
Are at my service, like enforced smiles;
And both are ready in their offices
At any time to grace my stratagems.
But what, is Catesby gone?
GLOUCESTER. He is; and, see, he brings the mayor along.


GLOUCESTER. Look to the drawbridge there!
BUCKINGHAM. Hark! a drum.
GLOUCESTER. Catesby, o'erlook the walls.
BUCKINGHAM. Lord Mayor, the reason we have sent-
GLOUCESTER. Look back, defend thee; here are enemies.
BUCKINGHAM. God and our innocence defend and guard us!

Enter LOVEL and RATCLIFF, with HASTINGS' head

GLOUCESTER. Be patient; they are friends-Ratcliff and Lovel.
LOVEL. Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.
GLOUCESTER. So dear I lov'd the man that I must weep.
I took him for the plainest harmless creature
That breath'd upon the earth a Christian;
Made him my book, wherein my soul recorded
The history of all her secret thoughts.
So smooth he daub'd his vice with show of virtue
That, his apparent open guilt omitted,
I mean his conversation with Shore's wife-
He liv'd from all attainder of suspects.
BUCKINGHAM. Well, well, he was the covert'st shelt'red
That ever liv'd.
Would you imagine, or almost believe-
Were't not that by great preservation
We live to tell it-that the subtle traitor
This day had plotted, in the council-house,
To murder me and my good Lord of Gloucester.
MAYOR. Had he done so?
GLOUCESTER. 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
But that the extreme peril of the case,
The peace of England and our persons' safety,
Enforc'd us to this execution?
MAYOR. Now, fair befall you! He deserv'd his death;
And your good Graces both have well proceeded
To warn false traitors from the like attempts.
I never look'd for better at his hands
After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.
BUCKINGHAM. Yet had we not determin'd he should die
Until your lordship came to see his end-
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:
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 Grace's words shall serve
As well as I had seen and heard him speak;
And do not doubt, right noble Princes both,
But I'll acquaint our duteous citizens
With all your just proceedings in this cause.
GLOUCESTER. And to that end we wish'd your lordship here,
T' avoid the the the censures of the carping world.
BUCKINGHAM. 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.
GLOUCESTER. Go, after, after, cousin Buckingham.
The Mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post.
There, at your meet'st advantage 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,
Which by the sign thereof was termed so.
Moreover, urge his hateful luxury
And bestial appetite in change of lust,
Which stretch'd unto their servants, daughters, wives,
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
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 appeared in his lineaments,
Being nothing like the noble Duke my father.
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.
GLOUCESTER. If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard's
Where you shall find me well accompanied
With reverend fathers and well learned bishops.
BUCKINGHAM. I go; and towards three or four o'clock
Look for the news that the Guildhall affords. Exit
GLOUCESTER. Go, Lovel, with all speed to Doctor Shaw.
[To CATESBY] Go thou to Friar Penker. Bid them both
Meet me within this hour at Baynard's Castle.
Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER
Now will I go to take some privy order
To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight,
And to give order that no manner person
Have any time recourse unto the Princes. Exit


London. A street


SCRIVENER. Here is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings;
Which in a set hand fairly is engross'd
That it may be to-day read o'er in Paul's.
And mark how well the sequel hangs together:
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 liv'd,
Untainted, unexamin'd, free, at liberty.
Here's a good world the while! Who is so gross
That cannot see this palpable device?
Yet who's so bold but says he sees it not?
Bad is the world; and all will come to nought,
When such ill dealing must be seen in thought. Exit


London. Baynard's Castle

Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, at several doors

GLOUCESTER. 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.
GLOUCESTER. Touch'd you the bastardy of Edward's
BUCKINGHAM. I did; with his contract with Lady Lucy,
And his contract by deputy in France;
Th' insatiate greediness of his desire,
And his enforcement of the city wives;
His tyranny for trifles; his own bastardy,
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;
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
Untouch'd or slightly handled in discourse.
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!'
GLOUCESTER. And did they so?
BUCKINGHAM. No, so God help me, they spake not a word;
But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
Star'd each on other, and look'd deadly pale.
Which when I saw, I reprehended them,
And ask'd the Mayor what meant this wilfull silence.
His answer was, the people were not used
To be spoke to but by the Recorder.
Then he was urg'd to tell my tale again.
'Thus saith the Duke, thus hath the Duke inferr'd'-
But nothing spoke in warrant from himself.
When he had done, some followers of mine own
At lower end of the hall hurl'd 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
'This general applause and cheerful shout
Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard.'
And even here brake off and came away.
GLOUCESTER. What, tongueless blocks were they? Would
they not speak?
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;
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.
GLOUCESTER. I go; and if you plead as well for them
As I can say nay to thee for myself,
No doubt we bring it to a happy issue.
BUCKINGHAM. Go, go, up to the leads; the Lord Mayor
knocks. Exit GLOUCESTER

Enter the LORD MAYOR, ALDERMEN, and citizens

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


Now, Catesby, what says your lord to my request?
CATESBY. He doth entreat your Grace, my noble lord,
To visit him to-morrow or next day.
He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
Divinely bent to meditation;
And in no worldly suits would he be mov'd,
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,
Are come to have some conference with his Grace.
CATESBY. I'll signify so much unto him straight. Exit
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;
Not dallying with a brace of courtezans,
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
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.

Re-enter CATESBY

Now, Catesby, what says his Grace?
CATESBY. My lord,
He wonders to what end you have assembled
Such troops of citizens to come to him.
His Grace not being warn'd thereof before,
He fears, my lord, you mean no good to him.
BUCKINGHAM. Sorry I am my noble cousin should
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.
When holy and devout religious men
Are at their beads, 'tis much to draw them thence,
So sweet is zealous contemplation.

Enter GLOUCESTER aloft, between two BISHOPS.
CATESBY returns

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,
True ornaments to know a holy man.
Famous Plantagenet, most gracious Prince,
Lend favourable ear to our requests,
And pardon us the interruption
Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.
GLOUCESTER. My lord, there needs no such apology:
I do beseech your Grace to pardon me,
Who, earnest in the service of my God,
Deferr'd the visitation of my friends.
But, leaving this, what is your Grace's pleasure?
BUCKINGHAM. Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above,
And all good men of this ungovern'd isle.
GLOUCESTER. I do suspect I have done some offence
That seems disgracious in the city's eye,
And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.
BUCKINGHAM. You have, my lord. Would it might please
your Grace,
On our entreaties, to amend your fault!
GLOUCESTER. Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land?
BUCKINGHAM. Know then, it is your fault that you resign
The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
The scept'red 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 blemish'd stock;
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 defac'd with scars of infamy,
Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
And almost should'red in the swallowing gulf
Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion.
Which to recure, we heartily solicit
Your gracious self to take on you the charge
And kingly government of this your land-
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,
Your very worshipful and loving friends,
And by their vehement instigation,
In this just cause come I to move your Grace.
GLOUCESTER. I cannot tell if to depart in silence
Or bitterly to speak in your reproof
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;
If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
So season'd with your faithful love to me,
Then, on the other side, I check'd my friends.
Therefore-to speak, and to avoid the first,
And then, in speaking, not to incur the last-
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,
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-
Than in my greatness covet to be hid,
And in the vapour of my glory smother'd.
But, God be thank'd, there is no need of me-
And much I need to help you, were there need.
The royal tree hath left us royal fruit
Which, mellow'd 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,
Which God defend that I should wring from him.
BUCKINGHAM. My lord, this argues conscience in your
But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
All circumstances well considered.
You say that Edward is your brother's son.
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 betroth'd
To Bona, sister to the King of France.
These both put off, a poor petitioner,
A care-craz'd mother to a many sons,
A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
Even in the afternoon of her best days,
Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
Seduc'd the pitch and height of his degree
To base declension and loath'd bigamy.
By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
This Edward, whom our manners call the Prince.
More bitterly could I expostulate,
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 proffer'd benefit of dignity;
If not to bless us and the land withal,
Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
From the corruption of abusing times
Unto a lineal true-derived course.
MAYOR. Do, good my lord; your citizens entreat you.
BUCKINGHAM. Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffer'd love.
CATESBY. O, make them joyful, grant their lawful suit!
GLOUCESTER. 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. 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
And egally 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;
And in this resolution here we leave you.
Come, citizens. Zounds, I'll entreat no more.
GLOUCESTER. O, do not swear, my lord of Buckingham.
Exeunt BUCKINGHAM, MAYOR, and citizens
CATESBY. Call him again, sweet Prince, accept their suit.
If you deny them, all the land will rue it.
GLOUCESTER. 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.

Re-enter BUCKINGHAM and the rest

Cousin of Buckingham, and sage grave men,
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-fac'd reproach
Attend the sequel of your imposition,
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.
GLOUCESTER. In saying so, you shall but say the truth.
BUCKINGHAM. Then I salute you with this royal title-
Long live King Richard, England's worthy King!
ALL. Amen.
BUCKINGHAM. To-morrow may it please you to be crown'd?
GLOUCESTER. Even when you please, for you will have it so.
BUCKINGHAM. To-morrow, then, we will attend your Grace;
And so, most joyfully, we take our leave.
GLOUCESTER. [To the BISHOPS] Come, let us to our holy
work again.
Farewell, my cousin; farewell, gentle friends. Exeunt



London. Before the Tower

one door;
CLARENCE's young 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 wand'ring to the Tower,
On pure heart's love, to greet the tender Princes.
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
ANNE. No farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,
Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
To gratulate the gentle Princes there.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Kind sister, thanks; we'll enter
all together.


And in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,
How doth the Prince, and my young son of York?
BRAKENBURY. Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
I may not suffer you to visit them.
The King hath strictly charg'd the contrary.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. The King! Who's that?
BRAKENBURY. I mean the Lord Protector.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. The Lord protect him from that kingly
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. 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. Exit


STANLEY. 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
There to be crowned 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!
DORSET. Be of good cheer; mother, how fares your Grace?
QUEEN ELIZABETH. O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee
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,
And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell.
Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughter-house,
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. Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.
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.
Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
DUCHESS. O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
O my accursed womb, the bed of death!
A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world,
Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
STANLEY. 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!
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 humour, wish thyself no harm.
ANNE. No, why? When he that is my husband now
Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse;
When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his hands
Which issued from my other angel husband,
And that dear saint which then I weeping follow'd-
O, when, I say, I look'd on Richard's face,
This was my wish: 'Be thou' quoth I 'accurs'd
For making me, so young, so old a widow;
And when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
And be thy wife, if any be so mad,
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
And prov'd 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 awak'd.
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. 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! [To QUEEN ELIZABETH] Go thou to sanctuary, and 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 wreck'd with a week of teen.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Stay, yet look back with me unto the
Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
Whom envy hath immur'd within your walls,
Rough cradle for such little pretty ones.
Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
For tender princes, use my babies well.
So foolish sorrows bids your stones farewell. Exeunt


London. The palace

Sound a sennet. Enter RICHARD, in pomp, as KING; BUCKINGHAM,
RATCLIFF, LOVEL, a PAGE, and others

KING RICHARD. Stand all apart. Cousin of Buckingham!
BUCKINGHAM. My gracious sovereign?
KING RICHARD. Give me thy hand.
[Here he ascendeth the throne. Sound]
Thus high, by thy advice
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 for ever let them last!
KING RICHARD. Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
To try if thou be current gold indeed.
Young Edward lives-think now what I would speak.
BUCKINGHAM. Say on, my loving lord.
KING RICHARD. Why, Buckingham, I say I would be King.
BUCKINGHAM. Why, so you are, my thrice-renowned lord.
KING RICHARD. Ha! am I King? 'Tis so; but Edward lives.
BUCKINGHAM. True, noble Prince.
KING RICHARD. O bitter consequence:
That Edward still should live-true noble Prince!
Cousin, thou wast not wont to be so dull.
Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead.
And I would have it suddenly perform'd.
What say'st thou now? Speak suddenly, be brief.
BUCKINGHAM. Your Grace may do your pleasure.
KING RICHARD. Tut, tut, thou art all ice; thy kindness freezes.
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. Exit
CATESBY. [Aside to another] The King is angry; see, he
gnaws his lip.
KING RICHARD. I will converse with iron-witted fools
[Descends from the throne]
And unrespective boys; none are for me
That look into me with considerate eyes.
High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
PAGE. My lord?
KING RICHARD. Know'st thou not any whom corrupting
Will tempt unto a close exploit of death?
PAGE. I know a discontented gentleman
Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit.
Gold were as good as twenty orators,
And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.
KING RICHARD. What is his name?
PAGE. His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
KING RICHARD. I partly know the man. Go, call him hither,
boy. Exit PAGE
The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
No more shall be the neighbour to my counsels.
Hath he so long held out with me, untir'd,
And stops he now for breath? Well, be it so.


How now, Lord Stanley! What's the news?
STANLEY. Know, my loving lord,
The Marquis Dorset, as I hear, is fled
To Richmond, in the parts where he abides. [Stands apart]
KING RICHARD. Come hither, Catesby. Rumour it abroad
That Anne, my wife, is very grievous sick;
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
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.
I must be married to my brother's daughter,
Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.
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.

Re-enter PAGE, with TYRREL

Is thy name Tyrrel?
TYRREL. James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.
KING RICHARD. Art thou, indeed?
TYRREL. Prove me, my gracious lord.
KING RICHARD. Dar'st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
TYRREL. Please you;
But I had rather kill two enemies.
KING RICHARD. 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,
And soon I'll rid you from the fear of them.
KING RICHARD. Thou sing'st sweet music. Hark, come
hither, Tyrrel.
Go, by this token. Rise, and lend thine ear. [Whispers]
There is no more but so: say it is done,
And I will love thee and prefer thee for it.
TYRREL. I will dispatch it straight. Exit


BUCKINGHAM. My lord, I have consider'd in my mind
The late request that you did sound me in.
KING RICHARD. Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to
BUCKINGHAM. I hear the news, my lord.
KING RICHARD. 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 honour and your faith is pawn'd:
Th' earldom of Hereford and the movables
Which you have promised I shall possess.
KING RICHARD. Stanley, look to your wife; if she convey
Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.
BUCKINGHAM. What says your Highness to my just request?
KING RICHARD. I do remember me: Henry the Sixth
Did prophesy that Richmond should be King,
When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
A king!-perhaps-
KING RICHARD. How chance the prophet could not at that
Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?
BUCKINGHAM. My lord, your promise for the earldom-
KING RICHARD. Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle
And call'd it Rugemount, at which name I started,
Because a bard of Ireland told me once
I should not live long after I saw Richmond.
KING RICHARD. Ay, what's o'clock?
BUCKINGHAM. I am thus bold to put your Grace in mind
Of what you promis'd me.
KING RICHARD. Well, but o'clock?
BUCKINGHAM. Upon the stroke of ten.
KING RICHARD. Well, let it strike.
BUCKINGHAM. Why let it strike?
KING RICHARD. Because that like a Jack thou keep'st the
Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
I am not in the giving vein to-day.
BUCKINGHAM. May it please you to resolve me in my suit.
KING RICHARD. Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.
Exeunt all but Buckingham
BUCKINGHAM. And is it thus? Repays he my deep service
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! Exit


London. The palace


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
To do this piece of ruthless butchery,
Albeit they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs,
Melted with tenderness and mild compassion,
Wept like two children in their deaths' sad story.
'O, thus' quoth Dighton 'lay the gentle babes'-
'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 kiss'd each other.
A book of prayers on their pillow lay;
Which once,' quoth Forrest 'almost chang'd my mind;
But, O, the devil'-there the villain stopp'd;
When Dighton thus told on: 'We smothered
The most replenished sweet work of nature
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.


And here he comes. All health, my sovereign lord!
KING RICHARD. 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.
KING RICHARD. But didst thou see them dead?
TYRREL. I did, my lord.
KING RICHARD. And buried, gentle Tyrrel?
TYRREL. The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them;
But where, to say the truth, I do not know.
KING RICHARD. Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper,
When thou shalt tell the process of their death.
Meantime, but think how I may do thee good
And be inheritor of thy desire.
Farewell till then.
TYRREL. I humbly take my leave. Exit
KING RICHARD. The son of Clarence have I pent up close;
His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage;
The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom,
And Anne my wife hath bid this world good night.
Now, for I know the Britaine Richmond aims
At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter,
And by that knot looks proudly on the crown,
To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.


RATCLIFF. My lord!
KING RICHARD. Good or bad news, that thou com'st in so
RATCLIFF. Bad news, my lord: Morton is fled to Richmond;
And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen,
Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.
KING RICHARD. Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength.
Come, I have learn'd that fearful commenting
Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
Delay leads impotent and snail-pac'd beggary.
Then fiery expedition be my wing,
Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king!
Go, muster men. My counsel is my shield.
We must be brief when traitors brave the field. Exeunt


London. Before the palace


QUEEN MARGARET. So now prosperity begins to mellow
And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
Here in these confines slily have I lurk'd
To watch the waning of mine enemies.
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?


QUEEN ELIZABETH. Ah, my poor princes! ah, my tender
My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets!
If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
And be not fix'd in doom perpetual,
Hover about me with your airy wings
And hear your mother's lamentation.
QUEEN MARGARET. Hover about her; say that right for right
Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.
DUCHESS. So many miseries have craz'd my voice
That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.
Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
QUEEN MARGARET. Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet,
Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle
And throw them in the entrails of the wolf?
When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?
QUEEN MARGARET. When holy Harry died, and my sweet
DUCHESS. Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal living ghost,
Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd,
Brief abstract and record of tedious days,
Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth, [Sitting down]
Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Ah, that thou wouldst as soon afford a
As thou canst yield a melancholy seat!
Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
Ah, who hath any cause to mourn but we?
[Sitting down by her]
QUEEN MARGARET. [Coming forward] If ancient sorrow be
most reverend,
Give mine the benefit of seniory,
And let my griefs frown on the upper hand.
If sorrow can admit society, [Sitting down with them]
Tell o'er your woes again by viewing mine.
I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
I had a husband, till a Richard kill'd him:
Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard kill'd him.
DUCHESS. I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him.
QUEEN MARGARET. Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard
kill'd him.
From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
A hell-hound 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 foul defacer of God's handiwork,
That excellent grand tyrant of the earth
That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,
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
And makes her pew-fellow with others' moan!
DUCHESS. 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.
Thy Edward he is dead, that kill'd my Edward;
The other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
Young York he is but boot, because both they
Match'd not the high perfection of my loss.
Thy Clarence he is dead that stabb'd my Edward;
And the beholders of this frantic play,
Th' adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
Untimely smother'd in their dusky graves.
Richard yet lives, hell's black intelligencer;
Only reserv'd their factor to buy souls
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 convey'd from hence.
Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I pray,
That I may live and say 'The dog is dead.'
QUEEN ELIZABETH. O, thou didst prophesy the time would
That I should wish for thee to help me curse
That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back'd toad!
QUEEN MARGARET. I Call'd thee then vain flourish of my
I call'd thee then poor shadow, painted queen,
The presentation of but what I was,
The flattering index of a direful pageant,
One heav'd a-high to be hurl'd down below,
A mother only mock'd with two fair babes,
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?
Where be 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?
Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
For happy wife, a most distressed widow;
For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
For one being su'd to, one that humbly sues;
For Queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care;
For she that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
For she being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
For she commanding all, obey'd of none.
Thus hath the course of justice whirl'd about
And left thee but a very prey to time,
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 burden'd yoke,
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.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. O thou well skill'd in curses, stay awhile
And teach me how to curse mine enemies!
QUEEN MARGARET. Forbear to sleep the nights, and fast the
Compare dead happiness with living woe;
Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were,
And he that slew them fouler than he is.
Bett'ring 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. Exit
DUCHESS. Why should calamity be full of words?
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Windy attorneys to their client woes,
Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries,
Let them have scope; though what they will impart
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 damned son that thy two sweet sons smother'd.
The trumpet sounds; be copious in exclaims.

Enter KING RICHARD and his train, marching with
drums and trumpets

KING RICHARD. Who intercepts me in my expedition?
DUCHESS. O, she that might have intercepted thee,
By strangling thee in her accursed womb,
From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Hidest thou that forehead with a golden
Where't should be branded, if that right were right,
The slaughter of the Prince that ow'd that crown,
And the dire death of my poor sons and brothers?
Tell me, thou villain slave, where are my children?
DUCHESS. Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother
And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan,
DUCHESS. Where is kind Hastings?
KING RICHARD. A flourish, trumpets! Strike alarum, drums!
Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
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?
KING RICHARD. Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.
DUCHESS. Then patiently hear my impatience.
KING RICHARD. Madam, I have a touch of your condition
That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
DUCHESS. O, let me speak!
KING RICHARD. Do, then; but I'll not hear.
DUCHESS. I will be mild and gentle in my words.
KING RICHARD. And brief, good mother; for I am in haste.
DUCHESS. Art thou so hasty? I have stay'd for thee,
God knows, in torment and in agony.
KING RICHARD. 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;
Thy school-days frightful, desp'rate, wild, and furious;
Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous;
Thy age confirm'd, proud, subtle, sly, and bloody,
More mild, but yet more harmful-kind in hatred.
What comfortable hour canst thou name
That ever grac'd me with thy company?
KING RICHARD. Faith, none but Humphrey Hour, that call'd
your Grace
To breakfast once forth of my company.
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.
KING RICHARD. You speak too bitterly.
DUCHESS. Hear me a word;
For I shall never speak to thee again.
DUCHESS. Either thou wilt die by God's just ordinance
Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror;
Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
And never more behold thy face again.
Therefore take with thee my most grievous curse,
Which in the day of battle tire thee more
Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
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.
Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend. Exit
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Though far more cause, yet much less
spirit to curse
Abides in me; I say amen to her.
KING RICHARD. Stay, madam, I must talk a word with you.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. I have no moe 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.
KING RICHARD. You have a daughter call'd Elizabeth.
Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. And must she die for this? O, let her
And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty,
Slander myself as false to Edward's bed,
Throw over her the veil of infamy;
So she may live unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.
KING RICHARD. Wrong not her birth; she is a royal
QUEEN ELIZABETH. To save her life I'll say she is not so.
KING RICHARD. Her life is safest only in her birth.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. And only in that safety died her
KING RICHARD. Lo, at their birth good stars were opposite.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. No, to their lives ill friends were
KING RICHARD. All unavoided is the doom of destiny.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. True, when avoided grace makes destiny.
My babes were destin'd to a fairer death,
If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.
KING RICHARD. You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle
Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
Whose hand soever lanc'd 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.
But that stiff use of grief makes wild grief tame,
My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
Till that my nails were anchor'd in thine eyes;
And I, in such a desp'rate bay of death,
Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.
KING 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 harm'd!
QUEEN ELIZABETH. What good is cover'd with the face of
To be discover'd, that can do me good?
KING RICHARD. advancement of your children, gentle
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Up to some scaffold, there to lose their
KING RICHARD. Unto the dignity and height of Fortune,
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 honour,
Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
KING RICHARD. Even all I have-ay, and myself and all
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
Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.
KING RICHARD. Then know, that from my soul I love thy
QUEEN ELIZABETH. My daughter's mother thinks it with her
KING RICHARD. What do you think?
QUEEN ELIZABETH. That thou dost love my daughter from
thy soul.
So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers,
And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.
KING 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. Well, then, who dost thou mean shall be
her king?
KING RICHARD. Even he that makes her Queen. Who else
should be?
KING RICHARD. Even so. How think you of it?
QUEEN ELIZABETH. How canst thou woo her?
KING RICHARD. That would I learn of you,
As one being best acquainted with her humour.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. And wilt thou learn of me?
KING RICHARD. Madam, with all my heart.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Send to her, by the man that slew her
A pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave
'Edward' and 'York.' Then haply will she weep;
Therefore present to her-as sometimes Margaret
Did to thy father, steep'd in Rutland's blood-
A handkerchief; which, say to her, did drain
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,
Her uncle Rivers; ay, and for her sake
Mad'st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
KING RICHARD. You mock me, madam; this is not the way
To win your daughter.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. There is no other way;
Unless thou couldst put on some other shape
And not be Richard that hath done all this.
KING 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.
KING RICHARD. 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.
If I have kill'd 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 doating title of a mother;
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
Endur'd of her, for whom you bid like sorrow.
Your children were vexation to your youth;
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.
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,
Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother;
Again shall you be mother to a king,
And all the ruins of distressful times
Repair'd with double riches of content.
What! we have many goodly days to see.
The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
Shall come again, transform'd to orient pearl,
Advantaging their loan with interest
Of ten times double gain of happiness.
Go, then, my mother, to thy daughter go;
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 Princes
With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys.
And when this arm of mine hath chastised
The petty rebel, dull-brain'd 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,
And she shall be sole victoress, Caesar's Caesar.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. What were I best to say? Her father's
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
That God, the law, my honour, and her love
Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
KING RICHARD. Infer fair England's peace by this alliance.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Which she shall purchase with
still-lasting war.
KING RICHARD. Tell her the King, that may command,
QUEEN ELIZABETH. That at her hands which the King's
King forbids.
KING RICHARD. Say she shall be a high and mighty queen.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. To wail the title, as her mother doth.
KING RICHARD. Say I will love her everlastingly.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. But how long shall that title 'ever' last?
KING RICHARD. Sweetly in force unto her fair life's end.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. But how long fairly shall her sweet life
KING RICHARD. As long as heaven and nature lengthens it.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. As long as hell and Richard likes of it.
KING RICHARD. Say I, her sovereign, am her subject low.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. But she, your subject, loathes such
KING RICHARD. Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. An honest tale speeds best being plainly
KING RICHARD. Then plainly to her tell my loving tale.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.
KING RICHARD. Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. O, no, my reasons are too deep and
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves.
KING RICHARD. Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Harp on it still shall I till heartstrings
KING RICHARD. Now, by my George, my garter, and my
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Profan'd, dishonour'd, and the third
QUEEN ELIZABETH. By nothing; for this is no oath:
Thy George, profan'd, hath lost his lordly honour;
Thy garter, blemish'd, pawn'd his knightly virtue;
Thy crown, usurp'd, disgrac'd his kingly glory.
If something thou wouldst swear to be believ'd,
Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.
KING RICHARD. Then, by my self-
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Thy self is self-misus'd.
KING RICHARD. Now, by the world-
QUEEN ELIZABETH. 'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
KING RICHARD. My father's death-
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Thy life hath it dishonour'd.
KING 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
Thou hadst not broken, nor my brothers died.
If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
Th' imperial metal, circling now thy head,
Had grac'd the tender temples of my child;
And both the Princes had been breathing here,
Which now, two tender bedfellows for dust,
Thy broken faith hath made the prey for worms.
What canst thou swear by now?
KING RICHARD. The time to come.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. That thou hast wronged in the time
For I myself have many tears to wash
Hereafter time, for time past wrong'd by thee.
The children live whose fathers thou hast slaughter'd,
Ungovern'd youth, to wail it in their age;
The parents live whose children thou hast butcher'd,
Old barren plants, to wail it with their age.
Swear not by time to come; for that thou hast
Misus'd ere us'd, by times ill-us'd o'erpast.
KING RICHARD. 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!
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;
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.
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,
And be not peevish-fond in great designs.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
KING RICHARD. Ay, if the devil tempt you to do good.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Shall I forget myself to be myself?
KING RICHARD. Ay, if your self's remembrance wrong
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Yet thou didst kill my children.
KING 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?
KING RICHARD. 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.
KING RICHARD. Bear her my true love's kiss; and so, farewell.
Kissing her. Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH
Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!

Enter RATCLIFF; CATESBY following

How now! what news?
RATCLIFF. Most mighty sovereign, on the western coast
Rideth a puissant navy; to our shores
Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
Unarm'd, and unresolv'd to beat them back.
'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
And there they hull, expecting but the aid
Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.
KING RICHARD. Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of
Ratcliff, thyself-or Catesby; where is he?
CATESBY. Here, my good lord.
KING RICHARD. Catesby, fly to the Duke.
CATESBY. I will my lord, with all convenient haste.
KING RICHARD. Ratcliff, come hither. Post to Salisbury;
When thou com'st thither- [To CATESBY] Dull,
unmindfull 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.
KING RICHARD. 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. Exit
RATCLIFF. What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?
KING RICHARD. Why, what wouldst thou do there before I
RATCLIFF. Your Highness told me I should post before.
KING RICHARD. My mind is chang'd.


STANLEY, what news with you?
STANLEY. None good, my liege, to please you with
the hearing;
Nor none so bad but well may be reported.
KING RICHARD. Hoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
What need'st thou run so many miles about,
When thou mayest tell thy tale the nearest way?
Once more, what news?
STANLEY. Richmond is on the seas.
KING RICHARD. There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
White-liver'd runagate, what doth he there?
STANLEY. I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
KING RICHARD. Well, as you guess?
STANLEY. Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton,
He makes for England here to claim the crown.
KING RICHARD. Is the chair empty? Is the sword unsway'd?
Is the King dead, the empire unpossess'd?
What heir of York is there alive but we?
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.
KING RICHARD. Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.
STANLEY. No, my good lord; therefore mistrust me not.
KING 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,
Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?
STANLEY. No, my good lord, my friends are in the north.
KING RICHARD. Cold friends to me. What do they in the
When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
STANLEY. They have not been commanded, mighty King.
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.
KING RICHARD. Ay, ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with
But I'll not trust thee.
STANLEY. Most mighty sovereign,
You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful.
I never was nor never will be false.
KING RICHARD. Go, then, and muster men. But leave behind
Your son, George Stanley. Look your heart be firm,
Or else his head's assurance is but frail.
STANLEY. So deal with him as I prove true to you. Exit


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

Enter another MESSENGER

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

Enter another MESSENGER

THIRD MESSENGER. My lord, the army of great Buckingham-
KING RICHARD. Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of
death? [He strikes 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
Buckingham's army is dispers'd and scatter'd;
And he himself wand'red away alone,
No man knows whither.
KING RICHARD. I cry thee mercy.
There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
Hath any well-advised friend proclaim'd
Reward to him that brings the traitor in?
THIRD MESSENGER. Such proclamation hath been made,
my Lord.

Enter another MESSENGER

FOURTH MESSENGER. Sir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis
'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
But this good comfort bring I to your Highness-
The Britaine navy is dispers'd 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;
Who answer'd him they came from Buckingham
Upon his party. He, mistrusting them,
Hois'd sail, and made his course again for Britaine.
KING RICHARD. March on, march on, since we are up in
If not to fight with foreign enemies,
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

Re-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.
KING RICHARD. Away towards Salisbury! While we reason
A royal battle might be won and lost.
Some one take order Buckingham be brought
To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.
Flourish. Exeunt




STANLEY. Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me:
That in the sty of the most deadly boar
My son George Stanley is frank'd up in hold;
If I revolt, off goes young George's head;
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. At Pembroke, or at Ha'rford west in Wales.
STANLEY. What men of name resort to him?
CHRISTOPHER. Sir Walter Herbert, a renowned soldier;
SIR Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley,
OXFORD, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt,
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. Well, hie thee to thy lord; I kiss his hand;
My letter will resolve him of my mind.
Farewell. Exeunt



Salisbury. An open place

Enter the SHERIFF and guard, with BUCKINGHAM, led to execution

BUCKINGHAM. Will not King Richard let me speak with
SHERIFF. No, my good lord; therefore be patient.
BUCKINGHAM. Hastings, and Edward's children, Grey, and
Holy King Henry, and thy fair son Edward,
Vaughan, and all that have miscarried
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!
This is All-Souls' day, fellow, is it not?
SHERIFF. It is, my lord.
BUCKINGHAM. Why, then All-Souls' day is my body's
This is the day which in King Edward's time
I wish'd might fall on me when I was found
False to his children and his wife's allies;
This is the day wherein I wish'd to fall
By the false faith of him whom most I trusted;
This, this All-Souls' day to my fearful soul
Is the determin'd respite of my wrongs;
That high All-Seer which I dallied with
Hath turn'd my feigned prayer on my head
And given in earnest what I begg'd in jest.
Thus doth He force the swords of wicked men
To turn their own points in their masters' bosoms.
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;
Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame.


Camp near Tamworth

with drum and colours

RICHMOND. Fellows in arms, and my most loving friends,
Bruis'd underneath the yoke of tyranny,
Thus far into the bowels of the land
Have we march'd on without impediment;
And here receive we from our father Stanley
Lines of fair comfort and encouragement.
The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
That spoil'd your summer fields and fruitful vines,
Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
In your embowell'd bosoms-this foul swine
Is now even in the centre of this isle,
Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn.
From Tamworth thither is but one day's march.
In God's name cheerly on, courageous friends,
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. 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;
Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings. Exeunt


Bosworth Field

the EARL of SURREY and others

KING RICHARD. Here pitch our tent, even here in Bosworth
My Lord of Surrey, why look you so sad?
SURREY. My heart is ten times lighter than my looks.
KING RICHARD. My Lord of Norfolk!
NORFOLK. Here, most gracious liege.
KING RICHARD. Norfolk, we must have knocks; ha! must we
NORFOLK. We must both give and take, my loving lord.
KING RICHARD. Up With my tent! Here will I lie to-night;
[Soldiers begin to set up the KING'S tent]
But where to-morrow? Well, all's one for that.
Who hath descried the number of the traitors?
NORFOLK. Six or seven thousand is their utmost power.
KING RICHARD. Why, our battalia trebles that account;
Besides, the King's name is a tower of strength,
Which they upon the adverse faction want.
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, to-morrow is a busy day. Exeunt

Enter, on the other side of the field,
and others. Some pitch RICHMOND'S tent

RICHMOND. The weary sun hath made a golden set,
And by the bright tract of his fiery car
Gives token of a goodly day to-morrow.
Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard.
Give me some ink and paper in my tent.
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.
The Earl of Pembroke keeps his regiment;
Good Captain Blunt, bear my good night to him,
And by the second hour in the morning

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