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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

Part 47 out of 63

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FIRST MURDERER. We are, my lord, and come to have the
warrant,
That we may be admitted where he is.
GLOUCESTER. Well thought upon; I have it here about me.
[Gives the warrant]
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.
FIRST MURDERER. Tut, tut, my lord, we will not stand to
prate;
Talkers are no good doers. Be assur'd
We go to use our hands and not our tongues.
GLOUCESTER. Your eyes drop millstones when fools' eyes fall
tears.
I like you, lads; about your business straight;
Go, go, dispatch.
FIRST MURDERER. We will, my noble lord. Exeunt

SCENE 4.

London. The Tower

Enter CLARENCE and KEEPER

KEEPER. Why looks your Grace so heavily to-day?
CLARENCE. O, I have pass'd a miserable night,
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
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
And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy;
And in my company my brother Gloucester,
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches. Thence we look'd toward England,
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster,
That had befall'n us. As we pac'd along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling
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!
Methoughts I saw a thousand fearful wrecks,
A thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon,
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scatt'red in the bottom of the sea;
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 woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatt'red by.
KEEPER. 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
Stopp'd in my soul and would not let it forth
To find the empty, vast, and wand'ring air;
But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
Who almost burst to belch it in the sea.
KEEPER. Awak'd you not in this sore agony?
CLARENCE. No, no, my dream was lengthen'd after life.
O, then began the tempest to my soul!
I pass'd, 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
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick,
Who spake aloud 'What scourge for perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?'
And so he vanish'd. Then came wand'ring by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood, and he shriek'd out aloud
'Clarence is come-false, fleeting, perjur'd Clarence,
That stabb'd me in the field by Tewksbury.
Seize on him, Furies, take him unto torment!'
With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends
Environ'd me, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries that, with the very noise,
I trembling wak'd, and for a season after
Could not believe but that I was in hell,
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
For Edward's sake, and see how he requites me!
O God! If my deep prayers cannot appease Thee,
But Thou wilt be aveng'd on my misdeeds,
Yet execute Thy wrath in me alone;
O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children!
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.
Princes have but their titles for their glories,
An outward honour for an inward toil;
And for unfelt imaginations
They often feel a world of restless cares,
So that between their tides and low name
There's nothing differs but the outward fame.

Enter the two MURDERERS

FIRST MURDERER. Ho! who's here?
BRAKENBURY. What wouldst thou, fellow, and how cam'st
thou hither?
FIRST MURDERER. I would speak with Clarence, and I came
hither on my legs.
BRAKENBURY. What, so brief?
SECOND MURDERER. 'Tis better, sir, than to be tedious. Let
him see our commission and talk no more.
[BRAKENBURY reads it]
BRAKENBURY. I am, in this, commanded to deliver
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.
I'll to the King and signify to him
That thus I have resign'd to you my charge.
FIRST MURDERER. You may, sir; 'tis a point of wisdom. Fare
you well. Exeunt BRAKENBURY and KEEPER
SECOND MURDERER. What, shall I stab him as he sleeps?
FIRST MURDERER. No; 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 stabb'd him
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; but to
be damn'd for killing him, from the which no warrant can
defend me.
FIRST MURDERER. I thought thou hadst been resolute.
SECOND MURDERER. So I am, to let him live.
FIRST MURDERER. I'll back to the Duke of Gloucester and
tell him so.
SECOND MURDERER. Nay, I prithee, stay a little. I hope this
passionate humour 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. Faith, 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 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 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 man
coward: a man cannot steal, but it accuseth him; a man
cannot swear, but it checks him; a man cannot lie with his
neighbour's wife, but it detects him. 'Tis a blushing shame-
fac'd spirit that mutinies in a man's bosom; it fills a man
full of obstacles: it made me once restore a purse of gold
that-by chance I found. It beggars any man that keeps it.
It is turn'd out of towns and cities for a dangerous thing;
and every man that means to live well endeavours to trust
to himself and live without it.
FIRST MURDERER. Zounds, 'tis even now at my elbow,
persuading me not to kill the Duke.
SECOND MURDERER. Take the devil in thy mind and believe
him not; he would insinuate with thee but to make the
sigh.
FIRST MURDERER. I am strong-fram'd; 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 hilts of
thy sword, and then chop him in 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. Strike!
FIRST MURDERER. No, we'll reason with him.
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. A man, as you are.
CLARENCE. But not as I am, royal.
SECOND 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. 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 MURDERERS. Ay, ay.
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. I shall be reconcil'd 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 offence?
Where is the evidence that doth accuse me?
What lawful quest have given their verdict up
Unto the frowning judge, or who pronounc'd
The bitter sentence of poor Clarence' death?
Before I be convict by course of law,
To threaten me with death is most unlawful.
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. And he that hath commanded is our
King.
CLARENCE. Erroneous vassals! the great King of kings
Hath in the tables of his law commanded
That thou shalt do no murder. Will you then
Spurn at his edict and fulfil a man's?
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
For false forswearing, and for murder too;
Thou didst receive the sacrament to fight
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
Unripp'dst the bowels of thy sov'reign's son.
SECOND MURDERER. 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.
He sends you not to murder me for this,
For in that sin he is as deep as I.
If God will be avenged for the deed,
O, know you yet He doth it publicly.
Take not the quarrel from His pow'rful arm;
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. 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.
If you are hir'd for meed, go back again,
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 deceiv'd: your brother Gloucester
hates 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
Bless'd his three sons with his victorious arm
And charg'd us from his soul to love each other,
He little thought of this divided friendship.
Bid Gloucester think of this, and he will weep.
FIRST MURDERER. Ay, millstones; as he lesson'd us to weep.
CLARENCE. O, do not slander him, for he is kind.
FIRST MURDERER. 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 hugg'd me in his arms, and swore with sobs
That he would labour my delivery.
FIRST MURDERER. Why, so he doth, when he delivers you
From this earth's thraldom 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
To counsel me to make my peace with God,
And are you yet to your own souls so blind
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. What shall we do?
CLARENCE. Relent, and save your souls.
FIRST MURDERER. Relent! No, 'tis cowardly and womanish.
CLARENCE. Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish.
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,
Would not entreat for life?
My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks;
O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,
Come thou on my side and entreat for me-
As you would beg were you in my distress.
A begging prince what beggar pities not?
SECOND MURDERER. Look behind you, my lord.
FIRST MURDERER. [Stabbing him] Take that, and that. If all
this will not do,
I'll drown you in the malmsey-butt within.
Exit with the body
SECOND MURDERER. A bloody deed, and desperately
dispatch'd!
How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
Of this most grievous murder!

Re-enter FIRST MURDERER

FIRST MURDERER-How now, what mean'st thou that thou
help'st me not?
By heavens, the Duke shall know how slack you have
been!
SECOND MURDERER. I would he knew that I had sav'd his
brother!
Take thou the fee, and tell him what I say;
For I repent me that the Duke is slain. Exit
FIRST MURDERER. So do not I. Go, coward as thou art.
Well, I'll go hide the body in some hole,
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. Exit

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ACT II. SCENE 1.

London. The palace

Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD sick, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DORSET, RIVERS,
HASTINGS, BUCKINGHAM, GREY, and others

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;
And more at peace my soul shall part to heaven,
Since I have made my friends at peace on earth.
Hastings and Rivers, take each other's hand;
Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.
RIVERS. By heaven, my soul is purg'd from grudging hate;
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
Either of you to be the other's end.
HASTINGS. So prosper I, as I swear perfect love!
RIVERS. And I, as I love Hastings with my heart!
KING EDWARD. Madam, yourself is not exempt from this;
Nor you, son Dorset; Buckingham, nor you:
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!
KING EDWARD. Dorset, embrace him; Hastings, love Lord
Marquis.
DORSET. This interchange of love, I here protest,
Upon my part shall be inviolable.
HASTINGS. And so swear I. [They embrace]
KING EDWARD. Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this
league
With thy embracements to my wife's allies,
And make me happy in your unity.
BUCKINGHAM. [To the QUEEN] Whenever Buckingham
doth turn his hate
Upon your Grace, but with all duteous love
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 assured that he is a friend,
Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,
Be he unto me! This do I beg of God
When I am cold in love to you or yours.
[They embrace]
KING EDWARD. A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here
To make the blessed period of this peace.
BUCKINGHAM. And, in good time,
Here comes Sir Richard Ratcliff and the Duke.

Enter GLOUCESTER, and RATCLIFF

GLOUCESTER. Good morrow to my sovereign king and
Queen;
And, princely peers, a happy time of day!
KING EDWARD. 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-incensed peers.
GLOUCESTER. A blessed labour, my most sovereign lord.
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
To 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,
Which I will purchase with my duteous service;
Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
If ever any grudge were lodg'd between us;
Of you, and you, Lord Rivers, and of Dorset,
That all without desert have frown'd on me;
Of you, Lord Woodville, 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
More than the infant that is born to-night.
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.
GLOUCESTER. Why, madam, have I off'red 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. 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 colour hath forsook his cheeks.
KING EDWARD. Is Clarence dead? The order was revers'd.
GLOUCESTER. But he, poor man, by your first order died,
And that a winged Mercury did bear;
Some tardy cripple bare the countermand
That came too lag to see him buried.
God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
Nearer in bloody thoughts, an not in blood,
Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
And yet go current from suspicion!

Enter DERBY

DERBY. A boon, my sovereign, for my service done!
KING EDWARD. I prithee, peace; my soul is full of sorrow.
DERBY. I Will not rise unless your Highness hear me.
KING EDWARD. Then say at once what is it thou requests.
DERBY. The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life;
Who slew to-day a riotous gentleman
Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
KING EDWARD. 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,
Kneel'd at my feet, and bid me be advis'd?
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 Tewksbury
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,
All thin and naked, to the numb cold night?
All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
Sinfully pluck'd, and not a man of you
Had so much race to put it in my mind.
But when your carters or your waiting-vassals
Have done a drunken slaughter and defac'd
The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;
And I, unjustly too, must grant it you. [DERBY rises]
But for my brother not a man would speak;
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
On me, and you, and mine, and yours, for this!
Come, Hastings, help me to my closet. Ah, poor Clarence!
Exeunt some with KING and QUEEN
GLOUCESTER. This is the fruits of rashness. Mark'd you not
How that the guilty kindred of the Queen
Look'd 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. Exeunt

SCENE 2.

London. The palace

Enter the old DUCHESS OF YORK, with the SON and DAUGHTER of CLARENCE

SON. 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!'?
SON. Why do you look on us, and shake your head,
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,
As loath to lose him, not your father's death;
It were lost sorrow to wail one that's lost.
SON. 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
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,
You cannot guess who caus'd your father's death.
SON. Grandam, we can; for my good uncle Gloucester
Told me the King, provok'd to it by the Queen,
Devis'd impeachments to imprison him.
And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
And pitied me, and kindly kiss'd 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 vizor hide deep vice!
He is my son; ay, and therein my shame;
Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.
SON. Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?
DUCHESS. Ay, boy.
SON. I cannot think it. Hark! what noise is this?

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, with her hair about her
ears; RIVERS and DORSET after her

QUEEN ELIZABETH. 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. 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,
That our swift-winged 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!
I have bewept a worthy husband's death,
And liv'd with looking on his images;
But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
Are crack'd in pieces by malignant death,
And I for comfort have but one false glass,
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 snatch'd my husband from mine arms
And pluck'd 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?
SON. Ah, aunt, you wept not for our father's death!
How can we aid you with our kindred tears?
DAUGHTER. Our fatherless distress was left unmoan'd;
Your widow-dolour likewise be unwept!
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Give me no help in lamentation;
I am not barren to bring forth complaints.
All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes
That I, being govern'd 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. 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. 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 parcell'd, mine is general.
She for an Edward weeps, and so do I:
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 distress'd,
Pour all your tears! I am your sorrow's nurse,
And I will pamper it with lamentation.
DORSET. Comfort, dear mother. God is much displeas'd
That you take with unthankfulness his doing.
In common worldly things 'tis called ungrateful
With dull unwillingness to repay a debt
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 him;
Let him be crown'd; in him your comfort lives.
Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward's grave,
And plant your joys in living Edward's throne.

Enter GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, DERBY,
HASTINGS, and RATCLIFF

GLOUCESTER. Sister, have comfort. All of us have cause
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.
DUCHESS. God bless thee; and put meekness in thy breast,
Love, charity, obedience, and true duty!
GLOUCESTER. 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. You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing
peers,
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.
The broken rancour of your high-swol'n hearts,
But lately splinter'd, knit, and join'd together,
Must gently be preserv'd, cherish'd, and kept.
Me seemeth good that, with some little train,
Forthwith from Ludlow the young prince be fet
Hither to London, to be crown'd our King.

RIVERS. Why with some little train, my Lord of
Buckingham?
BUCKINGHAM. Marry, my lord, lest by a multitude
The new-heal'd wound of malice should break out,
Which would be so much the more dangerous
By how much the estate is green and yet ungovern'd;
Where every horse bears his commanding rein
And may direct his course as please himself,
As well the fear of harm as harm apparent,
In my opinion, ought to be prevented.
GLOUCESTER. 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 an.
Yet, since it is but green, it should be put
To no apparent likelihood of breach,
Which haply by much company might be urg'd;
Therefore I say with noble Buckingham
That it is meet so few should fetch the Prince.
HASTINGS. And so say I.
GLOUCESTER. Then be it so; and go we to determine
Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow.
Madam, and you, my sister, will you go
To give your censures in this business?
Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM and GLOUCESTER
BUCKINGHAM. My lord, whoever journeys to the Prince,
For God sake, let not us two stay at home;
For by the way I'll sort occasion,
As index to the story we late talk'd of,
To part the Queen's proud kindred from the Prince.
GLOUCESTER. My other self, my counsel'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. Exeunt

SCENE 3.

London. A street

Enter one CITIZEN at one door, and another at the other

FIRST CITIZEN. Good morrow, neighbour. 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. Ill news, by'r lady; seldom comes the
better.
I fear, I fear 'twill prove a giddy world.

Enter another CITIZEN

THIRD CITIZEN. Neighbours, God speed!
FIRST CITIZEN. Give you good morrow, sir.
THIRD CITIZEN. Doth the news hold of good King Edward's
death?
SECOND CITIZEN. 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 govern'd by a child.
SECOND CITIZEN. In him there is a hope of government,
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 crown'd in Paris but at nine months old.
THIRD CITIZEN. Stood the state so? No, no, good friends,
God wot;
For then this land was famously enrich'd
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. 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!
And the Queen's sons and brothers haught and proud;
And were they to be rul'd, and not to rule,
This sickly land might solace as before.
FIRST CITIZEN. Come, come, we fear the worst; all will be
well.
THIRD CITIZEN. 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 make men expect a dearth.
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 fun of fear.
You cannot reason almost with a man
That looks not heavily and fun of dread.
THIRD CITIZEN. 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. Marry, we were sent for to the justices.
THIRD CITIZEN. And so was I; I'll bear you company.
Exeunt

SCENE 4.

London. The palace

Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, 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 to-night;
To-morrow or next day they will be here.
DUCHESS. I long with all my heart to see the Prince.
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. Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,
My uncle Rivers talk'd how I did grow
More than my brother. 'Ay,' quoth my uncle Gloucester
'Small herbs have grace: great weeds do grow apace.'
And since, methinks, I would not grow so fast,
Because sweet flow'rs are slow and weeds make haste.
DUCHESS. Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
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.
ARCHBISHOP. And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.
DUCHESS. I hope he is; but yet let mothers doubt.
YORK. Now, by my troth, if I had been rememb'red,
I could have given my uncle's Grace a flout
To touch his growth nearer than he touch'd mine.
DUCHESS. How, my young York? I prithee let me hear it.
YORK. 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. Grandam, 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.
ARCHBISHOP. Good madam, be not angry with the child.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Pitchers 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. What 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. For what offence?
MESSENGER. The sum of all I can, I have disclos'd.
Why or for what the nobles were committed
Is all unknown to me, my gracious lord.
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Ay me, I see the ruin of my house!
The tiger now hath seiz'd the gentle hind;
Insulting tyranny begins to jet
Upon the innocent and aweless throne.
Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre!
I see, as in a map, the end of all.
DUCHESS. Accursed 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 toss'd
For me to joy and weep their gain and loss;
And being seated, and domestic broils
Clean over-blown, themselves the conquerors
Make war upon themselves-brother to brother,
Blood to blood, self against self. O, preposterous
And frantic outrage, end thy damned spleen,
Or let me die, to look on death no more!
QUEEN ELIZABETH. 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 the QUEEN] 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!
Go, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary. Exeunt

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ACT III. SCENE 1.

London. A street

The trumpets sound. Enter the PRINCE OF WALES, GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM,
CATESBY, CARDINAL BOURCHIER, and others

BUCKINGHAM. Welcome, sweet Prince, to London, to your
chamber.
GLOUCESTER. Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts' sovereign.
The weary way hath made you melancholy.
PRINCE. No, uncle; but our crosses on the way
Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy.
I want more uncles here to welcome me.
GLOUCESTER. Sweet Prince, the untainted virtue of your
years
Hath not yet div'd into the world's deceit;
Nor more can you distinguish of a man
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 sug'red words
But look'd not on the poison of their hearts.
God keep you from them and from such false friends!
PRINCE. God keep me from false friends! but they were
none.
GLOUCESTER. My lord, the Mayor of London comes to greet
you.

Enter the LORD MAYOR and his train

MAYOR. God bless your Grace with health and happy days!
PRINCE. 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. 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
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
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
Can from his mother win the Duke of York,
Anon expect him here; but if she be obdurate
To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid
We should infringe the holy privilege
Of blessed sanctuary! Not for all this land
Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.
BUCKINGHAM. 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
To those whose dealings have deserv'd the place
And those who have the wit to claim the place.
This Prince hath neither claim'd it nor deserv'd it,
And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it.
Then, taking him from thence that is not there,
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. I go, my lord.
PRINCE. Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.
Exeunt CARDINAL and HASTINGS
Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come,
Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?
GLOUCESTER. Where it seems best unto your royal self.
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.
PRINCE. I do not like the Tower, of any place.
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. Upon record, my gracious lord.
PRINCE. But say, my lord, it were not regist'red,
Methinks the truth should Eve from age to age,
As 'twere retail'd to all posterity,
Even to the general all-ending day.
GLOUCESTER. [Aside] So wise so young, they say, do never
live long.
PRINCE. What say you, uncle?
GLOUCESTER. I say, without characters, fame lives long.
[Aside] Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,
I moralize two meanings in one word.
PRINCE. That Julius Caesar was a famous man;
With what his valour did enrich his wit,
His wit set down to make his valour live.
Death makes no conquest of this conqueror;
For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
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 liv'd a king.
GLOUCESTER. [Aside] Short summers lightly have a forward
spring.

Enter HASTINGS, young YORK, 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 can you now.
PRINCE. Ay brother, to our grief, as it is yours.
Too late he died that might have kept that title,
Which by his death hath lost much majesty.
GLOUCESTER. 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.
The Prince my brother hath outgrown me far.
GLOUCESTER. He hath, my lord.
YORK. And therefore is he idle?
GLOUCESTER. O, my fair cousin, I must not say so.
YORK. Then he is more beholding to you than I.
GLOUCESTER. 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.
GLOUCESTER. My dagger, little cousin? With all my heart!
PRINCE. A beggar, brother?
YORK. Of my kind uncle, that I know will give,
And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.
GLOUCESTER. A greater gift than that I'll give my cousin.
YORK. A greater gift! O, that's the sword to it!
GLOUCESTER. Ay, gentle cousin, were it light enough.
YORK. O, then, I see you will part but with light gifts:
In weightier things you'll say a beggar nay.
GLOUCESTER. It is too heavy for your Grace to wear.
YORK. I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.
GLOUCESTER. What, would you have my weapon, little
Lord?
YORK. I would, that I might thank you as you call me.
GLOUCESTER. How?
YORK. Little.
PRINCE. My Lord of York will still be cross in talk.
Uncle, your Grace knows how to bear with him.
YORK. 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. 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.
GLOUCESTER. My lord, will't please you pass along?
Myself and my good cousin Buckingham
Will to your mother, to entreat of her
To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.
YORK. What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?
PRINCE. My Lord Protector needs will have it so.
YORK. I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower.
GLOUCESTER. Why, what should you fear?
YORK. Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost.
My grandam told me he was murder'd there.
PRINCE. I fear no uncles dead.
GLOUCESTER. Nor none that live, I hope.
PRINCE. An if they live, I hope I need not fear.
But come, my lord; and with a heavy heart,
Thinking on them, go I unto the Tower.
A sennet.
Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, and CATESBY
BUCKINGHAM. Think you, my lord, this little prating York
Was not incensed by his subtle mother
To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?
GLOUCESTER. No doubt, no doubt. O, 'tis a perilous boy;
Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable.
He is all the mother's, from the top to toe.
BUCKINGHAM. 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 know'st our reasons urg'd upon the way.
What think'st thou? Is it not an easy matter
To make William Lord Hastings of our mind,
For the instalment 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. 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;
And summon him to-morrow 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,
Be thou so too, and so break off the talk,
And give us notice of his inclination;
For we to-morrow hold divided councils,
Wherein thyself shalt highly be employ'd.
GLOUCESTER. Commend me to Lord William. Tell him,
Catesby,
His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
To-morrow 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. 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.
Exit CATESBY
BUCKINGHAM. Now, my lord, what shall we do if we
perceive
Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?
GLOUCESTER. 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 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

SCENE 2.

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.

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.
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.
Exit

Enter CATESBY

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
crown?
CATESBY. Ay, my good lord.
HASTINGS. I'll have this crown of mine cut from my
shoulders
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.

Enter LORD STANLEY

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
London,
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
Lord?
To-day the lords you talk'd of are beheaded.
STANLEY. They, for their truth, might better wear their
heads
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.
Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY
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.

Enter BUCKINGHAM

BUCKINGHAM. What, talking with a priest, Lord
Chamberlain!
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

SCENE 3.

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
Buckingham,
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

SCENE 4

London. The Tower

Enter BUCKINGHAM, DERBY, HASTINGS, the BISHOP of ELY, RATCLIFF, LOVEL,
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
herein?
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.

Enter GLOUCESTER

BISHOP OF ELY. In happy time, here comes the Duke himself.
GLOUCESTER. My noble lords and cousins an, 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
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.
BISHOP of ELY. Marry and will, my lord, with all my heart.
Exit
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.
Exeunt GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM
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
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;
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.

Re-enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM

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
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!
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

SCENE 5.

London. The Tower-walls

Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM in rotten armour, marvellous ill-favoured

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.

Enter the LORD MAYOR and CATESBY

BUCKINGHAM. Lord Mayor-
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
traitor
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.
Exit LORD MAYOR
GLOUCESTER. Go, after, after, cousin Buckingham.
The Mayor towards Guildhall hies him in an 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
Castle;
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

SCENE 6.

London. A street

Enter a SCRIVENER

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 gros
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

SCENE 7.

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
children?
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.

Enter CATESBY

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.
Exit CATESBY
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
Grace;
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

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ACT IV. SCENE 1.

London. Before the Tower

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS of YORK, and MARQUIS of DORSET, at one door;
ANNE, DUCHESS of GLOUCESTER, leading LADY MARGARET PLANTAGENET,
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
away?
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.

Enter BRAKENBURY

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
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. 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

Enter STANLEY

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
Westminster,
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
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,
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.'

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