Richard III


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Clarence and Keeper
heavily (adv.) sorrowfully, sadly, gloomily


KEEPER

Why looks your grace so heavily today?


CLARENCE

O, I have passed a miserable night,

So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,

That, as I am a Christian faithful man,

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
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

And was embarked to cross to Burgundy

And in my company my brother Gloucester,

Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
tempt (v.) 2 persuade, entice, invite

Upon the hatches; thence we looked toward England
hatch (n.) 3 (plural) movable deck planks

And cited up a thousand heavy times,
cite up (v.) call to mind, make reference to
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count

During the wars of York and Lancaster,

That had befallen us. As we paced along

Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
giddy (adj.) 6 swaying, quaking, dizzying
hatch (n.) 3 (plural) movable deck planks

Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard
stay (v.) 8 stop, prevent, end

Into the tumbling billows of the main.
main (n.) 1 open sea, ocean

O Lord! Methought what pain it was to drown!

What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears!

What sights of ugly death within mine eyes!

Methoughts I saw a thousand fearful wracks;
wrack (n.) 2 wreck, loss, shipwreck

A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon;

Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,

Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
unvalued (adj.) 2 invaluable, of great worth

All scattered 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 wooed the slimy bottom of the deep

And mocked the dead bones that lay scattered by.


KEEPER

Had you such leisure in the time of death,

To gaze upon the secrets of the deep?


CLARENCE

Methought I had; and often did I strive

To yield the ghost; but still the envious flood
flood (n.) 1 sea, deep, waves, rushing water
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Stopped in my soul, and would not let it forth
envious (adj.) malicious, spiteful, vindictive, full of enmity See Topics: Frequency count

To find the empty, vast, and wandering air,
vast (adj.) boundless, extensive, widespread

But smothered it within my panting bulk,
bulk (n.) 1 body, trunk, frame

Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.


KEEPER

Awaked you not with this sore agony?
agony (n.) anguish, great distress; or: death-struggle
sore (adj.) 1 severe, harsh, heavy


CLARENCE

No, no, my dream was lengthened after life.

O then began the tempest to my soul!

I passed, methought, the melancholy flood,
flood (n.) 2 river, stream, rushing water

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?’
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

And so he vanished. Then came wandering by

A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
shadow (n.) 5 spirit, phantom, spectre, ghost

Dabbled in blood, and he shrieked out aloud,

‘ Clarence is come – false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,
fleeting (adj.) 1 changeable, inconstant, fickle

That stabbed me in the field by Tewkesbury.
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

Seize on him, Furies, take him unto torment!’

With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends

Environed me, and howled in mine ears
environ (v.) surround, envelop, encircle, engulf

Such hideous cries that with the very noise

I, trembling, waked, and for a season after
season (n.) 3 while, short period of time

Could not believe but that I was in hell,

Such terrible impression made my dream.


KEEPER

No marvel, my lord, though it affrighted you;
affright (v.) frighten, terrify, scare

I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count


CLARENCE

Ah, keeper, keeper, I have done these things,

That now give evidence against my soul,

For Edward's sake, and see how he requits me!

O God! If my deep prayers cannot appease Thee,

But Thou wilt be avenged on my misdeeds,

Yet execute Thy wrath in me alone;
execute (v.) 1 carry out, fulfil, perform

O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children!

Keeper, I pray thee, sit by me awhile.

My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count


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
unfelt (adj.) 2 not experienced

They often feel a world of restless cares;

So that between their titles and low name

There's nothing differs but the outward fame.

Enter two Murderers


FIRST MURDERER

Ho! Who's here?


BRAKENBURY

What wouldst thou, fellow? And how

cam'st thou hither?


SECOND MURDERER

I would speak with Clarence, and I

came hither on my legs.


BRAKENBURY

Yea, So brief?


FIRST 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 resigned to you my charge.

Exit Brakenbury with Keeper


FIRST MURDERER

You may, sir; 'tis a point of wisdom.

Fare you well.


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 Judgement Day.


FIRST MURDERER

Why, then he'll say we stabbed him

sleeping.


SECOND MURDERER

The urging of that word judgement
urging (n.) pressing on the attention, bringing forward

hath bred a kind of remorse in me.
remorse (n.) 2 pity, compassion, tenderness


FIRST MURDERER

What? Art thou afraid?


SECOND MURDERER

Not to kill him, having a warrant,
warrant (n.) 2 licence, sanction, authorization

but to be damned 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 pray thee stay a little. I hope

this passionate humour of mine will change. It was wont
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count
passionate (adj.) 2 compassionate, inclined to pity, tender-hearted

to hold me but while one tells twenty.
tell (v.) 1 count out, number, itemize
wont (v.) be accustomed, used [to], be in the habit of See Topics: Frequency count


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.
entertain (v.) 2 welcome, receive kindly, treat well, show hospitality to


FIRST MURDERER

What if it come to thee again?


SECOND MURDERER

I'll not meddle with it; it makes a

man a coward. A man cannot steal, but it accuseth him;

a man cannot swear, but it checks him; a man cannot lie

with his neighbour's wife, but it detects him. 'Tis a

blushing shamefaced spirit that mutinies in a man's
shame-faced, shamefast (adj.) modest, retiring, shy

bosom. It fills a man full of obstacles. It made me once

restore a purse of gold that by chance I found. It beggars
beggar (v.) 1 reduce to beggary, impoverish, make destitute

any man that keeps it. It is turned out of all towns and

cities for a dangerous thing, and every man that means

to live well endeavours to trust to himself and to 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
insinuate (v.) 1 curry favour, work subtly [on], ingratiate oneself

make thee sigh.


FIRST MURDERER

Tut, I am strong-framed; he cannot

prevail with me.


SECOND MURDERER

Spoke like a tall man that respects
respect (v.) 1 pay attention to, heed
tall (adj.) 1 brave, valiant, bold

thy reputation. Come, shall we fall to work?


FIRST MURDERER

Take him on the costard with the hilts
costard (n.) [jocular: large kind of apple] head
take (v.) 1 strike, hit, catch

of thy sword, and then throw him into the malmsey-butt
malmsey (n.) variety of strong sweet red wine

in the next room.


SECOND MURDERER

O excellent device! And make a sop
sop (n.) piece of bread or cake steeped in liquid [before being eaten]

of him.


FIRST MURDERER

Soft! He wakes.


SECOND MURDERER

Strike!


FIRST MURDERER

No, we'll reason with him.
reason (v.) 1 talk, speak, converse


CLARENCE

Where art thou, keeper? Give me a cup of wine.


SECOND MURDERER

You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count


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!
darkly (adv.) 2 frowningly, ominously; gloomily

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?


FIRST and SECOND MURDERER

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 reconciled to him again.


SECOND MURDERER

Never, my lord; therefore prepare to die.


CLARENCE

Are you drawn forth among a world of men

To slay the innocent? What is my offence?

Where are the evidence that doth accuse me?
evidence (n.) 1 witness, testimony, avowal

What lawful quest have given their verdict up
quest (n.) 3 judicial inquiry, official investigation

Unto the frowning judge? Or who pronounced

The bitter sentence of poor Clarence' death

Before I be convict by course of law?
convict (v.) prove guilty, condemn
course (n.) 2 habit, custom, practise, normal procedure

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
erroneous (adj.) 1 misguided, mistaken, deluded
vassal (n.) 2 wretch, creature, slave

Hath in the table of His law commanded

That thou shalt do no murder. Will you then

Spurn at His edict, and fulfil a man's?
spurn (v.) 1 reject, scorn, despise, treat with contempt

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:
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count
forswearing (n.) perjury, oath-breaking

Thou didst receive the sacrament to fight

In quarrel of the house of Lancaster.
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim


FIRST MURDERER

And like a traitor to the name of God

Didst break that vow, and with thy treacherous blade

Unrip'st the bowels of thy sovereign'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?
dear (adj.) 2 important, major, significant


CLARENCE

Alas! For whose sake did I that ill deed?
ill (adj.) 2 evil, wicked, immoral

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 powerful arm.
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

He needs no indirect or lawless course
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count
indirect (adj.) 1 roundabout, devious, oblique

To cut off those that have offended Him.


FIRST MURDERER

Who made thee then a bloody minister
minister (n.) messenger, agent, servant

When gallant-springing brave Plantagenet,
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
gallant-springing (adj.) finely growing, developing well

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 fault

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 hired for meed, go back again,
meed (n.) 1 reward, prize, recompense

And I will send you to my brother Gloucester,

Who shall reward you better for my life

Than Edward will for tidings of my death.


SECOND MURDERER

You are deceived. Your brother Gloucester hates 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

Blessed his three sons with his victorious arm

And charged 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 lessoned us to weep.
lesson (v.) 1 instruct, teach, advise


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,
beweep (v.) 1 weep over, wet with tears

And hugged me in his arms, and swore with sobs

That he would labour my delivery.
delivery (n.) 1 release, deliverance, freedom
labour (v.) work hard for, try to bring about, urge


FIRST MURDERER

Why, so he doth, when he delivers you

From this earth's thraldom to the joys of heaven.
thraldom (n.) bondage, servitude, captivity


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 art you yet to your own souls so blind
blind (adj.) 3 heedless, reckless, headstrong

That you will war with God by murdering 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.

Which of you, if you were a prince's son,

Being pent from liberty, as I am now,
pent (adj.) imprisoned, closely confined

If two such murderers as yourselves came to you,

Would not entreat for life? As you would beg

Were you in my distress –


FIRST MURDERER

Relent? No: 'tis cowardly and womanish.


CLARENCE

Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish!

(To Second Murderer)

My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks.

O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,

Come thou on my side, and entreat for me!

A begging prince what beggar pities not?


SECOND MURDERER

Look behind you, my lord!


FIRST MURDERER

Take that! And that! (Stabs him) 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 dispatched!
desperately (adv.) 1 recklessly, disregarding all risks
dispatch, despatch (v.) 1 deal with promptly, settle, get [something] done quickly

How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count

Of this most grievous murder!

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 saved 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,
meed (n.) 1 reward, prize, recompense

For this will out, and then I must not stay.

Exit

 
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