Richard III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Flourish. Enter King Edward IV, sick, the Queen, Lord

Marquess Dorset, Grey, Rivers, Hastings, Catesby,

Buckingham, and attendants


Why, so; now have I done a good day's work.

You peers, continue this united league.

I every day expect an embassage
embassage, ambassage (n.) message, errand, business, mission

From my Redeemer to redeem me hence;

And more in 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.
dissemble (v.) 1 disguise, cloak, give a deceptive appearance to


By heaven, my soul is purged from grudging hate,
grudging (adj.) resentful, embittered, aggrieved

And with my hand I seal my true heart's love.


So thrive I as I truly swear the like!
like, the the same


Take heed you dally not before your King,
dally (v.) 2 trifle, behave mockingly

Lest He that is the supreme King of kings

Confound your hidden falsehood and award
award (v.) adjudge, ordain, decree
confound (v.) 5 discomfit, defeat, put to shame

Either of you to be the other's end.
end (n.) 4 death, ending [of life]


So prosper I as I swear perfect love!


And I as I love Hastings with my heart!


Madam, yourself is not exempt from this;

Nor you, son Dorset; Buckingham, nor you.

You have been factious one against the other.
factious (adj.) 2 ready to form a faction

Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand,

And what you do, do it unfeignedly.


Here, Hastings, I will never more remember

Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!


Dorset, embrace him; Hastings, love Lord Marquess.


This interchange of love, I here protest,

Upon my part shall be unviolable.


And so swear I.


Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league

With thy embracements to my wife's allies,
embracement (n.) embrace, clasping, hug

And make me happy in your unity.


(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
deep (adj.) 5 deeply cunning, profound in craft

Be he unto me! This do I beg of God,

When I am cold in love to you or yours.

cordial (n.) restorative, stimulant, tonic


A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,

Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.

There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here
want (v.) 4 require, demand, need

To make the blessed period of this peace.
period (n.) 2 point of completion, fitting conclusion, consummation


And, in good time,
time, in good 1 at the right moment

Here comes Sir Richard Ratcliffe and the Duke.

Enter Sir Richard Ratcliffe and Richard, Duke of



Good morrow to my sovereign King and Queen;
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count

And, princely peers, a happy time of day!


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.
swelling (adj.) 5 inflated with anger, feeling strong emotion
wrong-incensed (adj.) inflamed with wrath, kindled with rage


A blessed labour, my most sovereign lord.

Among this princely heap, if any here
heap (n.) company, host, multitude

By false intelligence or wrong surmise
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken
intelligence (n.) 2 spying, espionage, secretly obtained information

Hold me a foe –

If I unwittingly, or in my rage,

Have aught committed that is hardly borne
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count
hardly (adv.) 1 with great difficulty, only with difficulty

By any in this presence, I desire
presence (n.) 1 royal assembly, eminent company

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 lodged between us;
lodge (v.) 3 harbour, entertain, foster

Of you, and you, Lord Rivers, and of Dorset,

That, all without desert, have frowned on me;
desert, desart (n.) 4 cause, deserving, warrant

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 tonight.

I thank my God for my humility!


A holy day shall this be kept hereafter;

I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
compound (v.) 1 agree, settle

My sovereign lord, I do beseech your highness

To take our brother Clarence to your grace.
grace (n.) 5 favour, good will


Why, madam, have I offered love for this,

To be so flouted in this royal presence?
flout (v.) insult, abuse, mock

Who knows not that the noble Duke is dead?

They all start
corse (n.) corpse, dead body See Topics: Frequency count
start (v.) 1 jump, recoil, flinch

You do him injury to scorn his corse.


Who knows not he is dead? Who knows he is?


All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!


Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?


Ay, my good lord; and no man in the presence
presence (n.) 1 royal assembly, eminent company

But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.


Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.


But he, poor man, by your first order died,

And that a winged Mercury did bear.

Some tardy cripple bare the countermand,
countermand (n.) contrary command, revoking order

That came too lag to see him buried.
lag (adj.) 2 late, lagging behind, tardy

God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,

Nearer in bloody thoughts, but not in blood,

Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,

And yet go current from suspicion!
current (adj.) 2 accepted, genuine, taken at face value

Enter the Earl of Derby
boon (n.) petition, entreaty, request


A boon, my sovereign, for my service done!


I pray thee peace. My soul is full of sorrow.


I will not rise unless your highness hear me.


Then say at once what is it thou requests.


The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life,

Who slew today a riotous gentleman

Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.


Have I a tongue to doom my brother's death,
doom (v.) 1 decree, decide, adjudge

And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?
slave (n.) 2 hireling, lackey, menial, servant

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,

Kneeled at my feet and bid me be advised?

Who spoke of brotherhood? Who spoke of love?

Who told me how the poor soul did forsake

The mighty Warwick and did fight for me?

Who told me, in the field at Tewkesbury,
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count

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
lap (v.) wrap, swathe, enfold, clad

Even in his garments, and gave himself,

All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?
thin (adj.) 2 thinly clad, with little covering

All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection See Topics: Frequency count

Sinfully plucked, and not a man of you

Had so much grace to put it in my mind.

But when your carters or your waiting vassals
vassal (n.) 1 servant, slave, subject

Have done a drunken slaughter and defaced

The precious image of our dear Redeemer,

You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

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!
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room

Exeunt some with King and Queen


This is the fruits of rashness! Marked you not
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

How that the guilty kindred of the Queen

Looked pale when they did hear of Clarence' death?

O, they did urge it still unto the King!
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

God will revenge it. Come, lords, will you go

To comfort Edward with our company?


We wait upon your grace.


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