Richard III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter the Duchess of York, with Edward and

Margaret Plantagenet (the two children of Clarence)


Good grandam, tell us, is our father dead?


No, boy.


Why do you weep so oft, and beat your breast,
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

And cry ‘ O Clarence, my unhappy son ’?


Why do you look on us, and shake your head,

And call us orphans, wretches, castaways,
castaway (n.) lost soul, reject, outcast

If that our noble father were alive?


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.


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
importune (v.) 2 beg [for], ask persistently [for]

With earnest prayers all to that effect.


And so will I.


Peace, children, peace! The King doth love you well.

Incapable and shallow innocents,
incapable (adj.) insensible, unconscious, incomprehending
shallow (adj.) naive, gullible, lacking in depth of character

You cannot guess who caused your father's death.


Grandam, we can; for my good uncle Gloucester

Told me the King, provoked to it by the Queen,

Devised impeachments to imprison him;
impeachment (n.) 1 charge, accusation, indictment

And when my uncle told me so, he wept,

And pitied me, and kindly kissed my cheek;
kindly (adv.) 1 in accordance with human nature, expressing normal humanity

Bade me rely on him as on my father,

And he would love me dearly as a child.


Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shape
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

And with a virtuous visor hide deep vice!
deep (adj.) 5 deeply cunning, profound in craft

He is my son – yea, and therein my shame;

Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.
dug (n.) nipple, teat, breast


Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?
dissemble (v.) 2 deceive, disguise the truth, pretend


Ay, boy.


I cannot think it. Hark! What noise is this?

Enter Queen Elizabeth, with her hair about her ears,

Rivers and Dorset after her


Ah, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,

To chide my fortune, and torment myself?
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count

I'll join with black despair against my soul

And to myself become an enemy.


What means this scene of rude impatience?
impatience (n.) 2 lack of composure, failure to bear suffering well
rude (adj.) 8 cacophonous, raucous, barbarous


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?
want (v.) 1 lack, need, be without See Topics: Frequency count

If you will live, lament; if die, be brief,
brief (adj.) 1 quick, speedy, swift, expeditious

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.


Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow

As I had title in thy noble husband.
title (n.) 1 [legal] right, claim, entitlement

I have bewept a worthy husband's death,
beweep (v.) 1 weep over, wet with tears

And lived with looking on his images;
image (n.) 3 personal likeness, semblance

But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
semblance (n.) 1 appearance, outward show

Are cracked in pieces by malignant death,

And I for comfort have but one false glass
false (adj.) 5 defective, weak, inadequate

That grieves me when I see my shame in him.
glass (n.) 1 mirror, looking-glass See Topics: Frequency count

Thou art a widow; yet thou art a mother,

And hast the comfort of thy children left;

But death hath snatched my husband from mine arms

And plucked two crutches from my feeble hands,

Clarence and Edward. O, what cause have I,

Thine being but a moiety of my moan,
moiety (n.) 2 half, equal share

To overgo thy woes and drown thy cries!
overgo (v.) 1 exceed, surmount, go beyond


Ah, aunt, You wept not for our father's death.

How can we aid you with our kindred tears?


Our fatherless distress was left unmoaned:

Your widow-dolour likewise be unwept!
widow-dolour (adj.) widow's sorrow


Give me no help in lamentation;

I am not barren to bring forth complaints.

All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
reduce (v.) restore, bring back, lead back

That I, being governed by the watery moon,

May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world.

Ah for my husband, for my dear lord Edward!


Ah for our father, for our dear lord Clarence!


Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence!


What stay had I but Edward? And he's gone.
stay (n.) 2 support, prop


What stay had we but Clarence? And he's gone.


What stays had I but they? And they are gone.


Was never widow had so dear a loss.


Were never orphans had so dear a loss.


Was never mother had so dear a loss.

Alas! I am the mother of these griefs;

Their woes are parcelled, mine is general.
parcelled (adj.) particular, related to individual cases

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 distressed,

Pour all your tears! I am your sorrow's nurse,

And I will pamper it with lamentation.


Comfort, dear mother; God is much displeased

That you take with unthankfulness His doing.
doing (n.) action, performance, activity

In common worldly things 'tis called ungrateful

With dull unwillingness to repay a debt
dull (adj.) 1 dead, lifeless, sluggish, inactive

Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent;

Much more to be thus opposite with heaven
opposite (adj.) opposed, hostile, adverse, antagonistic [to]

For it requires the royal debt it lent you.


Madam, bethink you like a careful mother
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count

Of the young prince, your son. Send straight for him;
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Let him be crowned; in him your comfort lives.
comfort (n.) 2 happiness, joy, cheerfulness

Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward's grave

And plant your joys in living Edward's throne.
suggestion (n.) temptation, instigation, prompting towards evil

Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Buckingham,

Derby, Hastings, and Ratcliffe


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.
harm (n.) 2 misfortune, affliction, trouble

Madam, my mother, I do cry you mercy;

I did not see your grace. Humbly on my knee

I crave your blessing.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count


God bless thee, and put meekness in thy breast,

Love, charity, obedience, and true duty!


Amen! (Aside) And make me die a good old man!

That is the butt-end of a mother's blessing;
butt-end (n.) fag-end, final part, remaining piece

I marvel why her grace did leave it out.


You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers
cloudy (adj.) 1 sullen, gloomy, scowling

That bear this heavy mutual load of moan,
heavy (adj.) 1 sorrowful, sad, gloomy See Topics: Frequency count
moan (n.) 1 grief, lamentation, sorrow, complaint
mutual (adj.) 1 common, general, omnipresent

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-swollen hearts,

But lately splintered, knit, and joined together,
splinter (v.) put in a splint, secure, bind up

Must gently be preserved, cherished, and kept.

Me seemeth good that with some little train
train (n.) 1 retinue, following, entourage

Forthwith from Ludlow the young Prince be fet
fet (v.) 1 fetch

Hither to London, to be crowned our King.


Why with some little train, my Lord of Buckingham?


Marry, my lord, lest by a multitude

The new-healed wound of malice should break out,

Which would be so much the more dangerous

By how much the estate is green and yet ungoverned.
green (adj.) 3 weak, undeveloped

Where every horse bears his commanding rein
bear (v.), past forms bore, borne 3 control, manage, take charge of

And may direct his course as please himself,

As well the fear of harm, as harm apparent,

In my opinion, ought to be prevented.


I hope the King made peace with all of us;

And the compact is firm and true in me.


And so in me; and so, I think, in all.

Yet, since it is but green, it should be put
green (adj.) 3 weak, undeveloped

To no apparent likelihood of breach,

Which haply by much company might be urged.
haply (adv.) perhaps, maybe, by chance, with luck See Topics: Frequency count

Therefore I say with noble Buckingham

That it is meet so few should fetch the Prince.
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count


And so say I.


Then be it so; and go we to determine
determine (v.) 2 resolve, decide, settle [on]

Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow.
post (v.) 1 hasten, speed, ride fast
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Madam, and you, my sister, will you go

To give your censures in this business?
censure (n.) 1 assessment, opinion, judgement, criticism


With all our hearts.


Buckingham and Richard remain


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,
occasion (n.) 1 circumstance, opportunity
sort (v.) 2 choose, find, arrange

As index to the story we late talked of,
index (n.) prologue, preface, table of contents

To part the Queen's proud kindred from the Prince.


My other self, my counsel's consistory,
consistory (n.) 2 council-chamber, meeting-place

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.


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