Richard III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
The trumpets sound. Enter the young Prince Edward of

Wales, the Dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham,

Lord Cardinal Bourchier, Catesby, with others


Welcome, sweet Prince, to London, to your chamber.
chamber (n.) 1 capital, metropolis, royal residence


Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts' sovereign!

The weary way hath made you melancholy.


No, uncle; but our crosses on the way
cross (n.) 1 trial, affliction, trouble

Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy.
heavy (adj.) 4 weary, exhausted, worn out

I want more uncles here to welcome me.


Sweet Prince, the untainted virtue of your years
untainted (adj.) 1 unblemished, unsullied, pure

Hath not yet dived 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.
jump (v.) 1 agree, coincide, tally

Those uncles which you want were dangerous;

Your grace attended to their sugared words
attend (v.) 7 listen [to], pay attention [to]
sugared (adj.) 1 flattering, honeyed, ingratiating

But looked not on the poison of their hearts.

God keep you from them, and from such false friends!
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count


God keep me from false friends! – But they were none.


My lord, the Mayor of London comes to greet you.

Enter Lord Mayor and his train


God bless your grace with health and happy days!


I thank you, good my lord, and thank you all.

The Lord Mayor and his train stand aside

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
slug (n.) sluggard, lazy fellow

To tell us whether they will come or no!

Enter Lord Hastings


And, in good time, here comes the sweating lord.


Welcome, my lord. What, will our mother come?


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,
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count

But by his mother was perforce withheld.
perforce (adv.) 1 forcibly, by force, violently See Topics: Frequency count


Fie, what an indirect and peevish course
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count
indirect (adj.) 2 deceitful, not straightforward, dishonest
peevish (adj.) 2 obstinate, perverse, self-willed [contrast modern sense of ‘irritable, morose’]

Is this of hers! Lord Cardinal, will your grace

Persuade the Queen to send the Duke of York

Unto his princely brother presently?
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him
deny (v.) 3 disallow, forbid, refuse permission [for]

And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.
jealous (adj.) 1 suspicious, mistrustful, wary, watchful
perforce (adv.) 1 forcibly, by force, violently See Topics: Frequency count


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
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count

To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid

We should infringe the holy privilege

Of blessed sanctuary! Not for all this land
sanctuary (n.) holy place, church, religious place of safety

Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.


You are too senseless-obstinate, my lord,
senseless-obstinate (adj.) unreasonably stubborn, irrationally unyielding

Too ceremonious and traditional.
ceremonious (adj.) scrupulous over formalities, punctilious about ritual

Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,
grossness (n.) 3 unrefined nature, deplorable standard, coarseness
weigh (v.) 1 balance [as in scales], poise, match

You break not sanctuary in seizing him:

The benefit thereof is always granted

To those whose dealings have deserved the place

And those who have the wit to claim the place.

This prince hath neither claimed it nor deserved 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.
charter (n.) 1 right, privilege, prerogative

Oft have I heard of sanctuary men,
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

But sanctuary children never till now.


My lord, you shall overrule my mind for once.

Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?


I go, my lord.


Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.

Exit Cardinal and Hastings

Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come,

Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?
sojourn (v.) 1 pause, reside, stay for a while


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.


I do not like the Tower, of any place.

Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?


He did, my gracious lord, begin that place,

Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.
re-edify (v.) rebuild, restore


Is it upon record, or else reported

Successively from age to age, he built it?


Upon record, my gracious lord.


But say, my lord, it were not registered,
register (v.) record, formally write down

Methinks the truth should live from age to age,
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

As 'twere retailed to all posterity,
retail (v.) recount, relate in detail, retell

Even to the general all-ending day.
all-ending (adj.) bringing an end to everything, doom-laden



So wise so young, they say, do never live long.


What say you, uncle?


I say, without characters fame lives long.
character (n.) 7 written record, recorded fact

(Aside) Thus, like the formal Vice, Iniquity,

I moralize two meanings in one word.
moralise, moralize (v.) 2 draw lessons from, interpret morally


That Julius Caesar was a famous man.

With what his valour did enrich his wit,

His wit set down to make his valour live.
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

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 –


What, my gracious lord?


An if I live until I be a man,

I'll win our ancient right in France again

Or die a soldier, as I lived a king.


(aside) Short summers lightly have a forward spring.

Enter the young Duke of York, Hastings, and

Cardinal Bourchier


Now in good time, here comes the Duke of York.


Richard of York, how fares our loving brother?
fare (v.) 1 get on, manage, do, cope See Topics: Frequency count


Well, my dread lord – so must I call you now.
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe


Ay, brother – to our grief, as it is yours.

Too late he died that might have kept that title,
late (adv.) recently, a little while ago / before

Which by his death hath lost much majesty.


How fares our cousin, noble Lord of York?


I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

You said that idle weeds are fast in growth.
idle (adj.) 1 useless, barren, worthless

The Prince my brother hath outgrown me far.


He hath, my lord.


                         And therefore is he idle?


O my fair cousin, I must not say so.


Then he is more beholding to you than I.
beholding (adj.) beholden, obliged, indebted


He may command me as my sovereign,

But you have power in me as in a kinsman.


I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.


My dagger, little cousin? With all my heart.


A beggar, brother?


Of my kind uncle, that I know will give,

And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.
toy (n.) 3 trinket, trifle, trivial ornament


A greater gift than that I'll give my cousin.


A greater gift? O, that's the sword to it.


Ay, gentle cousin, were it light enough.
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count


O, then I see you will part but with light gifts!

In weightier things you'll say a beggar nay.


It is too heavy for your grace to wear.


I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.


What, would you have my weapon, little lord?


I would, that I might thank you as you call me.






My Lord of York will still be cross in talk.
cross (adj.) 1 perverse, contrarious, contradictory
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him.


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.


(aside to Hastings)
reason (v.) 1 talk, speak, converse
sharp-provided (adj.) quick and ready, sharply equipped
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

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.
cunning (adj.) 1 knowledgeable, skilful, clever


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.


What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?


My Lord Protector needs will have it so.


I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower.


Why, what should you fear?


Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost –

My grandam told me he was murdered there.


I fear no uncles dead.


Nor none that live, I hope.


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 Prince Edward, York, Hastings,

Cardinal Bourchier, and others

Richard, Buckingham, and Catesby remain
prating (adj.) prattling, chattering, blathering


Think you, my lord, this little prating York

Was not incensed by his subtle mother
incense (v.) incite, urge, set on

To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?


No doubt, no doubt. O, 'tis a parlous boy,
parlous (adj.) 2 shrewd, sharp, wily

Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable.
capable (adj.) 1 sensitive, receptive, responsive
forward (adj.) 7 promising, early-maturing, precocious
ingenious (adj.) 1 alert, fully conscious, intelligent, capable
quick (adj.) 2 lively, animated, vivacious

He is all the mother's, from the top to toe.


Well, let them rest. Come hither, Catesby. Thou art sworn
rest (v.) 1 remain, stay, stand

As deeply to effect what we intend

As closely to conceal what we impart.

Thou know'st our reasons urged 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?


He for his father's sake so loves the Prince

That he will not be won to aught against him.
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count


What think'st thou then of Stanley? Will not he?


He will do all in all as Hastings doth.


Well then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

And, as it were far off, sound thou Lord Hastings

How doth he stand affected to our purpose,
affected (adj.) 1 disposed, inclined, minded
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

And summon him tomorrow to the Tower

To sit about the coronation.
sit (v.) 2 sit in conference, meet for a discussion

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 tomorrow hold divided councils,

Wherein thyself shalt highly be employed.
highly (adv.) 1 greatly, crucially, in an important way


Commend me to Lord William. Tell him, Catesby,
commend (v.) 1 convey greetings, present kind regards See Topics: Frequency count

His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
knot (n.) 1 company, band, assembly

Tomorrow are let blood at Pomfret Castle,

And bid my lord, for joy of this good news,

Give Mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more.
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind


Good Catesby, go, effect this business soundly.


My good lords both, with all the heed I can.


Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?


You shall, my lord.


At Crosby House, there shall you find us both.

Exit Catesby


Now, my lord, what shall we do if we perceive

Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?
complot (n.) plot, conspiracy, covert plan


Chop off his head! Something we will determine.

And look when I am King, claim thou of me
look when (conj.) whenever, as soon as

The earldom of Hereford and all the moveables
movable, moveable (n.) (plural) personal possessions, private effects, pieces of property

Whereof the King my brother stood possessed.


I'll claim that promise at your grace's hand.


And look to have it yielded with all kindness.

Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards
betimes (adv.) 3 speedily, soon, in a short time
sup (v.) 1 have supper See Topics: Frequency count

We may digest our complots in some form.
complot (n.) plot, conspiracy, covert plan
digest, disgest (v.) 3 arrange, organize, order
form (n.) 4 orderly manner, good arrangement


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