Richard III


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Buckingham, Derby, Hastings, Bishop of Ely,

Norfolk, Ratcliffe, Lovel, with others, at a table


HASTINGS

Now, noble peers, the cause why we are met

Is to determine of the coronation.
determine (v.) 1 make a decision [about], reach a conclusion [about]

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.
nomination (n.) 2 appointing, specifying, designation
want (v.) 4 require, demand, need


BISHOP OF ELY

Tomorrow then I judge a happy day.
happy (adj.) 2 opportune, appropriate, propitious, favourable


BUCKINGHAM

Who knows the Lord Protector's mind herein?

Who is most inward with the noble Duke?
inward (adj.) 1 intimate, closely associated


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,
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

I have not sounded him, nor he delivered

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,
voice (n.) 1 vote, official support See Topics: Frequency count

Which, I presume, he'll take in gentle part.
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester


BISHOP OF ELY

In happy time, here comes the Duke himself.


RICHARD

My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count

I have been long a sleeper; but I trust

My absence doth neglect no great design
design (n.) 1 undertaking, purpose, enterprise
neglect (v.) 1 cause to be neglected

Which by my presence might have been concluded.


BUCKINGHAM

Had you not come upon your cue, my lord,

William Lord Hastings had pronounced your part –

I mean, your voice for crowning of the King.


RICHARD

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 Bishop


RICHARD

Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.

Takes him aside

Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business

And finds the testy gentleman so hot
hot (adj.) 1 hot-tempered, angry, passionate

That he will lose his head ere give consent

His master's child, as worshipfully he terms it,
worshipfully (adv.) respectfully, with due honour, with proper regard

Shall lose the royalty of England's throne.


BUCKINGHAM

Withdraw yourself awhile. I'll go with you.

Exeunt Richard and Buckingham


DERBY

We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
set down (v.) 1 resolve, decide, determine
triumph (n.) 1 public festivity, pageant, display of celebration, tournament

Tomorrow, in my judgement, is too sudden;
judgement (n.) 1 opinion, estimation, assessment
sudden (adj.) 3 immediate, early, prompt

For I myself am not so well provided
provided (adj.) prepared, ready, provided with necessities

As else I would be, were the day prolonged.
prolong (v.) postpone, put off, delay

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
conceit (n.) 5 notion, idea, thought
like (v.) 1 please, suit See Topics: Politeness

When that he bids good morrow with such spirit.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count

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.
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count


DERBY

What of his heart perceive you in his face

By any livelihood he showed today?
livelihood (n.) liveliness, animation, vivacity


HASTINGS

Marry, that with no man here he is offended;

For were he, he had shown it in his looks.


DERBY

I pray God he be not, I say.

Enter Richard and Buckingham


RICHARD

I pray you all, tell me what they deserve

That do conspire my death with devilish plots

Of damned witchcraft, and that have prevailed

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
presence (n.) 1 royal assembly, eminent company

To doom th' offenders: whatsoever they be,
doom (v.) 2 condemn, pronounce judgement against

I say, my lord, they have deserved death.


RICHARD

Then be your eyes the witness of their evil.

See how I am bewitched: behold, mine arm

Is like a blasted sapling, withered up;
blasted (adj.) blighted, withered; accursed, malevolent

And this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,

Consorted with that harlot, strumpet Shore,
strumpet (n.) harlot, prostitute, whore

That by their witchcraft thus have marked me.


HASTINGS

If they have done this deed, my noble lord –


RICHARD

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 Ratcliffe, look that it be done.

The rest that love me, rise and follow me.

Exeunt

Lovel and Ratcliffe remain, with Lord Hastings


HASTINGS

Woe, woe for England, not a whit for me!

For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
fond (adj.) 1 foolish, stupid, mad
prevent (v.) 1 forestall, anticipate

Stanley did dream the boar did raze our helms,
helm (n.) 1 helmet
raze, raze off (v.) take off, pluck off

And did scorn it and disdain to fly.

Three times today my footcloth horse did stumble,
footcloth, foot-cloth (adj.) equipped with long trappings

And started when he looked upon the Tower,
start (v.) 3 jump away, swerve, turn aside

As loath to bear me to the slaughterhouse.

O, now I need the priest that spake to me!

I now repent I told the pursuivant,
pursuivant (n.) royal messenger, state messenger [with power to execute warrants]

As too triumphing, how mine enemies

Today at Pomfret bloodily were butchered,

And I myself secure, in grace and favour.

O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
heavy (adj.) 2 grave, serious, weighty

Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head!


RATCLIFFE

Come, come, dispatch! The Duke would be at dinner.
dispatch, despatch (v.) 4 hurry up, be quick

Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.


HASTINGS

O momentary grace of mortal men,
grace (n.) 7 success, favourable outcome, fortune

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.
bootless (adj.) useless, worthless, fruitless, unavailing
exclaim (v.) complain, protest, make an outcry


HASTINGS

O bloody Richard! Miserable England!

I prophesy the fearfull'st time to thee

That ever wretched age hath looked upon.

Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head.

They smile at me who shortly shall be dead.

Exeunt

 
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