Richard III

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of York, and

Marquess of Dorset at one door; Anne, Duchess of

Gloucester, and Lady Margaret Plantagenet, Clarence's

young daughter, at another door


Who meets us here? My niece Plantagenet,

Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?

Now, for my life, she's wandering to the Tower

On pure heart's love, to greet the tender Prince.

Daughter, well met.


                         God give your graces both

A happy and a joyful time of day!


As much to you, good sister. Whither away?


No farther than the Tower, and, as I guess,

Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
devotion (n.) purpose, object, intent
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count

To gratulate the gentle princes there.
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind
gratulate (v.) greet, welcome, salute


Kind sister, thanks. We'll enter all together.

Enter Brakenbury, the Lieutenant

And in good time, here the Lieutenant comes.

Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,

How doth the Prince, and my young son of York?


Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
patience (n.) 1 leave, permission, indulgence See Topics: Politeness

I may not suffer you to visit them;
suffer (v.) 1 allow, permit, let

The King hath strictly charged the contrary.


The King! Who's that?


                         I mean the Lord Protector.


The Lord protect him from that kingly title!

Hath he set bounds between their love and me?
bound (n.) 1 limit, boundary, confine, barrier

I am their mother; who shall bar me from them?


I am their father's mother; I will see them.


Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother;

Then bring me to their sights. I'll bear thy blame

And take thy office from thee on my peril.
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count


No, madam, no! I may not leave it so:

I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.

Exit Brakenbury

Enter the Earl of Derby


Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence,

And I'll salute your grace of York as mother

And reverend looker-on of two fair queens.

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

Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,

There to be crowned Richard's royal Queen.


Ah, cut my lace asunder,
lace (n.) lacing of stays, bodice-string

That my pent heart may have some scope to beat,
pent (adj.) imprisoned, closely confined

Or else I swoon with this dead-killing news!
dead-killing (adj.) mortal, deadly, fatal


Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!
despiteful (adj.) cruel, spiteful, malicious


Be of good cheer. Mother, how fares your grace?
fare (v.) 1 get on, manage, do, cope See Topics: Frequency count


O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee gone!

Death and destruction dog thee at thy heels;

Thy mother's name is ominous to children.

If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,

And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell.

Go hie thee, hie thee from this slaughterhouse,
hie (v.) hasten, hurry, speed See Topics: Frequency count

Lest thou increase the number of the dead

And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
thrall (n.) slave, subject, captive

Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted Queen.
counted (adj.) recognized, accounted, accepted


Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.

(To Dorset) Take all the swift advantage of the hours.

You shall have letters from me to my son

In your behalf, to meet you on the way.

Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
tardy, take catch unawares, take by surprise


O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
ill-dispersing (adj.) evil-scattering, spreading wickedness

O my accursed womb, the bed of death!

A cockatrice hast thou hatched to the world,
cockatrice (n.) murderous serpent, basilisk

Whose unavoided eye is murderous.


Come, madam, come! I in all haste was sent.


And I with all unwillingness will go.

O, would to God that the inclusive verge
inclusive (adj.) 2 enclosing, encircling, encompassing
verge (n.) 1 rim, band, encircling edge

Of golden metal that must round my brow
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
round (v.) 1 ring, encircle, surround

Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brains!

Anointed let me be with deadly venom

And die ere men can say, ‘ God save the Queen!’


Go, go, poor soul! I envy not thy glory.

To feed my humour wish thyself no harm.
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count


No? Why? When he that is my husband now

Came to me as I followed Henry's corse,
corse (n.) corpse, dead body See Topics: Frequency count

When scarce the blood was well washed from his hands

Which issued from my other angel husband

And that dear saint which then I weeping followed –

O, when, I say, I looked on Richard's face,

This was my wish: ‘ Be thou,’ quoth I, ‘ accursed
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count

For making me, so young, so old a widow!

And when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;

And be thy wife, if any be so mad,

More miserable by the life of thee

Than thou hast made me by my dear lord's death!’

Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,

Within so small a time, my woman's heart

Grossly grew captive to his honey words
grossly (adv.) 4 stupidly, senselessly, foolishly

And proved the subject of mine own soul's curse,

Which hitherto hath held mine eyes from rest;

For never yet one hour in his bed

Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep,

But with his timorous dreams was still awaked.
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick,

And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.


Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy complaining.


No more than with my soul I mourn for yours.


Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory.


Adieu, poor soul, that tak'st thy leave of it.


(To Dorset)

Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!

(To Anne)

Go thou to Richard, and good angels tend thee!

(To Queen Elizabeth)

Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee!

I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me!

Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen,

And each hour's joy wrecked with a week of teen.
teen (n.) trouble, grief, suffering
wrack (v.) 3 overthrow, ruin, wipe out


Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.

Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes

Whom envy hath immured within your walls –
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity

Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!

Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
ragged (adj.) 3 rough-hewn, dilapidated, rugged
rude (adj.) 2 rough, wild, harsh-looking

For tender princes – use my babies well!

So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell.


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