Richard III

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Original text
Act II, Scene I
Flourish. Enter the King sicke, the Queene, Lord
Marquesse Dorset, Riuers, Hastings, Catesby,
Buckingham, Wooduill.

King.
Why so: now haue I done a good daies work.
You Peeres, continue this vnited League:
I, euery day expect an Embassage
From my Redeemer, to redeeme me hence.
And more to peace my soule shall part to heauen,
Since I haue made my Friends at peace on earth.
Dorset and Riuers, take each others hand,
Dissemble not your hatred, Sweare your loue.

Riu.
By heauen, my soule is purg'd from grudging hate
And with my hand I seale my true hearts Loue.

Hast.
So thriue I, as I truly sweare the like.

King.
Take heed you dally not before your King,
Lest he that is the supreme King of Kings
Confound your hidden falshood, and award
Either of you to be the others end.

Hast.
So prosper I, as I sweare perfect loue.

Ri.
And I, as I loue Hastings with my heart.

King.
Madam, your selfe is not exempt from this:
Nor you Sonne Dorset, Buckingham nor you;
You haue bene factious one against the other.
Wife, loue Lord Hastings, let him kisse your hand,
And what you do, do it vnfeignedly.

Qu.
There Hastings, I will neuer more remember
Our former hatred, so thriue I, and mine.

King.
Dorset, imbrace him: / Hastings, loue Lord Marquesse.

Dor.
This interchange of loue, I heere protest
Vpon my part, shall be inuiolable.

Hast.
And so sweare I.

King.
Now Princely Buckingham, seale yu this league
With thy embracements to my wiues Allies,
And make me happy in your vnity.

Buc.
When euer Buckingham doth turne his hate
Vpon your Grace, but with all dutious loue,
Doth cherish you, and yours, God punish me
With hate in those where I expect most loue,
When I haue most need to imploy a Friend,
And most assured that he is a Friend,
Deepe, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,
Be he vnto me: This do I begge of heauen,
When I am cold in loue, to you, or yours.
Embrace

King.
A pleasing Cordiall, Princely Buckingham
Is this thy Vow, vnto my sickely heart:
There wanteth now our Brother Gloster heere,
To make the blessed period of this peace.

Buc.
And in good time,
Heere comes Sir Richard Ratcliffe, and the Duke.
Enter Ratcliffe, and
Gloster.

Rich.
Good morrow to my Soueraigne King & Queen
And Princely Peeres, a happy time of day.

King,
Happy indeed, as we haue spent the day:
Gloster, we haue done deeds of Charity,
Made peace of enmity, faire loue of hate,
Betweene these swelling wrong incensed Peeres.

Rich.
A blessed labour my most Soueraigne Lord:
Among this Princely heape, if any heere
By false intelligence, or wrong surmize
Hold me a Foe:
If I vnwillingly, or in my rage,
Haue ought committed that is hardly borne,
To any in this presence, I desire
To reconcile me to his Friendly peace:
'Tis death to me to be at enmitie:
I hate it, and desire all good mens loue,
First Madam, I intreate true peace of you,
Which I will purchase with my dutious seruice.
Of you my Noble Cosin Buckingham,
If euer any grudge were lodg'd betweene vs.
Of you and you, Lord Riuers and of Dorset,
That all without desert haue frown'd on me:
Of you Lord Wooduill, and Lord Scales of you,
Dukes, Earles, Lords, Gentlemen, indeed of all.
I do not know that Englishman aliue,
With whom my soule is any iot at oddes,
More then the Infant that is borne to night:
I thanke my God for my Humility.

Qu.
A holy day shall this be kept heereafter:
I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
My Soueraigne Lord, I do beseech your Highnesse
To take our Brother Clarence to your Grace.

Rich.
Why Madam, haue I offred loue for this,
To be so flowted in this Royall presence?
Who knowes not that the gentle Duke is dead?
They all start.
You do him iniurie to scorne his Coarse.

King.
Who knowes not he is dead? / Who knowes he is?

Qu.
All-seeing heauen, what a world is this?

Buc.
Looke I so pale Lord Dorset, as the rest?

Dor.
I my good Lord, and no man in the presence,
But his red colour hath forsooke his cheekes.

King.
Is Clarence dead? The Order was reuerst.

Rich.
But he (poore man) by your first order dyed,
And that a winged Mercurie did beare:
Some tardie Cripple bare the Countermand,
That came too lagge to see him buried.
God grant, that some lesse Noble, and lesse Loyall,
Neerer in bloody thoughts, and not in blood,
Deserue not worse then wretched Clarence did,
And yet go currant from Suspition.
Enter Earle of Derby.

Der.
A boone my Soueraigne for my seruice done.

King.
I prethee peace, my soule is full of sorrow.

Der.
I will not rise, vnlesse your Highnes heare me.

King.
Then say at once, what is it thou requests.

Der.
The forfeit (Soueraigne) of my seruants life,
Who slew to day a Riotous Gentleman,
Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolke.

King.
Haue I a tongue to doome my Brothers death?
And shall that tongue giue pardon to a slaue?
My Brother kill'd no man, his fault was Thought,
And yet his punishment was bitter death.
Who sued to me for him? Who (in my wrath)
Kneel'd and my feet, and bid me be aduis'd?
Who spoke of Brother-hood? who spoke of loue?
Who told me how the poore soule did forsake
The mighty Warwicke, and did fight for me?
Who told me in the field at Tewkesbury,
When Oxford had me downe, he rescued me:
And said deare Brother liue, and be a King?
Who told me, when we both lay in the Field,
Frozen (almost) to death, how he did lap me
Euen in his Garments, and did giue himselfe
(All thin and naked) to the numbe cold night?
All this from my Remembrance, brutish wrath
Sinfully pluckt, and not a man of you
Had so much grace to put it in my minde.
But when your Carters, or your wayting Vassalls
Haue done a drunken Slaughter, and defac'd
The precious Image of our deere Redeemer,
You straight are on your knees for Pardon, pardon,
And I (vniustly too) must grant it you.
But for my Brother, not a man would speake,
Nor I (vngracious) speake vnto my selfe
For him poore Soule. The proudest of you all,
Haue bin beholding to him in his life:
Yet none of you, would once begge for his life.
O God! I feare thy iustice will take hold
On me, and you; and mine, and yours for this.
Come Hastings helpe me to my Closset. Ah poore Clarence.
Exeunt some with K. & Qneen.

Rich.
This is the fruits of rashnes: Markt you not,
How that the guilty Kindred of the Queene
Look'd pale, when they did heare of Clarence death.
O! they did vrge it still vnto the King,
God will reuenge it. Come Lords will you go,
To comfort Edward with our company.

Buc.
We wait vpon your Grace.
exeunt.
Original text
Act II, Scene II
Enter the old Dutchesse of Yorke, with
the two children of Clarence.

Edw.
Good Grandam tell vs, is our Father dead?

Dutch.
No Boy.

Daugh.
Why do weepe so oft? And beate your Brest?
And cry, O Clarence, my vnhappy Sonne.

Boy.
Why do you looke on vs, and shake your head,
And call vs Orphans, Wretches, Castawayes,
If that our Noble Father were aliue?

Dut.
My pretty Cosins, you mistake me both,
I do lament the sicknesse of the King,
As loath to lose him, not your Fathers death:
It were lost sorrow to waile one that's lost.

Boy.
Then you conclude, (my Grandam) he is dead:
The King mine Vnckle is too blame for it.
God will reuenge it, whom I will importune
With earnest prayers, all to that effect.

Daugh.
And so will I.

Dut.
Peace children peace, the King doth loue you wel.
Incapeable, and shallow Innocents,
You cannot guesse who caus'd your Fathers death.

Boy.
Grandam we can: for my good Vnkle Gloster
Told me, the King prouok'd to it by the Queene,
Deuis'd impeachments to imprison him;
And when my Vnckle told me so, he wept,
And pittied me, and kindly kist my cheeke:
Bad me rely on him, as on my Father,
And he would loue me deerely as a childe.

Dut.
Ah! that Deceit should steale such gentle shape,
And with a vertuous Vizor hide deepe vice.
He is my sonne, I, and therein my shame,
Yet from my dugges, he drew not this deceit.

Boy.
Thinke you my Vnkle did dissemble Grandam?

Dut.
I Boy.

Boy.
I cannot thinke it. Hearke, what noise is this?
Enter the Queene with her haire about her ears,
Riuers & Dorset after her.

Qu.
Ah! who shall hinder me to waile and weepe?
To chide my Fortune, and torment my Selfe.
Ile ioyne with blacke dispaire against my Soule,
And to my selfe, become an enemie.

Dut.
What meanes this Scene of rude impatience?

Qu.
To make an act of Tragicke violence.
Edward my Lord, thy Sonne, our King is dead.
Why grow the Branches, when the Roote is gone?
Why wither not the leaues that want their sap?
If you will liue, Lament: if dye, be breefe,
That our swift-winged Soules may catch the Kings,
Or like obedient Subiects follow him,
To his new Kingdome of nere-changing night.

Dut.
Ah so much interest haue in thy sorrow,
As I had Title in thy Noble Husband:
I haue bewept a worthy Husbands death,
And liu'd with looking on his Images:
But now two Mirrors of his Princely semblance,
Are crack'd in pieces, by malignant death,
And I for comfort, haue but one false Glasse,
That greeues me, when I see my shame in him.
Thou art a Widdow: yet thou art a Mother,
And hast the comfort of thy Children left,
But death hath snatch'd my Husband from mine Armes,
And pluckt two Crutches from my feeble hands,
Clarence, and Edward. O, what cause haue I,
(Thine being but a moity of my moane)
To ouer-go thy woes, and drowne thy cries.

Boy.
Ah Aunt! you wept not for our Fathers death:
How can we ayde you with our Kindred teares?

Daugh.
Our fatherlesse distresse was left vnmoan'd,
Your widdow-dolour, likewise be vnwept.

Qu.
Giue me no helpe in Lamentation,
I am not barren to bring forth complaints:
All Springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
That I being gouern'd by the waterie Moone,
May send forth plenteous teares to drowne the World.
Ah, for my Husband, for my deere Lord Edward.

Chil.
Ah for our Father, for our deere Lord Clarence.

Dut.
Alas for both, both mine Edward and Clarence.

Qu.
What stay had I but Edward, and hee's gone?

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

Dut.
What stayes had I, but they? and they are gone.

Qu.
Was neuer widdow had so deere a losse.

Chil.
Were neuer Orphans had so deere a losse.

Dut.
Was neuer Mother had so deere a losse.
Alas! I am the Mother of these Greefes,
Their woes are parcell'd, mine is generall.
She for an Edward weepes, and so do I:
I for a Clarence weepes, so doth not shee:
These Babes for Clarence weepe, so do not they.
Alas! you three, on me threefold distrest:
Power all your teares, I am your sorrowes Nurse,
And I will pamper it with Lamentation.

Dor.
Comfort deere Mother, God is much displeas'd,
That you take with vnthankfulnesse his doing.
In common worldly things, 'tis call'd vngratefull,
With dull vnwillingnesse to repay a debt,
Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent:
Much more to be thus opposite with heauen,
For it requires the Royall debt it lent you.

Riuers.
Madam, bethinke you like a carefull Mother
Of the young Prince your sonne: send straight for him,
Let him be Crown'd, in him your comfort liues.
Drowne desperate sorrow in dead Edwards graue,
And plant your ioyes in liuing Edwards Throne.
Enter Richard, Buckingham,
Derbie, Hastings, and Ratcliffe.

Rich.
Sister haue comfort, all of vs haue cause
To waile the dimming of our shining Starre:
But none can helpe our harmes by wayling them.
Madam, my Mother, I do cry you mercie,
I did not see your Grace. Humbly on my knee,
I craue your Blessing.

Dut.
God blesse thee, and put meeknes in thy breast,
Loue Charity, Obedience, and true Dutie.

Rich.
Amen, and make me die a good old man,
That is the butt-end of a Mothers blessing;
I maruell that her Grace did leaue it out.

Buc.
You clowdy-Princes, & hart-sorowing-Peeres,
That beare this heauie mutuall loade of Moane,
Now cheere each other, in each others Loue:
Though we haue spent our Haruest of this King,
We are to reape the Haruest of his Sonne.
The broken rancour of your high-swolne hates,
But lately splinter'd, knit, and ioyn'd together,
Must gently be preseru'd, cherisht, and kept:
Me seemeth good, that with some little Traine,
Forthwith from Ludlow, the young Prince be fet
Hither to London, to be crown'd our King.

Riuers.
Why with some little Traine, / My Lord of Buckingham?

Buc.
Marrie my Lord, least by a multitude,
The new-heal'd wound of Malice should breake out,
Which would be so much the more dangerous,
By how much the estate is greene, and yet vngouern'd.
Where euery Horse beares his commanding Reine,
And may direct his course as please himselfe,
As well the feare of harme, as harme apparant,
In my opinion, ought to be preuented.

Rich.
I hope the King made peace with all of vs,
And the compact is firme, and true in me.

Riu.
And so in me, and so (I thinke) in all.
Yet since it is but greene, it should be put
To no apparant likely-hood of breach,
Which haply by much company might be vrg'd:
Therefore I say with Noble Buckingham,
That it is meete so few should fetch the Prince.

Hast.
And so say I.

Rieh.
Then be it so, and go we to determine
Who they shall be that strait shall poste to London .
Madam, and you my Sister, will you go
To giue your censures in this businesse.
Exeunt.
Manet Buckingham, and Richard.

Buc.
My Lord, who euer iournies to the Prince,
For God sake let not vs two stay at home:
For by the way, Ile sort occasion,
As Index to the story we late talk'd of,
To part the Queenes proud Kindred from the Prince.

Rich.
My other selfe, my Counsailes Consistory,
My Oracle, My Prophet, my deere Cosin,
I, as a childe, will go by thy direction,
Toward London then, for wee'l not stay behinde.
Exeunt
Original text
Act II, Scene III
Enter one Citizen at one doore, and another at the
other.

1.
Cit. Good morrow Neighbour, whether away so fast?

2.
Cit. I promise you, I scarsely know my selfe:
Heare you the newes abroad?

1.
Yes, that the King is dead.

2.
Ill newes byrlady, seldome comes the better:
I feare, I feare, 'twill proue a giddy world.
Enter another Citizen.

3.
Neighbours, God speed.

1.
Giue you good morrow sir.

3.
Doth the newes hold of good king Edwards death?

2.
I sir, it is too true, God helpe the while.

3.
Then Masters looke to see a troublous world.

1.
No, no, by Gods good grace, his Son shall reigne.

3.
Woe to that Land that's gouern'd by a Childe.

2.
In him there is a hope of Gouernment,
Which in his nonage, counsell vnder him,
And in his full and ripened yeares, himselfe
No doubt shall then, and till then gouerne well.

1.
So stood the State, when Henry the sixt
Was crown'd in Paris, but at nine months old.

3.
Stood the State so? No, no, good friends, God wot
For then this Land was famously enrich'd
With politike graue Counsell; then the King
Had vertuous Vnkles to protect his Grace.

1.
Why so hath this, both by his Father and Mother.

3.
Better it were they all came by his Father:
Or by his Father there were none at all:
For emulation, who shall now be neerest,
Will touch vs all too neere, if God preuent not.
O full of danger is the Duke of Glouster,
And the Queenes Sons, and Brothers, haught and proud:
And were they to be rul'd, and not to rule,
This sickly Land, might solace as before.

1.
Come, come, we feare the worst: all will be well.

3.
When Clouds are seen, wisemen put on their clokes;
When great leaues fall, then Winter is at hand;
When the Sun sets, who doth not looke for night?
Vntimely stormes, makes men expect a Dearth:
All may be well; but if God sort it so,
'Tis more then we deserue, or I expect.

2.
Truly, the hearts of men are full of feare:
You cannot reason (almost) with a man,
That lookes not heauily, and full of dread.

3.
Before the dayes of Change, still is it so,
By a diuine instinct, mens mindes mistrust
Pursuing danger: as by proofe we see
The Water swell before a boyst'rous storme:
But leaue it all to God. Whither away?

2
Marry we were sent for to the Iustices.

3
And so was I: Ile beare you company.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act II, Scene IV
Enter Arch-bishop, yong Yorke,
the Queene, and the Dutchesse.

Arch.
Last night I heard they lay at Stony Stratford,
And at Northampton they do rest to night:
To morrow, or next day, they will be heere.

Dut.
I long with all my heart to see the Prince:
I hope he is much growne since last I saw him.

Qu.
But I heare no, they say my sonne of Yorke
Ha's almost ouertane him in his growth.

Yorke.
I Mother, but I would not haue it so.

Dut.
Why my good Cosin, it is good to grow.

Yor.
Grandam, one night as we did sit at Supper,
My Vnkle Riuers talk'd how I did grow
More then my Brother. I, quoth my Vnkle Glouster,
Small Herbes haue grace, great Weeds do grow apace.
And since, me thinkes I would not grow so fast,
Because sweet Flowres are slow, and Weeds make hast.

Dut.
Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
In him that did obiect the same to thee.
He was the wretched'st thing when he was yong,
So long a growing, and so leysurely,
That if his rule were true, he should be gracious.

Yor.
And so no doubt he is, my gracious Madam.

Dut.
I hope he is, but yet let Mothers doubt.

Yor.
Now by my troth, if I had beene remembred,
I could haue giuen my Vnkles Grace, a flout,
To touch his growth, neerer then he toucht mine.

Dut.
How my yong Yorke, / I prythee let me heare it.

Yor.
Marry (they say) my Vnkle grew so fast,
That he could gnaw a crust at two houres old,
'Twas full two yeares ere I could get a tooth.
Grandam, this would haue beene a byting Iest.

Dut.
I prythee pretty Yorke, who told thee this?

Yor.
Grandam, his Nursse.

Dut.
His Nurse? why she was dead, ere yu wast borne.

Yor.
If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

Qu.
A parlous Boy: go too, you are too shrew'd.

Dut.
Good Madam, be not angry with the Childe.

Qu.
Pitchers haue eares.
Enter a Messenger.

Arch.
Heere comes a Messenger: What Newes?

Mes.
Such newes my Lord, as greeues me to report.

Qu.
How doth the Prince?

Mes.
Well Madam, and in health.

Dut.
What is thy Newes?

Mess.
Lord Riuers, and Lord Grey, / Are sent to Pomfret,
and with them, / Sir Thomas Vaughan, Prisoners.

Dut.
Who hath committed them?

Mes.
The mighty Dukes,
Glouster and Buckingham.

Arch.
For what offence?

Mes.
The summe of all I can, I haue disclos'd:
Why, or for what, the Nobles were committed,
Is all vnknowne to me, my gracious Lord.

Qu.
Aye me! I see the ruine of my House:
The Tyger now hath seiz'd the gentle Hinde,
Insulting Tiranny beginnes to Iutt
Vpon the innocent and awelesse Throne:
Welcome Destruction, Blood, and Massacre,
I see (as in a Map) the end of all.

Dut.
Accursed, and vnquiet wrangling dayes,
How many of you haue mine eyes beheld?
My Husband lost his life, to get the Crowne,
And often vp and downe my sonnes were tost
For me to ioy, and weepe, their gaine and losse.
And being seated, and Domesticke broyles
Cleane ouer-blowne, themselues the Conquerors,
Make warre vpon themselues, Brother to Brother;
Blood to blood, selfe against selfe: O prepostorous
And franticke outrage, end thy damned spleene,
Or let me dye, to looke on earth no more.

Qu.
Come, come my Boy, we will to Sanctuary.
Madam, farwell.

Dut.
Stay, I will go with you.

Qu.
You haue no cause.

Arch.
My gracious Lady go,
And thether beare your Treasure and your Goodes,
For my part, Ile resigne vnto your Grace
The Seale I keepe, and so betide to me,
As well I tender you, and all of yours.
Go, Ile conduct you to the Sanctuary.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene I
Flourish. Enter King Edward IV, sick, the Queen, Lord
Marquess Dorset, Grey, Rivers, Hastings, Catesby,
Buckingham, and attendants

KING EDWARD
Why, so; now have I done a good day's work.
You peers, continue this united league.
I every day expect an embassage
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.

RIVERS
By heaven, my soul is purged from grudging hate,
And with my hand I seal my true heart's love.

HASTINGS
So thrive I as I truly swear the like!

KING EDWARD
Take heed you dally not before your King,
Lest He that is the supreme King of kings
Confound your hidden falsehood and award
Either of you to be the other's end.

HASTINGS
So prosper I as I swear perfect love!

RIVERS
And I as I love Hastings with my heart!

KING EDWARD
Madam, yourself is not exempt from this;
Nor you, son Dorset; Buckingham, nor you.
You have been factious one against the other.
Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand,
And what you do, do it unfeignedly.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Here, Hastings, I will never more remember
Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!

KING EDWARD
Dorset, embrace him; Hastings, love Lord Marquess.

DORSET
This interchange of love, I here protest,
Upon my part shall be unviolable.

HASTINGS
And so swear I.

KING EDWARD
Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
With thy embracements to my wife's allies,
And make me happy in your unity.

BUCKINGHAM
(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
Be he unto me! This do I beg of God,
When I am cold in love to you or yours.
Embrace

KING EDWARD
A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here
To make the blessed period of this peace.

BUCKINGHAM
And, in good time,
Here comes Sir Richard Ratcliffe and the Duke.
Enter Sir Richard Ratcliffe and Richard, Duke of
Gloucester

RICHARD
Good morrow to my sovereign King and Queen;
And, princely peers, a happy time of day!

KING EDWARD
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.

RICHARD
A blessed labour, my most sovereign lord.
Among this princely heap, if any here
By false intelligence or wrong surmise
Hold me a foe –
If I unwittingly, or in my rage,
Have aught committed that is hardly borne
By any in this presence, I desire
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;
Of you, and you, Lord Rivers, and of Dorset,
That, all without desert, have frowned on me;
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!

QUEEN ELIZABETH
A holy day shall this be kept hereafter;
I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
My sovereign lord, I do beseech your highness
To take our brother Clarence to your grace.

RICHARD
Why, madam, have I offered love for this,
To be so flouted in this royal presence?
Who knows not that the noble Duke is dead?
They all start
You do him injury to scorn his corse.

KING EDWARD
Who knows not he is dead? Who knows he is?

QUEEN ELIZABETH
All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!

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

DORSET
Ay, my good lord; and no man in the presence
But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.

KING EDWARD
Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.

RICHARD
But he, poor man, by your first order died,
And that a winged Mercury did bear.
Some tardy cripple bare the countermand,
That came too lag to see him buried.
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!
Enter the Earl of Derby

DERBY
A boon, my sovereign, for my service done!

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

DERBY
I will not rise unless your highness hear me.

KING EDWARD
Then say at once what is it thou requests.

DERBY
The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life,
Who slew today a riotous gentleman
Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.

KING EDWARD
Have I a tongue to doom my brother's death,
And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?
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,
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
Even in his garments, and gave himself,
All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?
All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
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
Have done a drunken slaughter and defaced
The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;
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!
Exeunt some with King and Queen

RICHARD
This is the fruits of rashness! Marked you not
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!
God will revenge it. Come, lords, will you go
To comfort Edward with our company?

BUCKINGHAM
We wait upon your grace.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene II
Enter the Duchess of York, with Edward and
Margaret Plantagenet (the two children of Clarence)

BOY
Good grandam, tell us, is our father dead?

DUCHESS OF YORK
No, boy.

GIRL
Why do you weep so oft, and beat your breast,
And cry ‘ O Clarence, my unhappy son ’?

BOY
Why do you look on us, and shake your head,
And call us orphans, wretches, castaways,
If that our noble father were alive?

DUCHESS OF YORK
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.

BOY
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
With earnest prayers all to that effect.

GIRL
And so will I.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Peace, children, peace! The King doth love you well.
Incapable and shallow innocents,
You cannot guess who caused your father's death.

BOY
Grandam, we can; for my good uncle Gloucester
Told me the King, provoked to it by the Queen,
Devised impeachments to imprison him;
And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
And pitied me, and kindly kissed my cheek;
Bade me rely on him as on my father,
And he would love me dearly as a child.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shape
And with a virtuous visor hide deep vice!
He is my son – yea, and therein my shame;
Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.

BOY
Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?

DUCHESS OF YORK
Ay, boy.

BOY
I cannot think it. Hark! What noise is this?
Enter Queen Elizabeth, with her hair about her ears,
Rivers and Dorset after her

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Ah, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,
To chide my fortune, and torment myself?
I'll join with black despair against my soul
And to myself become an enemy.

DUCHESS OF YORK
What means this scene of rude impatience?

QUEEN ELIZABETH
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?
If you will live, lament; if die, be brief,
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.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow
As I had title in thy noble husband.
I have bewept a worthy husband's death,
And lived with looking on his images;
But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
Are cracked in pieces by malignant death,
And I for comfort have but one false glass
That grieves me when I see my shame in him.
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,
To overgo thy woes and drown thy cries!

BOY
Ah, aunt, You wept not for our father's death.
How can we aid you with our kindred tears?

GIRL
Our fatherless distress was left unmoaned:
Your widow-dolour likewise be unwept!

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Give me no help in lamentation;
I am not barren to bring forth complaints.
All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
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!

CHILDREN
Ah for our father, for our dear lord Clarence!

DUCHESS OF YORK
Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence!

QUEEN ELIZABETH
What stay had I but Edward? And he's gone.

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

DUCHESS OF YORK
What stays had I but they? And they are gone.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Was never widow had so dear a loss.

CHILDREN
Were never orphans had so dear a loss.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Was never mother had so dear a loss.
Alas! I am the mother of these griefs;
Their woes are parcelled, mine is general.
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.

DORSET
Comfort, dear mother; God is much displeased
That you take with unthankfulness His doing.
In common worldly things 'tis called ungrateful
With dull unwillingness to repay a debt
Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent;
Much more to be thus opposite with heaven
For it requires the royal debt it lent you.

RIVERS
Madam, bethink you like a careful mother
Of the young prince, your son. Send straight for him;
Let him be crowned; in him your comfort lives.
Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward's grave
And plant your joys in living Edward's throne.
Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Buckingham,
Derby, Hastings, and Ratcliffe

RICHARD
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.
Madam, my mother, I do cry you mercy;
I did not see your grace. Humbly on my knee
I crave your blessing.

DUCHESS OF YORK
God bless thee, and put meekness in thy breast,
Love, charity, obedience, and true duty!

RICHARD
Amen! (Aside) And make me die a good old man!
That is the butt-end of a mother's blessing;
I marvel why her grace did leave it out.

BUCKINGHAM
You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers
That bear this heavy mutual load of moan,
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,
Must gently be preserved, cherished, and kept.
Me seemeth good that with some little train
Forthwith from Ludlow the young Prince be fet
Hither to London, to be crowned our King.

RIVERS
Why with some little train, my Lord of Buckingham?

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.
Where every horse bears his commanding rein
And may direct his course as please himself,
As well the fear of harm, as harm apparent,
In my opinion, ought to be prevented.

RICHARD
I hope the King made peace with all of us;
And the compact is firm and true in me.

RIVERS
And so in me; and so, I think, in all.
Yet, since it is but green, it should be put
To no apparent likelihood of breach,
Which haply by much company might be urged.
Therefore I say with noble Buckingham
That it is meet so few should fetch the Prince.

HASTINGS
And so say I.

RICHARD
Then be it so; and go we to determine
Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow.
Madam, and you, my sister, will you go
To give your censures in this business?

QUEEN ELIZABETH and DUCHESS OF YORK
With all our hearts.
Exeunt
Buckingham and Richard remain

BUCKINGHAM
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,
As index to the story we late talked of,
To part the Queen's proud kindred from the Prince.

RICHARD
My other self, my counsel's consistory,
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.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene III
Enter one Citizen at one door, and another at the
other

FIRST CITIZEN
Good morrow, neighbour. Whither away so fast?

SECOND CITIZEN
I promise you, I scarcely know myself.
Hear you the news abroad?

FIRST CITIZEN
Yes, that the King is dead.

SECOND CITIZEN
Ill news, by'r Lady – seldom comes the better.
I fear, I fear 'twill prove a giddy world.
Enter another Citizen

THIRD CITIZEN
Neighbours, God speed!

FIRST CITIZEN
Give you good morrow, sir.

THIRD CITIZEN
Doth the news hold of good King Edward's death?

SECOND CITIZEN
Ay, sir, it is too true. God help the while!

THIRD CITIZEN
Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.

FIRST CITIZEN
No, no! By God's good grace his son shall reign.

THIRD CITIZEN
Woe to that land that's governed by a child!

SECOND CITIZEN
In him there is a hope of government,
Which, in his nonage, council under him,
And, in his full and ripened years, himself,
No doubt shall then, and till then, govern well.

FIRST CITIZEN
So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
Was crowned in Paris but at nine months old.

THIRD CITIZEN
Stood the state so? No, no, good friends, God wot!
For then this land was famously enriched
With politic grave counsel; then the King
Had virtuous uncles to protect his grace.

FIRST CITIZEN
Why, so hath this, both by his father and mother.

THIRD CITIZEN
Better it were they all came by his father,
Or by his father there were none at all;
For emulation who shall now be nearest
Will touch us all too near, if God prevent not.
O, full of danger is the Duke of Gloucester,
And the Queen's sons and brothers haught and proud;
And were they to be ruled, and not to rule,
This sickly land might solace as before.

FIRST CITIZEN
Come, come, we fear the worst. All shall be well.

THIRD CITIZEN
When clouds are seen, wise men put on their cloaks;
When great leaves fall, the winter is at hand;
When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
Untimely storms makes men expect a dearth.
All may be well; but if God sort it so,
'Tis more than we deserve or I expect.

SECOND CITIZEN
Truly, the hearts of men are full of fear;
You cannot reason almost with a man
That looks not heavily and full of dread.

THIRD CITIZEN
Before the days of change, still is it so.
By a divine instinct men's minds mistrust
Ensuing danger; as by proof we see
The water swell before a boisterous storm.
But leave it all to God. Whither away?

SECOND CITIZEN
Marry, we were sent for to the justices.

THIRD CITIZEN
And so was I. I'll bear you company.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act II, Scene IV
Enter Archbishop of York, the young Duke of York,
Queen Elizabeth, and the Duchess of York

ARCHBISHOP
Last night, I hear, they lay at Stony Stratford,
And at Northampton they do rest tonight;
Tomorrow, or next day, they will be here.

DUCHESS OF YORK
I long with all my heart to see the Prince.
I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
But I hear no. They say my son of York
Hath almost overta'en him in his growth.

YORK
Ay, mother; but I would not have it so.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Why, my young cousin? It is good to grow.

YORK
Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,
My uncle Rivers talked how I did grow
More than my brother. ‘ Ay,’ quoth my uncle Gloucester,
‘ Small herbs have grace; great weeds do grow apace.’
And since, methinks, I would not grow so fast,
Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
In him that did object the same to thee.
He was the wretched'st thing when he was young,
So long a-growing and so leisurely
That, if his rule were true, he should be gracious.

ARCHBISHOP
And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.

DUCHESS OF YORK
I hope he is; but yet let mothers doubt.

YORK
Now, by my troth, if I had been remembered,
I could have given my uncle's grace a flout
To touch his growth nearer than he touched mine.

DUCHESS OF YORK
How, my young York? I pray thee let me hear it.

YORK
Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old;
'Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.

DUCHESS OF YORK
I pray thee, pretty York, who told thee this?

YORK
Grandam, his nurse.

DUCHESS OF YORK
His nurse? Why, she was dead ere thou wast born.

YORK
If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
A parlous boy! Go to, you are too shrewd.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Good madam, be not angry with the child.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Pitchers have ears.
Enter a Messenger

ARCHBISHOP
Here comes a messenger. What news?

MESSENGER
Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
How doth the Prince?

MESSENGER
Well, madam, and in health.

DUCHESS OF YORK
What is thy news?

MESSENGER
Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
And with them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Who hath committed them?

MESSENGER
The mighty dukes,
Gloucester and Buckingham.

ARCHBISHOP
For what offence?

MESSENGER
The sum of all I can I have disclosed.
Why or for what the nobles were committed
Is all unknown to me, my gracious lord.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Ay me! I see the ruin of my house.
The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind;
Insulting tyranny begins to jut
Upon the innocent and aweless throne.
Welcome destruction, blood, and massacre!
I see, as in a map, the end of all.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Accursed and unquiet wrangling days,
How many of you have mine eyes beheld!
My husband lost his life to get the crown,
And often up and down my sons were tossed
For me to joy and weep their gain and loss;
And being seated, and domestic broils
Clean overblown, themselves the conquerors
Make war upon themselves, brother to brother,
Blood to blood, self against self. O preposterous
And frantic outrage, end thy damned spleen,
Or let me die, to look on death no more!

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Come, come, my boy; we will to sanctuary.
Madam, farewell.

DUCHESS OF YORK
Stay, I will go along with you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
You have no cause.

ARCHBISHOP
(to the Queen)
My gracious lady, go,
And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
For my part, I'll resign unto your grace
The seal I keep; and so betide to me
As well I tender you and all of yours!
Go, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary.
Exeunt
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