Richard III

Select or Print the text

Original text
Act III, Scene I
The Trumpets sound. Enter yong Prince,
the Dukes of Glocester, and Buckingham,
Lord Cardinall, with others.

Buc.
Welcome sweete Prince to London, / To your Chamber.

Rich.
Welcome deere Cosin, my thoughts Soueraign
The wearie way hath made you Melancholly.

Prin.
No Vnkle, but our crosses on the way,
Haue made it tedious, wearisome, and heauie.
I want more Vnkles heere to welcome me.

Rich.
Sweet Prince, the vntainted vertue of your yeers
Hath not yet diu'd into the Worlds deceit:
No more can you distinguish of a man,
Then of his outward shew, which God he knowes,
Seldome or neuer iumpeth with the heart.
Those Vnkles which you want, were dangerous:
Your Grace attended to their Sugred words,
But look'd not on the poyson of their hearts:
God keepe you from them, and from such false Friends.

Prin.
God keepe me from false Friends, / But they were none.

Rich.
My Lord, the Maior of London comes to greet you.
Enter Lord Maior.

Lo.Maior.
God blesse your Grace, with health and happie dayes.

Prin.
I thanke you, good my Lord, and thank you all:
I thought my Mother, and my Brother Yorke,
Would long, ere this, haue met vs on the way.
Fie, what a Slug is Hastings, that he comes not
To tell vs, whether they will come, or no.
Enter Lord Hastings.

Buck.
And in good time, heere comes the sweating Lord.

Prince.
Welcome, my Lord: what, will our Mother come?

Hast.
On what occasion God he knowes, not I;
The Queene your Mother, and your Brother Yorke,
Haue taken Sanctuarie: The tender Prince
Would faine haue come with me, to meet your Grace,
But by his Mother was perforce with-held.

Buck.
Fie, what an indirect and peeuish course
Is this of hers? Lord Cardinall, will your Grace
Perswade the Queene, to send the Duke of Yorke
Vnto his Princely Brother presently?
If she denie, Lord Hastings goe with him,
And from her iealous Armes pluck him perforce.

Card.
My Lord of Buckingham, if my weake Oratorie
Can from his Mother winne the Duke of Yorke,
Anon expect him here: but if she be obdurate
To milde entreaties, God forbid
We should infringe the holy Priuiledge
Of blessed Sanctuarie: not for all this Land,
Would I be guiltie of so great a sinne.

Buck.
You are too sencelesse obstinate, my Lord,
Too ceremonious, and traditionall.
Weigh it but with the grossenesse of this Age,
You breake not Sanctuarie, in seizing him:
The benefit thereof is alwayes granted
To those, whose dealings haue deseru'd the place,
And those who haue the wit to clayme the place:
This Prince hath neyther claym'd it, nor deseru'd it,
And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot haue it.
Then taking him from thence, that is not there,
You breake no Priuiledge, nor Charter there:
Oft haue I heard of Sanctuarie men,
But Sanctuarie children, ne're till now.

Card.
My Lord, you shall o're-rule my mind for once.
Come on, Lord Hastings, will you goe with me?

Hast.
I goe, my Lord.

Prince.
Good Lords, make all the speedie hast you may.
Exit Cardinall and Hastings.
Say, Vnckle Glocester, if our Brother come,
Where shall we soiourne, till our Coronation?

Glo.
Where it think'st best vnto your Royall selfe.
If I may counsaile you, some day or two
Your Highnesse shall repose you at the Tower:
Then where you please, and shall be thought most fit
For your best health, and recreation.

Prince.
I doe not like the Tower, of any place:
Did Iulius Casar build that place, my Lord?

Buck.
He did, my gracious Lord, begin that place,
Which since, succeeding Ages haue re-edify'd.

Prince.
Is it vpon record? or else reported
Successiuely from age to age, he built it?

Buck.
Vpon record, my gracious Lord.

Prince.
But say, my Lord, it were not registred,
Me thinkes the truth should liue from age to age,
As 'twere retayl'd to all posteritie,
Euen to the generall ending day.

Glo.
So wise, so young, they say doe neuer liue long.

Prince.
What say you, Vnckle?

Glo.
I say, without Characters, Fame liues long.
Thus, like the formall Vice, Iniquitie,
I morallize two meanings in one word.

Prince.
That Iulius Casar was a famous man,
With what his Valour did enrich his Wit,
His Wit set downe, to make his Valour liue:
Death makes no Conquest of his Conqueror,
For now he liues in Fame, though not in Life.
Ile tell you what, my Cousin Buckingham.

Buck.
What, my gracious Lord?

Prince.
And if I liue vntill I be a man,
Ile win our ancient Right in France againe,
Or dye a Souldier, as I liu'd a King.

Glo.
Short Summers lightly haue a forward Spring.
Enter young Yorke, Hastings, and
Cardinall.

Buck.
Now in good time, heere comes the Duke of Yorke.

Prince.
Richard of Yorke, how fares our Noble Brother?

Yorke.
Well, my deare Lord, so must I call you now.

Prince.
I, Brother, to our griefe, as it is yours:
Too late he dy'd, that might haue kept that Title,
Which by his death hath lost much Maiestie.

Glo.
How fares our Cousin, Noble Lord of Yorke?

Yorke.
I thanke you, gentle Vnckle. O my Lord,
You said, that idle Weeds are fast in growth:
The Prince, my Brother, hath out-growne me farre.

Glo.
He hath, my Lord.

Yorke.
And therefore is he idle?

Glo.
Oh my faire Cousin, I must not say so.

Yorke.
Then he is more beholding to you, then I.

Glo.
He may command me as my Soueraigne,
But you haue power in me, as in a Kinsman.

Yorke.
I pray you, Vnckle, giue me this Dagger.

Glo.
My Dagger, little Cousin? with all my heart.

Prince.
A Begger, Brother?

Yorke.
Of my kind Vnckle, that I know will giue,
And being but a Toy, which is no griefe to giue.

Glo.
A greater gift then that, Ile giue my Cousin.

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

Glo.
I, gentle Cousin, were it light enough.

Yorke.
O then I see, you will part but with light gifts,
In weightier things you'le say a Begger nay.

Glo.
It is too weightie for your Grace to weare.

Yorke.
I weigh it lightly, were it heauier.

Glo.
What, would you haue my Weapon, little Lord?

Yorke.
I would that I might thanke you, as, as, you call me.

Glo.
How?

Yorke.
Little.

Prince.
My Lord of Yorke will still be crosse in talke:
Vnckle, your Grace knowes how to beare with him.

Yorke.
You meane to beare me, not to beare with me:
Vnckle, my Brother mockes both you and me,
Because that I am little, like an Ape,
He thinkes that you should beare me on your shoulders.

Buck.

With what a sharpe prouided wit he reasons:
To mittigate the scorne he giues his Vnckle,
He prettily and aptly taunts himselfe:
So cunning, and so young, is wonderfull.

Glo.
My Lord, wilt please you passe along?
My selfe, and my good Cousin Buckingham,
Will to your Mother, to entreat of her
To meet you at the Tower, and welcome you.

Yorke.
What, will you goe vnto the Tower, my Lord?

Prince.
My Lord Protector will haue it so.

Yorke.
I shall not sleepe in quiet at the Tower.

Glo.
Why, what should you feare?

Yorke.
Marry, my Vnckle Clarence angry Ghost:
My Grandam told me he was murther'd there.

Prince.
I feare no Vnckles dead.

Glo.
Nor none that liue, I hope.

Prince.
And if they liue, I hope I need not feare.
But come my Lord: and with a heauie heart,
Thinking on them, goe I vnto the Tower.
A Senet. Exeunt Prince, Yorke, Hastings,
and Dorset.
Manet Richard, Buckingham, and Catesby.

Buck.
Thinke you, my Lord, this little prating Yorke
Was not incensed by his subtile Mother,
To taunt and scorne you thus opprobriously?

Glo.
No doubt, no doubt: Oh 'tis a perillous Boy,
Bold, quicke, ingenious, forward, capable:
Hee is all the Mothers, from the top to toe.

Buck.
Well, let them rest: Come hither Catesby, / Thouart sworne
as deepely to effect what we intend,
As closely to conceale what we impart:
Thou know'st our reasons vrg'd vpon the way.
What think'st thou? is it not an easie matter,
To make William Lord Hastings of our minde,
For the installment of this Noble Duke
In the Seat Royall of this famous Ile?

Cates.
He for his fathers sake so loues the Prince,
That he will not be wonne to ought against him.

Buck.
What think'st thou then of Stanley? Will not hee?

Cates.
Hee will doe all in all as Hastings doth.

Buck.
Well then, no more but this: / Goe gentle Catesby,
and as it were farre off, / Sound thou Lord Hastings,
How he doth stand affected to our purpose,
And summon him to morrow to the Tower,
To sit about the Coronation.
If thou do'st finde him tractable to vs,
Encourage him, and tell him all our reasons:
If he be leaden, ycie, cold, vnwilling,
Be thou so too, and so breake off the talke,
And giue vs notice of his inclination:
For we to morrow hold diuided Councels,
Wherein thy selfe shalt highly be employ'd.

Rich.
Commend me to Lord William: tell him Catesby,
His ancient Knot of dangerous Aduersaries
To morrow are let blood at Pomfret Castle,
And bid my Lord, for ioy of this good newes,
Giue Mistresse Shore one gentle Kisse the more.

Buck.
Good Catesby, goe effect this businesse soundly.

Cates.
My good Lords both, with all the heed I can.

Rich.
Shall we heare from you, Catesby, ere we sleepe?

Cates.
You shall, my Lord.

Rich.
At Crosby House, there shall you find vs both.
Exit Catesby.

Buck.
Now, my Lord, / What shall wee doe, if wee perceiue
Lord Hastings will not yeeld to our Complots?

Rich.
Chop off his Head: / Something wee will determine:
And looke when I am King, clayme thou of me
The Earledome of Hereford, and all the moueables
Whereof the King, my Brother, was possest.

Buck.
Ile clayme that promise at your Graces hand.

Rich.
And looke to haue it yeelded with all kindnesse.
Come, let vs suppe betimes, that afterwards
Wee may digest our complots in some forme.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene II
Enter a Messenger to the Doore of Hastings.

Mess.
My Lord, my Lord.

Hast.
Who knockes?

Mess.
One from the Lord Stanley.
Enter Lord Hastings.

Hast.
What is't a Clocke?

Mess.
Vpon the stroke of foure.

Hast.
Cannot my Lord Stanley sleepe these tedious /Nights?

Mess.
So it appeares, by that I haue to say:
First, he commends him to your Noble selfe.

Hast.
What then?

Mess.
Then certifies your Lordship, that this Night
He dreamt, the Bore had rased off his Helme:
Besides, he sayes there are two Councels kept;
And that may be determin'd at the one,
Which may make you and him to rue at th'other.
Therefore he sends to know your Lordships pleasure,
If you will presently take Horse with him,
And with all speed post with him toward the North,
To shun the danger that his Soule diuines.

Hast.
Goe fellow, goe, returne vnto thy Lord,
Bid him not feare the seperated Councell:
His Honor and my selfe are at the one,
And at the other, is my good friend Catesby;
Where nothing can proceede, that toucheth vs,
Whereof I shall not haue intelligence:
Tell him his Feares are shallow, without instance.
And for his Dreames, I wonder hee's so simple,
To trust the mock'ry of vnquiet slumbers.
To flye the Bore, before the Bore pursues,
Were to incense the Bore to follow vs,
And make pursuit, where he did meane no chase.
Goe, bid thy Master rise, and come to me,
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where he shall see the Bore will vse vs kindly.

Mess.
Ile goe, my Lord, and tell him what you say.
Exit.
Enter Catesby.

Cates.
Many good morrowes to my Noble Lord.

Hast.
Good morrow Catesby, you are early stirring:
What newes, what newes, in this our tott'ring State?

Cates.
It is a reeling World indeed, my Lord:
And I beleeue will neuer stand vpright,
Till Richard weare the Garland of the Realme.

Hast.
How weare the Garland? / Doest thou meane the Crowne?

Cates.
I, my good Lord.

Hast.
Ile haue this Crown of mine cut frõ my shoulders,
Before Ile see the Crowne so foule mis-plac'd:
But canst thou guesse, that he doth ayme at it?

Cates.
I, on my life, and hopes to find you forward,
Vpon his partie, for the gaine thereof:
And thereupon he sends you this good newes,
That this same very day your enemies,
The Kindred of the Queene, must dye at Pomfret.

Hast.
Indeed I am no mourner for that newes,
Because they haue beene still my aduersaries:
But, that Ile giue my voice on Richards side,
To barre my Masters Heires in true Descent,
God knowes I will not doe it, to the death.

Cates.
God keepe your Lordship in that gracious minde.

Hast.
But I shall laugh at this a twelue-month hence,
That they which brought me in my Masters hate,
I liue to looke vpon their Tragedie.
Well Catesby, ere a fort-night make me older,
Ile send some packing, that yet thinke not on't.

Cates.
'Tis a vile thing to dye, my gracious Lord,
When men are vnprepar'd, and looke not for it.

Hast.
O monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out
With Riuers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill doe
With some men else, that thinke themselues as safe
As thou and I, who (as thou know'st) are deare
To Princely Richard, and to Buckingham.

Cates.
The Princes both make high account of you,
For they account his Head vpon the Bridge.

Hast.
I know they doe, and I haue well deseru'd it.
Enter Lord Stanley.
Come on, come on, where is your Bore-speare man?
Feare you the Bore, and goe so vnprouided?

Stan.
My Lord good morrow, good morrow Catesby:
You may ieast on, but by the holy Rood,
I doe not like these seuerall Councels, I.

Hast.
My Lord, I hold my Life as deare as yours,
And neuer in my dayes, I doe protest,
Was it so precious to me, as 'tis now:
Thinke you, but that I know our state secure,
I would be so triumphant as I am?

Sta.
The Lords at Pomfret, whẽ they rode from London,
Were iocund, and suppos'd their states were sure,
And they indeed had no cause to mistrust:
But yet you see, how soone the Day o're-cast.
This sudden stab of Rancour I misdoubt:
Pray God (I say) I proue a needlesse Coward.
What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.

Hast.
Come, come, haue with you: / Wot you what, my Lord,
To day the Lords you talke of, are beheaded.

Sta.
They, for their truth, might better wear their Heads,
Then some that haue accus'd them, weare their Hats.
But come, my Lord, let's away.
Enter a Pursuiuant.

Hast.
Goe on before, Ile talke with this good fellow.
Exit Lord Stanley, and Catesby.
How now, Sirrha? how goes the World with thee?

Purs.
The better, that your Lordship please to aske.

Hast.
I tell thee man, 'tis better with me now,
Then when thou met'st me last, where now we meet:
Then was I going Prisoner to the Tower,
By the suggestion of the Queenes Allyes.
But now I tell thee (keepe it to thy selfe)
This day those Enemies are put to death,
And I in better state then ere I was.

Purs.
God hold it, to your Honors good content.

Hast.
Gramercie fellow: there, drinke that for me.
Throwes him his Purse.

Purs.
I thanke your Honor.
Exit Pursuiuant.
Enter a Priest.

Priest.
Well met, my Lord, I am glad to see your Honor.

Hast.
I thanke thee, good Sir Iohn, with all my heart.
I am in your debt, for your last Exercise:
Come the next Sabboth, and I will content you.

Priest.
Ile wait vpon your Lordship.
Enter Buckingham.

Buc.
What, talking with a Priest, Lord Chamberlaine?
Your friends at Pomfret, they doe need the Priest,
Your Honor hath no shriuing worke in hand.

Hast.
Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
The men you talke of, came into my minde.
What, goe you toward the Tower?

Buc.
I doe, my Lord, but long I cannot stay there:
I shall returne before your Lordship, thence.

Hast.
Nay like enough, for I stay Dinner there.

Buc.
And Supper too, although thou know'st it not.
Come, will you goe?

Hast.
Ile wait vpon your Lordship.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene III
Enter Sir Richard Ratcliffe, with Halberds, carrying
the Nobles to death at Pomfret.

Riuers.
Sir Richard Ratcliffe, let me tell thee this,
To day shalt thou behold a Subiect die,
For Truth, for Dutie, and for Loyaltie.

Grey.
God blesse the Prince from all the Pack of you,
A Knot you are, of damned Blood-suckers.

Vaugh.
You liue, that shall cry woe for this heere-after.

Rat.
Dispatch, the limit of your Liues is out.

Riuers.
O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody Prison!
Fatall and ominous to Noble Peeres:
Within the guiltie Closure of thy Walls,
Richard the Second here was hackt to death:
And for more slander to thy dismall Seat,
Wee giue to thee our guiltlesse blood to drinke.

Grey.
Now Margarets Curse is falne vpon our Heads,
When shee exclaim'd on Hastings, you, and I,
For standing by, when Richard stab'd her Sonne.

Riuers.
Then curs'd shee Richard, / Thencurs'd shee Buckingham,
Then curs'd shee Hastings. Oh remember God,
To heare her prayer for them, as now for vs:
And for my Sister, and her Princely Sonnes,
Be satisfy'd, deare God, with our true blood,
Which, as thou know'st, vniustly must be spilt.

Rat.
Make haste, the houre of death is expiate.

Riuers.
Come Grey, come Vaughan, let vs here embrace.
Farewell, vntill we meet againe in Heauen.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene IV
Enter Buckingham Darby, Hastings, Bishop of Ely,
Norfolke, Ratcliffe, Louell, with others, at a Table.

Hast.
Now Noble Peeres, the cause why we are met,
Is to determine of the Coronation:
In Gods Name speake, when is the Royall day?

Buck.
Is all things ready for the Royall time?

Darb.
It is, and wants but nomination.

Ely.
To morrow then I iudge a happie day.

Buck.
Who knowes the Lord Protectors mind herein?
Who is most inward with the Noble Duke?

Ely.
Your Grace, we thinke, should soonest know his minde.

Buck.
We know each others Faces: for our Hearts,
He knowes no more of mine, then I of yours,
Or I of his, my Lord, then you of mine:
Lord Hastings, you and he are neere in loue.

Hast.
I thanke his Grace, I know he loues me well:
But for his purpose in the Coronation,
I haue not sounded him, nor he deliuer'd
His gracious pleasure any way therein:
But you, my Honorable Lords, may name the time,
And in the Dukes behalfe Ile giue my Voice,
Which I presume hee'le take in gentle part.
Enter Gloucester.

Ely.
In happie time, here comes the Duke himselfe.

Rich.
My Noble Lords, and Cousins all, good morrow:
I haue beene long a sleeper: but I trust,
My absence doth neglect no great designe,
Which by my presence might haue beene concluded.

Buck.
Had you not come vpon your Q my Lord,
William, Lord Hastings, had pronounc'd your part;
I meane your Voice, for Crowning of the King.

Rich.
Then my Lord Hastings, no man might be bolder,
His Lordship knowes me well, and loues me well.
My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborne,
I saw good Strawberries in your Garden there,
I doe beseech you, send for some of them.

Ely.
Mary and will, my Lord, with all my heart.
Exit Bishop.

Rich.
Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our businesse,
And findes the testie Gentleman so hot,
That he will lose his Head, ere giue consent
His Masters Child, as worshipfully he tearmes it,
Shall lose the Royaltie of Englands Throne.

Buck.
Withdraw your selfe a while, Ile goe with you.
Exeunt.

Darb.
We haue not yet set downe this day of Triumph:
To morrow, in my iudgement, is too sudden,
For I my selfe am not so well prouided,
As else I would be, were the day prolong'd.
Enter the Bishop of Ely.

Ely.
Where is my Lord, the Duke of Gloster?
I haue sent for these Strawberries.

Ha.
His Grace looks chearfully & smooth this morning,
There's some conceit or other likes him well,
When that he bids good morrow with such spirit.
I thinke there's neuer a man in Christendome
Can lesser hide his loue, or hate, then hee,
For by his Face straight shall you know his Heart.

Darb.
What of his Heart perceiue you in his Face,
By any liuelyhood he shew'd to day?

Hast.
Mary, that with no man here he is offended:
For were he, he had shewne it in his Lookes.
Enter Richard, and Buckingham.

Rich.
I pray you all, tell me what they deserue,
That doe conspire my death with diuellish Plots
Of damned Witchcraft, and that haue preuail'd
Vpon my Body with their Hellish Charmes.

Hast.
The tender loue I beare your Grace, my Lord,
Makes me most forward, in this Princely presence,
To doome th' Offendors, whosoe're they be:
I say, my Lord, they haue deserued death.

Rich.
Then be your eyes the witnesse of their euill.
Looke how I am bewitch'd: behold, mine Arme
Is like a blasted Sapling, wither'd vp:
And this is Edwards Wife, that monstrous Witch,
Consorted with that Harlot, Strumpet Shore,
That by their Witchcraft thus haue marked me.

Hast.
If they haue done this deed, my Noble Lord.

Rich.
If? thou Protector of this damned Strumpet,
Talk'st thou to me of Ifs: thou art a Traytor,
Off with his Head; now by Saint Paul I sweare,
I will not dine, vntill I see the same.
Louell and Ratcliffe, looke that it be done:
The rest that loue me, rise, and follow me.
Exeunt.
Manet Louell and Ratcliffe, with the Lord Hastings.

Hast.
Woe, woe for England, not a whit for me,
For I, too fond, might haue preuented this:
Stanley did dreame, the Bore did rowse our Helmes,
And I did scorne it, and disdaine to flye:
Three times to day my Foot-Cloth-Horse did stumble,
And started, when he look'd vpon the Tower,
As loth to beare me to the slaughter-house.
O now I need the Priest, that spake to me:
I now repent I told the Pursuiuant,
As too triumphing, how mine Enemies
To day at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd,
And I my selfe secure, in grace and fauour.
Oh Margaret, Margaret, now thy heauie Curse
Is lighted on poore Hastings wretched Head.

Ra.
Come, come, dispatch, the Duke would be at dinner:
Make a short Shrift, he longs to see your Head.

Hast.
O momentarie grace of mortall men,
Which we more hunt for, then the grace of God!
Who builds his hope in ayre of your good Lookes,
Liues like a drunken Sayler on a Mast,
Readie with euery Nod to tumble downe,
Into the fatall Bowels of the Deepe.

Lou.
Come, come, dispatch, 'tis bootlesse to exclaime.

Hast.
O bloody Richard: miserable England,
I prophecie the fearefull'st time to thee,
That euer wretched Age hath look'd vpon.
Come, lead me to the Block, beare him my Head,
They smile at me, who shortly shall be dead.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene V
Enter Richard, and Buckingham,
in rotten Armour, maruellous ill-fauoured.

Richard.
Come Cousin, / Canst thou quake, and change thy colour,
Murther thy breath in middle of a word,
And then againe begin, and stop againe,
As if thou were distraught, and mad with terror?

Buck.
Tut, I can counterfeit the deepe Tragedian,
Speake, and looke backe, and prie on euery side,
Tremble and start at wagging of a Straw:
Intending deepe suspition, gastly Lookes
Are at my seruice, like enforced Smiles;
And both are readie in their Offices,
At any time to grace my Stratagemes.
But what, is Catesby gone?

Rich.
He is, and see he brings the Maior along.
Enter the Maior, and Catesby.

Buck.
Lord Maior.

Rich.
Looke to the Draw-Bridge there.

Buck.
Hearke, a Drumme.

Rich.
Catesby, o're-looke the Walls.

Buck.
Lord Maior, the reason we haue sent.

Rich.
Looke back, defend thee, here are Enemies.

Buck.
God and our Innocencie defend, and guard vs.
Enter Louell and Ratcliffe, with Hastings Head.

Rich.
Be patient, they are friends: Ratcliffe, and Louell.

Louell.
Here is the Head of that ignoble Traytor,
The dangerous and vnsuspected Hastings.

Rich.
So deare I lou'd the man, that I must weepe:
I tooke him for the plainest harmelesse Creature,
That breath'd vpon the Earth, a Christian.
Made him my Booke, wherein my Soule recorded
The Historie of all her secret thoughts.
So smooth he dawb'd his Vice with shew of Vertue,
That his apparant open Guilt omitted,
I meane, his Conuersation with Shores Wife,
He liu'd from all attainder of suspects.

Buck.
Well, well, he was the couertst sheltred Traytor
That euer liu'd. / Would you imagine, or almost beleeue,
Wert not, that by great preseruation
We liue to tell it, that the subtill Traytor
This day had plotted, in the Councell-House,
To murther me, and my good Lord of Gloster.

Maior.
Had he done so?

Rich.
What? thinke you we are Turkes, or Infidels?
Or that we would, against the forme of Law,
Proceed thus rashly in the Villaines death,
But that the extreme perill of the case,
The Peace of England, and our Persons safetie,
Enforc'd vs to this Execution.

Maior.
Now faire befall you, he deseru'd his death,
And your good Graces both haue well proceeded,
To warne false Traytors from the like Attempts.

Buck.
I neuer look'd for better at his hands,
After he once fell in with Mistresse Shore:
Yet had we not determin'd he should dye,
Vntill your Lordship came to see his end,
Which now the louing haste of these our friends,
Something against our meanings, haue preuented;
Because, my Lord, I would haue had you heard
The Traytor speake, and timorously confesse
The manner and the purpose of his Treasons:
That you might well haue signify'd the same
Vnto the Citizens, who haply may
Misconster vs in him, and wayle his death.

Ma.
But, my good Lord, your Graces words shal serue,
As well as I had seene, and heard him speake:
And doe not doubt, right Noble Princes both,
But Ile acquaint our dutious Citizens
With all your iust proceedings in this case.

Rich.
And to that end we wish'd your Lordship here,
T'auoid the Censures of the carping World.

Buck.
Which since you come too late of our intent,
Yet witnesse what you heare we did intend:
And so, my good Lord Maior, we bid farwell.
Exit Maior.

Rich.
Goe after, after, Cousin Buckingham.
The Maior towards Guild-Hall hyes him in all poste:
There, at your meetest vantage of the time,
Inferre the Bastardie of Edwards Children:
Tell them, how Edward put to death a Citizen,
Onely for saying, he would make his Sonne
Heire to the Crowne, meaning indeed his House,
Which, by the Signe thereof, was tearmed so.
Moreouer, vrge his hatefull Luxurie,
And beastiall appetite in change of Lust,
Which stretcht vnto their Seruants, Daughters, Wiues,
Euen where his raging eye, or sauage heart,
Without controll, lusted to make a prey.
Nay, for a need, thus farre come neere my Person:
Tell them, when that my Mother went with Child
Of that insatiate Edward; Noble Yorke,
My Princely Father, then had Warres in France,
And by true computation of the time,
Found, that the Issue was not his begot:
Which well appeared in his Lineaments,
Being nothing like the Noble Duke, my Father:
Yet touch this sparingly, as 'twere farre off,
Because, my Lord, you know my Mother liues.

Buck.
Doubt not, my Lord, Ile play the Orator,
As if the Golden Fee, for which I plead,
Were for my selfe: and so, my Lord, adue.

Rich.
If you thriue wel, bring them to Baynards Castle,
Where you shall finde me well accompanied
With reuerend Fathers, and well-learned Bishops.

Buck.
I goe, and towards three or foure a Clocke
Looke for the Newes that the Guild-Hall affoords.
Exit Buckingham.

Rich.
Goe Louell with all speed to Doctor Shaw,
Goe thou to Fryer Peuker, bid them both
Meet me within this houre at Baynards Castle.
Exit.
Now will I goe to take some priuie order,
To draw the Brats of Clarence out of sight,
And to giue order, that no manner person
Haue any time recourse vnto the Princes.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene VI
Enter a Scriuener.

Scr.
Here is the Indictment of the good Lord Hastings,
Which in a set Hand fairely is engross'd,
That it may be to day read o're in Paules.
And marke how well the sequell hangs together:
Eleuen houres I haue spent to write it ouer,
For yester-night by Catesby was it sent me,
The Precedent was full as long a doing,
And yet within these fiue houres Hastings liu'd,
Vntainted, vnexamin'd, free, at libertie.
Here's a good World the while. / Who is so grosse,
that cannot see this palpable deuice?
Yet who so bold, but sayes he sees it not?
Bad is the World, and all will come to nought,
When such ill dealing must be seene in thought.
Exit.
Original text
Act III, Scene VII
Enter Richard and Buckingham
at seuerall Doores.

Rich.
How now, how now, what say the Citizens?

Buck.
Now by the holy Mother of our Lord,
The Citizens are mum, say not a word.

Rich.
Toucht you the Bastardie of Edwards Children?

Buck
I did, with his Contract with Lady Lucy,
And his Contract by Deputie in France,
Th'vnsatiate greedinesse of his desire,
And his enforcement of the Citie Wiues,
His Tyrannie for Trifles, his owne Bastardie,
As being got, your Father then in France,
And his resemblance, being not like the Duke.
Withall, I did inferre your Lineaments,
Being the right Idea of your Father,
Both in your forme, and Noblenesse of Minde:
Layd open all your Victories in Scotland,
Your Discipline in Warre, Wisdome in Peace,
Your Bountie, Vertue, faire Humilitie:
Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose,
Vntoucht, or sleightly handled in discourse.
And when my Oratorie drew toward end,
I bid them that did loue their Countries good,
Cry, God saue Richard, Englands Royall King.

Rich.
And did they so?

Buck.
No, so God helpe me, they spake not a word,
But like dumbe Statues, or breathing Stones,
Star'd each on other, and look'd deadly pale:
Which when I saw, I reprehended them,
And ask'd the Maior, what meant this wilfull silence?
His answer was, the people were not vsed
To be spoke to, but by the Recorder.
Then he was vrg'd to tell my Tale againe:
Thus sayth the Duke, thus hath the Duke inferr'd,
But nothing spoke, in warrant from himselfe.
When he had done, some followers of mine owne,
At lower end of the Hall, hurld vp their Caps,
And some tenne voyces cry'd, God saue King Richard:
And thus I tooke the vantage of those few.
Thankes gentle Citizens, and friends, quoth I,
This generall applause, and chearefull showt,
Argues your wisdome, and your loue to Richard:
And euen here brake off, and came away.

Rich.
What tongue-lesse Blockes were they, / Would they not speake?
Will not the Maior then, and his Brethren, come?

Buck.
The Maior is here at hand: intend some feare,
Be not you spoke with, but by mightie suit:
And looke you get a Prayer-Booke in your hand,
And stand betweene two Church-men, good my Lord,
For on that ground Ile make a holy Descant:
And be not easily wonne to our requests,
Play the Maids part, still answer nay, and take it.

Rich.
I goe: and if you plead as well for them,
As I can say nay to thee for my selfe,
No doubt we bring it to a happie issue.

Buck.
Go, go vp to the Leads, the Lord Maior knocks.
Enter the Maior, and Citizens.
Welcome, my Lord, I dance attendance here,
I thinke the Duke will not be spoke withall.
Enter Catesby.
Buck. Now Catesby, what sayes your Lord to my request?

Catesby.
He doth entreat your Grace, my Noble Lord,
To visit him to morrow, or next day:
He is within, with two right reuerend Fathers,
Diuinely bent to Meditation,
And in no Worldly suites would he be mou'd,
To draw him from his holy Exercise.

Buck.
Returne, good Catesby, to the gracious Duke,
Tell him, my selfe, the Maior and Aldermen,
In deepe designes, in matter of great moment,
No lesse importing then our generall good,
Are come to haue some conference with his Grace.

Catesby.
Ile signifie so much vnto him straight.
Exit.

Buck.
Ah ha, my Lord, this Prince is not an Edward,
He is not lulling on a lewd Loue-Bed,
But on his Knees, at Meditation:
Not dallying with a Brace of Curtizans,
But meditating with two deepe Diuines:
Not sleeping, to engrosse his idle Body,
But praying, to enrich his watchfull Soule.
Happie were England, would this vertuous Prince
Take on his Grace the Soueraigntie thereof.
But sure I feare we shall not winne him to it.

Maior.
Marry God defend his Grace should say vs nay.

Buck.
I feare he will: here Catesby comes againe.
Enter Catesby.
Now Catesby, what sayes his Grace?

Catesby.
He wonders to what end you haue assembled
Such troopes of Citizens, to come to him,
His Grace not being warn'd thereof before:
He feares, my Lord, you meane no good to him.

Buck.
Sorry I am, my Noble Cousin should
Suspect me, that I meane no good to him:
By Heauen, we come to him in perfit loue,
And so once more returne, and tell his Grace.
Exit.
When holy and deuout Religious men
Are at their Beades, 'tis much to draw them thence,
So sweet is zealous Contemplation.
Enter Richard aloft, betweene two Bishops.

Maior.
See where his Grace stands, tweene two Clergie men.

Buck.
Two Props of Vertue, for a Christian Prince,
To stay him from the fall of Vanitie:
And see a Booke of Prayer in his hand,
True Ornaments to know a holy man.
Famous Plantagenet, most gracious Prince,
Lend fauourable eare to our requests,
And pardon vs the interruption
Of thy Deuotion, and right Christian Zeale.

Rich.
My Lord, there needes no such Apologie:
I doe beseech your Grace to pardon me,
Who earnest in the seruice of my God,
Deferr'd the visitation of my friends.
But leauing this, what is your Graces pleasure?

Buck.
Euen that (I hope) which pleaseth God aboue,
And all good men, of this vngouern'd Ile.

Rich.
I doe suspect I haue done some offence,
That seemes disgracious in the Cities eye,
And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.

Buck.
You haue, my Lord: / Would it might please your Grace,
On our entreaties, to amend your fault.

Rich.
Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian Land.

Buck.
Know then, it is your fault, that you resigne
The Supreme Seat, the Throne Maiesticall,
The Sceptred Office of your Ancestors,
Your State of Fortune, and your Deaw of Birth,
The Lineall Glory of your Royall House,
To the corruption of a blemisht Stock;
Whiles in the mildnesse of your sleepie thoughts,
Which here we waken to our Countries good,
The Noble Ile doth want his proper Limmes:
His Face defac'd with skarres of Infamie,
His Royall Stock grafft with ignoble Plants,
And almost shouldred in the swallowing Gulfe
Of darke Forgetfulnesse, and deepe Obliuion.
Which to recure, we heartily solicite
Your gracious selfe to take on you the charge
And Kingly Gouernment of this your Land:
Not as Protector, Steward, Substitute,
Or lowly Factor, for anothers gaine;
But as successiuely, from Blood to Blood,
Your Right of Birth, your Empyrie, your owne.
For this, consorted with the Citizens,
Your very Worshipfull and louing friends,
And by their vehement instigation,
In this iust Cause come I to moue your Grace.

Rich.
I cannot tell, if to depart in silence,
Or bitterly to speake in your reproofe,
Best fitteth my Degree, or your Condition.
If not to answer, you might haply thinke,
Tongue-ty'd Ambition, not replying, yeelded
To beare the Golden Yoake of Soueraigntie,
Which fondly you would here impose on me.
If to reproue you for this suit of yours,
So season'd with your faithfull loue to me,
Then on the other side I check'd my friends.
Therefore to speake, and to auoid the first,
And then in speaking, not to incurre the last,
Definitiuely thus I answer you.
Your loue deserues my thankes, but my desert
Vnmeritable, shunnes your high request.
First, if all Obstacles were cut away,
And that my Path were euen to the Crowne,
As the ripe Reuenue, and due of Birth:
Yet so much is my pouertie of spirit,
So mightie, and so manie my defects,
That I would rather hide me from my Greatnesse,
Being a Barke to brooke no mightie Sea;
Then in my Greatnesse couet to be hid,
And in the vapour of my Glory smother'd.
But God be thank'd, there is no need of me,
And much I need to helpe you, were there need:
The Royall Tree hath left vs Royall Fruit,
Which mellow'd by the stealing howres of time,
Will well become the Seat of Maiestie,
And make (no doubt) vs happy by his Reigne.
On him I lay that, you would lay on me,
The Right and Fortune of his happie Starres,
Which God defend that I should wring from him.

Buck.
My Lord, this argues Conscience in your Grace,
But the respects thereof are nice, and triuiall,
All circumstances well considered.
You say, that Edward is your Brothers Sonne,
So say we too, but not by Edwards Wife:
For first was he contract to Lady Lucie,
Your Mother liues a Witnesse to his Vow;
And afterward by substitute betroth'd
To Bona, Sister to the King of France.
These both put off, a poore Petitioner,
A Care-cras'd Mother to a many Sonnes,
A Beautie-waining, and distressed Widow,
Euen in the after-noone of her best dayes,
Made prize and purchase of his wanton Eye,
Seduc'd the pitch, and height of his degree,
To base declension, and loath'd Bigamie.
By her, in his vnlawfull Bed, he got
This Edward, whom our Manners call the Prince.
More bitterly could I expostulate,
Saue that for reuerence to some aliue,
I giue a sparing limit to my Tongue.
Then good, my Lord, take to your Royall selfe
This proffer'd benefit of Dignitie:
If not to blesse vs and the Land withall,
Yet to draw forth your Noble Ancestrie
From the corruption of abusing times,
Vnto a Lineall true deriued course.

Maior.
Do good my Lord, your Citizens entreat you.

Buck.
Refuse not, mightie Lord, this proffer'd loue.

Catesb.
O make them ioyfull, grant their lawfull suit.

Rich.
Alas, why would you heape this Care on me?
I am vnfit for State, and Maiestie:
I doe beseech you take it not amisse,
I cannot, nor I will not yeeld to you.

Buck.
If you refuse it, as in loue and zeale,
Loth to depose the Child, your Brothers Sonne,
As well we know your tendernesse of heart,
And gentle, kinde, effeminate remorse,
Which we haue noted in you to your Kindred,
And egally indeede to all Estates:
Yet know, where you accept our suit, or no,
Your Brothers Sonne shall neuer reigne our King,
But we will plant some other in the Throne,
To the disgrace and downe-fall of your House:
And in this resolution here we leaue you.
Come Citizens, we will entreat no more.
Exeunt.

Catesb.
Call him againe, sweet Prince, accept their suit:
If you denie them, all the Land will rue it.

Rich.
Will you enforce me to a world of Cares.
Call them againe, I am not made of Stones,
But penetrable to your kinde entreaties,
Albeit against my Conscience and my Soule.
Enter Buckingham, and the rest.
Cousin of Buckingham, and sage graue men,
Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
To beare her burthen, where I will or no.
I must haue patience to endure the Load:
But if black Scandall, or foule-fac'd Reproach,
Attend the sequell of your Imposition,
Your meere enforcement shall acquittance me
From all the impure blots and staynes thereof;
For God doth know, and you may partly see,
How farre I am from the desire of this.

Maior.
God blesse your Grace, wee see it, and will say it.

Rich.
In saying so, you shall but say the truth.

Buck.
Then I salute you with this Royall Title,
Long liue King Richard, Englands worthie King.

All.
Amen.

Buck.
To morrow may it please you to be Crown'd.

Rich.
Euen when you please, for you will haue it so.

Buck.
To morrow then we will attend your Grace,
And so most ioyfully we take our leaue.

Rich.
Come, let vs to our holy Worke againe.
Farewell my Cousins, farewell gentle friends.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act III, Scene I
The trumpets sound. Enter the young Prince Edward of
Wales, the Dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham,
Lord Cardinal Bourchier, Catesby, with others

BUCKINGHAM
Welcome, sweet Prince, to London, to your chamber.

RICHARD
Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts' sovereign!
The weary way hath made you melancholy.

PRINCE EDWARD
No, uncle; but our crosses on the way
Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy.
I want more uncles here to welcome me.

RICHARD
Sweet Prince, the untainted virtue of your years
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.
Those uncles which you want were dangerous;
Your grace attended to their sugared words
But looked not on the poison of their hearts.
God keep you from them, and from such false friends!

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

RICHARD
My lord, the Mayor of London comes to greet you.
Enter Lord Mayor and his train

LORD MAYOR
God bless your grace with health and happy days!

PRINCE EDWARD
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
To tell us whether they will come or no!
Enter Lord Hastings

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

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

HASTINGS
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,
But by his mother was perforce withheld.

BUCKINGHAM
Fie, what an indirect and peevish course
Is this of hers! Lord Cardinal, will your grace
Persuade the Queen to send the Duke of York
Unto his princely brother presently?
If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him
And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.

CARDINAL BOURCHIER
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
To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid
We should infringe the holy privilege
Of blessed sanctuary! Not for all this land
Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.

BUCKINGHAM
You are too senseless-obstinate, my lord,
Too ceremonious and traditional.
Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,
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.
Oft have I heard of sanctuary men,
But sanctuary children never till now.

CARDINAL BOURCHIER
My lord, you shall overrule my mind for once.
Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?

HASTINGS
I go, my lord.

PRINCE EDWARD
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?

RICHARD
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.

PRINCE EDWARD
I do not like the Tower, of any place.
Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?

BUCKINGHAM
He did, my gracious lord, begin that place,
Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.

PRINCE EDWARD
Is it upon record, or else reported
Successively from age to age, he built it?

BUCKINGHAM
Upon record, my gracious lord.

PRINCE EDWARD
But say, my lord, it were not registered,
Methinks the truth should live from age to age,
As 'twere retailed to all posterity,
Even to the general all-ending day.

RICHARD
(aside)
So wise so young, they say, do never live long.

PRINCE EDWARD
What say you, uncle?

RICHARD
I say, without characters fame lives long.
(Aside) Thus, like the formal Vice, Iniquity,
I moralize two meanings in one word.

PRINCE EDWARD
That Julius Caesar was a famous man.
With what his valour did enrich his wit,
His wit set down to make his valour live.
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 –

BUCKINGHAM
What, my gracious lord?

PRINCE EDWARD
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.

RICHARD
(aside) Short summers lightly have a forward spring.
Enter the young Duke of York, Hastings, and
Cardinal Bourchier

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

PRINCE EDWARD
Richard of York, how fares our loving brother?

YORK
Well, my dread lord – so must I call you now.

PRINCE EDWARD
Ay, brother – to our grief, as it is yours.
Too late he died that might have kept that title,
Which by his death hath lost much majesty.

RICHARD
How fares our cousin, noble Lord of York?

YORK
I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord,
You said that idle weeds are fast in growth.
The Prince my brother hath outgrown me far.

RICHARD
He hath, my lord.

YORK
And therefore is he idle?

RICHARD
O my fair cousin, I must not say so.

YORK
Then he is more beholding to you than I.

RICHARD
He may command me as my sovereign,
But you have power in me as in a kinsman.

YORK
I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.

RICHARD
My dagger, little cousin? With all my heart.

PRINCE EDWARD
A beggar, brother?

YORK
Of my kind uncle, that I know will give,
And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.

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

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

RICHARD
Ay, gentle cousin, were it light enough.

YORK
O, then I see you will part but with light gifts!
In weightier things you'll say a beggar nay.

RICHARD
It is too heavy for your grace to wear.

YORK
I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.

RICHARD
What, would you have my weapon, little lord?

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

RICHARD
How?

YORK
Little.

PRINCE EDWARD
My Lord of York will still be cross in talk.
Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him.

YORK
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.

BUCKINGHAM
(aside to Hastings)
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.

RICHARD
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.

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

PRINCE EDWARD
My Lord Protector needs will have it so.

YORK
I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower.

RICHARD
Why, what should you fear?

YORK
Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost –
My grandam told me he was murdered there.

PRINCE EDWARD
I fear no uncles dead.

RICHARD
Nor none that live, I hope.

PRINCE EDWARD
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

BUCKINGHAM
Think you, my lord, this little prating York
Was not incensed by his subtle mother
To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?

RICHARD
No doubt, no doubt. O, 'tis a parlous boy,
Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable.
He is all the mother's, from the top to toe.

BUCKINGHAM
Well, let them rest. Come hither, Catesby. Thou art sworn
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?

CATESBY
He for his father's sake so loves the Prince
That he will not be won to aught against him.

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

CATESBY
He will do all in all as Hastings doth.

BUCKINGHAM
Well then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
And, as it were far off, sound thou Lord Hastings
How doth he stand affected to our purpose,
And summon him tomorrow to the Tower
To sit about the coronation.
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.

RICHARD
Commend me to Lord William. Tell him, Catesby,
His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
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.

BUCKINGHAM
Good Catesby, go, effect this business soundly.

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

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

CATESBY
You shall, my lord.

RICHARD
At Crosby House, there shall you find us both.
Exit Catesby

BUCKINGHAM
Now, my lord, what shall we do if we perceive
Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?

RICHARD
Chop off his head! Something we will determine.
And look when I am King, claim thou of me
The earldom of Hereford and all the moveables
Whereof the King my brother stood possessed.

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

RICHARD
And look to have it yielded with all kindness.
Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards
We may digest our complots in some form.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene II
Enter a Messenger to the door of Hastings

MESSENGER
My lord! My lord!

HASTINGS
(within) Who knocks?

MESSENGER
One from the Lord Stanley.
Enter Lord Hastings

HASTINGS
What is't a clock?

MESSENGER
Upon the stroke of four.

HASTINGS
Cannot my Lord Stanley sleep these tedious nights?

MESSENGER
So it appears by that I have to say:
First, he commends him to your noble self.

HASTINGS
And then?

MESSENGER
Then certifies your lordship that this night
He dreamt the boar had razed off his helm.
Besides, he says there are two councils kept;
And that may be determined at the one
Which may make you and him to rue at th' other.
Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,
If you will presently take horse with him
And with all speed post with him toward the north
To shun the danger that his soul divines.

HASTINGS
Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
Bid him not fear the separated council.
His honour and myself are at the one,
And at the other is my good friend Catesby;
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
Tell him his fears are shallow, without instance;
And for his dreams, I wonder he's so simple
To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers.
To fly the boar before the boar pursues
Were to incense the boar to follow us,
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
Go, bid thy master rise and come to me,
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where he shall see the boar will use us kindly.

MESSENGER
I'll go, my lord, and tell him what you say.
Exit
Enter Catesby

CATESBY
Many good morrows to my noble lord!

HASTINGS
Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring.
What news, what news, in this our tottering state?

CATESBY
It is a reeling world indeed, my lord,
And I believe will never stand upright
Till Richard wear the garland of the realm.

HASTINGS
How! Wear the garland! Dost thou mean the crown?

CATESBY
Ay, my good lord.

HASTINGS
I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
Before I'll see the crown so foul misplaced.
But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?

CATESBY
Ay, on my life, and hopes to find you forward
Upon his party for the gain thereof;
And thereupon he sends you this good news,
That this same very day your enemies,
The kindred of the Queen, must die at Pomfret.

HASTINGS
Indeed I am no mourner for that news,
Because they have been still my adversaries;
But that I'll give my voice on Richard's side
To bar my master's heirs in true descent –
God knows I will not do it, to the death!

CATESBY
God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!

HASTINGS
But I shall laugh at this a twelvemonth hence,
That they which brought me in my master's hate,
I live to look upon their tragedy.
Well, Catesby, ere a fortnight make me older,
I'll send some packing that yet think not on't.

CATESBY
'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepared and look not for it.

HASTINGS
O monstrous, monstrous! And so falls it out
With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey; and so 'twill do
With some men else, that think themselves as safe
As thou and I, who, as thou know'st are dear
To princely Richard and to Buckingham.

CATESBY
The princes both make high account of you –
(Aside) For they account his head upon the Bridge.

HASTINGS
I know they do, and I have well deserved it.
Enter Earl of Derby
Come on, come on! Where is your boar-spear, man?
Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?

DERBY
My lord, good morrow. Good morrow, Catesby.
You may jest on, but, by the Holy Rood,
I do not like these several councils, I.

HASTINGS
My lord, I hold my life as dear as you do yours,
And never in my days, I do protest,
Was it so precious to me as 'tis now.
Think you, but that I know our state secure,
I would be so triumphant as I am?

DERBY
The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
Were jocund and supposed their states were sure,
And they indeed had no cause to mistrust;
But yet you see how soon the day o'ercast.
This sudden stab of rancour I misdoubt.
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
What, shall we toward the Tower? The day is spent.

HASTINGS
Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my lord?
Today the lords you talk of are beheaded.

DERBY
They, for their truth, might better wear their heads
Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
But come, my lord, let us away.
Enter a Pursuivant also named Hastings

HASTINGS
Go on before. I'll talk with this good fellow.
Exeunt Earl of Derby and Catesby
How now, Hastings! How goes the world with thee?

PURSUIVANT
The better that your lordship please to ask.

HASTINGS
I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now
Than when I met thee last where now we meet.
Then was I going prisoner to the Tower
By the suggestion of the Queen's allies;
But now I tell thee – keep it to thyself –
This day those enemies are put to death,
And I in better state than e'er I was.

PURSUIVANT
God hold it, to your honour's good content!

HASTINGS
Gramercy, Hastings. There, drink that for me.
Throws him his purse

PURSUIVANT
I thank your honour.
Exit Pursuivant
Enter a Priest

PRIEST
Well met, my lord. I am glad to see your honour.

HASTINGS
I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
I am in your debt for your last exercise;
Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.
He whispers in his ear

PRIEST
I'll wait upon your lordship.
Enter Buckingham

BUCKINGHAM
What, talking with a priest, Lord Chamberlain?
Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest;
Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.

HASTINGS
Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
The men you talk of came into my mind.
What, go you toward the Tower?

BUCKINGHAM
I do, my lord, but long I shall not stay there.
I shall return before your lordship thence.

HASTINGS
Nay, like enough, for I stay dinner there.

BUCKINGHAM
(aside)
And supper too, although thou know'st it not.
– Come, will you go?

HASTINGS
I'll wait upon your lordship.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene III
Enter Sir Richard Ratcliffe, with halberds, carrying
Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan to death at Pomfret

RIVERS
Sir Richard Ratcliffe, let me tell thee this:
Today shalt thou behold a subject die
For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.

GREY
God bless the Prince from all the pack of you!
A knot you are of damned bloodsuckers.

VAUGHAN
You live that shall cry woe for this hereafter.

RATCLIFFE
Dispatch! The limit of your lives is out.

RIVERS
O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
Within the guilty closure of thy walls
Richard the Second here was hacked to death;
And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
We give to thee our guiltless blood to drink.

GREY
Now Margaret's curse is fallen upon our heads,
When she exclaimed on Hastings, you, and I,
For standing by when Richard stabbed her son.

RIVERS
Then cursed she Richard, then cursed she Buckingham,
Then cursed she Hastings. O, remember, God,
To hear her prayers for them, as now for us!
And for my sister and her princely sons,
Be satisfied, dear God, with our true blood,
Which, as Thou know'st, unjustly must be spilt.

RATCLIFFE
Make haste. The hour of death is expiate.

RIVERS
Come, Grey; come, Vaughan; let us here embrace.
Farewell, until we meet again in heaven.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene IV
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.
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.

BISHOP OF ELY
Tomorrow then I judge a happy day.

BUCKINGHAM
Who knows the Lord Protector's mind herein?
Who is most inward with the noble Duke?

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,
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,
Which, I presume, he'll take in gentle part.
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.
I have been long a sleeper; but I trust
My absence doth neglect no great design
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
That he will lose his head ere give consent
His master's child, as worshipfully he terms it,
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.
Tomorrow, in my judgement, is too sudden;
For I myself am not so well provided
As else I would be, were the day prolonged.
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
When that he bids good morrow with such spirit.
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.

DERBY
What of his heart perceive you in his face
By any livelihood he showed today?

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
To doom th' offenders: whatsoever they be,
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;
And this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,
Consorted with that harlot, strumpet Shore,
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.
Stanley did dream the boar did raze our helms,
And did scorn it and disdain to fly.
Three times today my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
And started when he looked upon the Tower,
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,
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
Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head!

RATCLIFFE
Come, come, dispatch! The Duke would be at dinner.
Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.

HASTINGS
O momentary grace of mortal men,
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.

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
Modern text
Act III, Scene V
Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Buckingham,
in rotten armour, marvellous ill-favoured

RICHARD
Come, cousin, canst thou quake and change thy colour,
Murder thy breath in middle of a word,
And then again begin, and stop again,
As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?

BUCKINGHAM
Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian,
Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
Tremble and start at wagging of a straw;
Intending deep suspicion, ghastly looks
Are at my service, like enforced smiles;
And both are ready in their offices,
At any time to grace my stratagems.
But what, is Catesby gone?

RICHARD
He is; and see, he brings the Mayor along.
Enter the Lord Mayor and Catesby

BUCKINGHAM
Lord Mayor –

RICHARD
Look to the drawbridge there!

BUCKINGHAM
Hark! A drum.

RICHARD
Catesby, o'erlook the walls.

BUCKINGHAM
Lord Mayor, the reason we have sent –

RICHARD
Look back! Defend thee! Here are enemies!

BUCKINGHAM
God and our innocence defend and guard us!
Enter Lovel and Ratcliffe, with Hastings' head

RICHARD
Be patient, they are friends, Ratcliffe and Lovel.

LOVEL
Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.

RICHARD
So dear I loved the man that I must weep.
I took him for the plainest harmless creature
That breathed upon this earth a Christian;
Made him my book, wherein my soul recorded
The history of all her secret thoughts.
So smooth he daubed his vice with show of virtue
That, his apparent open guilt omitted –
I mean, his conversation with Shore's wife –
He lived from all attainder of suspects.

BUCKINGHAM
Well, well, he was the covert'st sheltered traitor.
Would you imagine, or almost believe,
Were't not that by great preservation
We live to tell it, that the subtle traitor
This day had plotted, in the Council House,
To murder me and my good Lord of Gloucester?

LORD MAYOR
Had he done so?

RICHARD
What? Think you we are Turks or infidels?
Or that we would, against the form of law,
Proceed thus rashly in the villain's death
But that the extreme peril of the case,
The peace of England, and our person's safety
Enforced us to this execution?

LORD MAYOR
Now fair befall you! He deserved his death,
And your good graces both have well proceeded
To warn false traitors from the like attempts.

BUCKINGHAM
I never looked for better at his hands
After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.
Yet had not we determined he should die
Until your lordship came to see his end,
Which now the loving haste of these our friends,
Somewhat against our meaning, have prevented;
Because, my lord, I would have had you heard
The traitor speak, and timorously confess
The manner and the purpose of his treason,
That you might well have signified the same
Unto the citizens, who haply may
Misconstrue us in him and wail his death.

LORD MAYOR
But, my good lord, your grace's word shall serve,
As well as I had seen, and heard him speak;
And do not doubt, right noble princes both,
But I'll acquaint our duteous citizens
With all your just proceedings in this cause.

RICHARD
And to that end we wished your lordship here,
T' avoid the censures of the carping world.

BUCKINGHAM
Which since you come too late of our intent,
Yet witness what you hear we did intend.
And so, my good Lord Mayor, we bid farewell.
Exit Lord Mayor

RICHARD
Go after, after, cousin Buckingham.
The Mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post;
There, at your meet'st advantage of the time,
Infer the bastardy of Edward's children.
Tell them how Edward put to death a citizen
Only for saying he would make his son
Heir to the Crown, meaning indeed his house,
Which by the sign thereof was termed so.
Moreover, urge his hateful luxury
And bestial appetite in change of lust,
Which stretched unto their servants, daughters, wives,
Even where his raging eye or savage heart,
Without control, listed to make his prey.
Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:
Tell them, when that my mother went with child
Of that insatiate Edward, noble York,
My princely father, then had wars in France,
And by true computation of the time
Found that the issue was not his begot;
Which well appeared in his lineaments,
Being nothing like the noble duke my father.
But touch this sparingly, as 'twere far off,
Because, my lord, you know my mother lives.

BUCKINGHAM
Doubt not, my lord, I'll play the orator
As if the golden fee for which I plead
Were for myself; and so, my lord, adieu.

RICHARD
If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard's Castle,
Where you shall find me well accompanied
With reverend fathers and well-learned bishops.

BUCKINGHAM
I go; and towards three or four a clock
Look for the news that the Guildhall affords.
Exit Buckingham

RICHARD
Go, Lovel, with all speed to Doctor Shaw;
(To Catesby) Go thou to Friar Penker. Bid them both
Meet me within this hour at Baynard's Castle.
Exeunt Lovel, Catesby, and Ratcliffe
Now will I go to take some privy order
To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight,
And to give notice that no manner of person
At any time recourse unto the princes.
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene VI
Enter a Scrivener, with a paper in his hand

SCRIVENER
This is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings,
Which in a set hand fairly is engrossed
That it may be today read o'er in Paul's.
And mark how well the sequel hangs together.
Eleven hours I have spent to write it over,
For yesternight by Catesby was it sent me;
The precedent was full as long a-doing;
And yet within these five hours Hastings lived,
Untainted, unexamined, free, at liberty.
Here's a good world the while! Who is so gross
That cannot see this palpable device?
Yet who's so bold but says he sees it not?
Bad is the world, and all will come to naught
When such ill dealing must be seen in thought.
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene VII
Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Buckingham
at several doors

RICHARD
How now, how now? What say the citizens?

BUCKINGHAM
Now, by the holy Mother of our Lord,
The citizens are mum, say not a word.

RICHARD
Touched you the bastardy of Edward's children?

BUCKINGHAM
I did, with his contract with Lady Lucy
And his contract by deputy in France;
Th' unsatiate greediness of his desire
And his enforcement of the city wives;
His tyranny for trifles; his own bastardy,
As being got, your father then in France,
His resemblance, being not like the Duke.
Withal I did infer your lineaments,
Being the right idea of your father
Both in your form and nobleness of mind;
Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
Your discipline in war, wisdom in peace,
Your bounty, virtue, fair humility;
Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose
Untouched, or slightly handled in discourse;
And when mine oratory drew toward end
I bid them that did love their country's good
Cry, ‘ God save Richard, England's royal King!’

RICHARD
And did they so?

BUCKINGHAM
No, so God help me, they spake not a word,
But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
Stared each on other, and looked deadly pale.
Which when I saw, I reprehended them
And asked the Mayor what meant this wilful silence.
His answer was, the people were not used
To be spoke to but by the Recorder.
Then he was urged to tell my tale again:
‘ Thus saith the Duke, thus hath the Duke inferred ’ –
But nothing spoke in warrant from himself.
When he had done, some followers of mine own,
At the lower end of the hall, hurled up their caps,
And some ten voices cried, ‘ God save King Richard!’
And thus I took the vantage of those few:
‘ Thanks, gentle citizens and friends,’ quoth I.
‘ This general applause and cheerful shout
Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard ’ –
And even here brake off and came away.

RICHARD
What tongueless blocks were they! Would not they speak?
Will not the Mayor then and his brethren come?

BUCKINGHAM
The Mayor is here at hand. Intend some fear;
Be not you spoke with but by mighty suit;
And look you get a prayer-book in your hand
And stand betwixt two churchmen, good my lord,
For on that ground I'll make a holy descant;
And be not easily won to our requests.
Play the maid's part: still answer nay, and take it.

RICHARD
I go; and if you plead as well for them
As I can say nay to thee for myself,
No doubt we'll bring it to a happy issue.

BUCKINGHAM
Go, go, up to the leads! The Lord Mayor knocks.
Exit Richard
Enter the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and citizens
Welcome, my lord. I dance attendance here;
I think the Duke will not be spoke withal.
Enter Catesby
Now, Catesby, what says your lord to my request?

CATESBY
He doth entreat your grace, my noble lord,
To visit him tomorrow or next day.
He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
Divinely bent to meditation,
And in no worldly suits would he be moved
To draw him from his holy exercise.

BUCKINGHAM
Return, good Catesby, to the gracious Duke.
Tell him, myself, the Mayor and Aldermen,
In deep designs, in matter of great moment,
No less importing than our general good,
Are come to have some conference with his grace.

CATESBY
I'll signify so much unto him straight.
Exit

BUCKINGHAM
Ah ha, my lord! This prince is not an Edward.
He is not lulling on a lewd love-bed,
But on his knees at meditation;
Not dallying with a brace of courtesans,
But meditating with two deep divines;
Not sleeping, to engross his idle body,
But praying, to enrich his watchful soul.
Happy were England would this virtuous prince
Take on his grace the sovereignty thereof;
But sure I fear we shall not win him to it.

LORD MAYOR
Marry, God defend his grace should say us nay!

BUCKINGHAM
I fear he will. Here Catesby comes again.
Enter Catesby
Now, Catesby, what says his grace?

CATESBY
My lord,
He wonders to what end you have assembled
Such troops of citizens to come to him,
His grace not being warned thereof before.
He fears, my lord, you mean no good to him.

BUCKINGHAM
Sorry I am my noble cousin should
Suspect me that I mean no good to him.
By heaven, we come to him in perfect love;
And so once more return and tell his grace.
Exit Catesby
When holy and devout religious men
Are at their beads, 'tis hard to draw them thence,
So sweet is zealous contemplation.
Enter Richard aloft, between two bishops, and
Catesby

LORD MAYOR
See where his grace stands, 'tween two clergymen.

BUCKINGHAM
Two props of virtue for a Christian prince,
To stay him from the fall of vanity;
And see, a book of prayer in his hand –
True ornaments to know a holy man.
Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
Lend favourable ears to our request,
And pardon us the interruption
Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.

RICHARD
My lord, there needs no such apology.
I do beseech your grace to pardon me,
Who, earnest in the service of my God,
Deferred the visitation of my friends.
But, leaving this, what is your grace's pleasure?

BUCKINGHAM
Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above
And all good men of this ungoverned isle.

RICHARD
I do suspect I have done some offence
That seems disgracious in the city's eye,
And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.

BUCKINGHAM
You have, my lord. Would it might please your grace,
On our entreaties, to amend your fault!

RICHARD
Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land?

BUCKINGHAM
Know then it is your fault that you resign
The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
The sceptred office of your ancestors,
Your state of fortune and your due of birth,
The lineal glory of your royal house,
To the corruption of a blemished stock;
Whiles, in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
Which here we waken to our country's good,
This noble isle doth want her proper limbs;
Her face defaced with scars of infamy,
Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
And almost shouldered in the swallowing gulf
Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion.
Which to recure, we heartily solicit
Your gracious self to take on you the charge
And kingly government of this your land;
Not as Protector, steward, substitute,
Or lowly factor for another's gain;
But as successively, from blood to blood,
Your right of birth, your empery, you own.
For this, consorted with the citizens,
Your very worshipful and loving friends,
And by their vehement instigation,
In this just cause come I to move your grace.

RICHARD
I cannot tell if to depart in silence
Or bitterly to speak in your reproof
Best fitteth my degree or your condition.
If not to answer, you might haply think
Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty
Which fondly you would here impose on me.
If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
So seasoned with your faithful love to me,
Then, on the other side, I checked my friends.
Therefore – to speak, and to avoid the first,
And then, in speaking, not to incur the last –
Definitively thus I answer you.
Your love deserves my thanks, but my desert
Unmeritable shuns your high request.
First, if all obstacles were cut away,
And that my path were even to the crown
As my ripe revenue and due of birth,
Yet so much is my poverty of spirit,
So mighty and so many my defects,
That I would rather hide me from my greatness,
Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,
Than in my greatness covet to be hid
And in the vapour of my glory smothered.
But, God be thanked, there is no need of me,
And much I need to help you, were there need.
The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
Which, mellowed by the stealing hours of time,
Will well become the seat of majesty
And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.
On him I lay that you would lay on me,
The right and fortune of his happy stars,
Which God defend that I should wring from him!

BUCKINGHAM
My lord, this argues conscience in your grace.
But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
All circumstances well considered.
You say that Edward is your brother's son.
So say we too, but not by Edward's wife;
For first he was contract to Lady Lucy –
Your mother lives a witness to that vow –
And afterward by substitute betrothed
To Bona, sister to the King of France.
These both put off, a poor petitioner,
A care-crazed mother to a many sons,
A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
Even in the afternoon of her best days,
Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
Seduced the pitch and height of his degree
To base declension and loathed bigamy.
By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
This Edward, whom our manners call the Prince.
More bitterly could I expostulate,
Save that, for reverence to some alive,
I give a sparing limit to my tongue.
Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
This proffered benefit of dignity;
If not to bless us and the land withal,
Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
From the corruption of abusing times
Unto a lineal, true-derived course.

LORD MAYOR
Do, good my lord; your citizens entreat you.

BUCKINGHAM
Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffered love.

CATESBY
O, make them joyful, grant their lawful suit!

RICHARD
Alas, why would you heap this care on me?
I am unfit for state and majesty.
I do beseech you take it not amiss,
I cannot nor I will not yield to you.

BUCKINGHAM
If you refuse it – as, in love and zeal,
Loath to depose the child, your brother's son;
As well we know your tenderness of heart
And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
Which we have noted in you to your kindred
And egally indeed to all estates –
Yet know, whe'er you accept our suit or no,
Your brother's son shall never reign our king,
But we will plant some other in the throne
To the disgrace and downfall of your house;
And in this resolution here we leave you.
Come, citizens, Zounds! I'll entreat no more.

RICHARD
O, do not swear, my lord of Buckingham.
Exeunt Buckingham, Lord Mayor,
Aldermen, and citizens

CATESBY
Call him again, sweet prince, accept their suit:
If you deny them, all the land will rue it.

RICHARD
Would you enforce me to a world of cares?
Call them again. I am not made of stone,
But penetrable to your kind entreaties,
Albeit against my conscience and my soul.
Enter Buckingham and the rest
Cousin of Buckingham, and sage grave men,
Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
To bear her burden, whe'er I will or no,
I must have patience to endure the load;
But if black scandal or foul-faced reproach
Attend the sequel of your imposition,
Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
From all the impure blots and stains thereof;
For God doth know, and you may partly see,
How far I am from the desire thereof.

LORD MAYOR
God bless your grace! We see it, and will say it.

RICHARD
In saying so you shall but say the truth.

BUCKINGHAM
Then I salute you with this royal title –
Long live King Richard, England's worthy king!

ALL
Amen.

BUCKINGHAM
Tomorrow may it please you to be crowned?

RICHARD
Even when you please, for you will have it so.

BUCKINGHAM
Tomorrow then we will attend your grace,
And so most joyfully we take our leave.

RICHARD
(to the bishops)
Come, let us to our holy work again.
– Farewell, my cousin; farewell, gentle friends.
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL