Richard III

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Original text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Richard Duke of Gloster, solus.
NOw is the Winter of our Discontent,
Made glorious Summer by this Son of Yorke:
And all the clouds that lowr'd vpon our house
In the deepe bosome of the Ocean buried.
Now are our browes bound with Victorious Wreathes,
Our bruised armes hung vp for Monuments;
Our sterne Alarums chang'd to merry Meetings;
Our dreadfull Marches, to delightfull Measures.
Grim-visag'd Warre, hath smooth'd his wrinkled Front:
And now, in stead of mounting Barbed Steeds,
To fright the Soules of fearfull Aduersaries,
He capers nimbly in a Ladies Chamber,
To the lasciuious pleasing of a Lute.
But I, that am not shap'd for sportiue trickes,
Nor made to court an amorous Looking-glasse:
I, that am Rudely stampt, and want loues Maiesty,
To strut before a wonton ambling Nymph:
I, that am curtail'd of this faire Proportion,
Cheated of Feature by dissembling Nature,
Deform'd, vn-finish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing World, scarse halfe made vp,
And that so lamely and vnfashionable,
That dogges barke at me, as I halt by them.
Why I (in this weake piping time of Peace)
Haue no delight to passe away the time,
Vnlesse to see my Shadow in the Sunne,
And descant on mine owne Deformity.
And therefore, since I cannot proue a Louer,
To entertaine these faire well spoken dayes,
I am determined to proue a Villaine,
And hate the idle pleasures of these dayes.
Plots haue I laide, Inductions dangerous,
By drunken Prophesies, Libels, and Dreames,
To set my Brother Clarence and the King
In deadly hate, the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and iust,
As I am Subtle, False, and Treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd vp:
About a Prophesie, which sayes that G,
Of Edwards heyres the murtherer shall be.
Diue thoughts downe to my soule, here Clarence comes.
Enter Clarence, and Brakenbury, guarded.
Brother, good day: What meanes this armed guard
That waites vpon your Grace?

Cla.
His Maiesty
tendring my persons safety, / Hath appointed
this Conduct, to conuey me to th' Tower

Rich.
Vpon what cause?

Cla.
Because my name is George.

Rich.
Alacke my Lord, that fault is none of yours:
He should for that commit your Godfathers.
O belike, his Maiesty hath some intent,
That you should be new Christned in the Tower,
But what's the matter Clarence, may I know?

Cla.
Yea Richard, when I know: but I protest
As yet I do not: But as I can learne,
He hearkens after Prophesies and Dreames,
And from the Crosse-row pluckes the letter G:
And sayes, a Wizard told him, that by G,
His issue disinherited should be.
And for my name of George begins with G,
It followes in his thought, that I am he.
These (as I learne) and such like toyes as these,
Hath moou'd his Highnesse to commit me now.

Rich.
Why this it is, when men are rul'd by Women:
'Tis not the King that sends you to the Tower,
My Lady Grey his Wife, Clarence 'tis shee.
That tempts him to this harsh Extremity.
Was it not shee, and that good man of Worship,
Anthony Woodeulle her Brother there,
That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower?
From whence this present day he is deliuered?
We are not safe Clarence, we are not safe.

Cla.
By heauen, I thinke there is no man secure
But the Queenes Kindred, and night-walking Heralds,
That trudge betwixt the King, and Mistris Shore.
Heard you not what an humble Suppliant
Lord Hastings was, for her deliuery?

Rich.
Humbly complaining to her Deitie,
Got my Lord Chamberlaine his libertie.
Ile tell you what, I thinke it is our way,
If we will keepe in fauour with the King,
To be her men, and weare her Liuery.
The iealous ore-worne Widdow, and her selfe,
Since that our Brother dub'd them Gentlewomen,
Are mighty Gossips in our Monarchy.

Bra.
I beseech your Graces both to pardon me,
His Maiesty hath straightly giuen in charge,
That no man shall haue priuate Conferenee.
(Of what degree soeuer) with your Brother.

Rich.
Euen so, and please your Worship Brakenbury,
You may partake of any thing we say:
We speake no Treason man; We say the King
Is wise and vertuous, and his Noble Queene
Well strooke in yeares, faire, and not iealious.
We say, that Shores Wife hath a pretty Foot,
A cherry Lip, a bonny Eye, a passing pleasing tongue:
And that the Queenes Kindred are made gentle Folkes.
How say you sir? can you deny all this?

Bra.
With this (my Lord) my selfe haue nought to doo.

Rich.
Naught to do with Mistris Shore?
I tell thee Fellow, he that doth naught with her / (Excepting one)
were best to do it secretly alone.

Bra.
What one, my Lord?

Rich.
Her Husband Knaue, would'st thou betray me?

Bra.
I do beseech your Grace / To pardon me, and withall
forbeare / Your Conference with the Noble Duke.

Cla.
We know thy charge Brakenbury, and wil obey.

Rich.
We are the Queenes abiects, and must obey.
Brother farewell, I will vnto the King,
And whatsoe're you will imploy me in,
Were it to call King Edwards Widdow, Sister,
I will performe it to infranchise you.
Meane time, this deepe disgrace in Brotherhood,
Touches me deeper then you can imagine.

Cla.
I know it pleaseth neither of vs well.

Rich.
Well, your imprisonment shall not be long,
I will deliuer you, or else lye for you:
Meane time, haue patience.

Cla.
I must perforce: Farewell.
Exit Clar.

Rich
Go treade the path that thou shalt ne're return:
Simple plaine Clarence, I do loue thee so,
That I will shortly send thy Soule to Heauen,
If Heauen will take the present at our hands.
But who comes heere? the new deliuered Hastings?
Enter Lord Hastings.

Hast.
Good time of day vnto my gracious Lord.

Rich.
As much vnto my good Lord Chamberlaine:
Well are you welcome to this open Ayre,
How hath your Lordship brook'd imprisonment?

Hast.
With patience (Noble Lord) as prisoners must:
But I shall liue (my Lord) to giue them thankes
That were the cause of my imprisonment.

Rich.
No doubt, no doubt, and so shall Clarence too,
For they that were your Enemies, are his,
And haue preuail'd as much on him, as you,

Hast.
More pitty, that the Eagles should be mew'd,
Whiles Kites and Buzards play at liberty.

Rich.
What newes abroad?

Hast.
No newes so bad abroad, as this at home:
The King is sickly, weake, and melancholly,
And his Physitians feare him mightily.

Rich.
Now by S. Iohn, that Newes is bad indeed.
O he hath kept an euill Diet long,
And ouer-much consum'd his Royall Person:
'Tis very greeuous to be thought vpon.
Where is he, in his bed?

Hast.
He is.

Rich.
Go you before, and I will follow you.
Exit Hastings.
He cannot liue I hope, and must not dye,
Till George be pack'd with post-horse vp to Heauen.
Ile in to vrge his hatred more to Clarence,
With Lyes well steel'd with weighty Arguments,
And if I faile not in my deepe intent,
Clarence hath not another day to liue:
Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
And leaue the world for me to bussle in.
For then, Ile marry Warwickes yongest daughter.
What though I kill'd her Husband, and her Father,
The readiest way to make the Wench amends,
Is to become her Husband, and her Father:
The which will I, not all so much for loue,
As for another secret close intent,
By marrying her, which I must reach vnto.
But yet I run before my horse to Market:
Clarence still breathes, Edward stillliues and raignes,
When they are gone, then must I count my gaines.
Exit
Original text
Act I, Scene II
Enter the Coarse of Henrie the sixt with Halberds to
guard it, Lady Anne being the Mourner.

Anne.
Set downe, set downe your honourable load,
If Honor may be shrowded in a Herse;
Whil'st I a-while obsequiously lament
Th' vntimely fall of Vertuous Lancaster.

Poore key-cold Figure of a holy King,
Pale Ashes of the House of Lancaster;
Thou bloodlesse Remnant of that Royall Blood,
Be it lawfull that I inuocate thy Ghost,
To heare the Lamentations of poore Anne,
Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtred Sonne,
Stab'd by the selfesame hand that made these wounds.
Loe, in these windowes that let forth thy life,
I powre the helplesse Balme of my poore eyes.
O cursed be the hand that made these holes:
Cursed the Heart, that had the heart to do it:
Cnrsed the Blood, that let this blood from hence:
More direfull hap betide that hated Wretch
That makes vs wretched by the death of thee,
Then I can wish to Wolues, to Spiders, Toades,
Or any creeping venom'd thing that liues.
If euer he haue Childe, Abortiue be it,
Prodigeous, and vntimely brought to light,
Whose vgly and vnnaturall Aspect
May fright the hopefull Mother at the view,
And that be Heyre to his vnhappinesse.
If euer he haue Wife, let her be made
More miserable by the death of him,
Then I am made by my young Lord, and thee.
Come now towards Chertsey with your holy Lode,
Taken from Paules, to be interred there.
And still as you are weary of this waight,
Rest you, whiles I lament King Henries Coarse.
Enter Richard Duke of Gloster.



Rich.
Stay you that beare the Coarse, & set it down.

An.
What blacke Magitian coniures vp this Fiend,
To stop deuoted charitable deeds?

Rich.
Villaines set downe the Coarse, or by S. Paul,
Ile make a Coarse of him that disobeyes.

Gen.
My Lord stand backe, and let the Coffin passe.

Rich.
Vnmanner'd Dogge, / Stand'st thou when I commaund:
Aduance thy Halbert higher then my brest,
Or by S. Paul Ile strike thee to my Foote,
And spurne vpon thee Begger for thy boldnesse.

Anne.
What do you tremble? are you all affraid?
Alas, I blame you not, for you are Mortall,
And Mortall eyes cannot endure the Diuell.
Auant thou dreadfull minister of Hell;
Thou had'st but power ouer his Mortall body,
His Soule thou canst not haue: Therefore be gone.

Rich.
Sweet Saint, for Charity, be not so curst.

An.
Foule Diuell, / For Gods sake hence, and trouble vs not,
For thou hast made the happy earth thy Hell:
Fill'd it with cursing cries, and deepe exclaimes:
If thou delight to view thy heynous deeds,
Behold this patterne of thy Butcheries.
Oh Gentlemen, see, see dead Henries wounds,
Open their congeal'd mouthes, and bleed afresh.
Blush, blush, thou lumpe of fowle Deformitie:
For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
From cold and empty Veines where no blood dwels.
Thy Deeds inhumane and vnnaturall,
Prouokes this Deluge most vnnaturall.
O God! which this Blood mad'st, reuenge his death:
O Earth! which this Blood drink'st, reuenge his death.
Either Heau'n with Lightning strike the murth'rer dead:
Or Earth gape open wide, and eate him quicke,
As thou dost swallow vp this good Kings blood,
Which his Hell-gouern'd arme hath butchered.

Rich.
Lady, you know no Rules of Charity,
Which renders good for bad, Blessings for Curses.

An.
Villaine, thou know'st nor law of God nor Man,
No Beast so fierce, but knowes some touch of pitty.

Rich.
But I know none, and therefore am no Beast.

An.
O wonderfull, when diuels tell the truth!

Rich.
More wonderfull, when Angels are so angry:
Vouchsafe (diuine perfection of a Woman)
Of these supposed Crimes, to giue me leaue
By circumstance, but to acquit my selfe.

An.
Vouchsafe (defus'd infection of man)
Of these knowne euils, but to giue me leaue
By circumstance, to curse thy cursed Selfe.

Rich.
Fairer then tongue can name thee, let me haue
Some patient leysure to excuse my selfe.

An.
Fouler then heart can thinke thee, / Thou can'st make
no excuse currant, / But to hang thy selfe.

Rich.
By such dispaire, I should accuse my selfe.

An.
And by dispairing shalt thou stand excused,
For doing worthy Vengeance on thy selfe,
That did'st vnworthy slaughter vpon others.

Rich.
Say that I slew them not.

An.
Then say they were not slaine:
But dead they are, and diuellish slaue by thee.

Rich.
I did not kill your Husband.

An.
Why then he is aliue.

Rich.
Nay, he is dead, and slaine by Edwards hands.

An.
In thy foule throat thou Ly'st, / Queene Margaret saw
Thy murd'rous Faulchion smoaking in his blood:
The which, thou once didd'st bend against her brest,
But that thy Brothers beate aside the point.

Rich.
I was prouoked by her sland'rous tongue,
That laid their guilt, vpon my guiltlesse Shoulders.

An.
Thou was't prouoked by thy bloody minde,
That neuer dream'st on ought but Butcheries:
Did'st thou not kill this King?

Rich.
I graunt ye.

An.
Do'st grant me Hedge-hogge, / Then God graunt me too
Thou may'st be damned for that wicked deede,
O he was gentle, milde, and vertuous.

Rich.
The better for the King of heauen that hath him.

An.
He is in heauen, where thou shalt neuer come.

Rich.
Let him thanke me, that holpe to send him thither:
For he was fitter for that place then earth.

An.
And thou vnfit for any place, but hell.

Rich.
Yes one place else, if you will heare me name it.

An.
Some dungeon.

Rich.
Your Bed-chamber.

An.
Ill rest betide the chamber where thou lyest.

Rich.
So will it Madam, till I lye with you.

An.
I hope so.

Rich.
I know so. But gentle Lady Anne,
To leaue this keene encounter of our wittes,
And fall something into a slower method.
Is not the causer of the timelesse deaths
Of these Plantagenets, Henrie and Edward,
As blamefull as the Executioner.

An.
Thou was't the cause, and most accurst effect.

Rich.
Your beauty was the cause of that effect:
Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleepe,
To vndertake the death of all the world,
So I might liue one houre in your sweet bosome.

An.
If I thought that, I tell thee Homicide,
These Nailes should rent that beauty from my Cheekes.

Rich.
These eyes could not endure yt beauties wrack,
You should not blemish it, if I stood by;
As all the world is cheared by the Sunne,
So I by that: It is my day, my life.

An.
Blacke night ore-shade thy day, & death thy life.

Rich.
Curse not thy selfe faire Creature, / Thou art both.

An.
I would I were, to be reueng'd on thee.

Rich.
It is a quarrell most vnnaturall,
To be reueng'd on him that loueth . thee.

An.
It is a quarrell iust and reasonable,
To be reueng'd on him that kill'd my Husband.

Rich.
He that bereft the Lady of thy Husband,
Did it to helpe thee to a better Husband.

An.
His better doth not breath vpon the earth.

Rich.
He liues, that loues thee better then he could.

An.
Name him.

Rich.
Plantagenet.

An.
Why that was he.

Rieh.
The selfesame name, but one of better Nature.

An.
Where is he?

Rich.
Heere:
Spits at him.
Why dost thou spit at me.

An.
Would it were mortall poyson, for thy sake.

Rich.
Neuer came poyson from so sweet a place.

An.
Neuer hung poyson on a fowler Toade.
Out of my sight, thou dost infect mine eyes.

Rich.
Thine eyes (sweet Lady) haue infected mine.

An.
Would they were Basiliskes, to strike thee dead.

Rich.
I would they were, that I might dye at once:
For now they kill me with a liuing death.
Those eyes of thine, from mine haue drawne salt Teares;
Sham'd their Aspects with store of childish drops:
These eyes, which neuer shed remorsefull teare,
No, when my Father Yorke, and Edward wept,
To heare the pittious moane that Rutland made
When black-fac'd Clifford shooke his sword at him.
Nor when thy warlike Father like a Childe,
Told the sad storie of my Fathers death,
And twenty times, made pause to sob and weepe:
That all the standers by had wet their cheekes
Like Trees bedash'd with raine. In that sad time,
My manly eyes did scorne an humble teare:
And what these sorrowes could not thence exhale,
Thy Beauty hath, and made them blinde with weeping.
I neuer sued to Friend, nor Enemy:
My Tongue could neuer learne sweet smoothing word.
But now thy Beauty is propos'd my Fee,
My proud heart sues, and prompts my tongue to speake.
She lookes scornfully at him.
Teach not thy lip such Scorne; for it was made
For kissing Lady, not for such contempt.
If thy reuengefull heart cannot forgiue,
Loe heere I lend thee this sharpe-pointed Sword,
Which if thou please to hide in this true brest,
And let the Soule forth that adoreth thee,
I lay it naked to the deadly stroke,
And humbly begge the death vpon my knee,
He layes his brest open, she offers at withhis sword.
Nay do not pause: For I did kill King Henrie,
But 'twas thy Beauty that prouoked me.
Nay now dispatch: 'Twas I that stabb'd yong Edward,
But 'twas thy Heauenly face that set me on.
She fals the Sword.
Take vp the Sword againe, or take vp me.

An.
Arise Dissembler, though I wish thy death,
I will not be thy Executioner.

Rich.
Then bid me kill my selfe, and I will do it.

An.
I haue already.

Rich.
That was in thy rage:
Speake it againe, and euen with the word,
This hand, which for thy loue, did kill thy Loue,
Shall for thy loue, kill a farre truer Loue,
To both their deaths shalt thou be accessary.

An.
I would I knew thy heart.

Rich.
'Tis figur'd in my tongue.

An.
I feare me, both are false.

Rich.
Then neuer Man was true.

An.
Well, well, put vp your Sword.

Rich.
Say then my Peace is made.

An.
That shalt thou know heereafter.

Rich.
But shall I liue in hope.

An.
All men I hope liue so.
Vouchsafe to weare this Ring.


Rich.
Looke how my Ring incompasseth thy Finger,
Euen so thy Brest incloseth my poore heart:
Weare both of them, for both of them are thine.
And if thy poore deuoted Seruant may
But beg one fauour at thy gracious hand,
Thou dost confirme his happinesse for euer.

An.
What is it?

Rich.
That it may please you leaue these sad designes,
To him that hath most cause to be a Mourner,
And presently repayre to Crosbie House:
Where (after I haue solemnly interr'd
At Chertsey Monast'ry this Noble King,
And wet his Graue with my Repentant Teares)
I will with all expedient duty see you,
For diuers vnknowne Reasons, I beseech you,
Grant me this Boon.

An.
With all my heart, and much it ioyes me too,
To see you are become so penitent.
Tressel and Barkley, go along with me.

Rich.
Bid me farwell.

An.
'Tis more then you deserue:
But since you teach me how to flatter you,
Imagine I haue saide farewell already.
Exit two with Anne.

Gent.
Towards Chertsey, Noble Lord?

Rich.
No: to White Friars, there attend my comming
Exit Coarse
Was euer woman in this humour woo'd?
Was euer woman in this humour wonne?
Ile haue her, but I will not keepe her long.
What? I that kill'd her Husband, and his Father,
To take her in her hearts extreamest hate,
With curses in her mouth, Teares in her eyes,
The bleeding witnesse of my hatred by,
Hauing God, her Conscience, and these bars against me,
And I, no Friends to backe my suite withall,
But the plaine Diuell, and dissembling lookes?
And yet to winne her? All the world to nothing.
Hah!
Hath she forgot alreadie that braue Prince,
Edward, her Lord, whom I (some three monthes since)
Stab'd in my angry mood, at Tewkesbury?
A sweeter, and a louelier Gentleman,
Fram'd in the prodigallity of Nature:
Yong, Valiant, Wise, and (no doubt) right Royal,
The spacious World cannot againe affoord:
And will she yet abase her eyes on me,
That cropt the Golden prime of this sweet Prince,
And made her Widdow to a wofull Bed?
On me, whose All not equals Edwards Moytie?
On me, that halts, and am mishapen thus?
My Dukedome, to a Beggerly denier!
I do mistake my person all this while:
Vpon my life she findes (although I cannot)
My selfe to be a maru'llous proper man.
Ile be at Charges for a Looking-glasse,
And entertaine a score or two of Taylors,
To study fashions to adorne my body:
Since I am crept in fauour with my selfe,
I will maintaine it with some little cost.
But first Ile turne yon Fellow in his Graue,
And then returne lamenting to my Loue.
Shine out faire Sunne, till I haue bought a glasse,
That I may see my Shadow as I passe.
exit
Original text
Act I, Scene III
Enter the Queene Mother, Lord Riuers,
and Lord Gray.

Riu.
Haue patience Madam, ther's no doubt his Maiesty
Will soone recouer his accustom'd health.

Gray.
In that you brooke it ill, it makes him worse,
Therefore for Gods sake entertaine good comfort,
And cheere his Grace with quicke and merry eyes

Qu.
If he were dead, what would betide on me? / If he were dead, what would betide on me?

Gray.
No other harme, but losse of such a Lord.

Qu.
The losse of such a Lord, includes all harmes.

Gray.
The Heauens haue blest you with a goodly Son,
To be your Comforter, when he is gone.

Qu.
Ah! he is yong; and his minority
Is put vnto the trust of Richard Glouster,
A man that loues not me, nor none of you.

Riu.
Is it concluded he shall be Protector?

Qu.
It is determin'd, not concluded yet:
But so it must be, if the King miscarry.
Enter Buckingham and Derby.

Gray.
Here comes the Lord of Buckingham & Derby.

Buc.
Good time of day vnto your Royall Grace.

Der.
God make your Maiesty ioyful, as you haue bin

Qu.
The Countesse Richmond, good my L. of Derby.
To your good prayer, will scarsely say, Amen.
Yet Derby, notwithstanding shee's your wife,
And loues not me, be you good Lord assur'd,
I hate not you for her proud arrogance.

Der.
I do beseech you, either not beleeue
The enuious slanders of her false Accusers:
Or if she be accus'd on true report,
Beare with her weaknesse, which I thinke proceeds
From wayward sicknesse, and no grounded malice.

Qu.
Saw you the King to day my Lord of Derby.

Der.
But now the Duke of Buckingham and I,
Are come from visiting his Maiesty.

Que.
What likelyhood of his amendment Lords.

Buc.
Madam good hope, his Grace speaks chearfully.

Qu.
God grant him health, did you confer with him?

Buc.
I Madam, he desires to make attonement:
Betweene the Duke of Glouster, and your Brothers,
And betweene them, and my Lord Chamberlaine,
And sent to warne them to his Royall presence.

Qu.
Would all were well, but that will neuer be,
I feare our happinesse is at the height.
Enter Richard.

Rich.
They do me wrong, and I will not indure it,
Who is it that complaines vnto the King,
Thar I (forsooth) am sterne, and loue them not?
By holy Paul, they loue his Grace but lightly,
That fill his eares with such dissentious Rumors.
Because I cannot flatter, and looke faire,
Smile in mens faces, smooth, deceiue, and cogge,
Ducke with French nods, and Apish curtesie,
I must be held a rancorous Enemy.
Cannot a plaine man liue, and thinke no harme,
But thus his simple truth must be abus'd,
With silken, slye, insinuating Iackes?

Grey.
To who in all this presence speaks your Grace?

Rich.
To thee, that hast nor Honesty, nor Grace:
When haue I iniur'd thee? When done thee wrong?
Or thee? or thee? or any of your Faction?
A plague vpon you all. His Royall Grace
(Whom God preserue better then you would wish)
Cannot be quiet scarse a breathing while,
But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.

Qu.
Brother of Glouster, you mistake the matter:
The King on his owne Royall disposition,
(And not prouok'd by any Sutor else)
Ayming (belike) at your interiour hatred,
That in your outward action shewes it selfe
Against my Children, Brothers, and my Selfe,
Makes him to send, that he may learne the ground.

Rich.
I cannot tell, the world is growne so bad,
That Wrens make prey, where Eagles dare not pearch.
Since euerie Iacke became a Gentleman,
There's many a gentle person made a Iacke.

Qu.
Come, come, we know your meaning Brother Gloster
You enuy my aduancement, and my friends:
God grant we neuer may haue neede of you.

Rich.
Meane time, God grants that I haue need of you.
Our Brother is imprison'd by your meanes,
My selfe disgrac'd, and the Nobilitie
Held in contempt, while great Promotions
Are daily giuen to ennoble those
That scarse some two dayes since were worth a Noble.

Qu.
By him that rais'd me to this carefull height,
From that contented hap which I inioy'd,
I neuer did incense his Maiestie
Against the Duke of Clarence, but haue bin
An earnest aduocate to plead for him.
My Lord you do me shamefull iniurie,
Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.

Rich!
You may deny that you were not the meane
Of my Lord Hastings late imprisonment.

Riu.
She may my Lord, for---

Rich.
She may Lord Riuers, why who knowes not so?
She may do more sir then denying that:
She may helpe you to many faire preferments,
And then deny her ayding hand therein,
And lay those Honors on your high desert.
What may she not, she may, I marry may she.

Riu.
What marry may she?

Ric.
What marrie may she? Marrie with a King,
A Batcheller, and a handsome stripling too,
I wis your Grandam had a worser match.

Qu.
My Lord of Glouster, I haue too long borne
Your blunt vpbraidings, and your bitter scoffes:
By heauen, I will acquaint his Maiestie
Of those grosse taunts that oft I haue endur'd.
I had rather be a Countrie seruant maide
Then a great Queene, with this condition,
To be so baited, scorn'd, and stormed at,
Enter old Queene Margaret.
Small ioy haue I in being Englands Queene.

Mar.
And lesned be that small, God I beseech him,
Thy honor, state, and seate, is due to me.

Rich.
What? threat you me with telling of the King?

I will auouch't in presence of the King:
I dare aduenture to be sent to th'Towre.
'Tis time to speake, / My paines are quite forgot.

Margaret.
Out Diuell, / I do remember them too well:
Thou killd'st my Husband Henrie in the Tower,
And Edward my poore Son, at Tewkesburie.

Rich.
Ere you were Queene, / I, or your Husband King:
I was a packe-horse in his great affaires:
A weeder out of his proud Aduersaries,
A liberall rewarder of his Friends,
To royalize his blood, I spent mine owue.

Margaret.
I and much better blood / Then his, or thine.

Rich.
In all which time, you and your Husband Grey
Were factious, for the House of Lancaster;
And Riuers, so were you: Was not your Husband,
In Margarets Battaile, at Saint Albons, slaine?
Let me put in your mindes, if you forget
What you haue beene ere this, and what you are:
Withall, what I haue beene, and what I am.

Q.M.
A murth'rous Villaine, and so still thou art.

Rich.
Poore Clarence did forsake his Father Warwicke,
I, and forswore himselfe (which Iesu pardon.)

Q.M.
Which God reuenge.

Rich.
To fight on Edwards partie, for the Crowne,
And for his meede, poore Lord, he is mewed vp:
I would to God my heart were Flint, like Edwards,
Or Edwards soft and pittifull, like mine;
I am too childish foolish for this World.

Q.M.

High thee to Hell for shame, & leaue this World
Thou Cacodemon, there thy Kingdome is.

Riu.
My Lord of Gloster: in those busie dayes,
Which here you vrge, to proue vs Enemies,
We follow'd then our Lord, our Soueraigne King,
So should we you, if you should be our King.

Rich.
If I should be? I had rather be a Pedler:
Farre be it from my heart, the thought thereof.

Qu.
As little ioy (my Lord) as you suppose
You should enioy, were you this Countries King,
As little ioy you may suppose in me,
That I enioy, being the Queene thereof.

Q.M.
A little ioy enioyes the Queene thereof,
For I am shee, and altogether ioylesse:
I can no longer hold me patient.

Heare me, you wrangling Pyrates, that fall out,
In sharing that which you haue pill'd from me:
Which off you trembles not, that lookes on me?
If not, that I am Queene, you bow like Subiects;
Yet that by you depos'd, you quake like Rebells.
Ah gentle Villaine, doe not turne away.

Rich.
Foule wrinckled Witch, what mak'st thou in my sight?

Q.M.
But repetition of what thou hast marr'd,
That will I make, before I let thee goe.

Rich.
Wert thou not banished, on paine of death?

Q.M.
I was: but I doe find more paine in banishment,
Then death can yeeld me here, by my abode.
A Husband and a Sonne thou ow'st to me,
And thou a Kingdome; all of you, allegeance:
This Sorrow that I haue, by right is yours,
And all the Pleasures you vsurpe, are mine.

Rich.
The Curse my Noble Father layd on thee,
When thou didst Crown his Warlike Brows with Paper,
And with thy scornes drew'st Riuers from his eyes,
And then to dry them, gau'st the Duke a Clowt,
Steep'd in the faultlesse blood of prettie Rutland:
His Curses then, from bitternesse of Soule,
Denounc'd against thee, are all falne vpon thee:
And God, not we, hath plagu'd thy bloody deed.

Qu.
So iust is God, to right the innocent.

Hast.
O, 'twas the foulest deed to slay that Babe,
And the most mercilesse, that ere was heard of.

Riu.
Tyrants themselues wept when it was reported.

Dors.
No man but prophecied reuenge for it.

Buck.
Northumberland, then present, wept to see it.

Q.M.
What? were you snarling all before I came,
Ready to catch each other by the throat,
And turne you all your hatred now on me?
Did Yorkes dread Curse preuaile so much with Heauen,
That Henries death, my louely Edwards death,
Their Kingdomes losse, my wofull Banishment,
Should all but answer for that peeuish Brat?
Can Curses pierce the Clouds, and enter Heauen?
Why then giue way dull Clouds to my quick Curses.
Though not by Warre, by Surfet dye your King,
As ours by Murther, to make him a King.
Edward thy Sonne, that now is Prince of Wales,
For Edward our Sonne, that was Prince of Wales,
Dye in his youth, by like vntimely violence.
Thy selfe a Queene, for me that was a Queene,
Out-liue thy glory, like my wretched selfe:
Long may'st thou liue, to wayle thy Childrens death,
And see another, as I see thee now,
Deck'd in thy Rights, as thou art stall'd in mine.
Long dye thy happie dayes, before thy death,
And after many length'ned howres of griefe,
Dye neyther Mother, Wife, nor Englands Queene.
Riuers and Dorset, you were standers by,
And so wast thou, Lord Hastings, when my Sonne
Was stab'd with bloody Daggers: God, I pray him,
That none of you may liue his naturall age,
But by some vnlook'd accident cut off.

Rich.
Haue done thy Charme, yu hateful wither'd Hagge.

Q.M.
And leaue out thee? stay Dog, for yu shalt heare me.
If Heauen haue any grieuous plague in store,
Exceeding those that I can wish vpon thee,
O let them keepe it, till thy sinnes be ripe,
And then hurle downe their indignation
On thee, the troubler of the poore Worlds peace.
The Worme of Conscience still begnaw thy Soule,
Thy Friends suspect for Traytors while thou liu'st,
And take deepe Traytors for thy dearest Friends:
No sleepe close vp that deadly Eye of thine,
Vnlesse it be while some tormenting Dreame
Affrights thee with a Hell of ougly Deuills.
Thou eluish mark'd, abortiue rooting Hogge,
Thou that wast seal'd in thy Natiuitie
The slaue of Nature, and the Sonne of Hell:
Thou slander of thy heauie Mothers Wombe,
Thou loathed Issue of thy Fathers Loynes,
Thou Ragge of Honor, thou detested---

Rich.
Margaret.

Q.M.
Richard.

Rich.
Ha.

Q.M.
I call thee not.

Rich.
I cry thee mercie then: for I did thinke,
That thou hadst call'd me all these bitter names.

Q.M.
Why so I did, but look'd for no reply.
Oh let me make the Period to my Curse.

Rich.
'Tis done by me, and ends in Margaret.

Qu.
Thus haue you breath'd your Curse against your self.

Q.M.
Poore painted Queen, vain flourish of my fortune,
Why strew'st thou Sugar on that Bottel'd Spider,
Whose deadly Web ensnareth thee about?
Foole, foole, thou whet'st a Knife to kill thy selfe:
The day will come, that thou shalt wish for me,
To helpe thee curse this poysonous Bunch-backt Toade.

Hast.
False boding Woman, end thy frantick Curse,
Least to thy harme, thou moue our patience.

Q.M.
Foule shame vpon you, you haue all mou'd mine.

Ri.
Were you wel seru'd, you would be taught your duty.

Q.M.
To serue me well, you all should do me duty,
Teach me to be your Queene, and you my Subiects:
O serue me well, and teach your selues that duty.

Dors.
Dispute not with her, shee is lunaticke.

Q.M.
Peace Master Marquesse, you are malapert,
Your fire-new stampe of Honor is scarce currant.
O that your yong Nobility could iudge
What 'twere to lose it, and be miserable.
They that stand high, haue many blasts to shake them,
And if they fall, they dash themselues to peeces.

Rich.
Good counsaile marry, learne it, learne it Marquesse.

Dor.
It touches you my Lord, as much as me.

Rich.
I, and much more: but I was borne so high:
Our ayerie buildeth in the Cedars top,
And dallies with the winde, and scornes the Sunne.

Mar.
And turnes the Sun to shade: alas, alas,
Witnesse my Sonne, now in the shade of death,
Whose bright out-shining beames, thy cloudy wrath
Hath in eternall darknesse folded vp.
Your ayery buildeth in our ayeries Nest:
O God that seest it, do not suffer it,
As it is wonne with blood, lost be it so.

Buc.
Peace, peace for shame: If not, for Charity.

Mar.
Vrge neither charity, nor shame to me:
Vncharitably with me haue you dealt,
And shamefully my hopes (by you) are butcher'd.
My Charity is outrage, Life my shame,
And in that shame, still liue my sorrowes rage.

Buc.
Haue done, haue done.

Mar.
O Princely Buckingham, Ile kisse thy hand,
In signe of League and amity with thee:
Now faire befall thee, and thy Noble house:
Thy Garments are not spotted with our blood:
Nor thou within the compasse of my curse.

Buc.
Nor no one heere: for Curses neuer passe
The lips of those that breath them in the ayre.

Mar.
I will not thinke but they ascend the sky,
And there awake Gods gentle sleeping peace.
O Buckingham, take heede of yonder dogge:
Looke when he fawnes, he bites; and when he bites,
His venom tooth will rankle to the death.
Haue not to do with him, beware of him,
Sinne, death, and hell haue set their markes on him,
And all their Ministers attend on him.

Rich.
What doth she say, my Lord of Buckingham.

Buc.
Nothing that I respect my gracious Lord.

Mar.
What dost thou scorne me / For my gentle counsell?
And sooth the diuell that I warne thee from.
O but remember this another day:
When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow:
And say (poore Margaret) was a Prophetesse:
Liue each of you the subiects to his hate,
And he to yours, and all of you to Gods.
Exit.

Buc.
My haire doth stand an end to heare her curses.

Riu.
And so doth mine, I muse why she's at libertie.

Rich.
I cannot blame her, by Gods holy mother,
She hath had too much wrong, and I repent
My part thereof, that I haue done to her.

Mar.
I neuer did her any to my knowledge.

Rich.
Yet you haue all the vantage of her wrong:
I was too hot, to do somebody good,
That is too cold in thinking of it now:
Marry as for Clarence, he is well repayed:
He is frank'd vp to fatting for his paines,
God pardon them, that are the cause thereof.

Riu.
A vertuous, and a Christian-like conclusion
To pray for them that haue done scath to vs.

Rich.
So do I euer, being well aduis'd. Speakes to himselfe.
For had I curst now, I had curst my selfe.
Enter Catesby.

Cates.
Madam, his Maiesty doth call for you,
And for your Grace, and yours my gracious Lord.

Qu.
Catesby I come, Lords will you go with mee.

Riu.
We wait vpon your Grace.
Exeunt all but Gloster.

Rich.
I do the wrong, and first begin to brawle.
The secret Mischeefes that I set abroaeh,
I lay vnto the greeuous charge of others.
Clarence, who I indeede haue cast in darknesse,
I do beweepe to many simple Gulles,
Namely to Derby, Hastings, Buckingham,
And tell them 'tis the Queene, and her Allies,
That stirre the King against the Duke my Brother.
Now they beleeue it, and withall whet me
To be reueng'd on Riuers, Dorset, Grey.
But then I sigh, and with a peece of Scripture,
Tell them that God bids vs do good for euill:
And thus I cloath my naked Villanie
With odde old ends, stolne forth of holy Writ,
And seeme a Saint, when most I play the deuill.
Enter two murtherers.
But soft, heere come my Executioners,
How now my hardy stout resolued Mates,
Are you now going to dispatch this thing?

Uil.
We are my Lord, and come to haue the Warrant,
That we may be admitted where he is.

Ric.
Well thought vpon, I haue it heare about me:

When you haue done, repayre to Crosby place;
But sirs be sodaine in the execution,
Withall obdurate, do not heare him pleade;
For Clarence is well spoken, and perhappes
May moue your hearts to pitty, if you marke him.

Vil.
Tut, tut, my Lord, we will not stand to prate,
Talkers are no good dooers, be assur'd:
We go to vse our hands, and not our tongues.

Rich.
Your eyes drop Mill-stones, when Fooles eyes fall Teares:
I like you Lads, about your businesse straight.
Go, go, dispatch.

Vil.
We will my Noble Lord.
Original text
Act I, Scene IV
Enter Clarence and Keeper.

Keep.
Why lookes your Grace so heauily to day.

Cla.
O, I haue past a miserable night,
So full of fearefull Dreames, of vgly sights,
That as I am a Christian faithfull man,
I would not spend another such a night
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy daies:
So full of dismall terror was the time.

Keep.
What was your dream my Lord, I pray you tel me

Cla.
Me thoughts that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embark'd to crosse to Burgundy,
And in my company my Brother Glouster,
Who from my Cabin tempted me to walke,
Vpon the Hatches: There we look'd toward England,
And cited vp a thousand heauy times,
During the warres of Yorke and Lancaster
That had befalne vs. As we pac'd along
Vpon the giddy footing of the Hatches,
Me thought that Glouster stumbled, and in falling
Strooke me (that thought to stay him) ouer-boord,
Into the tumbling billowes of the maine.
O Lord, me thought what paine it was to drowne,
What dreadfull noise of water in mine eares,
What sights of vgly death within mine eyes.
Me thoughts, I saw a thousand fearfull wrackes:
A thousand men that Fishes gnaw'd vpon:
Wedges of Gold, great Anchors, heapes of Pearle,
Inestimable Stones, vnvalewed Iewels,
All scattred in the bottome of the Sea,
Some lay in dead-mens Sculles, and in the holes
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept
(As 'twere in scorne of eyes) reflecting Gemmes,
That woo'd the slimy bottome of the deepe,
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scattred by.

Keep.
Had you such leysure in the time of death
To gaze vpon these secrets of the deepe?

Cla.
Me thought I had, and often did I striue
To yeeld the Ghost: but still the enuious Flood
Stop'd in my soule, and would not let it forth
To find the empty, vast, and wand'ring ayre:
But smother'd it within my panting bulke,
Who almost burst, to belch it in the Sea.

Keep.
Awak'd you not in this sore Agony?

Clar.
No, no, my Dreame was lengthen'd after life.
O then, began the Tempest to my Soule.
I past (me thought) the Melancholly Flood,
With that sowre Ferry-man which Poets write of,
Vnto the Kingdome of perpetuall Night.
The first that there did greet my Stranger-soule,
Was my great Father-in-Law, renowned Warwicke,
Who spake alowd: What scourge for Periurie,
Can this darke Monarchy affoord false Clarence?
And so he vanish'd. Then came wand'ring by,
A Shadow like an Angell, with bright hayre
Dabbel'd in blood, and he shriek'd out alowd
Clarence is come, false, fle eting,periur'd Clarence,
That stabb'd me in the field by Tewkesbury:
Seize on him Furies, take him vnto Torment.
With that (me thought) a Legion of foule Fiends
Inuiron'd me, and howled in mine eares
Such hiddeous cries, that with the very Noise,
I (trembling) wak'd, and for a season after,
Could not beleeue, but that I was in Hell,
Such terrible Impression made my Dreame.

Keep.
No maruell Lord, though it affrighted you,
I am affraid (me thinkes) to heare you tell it.

Cla.
Ah Keeper, Keeper, I haue done these things
(That now giue euidence against my Soule)
For Edwards sake, and see how he requits mee.
O God! if my deepe prayres cannot appease thee,
But thou wilt be aueng'd on my misdeeds,
Yet execute thy wrath in me alone:
O spare my guiltlesse Wife, and my poore children.
Keeper, I prythee sit by me a-while,
My Soule is heauy, and I faine would sleepe.

Keep.
I will my Lord, God giue your Grace good rest.
Enter Brakenbury the Lieutenant.

Bra.
Sorrow breakes Seasons, and reposing houres,
Makes the Night Morning, and the Noon-tide night:
Princes haue but their Titles for their Glories,
An outward Honor, for an inward Toyle,
And for vnfelt Imaginations
They often feele a world of restlesse Cares:
So that betweene their Titles, and low Name,
There's nothing differs, but the outward fame.
Enter two Murtherers.

1. Mur.
Ho, who's heere?

Bra.
What would'st thou Fellow? And how
camm'st thou hither.

2. Mur.
I would speak with Clarence, and I
came hither on my Legges.

Bra.
What so breefe?

1.
'Tis better (Sir) then to be tedious:
Let him see our Commission, and talke no more.
Reads

Bra.
I am in this, commanded to deliuer
The Noble Duke of Clarence to your hands.
I will not reason what is meant heereby,
Because I will be guiltlesse from the meaning.
There lies the Duke asleepe, and there the Keyes.
Ile to the King, and signifie to him,
That thus I haue resign'd to you my charge.
Exit.

1
You may sir, 'tis a point of wisedome:
Far you well.

2
What, shall we stab him as he sleepes.

1
No: hee'l say 'twas done cowardly,
when he wakes

2
Why he shall neuer wake,
vntill the great Iudgement day.

1
Why then hee'l say, we stab'd him
sleeping.

2
The vrging of that word Iudgement,
hath bred a kinde of remorse in me.

1
What? art thou affraid?

2
Not to kill him, hauing a Warrant,
But to be damn'd for killing him, from the which / No
Warrant can defend me.

1
I thought thou had'st bin resolute.

2
So I am, to let him liue.

1
Ile backe to the Duke of Glouster,
and tell him so.

2
Nay, I prythee stay a little: / I hope
this passionate humor of mine, will change, / It was wont
to hold me but while one tels twenty.

1
How do'st thou feele thy selfe now?

2
Some certaine dregges of conscience
are yet within mee.

1
Remember our Reward, when the
deed's done.

2
Come, he dies: I had forgot the
Reward.

1
Where's thy conscience now.

2
O, in the Duke of Glousters purse.

1
When hee opens his purse to giue vs
our Reward, / thy Conscience flyes out.

2
'Tis no matter, let it goe: There's
few or none / will entertaine it.

1
What if it come to thee againe?

2
Ile not meddle with it, it makes a
man a Coward: A man cannot steale, but it accuseth him:
A man cannot Sweare, but it Checkes him: A man cannot lye
with his Neighbours Wife, but it detects him. 'Tis a
blushing shamefac'd spirit, that mutinies in a mans
bosome: It filles a man full of Obstacles. It made me once
restore a Pursse of Gold that (by chance) I found: It beggars
any man that keepes it: It is turn'd out of Townes and
Citties for a dangerous thing, and euery man that means
to liue well, endeuours to trust to himselfe, and liue
without it.

1
'Tis euen now at my elbow,
perswading me not to kill the Dkue.

2
Take the diuell in thy minde, and
beleeue him not: / He would insinuate with thee but to
make thee sigh.

1
I am strong fram'd, he cannot
preuaile with me.

2
Spoke like a tall man, that respects
thy reputation. / Come, shall we fall to worke?

1
Take him on the Costard, with the hiltes
of thy Sword, and then throw him into the Malmesey-Butte
in the next roome.

2
O excellent deuice; and make a sop
of him.

1
Soft, he wakes.

2
Strike.

1
No, wee'l reason with him.

Cla.
Where art thou Keeper? Giue me a cup of wine.

2
You shall haue Wine enough my Lord anon.

Cla.
In Gods name, what art thou?

1
A man, as you are.

Cla.
But not as I am Royall.

1
Nor you as we are, Loyall.

Cla.
Thy voice is Thunder, but thy looks are humble.

1
My voice is now the Kings, my lookes mine owne.

Cla.
How darkly, and how deadly dost thou speake?
Your eyes do menace me: why looke you pale?
Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come?

2
To, to, to---

Cla.
To murther me?

Both.
I, I.

Cla.
You scarsely haue the hearts to tell me so,
And therefore cannot haue the hearts to do it.
Wherein my Friends haue I offended you?

1
Offended vs you haue not, but the King.

Cla.
I shall be reconcil'd to him againe.

2
Neuer my Lord, therefore prepare to dye.

Cla.
Are you drawne forth among a world of men
To slay the innocent? What is my offence?
Where is the Euidence that doth accuse me?
What lawfull Quest haue giuen their Verdict vp
Vnto the frowning Iudge? Or who pronounc'd
The bitter sentence of poore Clarence death,
Before I be conuict by course of Law?
To threaten me with death, is most vnlawfull.
I charge you, as you hope for any goodnesse,
That you depart, and lay no hands on me:
The deed you vndertake is damnable.

1
What we will do, we do vpon command.

2
And he that hath commanded, is our King.

Cla.
Erroneous Vassals, the great King of Kings
Hath in the Table of his Law commanded
That thou shalt do no murther. Will you then
Spurne at his Edict, and fulfill a Mans?
Take heed: for he holds Vengeance in his hand,
To hurle vpon their heads that breake his Law.

2
And that same Vengeance doth he hurle on thee,
For false Forswearing, and for murther too:
Thou did'st receiue the Sacrament, to fight
In quarrell of the House of Lancaster.

1
And like a Traitor to the name of God,
Did'st breake that Vow, and with thy treacherous blade,
Vnrip'st the Bowels of thy Sou'raignes Sonne.

2
Whom thou was't sworne to cherish and defend.

1
How canst thou vrge Gods dreadfull Law to vs,
When thou hast broke it in such deere degree?

Cla.
Alas! for whose sake did I that ill deede?
For Edward, for my Brother, for his sake.
He sends you not to murther me for this:
For in that sinne, he is as deepe as I.
If God will be auenged for the deed,
O know you yet, he doth it publiquely,
Take not the quarrell from his powrefull arme:
He needs no indirect, or lawlesse course,
To cut off those that haue offended him.

1
Who made thee then a bloudy minister,
When gallant springing braue Plantagenet,
That Princely Nouice was strucke dead by thee?

Cla.
My Brothers loue, the Diuell, and my Rage.

1
Thy Brothers Loue, our Duty, and thy Faults,
Prouoke vs hither now, to slaughter thee.

Cla.
If you do loue my Brother, hate not me:
I am his Brother, and I loue him well.
If you are hyr'd for meed, go backe againe,
And I will send you to my Brother Glouster:
Who shall reward you better for my life,
Then Edward will for tydings of my death.

2
You are deceiu'd, / Your Brother Glouster hates you.

Cla.
Oh no, he loues me, and he holds me deere:
Go you to him from me.

1
I so we will.

Cla.
Tell him, when that our Princely Father Yorke,
Blest his three Sonnes with his victorious Arme,
He little thought of this diuided Friendship:
Bid Glouster thinke on this, and he will weepe.

1
I Milstones, as he lessoned vs to weepe.

Cla.
O do not slander him, for he is kinde.

1
Right, as Snow in Haruest: / Come, you deceiue your selfe,
'Tis he that sends vs to destroy you heere.

Cla.
It cannot be, for he bewept my Fortune,
And hugg'd me in his armes, and swore with sobs,
That he would labour my deliuery.

1
Why so he doth, when he deliuers you
From this earths thraldome, to the ioyes of heauen.

2
Make peace with God, for you must die my Lord.

Cla.
Haue you that holy feeling in your soules,
To counsaile me to make my peace with God,
And are you yet to your owne soules so blinde,
That you will warre with God, by murd'ring me.
O sirs consider, they that set you on
To do this deede, will hate you for the deede.

2
What shall we do?

Clar.
Relent, and saue your soules:
Which of you, if you were a Princes Sonne,
Being pent from Liberty, as I am now,
If two such murtherers as your selues came to you,
Would not intreat for life, as you would begge
Were you in my distresse.

1
Relent? no: 'Tis cowardly and womanish.

Cla.
Not to relent, is beastly, sauage, diuellish:
My Friend, I spy some pitty in thy lookes:
O, if thine eye be not a Flatterer,
Come thou on my side, and intreate for mee,
A begging Prince, what begger pitties not.

2
Looke behinde you, my Lord.

1
Take that, and that, if all this will not do, Stabs him.
Ile drowne you in the Malmesey-But within.
Exit.

2
A bloody deed, and desperately dispatcht:
How faine (like Pilate) would I wash my hands
Of this most greeuous murther.
Enter 1. Murtherer

1
How now? what mean'st thou that thou help'st me not?
By Heauen the Duke shall know how slacke you haue beene.

2. Mur.
I would he knew that I had sau'd his brother,
Take thou the Fee, and tell him what I say,
For I repent me that the Duke is slaine.
Exit.

1. Mur.
So do not I: go Coward as thou art.
Well, Ile go hide the body in some hole,
Till that the Duke giue order for his buriall:
And when I haue my meede, I will away,
For this will out, and then I must not stay.
Exit
Modern text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, alone

RICHARD
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York,
And all the clouds that loured upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments,
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front,
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamped, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling Nature,
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them –
Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity.
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the King
In deadly hate the one against the other;
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mewed up
About a prophecy which says that G
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul – here Clarence comes!
Enter Clarence, guarded, and Brakenbury, Lieutenant
of the Tower
Brother, good day. What means this armed guard
That waits upon your grace?

CLARENCE
His majesty,
Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.

RICHARD
Upon what cause?

CLARENCE
Because my name is George.

RICHARD
Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours,
He should for that commit your godfathers.
O, belike his majesty hath some intent
That you shall be new-christened in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence, may I know?

CLARENCE
Yea, Richard, when I know; for I protest
As yet I do not. But, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies and dreams,
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
And says a wizard told him that by G
His issue disinherited should be.
And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought that I am he.
These, as I learn, and such-like toys as these
Have moved his highness to commit me now.

RICHARD
Why this it is when men are ruled by women;
'Tis not the King that sends you to the Tower.
My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, 'tis she
That tempers him to this extremity.
Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
Anthony Woodville, her brother there,
That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
From whence this present day he is delivered?
We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.

CLARENCE
By heaven, I think there is no man secure
But the Queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the King and Mistress Shore.
Heard you not what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was for his delivery?

RICHARD
Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my Lord Chamberlain his liberty.
I'll tell you what, I think it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the King,
To be her men and wear her livery.
The jealous o'erworn widow and herself,
Since that our brother dubbed them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.

BRAKENBURY
I beseech your graces both to pardon me.
His majesty hath straitly given in charge
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with his brother.

RICHARD
Even so? An't please your worship, Brakenbury,
You may partake of anything we say.
We speak no treason, man; we say the King
Is wise and virtuous, and his noble Queen
Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous;
We say that Shore's wife hath a pretty foot,
A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
And that the Queen's kindred are made gentlefolks.
How say you sir? Can you deny all this?

BRAKENBURY
With this, my lord, myself have naught to do.

RICHARD
Naught to do with Mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best he do it secretly, alone.

BRAKENBURY
What one, my lord?

RICHARD
Her husband, knave. Wouldst thou betray me?

BRAKENBURY
I beseech your grace to pardon me, and withal
Forbear your conference with the noble Duke.

CLARENCE
We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.

RICHARD
We are the Queen's abjects, and must obey.
Brother, farewell. I will unto the King;
And whatsoe'er you will employ me in,
Were it to call King Edward's widow sister,
I will perform it to enfranchise you.
Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.

CLARENCE
I know it pleaseth neither of us well.

RICHARD
Well, your imprisonment shall not be long:
I will deliver you, or else lie for you.
Meantime, have patience.

CLARENCE
I must perforce. Farewell.
Exeunt Clarence with Brakenbury and guard

RICHARD
Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return.
Simple plain Clarence, I do love thee so
That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
But who comes here? The new-delivered Hastings?
Enter Lord Hastings

HASTINGS
Good time of day unto my gracious lord.

RICHARD
As much unto my good Lord Chamberlain.
Well are you welcome to the open air.
How hath your lordship brooked imprisonment?

HASTINGS
With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must;
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
That were the cause of my imprisonment.

RICHARD
No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too,
For they that were your enemies are his,
And have prevailed as much on him as you.

HASTINGS
More pity that the eagles should be mewed,
While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.

RICHARD
What news abroad?

HASTINGS
No news so bad abroad as this at home:
The King is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.

RICHARD
Now, by Saint John, that news is bad indeed!
O, he hath kept an evil diet long
And over-much consumed his royal person.
'Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
Where is he? In his bed?

HASTINGS
He is.

RICHARD
Go you before, and I will follow you.
Exit Hastings
He cannot live, I hope, and must not die
Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
I'll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence
With lies well steeled with weighty arguments;
And, if I fail not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live;
Which done, God take King Edward to His mercy
And leave the world for me to bustle in!
For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter.
What though I killed her husband and her father?
The readiest way to make the wench amends
Is to become her husband and her father,
The which will I – not all so much for love
As for another secret close intent
By marrying her which I must reach unto.
But yet I run before my horse to market:
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns;
When they are gone, then must I count my gains.
Exit
Modern text
Act I, Scene II
Enter the corse of Henry the Sixth, with halberds to
guard it; Lady Anne being the mourner, attended by
Tressel and Berkeley

ANNE
Set down, set down your honourable load –
If honour may be shrouded in a hearse –
Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
Th' untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.
The bearers set down the hearse
Poor key-cold figure of a holy king,
Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster,
Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood,
Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost
To hear the lamentations of poor Anne,
Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son
Stabbed by the selfsame hand that made these wounds!
Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life
I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.
O, cursed be the hand that made these holes!
Cursed be the heart that had the heart to do it!
Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!
More direful hap betide that hated wretch
That makes us wretched by the death of thee
Than I can wish to wolves – spiders, toads,
Or any creeping venomed thing that lives!
If ever he have child, abortive be it,
Prodigious, and untimely brought to light,
Whose ugly and unnatural aspect
May fright the hopeful mother at the view,
And that be heir to his unhappiness!
If ever he have wife, let her he made
More miserable by the life of him
Than I am made by my young lord and thee!
Come now, towards Chertsey with your holy load,
Taken from Paul's to be interred there.
The bearers take up the hearse
And still, as you are weary of this weight,
Rest you, whiles I lament King Henry's corse.
Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester

RICHARD
Stay, you that bear the corse, and set it down.

ANNE
What black magician conjures up this fiend
To stop devoted charitable deeds?

RICHARD
Villains, set down the corse, or, by Saint Paul,
I'll make a corse of him that disobeys!

GENTLEMAN
My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass.

RICHARD
Unmannered dog! Stand thou, when I command!
Advance thy halberd higher than my breast,
Or, by Saint Paul, I'll strike thee to my foot
And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.
The bearers set down the hearse

ANNE
What, do you tremble? Are you all afraid?
Alas, I blame you not, for you are mortal,
And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil.
Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of hell!
Thou hadst but power over his mortal body;
His soul thou canst not have. Therefore, be gone.

RICHARD
Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.

ANNE
Foul devil, for God's sake hence, and trouble us not,
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Filled it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.
O gentlemen, see, see! Dead Henry's wounds
Open their congealed mouths and bleed afresh!
Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
From cold and empty veins where no blood dwells.
Thy deeds inhuman and unnatural
Provokes this deluge most unnatural.
O God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death!
O earth, which this blood drink'st, revenge his death!
Either heaven with lightning strike the murderer dead;
Or earth gape open wide and eat him quick,
As thou dost swallow up this good King's blood
Which his hell-governed arm hath butchered!

RICHARD
Lady, you know no rules of charity,
Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.

ANNE
Villain, thou know'st nor law of God nor man:
No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.

RICHARD
But I know none, and therefore am no beast.

ANNE
O wonderful, when devils tell the truth!

RICHARD
More wonderful, when angels are so angry.
Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,
Of these supposed crimes to give me leave
By circumstance but to acquit myself.

ANNE
Vouchsafe, diffused infection of a man,
For these known evils, but to give me leave
By circumstance to accuse thy cursed self.

RICHARD
Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have
Some patient leisure to excuse myself.

ANNE
Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make
No excuse current but to hang thyself.

RICHARD
By such despair I should accuse myself.

ANNE
And by despairing shouldst thou stand excused
For doing worthy vengeance on thyself
Which didst unworthy slaughter upon others.

RICHARD
Say that I slew them not?

ANNE
Then say they were not slain.
But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.

RICHARD
I did not kill your husband.

ANNE
Why, then he is alive.

RICHARD
Nay, he is dead, and slain by Edward's hands.

ANNE
In thy foul throat thou li'st! Queen Margaret saw
Thy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;
The which thou once didst bend against her breast,
But that thy brothers beat aside the point.

RICHARD
I was provoked by her slanderous tongue
That laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.

ANNE
Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind
That never dream'st on aught but butcheries.
Didst thou not kill this King?

RICHARD
I grant ye – yea.

ANNE
Dost grant me, hedgehog? Then God grant me too
Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!
O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous!

RICHARD
The better for the King of Heaven that hath him.

ANNE
He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.

RICHARD
Let him thank me that holp to send him thither;
For he was fitter for that place than earth.

ANNE
And thou unfit for any place, but hell.

RICHARD
Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.

ANNE
Some dungeon.

RICHARD
Your bedchamber.

ANNE
Ill rest betide the chamber where thou liest!

RICHARD
So will it, madam, till I lie with you.

ANNE
I hope so.

RICHARD
I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,
To leave this keen encounter of our wits
And fall somewhat into a slower method,
Is not the causer of the timeless deaths
Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,
As blameful as the executioner?

ANNE
Thou wast the cause and most accursed effect.

RICHARD
Your beauty was the cause of that effect –
Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep
To undertake the death of all the world,
So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.

ANNE
If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide,
These nails should rent that beauty from my cheeks.

RICHARD
These eyes could not endure that beauty's wrack;
You should not blemish it, if I stood by.
As all the world is cheered by the sun,
So I by that. It is my day, my life.

ANNE
Black night o'ershade thy day, and death thy life!

RICHARD
Curse not thyself, fair creature – thou art both.

ANNE
I would I were, to be revenged on thee.

RICHARD
It is a quarrel most unnatural
To be revenged on him that loveth thee.

ANNE
It is a quarrel just and reasonable
To be revenged on him that killed my husband.

RICHARD
He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband
Did it to help thee to a better husband.

ANNE
His better doth not breathe upon the earth.

RICHARD
He lives, that loves thee better than he could.

ANNE
Name him.

RICHARD
Plantagenet.

ANNE
Why that was he.

RICHARD
The selfsame name, but one of better nature.

ANNE
Where is he?

RICHARD
Here.
She spits at him
Why dost thou spit at me?

ANNE
Would it were mortal poison for thy sake!

RICHARD
Never came poison from so sweet a place.

ANNE
Never hung poison on a fouler toad.
Out of my sight! Thou dost infect mine eyes.

RICHARD
Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine.

ANNE
Would they were basilisks to strike thee dead!

RICHARD
I would they were, that I might die at once,
For now they kill me with a living death.
Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt tears,
Shamed their aspects with store of childish drops.
These eyes, which never shed remorseful tear –
No, when my father York and Edward wept
To hear the piteous moan that Rutland made
When black-faced Clifford shook his sword at him;
Nor when thy warlike father, like a child,
Told the sad story of my father's death
And twenty times made pause to sob and weep,
That all the standers-by had wet their cheeks
Like trees bedashed with rain – in that sad time
My manly eyes did scorn an humble tear;
And what these sorrows could not thence exhale,
Thy beauty hath, and made them blind with weeping.
I never sued to friend nor enemy;
My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word;
But, now thy beauty is proposed my fee,
My proud heart sues, and prompts my tongue to speak.
She looks scornfully at him
Teach not thy lips such scorn; for it was made
For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.
If thy revengeful heart cannot forgive,
Lo, here I lend thee this sharp-pointed sword,
Which if thou please to hide in this true breast
And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,
I lay it naked to the deadly stroke
And humbly beg the death upon my knee.
He lays his breast open. She offers at it with his sword
Nay, do not pause; for I did kill King Henry –
But 'twas thy beauty that provoked me.
Nay now, dispatch; 'twas I that stabbed young Edward –
But 'twas thy heavenly face that set me on.
She falls the sword
Take up the sword again, or take up me.

ANNE
Arise, dissembler; though I wish thy death
I will not be thy executioner.

RICHARD
Then bid me kill myself, and I will do it.

ANNE
I have already.

RICHARD
That was in thy rage.
Speak it again, and even with the word
This hand, which for thy love did kill thy love,
Shall for thy love kill a far truer love;
To both their deaths thou shalt be accessory.

ANNE
I would I knew thy heart.

RICHARD
'Tis figured in my tongue.

ANNE
I fear me both are false.

RICHARD
Then never man was true.

ANNE
Well, well, put up your sword.

RICHARD
Say then my peace is made.

ANNE
That shall you know hereafter.

RICHARD
But shall I live in hope?

ANNE
All men, I hope, live so.

RICHARD
Vouchsafe to wear this ring.

ANNE
To take is not to give.
She puts on the ring

RICHARD
Look how this ring encompasseth thy finger,
Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart.
Wear both of them, for both of them are thine;
And if thy poor devoted servant may
But beg one favour at thy gracious hand,
Thou dost confirm his happiness for ever.

ANNE
What is it?

RICHARD
That it may please thee leave these sad designs
To him that hath more cause to be a mourner,
And presently repair to Crosby House;
Where, after I have solemnly interred
At Chertsey monastery this noble king
And wet his grave with my repentant tears,
I will with all expedient duty see you.
For divers unknown reasons, I beseech you,
Grant me this boon.

ANNE
With all my heart; and much it joys me too
To see you are become so penitent.
Tressel and Berkeley, go along with me.

RICHARD
Bid me farewell.

ANNE
'Tis more than you deserve;
But since you teach me how to flatter you,
Imagine I have said farewell already.
Exeunt Tressel and Berkeley, with Anne

RICHARD
Sirs, take up the corse.

GENTLEMAN
Towards Chertsey, noble lord?

RICHARD
No, to Whitefriars – there attend my coming.
Exeunt bearers and guard with corse
Was ever woman in this humour wooed?
Was ever woman in this humour won?
I'll have her, but I will not keep her long.
What? I that killed her husband and his father
To take her in her heart's extremest hate,
With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,
The bleeding witness of my hatred by,
Having God, her conscience, and these bars against me,
And I no friends to back my suit at all
But the plain devil and dissembling looks?
And yet to win her! All the world to nothing!
Ha!
Hath she forgot already that brave prince,
Edward, her lord, whom I, some three months since,
Stabbed in my angry mood at Tewkesbury?
A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman,
Framed in the prodigality of nature,
Young, valiant, wise, and, no doubt, right royal,
The spacious world cannot again afford;
And will she yet abase her eyes on me,
That cropped the golden prime of this sweet prince
And made her widow to a woeful bed?
On me, whose all not equals Edward's moiety?
On me, that halts and am misshapen thus?
My dukedom to a beggarly denier
I do mistake my person all this while!
Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,
Myself to be a marvellous proper man.
I'll be at charges for a looking-glass
And entertain a score or two of tailors
To study fashions to adorn my body;
Since I am crept in favour with myself
Will maintain it with some little cost.
But first I'll turn yon fellow in his grave,
And then return lamenting to my love.
Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
That I may see my shadow as I pass.
Exit
Modern text
Act I, Scene III
Enter Queen Elizabeth, Lord Rivers, Marquess of
Dorset, and Lord Grey

RIVERS
Have patience, madam; there's no doubt his majesty
Will soon recover his accustomed health.

GREY
In that you brook it ill, it makes him worse;
Therefore for God's sake entertain good comfort
And cheer his grace with quick and merry eyes.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
If he were dead, what would betide on me?

RIVERS
No other harm but loss of such a lord.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
The loss of such a lord includes all harm.

GREY
The heavens have blessed you with a goodly son
To be your comforter when he is gone.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Ah, he is young; and his minority
Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,
A man that loves not me, nor none of you.

RIVERS
Is it concluded that he shall be Protector?

QUEEN ELIZABETH
It is determined, not concluded yet;
But so it must be, if the King miscarry.
Enter Buckingham and Derby

GREY
Here come the lords of Buckingham and Derby.

BUCKINGHAM
Good time of day unto your royal grace!

DERBY
God make your majesty joyful, as you have been!

QUEEN ELIZABETH
The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Derby,
To your good prayers will scarcely say amen.
Yet, Derby, notwithstanding she's your wife
And loves not me, be you, good lord, assured
I hate not you for her proud arrogance.

DERBY
I do beseech you, either not believe
The envious slanders of her false accusers;
Or, if she be accused on true report,
Bear with her weakness, which I think proceeds
From wayward sickness, and no grounded malice.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Saw you the King today, my Lord of Derby?

DERBY
But now the Duke of Buckingham and I
Are come from visiting his majesty.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
What likelihood of his amendment, lords?

BUCKINGHAM
Madam, good hope; his grace speaks cheerfully.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
God grant him health! Did you confer with him?

BUCKINGHAM
Ay, madam; he desires to make atonement
Between the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers,
And between them and my Lord Chamberlain,
And sent to warn them to his royal presence.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Would all were well! But that will never be.
I fear our happiness is at the highest.
Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Lord Hastings

RICHARD
They do me wrong, and I will not endure it!
Who is it that complains unto the King
That I, forsooth, am stern, and love them not?
By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly
That fill his ears with such dissentious rumours.
Because I cannot flatter and look fair,
Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive, and cog,
Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
I must be held a rancorous enemy.
Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
But thus his simple truth must be abused
By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?

GREY
To whom in all this presence speaks your grace?

RICHARD
To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace.
When have I injured thee? When done thee wrong?
Or thee? Or thee? Or any of your faction?
A plague upon you all! His royal grace –
Whom God preserve better than you would wish! –
Cannot be quiet scarce a breathing while
But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the matter.
The King, of his own royal disposition,
And not provoked by any suitor else,
Aiming, belike, at your interior hatred,
That in your outward action shows itself
Against my children, brothers, and myself,
Makes him to send, that he may learn the ground.

RICHARD
I cannot tell; the world is grown so bad
That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.
Since every Jack became a gentleman
There's many a gentle person made a Jack.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Come, come, we know your meaning, brother Gloucester:
You envy my advancement and my friends'.
God grant we never may have need of you!

RICHARD
Meantime, God grants that I have need of you.
Our brother is imprisoned by your means,
Myself disgraced, and the nobility
Held in contempt, while great promotions
Are daily given to ennoble those
That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
By Him that raised me to this careful height
From that contented hap which I enjoyed,
I never did incense his majesty
Against the Duke of Clarence, but have been
An earnest advocate to plead for him.
My lord, you do me shameful injury
Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.

RICHARD
You may deny that you were not the mean
Of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment.

RIVERS
She may, my lord, for –

RICHARD
She may, Lord Rivers! Why, who knows not so?
She may do more, sir, than denying that;
She may help you to many fair preferments,
And then deny her aiding hand therein
And lay those honours on your high desert.
What may she not? She may, yea, marry, may she –

RIVERS
What, marry, may she?

RICHARD
What, marry, may she? Marry with a king,
A bachelor and a handsome stripling too!
Iwis your grandam had a worser match.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne
Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs.
By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
Of those gross taunts that oft I have endured.
I had rather be a country servant-maid
Than a great queen, with this condition,
To be so baited, scorned, and stormed at;
Enter old Queen Margaret, behind
Small joy have I in being England's Queen.

QUEEN MARGARET
(aside)
And lessened be that small, God I beseech Him!
Thy honour, state, and seat is due to me.

RICHARD
What? Threat you me with telling of the King?
Tell him, and spare not. Look what I have said
I will avouch't in presence of the King;
I dare adventure to be sent to the Tower.
'Tis time to speak, my pains are quite forgot.

QUEEN MARGARET
(aside)
Out, devil! I do remember them too well.
Thou kill'dst my husband Henry in the Tower,
And Edward, my poor son, at Tewkesbury.

RICHARD
Ere you were queen, yea, or your husband king,
I was a packhorse in his great affairs;
A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,
A liberal rewarder of his friends.
To royalize his blood I spent mine own.

QUEEN MARGARET
(aside)
Yea, and much better blood than his or thine.

RICHARD
In all which time you and your husband Grey
Were factious for the house of Lancaster;
And, Rivers, so were you. Was not your husband
In Margaret's battle at Saint Alban's slain?
Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
What you have been ere this, and what you are;
Withal, what I have been, and what I am.

QUEEN MARGARET
(aside)
A murderous villain, and so still thou art.

RICHARD
Poor Clarence did forsake his father, Warwick;
Yea, and forswore himself, which Jesu pardon! –

QUEEN MARGARET
(aside)
Which God revenge!

RICHARD
– To fight on Edward's party for the crown;
And for his meed, poor lord, he is mewed up.
I would to God my heart were flint like Edward's,
Or Edward's soft and pitiful like mine!
I am too childish-foolish for this world.

QUEEN MARGARET
(aside)
Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave this world,
Thou cacodemon! There thy kingdom is.

RIVERS
My Lord of Gloucester, in those busy days
Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
We followed then our lord, our sovereign king;
So should we you, if you should be our king.

RICHARD
If I should be? I had rather be a pedlar.
Far be it from my heart, the thought thereof!

QUEEN ELIZABETH
As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
You should enjoy, were you this country's king,
As little joy may you suppose in me
That I enjoy, being the Queen thereof.

QUEEN MARGARET
(aside)
As little joy enjoys the Queen thereof;
For I am she, and altogether joyless.
I can no longer hold me patient.
She comes forward
Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
In sharing that which you have pilled from me!
Which of you trembles not that looks on me?
If not, that I am Queen, you bow like subjects,
Yet that, by you deposed, you quake like rebels?
Ah, gentle villain, do not turn away!

RICHARD
Foul wrinkled witch, what mak'st thou in my sight?

QUEEN MARGARET
But repetition of what thou hast marred,
That will I make before I let thee go.

RICHARD
Wert thou not banished on pain of death?

QUEEN MARGARET
I was; but I do find more pain in banishment
Than death can yield me here by my abode.
A husband and a son thou ow'st to me –
And thou a kingdom – all of you allegiance.
This sorrow that I have, by right is yours,
And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.

RICHARD
The curse my noble father laid on thee
When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper
And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his eyes,
And then, to dry them, gav'st the Duke a clout
Steeped in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland –
His curses then, from bitterness of soul
Denounced against thee, are all fallen upon thee;
And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
So just is God, to right the innocent.

HASTINGS
O, 'twas the foulest deed to slay that babe,
And the most merciless, that e'er was heard of!

RIVERS
Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported.

DORSET
No man but prophesied revenge for it.

BUCKINGHAM
Northumberland, then present, wept to see it.

QUEEN MARGARET
What! Were you snarling all before I came,
Ready to catch each other by the throat,
And turn you all your hatred now on me?
Did York's dread curse prevail so much with heaven
That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death,
Their kingdom's loss, my woeful banishment,
Should all but answer for that peevish brat?
Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?
Why then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses!
Though not by war, by surfeit die your king,
As ours by murder, to make him a king!
Edward thy son, that now is Prince of Wales,
For Edward our son, that was Prince of Wales,
Die in his youth by like untimely violence!
Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen,
Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self!
Long mayst thou live to wail thy children's death
And see another, as I see thee now,
Decked in thy rights as thou art stalled in mine!
Long die thy happy days before thy death,
And after many lengthened hours of grief,
Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen!
Rivers and Dorset, you were standers-by,
And so wast thou, Lord Hastings, when my son
Was stabbed with bloody daggers. God, I pray Him,
That none of you may live his natural age,
But by some unlooked accident cut off!

RICHARD
Have done thy charm, thou hateful withered hag!

QUEEN MARGARET
And leave out thee? Stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.
If heaven have any grievous plague in store
Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
O let them keep it till thy sins be ripe,
And then hurl down their indignation
On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace!
The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul!
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv'st,
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
Unless it be while some tormenting dream
Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils!
Thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog!
Thou that wast sealed in thy nativity
The slave of nature and the son of hell!
Thou slander of thy heavy mother's womb!
Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins!
Thou rag of honour! Thou detested –

RICHARD
Margaret.

QUEEN MARGARET
Richard!

RICHARD
Ha?

QUEEN MARGARET
I call thee not.

RICHARD
I cry thee mercy then; for I did think
That thou hadst called me all these bitter names.

QUEEN MARGARET
Why, so I did, but looked for no reply.
O, let me make the period to my curse!

RICHARD
'Tis done by me, and ends in ‘ Margaret.’

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Thus have you breathed your curse against yourself.

QUEEN MARGARET
Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my fortune!
Why strew'st thou sugar on that bottled spider
Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about?
Fool, fool! Thou whet'st a knife to kill thyself.
The time will come that thou shalt wish for me
To help thee curse that poisonous bunch-backed toad.

HASTINGS
False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse,
Lest to thy harm thou move our patience.

QUEEN MARGARET
Foul shame upon you! You have all moved mine.

RIVERS
Were you well served, you would be taught your duty.

QUEEN MARGARET
To serve me well, you all should do me duty,
Teach me to be your queen, and you my subjects.
O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty!

DORSET
Dispute not with her; she is lunatic.

QUEEN MARGARET
Peace, master Marquess, you are malapert.
Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current.
O, that your young nobility could judge
What 'twere to lose it and be miserable!
They that stand high have many blasts to shake them,
And if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.

RICHARD
Good counsel, marry! Learn it, learn it, Marquess.

DORSET
It touches you, my lord, as much as me.

RICHARD
Yea, and much more; but I was born so high.
Our aery buildeth in the cedar's top
And dallies with the wind and scorns the sun.

QUEEN MARGARET
And turns the sun to shade – alas! alas!
Witness my son, now in the shade of death,
Whose bright outshining beams thy cloudy wrath
Hath in eternal darkness folded up.
Your aery buildeth in our aery's nest.
O God, that seest it, do not suffer it!
As it was won with blood, lost be it so!

BUCKINGHAM
Peace, peace, for shame, if not for charity.

QUEEN MARGARET
Urge neither charity nor shame to me.
Uncharitably with me have you dealt,
And shamefully my hopes by you are butchered.
My charity is outrage, life my shame,
And in that shame still live my sorrow's rage!

BUCKINGHAM
Have done, have done.

QUEEN MARGARET
O princely Buckingham, I'll kiss thy hand
In sign of league and amity with thee.
Now fair befall thee and thy noble house!
Thy garments are not spotted with our blood,
Nor thou within the compass of my curse.

BUCKINGHAM
Nor no one here; for curses never pass
The lips of those that breathe them in the air.

QUEEN MARGARET
I'll not think but they ascend the sky
And there awake God's gentle-sleeping peace.
O Buckingham, take heed of yonder dog!
Look when he fawns he bites; and when he bites
His venom tooth will rankle to the death.
Have not to do with him, beware of him.
Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,
And all their ministers attend on him.

RICHARD
What doth she say, my Lord of Buckingham?

BUCKINGHAM
Nothing that I respect, my gracious lord.

QUEEN MARGARET
What, dost thou scorn me for my gentle counsel?
And soothe the devil that I warn thee from?
O, but remember this another day,
When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow,
And say poor Margaret was a prophetess!
Live each of you the subjects to his hate,
And he to yours, and all of you to God's!
Exit

BUCKINGHAM
My hair doth stand an end to hear her curses.

RIVERS
And so doth mine. I muse why she's at liberty.

RICHARD
I cannot blame her. By God's holy Mother,
She hath had too much wrong, and I repent
My part thereof that I have done to her.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
I never did her any, to my knowledge.

RICHARD
Yet you have all the vantage of her wrong.
– I was too hot to do somebody good
That is too cold in thinking of it now.
Marry, as for Clarence, he is well repaid;
He is franked up to fatting for his pains –
God pardon them that are the cause thereof!

RIVERS
A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion –
To pray for them that have done scathe to us.

RICHARD
So do I ever – (aside) being well advised;
For had I cursed now, I had cursed myself.
Enter Catesby

CATESBY
Madam, his majesty doth call for you;
And for your grace; and yours, my gracious lord.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Catesby, I come. Lords, will you go with me?

RIVERS
We wait upon your grace.
Exeunt all but Richard, Duke of Gloucester

RICHARD
I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl.
The secret mischiefs that I set abroach
I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
Clarence, whom I indeed have laid in darkness,
I do beweep to many simple gulls –
Namely, to Derby, Hastings, Buckingham –
And tell them 'tis the Queen and her allies
That stir the King against the Duke my brother.
Now they believe it, and withal whet me
To be revenged on Rivers, Dorset, Grey.
But then I sigh, and, with a piece of Scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil;
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With odd old ends stolen forth of Holy Writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
Enter two Murderers
But soft! Here come my executioners.
How now, my hardy, stout, resolved mates!
Are you now going to dispatch this thing?

FIRST MURDERER
We are, my lord, and come to have the warrant,
That we may be admitted where he is.

RICHARD
Well thought upon; I have it here about me.
He gives the warrant
When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.
But, sirs, be sudden in the execution,
Withal obdurate, do not hear him plead;
For Clarence is well-spoken, and perhaps
May move your hearts to pity if you mark him.

FIRST MURDERER
Tut, tut, my lord! We will not stand to prate;
Talkers are no good doers. Be assured:
We come to use our hands, and not our tongues.

RICHARD
Your eyes drop millstones when fools' eyes fall tears.
I like you, lads; about your business straight,
Go, go, dispatch.

FIRST MURDERER
We will, my noble lord.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene IV
Enter Clarence and Keeper

KEEPER
Why looks your grace so heavily today?

CLARENCE
O, I have passed a miserable night,
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days,
So full of dismal terror was the time.

KEEPER
What was your dream, my lord? I pray you tell me.

CLARENCE
Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower
And was embarked to cross to Burgundy
And in my company my brother Gloucester,
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches; thence we looked toward England
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster,
That had befallen us. As we paced along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling
Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
O Lord! Methought what pain it was to drown!
What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears!
What sights of ugly death within mine eyes!
Methoughts I saw a thousand fearful wracks;
A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scattered in the bottom of the sea.
Some lay in dead men's skulls, and in the holes
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept,
As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
That wooed the slimy bottom of the deep
And mocked the dead bones that lay scattered by.

KEEPER
Had you such leisure in the time of death,
To gaze upon the secrets of the deep?

CLARENCE
Methought I had; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost; but still the envious flood
Stopped in my soul, and would not let it forth
To find the empty, vast, and wandering air,
But smothered it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.

KEEPER
Awaked you not with this sore agony?

CLARENCE
No, no, my dream was lengthened after life.
O then began the tempest to my soul!
I passed, methought, the melancholy flood,
With that sour ferryman which poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger soul
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick,
Who spake aloud, ‘ What scourge for perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?’
And so he vanished. Then came wandering by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood, and he shrieked out aloud,
‘ Clarence is come – false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,
That stabbed me in the field by Tewkesbury.
Seize on him, Furies, take him unto torment!’
With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends
Environed me, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries that with the very noise
I, trembling, waked, and for a season after
Could not believe but that I was in hell,
Such terrible impression made my dream.

KEEPER
No marvel, my lord, though it affrighted you;
I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.

CLARENCE
Ah, keeper, keeper, I have done these things,
That now give evidence against my soul,
For Edward's sake, and see how he requits me!
O God! If my deep prayers cannot appease Thee,
But Thou wilt be avenged on my misdeeds,
Yet execute Thy wrath in me alone;
O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children!
Keeper, I pray thee, sit by me awhile.
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.

KEEPER
I will, my lord. God give your grace good rest!
Clarence sleeps
Enter Brakenbury, the Lieutenant

BRAKENBURY
Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,
Makes the night morning and the noontide night.
Princes have but their titles for their glories,
An outward honour for an inward toil;
And for unfelt imaginations
They often feel a world of restless cares;
So that between their titles and low name
There's nothing differs but the outward fame.
Enter two Murderers

FIRST MURDERER
Ho! Who's here?

BRAKENBURY
What wouldst thou, fellow? And how
cam'st thou hither?

SECOND MURDERER
I would speak with Clarence, and I
came hither on my legs.

BRAKENBURY
Yea, So brief?

FIRST MURDERER
'Tis better, sir, than to be tedious.
Let him see our commission, and talk no more.
Brakenbury reads it

BRAKENBURY
I am in this commanded to deliver
The noble Duke of Clarence to your hands.
I will not reason what is meant hereby,
Because I will be guiltless from the meaning.
There lies the Duke asleep, and there the keys.
I'll to the King, and signify to him
That thus I have resigned to you my charge.
Exit Brakenbury with Keeper

FIRST MURDERER
You may, sir; 'tis a point of wisdom.
Fare you well.

SECOND MURDERER
What? Shall I stab him as he sleeps?

FIRST MURDERER
No. He'll say 'twas done cowardly
when he wakes.

SECOND MURDERER
Why, he shall never wake until the
great Judgement Day.

FIRST MURDERER
Why, then he'll say we stabbed him
sleeping.

SECOND MURDERER
The urging of that word judgement
hath bred a kind of remorse in me.

FIRST MURDERER
What? Art thou afraid?

SECOND MURDERER
Not to kill him, having a warrant,
but to be damned for killing him, from the which no
warrant can defend me.

FIRST MURDERER
I thought thou hadst been resolute.

SECOND MURDERER
So I am – to let him live.

FIRST MURDERER
I'll back to the Duke of Gloucester
and tell him so.

SECOND MURDERER
Nay, I pray thee stay a little. I hope
this passionate humour of mine will change. It was wont
to hold me but while one tells twenty.

FIRST MURDERER
How dost thou feel thyself now?

SECOND MURDERER
Faith, some certain dregs of conscience
are yet within me.

FIRST MURDERER
Remember our reward when the
deed's done.

SECOND MURDERER
Zounds, he dies! I had forgot the
reward.

FIRST MURDERER
Where's thy conscience now?

SECOND MURDERER
O, in the Duke of Gloucester's
purse.

FIRST MURDERER
When he opens his purse to give us
our reward, thy conscience flies out.

SECOND MURDERER
'Tis no matter; let it go. There's
few or none will entertain it.

FIRST MURDERER
What if it come to thee again?

SECOND MURDERER
I'll not meddle with it; it makes a
man a coward. A man cannot steal, but it accuseth him;
a man cannot swear, but it checks him; a man cannot lie
with his neighbour's wife, but it detects him. 'Tis a
blushing shamefaced spirit that mutinies in a man's
bosom. It fills a man full of obstacles. It made me once
restore a purse of gold that by chance I found. It beggars
any man that keeps it. It is turned out of all towns and
cities for a dangerous thing, and every man that means
to live well endeavours to trust to himself and to live
without it.

FIRST MURDERER
Zounds, 'tis even now at my elbow,
persuading me not to kill the Duke.

SECOND MURDERER
Take the devil in thy mind – and
believe him not. He would insinuate with thee but to
make thee sigh.

FIRST MURDERER
Tut, I am strong-framed; he cannot
prevail with me.

SECOND MURDERER
Spoke like a tall man that respects
thy reputation. Come, shall we fall to work?

FIRST MURDERER
Take him on the costard with the hilts
of thy sword, and then throw him into the malmsey-butt
in the next room.

SECOND MURDERER
O excellent device! And make a sop
of him.

FIRST MURDERER
Soft! He wakes.

SECOND MURDERER
Strike!

FIRST MURDERER
No, we'll reason with him.

CLARENCE
Where art thou, keeper? Give me a cup of wine.

SECOND MURDERER
You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon.

CLARENCE
In God's name, what art thou?

FIRST MURDERER
A man, as you are.

CLARENCE
But not as I am, royal.

SECOND MURDERER
Nor you as we are, loyal.

CLARENCE
Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are humble.

FIRST MURDERER
My voice is now the King's, my looks mine own.

CLARENCE
How darkly and how deadly dost thou speak!
Your eyes do menace me. Why look you pale?
Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come?

SECOND MURDERER
To, to, to –

CLARENCE
To murder me?

FIRST and SECOND MURDERER
Ay, ay.

CLARENCE
You scarcely have the hearts to tell me so,
And therefore cannot have the hearts to do it.
Wherein, my friends, have I offended you?

FIRST MURDERER
Offended us you have not, but the King.

CLARENCE
I shall be reconciled to him again.

SECOND MURDERER
Never, my lord; therefore prepare to die.

CLARENCE
Are you drawn forth among a world of men
To slay the innocent? What is my offence?
Where are the evidence that doth accuse me?
What lawful quest have given their verdict up
Unto the frowning judge? Or who pronounced
The bitter sentence of poor Clarence' death
Before I be convict by course of law?
To threaten me with death is most unlawful.
I charge you, as you hope to have redemption
By Christ's dear blood shed for our grievous sins,
That you depart, and lay no hands on me
The deed you undertake is damnable.

FIRST MURDERER
What we will do, we do upon command.

SECOND MURDERER
And he that hath commanded is our king.

CLARENCE
Erroneous vassals! The great King of kings
Hath in the table of His law commanded
That thou shalt do no murder. Will you then
Spurn at His edict, and fulfil a man's?
Take heed; for He holds vengeance in His hand
To hurl upon their heads that break His law.

SECOND MURDERER
And that same vengeance doth he hurl on thee
For false forswearing and for murder too:
Thou didst receive the sacrament to fight
In quarrel of the house of Lancaster.

FIRST MURDERER
And like a traitor to the name of God
Didst break that vow, and with thy treacherous blade
Unrip'st the bowels of thy sovereign's son.

SECOND MURDERER
Whom thou wast sworn to cherish and defend.

FIRST MURDERER
How canst thou urge God's dreadful law to us
When thou hast broke it in such dear degree?

CLARENCE
Alas! For whose sake did I that ill deed?
For Edward, for my brother, for his sake.
He sends you not to murder me for this,
For in that sin he is as deep as I.
If God will be avenged for the deed,
O, know you yet He doth it publicly!
Take not the quarrel from His powerful arm.
He needs no indirect or lawless course
To cut off those that have offended Him.

FIRST MURDERER
Who made thee then a bloody minister
When gallant-springing brave Plantagenet,
That princely novice, was struck dead by thee?

CLARENCE
My brother's love, the devil, and my rage.

FIRST MURDERER
Thy brother's love, our duty, and thy fault
Provoke us hither now to slaughter thee.

CLARENCE
If you do love my brother, hate not me;
I am his brother, and I love him well.
If you are hired for meed, go back again,
And I will send you to my brother Gloucester,
Who shall reward you better for my life
Than Edward will for tidings of my death.

SECOND MURDERER
You are deceived. Your brother Gloucester hates you.

CLARENCE
O, no, he loves me and he holds me dear!
Go you to him from me.

FIRST MURDERER
Ay, so we will.

CLARENCE
Tell him, when that our princely father York
Blessed his three sons with his victorious arm
And charged us from his soul to love each other,
He little thought of this divided friendship;
Bid Gloucester think of this, and he will weep.

FIRST MURDERER
Ay, millstones, as he lessoned us to weep.

CLARENCE
O, do not slander him, for he is kind.

FIRST MURDERER
Right, as snow in harvest. Come, you deceive yourself;
'Tis he that sends us to destroy you here.

CLARENCE
It cannot be, for he bewept my fortune,
And hugged me in his arms, and swore with sobs
That he would labour my delivery.

FIRST MURDERER
Why, so he doth, when he delivers you
From this earth's thraldom to the joys of heaven.

SECOND MURDERER
Make peace with God, for you must die, my lord.

CLARENCE
Have you that holy feeling in your souls
To counsel me to make my peace with God,
And art you yet to your own souls so blind
That you will war with God by murdering me?
O, sirs, consider, they that set you on
To do this deed will hate you for the deed.

SECOND MURDERER
What shall we do?

CLARENCE
Relent, and save your souls.
Which of you, if you were a prince's son,
Being pent from liberty, as I am now,
If two such murderers as yourselves came to you,
Would not entreat for life? As you would beg
Were you in my distress –

FIRST MURDERER
Relent? No: 'tis cowardly and womanish.

CLARENCE
Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish!
(To Second Murderer)
My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks.
O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,
Come thou on my side, and entreat for me!
A begging prince what beggar pities not?

SECOND MURDERER
Look behind you, my lord!

FIRST MURDERER
Take that! And that! (Stabs him) If all this will not do,
I'll drown you in the malmsey-butt within.
Exit with the body

SECOND MURDERER
A bloody deed, and desperately dispatched!
How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
Of this most grievous murder!
Enter First Murderer

FIRST MURDERER
How now? What mean'st thou that thou help'st me not?
By heavens, the Duke shall know how slack you have been.

SECOND MURDERER
I would he knew that I had saved his brother!
Take thou the fee and tell him what I say,
For I repent me that the Duke is slain.
Exit

FIRST MURDERER
So do not I. Go, coward as thou art.
Well, I'll go hide the body in some hole
Till that the Duke give order for his burial;
And when I have my meed, I will away,
For this will out, and then I must not stay.
Exit
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