Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Adrian Kiernander
Not Peer Reviewed

Richard the Third (Modern)


[1.3]
Enter Queen [Elizabeth], Lord Rivers, Grey [and Dorset].
Rivers Have patience, madam, there's no doubt his majesty
465Will 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 words.
Queen Elizabeth If he were dead, what would betide of 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.
475Queen Elizabeth Oh, 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 he shall be Protector?
Queen Elizabeth It is determined, not concluded yet,
480But so it must be, if the King miscarry.
Enter Buck[ingham and Stanley].
Grey Here come the Lords of Buckingham and Stanley.
Buckingham [To the Queen] Good time of day unto your royal grace.
Stanley God make your majesty joyful as you have been.
485Queen Elizabeth The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Stanley,
To your good prayers will scarcely say "Amen".
Yet Stanley, notwithstanding she's your wife
And loves not me, be you, good lord, assured
I hate not you for her proud arrogance.
490Stanley I do beseech you, either not believe
The envious slanders of her false accusers
Or, if she be accused in true report,
Bear with her weakness which I think proceeds
From wayward sickness, and no grounded malice.
495Rivers Saw you the King today, my Lord of Stanley?
Stanley But now the Duke of Buckingham and I
Came from visiting his majesty.
Queen Elizabeth With likelihood of his amendment, lords?
Buckingham Madam, good hope, his grace speaks cheerfully.
500Queen Elizabeth God grant him health! Did you confer with him?
Buckingham Madam, we did. He desires to make atonement
Betwixt the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers,
And betwixt them and my Lord Chamberlain,
And sent to warn them to his royal presence.
505Queen Elizabeth Would all were well, but that will never be.
I fear our happiness is at the highest.
Enter [Richard and Hastings].
Richard They do me wrong and I will not endure it!
Who are they that complains unto the King
510That I forsooth am stern and love them not?
By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly
That fill his ears with such dissentious rumors.
Because I cannot flatter and speak fair,
Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive and cog,
515Duck 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?
520Rivers 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 person,
525Whom 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
530And not provoked by any suitor else,
Aiming belike at your interior hatred
Which in your outward actions shows itself
Against my kindred, brother, and myself,
Makes him to send that thereby he may gather
534.1The ground of your ill will and to remove it.
535Richard I cannot tell, the world is grown so bad
That wrens make pray 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.
540You envy my advancement and my friends'.
God grant we never may have need of you.
Richard Meantime God grants that we have need of you.
Our brother is imprisoned by your means,
Myself disgraced, and the nobility
545Held in contempt, whilst many fair promotions
Are daily given to enoble 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,
550I 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.
555Richard You may deny that you were not the cause
Of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment.
Rivers She may, my lord.
Richard She may, Lord Rivers, why, who knows not so?
She may do more, sir, than denying that;
560She may help you to many fair preferments
And then deny her aiding hand therein
And lay those honors on your high deserts.
What may she not? She may, yea, marry, may she --
Rivers What, marry, may she?
565Richard What marry may she? Marry with a king,
A bachelor, 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.
570By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
With those gross taunts I often have endured.
I had rather be a country servant maid
Than a great queen with this condition,
To be thus taunted, scorned, and baited at.
Enter Qu[een] Margaret[, unseen by the others].
575Small joy have I in being England's queen.
Queen Margaret [Aside] And lessened be that small, God I beseech thee;
Thy honor, state, and seat is due to me.
Richard What? Threat you me with telling of the King?
579.1Tell him and spare not. Look, what I have said
580I will avouch in presence of the King;
'Tis time to speak, my pains are quite forgot.
Queen Margaret [Aside] Out, devil, 585I remember them too well.
Thou slewest my husband Henry in the Tower,
And Edward my poor son at Tewkesbury.
Richard Ere you were Queen, yea, or your husband King,
590I 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 spilled mine own. . .
Queen Margaret[Aside] Yea, and much better blood 595than his or thine.
Richard In all which time you and your husband Grey
Were factious for the House of Lancaster --
[To Rivers] And Rivers, so were you. [To Elizabeth] Was not your husband
In Margaret's battle at St Albans slain?
600Let me put in your minds, if yours forget,
What you have been ere now, 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,
605Yea, 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,
610Or 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 the world
Thou cacodemon: there thy kingdom is.
Rivers My Lord of Gloucester, in those busy days,
615Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
We followed then our lord, our lawful 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 of it.
620Queen 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] A little joy enjoys the queen thereof,
625For I am she, and altogether joyless.
I can no longer hold me patient:
[Coming 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?
630If not that, I being queen, you bow like subjects,
Yet that, by you deposed, you quake like rebels.
[To Richard]O 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,
635That will I make, before I let thee go:
[To Richard] A husband and a son thou owest to me,
640[To Queen Elizabeth] And thou a kingdom, [To the others] all of you allegiance.
The 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
645And with thy scorn 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,
650And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed.
Queen Elizabeth So just is God to right the innocent.
Hastings Oh, 'twas the foulest deed to slay that babe,
And the most merciless that ever was heard of.
Rivers Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported.
655Dorset 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?
660Did 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
Could all but answer for that peevish brat?
Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?
665Why then, give way dull clouds to my quick curses:
If not by war, by surfeit die your King,
As ours by murder to make him a King.
Edward thy son, which now is Prince of Wales,
For Edward my son, which was Prince of Wales,
670Die 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 loss
And see another, as I see thee now,
675Decked 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 --
680And so wast thou, Lord Hastings -- when my son
Was stabbed with bloody daggers. God, I pray him
That none of you may live your natural age,
But by some unlooked accident cut off.
Richard Have done thy charm, thou hateful, withered hag.
685Queen 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,
Oh, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe
And then hurl down their indignation
690On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace;
The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul;
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou livest
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends;
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine
695Unless it be whilst 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,
700Thou slander of thy mother's heavy womb,
Thou loathèd issue of thy father's loins,
Thou rag of honor, thou detested --
Richard Margaret.
Queen Margaret Richard.
Richard Ha?
705Queen Margaret I call thee not.
Richard Then I cry thee mercy, for I had thought
That thou hadst called me all these bitter names.
Queen Margaret Why so I did, but looked for no reply.
Oh, let me make the period to my curse.
710Richard '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 strewest thou sugar on that bottled spider
Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about?
715Fool, 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.
720Queen 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;
Oh, serve me well and teach yourselves that duty.
725Dorset Dispute not with her, she is lunatic.
Queen Margaret Peace, Master Marquess, you are malapert,
Your fire-new stamp of honor is scarce current.
Oh, that your young nobility could judge
What 'twere to lose it and be miserable;
730They 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 toucheth you, my lord, as much as me.
735Richard Yea, and much more, but I was born so high;
Our eyrie 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,
740Whose bright outshining beams thy cloudy wrath
Hath in eternal darkness folded up;
Your eyrie buildeth in our eyrie's nest;
O God that seest it, do not suffer it.
As it was won with blood, lost be it so.
745Buckingham Have done, for shame if not for charity.
Queen Margaret Urge neither charity nor shame to me;
Uncharitably with me have you dealt,
And shamefully by you my hopes are butchered;
My charity is outrage, life my shame,
750And in my shame, still live my sorrow's rage.
Buckingham Have done.
Queen Margaret O princely Buckingham, I will kiss thy hand
In sign of league and amity with thee:
Now fair befall thee and thy princely House;
755Thy 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 believe but they ascend the sky
760And there awake God's gentle, sleeping peace.
[Aside, to Buckingham] O Buckingham, beware of yonder dog;
Look, when he fawns he bites, and when he bites
His venom tooth will rankle thee to death;
Have not to do with him, beware of him,
765Sin, 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 770for 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:
775Live each of you the subjects of his hate,
And he to yours, and all of you to God's.
Exit.
Hastings My hair doth stand on end to hear her curses.
Rivers And so doth mine; I wonder she's at liberty.
Richard I cannot blame her, by God's holy mother.
780She hath had too much wrong, and I repent
My part thereof that I have done.
Queen Elizabeth I never did her any to my knowledge.
Richard But you have all the vantage of this wrong.
I was too hot to do somebody good
785That 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 of it.
Rivers A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion
790To pray for them that have done scathe to us.
Richard So do I ever, being well advised, [Speaks to himself]
For had I cursed now, I had cursed myself.
[Enter Catesby.]
795Catesby Madam, his majesty doth call for you,
And for your grace, and you my noble lord.
Queen Elizabeth Catesby, we come. Lords, will you go with us?
Rivers Madam, we will attend your grace.
Exeunt [all except Richard.]
800Richard I do the wrong, and first began 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 --
805Namely to Hastings, Stanley, Buckingham --
And say it is the Queen and her allies
That stir the King against the Duke my brother.
Now they believe me, and withal whet me
To be revenged on Rivers, Vaughan, Grey;
810But 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 villainy
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ,
And seem a saint when most I play the devil --
But soft, here come my executioners.
815
Enter executioners.
How now, my hardy, stout-resolvèd mates,
Are you now going to despatch this deed?
1 Executioner We are my lord, and come to have the warrant
820That we may be admitted where he is.
Richard It was well thought upon, I have it here about me.
[Richard gives the executioner a warrant.]
When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.
But sirs, be sudden in the execution,
Withal obdurate, do not hear him plead,
825For Clarence is well spoken and perhaps
May move your hearts to pity if you mark him.
1 Executioner Tush, fear not, 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.
830Richard Your eyes drop millstones when fools' eyes drop tears.
I like you lads, about your business.
Exeunt.