Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Adrian Kiernander
Not Peer Reviewed

Richard the Third (Modern)

Enter the lords to Council, [including Hastings, Buckingham, Stanley and the Bishop of Ely, at a table].
Hastings My lords, at once the cause why we are met
Is to determine of the coronation.
In God's name say, when is this royal day?
1970Buckingham Are all things fitting for that royal time?
Stanley It is, and wants but nomination.
Ely Tomorrow then I guess a happy time.
Buckingham Who knows the Lord Protector's mind herein?
Who is most inward with the noble Duke?
1975Ely Why you, my lord; methinks you should soonest know his mind.
Buckingham Who I, my lord? We know each other's faces,
But for our hearts, he knows no more of mine
Than I of yours; nor I no more of his than you of mine.
1980Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.
Hastings I thank his grace, I know he loves me well,
But for his purpose in the coronation,
I have not sounded him nor he delivered
His grace's pleasure any way therein:
1985But you my noble lords may name the time
And in the Duke's behalf I'll give my voice,
Which I presume he will take in gentle part.
Ely Now in good time, here comes the Duke himself.
Ent[er Richard].
1990Richard My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow,
I have been long a sleeper, but I hope
My absence doth neglect no great designs
Which by my presence might have been concluded.
Buckingham Had not you come upon your cue, my lord,
1995William Lord Hastings had now pronounced your part --
I mean, your voice for crowning of the King.
Richard Than my Lord Hastings no man might be bolder:
His lordship knows me well, and loves me well.
1998.1Hastings I thank your grace.
Richard My Lord of Ely.
Ely My lord?
Richard When I was last in Holborn
2000I saw good strawberries in your garden there.
I do beseech you, send for some of them.
Ely I go, my lord.
Richard Cousin Buckingham, a word with you.
[They move aside.]
2005Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business
And finds the testy gentleman so hot,
As he will lose his head ere give consent
His master's son as, worshipful, he terms it,
Shall lose the royalty of England's throne.
2010Buckingham Withdraw you hence, my lord, I'll follow you.
Ex[eunt Richard and Buckingham].
Stanley We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
Tomorrow in mine opinion is too sudden
For I myself am not so well provided
Enter B[ishop] of Ely.
2015As else I would be were the day prolonged.
Bishop Where is my Lord Protector? I have sent for these strawberries.
Hastings His grace looks cheerfully and smooth today;
2020There's some conceit or other likes him well
When he doth bid good morrow with such a spirit.
I think there is never a man in Christendom
That can lesser hide his love or hate than he,
For by his face straight shall you know his heart.
2025Stanley What of his heart perceive you in his face
By any likelihood he showed today?
Hastings Marry, that with no man here he is offended,
For if he were, he would have shown it in his looks.
2028.1Stanley I pray God he be not, I say.
Enter [Richard with Buckingham and Catesby].
2030Richard I pray you all, what do they deserve
That do conspire my death with devilish plots
Of damnèd witchcraft, and that have prevailed,
Upon my body with their hellish charms?
Hastings The tender love I bear your grace, my lord,
2035Makes me most forward in this noble presence
To doom the offenders, whatsoever they be.
I say my lord, they have deservèd death.
Richard Then be your eyes the witness of this ill:
See how I am bewitched: behold mine arm
2040Is like a blasted sapling withered up.
This is that Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,
Consorted with that harlot strumpet Shore,
That by their witchcraft thus have markèd me.
Hastings If they have done this thing, my gracious lord --
2045Richard If! Thou protector of this damnèd strumpet,
Tell'st thou me of ifs? Thou art a traitor.
Off with his head! Now by Saint Paul
I will not dine today, I swear,
Until I see the same. Some see it done,
2050The rest that love me, come and follow me.
Exeunt.Cat[esby remains] with Ha[stings].
Hastings Woe, woe for England, not a whit for me,
For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
2055Stanley did dream the boar did race his helm
But I disdained it and did scorn to fly.
Three times today my footcloth horse did stumble
And startled when he looked upon the Tower
As loath to bear me to the slaughterhouse.
2060Oh, now I want the priest that spake to me,
I now repent I told the pursuivant,
As 'twere triumphing at mine enemies,
How they at Pomfret bloodily were butchered,
And I myself secure in grace and favor.
2065O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head.
Catesby Dispatch, my lord, the Duke would be at dinner:
Make a short shrift, he longs to see your head.
Hastings O momentary state of worldly men
2070Which we more hunt for than the grace of heaven,
Who builds his hopes in air of your fair looks
Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
Ready with every nod to tumble down
Into the fatal bowels of the deep.
Come, lead me to the block, bear him my head,
2080They smile at me that shortly shall be dead.
The table is removed.