Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Adrian Kiernander
Not Peer Reviewed

Richard the Third (Modern)

Enter [Elizabeth the ]Queen Mother, Duchess of York, Marquess Dorset, at one door, [Anne] Duchess of Gloucest[er] at another door.
Duchess Who meets us here, my niece Plantagenet?
Queen Elizabeth Sister well met; whither away so fast?
Duchess No farther than the Tower, and as I guess
Upon the like devotion as yourselves:
To gratulate the tender princes there.
2485Queen Elizabeth Kind sister thanks, we'll enter all together,
Enter [Brakenbury,] Lieutenant [of the Tower].
And in good time, here the Lieutenant comes.
Master Lieutenant, pray you by your leave,
How fares the Prince?
2490Brakenbury Well, madam, and in health, but by your leave
I may not suffer you to visit him.
The King hath straitly charged the contrary.
Queen Elizabeth The King? Why, who's that?
Brakenbury I cry you mercy, I mean the Lord Protector.
2495Queen Elizabeth The Lord protect him from that kingly title.
Hath he set bounds betwixt their love and me?
I am their mother, who should keep me from them?
Duchess I am their father's mother, I will see them.
2500Anne Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother;
Then fear not thou, I'll bear thy blame
And take thy office from thee on my peril.
Brakenbury I do beseech your graces all to pardon me:
I am bound by oath, I may not do it.
Enter L[ord] Stanley.
Stanley Let me but meet you ladies an hour hence,
And I'll salute your grace of York as mother
And reverent looker-on of two fair queens.
2510Come, madam, you must go with me to Westminster,
There to be crownèd Richard's royal queen.
Queen Elizabeth Oh, cut my lace asunder, that my pent heart
May have some scope to beat, or else I swoon
With this dead-killing news.
Dorset Madam, have comfort, how fares your grace?
Queen Elizabeth Oh, Dorset, speak not to me, get thee hence;
Death and destruction dog thee at the heels.
2520Thy mother's name is ominous to children.
If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas
And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell --
Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughter house
Lest thou increase the number of the dead
2525And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.
Stanley Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam --
[To Dorset] Take all the swift advantage of the time;
You shall have letters from me to my son
2530To meet you on the way and welcome you.
Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
Duchess O ill-dispersing wind of misery,
O my accursèd womb, the bed of death:
A cockatrice hast thou hatch to the world
2535Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
Stanley [To Anne] Come, madam, I in all haste was sent.
Anne And I in all unwillingness will go.
I would to God that the inclusive verge
Of golden metal that must round my brow
2540Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain;
Annointed let me be with deadly poison
And die ere men can say, "God save the Queen."
Queen Elizabeth Alas, poor soul, I envy not thy glory;
To feed my humor, wish thyself no harm.
2545Anne No. When he that is my husband now
Came to me, as I followed Henry's corse,
When scarce the blood was well washed from his hands
Which issued from my other angel-husband
And that dead saint which then I weeping followed,
2550O when, I say, I looked on Richard's face,
This was my wish, "Be thou" quoth I, "accursed,
For making me, so young, so old a widow;
And when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed,
And be thy wife, if any be so, made
2555As miserable by the death of thee
As thou hast made me by my dear lord's death."
Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
Even in so short a space my woman's heart
Grossly grew captive to his honey words
2560And proved the subject of my own soul's curse,
Which ever since hath kept my eyes from sleep,
For never yet one hour in his bed
Have I enjoyed the golden dew of sleep,
But have been wakèd by his timorous dreams.
2565Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick,
And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
Queen Elizabeth Alas poor soul, I pity thy complaints.
Anne No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.
2570Queen Elizabeth [To Anne] Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory.
Anne [To Elizabeth] Adieu poor soul, thou tak'st thy leave of it.
Duchess [To Dorset] Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee;
[To Anne] Go thou to Richard, and good angels guard thee;
2575[To Elizabeth] Go thou to sanctuary, good thoughts possess thee;
I to my grave where peace and rest lie with me.
Eighty-odd years of sorrow have I seen,
And each hour's joy wracked with a week of teen.