Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Adrian Kiernander
Not Peer Reviewed

Richard the Third (Modern)


[4.4]
2770
Enter Queen Margaret [alone].
Queen Margaret So, now prosperity begins to mellow
And drop into the rotten mouth of death;
Here in these confines slyly have I lurked
To watch the waning of mine adversaries;
2775A dire induction am I witness to,
And will to France, hoping the consequence
Will prove as bitter, black and tragical.
Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret, who comes here?
Enter [Queen Elizabeth] and the Duchess of York.
2780Queen Elizabeth Ah, my young princes, ah, my tender babes!
My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets,
If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
And be not fixed in doom perpetual,
Hover about me with your airy wings,
2785And hear your mother's lamentation.
Queen Margaret [Aside] Hover about her, say that right for right
Hath dimmed your infant morn to aged night.
Queen Elizabeth Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs
And throw them in the entrails of the wolf?
2795When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?
Queen Margaret [Aside] When Holy Harry died, and my sweet son.
Duchess Blind sight, dead life, poor mortal living ghost,
Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurped,
2800Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth
Unlawfully made drunk with innocents' blood.
Queen Elizabeth O that thou wouldst as well afford a grave
As thou canst yield a melancholy seat, [Sitting on the ground]
Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
2805Oh, who hath any cause to mourn but I!
Duchess So many miseries have crazed my voice
That my woe-wearied tongue is mute and dumb. [Sitting on the ground]
2790Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
Queen Margaret [Coming forward.] If ancient sorrow be most reverent
Give mine the benefit of seniory,
And let my woes frown on the upper hand;
If sorrow can admit society,
2809.1Tell over your woes again by viewing mine:
2810I had an Edward, till a Richard killed him:
I had a Harry, till a Richard killed him:
Thou had'st an Edward, till a Richard killed him:
Thou had'st a Richard, till a Richard killed him.
Duchess I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
2815I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him.
Queen Margaret Thou had'st a Clarence too, and Richard killed him:
From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
A hell-hound that doth hunt us all to death:
2820That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes
To worry lambs and lap their gentle bloods:
That foul defacer of God's handiwork
2825Thy womb let loose, to chase us to our graves.
O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
How do I thank thee that this carnal cur
Preys on the issue of his mother's body
And makes her pew-fellow with others' moan!
2830Duchess Oh, Harry's wife, triumph not in my woes,
God witness with me, I have wept for thine.
Queen Margaret Bear with me, I am hungry for revenge
And now I cloy me with beholding it.
Thy Edward, he is dead, that stabbed my Edward,
2835Thy other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
Young York, he is but boot because both they
Match not the high perfection of my loss;
Thy Clarence, he is dead, that killed my Edward,
And the beholders of this tragic play,
2840The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
Untimely smothered in their dusky graves.
Richard yet lives, hell's black intelligencer,
Only reserved their factor to buy souls
And send them thither: but at hand, at hand
2845Ensues his piteous, and unpitied end;
Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray
To have him suddenly conveyed away.
Cancel his bond of life, dear God I pray,
That I may live to say, "The dog is dead."
2850Queen Elizabeth Oh, thou didst prophesy the time would come
That I should wish for thee to help me curse
That bottled spider, that foul bunch-backed toad.
Queen Margaret I called thee then vain flourish of my fortune,
I called thee then poor shadow, painted queen,
2855The presentation of but what I was,
The flattering index of a direful pageant,
One heaved a high, to be hurled down below,
A mother only mocked with two sweet babes,
A dream of which thou wert, a breath, a bubble,
A sign of dignity, a garish flag
2860To be the aim of every dangerous shot,
A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
Where is thy husband now? Where be thy brothers?
Where are thy children? Wherein dost thou joy?
2865Who sues to thee and cries, "God save the Queen?"
Where be the bending peers that flattered thee?
Where be the thronging troops that followed thee?
Decline all this, and see what now thou art,
For happy wife, a most distressèd widow,
2870For joyful mother, one that wails the name,
For queen, a very caitiff crowned with care,
For one being sued to, one that humbly sues,
2875For one commanding all, obeyed of none,
For one that scorned at me, now scorned of me;
Thus hath the course of justice wheeled about
And left thee but a very prey to time,
Having no more but thought of what thou wert
To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
2880Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow?
Now thy proud neck bears half my burdened yoke,
From which, even here, I slip my weary neck
And leave the burden of it all on thee.
2885Farewell, York's wife and queen of sad mischance,
These English woes will make me smile in France.
Queen Elizabeth Oh, thou well skilled in curses, stay a while
And teach me how to curse mine enemies.
Queen Margaret Forbear to sleep the nights, and fast the days,
2890Compare dead happiness with living woe,
Think that thy babes were fairer than they were,
And he that slew them fouler than he is;
Bett'ring thy loss makes the bad causer worse,
Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.
2895Queen Elizabeth My words are dull, oh, quicken them with thine.
Queen Margaret Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine.
Exit Mar[garet].
Duchess Why should calamity be full of words?
Queen Elizabeth Windy attorneys to your client woes
2900Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries,
Let them have scope; though what they do impart
Help not at all, yet do they ease the heart.
Duchess If so, then be not tongue-tied, go with me,
2905And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
My damnèd son, which thy two sweet sons smothered --
[Offstage drumming is heard.]
I hear his drum, be copious in exclaims.
Enter K[ing] Richard [with attendants, including Catesby,] marching with drums and trumpets.
King Richard Who intercepts my expedition?
2910Duchess A she, that might have intercepted thee
By strangling thee in her accursèd womb
From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done.
Queen Elizabeth Hid'st thou that forehead with a golden crown
Where should be graven, if that right were right,
2915The slaughter of the Prince that owned that Crown,
And the dire death of my two sons and brothers;
Tell me, thou villain slave, where are my children?
Duchess Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?
2920And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
Queen Elizabeth Where is kind Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Gray?
King Richard A flourish, trumpets! strike alarum, drums!
Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
2925Rail on the Lord's anointed. Strike, I say!
The trumpets [and drums sound].
Either be patient and entreat me fair,
Or with the clamorous report of war
Thus will I drown your exclamations.
2930Duchess Art thou my son?
King Richard Aye, I thank God, my father and yourself.
Duchess Then patiently hear my impatience.
King Richard Madam, I have a touch of your condition,
Which cannot brook the accent of reproof.
Duchess I will be mild and gentle in my speech.
King Richard And brief, good mother, for I am in haste.
Duchess Art thou so hasty? I have stayed for thee,
2940God knows, in anguish, pain and agony.
King Richard And came I not at last to comfort you?
Duchess No, by the holy rood, thou know'st it well:
Thou cam'st on earth to make the earth my hell;
A grievous burden was thy birth to me,
2945Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy,
Thy school-days frightful, desperate, wild and furious,
Thy prime of manhood daring, bold and venturous,
Thy age confirmed, proud, subtle, bloody, treacherous;
2950What comfortable hour canst thou name
That ever graced me in thy company?
King Richard Faith none but Humphrey hour, that called your grace
To breakfast once, forth of my company.
2955If I be so disgracious in your sight,
Let me march on, and not offend your grace.
Duchess Oh hear me speak, for I shall never see thee more.
King Richard Come, come, you are too bitter.
Duchess Either thou wilt die by God's just ordinance
Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror,
2965Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
And never look upon thy face again.
Therefore take with thee my most heavy curse
Which in the day of battle tire thee more
Than all the complete armor that thou wear'st;
2970My prayers on the adverse party fight,
And there the little souls of Edward's children
Whisper the spirits of thine enemies
And promise them success and victory.
Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end, 2975Shame serves thy life, and doth thy death attend.
Exit.
Queen Elizabeth Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse
Abides in me, I say "Amen" to all.
King Richard Stay, madam, I must speak a word with you.
Queen Elizabeth I have no more sons of the royal blood
2980For thee to murder. For my daughters, Richard,
They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens,
And therefore level not to hit their lives.
King Richard You have a daughter called Elizabeth,
Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
2985Queen Elizabeth And must she die for this? Oh, let her live
And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty,
Slander myself as false to Edward's bed,
Throw over her the veil of infamy.
So she may live unscarred from bleeding slaughter
2990I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.
King Richard Wrong not her birth, she is of royal blood.
Queen Elizabeth To save her life, I'll say she is not so.
King Richard Her life is only safest in her birth.
Queen Elizabeth And only in that safety died her brothers.
2995King Richard Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.
Queen Elizabeth No, to their lives bad friends were contrary.
King Richard All unavoided is the doom of destiny.
Queen Elizabeth True, when avoided grace makes destiny;
My babes were destined to a fairer death
3000If grace had blessed thee with a fairer life.
3015King Richard Madam, so thrive I in my dangerous attempt of hostile arms,
As I intend more good to you and yours
Than ever you or yours were by me wronged.
Queen Elizabeth What good is covered with the face of heaven
3020To be discovered that can do me good?
King Richard The advancement of your children, mighty lady.
Queen Elizabeth Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads.
King Richard No, to the dignity and height of honor,
The high imperial tipe of this earth's glory.
3025Queen Elizabeth Flatter my sorrows with report of it:
Tell me, what state, what dignity, what honor
Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
King Richard Even all I have, yea, and myself and all
Will I withal endow a child of thine,
3030So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs
Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
Queen Elizabeth Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness
Last longer telling than thy kindness do.
3035King Richard Then know that from my soul I love thy daughter.
Queen Elizabeth My daughter's mother thinks it with her soul.
King Richard What do you think?
Queen Elizabeth That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul;
3040So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers,
And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.
King Richard Be not so hasty to confound my meaning;
I mean that with my soul I love thy daughter
And mean to make her Queen of England.
3045Queen Elizabeth Say then, who dost thou mean shall be her King?
King Richard Even he that makes her Queen; who should be else?
Queen Elizabeth What, thou?
King Richard Aye, even I; what think you of it, madam?
3050Queen Elizabeth How canst thou woo her?
King Richard That would I learn of you,
As one that are best acquainted with her humor.
Queen Elizabeth And wilt thou learn of me?
King Richard Madam, with all my heart.
3055Queen Elizabeth Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
A pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave
"Edward" and "York"; then haply she will weep.
Therefore present to her as sometimes Margaret
Did to thy father, a handkercher steeped in Rutland's blood
And bid her dry her weeping eyes therewith;
If this inducement force her not to love,
Send her a story of thy noble acts:
3065Tell her thou mad'st away her uncle Clarence,
Her uncle Rivers, yea, and for her sake
Mad'st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
King Richard Come, come, you mock me, this is not the way
To win your daughter.
3070Queen Elizabeth There is no other way
Unless thou couldst put on some other shape
And not be Richard that hath done all this.
King Richard Infer fair England's peace by this alliance.
Queen Elizabeth Which she shall purchase with still-lasting war.
3130King Richard Say that the King, which may command, entreats.
Queen Elizabeth That, at her hands, which the King's King forbids.
King Richard Say she shall be a high and mighty Queen.
Queen Elizabeth To wail the title, as her mother doth.
King Richard Say I will love her everlastingly.
3135Queen Elizabeth But how long shall that title, "ever", last?
King Richard Sweetly in force unto her fair life's end.
Queen Elizabeth But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?
King Richard So long as heaven and nature lengthens it.
Queen Elizabeth So long as hell and Richard likes of it.
3140King Richard Say I, her sovereign, am her subject love.
Queen Elizabeth But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.
King Richard Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
Queen Elizabeth An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.
King Richard Then in plain terms tell her my loving tale.
3145Queen Elizabeth Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.
King Richard Madam, your reasons are too shallow and too quick.
Queen Elizabeth Oh no, my reasons are too deep and dead.
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their grave.
3150King Richard Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.
Queen Elizabeth Harp on it still shall I, till heartstrings break.
King Richard Now by my George, my Garter and my crown --
Queen Elizabeth Profaned, dishonored, and the third usurped.
King Richard I swear --
Queen Elizabeth By nothing, for this is no oath.
3155The George, profaned, hath lost his holy honor,
The Garter, blemished, pawned his knightly virtue,
The crown, usurped, disgraced his kingly dignity.
If something thou wilt swear, to be believed
Swear then by something that thou hast not wronged.
King Richard Now by the world --
Queen Elizabeth 'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
King Richard My father's death --
3165Queen Elizabeth Thy life hath that dishonored.
3160King Richard Then by myself --
Queen Elizabeth Thyself, thyself misusest.
King Richard Why then, by God --
Queen Elizabeth God's wrong is most of all:
If thou had'st feared to break an oath by him,
The unity the King thy brother made
3170Had not been broken, nor my brother slain.
If thou had'st feared to break an oath by him,
The imperial metal circling now thy brow
Had graced the tender temples of my child,
And both the Princes had been breathing here;
3175Which now, two tender play-fellows for dust,
Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
King Richard By the time to come --
Queen Elizabeth That thou hast wronged in time o'er-past,
3180For I myself have many tears to wash
Hereafter time, for time past, wronged by thee.
The children live whose parents thou hast slaughtered,
Ungoverned youth, to wail it in their age;
The parents live whose children thou hast butchered,
3185Old withered plants, to wail it in their age.
Swear not by time to come, for that thou hast
Misused, ere used, by time misused o're-past.
King Richard As I intend to prosper and repent,
So thrive I in my dangerous attempt
3190Of hostile arms; myself myself confound,
Day yield me not thy light, nor night thy rest,
Be opposite all planets of good luck
To my proceedings if with pure heart's love,
3195Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts
I tender not thy beauteous, princely daughter;
In her consists my happiness and thine.
Without her, follows to this land, and me,
To thee, herself, and many a Christian soul
3200Sad desolation, ruin, and decay.
It cannot be avoided but by this;
It will not be avoided but by this.
Therefore, good mother -- I must call you so --
Be the attorney of my love to her:
3205Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
Not my deserts, but what I will deserve;
Urge the necessity and state of times,
And be not peevish, fond in great designs.
Queen Elizabeth Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
3210King Richard Aye, if the devil tempt thee to do good.
Queen Elizabeth Shall I forget myself, to be myself?
King Richard Aye, if your self's remembrance wrong yourself.
Queen Elizabeth But thou didst kill my children.
King Richard But in your daughter's womb I bury them
3215Where, in that nest of spicery, they shall breed
Selves of themselves to your recomforture.
Queen Elizabeth Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?
King Richard And be a happy mother by the deed.
Queen Elizabeth I go, write to me very shortly.
King Richard
Bear her my true love's kiss,
Exit [Queen Elizabeth].
Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman.
Enter Rat[cliffe].
3225Ratcliffe My gracious sovereign, on the western coast
Rideth a puissant navy. To the shore
Throng many doubtful, hollow-hearted friends
Unarmed, and unresolved to beat them back.
'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral,
3230And there they hull, expecting but the aid
Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.
King Richard Some light-foot friend, post to the Duke of Norfolk.
Ratcliffe thyself, or Catesby, where is he?
Catesby Here my lord.
3235King Richard Fly to the Duke -- [To Ratcliffe] Post thou to Salisbury;
When thou com'st there -- [To Catesby] Dull, unmindful villain,
Why standst thou still and goest not to the Duke?
3240Catesby First, mighty sovereign, let me know your mind,
What from your grace I shall deliver him.
King Richard Oh, true, good Catesby, bid him levy straight
The greatest strength and power he can make,
And meet me presently at Salisbury.
3245
[Exit Catesby.]
Ratcliffe What is it your highness' pleasure I shall do at Salisbury?
King Richard Why? What wouldst thou do there before I go?
3250Ratcliffe Your highness told me I should post before.
King Richard My mind is changed, sir, my mind is changed.
How now, what news with you?
Enter Stanley.
Stanley None, good my lord, to please you with the hearing,
3255Nor none so bad but it may well be told.
King Richard Hoyday, a riddle, neither good nor bad:
Why dost thou run so many mile about
When thou mayst tell thy tale a nearer way.
Once more, what news?
3260Stanley Richmond is on the seas.
King Richard There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
White livered runnagate, what doth he there?
Stanley I know not mighty sovereign, but by guess.
King Richard Well sir, as you guess, as you guess.
3265Stanley Stirred up by Dorset, Buckingham and Ely
He makes for England, here to claim the crown.
King Richard Is the chair empty? Is the sword unswayed?
Is the King dead? The Empire unpossessed?
What heir of York is there alive but we?
3270And who is England's king but great York's heir?
Then tell me, what doth he upon the sea?
Stanley Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
King Richard Unless for that he comes to be your liege
You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
3275Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.
Stanley No, mighty liege, therefore mistrust me not.
King Richard Where is thy power then to beat him back?
Where are thy tenants and thy followers?
Are they not now upon the western shore
3280Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?
Stanley No, my good lord, my friends are in the north.
King Richard Cold friends to Richard; what do they in the north
When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
3285Stanley They have not been commanded, mighty sovereign.
Please it your majesty to give me leave,
I'll muster up my friends and meet your grace
Where and what time your majesty shall please.
King Richard Aye, aye, thou wouldest be gone, to join with Richmond;
3290I will not trust you, sir.
Stanley Most mighty sovereign,
You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful;
I never was nor never will be false.
King Richard Well, go muster men, but hear you, leave behind
3295Your son, George Stanley; look your faith be firm
Or else his head's assurance is but frail.
Stanley So deal with him as I prove true to you.
[Exit.]
Enter a messenger.
33001 Messenger My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire
As I by friends am well advertisèd,
Sir William Courtney and the haughty prelate
Bishop of Exeter, his brother there,
With many more confederates are in arms.
3305
Enter another messenger.
2 Messenger My liege, in Kent the Guilfords are in arms
And every hour more competitors
Flock to their aid, and still their power increaseth.
Enter another messenger.
33103 Messenger My lord, the army of the Duke of Buckingham --
King Richard Out on you, owls, nothing but songs of death?
[He strikes him.]
Take that! until thou bring me better news.
3313.13 Messenger Your grace mistakes, the news I bring is good:
My news 3315is that by sudden flood and fall of water
The Duke of Buckingham's army is dispersed and scattered,
And he himself fled, no man knows whither.
King Richard Oh, I cry you mercy, I did mistake.
3320Ratcliffe, reward him for the blow I gave him.
[Ratcliffe rewards the messenger.]
Hath any well-advisèd friend given out
Rewards for him that brings in Buckingham?
3 Messenger Such proclamation hath been made, my liege.
Enter another messenger.
33254 Messenger Sir Thomas Lovell and Lord Marquess Dorset,
'Tis said, my liege, are up in arms;
Yet this good comfort bring I to your grace,
The Breton navy is dispersed. Richmond in Dorsetshire
Sent out a boat 3330to ask them on the shore
If they were his assistants, yea or no:
Who answered him they came from Buckingham
Upon his party. He, mistrusting them,
Hoist sail and made away for Brittany.
3335King Richard March on, march on, since we are up in arms,
If not to fight with foreign enemies,
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.
Enter Catesby.
Catesby My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken.
3340That's the best news; that the Earl of Richmond
Is with a mighty power landed at Milford
Is colder tidings, yet they must be told.
King Richard Away towards Salisbury! While we reason here
A royal battle might be won and lost.
3345Someone take order Buckingham be brought To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.
Exeunt.