Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Adrian Kiernander
Peer Reviewed

Richard the Third (Quarto 1, 1597)


Enter Richard Duke of Glocester solus.
NOw is the winter of our discontent,
Made glorious summer by this sonne of Yorke:
5And all the cloudes that lowrd 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 alarmes changd to merry meetings,
10Our dreadfull marches to delightfull measures.
Grim-visagde warre, hath smoothde his wrinkled front,
And now in steed of mounting barbed steedes,
To fright the soules of fearefull aduersaries.
He capers nimbly in a Ladies chamber,
15To the lasciuious pleasing of a loue.
But I that am not shapte for sportiue trickes,
Nor made to court an amorous looking glasse,
I that am rudely stampt and want loues maiesty,
To strut before a wanton ambling Nymph:
20I that am curtaild of this faire proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformd, vnfinisht, sent before my time
Into this breathing world scarce halfe made vp,
And that so lamely and vnfashionable,
25That dogs 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 spie my shadow in the sunne,
And descant on mine owne deformity:
30And therefore since I cannot prooue a louer
To entertaine these faire well spoken daies.
I am determined to prooue a villaine,
And hate the idle pleasures of these daies:
Plots haue I laid inductious dangerous,
35By 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 subtile, false, and trecherous:
40This day should Clarence closely be mewed vp,
About a Prophecy which saies that G.
Of Edwards heires the murtherers shall be.
Diue thoughts downe to my soule,
Enter Clarence with
Heere Clarence comes,
45Brother, good dayes, what meanes this armed gard
That waites vpon your grace?
Clar. His Maiesty tendering my persons safety hath ap-
po nted
This conduct to conuay me to the tower.
Glo. Vpon what cause?
50Cla. Because my name is George.
Glo. 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 shalbe new christened in the Tower.
55But vvhats the matter Clarence may I know?
Cla. Yea Richard when I know; for I protest
As yet I doe not, but as I can learne,
He harkens after Prophecies and dreames,
And from the crosse-rowe pluckes the letter G:
60And saies a wisard 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 toies as these,
65Haue moued his highnes to commit me now.
Glo. Why this it is when men are rulde by women,
Tis not the King that sends you to the tower,
My Lady Gray his wife, Clarence tis she,
That tempers him to this extremity,
70Was it not she and that good man of worshippe
Anthony Wooduile 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.
75Cla. By heauen I thinke there is no man is securde,
But the Queenes kindred and night-walking Heralds,
That trudge betwixt the King and Mistresse Shore,
Heard ye not what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was to her for his deliuery.
80Glo. Humbly complaining to her deity,
Got my Lord Chamberlaine his liberty.
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.
85The iealous oreworne widdow and her selfe,
Since that our brother dubd them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.
Bro. I beseech your Graces both to pardon me:
His Maiesty hath streightly giuen in charge,
90That no man shall haue priuate conference,
Of what degree soeuer with his brother.
Glo. Euen so and please your worship Brokenbury,
You may pertake of any thing we say:
We speake no treason man, we say the King
95Is wise and vertuous, and his noble Queene
Well stroke in yeres, faire and not iealous.
We say that Shores wife hath a prety foote,
A cherry lippe, a bonny eie, a passing pleasing tongue:
And that the Queenes kindred are made gentlefolks.
100How say you sir, can you deny all this?
Bro. With this (my Lord) my selfe haue nought to do.
Glo. Naught to do with Mistris Shore, I tell thee fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one
105Were best he doe it secretly alone.
Bro. I beseech your Grace to pardon me, and withal for-
110Your conference with the noble Duke.
Cla. We know thy charge Brokenbury and will obey,
Glo. We are the Queenes abiects and must obey.
Brother farewell, I will vnto the King,
And whatsoeuer you will imploy me in,
115Were it to call King Edwards widdow sister,
I will performe it to enfranchise you,
Meane time this deepe disgrace in brotherhood,
Touches me deeper then you can imagine.
Cla. I know it pleaseth neither of vs well:
120Glo. Well, your imprisonment shall not be long,
I will deliuer you or lie for you,
Meane time haue patience.
Cla. I must perforce; farewell.
Exit Clar.
Glo. Go treade the path that thou shalt nere returne,
125Simple plaine Clarence I doe loue thee so,
That I will shortly send thy soule to heauen,
If heauen will take the present at our hands:
But who comes here the new deliuered hastings?
Enter Lord Hastings.
130Hast. Good time of day vnto my gratious Lord:
Glo. As much vnto my good Lord Chamberlaine:
Well are you welcome to the open aire,
How hath your Lordship brookt imprisonment?
Hast. With patience (noble Lord) as prisoners must:
135But I shall liue my Lord to giue them thankes
That were the cause of my imprisonment.
Glo. No doubt, no doubt, and so shal Clarence too,
For they that were your enemies are his,
And haue preuaild as much on him as you.
140Hast. More pitty that the Eagle should be mewed,
While keihts and bussards prey at liberty.
Glo. What newes abroad?
Hast. No newes so bad abroad as this at home:
The King is sickly, weake and melancholy,
145And his Phisitions feare him mightily.
Glo. Now by Saint Paul this newes is bad indeede,
Oh he hath kept an euill diet long,
And ouermuch consumed his royall person,
Tis very grieuous to be thought vpon:
150What is he in his bed?
Hast. He is.
Glo. Go you before and I will follow you.
Exit Hast.
He cannot liue I hope, and must not die,
155Till George be packt with post horse vp to heauen.
Ile in to vrge his hatred more to Clarence,
With lies well steeld with weighty arguments,
And if I faile not in my deepe intent,
Clarence hath not an other day to liue
160Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
And leaue the world for me to bussell in,
For then Ile marry Warwicks yongest daughter:
What though I kild her husband and her father,
The readiest way to make the wench amends,
165Is 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:
170Clarence still breathes, Edward still liues and raignes,
When they are gone then must I count my gaines.
Exit.