Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Adrian Kiernander
Peer Reviewed

Richard the Third (Quarto 1, 1597)


Enter Glocester at one doore, Buckingham at another.
Glo. How now my Lord, what say the Cittizens?
2215Buc. Now by the holy mother of our Lord,
The Citizens are mumme, and speake not a word.
Glo. Toucht you the bastardy of Edwards children?
Buck. I did, wyth the insatiate greedinesse of his desires,
His tyranny for trifles, his owne bastardy,
As beyng got, your father then in Fraunce:
2225Withall I did inferre your lineaments,
Beyng the right Idea of your father,
Both in your forme and noblenesse of minde,
Laid open all your victories in Scotland:
Your discipline in warre, wisedome in peace:
2230Your bounty, vertue, faire humility:
Indeede left nothing fitting for the purpose
Vntoucht, or sleightly handled in discourse:
And when mine oratory grew to an ende.
I bid them that did loue their countries good,
2235Crie, God saue Richard, Englands royall King.
Glo. A and did they so?
Buc. No so God helpe me,
But like dumbe statues or breathing stones,
Gazde each on other and lookt deadly pale:
2240Which when I saw, I reprehended them,
And askt the Maior, what meant this wilfull silence?
His answere was, the people were not wont
To be spoke to, but by the Recorder.
Then he was vrgde to tell my tale againe:
2245Thus, saith the Duke, thus hath the Duke inferd:
But nothing spake in warrant from himselfe:
When he had done, some followers of mine owne
At the lower end of the Hall, hurld vp their caps,
And some ten voices cried, God saue King Richard.
Thankes louing Cittizens and friends quoth I,
This generall applause and louing shoute,
Argues your wisedomes and your loue to Richard:
And so brake off and came away.
2255Glo. What tonglesse blockes were they, would they not
2255.1Buc. No by my troth my Lo:
Glo. Will not the Maior then, and his brethren come.
Glo. The Maior is here at hand, and intend some feare,
Be not spoken withall, but with mighty suite:
2260And looke you get a praier booke in your hand,
And stand betwixt two churchmen good my Lo:
For on that ground Ile build a holy descant:
Be not easily wonne to our request:
Play the maides part, say no, but take it.
2265Glo. Feare not me, if thou canst pleade aswell for them,
As I can say nay to thee, for my selfe?
No doubt weele bring it to a happie issue.
Buck. You shal see what I can do, get you vp to the leads. Exit.
2270Now my L. Maior, I dance attendance heare,
I thinke the Duke will not be spoke withall. Enter Catesby.
Here coms his seruant : how now Catesby what saies he.
2275Cates. My Lord, he doth intreat your grace
To visit him to morrow or next daie,
He is within with two right reuerend fathers,
Diuinely bent to meditation,
And in no worldly suite would he be mou'd,
2280To draw him from his holy exercise.
Buck. Returne good Catesby to thy Lord againe,
Tell him my selfe, the Maior and Cittizens,
In deepe designes and matters of great moment,
No lesse importing then our generall good,
2285Are come to haue some conference with his grace.
Cates. Ile tell him what you say my Lord.
Exit.
Buck. A ha my Lord this prince is not an Edward :
He is not lulling on a lewd day bed,
But on his knees at meditation:
2290Not dalying with a brace of Curtizans,
But meditating with two deepe Diuines:
Not sleeping to ingrosse his idle body,
But praying to inrich his watchfull soule.
Happy were England, would this gracious prince
2295Take on himselfe the souerainty thereon,
But sure I feare we shall neuer winne him to it.
Maior. Marry God forbid his grace should say vs nay.
Buck. I feare he wil, how now Catesby,
Enter Cates.
What saies your Lord?
Cates. My Lo. he wonders to what end, you haue assembled
Such troupes of Cittizens to speake with him,
His grace not being warnd thereof before,
2305My Lord, he feares you meane no good to him.
Buck. Sorrie I am my noble Cosen should
Suspect me that I meane no good to him.
By heauen I come in perfect loue to him,
And so once more returne and tell his grace:
Exit Catesby.
2310When hollie and deuout religious men,
Are at their beads, tis hard to draw them thence,
So sweet is zealous contemplation.
Enter Rich. with two bishops a loste.
Maior. See where he stands between two clergie men.
Buck. Two props of vertue for a christian Prince,
To staie him from the fall of vanitie,
2320Famous Plantaganet, most gracious prince,
Lend fauorable eares to our request,
And pardon vs the interruption
Of thy deuotion and right Christian zeale.
Glo. My Lord, there needs no such apologie,
2325I rather do beseech you pardon me,
Who earnest in the seruice of my God,
Neglect the visitation of my friends,
But leauing this, what is your graces pleasure?
Buck. Euen that I hope which pleaseth God aboue,
2330And all good men of this vngouerned Ile.
Glo. I do suspect I haue done some offence,
That seemes disgracious in the Citties eies,
And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.
Buck. You haue my Lord, would it please your grace
At our entreaties to amend that fault.
Glo. Else wherefore breath I in a Christian land?
Buck. Then know it is your fault that you resigne
The supreame seat, the throne maiesticall,
2340The sceptred office of your auncestors,
The lineall glorie of your roiall house,
To the corruption of a blemisht stocke:
Whilst in the mildnesse of your sleepie thoughts,
2345Which here we waken to our countries good,
This noble Ile doth want her proper limbes,
Her face defac't with scars of infamie,
And almost shouldred in the swallowing gulph,
2350Of blind forgetfulnesse and darke obliuion,
Which to recure we hartily solicit,
Your gratious selfe to take on you the soueraingtie thereof,
Not as Protector steward substitute,
2355Or lowlie factor for anothers gaine:
But as successiuelie from bloud to bloud,
Your right of birth, your Emperie, your owne:
For this consorted with the Citizens
Your verie worshipfull and louing frinds,
2360And by their vehement instigation,
In this iust suite come I to moue your grace.
Glo. I know not whether to depart in silence,
Or bitterlie to speake in your reproofe,
Best fitteth my degree or your condition:
2375Your loue deserues my thanks, but my desert
Vnmeritable shunes your high request,
First if all obstacles were cut awaie,
And that my path were euen to the crown,
As my ripe reuenew and dew by birth,
2380Yet so much is my pouerty of spirit,
So mightie and so many my defects,
As I had rather hide me from my greatnes,
Beeing a Barke to brooke no mightie sea,
Then in my greatnes couet to be hid,
2385And in the vapour of my glorie smotherd:
But God be thanked there's no need of me,
And much I need to helpe you if need were,
The roiall tree hath left vs roiall fruit,
Which mellowed by the stealing houres of time,
2390Will well become the seat of maiestie,
And make no doubt vs happie by his raigne,
On him I laie what you would laie on me:
The right and fortune of his happie stars,
Which God defend that I should wring from him.
2395Buck. My lord, this argues conscience in your grace,
But the respects thereof are nice and triuiall,
All circumstances well considered:
You saie that Edward is your brothers sonne,
So saie we to, but not by Edwards wife,
2400For first he was contract to lady Lucy,
Your mother liues a witnesse to that vowe,
And afterward by substitute betrothed
To Bona sister to the king of Fraunce,
These both put by a poore petitioner
2405A care-crazd mother of a many children,
A beauty-waining and distressed widow,
Euen in the afternoone of her best daies
Made prise and purchase of his lustfull eye,
Seduc't the pitch and height of al his thoughts,
2410To base declension and loathd bigamie,
By her in his vnlawfull bed he got.
This Edward whom our maners terme the prince,
More bitterlie could I expostulate,
Saue that for reuerence to some aliue
2415I giue a sparing limit to my tongue:
Then good my Lord, take to your royall selfe,
This proffered benefit of dignitie:
If not to blesse vs and the land withall,
Yet to draw out your royall stocke,
2420From the corruption of abusing time,
Vnto a lineall true deriued course.
Maior. Do good my Lord, your Cittizens entreat you.
Cates. O make them ioifull grant their lawful suite.
2425Glo. Alas, why would you heape these cares on me,
I am vnfit for state and dignitie,
I do beseech you take it not amisse,
I cannot nor I will not yeeld to you.
Buck. If you refuse it as in loue and zeale,
2430Loath to depose the child your brothers sonne,
As well we know your tendernes of heart,
And gentle kind effeminate remorse,
Which wee haue noted in you to your kin,
And egallie indeed to all estates,
2435Yet whether you accept our suite or no,
Your brothers sonne shall neuer raigne our king,
But we will plant some other in the throane,
To the disgrace and downfall of your house:
And in this resolution here we leaue you.
2440Come Citizens, zounds ile intreat no more.
2440.1Glo. O do not sweare my Lord of Buckingham.
Cates. Call them againe, my lord, and accept their sute.
Ano. Doe, good my lord, least all the land do rew it.
Glo. Would you inforce me to a world of care:
Well, call them againe, I am not made of stones,
2445But penetrable to your kind intreates,
Albeit against my conscience and my soule,
Coosin of Buckingham, and you sage graue men,
Since you will buckle fortune on my backe,
2450To beare her burthen whether I will or no,
I must haue patience to indure the lode,
But if blacke scandale or soule-fac't reproch
Attend the sequell of your imposition,
Your meere inforcement shall acquittance mee
2455From all the impure blots and staines thereof,
For God he knowes, and you may partly see,
How farre I am from the desire thereof.
Mayor. God blesse your grace, we see it, and will say it.
2460Glo. In saying so, you shall but say the truth.
Buck. Then I salute you with this kingly title:
Long liue Richard, Englands royall king.
Mayor. Amen.
Buck To morrow will it please you to be crown'd.
2465Glo. Euen when you will, since you will haue it so.
Buck. To morrow then we will attend your grace.
Glo. Come, let vs to our holy taske againe :
Farewel good coosine, farwel gentle friends.
Exeunt.