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  • Title: Richard the Third (Modern)
  • Editor: Adrian Kiernander

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Adrian Kiernander
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Richard the Third (Modern)

    [Flourish.] Enter King [Edward, sick], Queen [Elizabeth], Hastings, Rivers, Dorset, [Buckingham and others].
    King Edward So, now I have done a good day's work.
    1125You peers, continue this united league;
    I every day expect an embassage
    From my Redeemer to redeem me hence:
    And now in peace my soul shall part to heaven
    Since I have set my friends at peace on earth.
    1130Rivers and Hastings, take each other's hand,
    Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.
    Rivers By heaven, my heart is purged from grudging hate,
    And with my hand I seal my true heart's love.
    [Rivers and Hastings clasp each other by the hand.]
    Hastings So thrive I as I truly swear the like.
    1135King Edward Take heed you dally not before your King
    Lest he that is the supreme King of Kings
    Confound your hidden falsehood, and award
    Either of you to be the other's end.
    Hastings So prosper I, as I swear perfect love.
    1140Rivers And I, as I love Hastings with my heart.
    King Edward Madam, yourself are not exempt in this,
    Nor your son Dorset, Buckingham nor you.
    You have been factious one against the other:
    Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand,
    1145And what you do, do it unfeignedly.
    [She offers Hastings her hand to kiss.]
    Queen Elizabeth Here, Hastings, I will never more remember
    Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine.
    1150Dorset This interchange of love I here protest
    Upon my part shall be inviolable.
    Hastings And so swear I, my lord.
    [Hastings and Dorset embrace.]
    King Edward Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
    With thy embracements to my wife's allies
    1155And make me happy in your unity.
    Buckingham Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
    On you or yours; but with all duteous love
    Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
    With hate in those where I expect most love:
    1160When I have most need to employ a friend,
    And most assurèd that he is a friend,
    Deep, hollow, treacherous and full of guile
    Be he unto me; this do I beg of God
    When I am cold in zeal to you or yours.
    [Buckingham embraces Rivers and Dorset.]
    1165King Edward A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
    Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
    There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here
    To make the perfect period of this peace.
    Enter [Richard].
    Buckingham And in good time 1170here comes the noble Duke.
    Richard Good morrow to my sovereign King and Queen,
    And princely peers, a happy time of day.
    King Edward Happy indeed as we have spent the day:
    1175Brother we have done deeds of charity,
    Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate
    Between these swelling, wrong-incensèd peers.
    Richard A blessèd labor, my most sovereign liege;
    Amongst this princely heap, if any here
    1180By false intelligence or wrong surmise
    Hold me a foe; if I unwittingly or in my rage
    Have aught committed that is hardly borne
    By any in this presence, I desire
    To reconcile me to his friendly peace.
    1185'Tis death to me to be at enmity;
    I hate it, and desire all good men's love.
    First, madam, I entreat true peace of you
    Which I will purchase with my duteous service;
    Of you my noble cousin Buckingham
    1190If ever any grudge were lodged between us.
    Of you Lord Rivers, and Lord Grey of you,
    That all without desert have frowned on me,
    Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen, indeed of all:
    1195I do not know that Englishman alive
    With whom my soul is any jot at odds
    More than the infant that is born tonight;
    I thank my God for my humility.
    Queen Elizabeth A holy day shall this be kept hereafter.
    1200I would to God all strifes were well compounded:
    My sovereign liege, I do beseech your majesty
    To take our brother Clarence to your grace.
    Richard Why madam, have I offered love for this,
    To be thus scornèd in this royal presence?
    1205Who knows not that the noble Duke is dead?
    [They all start.]
    You do him injury to scorn his corse.
    Rivers Who knows not he is dead? Who knows he is?
    Queen Elizabeth All seeing heaven, what a world is this?
    1210Buckingham Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?
    Dorset Aye my good lord, and no one in this presence
    But his red color hath forsook his cheeks.
    King Edward Is Clarence dead! The order was reversed.
    Richard But he, poor soul, by your first order died,
    1215And that a winged Mercury did bear.
    Some tardy cripple bore the countermand
    That came too lag to see him burièd.
    God grant that some less noble and less loyal,
    Nearer in bloody thoughts but not in blood,
    1220Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
    And yet go current from suspicion.
    [Stanley enters and kneels.]
    Stanley A boon, my sovereign, for my service done.
    King Edward I pray thee, peace, my soul is full of sorrow.
    1225Stanley I will not rise unless your highness grant.
    King Edward Then speak at once, what is it thou demand'st.
    Stanley The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life
    Who slew today a riotous gentleman
    Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
    1230King Edward Have I a tongue to doom my brother's death
    And shall the same give pardon to a slave?
    My brother slew no man, his fault was thought,
    And yet his punishment was cruel death.
    Who sued to me for him? Who in my rage
    1235Kneeled at my feet and bade me be advised?
    Who spoke of brotherhood? who spoke of love?
    Who told me how the poor soul did forsake
    The mighty Warwick and did fight for me;
    Who told me, in the field by Tewkesbury
    1240When Oxford had me down, he rescued me
    And said, "Dear brother, live and be a king?"
    Who told me, when we both lay in the field
    Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
    Even in his own garments, and gave himself
    1245All thin and naked to the numbcold night?
    All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
    Sinfully plucked, and not a man of you
    Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
    But when your carters or your waiting vassals
    1250Have done a drunken slaughter, and defaced
    The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
    You straight are on your knees for "Pardon, pardon!"
    And I, unjustly too, must grant it you. [Stanley rises.]
    But for my brother, not a man would speak,
    1255Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
    For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
    Have been beholding to him in his life,
    Yet none of you would once plead for his life.
    O God, I fear thy justice will take hold
    1260On me, and you, and mine, and yours for this.
    Come Hastings, help me to my closet; oh, poor Clarence!
    [He] exit[s, followed by Queen Elizabeth, Hastings, Rivers, Dorset and Stanley. Richard and Buckingham remain.]
    Richard This is the fruit of rashness. Marked you not
    How that the guilty kindred of the Queen
    1265Looked pale when they did hear of Clarence' death?
    Oh, they did urge it still unto the King.
    God will revenge it. But come, let's in
    To comfort Edward with our company.
    Exeunt [Richard and Buckingham].