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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    [A throne is set forth.] The trumpets sound. Enter Richard crowned, Buckingham, Catesby, with other nobles [and a page boy].
    2590King Richard Stand all apart!
    [The courtiers stand back.] Cousin of Buckingham,
    Give me thy hand:
    Here he ascends the throne[, assisted by Buckingham].
    Thus high by thy advice
    And thy assistance is King Richard seated;
    2595But shall we wear these honors for a day?
    Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?
    Buckingham Still live they, and for ever may they last.
    King Richard Oh, Buckingham, now do I play the touch
    To try if thou be current gold indeed:
    2600Young Edward lives -- think now what I would say.
    Buckingham Say on, my gracious sovereign.
    King Richard Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king.
    Buckingham Why so you are, my thrice renownèd liege.
    King Richard Ha! Am I king? 'Tis so, but Edward lives.
    2605Buckingham True, noble Prince.
    King Richard Oh, bitter consequence
    That Edward still should live true noble prince. . .
    Cousin, thou wert not wont to be so dull:
    Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead
    2610And I would have it suddenly performed.
    What say'st thou? Speak suddenly, be brief.
    Buckingham Your grace may do your pleasure.
    King Richard Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness freezeth;
    Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
    2615Buckingham Give me some breath, some little pause, my lord
    Before I positively speak herein: I will resolve your grace immediately.
    Catesby [Quietly] The King is angry, see, he bites the lip.
    King Richard [Aside] I will converse with iron-witted fools
    2620And unrespective boys, none are for me
    That look into me with considerate eyes.
    [A page approaches the throne.]
    [Aside] High reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
    Boy My lord.
    2625King Richard Know'st thou not any whom corrupting gold
    Would tempt unto a close exploit of death?
    Boy My lord, I know a discontented gentleman
    Whose humble means match not his haughty mind;
    Gold were as good as twenty orators
    2630And will no doubt tempt him to anything.
    King Richard What is his name?
    Boy His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
    King Richard Go call him hither presently.
    [Exit boy.]
    2635The deep-revolving, witty Buckingham
    No more shall be the neighbor to my counsel.
    Hath he so long held out with me untired
    And stops he now for breath?
    Enter Stanley.
    2640How now, what news with you?
    Stanley My lord, I hear the Marquess Dorset
    Is fled to Richmond, in those parts beyond the seas where he
    [Richard dismisses Stanley, who retreats.]
    King Richard Catesby.
    Catesby [Approaching King Richard.] My lord.
    King Richard Rumor it abroad
    2645That Anne my wife is sick and like to die;
    I will take order for her keeping close.
    Enquire me out some mean-born gentleman
    Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter;
    The boy is foolish, and I fear not him:
    2650Look how thou dream'st! I say again, give out
    That Anne my wife is sick and like to die.
    About it,
    [Exit Catesby.]
    for it stands me much upon
    To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.
    I must be married to my brother's daughter
    2655Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.
    Murder her brothers, and then marry her. . .
    Uncertain way of gain, but I am in
    So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin. Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.
    Enter Tyrrel. [King Richard beckons him.]
    Is thy name Tyrrel?
    Tyrrel James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.
    King Richard Art thou indeed?
    Tyrrel Prove me my gracious sovereign.
    2665King Richard Dar'st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
    Tyrrel Aye, my lord, but I had rather kill two enemies.
    King Richard Why, there thou hast it, two deep enemies,
    Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep's disturbers
    2670Are they that I would have thee deal upon:
    Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
    Tyrrel Let me have open means to come to them
    And soon I'll rid you from the fear of them.
    King Richard Thou sing'st sweet music. 2675Come hither Tyrrel,
    [Tyrrel moves closer to King Richard and kneels; Richard gives him a token.] Go by that token; rise and lend thine ear --
    [Tyrrel stands; Richard] whispers in his ear.
    'Tis no more but so, say is it done
    And I will love thee and prefer thee too.
    'Tis done, my gracious lord.
    2679.1 King Richard Shall we hear from thee, Tyrrel, ere we sleep?
    Tyrrel Ye shall, my lord.
    Enter Buc[kingham. He approaches King Richard].
    Buckingham My lord, I have considered in my mind
    The late demand that you did sound me in.
    King Richard Well, let that pass. Dorset is fled to Richmond.
    Buckingham I hear that news, my lord.
    2685King Richard Stanley, he is your wife's son. Well, look to it.
    Buckingham My lord, I claim your gift, my due by promise
    For which your honor and your faith is pawned:
    The Earldom of Hereford and the moveables
    2690The which you promisèd I should possess.
    King Richard Stanley, look to your wife; if she convey
    Letters to Richmond you shall answer it.
    Buckingham What says your highness to my just demand?
    King Richard As I remember, Henry the Sixth
    2695Did prophesy that Richmond should be king
    When Richmond was a little peevish boy:
    A king perhaps, perhaps.
    Buckingham My lord.
    2697.1King Richard How chance the prophet could not at that time
    Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him.
    Buckingham My lord, your promise for the Earldom.
    King Richard Richmond. When last I was at Exeter
    2697.5The Mayor in courtesy showed me the Castle
    And called it Rouge-mount, at which name I started,
    Because a bard of Ireland told me once
    I should not live long after I saw Richmond.
    Buckingham My lord.
    2697.10King Richard Aye, what's o'clock?
    Buckingham I am thus bold to put your grace in mind
    Of what you promised me.
    King Richard Well, but what's o'clock?
    Buckingham Upon the stroke of ten.
    2697.15King Richard Well, let it strike.
    Buckingham Why let it strike?
    King Richard Because that like a Jack thou keep'st the stroke
    Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
    I am not in the giving vein today.
    Buckingham Why then, resolve me whether you will or no!
    King Richard Tut, tut, thou troublest me, I am not in the vein.
    Exit[. All follow except Buckingham].
    2700Buckingham Is it even so, reward'st he my true service
    With such deep contempt, made I him King for this?
    Oh, let me think on Hastings and be gone To Brecknock while my fearful head is on.