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  • Title: Richard the Third (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Adrian Kiernander

  • Copyright Adrian Kiernander. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Adrian Kiernander
    Peer Reviewed

    Richard the Third (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedy of Richard the Third:
    with the Landing of Earle Richmond, and the
    Battell at Bosworth Field.
    1Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.
    Enter Richard Duke of Gloster, solus.
    NOw is the Winter of our Discontent,
    Made glorious Summer by this Son of Yorke:
    5And all the clouds that lowr'd 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 Alarums chang'd to merry Meetings;
    10Our dreadfull Marches, to delightfull Measures.
    Grim-visag'd Warre, hath smooth'd his wrinkled Front:
    And now, in stead of mounting Barbed Steeds,
    To fright the Soules of fearfull Aduersaries,
    He capers nimbly in a Ladies Chamber,
    15To the lasciuious pleasing of a Lute.
    But I, that am not shap'd for sportiue trickes,
    Nor made to court an amorous Looking-glasse:
    I, that am Rudely stampt, and want loues Maiesty,
    To strut before a wonton ambling Nymph:
    20I, that am curtail'd of this faire Proportion,
    Cheated of Feature by dissembling Nature,
    Deform'd, vn-finish'd, sent before my time
    Into this breathing World, scarse halfe made vp,
    And that so lamely and vnfashionable,
    25That dogges 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 see my Shadow in the Sunne,
    And descant on mine owne Deformity.
    30And therefore, since I cannot proue a Louer,
    To entertaine these faire well spoken dayes,
    I am determined to proue a Villaine,
    And hate the idle pleasures of these dayes.
    Plots haue I laide, Inductions 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 Subtle, False, and Treacherous,
    40This day should Clarence closely be mew'd vp:
    About a Prophesie, which sayes that G,
    Of Edwards heyres the murtherer shall be.
    Diue thoughts downe to my soule, here Clarence comes.
    Enter Clarence, and Brakenbury, guarded.
    45Brother, good day: What meanes this armed guard
    That waites vpon your Grace?
    Cla. His Maiesty tendring my persons safety,
    Hath appointed this Conduct, to conuey me to th' Tower
    Rich. Vpon what cause?
    50Cla. Because my name is George.
    Rich. 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 should be new Christned in the Tower,
    55But what's the matter Clarence, may I know?
    Cla. Yea Richard, when I know: but I protest
    As yet I do not: But as I can learne,
    He hearkens after Prophesies and Dreames,
    And from the Crosse-row pluckes the letter G:
    60And sayes, a Wizard 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 toyes as these,
    65Hath moou'd his Highnesse to commit me now.
    Rich. Why this it is, when men are rul'd by Women:
    'Tis not the King that sends you to the Tower,
    My Lady Grey his Wife, Clarence 'tis shee.
    That tempts him to this harsh Extremity.
    70Was it not shee, and that good man of Worship,
    Anthony Woodeulle 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 secure
    But the Queenes Kindred, and night-walking Heralds,
    That trudge betwixt the King, and Mistris Shore.
    Heard you not what an humble Suppliant
    Lord Hastings was, for her deliuery?
    80Rich. Humbly complaining to her Deitie,
    Got my Lord Chamberlaine his libertie.
    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 ore-worne Widdow, and her selfe,
    Since that our Brother dub'd them Gentlewomen,
    Are mighty Gossips in our Monarchy.
    Bra. I beseech your Graces both to pardon me,
    His Maiesty hath straightly giuen in charge,
    90That no man shall haue priuate Conferenee.
    (Of what degree soeuer) with your Brother.
    Rich. Euen so, and please your Worship Brakenbury,
    You may partake of any thing we say:
    We speake no Treason man; We say the King
    95Is wise and vertuous, and his Noble Queene
    Well strooke in yeares, faire, and not iealious.
    We say, that Shores Wife hath a pretty Foot,
    A cherry Lip, a bonny Eye, a passing pleasing tongue:
    And that the Queenes Kindred are made gentle Folkes.
    100How say you sir? can you deny all this?
    Bra. With this (my Lord) my selfe haue nought to
    Rich. Naught to do with Mistris Shore?
    I tell thee Fellow, he that doth naught with her
    105(Excepting one) were best to do it secretly alone.
    Bra. What one, my Lord?
    Rich. Her Husband Knaue, would'st thou betray me?
    Bra. I do beseech your Grace
    To pardon me, and withall forbeare
    110Your Conference with the Noble Duke.
    Cla. We know thy charge Brakenbury, and wil obey.
    Rich. We are the Queenes abiects, and must obey.
    Brother farewell, I will vnto the King,
    And whatsoe're you will imploy me in,
    115Were it to call King Edwards Widdow, Sister,
    I will performe it to infranchise you.
    Meane time, this deepe disgrace in Brotherhood,
    Touches me deeper then you can imagine.
    Cla. I know it pleaseth neither of vs well.
    120Rich. Well, your imprisonment shall not be long,
    I will deliuer you, or else lye for you:
    Meane time, haue patience.
    Cla. I must perforce: Farewell. Exit Clar.
    Rich Go treade the path that thou shalt ne're return:
    125Simple plaine Clarence, I do loue thee so,
    That I will shortly send thy Soule to Heauen,
    If Heauen will take the present at our hands.
    But who comes heere? the new deliuered Hastings?
    Enter Lord Hastings.
    130Hast. Good time of day vnto my gracious Lord.
    Rich. As much vnto my good Lord Chamberlaine:
    Well are you welcome to this open Ayre,
    How hath your Lordship brook'd 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.
    Rich. No doubt, no doubt, and so shall Clarence too,
    For they that were your Enemies, are his,
    And haue preuail'd as much on him, as you,
    140Hast. More pitty, that the Eagles should be mew'd,
    Whiles Kites and Buzards play at liberty.
    Rich. What newes abroad?
    Hast. No newes so bad abroad, as this at home:
    The King is sickly, weake, and melancholly,
    145And his Physitians feare him mightily.
    Rich. Now by S. Iohn, that Newes is bad indeed.
    O he hath kept an euill Diet long,
    And ouer-much consum'd his Royall Person:
    'Tis very greeuous to be thought vpon.
    150Where is he, in his bed?
    Hast. He is.
    Rich. Go you before, and I will follow you.
    Exit Hastings.
    He cannot liue I hope, and must not dye,
    155Till George be pack'd with post-horse vp to Heauen.
    Ile in to vrge his hatred more to Clarence,
    With Lyes well steel'd with weighty Arguments,
    And if I faile not in my deepe intent,
    Clarence hath not another day to liue:
    160Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
    And leaue the world for me to bussle in.
    For then, Ile marry Warwickes yongest daughter.
    What though I kill'd 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