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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 Life and Death of Richard the Third.
    Enter Richard, and Buckingham, in rotten Armour,
    maruellous ill-fauoured.
    Richard. Come Cousin,
    2085Canst thou quake, and change thy colour,
    Murther thy breath in middle of a word,
    And then againe begin, and stop againe,
    As if thou were distraught, and mad with terror?
    Buck. Tut, I can counterfeit the deepe Tragedian,
    2090Speake, and looke backe, and prie on euery side,
    Tremble and start at wagging of a Straw:
    Intending deepe suspition, gastly Lookes
    Are at my seruice, like enforced Smiles;
    And both are readie in their Offices,
    2095At any time to grace my Stratagemes.
    But what, is Catesby gone?
    Rich. He is, and see he brings the Maior along.

    Enter the Maior, and Catesby.
    Buck. Lord Maior.
    2100Rich. Looke to the Draw-Bridge there.
    Buck. Hearke, a Drumme.
    Rich. Catesby, o're-looke the Walls.
    Buck. Lord Maior, the reason we haue sent.
    Rich. Looke back, defend thee, here are Enemies.
    2105Buck. God and our Innocencie defend, and guard vs.

    Enter Louell and Ratcliffe, with Hastings Head.

    Rich. Be patient, they are friends: Ratcliffe, and Louell.
    Louell. Here is the Head of that ignoble Traytor,
    The dangerous and vnsuspected Hastings.
    2110Rich. So deare I lou'd the man, that I must weepe:
    I tooke him for the plainest harmelesse Creature,
    That breath'd vpon the Earth, a Christian.
    Made him my Booke, wherein my Soule recorded
    The Historie of all her secret thoughts.
    2115So smooth he dawb'd his Vice with shew of Vertue,
    That his apparant open Guilt omitted,
    I meane, his Conuersation with Shores Wife,
    He liu'd from all attainder of suspects.
    Buck. Well, well, he was the couertst sheltred Traytor
    2120That euer liu'd.
    Would you imagine, or almost beleeue,
    Wert not, that by great preseruation
    We liue to tell it, that the subtill Traytor
    This day had plotted, in the Councell-House,
    2125To murther me, and my good Lord of Gloster.
    Maior. Had he done so?
    Rich. What? thinke you we are Turkes, or Infidels?
    Or that we would, against the forme of Law,
    Proceed thus rashly in the Villaines death,
    2130But that the extreme perill of the case,
    The Peace of England, and our Persons safetie,
    Enforc'd vs to this Execution.
    Maior. Now faire befall you, he deseru'd his death,
    And your good Graces both haue well proceeded,
    2135To warne false Traytors from the like Attempts.
    Buck. I neuer look'd for better at his hands,
    After he once fell in with Mistresse Shore:
    Yet had we not determin'd he should dye,
    Vntill your Lordship came to see his end,
    2140Which now the louing haste of these our friends,
    Something against our meanings, haue preuented;
    Because, my Lord, I would haue had you heard
    The Traytor speake, and timorously confesse
    The manner and the purpose of his Treasons:
    2145That you might well haue signify'd the same
    Vnto the Citizens, who haply may
    Misconster vs in him, and wayle his death.
    Ma. But, my good Lord, your Graces words shal serue,
    As well as I had seene, and heard him speake:
    2150And doe not doubt, right Noble Princes both,
    But Ile acquaint our dutious Citizens
    With all your iust proceedings in this case.
    Rich. And to that end we wish'd your Lordship here,
    T'auoid the Censures of the carping World.
    2155Buck. Which since you come too late of our intent,
    Yet witnesse what you heare we did intend:
    And so, my good Lord Maior, we bid farwell.
    Exit Maior.
    Rich. Goe after, after, Cousin Buckingham.
    2160The Maior towards Guild-Hall hyes him in all poste:
    There, at your meetest vantage of the time,
    Inferre the Bastardie of Edwards Children:
    Tell them, how Edward put to death a Citizen,
    Onely for saying, he would make his Sonne
    2165Heire to the Crowne, meaning indeed his House,
    Which, by the Signe thereof, was tearmed so.
    Moreouer, vrge his hatefull Luxurie,
    And beastiall appetite in change of Lust,
    Which stretcht vnto their Seruants, Daughters, Wiues,
    2170Euen where his raging eye, or sauage heart,
    Without controll, lusted to make a prey.
    Nay, for a need, thus farre come neere my Person:
    Tell them, when that my Mother went with Child
    Of that insatiate Edward; Noble Yorke,
    2175My Princely Father, then had Warres in France,
    And by true computation of the time,
    Found, that the Issue was not his begot:
    Which well appeared in his Lineaments,
    Being nothing like the Noble Duke, my Father:
    2180Yet touch this sparingly, as 'twere farre off,
    Because, my Lord, you know my Mother liues.
    Buck. Doubt not, my Lord, Ile play the Orator,
    As if the Golden Fee, for which I plead,
    Were for my selfe: and so, my Lord, adue.
    2185Rich. If you thriue wel, bring them to Baynards Castle,
    Where you shall finde me well accompanied
    With reuerend Fathers, and well-learned Bishops.
    Buck. I goe, and towards three or foure a Clocke
    Looke for the Newes that the Guild-Hall affoords.
    2190Exit Buckingham.
    Rich. Goe Louell with all speed to Doctor Shaw,
    Goe thou to Fryer Peuker, bid them both
    Meet me within this houre at Baynards Castle. Exit.
    Now will I goe to take some priuie order,
    2195To draw the Brats of Clarence out of sight,
    And to giue order, that no manner person
    Haue any time recourse vnto the Princes. Exeunt.

    Enter a Scriuener.
    Scr. Here is the Indictment of the good Lord Hastings,
    2200Which in a set Hand fairely is engross'd,
    That it may be to day read o're in Paules.
    And marke how well the sequell hangs together:
    Eleuen houres I haue spent to write it ouer,
    For yester-night by Catesby was it sent me,
    2205The Precedent was full as long a doing,
    And yet within these fiue houres Hastings liu'd,
    Vntainted, vnexamin'd, free, at libertie.
    Here's a good World the while.
    Who is so grosse, that cannot see this palpable deuice?