Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • 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.
    That euer yet this Land was guilty of:
    Dighton and Forrest, who I did suborne
    To do this peece of ruthfull Butchery,
    2710Albeit they were flesht Villaines, bloody Dogges,
    Melted with tendernesse, and milde compassion,
    Wept like to Children, in their deaths sad Story.
    O thus (quoth Dighton) lay the gentle Babes:
    Thus, thus (quoth Forrest) girdling one another
    2715Within their Alablaster innocent Armes:
    Their lips were foure red Roses on a stalke,
    And in their Summer Beauty kist each other.
    A Booke of Prayers on their pillow lay,
    Which one (quoth Forrest) almost chang'd my minde:
    2720But oh the Diuell, there the Villaine stopt:
    When Dighton thus told on, we smothered
    The most replenished sweet worke of Nature,
    That from the prime Creation ere she framed.
    Hence both are gone with Conscience and Remorse,
    2725They could not speake, and so I left them both,
    To beare this tydings to the bloody King.

    Enter Richard.

    And heere he comes. All health my Soueraigne Lord.
    Ric. Kinde Tirrell, am I happy in thy Newes.
    2730Tir. If to haue done the thing you gaue in charge,
    Beget your happinesse, be happy then,
    For it is done.
    Rich. But did'st thou see them dead.
    Tir. I did my Lord.
    2735Rich. And buried gentle Tirrell.
    Tir. The Chaplaine of the Tower hath buried them,
    But where (to say the truth) I do not know.
    Rich. Come to me Tirrel soone, and after Supper,
    When thou shalt tell the processe of their death.
    2740Meane time, but thinke how I may do the good,
    And be inheritor of thy desire.
    Farewell till then.
    Tir. I humbly take my leaue.
    Rich. The Sonne of Clarence haue I pent vp close,
    2745His daughter meanly haue I matcht in marriage,
    The Sonnes of Edward sleepe in Abrahams bosome,
    And Anne my wife hath bid this world good night.
    Now for I know the Britaine Richmond aymes
    At yong Elizabeth my brothers daughter,
    2750And by that knot lookes proudly on the Crowne,
    To her go I, a iolly thriuing wooer.

    Enter Ratcliffe.

    Rat. My Lord.
    Rich. Good or bad newes, that thou com'st in so
    Rat. Bad news my Lord, Mourton is fled to Richmond,
    And Buckingham backt with the hardy Welshmen
    Is in the field, and still his power encreaseth.
    Rich. Ely with Richmond troubles me more neere,
    2760Then Buckingham and his rash leuied Strength.
    Come, I haue learn'd, that fearfull commenting
    Is leaden seruitor to dull delay.
    Delay leds impotent and Snaile-pac'd Beggery:
    Then fierie expedition be my wing,
    2765Ioues Mercury, and Herald for a King:
    Go muster men: My counsaile is my Sheeld,
    We must be breefe, when Traitors braue the Field.

    Scena Tertia.

    2770Enter old Queene Margaret.

    Mar. So now prosperity begins to mellow,
    And drop into the rotten mouth of death:
    Heere in these Confines slily haue I lurkt,
    To watch the waining of mine enemies.
    2775A dire induction, am I witnesse to,
    And will to France, hoping the consequence
    Will proue as bitter, blacke, and Tragicall.
    Withdraw thee wretched Margaret, who comes heere?

    Enter Dutchesse and Queene.

    2780Qu. Ah my poore Princes! ah my tender Babes:
    My vnblowed Flowres, new appearing sweets:
    If yet your gentle soules flye in the Ayre,
    And be not fixt in doome perpetuall,
    Houer about me with your ayery wings,
    2785And heare your mothers Lamentation.
    Mar. Houer about her, say that right for right
    Hath dim'd your Infant morne, to Aged night.
    Dut. So many miseries haue craz'd my voyce,
    That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.
    2790Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
    Mar. Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet,
    Edward for Edward, payes a dying debt.
    Qu. Wilt thou, O God, flye from such gentle Lambs,
    And throw them in the intrailes of the Wolfe?
    2795When didst thou sleepe, when such a deed was done?
    Mar. When holy Harry dyed, and my sweet Sonne.
    Dut. Dead life, blind sight, poore mortall liuing ghost,
    Woes Scene, Worlds shame, Graues due, by life vsurpt,
    Breefe abstract and record of tedious dayes,
    2800Rest thy vnrest on Englands lawfull earth,
    Vnlawfully made drunke with innocent blood.
    Qu. Ah that thou would'st assoone affoord a Graue,
    As thou canst yeeld a melancholly seate:
    Then would I hide my bones, not rest them heere,
    2805Ah who hath any cause to mourne but wee?
    Mar. If ancient sorrow be most reuerent,
    Giue mine the benefit of signeurie,
    And let my greefes frowne on the vpper hand
    If sorrow can admit Society.
    2810I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him:
    I had a Husband, till a Richard kill'd him:
    Thou had'st an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him:
    Thou had'st a Richard, till a Richard kill'd him.
    Dut. I had a Richard too, and thou did'st kill him;
    2815I had a Rutland too, thou hop'st to kill him.
    Mar. Thou had'st a Clarence too,
    And Richard kill'd him.
    From forth the kennell of thy wombe hath crept
    A Hell-hound that doth hunt vs all to death:
    2820That Dogge, that had his teeth before his eyes,
    To worry Lambes, and lap their gentle blood:
    That foule defacer of Gods handy worke:
    That reignes in gauled eyes of weeping soules:
    That excellent grand Tyrant of the earth,
    2825Thy wombe let loose to chase vs to our graues.
    O vpright, iust, and true-disposing God,
    How do I thanke thee, that this carnall Curre