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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.
    Rich. You speake too bitterly.
    2960Dut. Heare me a word:
    For I shall neuer speake to thee againe.
    Rich. So.
    Dut. Either thou wilt dye, by Gods iust ordinance
    Ere from this warre thou turne a Conqueror:
    2965Or I with greefe and extreame Age shall perish,
    And neuer more behold thy face againe.
    Therefore take with thee my most greeuous Curse,
    Which in the day of Battell tyre thee more
    Then all the compleat Armour that thou wear'st.
    2970My Prayers on the aduerse party fight,
    And there the little soules of Edwards Children,
    Whisper the Spirits of thine Enemies,
    And promise them Successe and Victory:
    Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end:
    2975Shame serues thy life, and doth thy death attend. Exit.
    Qu. Though far more cause, yet much lesse spirit to curse
    Abides in me, I say Amen to her.
    Rich. Stay Madam, I must talke a word with you.
    Qu. I haue no more sonnes of the Royall Blood
    2980For thee to slaughter. For my Daughters ( Richard)
    They shall be praying Nunnes, not weeping Queenes:
    And therefore leuell not to hit their liues.
    Rich. You haue a daughter call'd Elizabeth,
    Vertuous and Faire, Royall and Gracious?
    2985Qu. And must she dye for this? O let her liue,
    And Ile corrupt her Manners, staine her Beauty,
    Slander my Selfe, as false to Edwards bed:
    Throw ouer her the vaile of Infamy,
    So she may liue vnscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
    2990I will confesse she was not Edwards daughter.
    Rich. Wrong not her Byrth, she is a Royall Princesse.
    Qu. To saue her life, Ile say she is not so.
    Rich. Her life is safest onely in her byrth.
    Qu. And onely in that safety, dyed her Brothers.
    2995Rich. Loe at their Birth, good starres were opposite.
    Qu. No, to their liues, ill friends were contrary.
    Rich! All vnauoyded is the doome of Destiny.
    Qu. True: when auoyded grace makes Destiny.
    My Babes were destin'd to a fairer death,
    3000If grace had blest thee with a fairer life.
    Rich, You speake as if that I had slaine my Cosins?
    Qu. Cosins indeed, and by their Vnckle couzend,
    Of Comfort, Kingdome, Kindred, Freedome, Life,
    Whose hand soeuer lanch'd their tender hearts,
    3005Thy head (all indirectly) gaue direction.
    No doubt the murd'rous Knife was dull and blunt,
    Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
    To reuell in the Intrailes of my Lambes.
    But that still vse of greefe, makes wilde greefe tame,
    3010My tongue should to thy eares not name my Boyes,
    Till that my Nayles were anchor'd in thine eyes:
    And I in such a desp'rate Bay of death,
    Like a poore Barke, of sailes and tackling reft,
    Rush all to peeces on thy Rocky bosome.
    3015Rich. Madam, so thriue I in my enterprize
    And dangerous successe of bloody warres,
    As I intend more good to you and yours,
    Then euer you and yours by me were harm'd.
    Qu. What good is couer'd with the face of heauen,
    3020To be discouered, that can do me good.
    Rich. Th'aduancement of your children, gentle Lady
    Qu. Vp to some Scaffold, there to lose their heads.
    Rich. Vnto the dignity and height of Fortune,
    The high Imperiall Type of this earths glory.
    3025Qu. Flatter my sorrow with report of it:
    Tell me, what State, what Dignity, what Honor,
    Canst thou demise to any childe of mine.
    Rich. Euen all I haue; I, and my selfe and all,
    Will I withall indow a childe of thine:
    3030So in the Lethe of thy angry soule,
    Thou drowne the sad remembrance of those wrongs,
    Which thou supposest I haue done to thee.
    Qu. Be breefe, least that the processe of thy kindnesse
    Last longer telling then thy kindnesse date.
    3035Rich. Then know,
    That from my Soule, I loue thy Daughter.
    Qu. My daughters Mother thinkes it with her soule.
    Rich. What do you thinke?
    Qu. That thou dost loue my daughter from thy soule
    3040So from thy Soules loue didst thou loue her Brothers,
    And from my hearts loue, I do thanke thee for it.
    Rich. Be not so hasty to confound my meaning:
    I meane that with my Soule I loue thy daughter,
    And do intend to make her Queene of England.
    3045Qu. Well then, who dost y^u meane shallbe her King.
    Rich. Euen he that makes her Queene:
    Who else should bee?
    Qu. What, thou?
    Rich. Euen so: How thinke you of it?
    3050Qu. How canst thou woo her?
    Rich. That I would learne of you,
    As one being best acquainted with her humour.
    Qu. And wilt thou learne of me?
    Rich. Madam, with all my heart.
    3055Qu. Send to her by the man that slew her Brothers,
    A paire of bleeding hearts: thereon ingraue
    Edward and Yorke, then haply will she weepe:
    Therefore present to her, as sometime Margaret
    Did to thy Father, steept in Rutlands blood,
    3060A hand-kercheefe, which say to her did dreyne
    The purple sappe from her sweet Brothers body,
    And bid her wipe her weeping eyes withall.
    If this inducement moue her not to loue,
    Send her a Letter of thy Noble deeds:
    3065Tell her, thou mad'st away her Vnckle Clarence,
    Her Vnckle Riuers, I (and for her sake)
    Mad'st quicke conueyance with her good Aunt Anne.
    Rich. You mocke me Madam, this not the way
    To win your daughter.
    3070Qu. There is no other way,
    Vnlesse thou could'st put on some other shape,
    And not be Richard, that hath done all this.
    Ric. Say that I did all this for loue of her.
    Qu. Nay then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee
    3075Hauing bought loue, with such a bloody spoyle.
    Rich. Looke what is done, cannot be now amended:
    Men shall deale vnaduisedly sometimes,
    Which after-houres giues leysure to repent.
    If I did take the Kingdome from your Sonnes,
    3080To make amends, Ile giue it to your daughter:
    If I haue kill'd the issue of your wombe,
    To quicken your encrease, I will beget
    Mine yssue of your blood, vpon your Daughter:
    A Grandams name is little lesse in loue,
    3085Then is the doting Title of a Mother;
    They are as Children but one steppe below,
    Euen of your mettall, of your very blood:
    Of all one paine, saue for a night of groanes
    Endur'd of her, for whom you bid like sorrow.
    3090Your Children were vexation to your youth,