Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Adrian Kiernander
Peer Reviewed

Richard the Third (Folio 1, 1623)

The Life and Death of Richard the Third.
But mine shall be a comfort to your Age,
The losse you haue, is but a Sonne being King,
And by that losse, your Daughter is made Queene.
I cannot make you what amends I would,
3095Therefore accept such kindnesse as I can.
Dorset your Sonne, that with a fearfull soule
Leads discontented steppes in Forraine soyle,
This faire Alliance, quickly shall call home
To high Promotions, and great Dignity.
3100The King that calles your beauteous Daughter Wife,
Familiarly shall call thy Dorset, Brother:
Againe shall you be Mother to a King:
And all the Ruines of distressefull Times,
Repayr'd with double Riches of Content.
3105What? we haue many goodly dayes to see:
The liquid drops of Teares that you haue shed,
Shall come againe, transform'd to Orient Pearle,
Aduantaging their Loue, with interest
Often-times double gaine of happinesse.
3110Go then (my Mother) to thy Daughter go,
Make bold her bashfull yeares, with your experience,
Prepare her eares to heare a Woers Tale.
Put in her tender heart, th'aspiring Flame
Of Golden Soueraignty: Acquaint the Princesse
3115With the sweet silent houres of Marriage ioyes:
And when this Arme of mine hath chastised
The petty Rebell, dull-brain'd Buckingham,
Bound with Triumphant Garlands will I come,
And leade thy daughter to a Conquerors bed:
3120To whom I will retaile my Conquest wonne,
And she shalbe sole Victoresse, Caesars Caesar.
Qu. What were I best to say, her Fathers Brother
Would be her Lord? Or shall I say her Vnkle?
Or he that slew her Brothers, and her Vnkles?
3125Vnder what Title shall I woo for thee,
That God, the Law, my Honor, and her Loue,
Can make seeme pleasing to her tender yeares?
Rich. Inferre faire Englands peace by this Alliance.
Qu Which she shall purchase with stil lasting warre.
3130Rich. Tell her, the King that may command, intreats.
Qu. That at her hands, which the kings King forbids.
Rich. Say she shall be a High and Mighty Queene.
Qu. To vaile the Title, as her Mother doth.
Rich. Say I will loue her euerlastingly.
3135Qu. But how long shall that title euer last?
Rich. Sweetly in force, vnto her faire liues end.
Qu. But how long fairely shall her sweet life last?
Rich. As long as Heauen and Nature lengthens it.
Qu. As long as Hell and Richard likes of it.
3140Rich. Say, I her Soueraigne, am her Subiect low.
Qu. But she your Subiect, lothes such Soueraignty.
Rich. Be eloquent in my behalfe to her.
Qu. An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told.
Rich. Then plainly to her, tell my louing tale.
3145Qu. Plaine and not honest, is too harsh a style.
Rich. Your Reasons are too shallow, and to quicke.
Qu. O no, my Reasons are too deepe and dead,
Too deepe and dead (poore Infants) in their graues,
Harpe on it still shall I, till heart-strings breake.
3150Rich. Harpe not on that string Madam, that is past.
Now by my George, my Garter, and my Crowne.
Qu. Prophan'd, dishonor'd, and the third vsurpt.
Rich. I sweare.
Qu. By nothing, for this is no Oath:
3155Thy George prophan'd, hath lost his Lordly Honor;
Thy Garter blemish'd, pawn'd his Knightly Vertue;
Thy Crowne vsurp'd, disgrac'd his Kingly Glory:
If something thou would'st sweare to be beleeu'd,
Sweare then by something, that thou hast not wrong'd.
3160Rich. Then by my Selfe.
Qu. Thy Selfe, is selfe-misvs'd.
Rich. Now by the World.
Qu. 'Tis full of thy foule wrongs.
Rich. My Fathers death.
3165Qu. Thy life hath it dishonor'd.
Rich. Why then, by Heauen.
Qu. Heanens wrong is most of all:
If thou didd'st feare to breake an Oath with him,
The vnity the King my husband made,
3170Thou had'st not broken, nor my Brothers died.
If thou had'st fear'd to breake an oath by him,
Th' Imperiall mettall, circling now thy head,
Had grac'd the tender temples of my Child,
And both the Princes had bene breathing heere,
3175Which now two tender Bed-fellowes for dust,
Thy broken Faith hath made the prey for Wormes.
What can'st thou sweare by now.
Rich. The time to come.
Qu. That thou hast wronged in the time ore-past:
3180For I my selfe haue many teares to wash
Heereafter time, for time past, wrong'd by thee.
The Children liue, whose Fathers thou hast slaughter'd,
Vngouern'd youth, to waile it with their age:
The Parents liue, whose Children thou hast butcher'd,
3185Old barren Plants, to waile it with their Age.
Sweare not by time to come, for that thou hast
Misvs'd ere vs'd, by times ill-vs'd repast.
Rich. As I entend to prosper, and repent:
So thriue I in my dangerous Affayres
3190Of hostile Armes: My selfe, my selfe confound:
Heauen, and Fortune barre me happy houres:
Day, yeeld me not thy light; nor Night, thy rest.
Be opposite all Planets of good lucke
To my proceeding, if with deere hearts loue,
3195Immaculate deuotion, holy thoughts,
I tender not thy beautious Princely daughter.
In her, consists my Happinesse, and thine:
Without her, followes to my selfe, and thee;
Her selfe, the Land, and many a Christian soule,
3200Death, Desolation, Ruine, and Decay:
It cannot be auoyded, but by this:
It will not be auoyded, but by this.
Therefore deare Mother (I must call you so)
Be the Atturney of my loue to her:
3205Pleade what I will be, not what I haue beene;
Not my deserts, but what I will deserue:
Vrge the Necessity and state of times,
And be not peeuish found, in great Designes.
Qu. Shall I be tempted of the Diuel thus?
3210Rich. I, if the Diuell tempt you to do good.
Qu. Shall I forget my selfe, to be my selfe.
Rich. I, if your selfes remembrance wrong your selfe.
Qu. Yet thou didst kil my Children.
Rich. But in your daughters wombe I bury them.
3215Where in that Nest of Spicery they will breed
Selues of themselues, to your recomforture.
Qu. Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?
Rich. And be a happy Mother by the deed.
Qu. I go, write to me very shortly,
3220And you shal vnderstand from me her mind. Exit Q.
Rich. Beare her my true loues kisse, and so farewell.
Relenting Foole, and shallow-changing Woman.