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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.
    Gen. My Lord stand backe, and let the Coffin passe.
    Rich. Vnmanner'd Dogge,
    215Stand'st thou when I commaund:
    Aduance thy Halbert higher then my brest,
    Or by S. Paul Ile strike thee to my Foote,
    And spurne vpon thee Begger for thy boldnesse.
    Anne. What do you tremble? are you all affraid?
    220Alas, I blame you not, for you are Mortall,
    And Mortall eyes cannot endure the Diuell.
    Auant thou dreadfull minister of Hell;
    Thou had'st but power ouer his Mortall body,
    His Soule thou canst not haue: Therefore be gone.
    225Rich. Sweet Saint, for Charity, be not so curst.
    An. Foule Diuell,
    For Gods sake hence, and trouble vs not,
    For thou hast made the happy earth thy Hell:
    Fill'd it with cursing cries, and deepe exclaimes:
    230If thou delight to view thy heynous deeds,
    Behold this patterne of thy Butcheries.
    Oh Gentlemen, see, see dead Henries wounds,
    Open their congeal'd mouthes, and bleed afresh.
    Blush, blush, thou lumpe of fowle Deformitie:
    235For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
    From cold and empty Veines where no blood dwels.
    Thy Deeds inhumane and vnnaturall,
    Prouokes this Deluge most vnnaturall.
    O God! which this Blood mad'st, reuenge his death:
    240O Earth! which this Blood drink'st, reuenge his death.
    Either Heau'n with Lightning strike the murth'rer dead:
    Or Earth gape open wide, and eate him quicke,
    As thou dost swallow vp this good Kings blood,
    Which his Hell-gouern'd arme hath butchered.
    245Rich. Lady, you know no Rules of Charity,
    Which renders good for bad, Blessings for Curses.
    An. Villaine, thou know'st nor law of God nor Man,
    No Beast so fierce, but knowes some touch of pitty.
    Rich. But I know none, and therefore am no Beast.
    250An. O wonderfull, when diuels tell the truth!
    Rich. More wonderfull, when Angels are so angry:
    Vouchsafe (diuine perfection of a Woman)
    Of these supposed Crimes, to giue me leaue
    By circumstance, but to acquit my selfe.
    255An. Vouchsafe (defus'd infection of man)
    Of these knowne euils, but to giue me leaue
    By circumstance, to curse thy cursed Selfe.
    Rich. Fairer then tongue can name thee, let me haue
    Some patient leysure to excuse my selfe.
    260An. Fouler then heart can thinke thee,
    Thou can'st make no excuse currant,
    But to hang thy selfe.
    Rich. By such dispaire, I should accuse my selfe.
    An. And by dispairing shalt thou stand excused,
    265For doing worthy Vengeance on thy selfe,
    That did'st vnworthy slaughter vpon others.
    Rich. Say that I slew them not.
    An. Then say they were not slaine:
    But dead they are, and diuellish slaue by thee.
    270Rich. I did not kill your Husband.
    An. Why then he is aliue.
    Rich. Nay, he is dead, and slaine by Edwards hands.
    An. In thy foule throat thou Ly'st,
    Queene Margaret saw
    275Thy murd'rous Faulchion smoaking in his blood:
    The which, thou once didd'st bend against her brest,
    But that thy Brothers beate aside the point.
    Rich. I was prouoked by her sland'rous tongue,
    That laid their guilt, vpon my guiltlesse Shoulders.
    280An. Thou was't prouoked by thy bloody minde,
    That neuer dream'st on ought but Butcheries:
    Did'st thou not kill this King?
    Rich. I graunt ye.
    An. Do'st grant me Hedge-hogge,
    285Then God graunt me too
    Thou may'st be damned for that wicked deede,
    O he was gentle, milde, and vertuous.
    Rich. The better for the King of heauen that hath him.
    An. He is in heauen, where thou shalt neuer come.
    290Rich. Let him thanke me, that holpe to send him thi-
    For he was fitter for that place then earth.
    An. And thou vnfit for any place, but hell.
    Rich. Yes one place else, if you will heare me name it.
    295An. Some dungeon.
    Rich. Your Bed-chamber.
    An. Ill rest betide the chamber where thou lyest.
    Rich. So will it Madam, till I lye with you.
    An. I hope so.
    300Rich. I know so. But gentle Lady Anne,
    To leaue this keene encounter of our wittes,
    And fall something into a slower method.
    Is not the causer of the timelesse deaths
    Of these Plantagenets, Henrie and Edward,
    305As blamefull as the Executioner.
    An. Thou was't the cause, and most accurst effect.
    Rich. Your beauty was the cause of that effect:
    Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleepe,
    To vndertake the death of all the world,
    310So I might liue one houre in your sweet bosome.
    An. If I thought that, I tell thee Homicide,
    These Nailes should rent that beauty from my Cheekes.
    Rich. These eyes could not endure y^t beauties wrack,
    You should not blemish it, if I stood by;
    315As all the world is cheared by the Sunne,
    So I by that: It is my day, my life.
    An. Blacke night ore-shade thy day, & death thy life.
    Rich. Curse not thy selfe faire Creature,
    Thou art both.
    320An. I would I were, to be reueng'd on thee.
    Rich. It is a quarrell most vnnaturall,
    To be reueng'd on him that loueth . thee.
    An. It is a quarrell iust and reasonable,
    To be reueng'd on him that kill'd my Husband.
    325Rich. He that bereft the Lady of thy Husband,
    Did it to helpe thee to a better Husband.
    An. His better doth not breath vpon the earth.
    Rich. He liues, that loues thee better then he could.
    An. Name him.
    330Rich. Plantagenet.
    An. Why that was he.
    Rieh. The selfesame name, but one of better Nature.
    An. Where is he?
    Rich. Heere: Spits at him.
    335Why dost thou spit at me.
    An. Would it were mortall poyson, for thy sake.
    Rich. Neuer came poyson from so sweet a place.
    An. Neuer hung poyson on a fowler Toade.
    Out of my sight, thou dost infect mine eyes.
    340Rich. Thine eyes (sweet Lady) haue infected mine.
    An. Would they were Basiliskes, to strike thee dead.
    Rich. I would they were, that I might dye at once:
    For now they kill me with a liuing death.
    Those eyes of thine, from mine haue drawne salt Teares;