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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.
    God, and our good cause, fight vpon our side,
    The Prayers of holy Saints and wronged soules,
    Like high rear'd Bulwarkes, stand before our Faces,
    ( Richard except) those whom we fight against,
    3710Had rather haue vs win, then him they follow.
    For, what is he they follow? Truly Gentlemen,
    A bloudy Tyrant, and a Homicide:
    One rais'd in blood, and one in blood establish'd;
    One that made meanes to come by what he hath,
    3715And slaughter'd those that were the meanes to help him:
    A base foule Stone, made precious by the soyle
    Of Englands Chaire, where he is falsely set:
    One that hath euer beene Gods Enemy.
    Then if you fight against Gods Enemy,
    3720God will in iustice ward you as his Soldiers.
    If you do sweare to put a Tyrant downe,
    You sleepe in peace, the Tyrant being slaine:
    If you do fight against your Countries Foes,
    Your Countries Fat shall pay your paines the hyre.
    3725If you do fight in safegard of your wiues,
    Your wiues shall welcome home the Conquerors.
    If you do free your Children from the Sword,
    Your Childrens Children quits it in your Age.
    Then in the name of God and all these rights,
    3730Aduance your Standards, draw your willing Swords.
    For me, the ransome of my bold attempt,
    Shall be this cold Corpes on the earth's cold face.
    But if I thriue, the gaine of my attempt,
    The least of you shall share his part thereof.
    3735Sound Drummes and Trumpets boldly, and cheerefully,
    God, and Saint George, Richmond, and Victory.

    Enter King Richard, Ratcliffe, and Catesby.

    K. What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?
    Rat. That he was neuer trained vp in Armes.
    3740King. He said the truth: and what said Surrey then?
    Rat. He smil'd and said, the better for our purpose.
    King. He was in the right, and so indeed it is.
    Tell the clocke there. Clocke strikes.
    Giue me a Kalender: Who saw the Sunne to day?
    3745Rat. N t I my Lord.
    King. Then he disdaines to shine: for by the Booke
    He should haue brau'd the East an houre ago,
    A blacke day will it be to somebody. Ratcliffe.
    Rat. My Lord.
    3750King. The Sun will not be seene to day,
    The sky doth frowne, and lowre vpon our Army.
    I would these dewy teares were from the ground.
    Not shine to day? Why, what is that to me
    More then to Richmond? For the selfe-same Heauen
    3755That frownes on me, lookes sadly vpon him.

    Enter Norfolke.

    Nor. Arme, arme, my Lord: the foe vaunts in the field.
    King. Come, bustle, bustle. Caparison my horse.
    Call vp Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power,
    3760I will leade forth my Soldiers to the plaine,
    And thus my Battell shal be ordred.
    My Foreward shall be drawne in length,
    Consisting equally of Horse and Foot:
    Our Archers shall be placed in the mid'st;
    3765Iohn Duke of Norfolke, Thomas Earle of Surrey,
    Shall haue the leading of the Foot and Horse.
    They thus directed, we will fllow
    In the maine Battell, whose puissance on either side
    Shall be well-winged with our cheefest Horse:
    3770This, and Saint George to boote.
    What think'st thou Norfolke.
    Nor. A good direction warlike Soueraigne,
    This found I on my Tent this Morning.
    Iockey of Norfolke, be not so bold,
    3775 For Dickon thy maister is bought and sold.
    King. A thing deuised by the Enemy.
    Go Gentlemen, euery man to his Charge,
    Let not our babling Dreames affright our soules:
    For Conscience is a word that Cowards vse,
    3780Deuis'd at first to keepe the strong in awe,
    Our strong armes be our Conscience, Swords our Law.
    March on, ioyne brauely, let vs too't pell mell,
    If not to heauen, then hand in hand to Hell.
    What shall I say more then I haue inferr'd?
    3785Remember whom you are to cope withall,
    A sort of Vagabonds, Rascals, and Run-awayes,
    A scum of Brittaines, and base Lackey Pezants,
    Whom their o're-cloyed Country vomits forth
    To desperate Aduentures, and assur'd Destruction.
    3790You sleeping safe, they bring you to vnrest:
    You hauing Lands, and blest with beauteous wiues,
    They would restraine the one, distaine the other,
    And who doth leade them, but a paltry Fellow?
    Long kept in Britaine at our Mothers cost,
    3795A Milke-sop, one that neuer in his life
    Felt so much cold, as ouer shooes in Snow:
    Let's whip these straglers o're the Seas againe,
    Lash hence these ouer-weening Ragges of France,
    These famish'd Beggers, weary of their liues,
    3800Who (but for dreaming on this fond exploit)
    For want of meanes (poore Rats) had hang'd themselues.
    If we be conquered, let men conquer vs,
    And not these bastard Britaines, whom our Fathers
    Haue in their owne Land beaten, bobb'd, and thump'd,
    3805And on Record, left them the heires of shame.
    Shall these enioy our Lands? lye with our Wiues?
    Rauish our daughters? Drum afarre off
    Hearke, I heare their Drumme,
    Right Gentlemen of England, fight boldly yeomen,
    3810Draw Archers draw your Arrowes to the head,
    Spurre your proud Horses hard, and ride in blood,
    Amaze the welkin with your broken staues.
    Enter a Messenger.
    What sayes Lord Stanley, will he bring his power?
    3815Mes. My Lord, he doth deny to come.
    King. Off with his sonne Georges head.
    Nor. My Lord, the Enemy is past the Marsh:
    After the battaile, let George Stanley dye.
    King. A thousand hearts are great within my bosom.
    3820Aduance our Standards, set vpon our Foes,
    Our Ancient word of Courage, faire S. George
    Inspire vs with the spleene of fiery Dragons:
    Vpon them, Victorie sits on our helpes.

    Alarum, excursions. Enter Catesby.

    3825Cat. Rescue my Lord of Norfolke,
    Rescue, Rescue:
    The King enacts more wonders then a man,
    Daring an opposite to euery danger:
    His horse is slaine, and all on foot he fights,
    3830Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death:
    Rescue faire Lord, or else the day is lost.