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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 Tragedy of Richard the Third:
    with the Landing of Earle Richmond, and the
    Battell at Bosworth Field.

    1Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.

    Enter Richard Duke of Gloster, solus.

    NOw is the Winter of our Discontent,
    Made glorious Summer by this Son of Yorke:
    5And all the clouds that lowr'd vpon our house
    In the deepe bosome of the Ocean buried.
    Now are our browes bound with Victorious Wreathes,
    Our bruised armes hung vp for Monuments;
    Our sterne Alarums chang'd to merry Meetings;
    10Our dreadfull Marches, to delightfull Measures.
    Grim-visag'd Warre, hath smooth'd his wrinkled Front:
    And now, in stead of mounting Barbed Steeds,
    To fright the Soules of fearfull Aduersaries,
    He capers nimbly in a Ladies Chamber,
    15To the lasciuious pleasing of a Lute.
    But I, that am not shap'd for sportiue trickes,
    Nor made to court an amorous Looking-glasse:
    I, that am Rudely stampt, and want loues Maiesty,
    To strut before a wonton ambling Nymph:
    20I, that am curtail'd of this faire Proportion,
    Cheated of Feature by dissembling Nature,
    Deform'd, vn-finish'd, sent before my time
    Into this breathing World, scarse halfe made vp,
    And that so lamely and vnfashionable,
    25That dogges barke at me, as I halt by them.
    Why I (in this weake piping time of Peace)
    Haue no delight to passe away the time,
    Vnlesse to see my Shadow in the Sunne,
    And descant on mine owne Deformity.
    30And therefore, since I cannot proue a Louer,
    To entertaine these faire well spoken dayes,
    I am determined to proue a Villaine,
    And hate the idle pleasures of these dayes.
    Plots haue I laide, Inductions dangerous,
    35By drunken Prophesies, Libels, and Dreames,
    To set my Brother Clarence and the King
    In deadly hate, the one against the other:
    And if King Edward be as true and iust,
    As I am Subtle, False, and Treacherous,
    40This day should Clarence closely be mew'd vp:
    About a Prophesie, which sayes that G,
    Of Edwards heyres the murtherer shall be.
    Diue thoughts downe to my soule, here Clarence comes.

    Enter Clarence, and Brakenbury, guarded.
    45Brother, good day: What meanes this armed guard

    That waites vpon your Grace?
    Cla. His Maiesty tendring my persons safety,
    Hath appointed this Conduct, to conuey me to th' Tower
    Rich. Vpon what cause?
    50Cla. Because my name is George.
    Rich. Alacke my Lord, that fault is none of yours:
    He should for that commit your Godfathers.
    O belike, his Maiesty hath some intent,
    That you should be new Christned in the Tower,
    55But what's the matter Clarence, may I know?
    Cla. Yea Richard, when I know: but I protest
    As yet I do not: But as I can learne,
    He hearkens after Prophesies and Dreames,
    And from the Crosse-row pluckes the letter G:
    60And sayes, a Wizard told him, that by G,
    His issue disinherited should be.
    And for my name of George begins with G,
    It followes in his thought, that I am he.
    These (as I learne) and such like toyes as these,
    65Hath moou'd his Highnesse to commit me now.
    Rich. Why this it is, when men are rul'd by Women:
    'Tis not the King that sends you to the Tower,
    My Lady Grey his Wife, Clarence 'tis shee.
    That tempts him to this harsh Extremity.
    70Was it not shee, and that good man of Worship,
    Anthony Woodeulle her Brother there,
    That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower?
    From whence this present day he is deliuered?
    We are not safe Clarence, we are not safe.
    75Cla. By heauen, I thinke there is no man secure
    But the Queenes Kindred, and night-walking Heralds,
    That trudge betwixt the King, and Mistris Shore.
    Heard you not what an humble Suppliant
    Lord Hastings was, for her deliuery?
    80Rich. Humbly complaining to her Deitie,
    Got my Lord Chamberlaine his libertie.
    Ile tell you what, I thinke it is our way,
    If we will keepe in fauour with the King,
    To be her men, and weare her Liuery.
    85The iealous ore-worne Widdow, and her selfe,
    Since that our Brother dub'd them Gentlewomen,
    Are mighty Gossips in our Monarchy.
    Bra. I beseech your Graces both to pardon me,
    His Maiesty hath straightly giuen in charge,
    90That no man shall haue priuate Conferenee.
    (Of what degree soeuer) with your Brother.