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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)

    835Scena Quarta.
    Enter Clarence and Keeper.
    Keep. Why lookes your Grace so heauily to day.
    Cla. O, I haue past a miserable night,
    So full of fearefull Dreames, of vgly sights,
    840That as I am a Christian faithfull man,
    I would not spend another such a night
    Though 'twere to buy a world of happy daies:
    So full of dismall terror was the time.
    Keep. What was your dream my Lord, I pray you tel me
    845Cla. Me thoughts that I had broken from the Tower,
    And was embark'd to crosse to Burgundy,
    And in my company my Brother Glouster,
    Who from my Cabin tempted me to walke,
    Vpon the Hatches: There we look'd toward England,
    850And cited vp a thousand heauy times,
    During the warres of Yorke and Lancaster
    That had befalne vs. As we pac'd along
    Vpon the giddy footing of the Hatches,
    Me thought that Glouster stumbled, and in falling
    855Strooke me (that thought to stay him) ouer-boord,
    Into the tumbling billowes of the maine.
    O Lord, me thought what paine it was to drowne,
    What dreadfull noise of water in mine eares,
    What sights of vgly death within mine eyes.
    860Me thoughts, I saw a thousand fearfull wrackes:
    A thousand men that Fishes gnaw'd vpon:
    Wedges of Gold, great Anchors, heapes of Pearle,
    Inestimable Stones, vnvalewed Iewels,
    All scattred in the bottome of the Sea,
    865Some lay in dead-mens Sculles, and in the holes
    Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept
    (As 'twere in scorne of eyes) reflecting Gemmes,
    That woo'd the slimy bottome of the deepe,
    And mock'd the dead bones that lay scattred by.
    870Keep. Had you such leysure in the time of death
    To gaze vpon these secrets of the deepe?
    Cla. Me thought I had, and often did I striue
    To yeeld the Ghost: but still the enuious Flood
    Stop'd in my soule, and would not let it forth
    875To find the empty, vast, and wand'ring ayre:
    But smother'd it within my panting bulke,
    Who almost burst, to belch it in the Sea.
    Keep. Awak'd you not in this sore Agony?
    Clar. No, no, my Dreame was lengthen'd after life.
    880O then, began the Tempest to my Soule.
    I past (me thought) the Melancholly Flood,
    With that sowre Ferry-man which Poets write of,
    Vnto the Kingdome of perpetuall Night.
    The first that there did greet my Stranger-soule,
    885Was my great Father-in-Law, renowned Warwicke,
    Who spake alowd: What scourge for Periurie,
    Can this darke Monarchy affoord false Clarence?
    And so he vanish'd. Then came wand'ring by,
    A Shadow like an Angell, with bright hayre
    890Dabbel'd in blood, and he shriek'd out alowd
    Clarence is come, false, fle eting, periur'd Clarence,
    That stabb'd me in the field by Tewkesbury:
    Seize on him Furies, take him vnto Torment.
    With that (me thought) a Legion of foule Fiends
    895Inuiron'd me, and howled in mine eares
    Such hiddeous cries, that with the very Noise,
    I (trembling) wak'd, and for a season after,
    Could not beleeue, but that I was in Hell,
    Such terrible Impression made my Dreame.
    900Keep. No maruell Lord, though it affrighted you,
    I am affraid (me thinkes) to heare you tell it.
    Cla. Ah Keeper, Keeper, I haue done these things
    (That now giue euidence against my Soule)
    For Edwards sake, and see how he requits mee.
    905O God! if my deepe prayres cannot appease thee,
    But thou wilt be aueng'd on my misdeeds,
    Yet execute thy wrath in me alone:
    O spare my guiltlesse Wife, and my poore children.
    Keeper, I prythee sit by me a-while,
    910My Soule is heauy, and I faine would sleepe.
    Keep. I will my Lord, God giue your Grace good rest.
    Enter Brakenbury the Lieutenant.
    Bra. Sorrow breakes Seasons, and reposing houres,
    Makes the Night Morning, and the Noon-tide night:
    915Princes haue but their Titles for their Glories,
    An outward Honor, for an inward Toyle,
    And for vnfelt Imaginations
    They often feele a world of restlesse Cares:
    So that betweene their Titles, and low Name,
    920There's nothing differs, but the outward fame.
    Enter two Murtherers.
    1. Mur. Ho, who's heere?
    Bra. What would'st thou Fellow? And how camm'st
    thou hither.
    9252. Mur. I would speak with Clarence, and I came hi-
    ther on my Legges.
    Bra. What so breefe?
    1. 'Tis better (Sir) then to be tedious:
    Let him see our Commission, and talke no more. Reads
    930Bra. I am in this, commanded to deliuer
    The Noble Duke of Clarence to your hands.
    I will not reason what is meant heereby,
    Because I will be guiltlesse from the meaning.
    There lies the Duke asleepe, and there the Keyes.
    935Ile to the King, and signifie to him,
    That thus I haue resign'd to you my charge. Exit.
    1 You may sir, 'tis a point of wisedome:
    Far you well.
    2 What, shall we stab him as he sleepes.
    9401 No: hee'l say 'twas done cowardly, when he wakes
    2 Why he shall neuer wake, vntill the great Iudge-
    ment day.
    1 Why then hee'l say, we stab'd him sleeping.
    2 The vrging of that word Iudgement, hath bred a
    945kinde of remorse in me.
    1 What? art thou affraid?
    2 Not to kill him, hauing a Warrant,
    But to be damn'd for killing him, from the which
    No Warrant can defend me.
    9501 I thought thou had'st bin resolute.
    2 So I am, to let him liue.
    1 Ile backe to the Duke of Glouster, and tell him so.
    2 Nay, I prythee stay a little:
    I hope this passionate humor of mine, will change,
    955It was wont to hold me but while one tels twenty.
    1 How do'st thou feele thy selfe now?
    2 Some certaine dregges of conscience are yet with-
    in mee.
    1 Remember our Reward, when the deed's done.
    9602 Come, he dies: I had forgot the Reward.
    1 Where's thy conscience now.
    2 O, in the Duke of Glousters purse.
    1 When hee opens his purse to giue vs our Reward,
    thy Conscience flyes out.
    9652 'Tis no matter, let it goe: There's few or none will
    entertaine it.
    1 What if it come to thee againe?
    2 Ile not meddle with it, it makes a man a Coward:
    A man cannot steale, but it accuseth him: A man cannot
    970Sweare, but it Checkes him: A man cannot lye with his
    Neighbours Wife, but it detects him. 'Tis a blushing
    shamefac'd spirit, that mutinies in a mans bosome: It
    filles a man full of Obstacles. It made me once restore a
    Pursse of Gold that (by chance) I found: It beggars any
    975man that keepes it: It is turn'd out of Townes and Cit-
    ties for a dangerous thing, and euery man that means to
    liue well, endeuours to trust to himselfe, and liue with-
    out it.
    1 'Tis euen now at my elbow, perswading me not to
    980kill the Dkue.
    2 Take the diuell in thy minde, and beleeue him not:
    He would insinuate with thee but to make thee sigh.
    1 I am strong fram'd, he cannot preuaile with me.
    2 Spoke like a tall man, that respects thy reputation.
    985Come, shall we fall to worke?
    1 Take him on the Costard, with the hiltes of thy
    Sword, and then throw him into the Malmesey-Butte in
    the next roome.
    2 O excellent deuice; and make a sop of him.
    9901 Soft, he wakes.
    2 Strike.
    1 No, wee'l reason with him.
    Cla. Where art thou Keeper? Giue me a cup of wine.
    2 You shall haue Wine enough my Lord anon.
    995Cla. In Gods name, what art thou?
    1 A man, as you are.
    Cla. But not as I am Royall.
    1 Nor you as we are, Loyall.
    Cla. Thy voice is Thunder, but thy looks are humble.
    10001 My voice is now the Kings, my lookes mine owne.
    Cla. How darkly, and how deadly dost thou speake?
    Your eyes do menace me: why looke you pale?
    Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come?
    2 To, to, to---
    1005Cla. To murther me?
    Both. I, I.
    Cla. You scarsely haue the hearts to tell me so,
    And therefore cannot haue the hearts to do it.
    Wherein my Friends haue I offended you?
    10101 Offended vs you haue not, but the King.
    Cla. I shall be reconcil'd to him againe.
    2 Neuer my Lord, therefore prepare to dye.
    Cla. Are you drawne forth among a world of men
    To slay the innocent? What is my offence?
    1015Where is the Euidence that doth accuse me?
    What lawfull Quest haue giuen their Verdict vp
    Vnto the frowning Iudge? Or who pronounc'd
    The bitter sentence of poore Clarence death,
    Before I be conuict by course of Law?
    1020To threaten me with death, is most vnlawfull.
    I charge you, as you hope for any goodnesse,
    That you depart, and lay no hands on me:
    The deed you vndertake is damnable.
    1 What we will do, we do vpon command.
    10252 And he that hath commanded, is our King.
    Cla. Erroneous Vassals, the great King of Kings
    Hath in the Table of his Law commanded
    That thou shalt do no murther. Will you then
    Spurne at his Edict, and fulfill a Mans?
    1030Take heed: for he holds Vengeance in his hand,
    To hurle vpon their heads that breake his Law.
    2 And that same Vengeance doth he hurle on thee,
    For false Forswearing, and for murther too:
    Thou did'st receiue the Sacrament, to fight
    1035In quarrell of the House of Lancaster.
    1 And like a Traitor to the name of God,
    Did'st breake that Vow, and with thy treacherous blade,
    Vnrip'st the Bowels of thy Sou'raignes Sonne.
    2 Whom thou was't sworne to cherish and defend.
    10401 How canst thou vrge Gods dreadfull Law to vs,
    When thou hast broke it in such deere degree?
    Cla. Alas! for whose sake did I that ill deede?
    For Edward, for my Brother, for his sake.
    He sends you not to murther me for this:
    1045For in that sinne, he is as deepe as I.
    If God will be auenged for the deed,
    O know you yet, he doth it publiquely,
    Take not the quarrell from his powrefull arme:
    He needs no indirect, or lawlesse course,
    1050To cut off those that haue offended him.
    1 Who made thee then a bloudy minister,
    When gallant springing braue Plantagenet,
    That Princely Nouice was strucke dead by thee?
    Cla. My Brothers loue, the Diuell, and my Rage.
    10551 Thy Brothers Loue, our Duty, and thy Faults,
    Prouoke vs hither now, to slaughter thee.
    Cla. If you do loue my Brother, hate not me:
    I am his Brother, and I loue him well.
    If you are hyr'd for meed, go backe againe,
    1060And I will send you to my Brother Glouster:
    Who shall reward you better for my life,
    Then Edward will for tydings of my death.
    2 You are deceiu'd,
    Your Brother Glouster hates you.
    1065Cla. Oh no, he loues me, and he holds me deere:
    Go you to him from me.
    1 I so we will.
    Cla. Tell him, when that our Princely Father Yorke,
    Blest his three Sonnes with his victorious Arme,
    1070He little thought of this diuided Friendship:
    Bid Glouster thinke on this, and he will weepe.
    1 I Milstones, as he lessoned vs to weepe.
    Cla. O do not slander him, for he is kinde.
    1 Right, as Snow in Haruest:
    1075Come, you deceiue your selfe,
    'Tis he that sends vs to destroy you heere.
    Cla. It cannot be, for he bewept my Fortune,
    And hugg'd me in his armes, and swore with sobs,
    That he would labour my deliuery.
    10801 Why so he doth, when he deliuers you
    From this earths thraldome, to the ioyes of heauen.
    2 Make peace with God, for you must die my Lord.
    Cla. Haue you that holy feeling in your soules,
    To counsaile me to make my peace with God,
    1085And are you yet to your owne soules so blinde,
    That you will warre with God, by murd'ring me.
    O sirs consider, they that set you on
    To do this deede, will hate you for the deede.
    2 What shall we do?
    1090Clar. Relent, and saue your soules:
    Which of you, if you were a Princes Sonne,
    Being pent from Liberty, as I am now,
    If two such murtherers as your selues came to you,
    Would not intreat for life, as you would begge
    1095Were you in my distresse.
    1 Relent? no: 'Tis cowardly and womanish.
    Cla. Not to relent, is beastly, sauage, diuellish:
    My Friend, I spy some pitty in thy lookes:
    O, if thine eye be not a Flatterer,
    1100Come thou on my side, and intreate for mee,
    A begging Prince, what begger pitties not.
    2 Looke behinde you, my Lord.
    1 Take that, and that, if all this will not do, Stabs him.
    Ile drowne you in the Malmesey-But within. Exit.
    11052 A bloody deed, and desperately dispatcht:
    How faine (like Pilate) would I wash my hands
    Of this most greeuous murther. Enter 1. Murtherer
    1 How now? what mean'st thou that thou help'st me
    not? By Heauen the Duke shall know how slacke you
    1110haue beene.
    2. Mur. I would he knew that I had sau'd his brother,
    Take thou the Fee, and tell him what I say,
    For I repent me that the Duke is slaine. Exit.
    1. Mur. So do not I: go Coward as thou art.
    1115Well, Ile go hide the body in some hole,
    Till that the Duke giue order for his buriall:
    And when I haue my meede, I will away,
    For this will out, and then I must not stay. Exit