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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)

    Enter Richard and Buckingham at seuerall Doores.
    Rich. How now, how now, what say the Citizens?
    2215Buck. Now by the holy Mother of our Lord,
    The Citizens are mum, say not a word.
    Rich. Toucht you the Bastardie of Edwards Children?
    Buck I did, with his Contract with Lady Lucy,
    And his Contract by Deputie in France,
    2220Th'vnsatiate greedinesse of his desire,
    And his enforcement of the Citie Wiues,
    His Tyrannie for Trifles, his owne Bastardie,
    As being got, your Father then in France,
    And his resemblance, being not like the Duke.
    2225Withall, I did inferre your Lineaments,
    Being the right Idea of your Father,
    Both in your forme, and Noblenesse of Minde:
    Layd open all your Victories in Scotland,
    Your Discipline in Warre, Wisdome in Peace,
    2230Your Bountie, Vertue, faire Humilitie:
    Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose,
    Vntoucht, or sleightly handled in discourse.
    And when my Oratorie drew toward end,
    I bid them that did loue their Countries good,
    2235Cry, God saue Richard, Englands Royall King.
    Rich. And did they so?
    Buck. No, so God helpe me, they spake not a word,
    But like dumbe Statues, or breathing Stones,
    Star'd each on other, and look'd deadly pale:
    2240Which when I saw, I reprehended them,
    And ask'd the Maior, what meant this wilfull silence?
    His answer was, the people were not vsed
    To be spoke to, but by the Recorder.
    Then he was vrg'd to tell my Tale againe:
    2245Thus sayth the Duke, thus hath the Duke inferr'd,
    But nothing spoke, in warrant from himselfe.
    When he had done, some followers of mine owne,
    At lower end of the Hall, hurld vp their Caps,
    And some tenne voyces cry'd, God saue King Richard:
    2250And thus I tooke the vantage of those few.
    Thankes gentle Citizens, and friends, quoth I,
    This generall applause, and chearefull showt,
    Argues your wisdome, and your loue to Richard:
    And euen here brake off, and came away.
    2255Rich. What tongue-lesse Blockes were they,
    Would they not speake?
    Will not the Maior then, and his Brethren, come?
    Buck. The Maior is here at hand: intend some feare,
    Be not you spoke with, but by mightie suit:
    2260And looke you get a Prayer-Booke in your hand,
    And stand betweene two Church-men, good my Lord,
    For on that ground Ile make a holy Descant:
    And be not easily wonne to our requests,
    Play the Maids part, still answer nay, and take it.
    2265Rich. I goe: and if you plead as well for them,
    As I can say nay to thee for my selfe,
    No doubt we bring it to a happie issue.
    Buck. Go, go vp to the Leads, the Lord Maior knocks.
    Enter the Maior, and Citizens.
    2270Welcome, my Lord, I dance attendance here,
    I thinke the Duke will not be spoke withall.
    Enter Catesby.
    Buck. Now Catesby, what sayes your Lord to my
    2275Catesby. He doth entreat your Grace, my Noble Lord,
    To visit him to morrow, or next day:
    He is within, with two right reuerend Fathers,
    Diuinely bent to Meditation,
    And in no Worldly suites would he be mou'd,
    2280To draw him from his holy Exercise.
    Buck. Returne, good Catesby, to the gracious Duke,
    Tell him, my selfe, the Maior and Aldermen,
    In deepe designes, in matter of great moment,
    No lesse importing then our generall good,
    2285Are come to haue some conference with his Grace.
    Catesby. Ile signifie so much vnto him straight. Exit.
    Buck. Ah ha, my Lord, this Prince is not an Edward,
    He is not lulling on a lewd Loue-Bed,
    But on his Knees, at Meditation:
    2290Not dallying with a Brace of Curtizans,
    But meditating with two deepe Diuines:
    Not sleeping, to engrosse his idle Body,
    But praying, to enrich his watchfull Soule.
    Happie were England, would this vertuous Prince
    2295Take on his Grace the Soueraigntie thereof.
    But sure I feare we shall not winne him to it.
    Maior. Marry God defend his Grace should say vs
    Buck. I feare he will: here Catesby comes againe.
    2300Enter Catesby.
    Now Catesby, what sayes his Grace?
    Catesby. He wonders to what end you haue assembled
    Such troopes of Citizens, to come to him,
    His Grace not being warn'd thereof before:
    2305He feares, my Lord, you meane no good to him.
    Buck. Sorry I am, my Noble Cousin should
    Suspect me, that I meane no good to him:
    By Heauen, we come to him in perfit loue,
    And so once more returne, and tell his Grace. Exit.
    2310When holy and deuout Religious men
    Are at their Beades, 'tis much to draw them thence,
    So sweet is zealous Contemplation.
    Enter Richard aloft, betweene two Bishops.
    Maior. See where his Grace stands, tweene two Clergie
    Buck. Two Props of Vertue, for a Christian Prince,
    To stay him from the fall of Vanitie:
    And see a Booke of Prayer in his hand,
    True Ornaments to know a holy man.
    2320Famous Plantagenet, most gracious Prince,
    Lend fauourable eare to our requests,
    And pardon vs the interruption
    Of thy Deuotion, and right Christian Zeale.
    Rich. My Lord, there needes no such Apologie:
    2325I doe beseech your Grace to pardon me,
    Who earnest in the seruice of my God,
    Deferr'd the visitation of my friends.
    But leauing this, what is your Graces pleasure?
    Buck. Euen that (I hope) which pleaseth God aboue,
    2330And all good men, of this vngouern'd Ile.
    Rich. I doe suspect I haue done some offence,
    That seemes disgracious in the Cities eye,
    And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.
    Buck. You haue, my Lord:
    2335Would it might please your Grace,
    On our entreaties, to amend your fault.
    Rich. Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian Land.
    Buck. Know then, it is your fault, that you resigne
    The Supreme Seat, the Throne Maiesticall,
    2340The Sceptred Office of your Ancestors,
    Your State of Fortune, and your Deaw of Birth,
    The Lineall Glory of your Royall House,
    To the corruption of a blemisht Stock;
    Whiles in the mildnesse of your sleepie thoughts,
    2345Which here we waken to our Countries good,
    The Noble Ile doth want his proper Limmes:
    His Face defac'd with skarres of Infamie,
    His Royall Stock grafft with ignoble Plants,
    And almost shouldred in the swallowing Gulfe
    2350Of darke Forgetfulnesse, and deepe Obliuion.
    Which to recure, we heartily solicite
    Your gracious selfe to take on you the charge
    And Kingly Gouernment of this your Land:
    Not as Protector, Steward, Substitute,
    2355Or lowly Factor, for anothers gaine;
    But as successiuely, from Blood to Blood,
    Your Right of Birth, your Empyrie, your owne.
    For this, consorted with the Citizens,
    Your very Worshipfull and louing friends,
    2360And by their vehement instigation,
    In this iust Cause come I to moue your Grace.
    Rich. I cannot tell, if to depart in silence,
    Or bitterly to speake in your reproofe,
    Best fitteth my Degree, or your Condition.
    2365If not to answer, you might haply thinke,
    Tongue-ty'd Ambition, not replying, yeelded
    To beare the Golden Yoake of Soueraigntie,
    Which fondly you would here impose on me.
    If to reproue you for this suit of yours,
    2370So season'd with your faithfull loue to me,
    Then on the other side I check'd my friends.
    Therefore to speake, and to auoid the first,
    And then in speaking, not to incurre the last,
    Definitiuely thus I answer you.
    2375Your loue deserues my thankes, but my desert
    Vnmeritable, shunnes your high request.
    First, if all Obstacles were cut away,
    And that my Path were euen to the Crowne,
    As the ripe Reuenue, and due of Birth:
    2380Yet so much is my pouertie of spirit,
    So mightie, and so manie my defects,
    That I would rather hide me from my Greatnesse,
    Being a Barke to brooke no mightie Sea;
    Then in my Greatnesse couet to be hid,
    2385And in the vapour of my Glory smother'd.
    But God be thank'd, there is no need of me,
    And much I need to helpe you, were there need:
    The Royall Tree hath left vs Royall Fruit,
    Which mellow'd by the stealing howres of time,
    2390Will well become the Seat of Maiestie,
    And make (no doubt) vs happy by his Reigne.
    On him I lay that, you would lay on me,
    The Right and Fortune of his happie Starres,
    Which God defend that I should wring from him.
    2395Buck. My Lord, this argues Conscience in your Grace,
    But the respects thereof are nice, and triuiall,
    All circumstances well considered.
    You say, that Edward is your Brothers Sonne,
    So say we too, but not by Edwards Wife:
    2400For first was he contract to Lady Lucie,
    Your Mother liues a Witnesse to his Vow;
    And afterward by substitute betroth'd
    To Bona, Sister to the King of France.
    These both put off, a poore Petitioner,
    2405A Care-cras'd Mother to a many Sonnes,
    A Beautie-waining, and distressed Widow,
    Euen in the after-noone of her best dayes,
    Made prize and purchase of his wanton Eye,
    Seduc'd the pitch, and height of his degree,
    2410To base declension, and loath'd Bigamie.
    By her, in his vnlawfull Bed, he got
    This Edward, whom our Manners call the Prince.
    More bitterly could I expostulate,
    Saue that for reuerence to some aliue,
    2415I giue a sparing limit to my Tongue.
    Then good, my Lord, take to your Royall selfe
    This proffer'd benefit of Dignitie:
    If not to blesse vs and the Land withall,
    Yet to draw forth your Noble Ancestrie
    2420From the corruption of abusing times,
    Vnto a Lineall true deriued course.
    Maior. Do good my Lord, your Citizens entreat you.
    Buck. Refuse not, mightie Lord, this proffer'd loue.
    Catesb. O make them ioyfull, grant their lawfull suit.
    2425Rich. Alas, why would you heape this Care on me?
    I am vnfit for State, and Maiestie:
    I doe beseech you take it not amisse,
    I cannot, nor I will not yeeld to you.
    Buck. If you refuse it, as in loue and zeale,
    2430Loth to depose the Child, your Brothers Sonne,
    As well we know your tendernesse of heart,
    And gentle, kinde, effeminate remorse,
    Which we haue noted in you to your Kindred,
    And egally indeede to all Estates:
    2435Yet know, where you accept our suit, or no,
    Your Brothers Sonne shall neuer reigne our King,
    But we will plant some other in the Throne,
    To the disgrace and downe-fall of your House:
    And in this resolution here we leaue you.
    2440Come Citizens, we will entreat no more. Exeunt.
    Catesb. Call him againe, sweet Prince, accept their suit:
    If you denie them, all the Land will rue it.
    Rich. Will you enforce me to a world of Cares.
    Call them againe, I am not made of Stones,
    2445But penetrable to your kinde entreaties,
    Albeit against my Conscience and my Soule.
    Enter Buckingham, and the rest.
    Cousin of Buckingham, and sage graue men,
    Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
    2450To beare her burthen, where I will or no.
    I must haue patience to endure the Load:
    But if black Scandall, or foule-fac'd Reproach,
    Attend the sequell of your Imposition,
    Your meere enforcement shall acquittance me
    2455From all the impure blots and staynes thereof;
    For God doth know, and you may partly see,
    How farre I am from the desire of this.
    Maior. God blesse your Grace, wee see it, and will
    say it.
    2460Rich. In saying so, you shall but say the truth.
    Buck. Then I salute you with this Royall Title,
    Long liue King Richard, Englands worthie King.
    All. Amen.
    Buck. To morrow may it please you to be Crown'd.
    2465Rich. Euen when you please, for you will haue it so.
    Buck. To morrow then we will attend your Grace,
    And so most ioyfully we take our leaue.
    Rich. Come, let vs to our holy Worke againe.
    Farewell my Cousins, farewell gentle friends. Exeunt.