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  • Title: Richard the Third (Modern)
  • Editor: Adrian Kiernander

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Adrian Kiernander
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Richard the Third (Modern)

    Enter [the] Duchess of York, with Clarence's children.
    Tell me, good granam, is our father dead?
    No, boy.
    Why do you wring your hands and beat your breast
    And cry, "Oh Clarence, my unhappy son?"
    Why do you look on us and shake your head
    And call us wretches, orphans, castaways
    If that our noble father be alive?
    My pretty cousins, you mistake me much.
    I do lament the sickness of the King,
    As loath to lose him, not your father's death.
    It were lost labor to weep for one that's lost.
    Then granam, you conclude that he is dead.
    1285The King my uncle is too blame for this:
    God will revenge it, whom I will importune
    With daily prayers, all to that effect.
    Peace, children, peace, the King doth love you well.
    1290Incapable and shallow innocents,
    You cannot guess who caused your father's death.
    Granam we can: for my good uncle Gloucester
    Told me the King, provokèd by the Queen,
    Devised impeachments to imprison him.
    1295And when he told me so he wept,
    And hugged me in his arm, and kindly kissed my cheek,
    And bade me rely on him as in my father,
    And he would love me dearly as his child.
    Oh, that deceit should steal such gentle shapes,
    1300And with a virtuous vizard hide foul guile.
    He is my son, yea, and therein my shame,
    Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.
    Think you my uncle did dissemble, granam?
    Aye, boy.
    I cannot think it -- [Wailing within] Hark, what noise is this?
    Enter the Quee[n, in distress].
    Queen Elizabeth
    Oh, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,
    To chide my fortune and torment myself?
    1310I'll join with black despair against my soul,
    And to myself become an enemy.
    What means this scene of rude impatience?
    Queen Elizabeth
    To make an act of tragic violence:
    Edward, my lord, your son, our king is dead.
    1315Why grow the branches now the root is withered?
    Why wither not the leaves, the sap being gone?
    If you will live, lament; if die, be brief
    That our swift-wingèd souls may catch the King's,
    Or like obedient subjects, follow him
    1320To his new kingdom of perpetual rest.
    Duchess[To the Queen]
    Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow
    As I had title in thy noble husband:
    I have bewept a worthy husband's death
    And lived by looking on his images.
    1325But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
    Are cracked in pieces by malignant death,
    And I for comfort have but one false glass
    Which grieves me when I see my shame in him.
    Thou art a widow, yet thou art a mother
    1330And hast the comfort of thy children left thee,
    But death hath snatched my children from mine arms
    And plucked two crutches from my feeble limbs,
    Edward and Clarence. Oh, what cause have I
    Thine being but moiety of my grief,
    1335To overgo thy plaints and drown thy cries?
    Boy[To the Queen]
    Good aunt, you wept not for our father's death;
    How can we aid you with our kindred's tears?
    Girl[To the Queen]
    Our fatherless distress was left unmoaned,
    Your widow's dolors likewise be unwept.
    1340Queen Elizabeth
    Give me no help in lamentation;
    I am not barren to bring forth laments:
    All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
    That I, being governed by the watery moon,
    May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world.
    1345Oh, for my husband, for my dear Lord Edward.
    Both children
    Oh, for our father, for our dear Lord Clarence.
    Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence.
    Queen Elizabeth
    What stay had I but Edward, and he is gone?
    Boy, Girl
    What stay had we but Clarence, and he is gone?
    What stays had I but they, and they are gone?
    Queen Elizabeth
    Was never widow had so dear a loss.
    Both children
    Was never orphans had a dearer loss.
    Was never mother had a dearer loss.
    Alas, I am the mother of these moans;
    1355Their woes are parcelled, mine are general.
    She for an Edward weeps, and so do I.
    I for a Clarence weep, so doth not she.
    These babes for Clarence weep, and so do I.
    1358.1I for an Edward weep, so do not they.
    Alas, you three, on me, threefold distressed,
    1360Pour all your tears, I am your sorrow's nurse,
    And I will pamper it with lamentations.
    Enter [Richard] with others [including Buckingham].
    Madam, have comfort, all of us have cause
    To wail the dimming of our shining star
    But none can cure their harms by wailing them.
    Madam my mother, I do cry you mercy,
    1380I did not see your grace; humbly on my knee[Kneels.]
    I crave your blessing.
    God bless thee, and put meekness in thy mind,
    Love, charity, obedience, and true duty.
    Amen, [He stands.] [Aside] and make me die a good old man;
    1385That's the butt end of a mother's blessing.
    I marvel why her grace did leave it out.
    You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers
    That bear this mutual heavy load of moan,
    Now cheer each other in each other's love;
    1390Though we have spent our harvest of this King
    We are to reap the harvest of his son.
    The broken rancor of your high-swollen hearts,
    But lately splinted, knit, and joined together,
    Must gently be preserved, cherished and kept.
    1395Me seemeth good that with some little train
    Forthwith from Ludlow the young Prince be fetched
    Hither to London, to be crowned our King.
    Then it be so, and go we to determine
    Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow.
    Madam, and you my mother, will you go
    1420To give your censures in this weighty business?
    With all our hearts.
    Exeunt, [Richard and Buckingham remain].
    My lord, whoever journeys to the Prince,
    For God's sake let not us two stay behind,
    For by the way I'll sort occasion,
    1425As index to the story we late talked of,
    To part the Queen's proud kindred from the King.
    My other self, my counsel's consistory,
    My oracle, my prophet, my dear cousin!
    I like a child will go by thy direction.
    1430Towards Ludlow then, for we will not stay behind.