Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Adrian Kiernander
Not Peer Reviewed

Richard the Third (Modern)

Enter Cardinal [Rotherham], Duchess of York, Queen [Elizabeth], young [Duke of] York.
Cardinal Rotherham
Last night I hear they lay at Northampton.
At Stony Stratford will they be tonight;
1490Tomorrow or next day they will be here.
I long with all my heart to see the Prince;
I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.
Queen Elizabeth
But I hear no, they say my son of York
Hath almost overta'en him in his growth.
Aye mother, but I would not have it so.
Why, my young cousin, it is good to grow.
Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,
My uncle Rivers talked how I did grow
More than my brother. "Aye", quoth my Nuncle Gloucester,
1500"Small herbs have grace, great weeds grow apace",
And since, methinks, I would not grow so fast:
Because sweet flowers are slow, and weeds make haste.
Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
In him that did object the same to thee;
1505He was the wretched'st thing when he was young,
So long a growing, and so leisurely,
That if this were a true rule, he should be gracious.
Cardinal Rotherham
Why, madam, so no doubt he is.
I hope so too, but [yet] let mothers doubt.
Now, by my troth, if I had been remembered
I could have given my uncle's grace a flout
That should have nearer touched his growth than he did mine.
How, my pretty York? I pray thee let me hear it.
Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old;
'Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
Granam, this would have been a biting jest.
I pray thee pretty York, who told thee so?
Granam, his nurse.
His nurse? Why she was dead ere thou wert born.
If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.
Queen Elizabeth
A perilous boy, go to, you are too shrewd.
Cardinal Rotherham
Good madam, be not angry with the child.
1525Queen Elizabeth
Pitchers have ears.
Enter Dorset.
Cardinal Rotherham
Here comes your son, Lord Marquess Dorset.
What news, Lord Marquess?
Such news, my lord, as grieves me to unfold.
Queen Elizabeth
How fares the Prince?
Well, madam, and in health.
What is thy news then?
Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
With them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.
Who hath committed them?
The mighty Dukes, Gloucester and Buckingham.
Cardinal Rotherham
For what offence?
The sum of all I can I have disclosed.
Why or for what these nobles were committed
1540Is all unknown to me, my gracious lady.
Queen Elizabeth
Aye me, I see the downfall of our House;
The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind,
Insulting tyranny begins to jet
Upon the innocent and lawless throne.
1545Welcome destruction, death and massacre:
I see as in a map the end of all.
Accursèd and unquiet wrangling days,
How many of you have mine eyes beheld?
My husband lost his life to get the crown,
1550And often up and down my sons were tossed
For me to joy and weep their gain and loss;
And, being seated and domestic broils
Clean overblown, themselves the conquerors
Make war upon themselves, 1555blood against blood,
Self against self. O preposterous
And frantic Outrage, end thy damnèd spleen,
Or let me die, to look on death no more.
Queen Elizabeth
Come, come, my boy, we will to sanctuary.
I'll go along with you.
Queen Elizabeth
You have no cause.
Cardinal Rotherham
My gracious lady, go,
And thither bear your treasure and your goods;
For my part, I'll resign unto your grace
1565The seal I keep, and so betide to me
As well I tender you and all of yours.
Come, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary.