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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    The trumpets sound. 1570Enter young Prince [Edward], the Dukes of Glocester and Buckingham, Cardinal [Bourchier], [Catesby and others].
    Welcome, sweet Prince, to London, to your chamber.
    Welcome dear cousin, my thought's sovereign;
    1575The weary way hath made you melancholy.
    Prince Edward
    No, uncle, but our crosses on the way
    Have made it tedious, wearisome and heavy.
    I want more uncles here to welcome me.
    Sweet Prince, the untainted virtue of your years
    1580Hath not yet dived into the world's deceit,
    Nor more can you distinguish of a man
    Than of his outward show, which God he knows,
    Seldom or never jumpeth with the heart.
    Those uncles which you want were dangerous;
    1585Your grace attended to their sugared words
    But looked not on the poison of their hearts.
    God keep you from them, and from such false friends.
    Prince Edward
    God keep me from false friends, but they were none.
    My lord, the Mayor of London comes to greet you.
    Enter Lord Mayor.
    God bless your grace with health and happy days.
    1595Prince Edward
    I thank you, good my lord, and thank you all.
    I thought my mother and my brother York
    Would long ere this have met us on the way.
    Fie, what a slug is Hastings that he comes not
    To tell us whether they will come or no.
    1600Enter L[ord] Hast[ings].
    And in good time, here comes the sweating lord.
    Prince Edward
    Welcome my lord. What, will our mother come?
    On what occasion, God he knows, not I,
    The Queen your mother and your brother York
    Have taken sanctuary. The tender Prince
    Would fain have come with me to meet your grace
    But by his mother was perforce withheld.
    Fie, what an indirect and peevish course
    Is this of hers! Lord Cardinal, will your grace
    Persuade the Queen to send the Duke of York
    Unto his princely brother presently?
    If she deny, Lord Hastings go with him,
    1615And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.
    Cardinal Bourchier
    My Lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory
    Can from his mother win the Duke of York,
    Anon expect him here, but if she be obdurate
    To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid
    1620We should infringe the holy privilege
    Of blessèd sanctuary; not for all this land
    Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.
    You are too senseless-obstinate my lord,
    Too ceremonious and traditional.
    1625Weigh it but with the grossness of this age.
    You break not sanctuary in seizing him;
    The benefit thereof is always granted
    To those whose dealings have deserved the place
    And those who have the wit to claim the place.
    1630This Prince hath neither claimed it nor deserved it
    And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it.
    Then taking him from thence that is not there
    You break no privilege nor charter there.
    Oft have I heard of sanctuary men,
    1635But sanctuary children, never till now.
    Cardinal Bourchier
    My lord you shall overrule my mind for once.
    Come on Lord Hastings, will you go with me?
    I go my lord. [Exeunt Hastings and the Cardinal.]
    Prince Edward
    Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.
    1640Say uncle Gloucester, if our brother come,
    Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?
    Where it seems best unto your royal self.
    If I may counsel you, some day or two
    Your highness shall repose you at the Tower;
    1645Then where you please, and shall be thought most fit
    For your best health and recreation.
    Prince Edward
    I do not like the Tower of any place.
    Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?
    He did, my gracious lord, begin that place
    1650Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.
    Prince Edward
    Is it upon record, or else reported
    Successively from age to age, he built it?
    Upon record my gracious lord.
    Prince Edward
    But say, my lord, it were not registered,
    1655Methinks the truth should live from age to age,
    As 'twere retailed to all posterity,
    Even to the general, all-ending day.
    [Aside] So wise so young, they say, do never live long.
    Prince Edward
    What say you, uncle?
    I say, without characters fame lives long.
    [Aside] Thus like the formal Vice, Iniquity,
    I moralize two meanings in one word.
    Prince Edward
    That Julius Caesar was a famous man;
    With what his valor did enrich his wit,
    1665His wit set down to make his valor live:
    Death makes no conquest of this conqueror
    For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
    I'll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham.
    What, my gracious lord?
    1670Prince Edward
    And if I live until I be a man
    I'll win our ancient right in France again
    Or die a soldier as I lived a king.
    [Aside] Short summers lightly have a forward spring.
    Enter young York, Hastings, Cardinal.
    Now in good time, here comes the Duke of York.
    Prince Edward
    Richard of York, how fares our loving brother?
    Well, my dread lord, so must I call you now.
    1680Prince Edward
    Aye, brother, to our grief as it is yours;
    Too late he died that might have kept that title,
    Which by his death hath lost much majesty.
    How fares our cousin, noble Lord of York?
    I thank you, gentle uncle. Oh, my lord,
    1685You said that idle weeds are fast in growth:
    The Prince my brother hath outgrown me far.
    He hath, my lord.
    And therefore is he idle?
    Oh, my fair cousin, I must not say so.
    Then he is more beholding to you than I.
    He may command me as my sovereign,
    But you have power in me as in a kinsman.
    I pray you uncle, give me this dagger.
    My dagger, little cousin, with all my heart.
    1695Prince Edward
    A beggar, brother?
    Of my kind uncle that I know will give,
    And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.
    A greater gift than that I'll give my cousin.
    A greater gift, oh, that's the sword to it.
    Aye, gentle cousin, were it light enough.
    Oh, then I see you will part but with light gifts;
    In weightier things you'll say a beggar nay.
    It is too heavy for your grace to wear.
    I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.
    What, would you have my weapon, little lord?
    I would, that I might thank you as you call me.
    York Little.
    1710Prince Edward
    My Lord of York will still be cross in talk;
    Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him.
    You mean, to bear me, not to bear with me:
    Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me:
    Because that I am little, like an ape,
    1715He thinks that you should bear me on your shoulder.
    With what a sharp-provided wit he reasons:
    To mitigate the scorn he gives his uncle
    He prettily and aptly taunts himself;
    So cunning and so young is wonderful.
    My lord, will't please you pass along?
    Myself and my good cousin Buckingham
    Will to your mother, to entreat of her
    To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.
    [To Prince Edward] What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?
    1725Prince Edward
    My Lord Protector needs will have it so.
    I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower.
    Why, what should you fear?
    Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost.
    My granam told me he was murdered there.
    1730Prince Edward
    I fear no uncles dead.
    Nor none that live, I hope.
    Prince Edward
    And if they live, I hope I need not fear.
    But come my lord, with a heavy heart,
    Thinking on them, go I unto the Tower.
    1735Exeunt Prin[ce Edward], [Duke of] Yor[k, Cardinal,] Hast[ings, and Mayor]. Rich[ard], Buck[ingham and Catesby remain].
    Think you, my lord, this little prating York
    Was not incensèd by his subtle mother
    To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?
    No doubt, no doubt, oh, 'tis a perilous boy,
    Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable,
    He is all the mother's, from the top to toe.
    Well, let them rest. Come hither, Catesby.[Catesby approaches Richard and Buckingham.]
    Thou art sworn as deeply to effect what we intend
    1745As closely to conceal what we impart.
    Thou knowest our reasons urged upon the way;
    What thinkest thou? Is it not an easy matter
    To make William Lord Hastings of our mind
    For the installment of this noble Duke
    1750In the seat royal of this famous isle?
    He for his father's sake so loves the Prince
    That he will not be won to aught against him.
    What thinkest thou then of Stanley, what will he?
    He will do all in all as Hastings doth.
    Well then, no more but this:
    Go, gentle Catesby, and as it were afar off,
    Sound thou Lord Hastings, how he stands affected
    Unto our purpose; if he be willing,
    Encourage him and show him all our reasons.
    If he be leaden, icy, cold, unwilling,
    1765Be thou so too, and so break off your talk
    And give us notice of his inclination,
    For we tomorrow hold divided councils,
    Wherein thyself shalt highly be employed.
    Commend me to Lord William, tell him Catesby,
    1770His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
    Tomorrow are let blood at Pomfret Castle;
    And bid my friend, for joy of this good news,
    Give Mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more.
    Good Catesby, effect this business soundly.
    My good lords both, with all the heed I may.
    Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?
    You shall my lord.
    At Crosby Place, there shall you find us both.
    [Exit Catesby.]
    Now my lord, what shall we do if we perceive
    William Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?
    Chop off his head, man -- somewhat we will do;
    1785And look when I am King, claim thou of me
    The earldom of Hereford and the moveables
    Whereof the King my brother stood possessed.
    I'll claim that promise at your grace's hands.
    And look to have it yielded with all willingness.
    1790Come let us sup betimes, that afterwards
    We may digest our complots in some form.