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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 a messenger to Lo[rd] Hastings.
    [Knocking at the door.]What ho, my lord.
    [Within.] Who knocks at the door?
    A messenger from the Lord Stanley.
    1800Enter L[ord] Hast[ings].
    What's o'clock?
    Upon the stroke of four.
    Cannot thy master sleep these tedious nights?
    So it should seem by that I have to say:
    First he commends him to your noble lordship.
    And then?
    And then he sends you word
    He dreamed tonight the boar had razed his helm.
    Besides, he says there are two councils held,
    And that may be determined at the one
    1810Which may make you and him to rue at the other.
    Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,
    If presently you will take horse with him
    And with all speed post into the north
    To shun the danger that his soul divines.
    Go fellow, go, return unto thy lord,
    Bid him not fear the separated councils:
    His honor and myself are at the one,
    And at the other is my servant Catesby,
    Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
    1820Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
    Tell him his fears are shallow, wanting instance,
    And for his dreams, I wonder he is so fond
    To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers;
    To fly the boar before the boar pursues us
    1825Were to incense the boar to follow us
    And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
    Go bid thy master rise and come to me
    And we will both together to the Tower
    Where he shall see the boar will use us kindly.
    My gracious lord, I'll tell him what you say.
    Enter Cates[by].
    Many good morrows to my noble lord.
    Good morrow Catesby, you are early stirring;
    1835What news, what news in this our tottering state?
    It is a reeling world indeed, my lord,
    And I believe it will never stand upright
    Till Richard wear the garland of the realm.
    How? Wear the garland? 1840Dost thou mean the crown?
    Aye, my good lord.
    I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
    Ere I will see the crown so foul misplaced.
    But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
    Upon my life, my lord, and hopes to find you forward
    Upon his party for the gain thereof,
    And thereupon he sends you this good news,
    That this same very day your enemies,
    The kindred of the Queen, must die at Pomfret.
    Indeed I am no mourner for that news
    Because they have been still mine enemies;
    But that I'll give my voice on Richard's side
    To bar my master's heirs in true descent,
    God knows I will not do it, to the death.
    God keep your lordship in that gracious mind.
    But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence
    That they who brought me in my master's hate,
    I live to look upon their tragedy.
    1860I tell thee Catesby.
    What, my lord?
    Ere a fortnight make me elder
    I'll send some packing that yet think not on it.
    'Tis a vile thing to die my gracious lord
    When men are unprepared and look not for it.
    Oh, monstrous, monstrous, and so falls it out
    1865With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey, and so 'twill do
    With some men else, who think themselves as safe
    As thou and I, who as thou knowest are dear
    To princely Richard and to Buckingham.
    The Princes both make high account of you,
    1870[Aside] For they account his head upon the bridge.
    I know they do, and I have well deserved it.
    Enter Lord Stanley.
    What my lord, where is your boar spear, man?
    Fear you the boar and go so unprovided?
    My lord, good morrow; good morrow Catesby.
    You may jest on: but by the holy rood
    I do not like these several councils, I.
    My lord I hold my life as dear as you do yours,
    And never in my life I do protest
    1880Was it more precious to me than it is now.
    Think you, but that I know our state secure,
    I would be so triumphant as I am?
    The lords at Pomfret when they rode from London
    Were jocund, and supposed their states was sure,
    1885And they indeed had no cause to mistrust,
    But yet you see how soon the day overcast.
    This sudden stab of rancor I misdoubt;
    Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward.
    But come, my lord, shall we to the Tower?
    I go -- but stay, hear you not the news?
    This day those men you talked of are beheaded.
    They for their truth might better wear their heads
    Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
    1895But come my lord, let us away.
    Enter Hastin[gs], a pursuivant.
    Go you before, I'll follow presently.
    Ex[eun]t Lord Stanley and Catesby.
    Well met Hastings, how goes the world with thee?
    The better that it please your lordship to ask.
    I tell thee fellow, 'tis better with me now
    Than when I met thee last where now we meet:
    Then was I going prisoner to the Tower
    By the suggestion of the Queen's allies,
    1905But now I tell thee -- keep it to thyself --
    This day those enemies are put to death
    And I in better state than ever I was.
    God hold it to your Honor's good content.
    Gramercy Hastings -- hold, spend thou that.
    1910He gives him his purse.
    God save your lordship!
    [Exit pursuivant.]
    Enter a priest.
    What Sir John, you are well met,
    I am beholding to you for your last day's exercise;
    Come the next Sabbath and I will content you.
    He whispers in his ear.
    Enter Buckingham.
    How now Lord Chamberlain, what, talking with a priest?
    Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest;
    Your honor hath no shriving work in hand.
    Good faith, and when I met this holy man
    Those men you talk of came into my mind.
    1925What, go you to the Tower my lord?
    I do, but long I shall not stay;
    I shall return before your lordship thence.
    'Tis like enough, for I stay dinner there.
    [Aside] And supper too, although thou knowest it not.
    1930Come shall we go along?