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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 lords to Council, [including Hastings, Buckingham, Stanley and the Bishop of Ely, at a table].
    My lords, at once the cause why we are met
    Is to determine of the coronation.
    In God's name say, when is this royal day?
    Are all things fitting for that royal time?
    It is, and wants but nomination.
    Tomorrow then I guess a happy time.
    Who knows the Lord Protector's mind herein?
    Who is most inward with the noble Duke?
    Why you, my lord; methinks you should soonest know his mind.
    Who I, my lord? We know each other's faces,
    But for our hearts, he knows no more of mine
    Than I of yours; nor I no more of his than you of mine.
    1980Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.
    I thank his grace, I know he loves me well,
    But for his purpose in the coronation,
    I have not sounded him nor he delivered
    His grace's pleasure any way therein:
    1985But you my noble lords may name the time
    And in the Duke's behalf I'll give my voice,
    Which I presume he will take in gentle part.
    Now in good time, here comes the Duke himself.
    Ent[er Richard].
    My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow,
    I have been long a sleeper, but I hope
    My absence doth neglect no great designs
    Which by my presence might have been concluded.
    Had not you come upon your cue, my lord,
    1995William Lord Hastings had now pronounced your part --
    I mean, your voice for crowning of the King.
    Than my Lord Hastings no man might be bolder:
    His lordship knows me well, and loves me well.
    I thank your grace.
    My Lord of Ely.
    My lord?
    When I was last in Holborn
    2000I saw good strawberries in your garden there.
    I do beseech you, send for some of them.
    I go, my lord.
    Cousin Buckingham, a word with you.
    [They move aside.]
    2005Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business
    And finds the testy gentleman so hot,
    As he will lose his head ere give consent
    His master's son as, worshipful, he terms it,
    Shall lose the royalty of England's throne.
    Withdraw you hence, my lord, I'll follow you.
    Ex[eunt Richard and Buckingham].
    We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
    Tomorrow in mine opinion is too sudden
    For I myself am not so well provided
    Enter B[ishop] of Ely.
    2015As else I would be were the day prolonged.
    Where is my Lord Protector? I have sent for these strawberries.
    His grace looks cheerfully and smooth today;
    2020There's some conceit or other likes him well
    When he doth bid good morrow with such a spirit.
    I think there is never a man in Christendom
    That can lesser hide his love or hate than he,
    For by his face straight shall you know his heart.
    What of his heart perceive you in his face
    By any likelihood he showed today?
    Marry, that with no man here he is offended,
    For if he were, he would have shown it in his looks.
    I pray God he be not, I say.
    Enter [Richard with Buckingham and Catesby].
    I pray you all, what do they deserve
    That do conspire my death with devilish plots
    Of damnèd witchcraft, and that have prevailed,
    Upon my body with their hellish charms?
    The tender love I bear your grace, my lord,
    2035Makes me most forward in this noble presence
    To doom the offenders, whatsoever they be.
    I say my lord, they have deservèd death.
    Then be your eyes the witness of this ill:
    See how I am bewitched: behold mine arm
    2040Is like a blasted sapling withered up.
    This is that Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,
    Consorted with that harlot strumpet Shore,
    That by their witchcraft thus have markèd me.
    If they have done this thing, my gracious lord --
    If! Thou protector of this damnèd strumpet,
    Tell'st thou me of ifs? Thou art a traitor.
    Off with his head! Now by Saint Paul
    I will not dine today, I swear,
    Until I see the same. Some see it done,
    2050The rest that love me, come and follow me.
    Exeunt.Cat[esby remains] with Ha[stings].
    Woe, woe for England, not a whit for me,
    For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
    2055Stanley did dream the boar did race his helm
    But I disdained it and did scorn to fly.
    Three times today my footcloth horse did stumble
    And startled when he looked upon the Tower
    As loath to bear me to the slaughterhouse.
    2060Oh, now I want the priest that spake to me,
    I now repent I told the pursuivant,
    As 'twere triumphing at mine enemies,
    How they at Pomfret bloodily were butchered,
    And I myself secure in grace and favor.
    2065O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
    Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head.
    Dispatch, my lord, the Duke would be at dinner:
    Make a short shrift, he longs to see your head.
    O momentary state of worldly men
    2070Which we more hunt for than the grace of heaven,
    Who builds his hopes in air of your fair looks
    Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
    Ready with every nod to tumble down
    Into the fatal bowels of the deep.
    Come, lead me to the block, bear him my head,
    2080They smile at me that shortly shall be dead.
    The table is removed.