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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 [Richard] and Buckingham in [rotten] armor[, marvellously ill-favoured].
    Come cousin, 2085canst thou quake and change thy color?
    Murder thy breath in middle of a word,
    And then begin again, and stop again,
    As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?
    Tut, fear not me.
    I can counterfeit the deep tragedian,
    2090Speak, and look back, and pry on every side
    Intending deep suspicion; ghastly looks
    Are at my service like enforcèd smiles,
    And both are ready in their offices
    2095To grace my stratagems.
    Enter Mayor.
    Here comes the Mayor.
    Let me alone to entertain him. Lord Mayor --
    2100Richard [Calling offstage.]
    Look to the drawbridge there!
    The reason we have sent for you --
    [Calling offstage.]Catesby, overlook the walls!
    Hark, I hear a drum!
    Look back, defend thee, here are enemies!
    God and our innocence defend us!
    Enter Catesby with Hast[ings's] head.
    Oh, oh, be quiet, it is Catesby.
    Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
    The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.
    [Gives the head to Richard.]
    So dear I loved the man that I must weep:
    [He weeps.]
    I took him for the plainest, harmless man
    That breathed upon this earth a Christian,
    2112.1Look ye, my Lord Mayor,
    [Shows, or gives, the head to the Mayor.]
    Made him my book wherein my soul recorded
    The history of all her secret thoughts.
    2115So smooth he daubed his vice with show of virtue
    That, his apparent open guilt omitted --
    I mean his conversation with Shore's wife --
    He lived from all attainder of suspect.
    Well, well, he was the covertest sheltered traitor
    2120That ever lived. Would you have imagined
    Or almost believe, wert not by great preservation
    We live to tell it you, the subtle traitor
    Had this day plotted, in the Council House
    2125To murder me and my good Lord of Gloucester?
    What, had he so?
    What? Think you we are Turks or Infidels,
    Or that we would, against the form of law,
    Proceed thus rashly to the villain's death
    2130But that the extreme peril of the case,
    The peace of England and our person's safety
    Enforced us to this execution?
    Now fair befall you, he deserved his death,
    And you my good lords both have well proceeded
    2135To warn false traitors from the like attempts.
    I never looked for better at his hands
    After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.
    Yet had not we determined he should die
    Until your lordship came to see his death,
    2140Which now the loving haste of these our friends,
    Somewhat against our meaning, have prevented,
    Because, my lord, we would have had you heard
    The traitor speak, and timorously confess
    The manner and the purpose of his treason,
    2145That you might well have signified the same
    Unto the citizens, who haply may
    Misconster us in him, and wail his death.
    But, my good lord, your grace's word shall serve
    As well as I had seen or heard him speak,
    2150And doubt you not, right noble Princes both,
    But I'll acquaint your duteous citizens,
    With all your just proceedings in this cause.
    And to that end we wished your lordship here
    To avoid the carping censures of the world.
    But since you come too late of our intents,
    Yet witness what we did intend, and so, my lord, adieu.
    Exit Mayor.
    After, after, cousin Buckingham,
    2160The Mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post.
    There at your meet'st advantage of the time
    Infer the bastardy of Edward's children.
    Tell them how Edward put to death a citizen
    Only for saying he would make his son
    2165Heir to the Crown, meaning indeed his house
    Which by the sign thereof was termèd so.
    Moreover, urge his hateful luxury
    And bestial appetite in change of lust
    Which stretchèd to their servants, daughters, wives,
    2170Even where his lustful eye or savage heart
    Without control listed to make his prey;
    Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:
    Tell them, when that my mother went with child
    Of that insatiate Edward, noble York
    2175My princely father then had wars in France,
    And, by just computation of the time,
    Found that the issue was not his begot,
    Which well appearèd in his lineaments,
    Being nothing like the noble Duke my father.
    2180But touch this sparingly, as it were far off,
    Because, you know, my lord, my mother lives.
    Fear not, my lord, I'll play the orator,
    As if the golden fee for which I plead
    Were for myself.
    If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard's Castle
    Where you shall find me well accompanied
    With reverend fathers and well-learned bishops.
    About three or four o'clock look to hear
    What news Guildhall affordeth, and so my lord, farewell.
    2190Exit Buc[kingham].
    Now will I in to take some privy order
    2195To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight,
    And to give notice that no manner of person
    At any time have recourse unto the Princes.
    [Exeunt Richard and Catesby.]