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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 [Elizabeth the ]Queen Mother, Duchess of York, Marquess Dorset, at one door, [Anne] Duchess of Gloucest[er] at another door.
    Who meets us here, my niece Plantagenet?
    Queen Elizabeth
    Sister well met; whither away so fast?
    No farther than the Tower, and as I guess
    Upon the like devotion as yourselves:
    To gratulate the tender princes there.
    2485Queen Elizabeth
    Kind sister thanks, we'll enter all together,
    Enter [Brakenbury,] Lieutenant [of the Tower].
    And in good time, here the Lieutenant comes.
    Master Lieutenant, pray you by your leave,
    How fares the Prince?
    Well, madam, and in health, but by your leave
    I may not suffer you to visit him.
    The King hath straitly charged the contrary.
    Queen Elizabeth
    The King? Why, who's that?
    I cry you mercy, I mean the Lord Protector.
    2495Queen Elizabeth
    The Lord protect him from that kingly title.
    Hath he set bounds betwixt their love and me?
    I am their mother, who should keep me from them?
    I am their father's mother, I will see them.
    Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother;
    Then fear not thou, I'll bear thy blame
    And take thy office from thee on my peril.
    I do beseech your graces all to pardon me:
    I am bound by oath, I may not do it.
    Enter L[ord] Stanley.
    Let me but meet you ladies an hour hence,
    And I'll salute your grace of York as mother
    And reverent looker-on of two fair queens.
    2510Come, madam, you must go with me to Westminster,
    There to be crownèd Richard's royal queen.
    Queen Elizabeth
    Oh, cut my lace asunder, that my pent heart
    May have some scope to beat, or else I swoon
    With this dead-killing news.
    Madam, have comfort, how fares your grace?
    Queen Elizabeth
    Oh, Dorset, speak not to me, get thee hence;
    Death and destruction dog thee at the heels.
    2520Thy mother's name is ominous to children.
    If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas
    And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell --
    Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughter house
    Lest thou increase the number of the dead
    2525And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
    Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.
    Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam --
    [To Dorset] Take all the swift advantage of the time;
    You shall have letters from me to my son
    2530To meet you on the way and welcome you.
    Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
    O ill-dispersing wind of misery,
    O my accursèd womb, the bed of death:
    A cockatrice hast thou hatch to the world
    2535Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
    [To Anne] Come, madam, I in all haste was sent.
    And I in all unwillingness will go.
    I would to God that the inclusive verge
    Of golden metal that must round my brow
    2540Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain;
    Annointed let me be with deadly poison
    And die ere men can say, "God save the Queen."
    Queen Elizabeth
    Alas, poor soul, I envy not thy glory;
    To feed my humor, wish thyself no harm.
    No. When he that is my husband now
    Came to me, as I followed Henry's corse,
    When scarce the blood was well washed from his hands
    Which issued from my other angel-husband
    And that dead saint which then I weeping followed,
    2550O when, I say, I looked on Richard's face,
    This was my wish, "Be thou" quoth I, "accursed,
    For making me, so young, so old a widow;
    And when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed,
    And be thy wife, if any be so, made
    2555As miserable by the death of thee
    As thou hast made me by my dear lord's death."
    Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
    Even in so short a space my woman's heart
    Grossly grew captive to his honey words
    2560And proved the subject of my own soul's curse,
    Which ever since hath kept my eyes from sleep,
    For never yet one hour in his bed
    Have I enjoyed the golden dew of sleep,
    But have been wakèd by his timorous dreams.
    2565Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick,
    And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
    Queen Elizabeth
    Alas poor soul, I pity thy complaints.
    No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.
    2570Queen Elizabeth
    [To Anne] Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory.
    [To Elizabeth] Adieu poor soul, thou tak'st thy leave of it.
    [To Dorset] Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee;
    [To Anne] Go thou to Richard, and good angels guard thee;
    2575[To Elizabeth] Go thou to sanctuary, good thoughts possess thee;
    I to my grave where peace and rest lie with me.
    Eighty-odd years of sorrow have I seen,
    And each hour's joy wracked with a week of teen.