Internet Shakespeare Editions


Jump to line
Help on texts

About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    [A throne is set forth.] The trumpets sound. Enter Richard crowned, Buckingham, Catesby, with other nobles [and a page boy].
    2590King Richard
    Stand all apart!
    [The courtiers stand back.]
    Cousin of Buckingham,
    Give me thy hand:
    Here he ascends the throne[, assisted by Buckingham].
    Thus high by thy advice
    And thy assistance is King Richard seated;
    2595But shall we wear these honors for a day?
    Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?
    Still live they, and for ever may they last.
    King Richard
    Oh, Buckingham, now do I play the touch
    To try if thou be current gold indeed:
    2600Young Edward lives -- think now what I would say.
    Say on, my gracious sovereign.
    King Richard
    Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king.
    Why so you are, my thrice renownèd liege.
    King Richard
    Ha! Am I king? 'Tis so, but Edward lives.
    True, noble Prince.
    King Richard
    Oh, bitter consequence
    That Edward still should live true noble prince. . .
    Cousin, thou wert not wont to be so dull:
    Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead
    2610And I would have it suddenly performed.
    What say'st thou? Speak suddenly, be brief.
    Your grace may do your pleasure.
    King Richard
    Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness freezeth;
    Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
    Give me some breath, some little pause, my lord
    Before I positively speak herein:
    I will resolve your grace immediately.
    [Quietly] The King is angry, see, he bites the lip.
    King Richard
    [Aside] I will converse with iron-witted fools
    2620And unrespective boys, none are for me
    That look into me with considerate eyes.
    [A page approaches the throne.]
    High reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
    My lord.
    2625King Richard
    Know'st thou not any whom corrupting gold
    Would tempt unto a close exploit of death?
    My lord, I know a discontented gentleman
    Whose humble means match not his haughty mind;
    Gold were as good as twenty orators
    2630And will no doubt tempt him to anything.
    King Richard
    What is his name?
    His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
    King Richard
    Go call him hither presently.
    [Exit boy.]
    2635The deep-revolving, witty Buckingham
    No more shall be the neighbor to my counsel.
    Hath he so long held out with me untired
    And stops he now for breath?
    Enter Stanley.
    2640How now, what news with you?
    My lord, I hear the Marquess Dorset
    Is fled to Richmond, in those parts beyond the seas where he
    [Richard dismisses Stanley, who retreats.]
    King Richard
    [Approaching King Richard.] My lord.
    King Richard
    Rumor it abroad
    2645That Anne my wife is sick and like to die;
    I will take order for her keeping close.
    Enquire me out some mean-born gentleman
    Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter;
    The boy is foolish, and I fear not him:
    2650Look how thou dream'st! I say again, give out
    That Anne my wife is sick and like to die.
    About it,
    [Exit Catesby.]
    for it stands me much upon
    To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.
    I must be married to my brother's daughter
    2655Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.
    Murder her brothers, and then marry her. . .
    Uncertain way of gain, but I am in
    So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.
    Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.
    2660Enter Tyrrel. [King Richard beckons him.]
    Is thy name Tyrrel?
    James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.
    King Richard
    Art thou indeed?
    Prove me my gracious sovereign.
    2665King Richard
    Dar'st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
    Aye, my lord, but I had rather kill two enemies.
    King Richard
    Why, there thou hast it, two deep enemies,
    Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep's disturbers
    2670Are they that I would have thee deal upon:
    Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
    Let me have open means to come to them
    And soon I'll rid you from the fear of them.
    King Richard
    Thou sing'st sweet music. 2675Come hither Tyrrel,
    [Tyrrel moves closer to King Richard and kneels; Richard gives him a token.]
    Go by that token; rise and lend thine ear --
    [Tyrrel stands; Richard] whispers in his ear.
    'Tis no more but so, say is it done
    And I will love thee and prefer thee too.
    'Tis done, my gracious lord.
    2679.1 King Richard
    Shall we hear from thee, Tyrrel, ere we sleep?
    Ye shall, my lord.
    2680Enter Buc[kingham. He approaches King Richard].
    My lord, I have considered in my mind
    The late demand that you did sound me in.
    King Richard
    Well, let that pass. Dorset is fled to Richmond.
    I hear that news, my lord.
    2685King Richard
    Stanley, he is your wife's son. Well, look to it.
    My lord, I claim your gift, my due by promise
    For which your honor and your faith is pawned:
    The Earldom of Hereford and the moveables
    2690The which you promisèd I should possess.
    King Richard
    Stanley, look to your wife; if she convey
    Letters to Richmond you shall answer it.
    What says your highness to my just demand?
    King Richard
    As I remember, Henry the Sixth
    2695Did prophesy that Richmond should be king
    When Richmond was a little peevish boy:
    A king perhaps, perhaps.
    My lord.
    2697.1King Richard
    How chance the prophet could not at that time
    Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him.
    My lord, your promise for the Earldom.
    King Richard
    Richmond. When last I was at Exeter
    2697.5The Mayor in courtesy showed me the Castle
    And called it Rouge-mount, at which name I started,
    Because a bard of Ireland told me once
    I should not live long after I saw Richmond.
    My lord.
    2697.10King Richard
    Aye, what's o'clock?
    I am thus bold to put your grace in mind
    Of what you promised me.
    King Richard
    Well, but what's o'clock?
    Upon the stroke of ten.
    2697.15King Richard
    Well, let it strike.
    Why let it strike?
    King Richard
    Because that like a Jack thou keep'st the stroke
    Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
    I am not in the giving vein today.
    Why then, resolve me whether you will or no!
    King Richard
    Tut, tut, thou troublest me, I am not in the vein.
    Exit[. All follow except Buckingham].
    Is it even so, reward'st he my true service
    With such deep contempt, made I him King for this?
    Oh, let me think on Hastings and be gone
    To Brecknock while my fearful head is on.