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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 King Richard [in arms], Norfolk, Ratcliffe, Catesby, with others.
    King Richard
    Here pitch our tents, even here in Bosworth field.
    [Two tents are brought on.]
    Why, how now Catesby, why look'st thou so sad?
    My heart is ten times lighter than my looks.
    King Richard
    Norfolk, come hither.
    [Norfolk approaches King Richard.]
    Norfolk, we must have knocks, ha, must we not?
    We must both give and take, my gracious lord.
    King Richard
    Up with my tent there, here will I lie tonight,
    [Soldiers put up the tents.]
    But where tomorrow? Well, all is one for that.
    Who hath descried the number of the foe?
    Six or seven thousand is their utmost number.
    3445King Richard
    Why, our battalion trebles that account!
    Besides, the King's name is a tower of strength
    Which they upon the adverse party want.
    [To the soldiers pitching the tent]
    Up with my tent there. Valiant gentlemen,
    Let us survey the vantage of the field.
    3450Call for some men of sound direction:
    Let's want no discipline, make no delay,
    For lords, tomorrow is a busy day.
    Enter Richmond with the lords, [including Captain Blunt, and other soldiers].
    The weary sun hath made a golden set,
    And by the bright track of his fiery car
    Gives signal of a goodly day tomorrow.
    Where is Sir William Brandon? He shall bear my standard;
    3465The Earl of Pembroke keep his regiment.
    Good Captain Blunt, bear my good night to him,
    And by the second hour in the morning
    Desire the Earl to see me in my tent.
    Yet one thing more, good Blunt, before thou goest:
    3470Where is Lord Stanley quartered, dost thou know?
    Unless I have mista'en his colors much,
    Which well I am assured I have not done,
    His regiment lies half a mile at least
    South from the mighty power of the King.
    If without peril it be possible,
    Sweet Blunt, make some good means to speak with him
    And give him from me this most needful scroll.
    Upon my life, my lord, I'll undertake it.
    Farewell, good Blunt. [Exit Blunt.]
    Give me some ink and paper in my tent;
    3460I'll draw the form and model of our battle,
    Limit each leader to his several charge,
    And part in just proportion our small strength.
    Come, let us consult upon tomorrow's business;
    Into our tent, the air is raw and cold.
    [They withdraw into the tent.]
    3485Enter King Richard, Norf[olk], Ratcliffe, Catesby, and [others].
    King Richard
    What is o'clock?
    It is six o'clock, full supper time.
    King Richard
    I will not sup tonight. Give me some ink and paper;
    [A soldier exits.]
    3490What? Is my beaver easier than it was?
    And all my armor laid into my tent?
    It is, my liege, and all things are in readiness.
    King Richard
    Good Norfolk, hie thee to thy charge,
    Use careful watch, choose trusty sentinel.
    I go, my lord.
    King Richard
    Stir with the lark tomorrow, gentle Norfolk.
    I warrant you, my lord.
    King Richard
    My lord?
    3500King Richard
    Send out a pursuivant-at-arms
    To Stanley's regiment; bid him bring his power
    Before sun rising lest his son George fall
    Into the blind cave of eternal night.
    [Exit Catesby.]
    Fill me a bowl of wine, give me a watch,
    3505Saddle white Surrey for the field tomorrow;
    Look that my staves be sound and not too heavy. Ratcliffe.
    [Exeunt all except Richard and Ratcliffe.]
    My lord?
    King Richard
    Saw'st thou the melancholy Lord Northumberland?
    Thomas the Earl of Surrey and himself
    3510Much about cockshut time from troop to troop
    Went through the army cheering up the soldiers.
    King Richard
    So, I am satisfied; give me a bowl of wine.
    [Ratcliffe fetches or pours wine.]
    I have not that alacrity of spirit
    Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have.
    3515Set it down.
    [Ratcliffe puts the bowl down.]
    Is ink and paper ready?
    It is, my lord.
    King Richard
    Bid my guard watch, leave me.
    [Ratcliffe starts to exit.]
    Ratcliffe, about the mid of night come to my tent
    And help to arm me. Leave me I say.
    Exit Ratcliffe. [Richard remains in his tent.]
    3520Enter [Stanley] to Richmond [and the lords] in his tent.
    Fortune and victory sit on thy helm!
    All comfort that the dark night can afford
    Be to thy person, noble father-in-law.
    Tell me, how fares our loving mother?
    I by attorney bless thee from thy mother
    Who prays continually for Richmond's good;
    So much for that. The silent hours steal on
    And flaky darkness breaks within the east.
    In brief, for so the season bids us be:
    3530Prepare thy battle early in the morning,
    And put thy fortune to the arbitrement
    Of bloody strokes and mortal-staring War.
    I as I may, (that which I would, I cannot),
    With best advantage will deceive the time
    3535And aid thee in this doubtful shock of arms,
    But on thy side I may not be too forward,
    Lest being seen, thy brother, tender George
    Be executed in his father's sight.
    Farewell. The leisure and the fearful time
    3540Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love
    And ample interchange of sweet discourse
    Which so-long-sundered friends should dwell upon.
    God give us leisure for these rites of love!
    Once more adieu, be valiant and speed well.
    Good lords, conduct him to his regiment;
    I'll strive with troubled thoughts to take a nap
    Lest leaden slumber peise me down tomorrow,
    When I should mount with wings of victory.
    Once more good night, kind lords and gentlemen.
    3550Exeunt. [Richmond stays. He kneels in prayer.]
    O thou, whose captain I account myself,
    Look on my forces with a gracious eye:
    Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath
    That they may crush down with a heavy fall
    3555The usurping helmets of our adversaries.
    Make us thy ministers of chastisement
    That we may praise thee in the victory;
    To thee I do commend my watchful soul
    Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes;
    3560Sleeping and waking, O defend me still.
    Enter the ghost of young Prince Edward, son [of] [Henry] the Sixt[h], to Ri[chard's tent].
    Ghost of young Prince Edward
    To Ri[chard] Let me sit heavy on thy soul tomorrow.
    Think how thou stabd'st me in my prime of youth
    3565At Tewkesbury; despair therefore and die.
    To Rich[mond] Be cheerful Richmond, for the wrongèd souls
    Of butchered princes fight in thy behalf;
    King Henry's issue, Richmond, comforts thee.
    3570Enter the ghost of Henry the Sixt[h].
    Ghost of Henry VI
    To Ri[chard] When I was mortal, my anointed body
    By thee was punchèd full of deadly holes;
    Think on the Tower and me, despair and die;
    Harry the Sixth bids thee despair and die.
    3575To Rich[mond] Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror;
    Harry that prophesied thou shouldst be King
    Doth comfort thee in thy sleep; live and flourish.[Exit.]
    Enter the Ghost of Clarence.
    Ghost of Clarence
    [To Richard] Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow,
    3580I that was washed to death with fulsome wine,
    Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death:
    Tomorrow in the battle think on me
    And fall thy edgeless sword; despair and die.
    To Rich[mond] Thou offspring of the House of Lancaster,
    3585The wrongèd heirs of York do pray for thee.
    Good angels guard thy battle, live and flourish.[Exit.]
    Enter the ghosts of Rivers, Grey, Vaughan.
    Ghost of Rivers
    [To Richard] Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow,
    Rivers that died at Pomfret; despair and die.
    3590Ghost of Grey
    [To Richard] Think upon Grey and let thy soul despair.
    Ghost of Vaughan
    [To Richard] Think upon Vaughan and, with guilty fear,
    Let fall thy lance, despair and die.
    To Ri[chmond] Awake and think our wrongs in Richard's bosom
    3595Will conquer him: awake and win the day.[Exeunt.]
    Enter the ghosts of the two young Princes.
    GhostsTo Ri[chard] Dream on thy cousins 3605smothered in the Tower;
    Let us be lead within thy bosom, Richard,
    And weigh thee down to ruin, shame and death;
    Thy nephews' souls bid thee despair and die.
    To Rich[mond] Sleep, Richmond, 3610sleep in peace and wake in joy;
    Good angels guard thee from the boar's annoy;
    Live and beget a happy race of kings;
    Edward's unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.[Exeunt.]
    Enter the ghost of Hastings.
    Ghost of Hastings
    [To Richard] Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake
    And in a bloody battle end thy days;
    Think on Lord Hastings, despair and die.
    3600To Rich[mond] Quiet, untroubled soul, awake, awake,
    Arm, fight and conquer for fair England's sake.[Exit.]
    Enter the ghost of Lady Anne, his wife.
    3615Ghost of Lady Anne
    [To Richard] Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife
    That never slept a quiet hour with thee
    Now fills thy sleep with perturbations;
    Tomorrow in the battle think on me
    3620And fall thy edgeless sword; despair and die.
    To Rich[mond] Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep,
    Dream of success and happy victory,
    Thy adversary's wife doth pray for thee.
    3625Enter the Ghost of Buckingham.
    [Ghost of Buckingham]
    [To Richard]
    The first was I that helped thee to the crown,
    The last was I that felt thy tyranny;
    Oh, in the battle think on Buckingham
    3630And die in terror of thy guiltiness.
    Dream on, dream on of bloody deeds and death,
    Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath.
    To Rich[mond] I died for hope ere I could lend thee aid,
    3635But cheer thy heart and be thou not dismayed;
    God and good angels fight on Richmond's side,
    And Richard falls in height of all his pride.[Exit.]
    Richard starts up out of a dream.
    King Richard
    Give me another horse! Bind up my wounds!
    3640Have mercy Jesu -- soft, I did but dream.
    O coward Conscience, how dost thou afflict me?
    The lights burn blue, it is now dead midnight,
    Cold, fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.
    What do I fear? Myself? There's none else by;
    3645Richard loves Richard, that is I, and I,
    Is there a murderer here? No -- Yes, I am.
    Then fly -- what, from myself? Great reason, why?
    Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?
    Alack, I love myself -- Wherefore? For any good
    3650That I myself have done unto myself?
    O no, alas, I rather hate myself
    For hateful deeds committed by myself:
    I am a villain -- yet I lie, I am not.
    Fool, of thyself speak well -- fool do not flatter,
    3655My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
    And every tongue brings in a several tale,
    And every tale condemns me for a villain.
    Perjury, perjury in the highest degree,
    Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree.
    3660All several sins, all used in each degree
    Throng to the bar, crying all, "Guilty, guilty!"
    I shall despair, there is no creature loves me,
    And if I die no soul will pity me;
    And wherefore should they, since that I myself
    3665Find in myself no pity to myself.
    Methought the souls of all that I had murdered,
    Came to my tent, and every one did threat
    Tomorrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.
    Enter Ratcliffe.
    My lord.
    King Richard
    Zounds! Who is there?
    Ratcliffe, my lord, 'tis I; the early village cock
    Hath twice done salutation to the morn;
    Your friends are up, and buckle on their armor.
    3674.1King Richard
    Oh, Ratcliffe, I have dreamed a fearful dream;
    What think'st thou, will our friends prove all true?
    No doubt, my lord.
    3675King Richard
    O Ratcliffe, I fear, I fear.
    Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.
    King Richard
    By the Apostle Paul, shadows tonight
    Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard
    Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers
    3680Armèd in proof and led by shallow Richmond.
    'Tis not yet near day; come, go with me:
    Under our tents I'll play the eavesdropper
    To see if any mean to shrink from me.
    3685Enter the lords to Richmond[, sitting in his tent].
    Good morrow, Richmond.
    Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen,
    That you have ta'en a tardy sluggard here.
    How have you slept, my lord?
    The sweetest sleep, and fairest-boding dreams
    That ever entered in a drowsy head
    Have I since your departure had, my lords;
    3695Methought their souls whose bodies Richard murdered
    Came to my tent and cried on victory.
    I promise you, my soul is very jocund
    In the remembrance of so fair a dream.
    How far into the morning is it, lords?
    Upon the stroke of four.
    Why then, 'tis time to arm and give direction.
    His oration to his soldiers.
    More than I have said, loving countrymen,
    The leisure and enforcement of the time
    3705Forbids to dwell upon; yet remember this:
    God and our good cause fight upon our side;
    The prayers of holy saints and wrongèd souls,
    Like high-reared bulwarks stand before our faces.
    Richard except, those whom we fight against
    3710Had rather have us win than him they follow;
    For what is he they follow? Truly, gentlemen,
    A bloody tyrant and a homicide.
    One raised in blood, and one in blood established,
    One that made means to come by what he hath
    3715And slaughtered those that were the means to help him;
    A base, foul stone, made precious by the foil
    Of England's chair, where he is falsely set;
    One that hath ever been God's enemy.
    Then, if you fight against God's enemy,
    3720God will in justice ward you as his soldiers;
    If you do sweat to put a tyrant down,
    You sleep in peace, the tyrant being slain;
    If you do fight against your country's foes,
    Your country's fat shall pay your pains the hire;
    3725If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,
    Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors;
    If you do free your children from the sword,
    Your children's children quits it in your age:
    Then, in the name of God and all these rights,
    3730Advance your standards! Draw your willing swords!
    For me, the ransom of my bold attempt
    Shall be this cold corpse on the earth's cold face:
    But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt,
    The least of you shall share his part thereof.
    3735Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully,
    [Trumpets and drums sound.]
    God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!
    Enter King Richard, Rat[cliffe, Catesby and others].
    King Richard
    What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?
    That he was never trainèd up in arms.
    3740King Richard
    He said the truth, and what said Surrey then?
    He smiled and said, "The better for our purpose".
    King Richard
    He was in the right, and so indeed it is --
    The clock strikes.
    Tell the clock there!
    Give me a calendar;
    Who saw the sun today?
    [Richard is given and consults the calendar.]
    Not I, my lord.
    King Richard
    Then he disdains to shine, for by the book
    He should have braved the east an hour ago;
    A black day will it be to somebody. Ratcliffe.
    My lord.
    3750King Richard
    The sun will not be seen today,
    The sky doth frown and lour upon our army.
    I would these dewy tears were from the ground.
    Not shine today? Why, what is that to me
    More than to Richmond, for the self-same heaven
    3755That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.
    Enter Norfolk.
    Arm, arm my lord, the foe vaunts in the field.
    King Richard
    Come, bustle, bustle, caparison my horse,
    Call up Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power.
    [Exit a messenger.]
    3760I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain
    And thus my battle shall be ordered:
    My forward shall be drawn out all in length
    Consisting equally of horse and foot;
    Our archers shall be placèd in the midst;
    3765John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey
    Shall have the leading of this foot and horse.
    They thus directed, we will follow
    In the main battle, whose puissance on either side
    Shall be well wingèd with our chiefest horse;
    3770This, and Saint George to boot; what think'st thou, Norfolk?
    A good direction, warlike sovereign,
    He shows him a paper.
    This found I on my tent this morning.
    Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold,
    3775For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.
    King Richard
    A thing devisèd by the enemy.
    Go, gentlemen, every man unto his charge;
    Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls;
    Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
    3780Devised at first to keep the strong in awe.
    Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.
    March on, join bravely, let us to it pell mell,
    If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell!
    His oration to his army.
    What shall I say more than I have inferred?
    3785Remember whom you are to cope withal,
    A sort of vagabonds, rascals and runaways,
    A scum of Bretons and base lackey peasants
    Whom their o'er-cloyèd country vomits forth
    To desperate adventures and assured destruction;
    3790You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest,
    You having lands and blest with beauteous wives,
    They would restrain the one, distain the other;
    And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,
    Long kept in Brittany at our mother's cost,
    3795A milksop, one that never in his life
    Felt so much cold as over shoes in snow.
    Let's whip these stragglers o'er the seas again,
    Lash hence these overweening rags of France,
    These famished beggars weary of their lives
    3800Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,
    For want of means, poor rats, had hanged themselves;
    If we be conquered, let men conquer us
    And not these bastard Bretons, whom our fathers
    Have in their own land beaten, bobbed and thumped,
    3805And in record left them the heirs of shame.
    Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives?
    Ravish our daughters? --
    [Drums offstage]
    hark, I hear their drum:
    Fight, gentlemen of England; fight, bold yeomen;
    3810Draw archers, draw your arrows to the head;
    Spur your proud horses hard and ride in blood;
    Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!
    [Enter a messenger.]
    [To the messenger]
    What says Lord Stanley, will he bring his power?
    My lord, he doth deny to come.
    King Richard
    Off with his son George's head!
    My lord, the enemy is past the marsh;
    After the battle let George Stanley die.
    King Richard
    A thousand hearts are great within my bosom;
    3820Advance our standards, set upon our foes,
    Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
    Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons.
    Upon them! Victory sits on our helms!