The Tragedy of Richard the Third
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DRAMATIS PERSONAE (Persons Represented):
- KING EDWARD THE FOURTH
Sons to the king
- EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES afterwards KING EDWARD V
- RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK
Brothers to the king
- GEORGE, DUKE OF CLARENCE
- RICHARD, DUKE OF GLOSTER, afterwards KING RICHARD III
- A YOUNG SON OF CLARENCE
- HENRY, EARL OF RICHMOND, afterwards KING HENRY VII
- CARDINAL BOURCHIER, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
- THOMAS ROTHERHAM, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
- JOHN MORTON, BISHOP OF ELY
- DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM
- DUKE OF NORFOLK
- EARL OF SURREY, his son
- EARL RIVERS, brother to King Edward's Queen
- MARQUIS OF DORSET and LORD GREY, her sons
- EARL OF OXFORD
- LORD HASTINGS
- LORD STANLEY
- LORD LOVEL
- SIR THOMAS VAUGHAN
- SIR RICHARD RATCLIFF
- SIR WILLIAM CATESBY
- SIR JAMES TYRREL
- SIR JAMES BLOUNT
- SIR WALTER HERBERT
- SIR ROBERT BRAKENBURY, Lieutenant of the Tower
- CHRISTOPHER URSWICK, a priest
- Another Priest
- LORD MAYOR OF LONDON
- SHERIFF OF WILTSHIRE
- ELIZABETH, Queen to King Edward IV
- MARGARET, widow to King Henry VI
- DUCHESS OF YORK, mother to King Edward IV, Clarence, and Gloster
- LADY ANNE, widow to Edward, Prince of Wales, son to King
- Henry VI; afterwards married to the Duke of Gloster
- A YOUNG DAUGHTER OF CLARENCE
- Lords, and other Attendants; two Gentlemen, a Pursuivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Murderers, Messengers, Ghosts, Soldiers, &c.
King Richard the Third
- 1 ACT I.
- 2 ACT II.
- 3 ACT III.
- 4 ACT IV.
- 5 ACT V.
SCENE I. London. A street
- Now is the winter of our discontent
- Made glorious summer by this son of York;
- And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
- In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
- Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
- Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
- Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings,
- Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
- Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
- And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds
- To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
- He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
- To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
- But I,—that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
- Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
- I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
- To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
- I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
- Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
- Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time
- Into this breathing world scarce half made up,
- And that so lamely and unfashionable
- That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;—
- Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
- Have no delight to pass away the time,
- Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
- And descant on mine own deformity:
- And therefore,—since I cannot prove a lover,
- To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
- I am determined to prove a villain,
- And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
- Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
- By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
- To set my brother Clarence and the king
- In deadly hate: the one against the other.
- And if King Edward be as true and just
- As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
- This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up,
- About a prophecy which says that "G"
- Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
- Dive, thoughts, down to my soul:—here Clarence comes.
[Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY.]
- Brother, good day: what means this armed guard
- That waits upon your grace?
- His majesty,
- Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
- This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
- Upon what cause?
- Because my name is George.
- Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
- He should, for that, commit your godfathers:—
- O, belike his majesty hath some intent
- That you should be new-christen'd in the Tower.
- But what's the matter, Clarence? may I know?
- Yea, Richard, when I know; for I protest
- As yet I do not: but, as I can learn,
- He hearkens after prophecies and dreams;
- And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
- And says a wizard told him that by G
- His issue disinherited should be;
- And, for my name of George begins with G,
- It follows in his thought that I am he.
- These, as I learn, and such like toys as these,
- Hath mov'd his highness to commit me now.
- Why, this it is when men are rul'd by women:—
- 'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower;
- My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, 'tis she
- That tempers him to this extremity.
- Was it not she and that good man of worship,
- Antony Woodville, her brother there,
- That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
- From whence this present day he is deliver'd?
- We are not safe, Clarence; we are not safe.
- By heaven, I think there is no man is secure
- But the queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds
- That trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.
- Heard you not what an humble suppliant
- Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
- Humbly complaining to her deity
- Got my Lord Chamberlain his liberty.
- I'll tell you what,—I think it is our way,
- If we will keep in favour with the king,
- To be her men and wear her livery:
- The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself,
- Since that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen,
- Are mighty gossips in our monarchy.
- I beseech your graces both to pardon me;
- His majesty hath straitly given in charge
- That no man shall have private conference,
- Of what degree soever, with your brother.
- Even so; an't please your worship, Brakenbury,
- You may partake of any thing we say:
- We speak no treason, man;—we say the king
- Is wise and virtuous; and his noble queen
- Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous;—
- We say that Shore's wife hath a pretty foot,
- A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
- And that the queen's kindred are made gentlefolks:
- How say you, sir? can you deny all this?
- With this, my lord, myself have naught to do.
- Naught to do with Mistress Shore! I tell thee, fellow,
- He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
- Were best to do it secretly alone.
- What one, my lord?
- Her husband, knave:—wouldst thou betray me?
- I do beseech your grace to pardon me; and, withal,
- Forbear your conference with the noble duke.
- We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.
- We are the queen's abjects and must obey.—
- Brother, farewell: I will unto the king;
- And whatsoe'er you will employ me in,—
- Were it to call King Edward's widow sister,—
- I will perform it to enfranchise you.
- Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
- Touches me deeper than you can imagine.
- I know it pleaseth neither of us well.
- Well, your imprisonment shall not be long;
- I will deliver or else lie for you:
- Meantime, have patience.
- I must perforce: farewell.
[Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and guard.]
- Go tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return.
- Simple, plain Clarence!—I do love thee so
- That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
- If heaven will take the present at our hands.—
- But who comes here? The new-delivered Hastings?
- Good time of day unto my gracious lord!
- As much unto my good Lord Chamberlain!
- Well are you welcome to the open air.
- How hath your lordship brook'd imprisonment?
- With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must;
- But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
- That were the cause of my imprisonment.
- No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too;
- For they that were your enemies are his,
- And have prevail'd as much on him as you.
- More pity that the eagles should be mew'd
- Whiles kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
- What news abroad?
- No news so bad abroad as this at home,—
- The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
- And his physicians fear him mightily.
- Now, by Saint Paul, that news is bad indeed.
- O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
- And overmuch consum'd his royal person:
- 'Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
- What, is he in his bed?
- He is.
- Go you before, and I will follow you.
- He cannot live, I hope; and must not die
- Till George be pack'd with posthorse up to heaven.
- I'll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence
- With lies well steel'd with weighty arguments;
- And, if I fail not in my deep intent,
- Clarence hath not another day to live;
- Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
- And leave the world for me to bustle in!
- For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter:
- What though I kill'd her husband and her father?
- The readiest way to make the wench amends
- Is to become her husband and her father:
- The which will I; not all so much for love
- As for another secret close intent,
- By marrying her, which I must reach unto.
- But yet I run before my horse to market:
- Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns:
- When they are gone, then must I count my gains.
SCENE II. London. Another street.
[Enter the corpse of King Henry the Sixth, borne in an open coffin, Gentlemen bearing halberds to guard it; and Lady Anne as mourner.]
- Set down, set down your honourable load,—
- If honour may be shrouded in a hearse,—
- Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
- Th' untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.—
- Poor key-cold figure of a holy king!
- Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster!
- Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood!
- Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost,
- To hear the lamentations of poor Anne,
- Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughter'd son,
- Stabb'd by the self-same hand that made these wounds!
- Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life,
- I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes:—
- O, cursed be the hand that made these holes!
- Cursed the heart that had the heart to do it!
- Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!
- More direful hap betide that hated wretch
- That makes us wretched by the death of thee,
- Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads,
- Or any creeping venom'd thing that lives!
- If ever he have child, abortive be it,
- Prodigious, and untimely brought to light,
- Whose ugly and unnatural aspect
- May fright the hopeful mother at the view;
- And that be heir to his unhappiness!
- If ever he have wife, let her be made
- More miserable by the death of him
- Than I am made by my young lord and thee!—
- Come, now towards Chertsey with your holy load,
- Taken from Paul's to be interred there;
- And still, as you are weary of this weight,
- Rest you, whiles I lament King Henry's corse.
[The Bearers take up the Corpse and advance.]
- Stay, you that bear the corse, and set it down.
- What black magician conjures up this fiend,
- To stop devoted charitable deeds?
- Villains, set down the corse; or, by Saint Paul,
- I'll make a corse of him that disobeys!
- My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass.
- Unmanner'd dog! stand thou, when I command:
- Advance thy halberd higher than my breast,
- Or, by Saint Paul, I'll strike thee to my foot
- And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.
[The Bearers set down the coffin.]
- What, do you tremble? are you all afraid?
- Alas, I blame you not; for you are mortal,
- And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil.—
- Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of hell!
- Thou hadst but power over his mortal body,
- His soul thou canst not have; therefore, be gone.
- Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.
- Foul devil, for God's sake, hence and trouble us not;
- For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
- Fill'd it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
- If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
- Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.—
- O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's wounds
- Open their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh!
- Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
- For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
- From cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells;
- Thy deeds, inhuman and unnatural,
- Provokes this deluge most unnatural.—
- O God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death!
- O earth, which this blood drink'st, revenge his death!
- Either, heaven, with lightning strike the murderer dead;
- Or, earth, gape open wide and eat him quick,
- As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood,
- Which his hell-govern'd arm hath butchered!
- Lady, you know no rules of charity,
- Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.
- Villain, thou knowest nor law of God nor man:
- No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.
- But I know none, and therefore am no beast.
- O wonderful, when devils tell the truth!
- More wonderful when angels are so angry.—
- Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,
- Of these supposed crimes to give me leave,
- By circumstance, but to acquit myself.
- Vouchsafe, diffus'd infection of a man,
- Of these known evils but to give me leave,
- By circumstance, to accuse thy cursed self.
- Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have
- Some patient leisure to excuse myself.
- Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make
- No excuse current but to hang thyself.
- By such despair I should accuse myself.
- And by despairing shalt thou stand excus'd;
- For doing worthy vengeance on thyself,
- That didst unworthy slaughter upon others.
- Say that I slew them not?
- Then say they were not slain:
- But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.
- I did not kill your husband.
- Why, then he is alive.
- Nay, he is dead; and slain by Edward's hand.
- In thy foul throat thou liest: Queen Margaret saw
- Thy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;
- The which thou once didst bend against her breast,
- But that thy brothers beat aside the point.
- I was provoked by her slanderous tongue
- That laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.
- Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind,
- That never dreamt on aught but butcheries:
- Didst thou not kill this king?
- I grant ye.
- Dost grant me, hedgehog? then, God grant me too
- Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!
- O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous.
- The better for the king of Heaven, that hath him.
- He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.
- Let him thank me that holp to send him thither,
- For he was fitter for that place than earth.
- And thou unfit for any place but hell.
- Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.
- Some dungeon.
- Your bed-chamber.
- Ill rest betide the chamber where thou liest!
- So will it, madam, till I lie with you.
- I hope so.
- I know so.—But, gentle Lady Anne,—
- To leave this keen encounter of our wits,
- And fall something into a slower method,—
- Is not the causer of the timeless deaths
- Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,
- As blameful as the executioner?
- Thou wast the cause and most accurs'd effect.
- Your beauty was the cause of that effect;
- Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep
- To undertake the death of all the world,
- So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.
- If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide,
- These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks.
- These eyes could not endure that beauty's wreck;
- You should not blemish it if I stood by:
- As all the world is cheered by the sun,
- So I by that; it is my day, my life.
- Black night o'ershade thy day, and death thy life!
- Curse not thyself, fair creature; thou art both.
- I would I were, to be reveng'd on thee.
- It is a quarrel most unnatural,
- To be reveng'd on him that loveth thee.
- It is a quarrel just and reasonable,
- To be reveng'd on him that kill'd my husband.
- He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband,
- Did it to help thee to a better husband.
- His better doth not breathe upon the earth.
- He lives that loves thee better than he could.
- Name him.
- Why, that was he.
- The self-same name, but one of better nature.
- Where is he?
[She spits at him.]
- Why dost thou spit at me?
- Would it were mortal poison, for thy sake!
- Never came poison from so sweet a place.
- Never hung poison on a fouler toad.
- Out of my sight! thou dost infect mine eyes.
- Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine.
- Would they were basilisks to strike thee dead!
- I would they were, that I might die at once;
- For now they kill me with a living death.
- Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt tears,
- Sham'd their aspects with store of childish drops:
- These eyes, which never shed remorseful tear,
- No, when my father York and Edward wept,
- To hear the piteous moan that Rutland made
- When black-fac'd Clifford shook his sword at him;
- Nor when thy warlike father, like a child,
- Told the sad story of my father's death,
- And twenty times made pause, to sob and weep,
- That all the standers-by had wet their cheeks,
- Like trees bedash'd with rain; in that sad time
- My manly eyes did scorn an humble tear;
- And what these sorrows could not thence exhale,
- Thy beauty hath, and made them blind with weeping.
- I never su'd to friend nor enemy;
- My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word;
- But, now thy beauty is propos'd my fee,
- My proud heart sues, and prompts my tongue to speak.
[She looks scornfully at him.]
- Teach not thy lip such scorn; for it was made
- For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.
- If thy revengeful heart cannot forgive,
- Lo, here I lend thee this sharp-pointed sword;
- Which if thou please to hide in this true breast
- And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,
- I lay it naked to the deadly stroke,
- And humbly beg the death upon my knee,
- Nay, do not pause; for I did kill King Henry,—
[He lays his breast open; she offers at it with his sword.]
- But 'twas thy beauty that provoked me.
- Nay, now dispatch; 'twas I that stabb'd young Edward,—
[She again offers at his breast.]
- But 'twas thy heavenly face that set me on.
[She lets fall the sword.]
- Take up the sword again, or take up me.
- Arise, dissembler: though I wish thy death,
- I will not be thy executioner.
- Then bid me kill myself, and I will do it.
- I have already.
- That was in thy rage:
- Speak it again, and even with the word,
- This hand, which for thy love did kill thy love;
- Shall, for thy love, kill a far truer love;
- To both their deaths shalt thou be accessary.
- I would I knew thy heart.
- 'Tis figured in my tongue.
- I fear me both are false.
- Then never was man true.
- Well, well, put up your sword.
- Say, then, my peace is made.
- That shalt thou know hereafter.
- But shall I live in hope?
- All men, I hope, live so.
- Vouchsafe to wear this ring.
- To take is not to give.
[She puts on the ring.]
- Look, how this ring encompasseth thy finger,
- Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart;
- Wear both of them, for both of them are thine.
- And if thy poor devoted servant may
- But beg one favour at thy gracious hand,
- Thou dost confirm his happiness for ever.
- What is it?
- That it may please you leave these sad designs
- To him that hath most cause to be a mourner,
- And presently repair to Crosby Place;
- Where,—after I have solemnly interr'd
- At Chertsey monastery, this noble king,
- And wet his grave with my repentant tears,—
- I will with all expedient duty see you:
- For divers unknown reasons, I beseech you,
- Grant me this boon.
- With all my heart; and much it joys me too
- To see you are become so penitent.—
- Tressel and Berkeley, go along with me.
- Bid me farewell.
- 'Tis more than you deserve;
- But since you teach me how to flatter you,
- Imagine I have said farewell already.
[Exeunt Lady Anne, Tress, and Berk.]
- Sirs, take up the corse.
- Towards Chertsey, noble lord?
- No, to White Friars; there attend my coming.
[Exeunt the rest, with the Corpse.]
- Was ever woman in this humour woo'd?
- Was ever woman in this humour won?
- I'll have her; but I will not keep her long.
- What! I that kill'd her husband and his father,
- To take her in her heart's extremest hate;
- With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,
- The bleeding witness of her hatred by;
- Having God, her conscience, and these bars against me,
- And I no friends to back my suit withal,
- But the plain devil and dissembling looks,
- And yet to win her,—all the world to nothing!
- Hath she forgot already that brave prince,
- Edward, her lord, whom I, some three months since,
- Stabb'd in my angry mood at Tewksbury?
- A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman,—
- Fram'd in the prodigality of nature,
- Young, valiant, wise, and, no doubt, right royal,—
- The spacious world cannot again afford:
- And will she yet abase her eyes on me,
- That cropp'd the golden prime of this sweet prince,
- And made her widow to a woeful bed?
- On me, whose all not equals Edward's moiety?
- On me, that halt and am misshapen thus?
- My dukedom to a beggarly denier,
- I do mistake my person all this while:
- Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,
- Myself to be a marvellous proper man.
- I'll be at charges for a looking-glass;
- And entertain a score or two of tailors,
- To study fashions to adorn my body:
- Since I am crept in favour with myself,
- I will maintain it with some little cost.
- But first I'll turn yon fellow in his grave;
- And then return lamenting to my love.—
- Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
- That I may see my shadow as I pass.
SCENE III. London. A Room in the Palace.
[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, LORD RIVERS, and LORD GREY.]
- Have patience, madam: there's no doubt his majesty
- Will soon recover his accustom'd health.
- In that you brook it ill, it makes him worse:
- Therefore, for God's sake, entertain good comfort,
- And cheer his grace with quick and merry eyes.
- If he were dead, what would betide on me?
- No other harm but loss of such a lord.
- The loss of such a lord includes all harms.
- The heavens have bless'd you with a goodly son
- To be your comforter when he is gone.
- Ah, he is young; and his minority
- Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloster,
- A man that loves not me, nor none of you.
- Is it concluded he shall be protector?
- It is determin'd, not concluded yet:
- But so it must be, if the king miscarry.
[Enter BUCKINGHAM and STANLEY.]
- Here come the Lords of Buckingham and Stanley.
- Good time of day unto your royal grace!
- God make your majesty joyful as you have been!
- The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Stanley,
- To your good prayer will scarcely say amen.
- Yet, Stanley, notwithstanding she's your wife,
- And loves not me, be you, good lord, assur'd
- I hate not you for her proud arrogance.
- I do beseech you, either not believe
- The envious slanders of her false accusers;
- Or, if she be accus'd on true report,
- Bear with her weakness, which I think proceeds
- From wayward sickness, and no grounded malice.
- Saw you the king to-day, my Lord of Stanley?
- But now the Duke of Buckingham and I
- Are come from visiting his majesty.
- What likelihood of his amendment, lords?
- Madam, good hope; his grace speaks cheerfully.
- God grant him health! Did you confer with him?
- Ay, madam; he desires to make atonement
- Between the Duke of Gloster and your brothers,
- And between them and my lord chamberlain;
- And sent to warn them to his royal presence.
- Would all were well!—but that will never be:
- I fear our happiness is at the height.
[Enter GLOSTER, HASTINGS, and DORSET.]
- They do me wrong, and I will not endure it:—
- Who are they that complain unto the king
- That I, forsooth, am stern and love them not?
- By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly
- That fill his ears with such dissentious rumours.
- Because I cannot flatter and look fair,
- Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive, and cog,
- Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
- I must be held a rancorous enemy.
- Cannot a plain man live, and think no harm,
- But thus his simple truth must be abus'd
- With silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?
- To who in all this presence speaks your grace?
- To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace.
- When have I injur'd thee? when done thee wrong?—
- Or thee?—or thee?—or any of your faction?
- A plague upon you all! His royal grace,—
- Whom God preserve better than you would wish!—
- Cannot be quiet scarce a breathing while,
- But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.
- Brother of Gloster, you mistake the matter.
- The king, on his own royal disposition,
- And not provok'd by any suitor else—
- Aiming, belike, at your interior hatred
- That in your outward action shows itself
- Against my children, brothers, and myself—
- Makes him to send; that thereby he may gather
- The ground of your ill-will, and so remove it.
- I cannot tell: the world is grown so bad
- That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch:
- Since every Jack became a gentleman,
- There's many a gentle person made a Jack.
- Come, come, we know your meaning, brother Gloster;
- You envy my advancement, and my friends';
- God grant we never may have need of you!
- Meantime, God grants that we have need of you:
- Our brother is imprison'd by your means,
- Myself disgrac'd, and the nobility
- Held in contempt; while great promotions
- Are daily given to ennoble those
- That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.
- By Him that rais'd me to this careful height
- From that contented hap which I enjoy'd,
- I never did incense his majesty
- Against the Duke of Clarence, but have been
- An earnest advocate to plead for him.
- My lord, you do me shameful injury
- Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.
- You may deny that you were not the mean
- Of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment.
- She may, my lord; for,—
- She may, Lord Rivers?—why, who knows not so?
- She may do more, sir, than denying that:
- She may help you to many fair preferments;
- And then deny her aiding hand therein,
- And lay those honours on your high desert.
- What may she not? She may,—ay, marry, may she,—
- What, marry, may she?
- What, marry, may she! marry with a king,
- A bachelor, and a handsome stripling too:
- I wis your grandam had a worser match.
- My Lord of Gloster, I have too long borne
- Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs:
- By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
- Of those gross taunts that oft I have endur'd.
- I had rather be a country servant-maid
- Than a great queen with this condition,—
- To be so baited, scorn'd, and stormed at.
[Enter old QUEEN MARGARET, behind.]
- Small joy have I in being England's queen.
- And lessen'd be that small, God, I beseech Him!
- Thy honour, state, and seat, is due to me.
- What! Threat you me with telling of the king?
- Tell him, and spare not: look what I have said
- I will avouch in presence of the king:
- I dare adventure to be sent to the Tower.
- 'Tis time to speak,—my pains are quite forgot.
- Out, devil! I do remember them too well:
- Thou kill'dst my husband Henry in the Tower,
- And Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.
- Ere you were queen, ay, or your husband king,
- I was a pack-horse in his great affairs;
- A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,
- A liberal rewarder of his friends;
- To royalize his blood I spilt mine own.
- Ay, and much better blood than his or thine.
- In all which time you and your husband Grey
- Were factious for the house of Lancaster;—
- And, Rivers, so were you: was not your husband
- In Margaret's battle at Saint Albans slain?
- Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
- What you have been ere this, and what you are;
- Withal, what I have been, and what I am.
- A murderous villain, and so still thou art.
- Poor Clarence did forsake his father, Warwick;
- Ay, and forswore himself,—which Jesu pardon!—
- Which God revenge!
- To fight on Edward's party for the crown;
- And for his meed, poor lord, he is mew'd up.
- I would to God my heart were flint, like Edward's,
- Or Edward's soft and pitiful, like mine:
- I am too childish-foolish for this world.
- Hie thee to hell for shame and leave this world,
- Thou cacodemon! there thy kingdom is.
- My Lord of Gloster, in those busy days
- Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
- We follow'd then our lord, our sovereign king:
- So should we you, if you should be our king.
- If I should be!—I had rather be a pedler:
- Far be it from my heart, the thought thereof!
- As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
- You should enjoy, were you this country's king,—
- As little joy you may suppose in me,
- That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.
- As little joy enjoys the queen thereof;
- For I am she, and altogether joyless.
- I can no longer hold me patient.—
- Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
- In sharing that which you have pill'd from me!
- Which of you trembles not that looks on me?
- If not that, I am queen, you bow like subjects,
- Yet that, by you depos'd, you quake like rebels?
- Ah, gentle villain, do not turn away!
- Foul wrinkled witch, what mak'st thou in my sight?
- But repetition of what thou hast marr'd,
- That will I make before I let thee go.
- Wert thou not banished on pain of death?
- I was; but I do find more pain in banishment
- Than death can yield me here by my abode.
- A husband and a son thou ow'st to me,—
- And thou a kingdom,—all of you allegiance:
- This sorrow that I have, by right is yours;
- And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.
- The curse my noble father laid on thee,
- When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper,
- And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his eyes;
- And then to dry them gav'st the Duke a clout
- Steep'd in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland;—
- His curses, then from bitterness of soul
- Denounc'd against thee, are all fallen upon thee;
- And God, not we, hath plagu'd thy bloody deed.
- So just is God, to right the innocent.
- O, 'twas the foulest deed to slay that babe,
- And the most merciless that e'er was heard of.
- Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported.
- No man but prophesied revenge for it.
- Northumberland, then present, wept to see it.
- What, were you snarling all before I came,
- Ready to catch each other by the throat,
- And turn you all your hatred now on me?
- Did York's dread curse prevail so much with heaven
- That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death,
- Their kingdom's loss, my woeful banishment,
- Should all but answer for that peevish brat?
- Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?—
- Why, then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses!—
- Though not by war, by surfeit die your king,
- As ours by murder, to make him a king!
- Edward thy son, that now is Prince of Wales,
- For Edward our son, that was Prince of Wales,
- Die in his youth by like untimely violence!
- Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen,
- Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self!
- Long mayest thou live to wail thy children's death;
- And see another, as I see thee now,
- Deck'd in thy rights, as thou art stall'd in mine!
- Long die thy happy days before thy death;
- And, after many lengthen'd hours of grief,
- Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen!—
- Rivers and Dorset, you were standers by,—
- And so wast thou, Lord Hastings,—when my son
- Was stabb'd with bloody daggers: God, I pray Him,
- That none of you may live his natural age,
- But by some unlook'd accident cut off!
- Have done thy charm, thou hateful wither'd hag.
- And leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.
- If heaven have any grievous plague in store
- Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
- O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe,
- And then hurl down their indignation
- On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace!
- The worm of conscience still be-gnaw thy soul!
- Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv'st,
- And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
- No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
- Unless it be while some tormenting dream
- Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils!
- Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog!
- Thou that wast seal'd in thy nativity
- The slave of nature and the son of hell!
- Thou slander of thy heavy mother's womb!
- Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins!
- Thou rag of honour! thou detested—
- I call thee not.
- I cry thee mercy then; for I did think
- That thou hadst call'd me all these bitter names.
- Why, so I did; but look'd for no reply.
- O, let me make the period to my curse!
- 'Tis done by me, and ends in—Margaret.
- Thus have you breath'd your curse against yourself.
- Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my fortune!
- Why strew'st thou sugar on that bottled spider,
- Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about?
- Fool, fool! thou whett'st a knife to kill thyself.
- The day will come that thou shalt wish for me
- To help thee curse this poisonous bunch-back'd toad.
- False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse,
- Lest to thy harm thou move our patience.
- Foul shame upon you! you have all mov'd mine.
- Were you well serv'd, you would be taught your duty.
- To serve me well, you all should do me duty,
- Teach me to be your queen, and you my subjects:
- O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty!
- Dispute not with her,—she is lunatic.
- Peace, master marquis, you are malapert:
- Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current:
- O, that your young nobility could judge
- What 'twere to lose it, and be miserable!
- They that stand high have many blasts to shake them;
- And if they fall they dash themselves to pieces.
- Good counsel, marry:—learn it, learn it, marquis.
- It touches you, my lord, as much as me.
- Ay, and much more: but I was born so high,
- Our aery buildeth in the cedar's top,
- And dallies with the wind, and scorns the sun.
- And turns the sun to shade;—alas! alas!—
- Witness my son, now in the shade of death;
- Whose bright out-shining beams thy cloudy wrath,
- Hath in eternal darkness folded up.
- Your aery buildeth in our aery's nest:—
- O God that seest it, do not suffer it;
- As it is won with blood, lost be it so!
- Peace, peace, for shame, if not for charity.
- Urge neither charity nor shame to me:
- Uncharitably with me have you dealt,
- And shamefully my hopes by you are butcher'd.
- My charity is outrage, life my shame,—
- And in that shame still live my sorrow's rage!
- Have done, have done.
- O princely Buckingham, I'll kiss thy hand,
- In sign of league and amity with thee:
- Now fair befall thee and thy noble house!
- Thy garments are not spotted with our blood,
- Nor thou within the compass of my curse.
- Nor no one here; for curses never pass
- The lips of those that breathe them in the air.
- I will not think but they ascend the sky,
- And there awake God's gentle-sleeping peace.
- O Buckingham, take heed of yonder dog!
- Look, when he fawns he bites; and when he bites,
- His venom tooth will rankle to the death:
- Have not to do with him, beware of him;
- Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,
- And all their ministers attend on him.
- What doth she say, my Lord of Buckingham?
- Nothing that I respect, my gracious lord.
- What, dost thou scorn me for my gentle counsel?
- And soothe the devil that I warn thee from?
- O, but remember this another day,
- When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow,
- And say, poor Margaret was a prophetess!—
- Live each of you the subjects to his hate,
- And he to yours, and all of you to God's!
- My hair doth stand an end to hear her curses.
- And so doth mine: I muse why she's at liberty.
- I cannot blame her: by God's holy mother,
- She hath had too much wrong; and I repent
- My part thereof that I have done to her.
- I never did her any, to my knowledge.
- Yet you have all the vantage of her wrong.
- I was too hot to do somebody good,
- That is too cold in thinking of it now.
- Marry, as for Clarence, he is well repaid;
- He is frank'd up to fatting for his pains;
- God pardon them that are the cause thereof!
- A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion,
- To pray for them that have done scathe to us!
- So do I ever being well advis'd;
- [Aside.] For had I curs'd now, I had curs'd myself.
- Madam, his majesty doth can for you,—
- And for your grace,—and you, my noble lords.
- Catesby, I come.—Lords, will you go with me?
- We wait upon your grace.
[Exeunt all but GLOSTER.]
- I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl.
- The secret mischiefs that I set abroach
- I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
- Clarence,—whom I indeed have cast in darkness,—
- I do beweep to many simple gulls;
- Namely, to Stanley, Hastings, Buckingham;
- And tell them 'tis the queen and her allies
- That stir the king against the duke my brother.
- Now they believe it; and withal whet me
- To be reveng'd on Rivers, Vaughn, Grey:
- But then I sigh; and, with a piece of Scripture,
- Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
- And thus I clothe my naked villany
- With odd old ends stol'n forth of holy writ;
- And seem a saint when most I play the devil.—
- But, soft, here come my executioners.
[Enter two MURDERERS.]
- How now, my hardy stout resolved mates!
- Are you now going to dispatch this thing?
- We are, my lord, and come to have the warrant,
- That we may be admitted where he is.
- Well thought upon;—I have it here about me:
[Gives the warrant.]
- When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.
- But, sirs, be sudden in the execution,
- Withal obdurate, do not hear him plead;
- For Clarence is well-spoken, and perhaps
- May move your hearts to pity, if you mark him.
- Tut, tut, my lord, we will not stand to prate;
- Talkers are no good doers: be assur'd
- We go to use our hands, and not our tongues.
- Your eyes drop millstones when fools' eyes fall tears:
- I like you, lads;—about your business straight;
- Go, go, despatch.
- We will, my noble lord.
SCENE IV. London. A Room in the Tower.
[Enter CLARENCE and BRAKENBURY.]
- Why looks your grace so heavily to-day?
- O, I have pass'd a miserable night,
- So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
- That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
- I would not spend another such a night
- Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days,—
- So full of dismal terror was the time!
- What was your dream, my lord? I pray you tell me.
- Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower,
- And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy;
- And, in my company, my brother Gloster;
- Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
- Upon the hatches: thence we look'd toward England,
- And cited up a thousand heavy times,
- During the wars of York and Lancaster,
- That had befall'n us. As we pac'd along
- Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
- Methought that Gloster stumbled; and, in falling,
- Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard
- Into the tumbling billows of the main.
- O Lord, methought what pain it was to drown!
- What dreadful noise of waters in my ears!
- What sights of ugly death within my eyes!
- Methoughts I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
- A thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon;
- Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
- Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
- All scatt'red in the bottom of the sea:
- Some lay in dead men's skulls; and in the holes
- Where eyes did once inhabit there were crept,—
- As 'twere in scorn of eyes,—reflecting gems,
- That woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
- And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by.
- Had you such leisure in the time of death
- To gaze upon these secrets of the deep?
- Methought I had; and often did I strive
- To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood
- Stopp'd in my soul, and would not let it forth
- To find the empty, vast, and wandering air;
- But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
- Who almost burst to belch it in the sea.
- Awak'd you not in this sore agony?
- No, no, my dream was lengthen'd after life;
- O, then began the tempest to my soul!
- I pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood
- With that grim ferryman which poets write of,
- Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
- The first that there did greet my stranger soul
- Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick;
- Who spake aloud, "What scourge for perjury
- Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?"
- And so he vanish'd: then came wandering by
- A shadow like an Angel, with bright hair
- Dabbled in blood; and he shriek'd out aloud
- "Clarence is come,—false, fleeting, perjur'd Clarence,—
- That stabb'd me in the field by Tewksbury;—
- Seize on him, Furies, take him to your torments!"
- With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends
- Environ'd me, and howled in mine ears
- Such hideous cries that, with the very noise,
- I trembling wak'd, and for a season after
- Could not believe but that I was in hell,—
- Such terrible impression made my dream.
- No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you;
- I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.
- Ah, Brakenbury, I have done these things
- That now give evidence against my soul,
- For Edward's sake; and see how he requites me!—
- O God! If my deep prayers cannot appease Thee,
- But Thou wilt be aveng'd on my misdeeds,
- Yet execute Thy wrath in me alone,—
- O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children!—
- Keeper, I prithee sit by me awhile;
- My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
- I will, my lord; God give your grace good rest!—
[CLARENCE reposes himself on a chair.]
- Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,
- Makes the night morning and the noontide night.
- Princes have but their titles for their glories,
- An outward honour for an inward toil;
- And, for unfelt imaginations,
- They often feel a world of restless cares:
- So that, between their tides and low name,
- There's nothing differs but the outward fame.
[Enter the two MURDERERS.]
- Ho! who's here?
- What wouldst thou, fellow, and how cam'st thou hither?
- I would speak with Clarence, and I came hither on my legs.
- What, so brief?
- 'Tis better, sir, than to be tedious.—Let
- him see our commission and talk no more.
[A paper is delivered to BRAKENBURY, who reads it.]
- I am, in this, commanded to deliver
- The noble Duke of Clarence to your hands:—
- I will not reason what is meant hereby,
- Because I will be guiltless of the meaning.
- There lies the Duke asleep,—and there the keys;
- I'll to the king and signify to him
- That thus I have resign'd to you my charge.
- You may, sir; 'tis a point of wisdom: fare you well.
- What, shall we stab him as he sleeps?
- No; he'll say 'twas done cowardly, when he wakes.
- When he wakes! why, fool, he shall never wake until the great
- Why, then he'll say we stabb'd him sleeping.
- The urging of that word "judgment" hath bred a kind of remorse in
- What, art thou afraid?
- Not to kill him, having a warrant for it; but to be damned
- for killing him, from the which no warrant can defend me.
- I thought thou hadst been resolute.
- So I am, to let him live.
- I'll back to the Duke of Gloster and tell him so.
- Nay, I pr'ythee, stay a little: I hope my holy humour will
- change; it was wont to hold me but while one tells twenty.
- How dost thou feel thyself now?
- Faith, some certain dregs of conscience are yet within me.
- Remember our reward, when the deed's done.
- Zounds, he dies: I had forgot the reward.
- Where's thy conscience now?
- O, in the Duke of Gloster's purse.
- So, when he opens his purse to give us our reward,
- thy conscience flies out.
- 'Tis no matter; let it go; there's few or none will entertain it.
- What if it come to thee again?
- I'll not meddle with it,—it makes a man coward;
- a man cannot steal, but it accuseth him; a man
- cannot swear, but it checks him; a man cannot lie with his
- neighbour's wife, but it detects him: 'tis a blushing shame-
- faced spirit that mutinies in a man's bosom; it fills a man
- full of obstacles: it made me once restore a purse of gold
- that by chance I found; it beggars any man that keeps it:
- it is turned out of towns and cities for a dangerous thing;
- and every man that means to live well endeavours to trust
- to himself and live without it.
- Zounds,'tis even now at my elbow, persuading me
- not to kill the duke.
- Take the devil in thy mind, and believe him not; he would
- insinuate with thee but to make thee sigh.
- I am strong-framed; he cannot prevail with me.
- Spoke like a tall man that respects thy reputation.
- Come, shall we fall to work?
- Take him on the costard with the hilts of thy sword,
- and then throw him in the malmsey-butt in the next room.
- O excellent device! and make a sop of him.
- Soft! he wakes.
- No, we'll reason with him.
- Where art thou, keeper? give me a cup of wine.
- You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon.
- In God's name, what art thou?
- A man, as you are.
- But not as I am, royal.
- Nor you as we are, loyal.
- Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are humble.
- My voice is now the king's, my looks mine own.
- How darkly and how deadly dost thou speak!
- Your eyes do menace me; why look you pale?
- Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come?
- To, to, to—
- To murder me?
- Ay, ay.
- You scarcely have the hearts to tell me so,
- And therefore cannot have the hearts to do it.
- Wherein, my friends, have I offended you?
- Offended us you have not, but the king.
- I shall be reconcil'd to him again.
- Never, my lord; therefore prepare to die.
- Are you drawn forth among a world of men
- To slay the innocent? What is my offence?
- Where is the evidence that doth accuse me?
- What lawful quest have given their verdict up
- Unto the frowning judge? or who pronounc'd
- The bitter sentence of poor Clarence' death?
- Before I be convict by course of law,
- To threaten me with death is most unlawful.
- I charge you, as you hope to have redemption
- By Christ's dear blood shed for our grievous sins,
- That you depart, and lay no hands on me:
- The deed you undertake is damnable.
- What we will do, we do upon command.
- And he that hath commanded is our king.
- Erroneous vassals! the great King of kings
- Hath in the table of his law commanded
- That thou shalt do no murder: will you then
- Spurn at His edict and fulfil a man's?
- Take heed; for He holds vengeance in His hand
- To hurl upon their heads that break His law.
- And that same vengeance doth He hurl on thee
- For false forswearing, and for murder too:
- Thou didst receive the sacrament to fight
- In quarrel of the house of Lancaster.
- And like a traitor to the name of God
- Didst break that vow; and with thy treacherous blade
- Unripp'dst the bowels of thy sovereign's son.
- Whom thou wast sworn to cherish and defend.
- How canst thou urge God's dreadful law to us,
- When thou hast broke it in such dear degree?
- Alas! for whose sake did I that ill deed?
- For Edward, for my brother, for his sake:
- He sends you not to murder me for this;
- For in that sin he is as deep as I.
- If God will be avenged for the deed,
- O, know you yet He doth it publicly.
- Take not the quarrel from His powerful arm;
- He needs no indirect or lawless course
- To cut off those that have offended Him.
- Who made thee, then, a bloody minister
- When gallant-springing brave Plantagenet,
- That princely novice, was struck dead by thee?
- My brother's love, the devil, and my rage.
- Thy brother's love, our duty, and thy faults,
- Provoke us hither now to slaughter thee.
- If you do love my brother, hate not me;
- I am his brother, and I love him well.
- If you are hir'd for meed, go back again,
- And I will send you to my brother Gloster,
- Who shall reward you better for my life
- Than Edward will for tidings of my death.
- You are deceiv'd, your brother Gloster hates you.
- O, no, he loves me, and he holds me dear:
- Go you to him from me.
- Ay, so we will.
- Tell him when that our princely father York
- Bless'd his three sons with his victorious arm
- And charg'd us from his soul to love each other,
- He little thought of this divided friendship:
- Bid Gloster think of this, and he will weep.
- Ay, millstones; as he lesson'd us to weep.
- O, do not slander him, for he is kind.
- Right, as snow in harvest.—Come, you deceive yourself:
- 'Tis he that sends us to destroy you here.
- It cannot be; for he bewept my fortune,
- And hugg'd me in his arms, and swore, with sobs,
- That he would labour my delivery.
- Why, so he doth, when he delivers you
- From this earth's thraldom to the joys of heaven.
- Make peace with God, for you must die, my lord.
- Have you that holy feeling in your souls,
- To counsel me to make my peace with God,
- And are you yet to your own souls so blind
- That you will war with God by murdering me?—
- O, sirs, consider, they that set you on
- To do this deed will hate you for the deed.
- What shall we do?
- Relent, and save your souls.
- Relent! 'tis cowardly and womanish.
- Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish.
- Which of you, if you were a prince's son,
- Being pent from liberty, as I am now,—
- If two such murderers as yourselves came to you,—
- Would not entreat for life?—
- My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks;
- O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,
- Come thou on my side, and entreat for me,
- As you would beg, were you in my distress:
- A begging prince what beggar pities not?
- Look behind you, my lord.
FIRST MURDERER. [Stabs him.]
- Take that, and that: if all this will not do,
- I'll drown you in the malmsey-butt within.
[Exit with the body.]
- A bloody deed, and desperately dispatch'd!
- How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
- Of this most grievous murder!
[Re-enter FIRST MURDERER.]
- How now, what mean'st thou that thou help'st me not?
- By heavens, the duke shall know how slack you have
- I would he knew that I had sav'd his brother!
- Take thou the fee, and tell him what I say;
- For I repent me that the duke is slain.
- So do not I: go, coward as thou art.—
- Well, I'll go hide the body in some hole,
- Till that the duke give order for his burial:
- And when I have my meed, I will away;
- For this will out, and then I must not stay.
SCENE I. London. A Room in the palace.
[Enter KING EDWARD, led in sick, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DORSET, RIVERS, HASTINGS, BUCKINGHAM, GREY, and others.]
- Why, so. Now have I done a good day's work:—
- You peers, continue this united league:
- I every day expect an embassage
- From my Redeemer, to redeem me hence;
- And more at peace my soul shall part to heaven,
- Since I have made my friends at peace on earth.
- Rivers and Hastings, take each other's hand;
- Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.
- By heaven, my soul is purg'd from grudging hate;
- And with my hand I seal my true heart's love.
- So thrive I, as I truly swear the like!
- Take heed you dally not before your king;
- Lest He that is the supreme King of kings
- Confound your hidden falsehood, and award
- Either of you to be the other's end.
- So prosper I, as I swear perfect love!
- And I, as I love Hastings with my heart!
- Madam, yourself is not exempt from this;—
- Nor you, son Dorset;—Buckingham, nor you;—
- You have been factious one against the other.
- Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand;
- And what you do, do it unfeignedly.
- There, Hastings; I will never more remember
- Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!
- Dorset, embrace him;—Hastings, love lord marquis.
- This interchange of love, I here protest,
- Upon my part shall be inviolable.
- And so swear I.
- Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
- With thy embracements to my wife's allies,
- And make me happy in your unity.
- Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
- Upon your grace [to the queen], but with all duteous love
- Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
- With hate in those where I expect most love!
- When I have most need to employ a friend,
- And most assured that he is a friend,
- Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,
- Be he unto me!—this do I beg of heaven
- When I am cold in love to you or yours.
[Embracing Rivers &c.]
- A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
- Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
- There wanteth now our brother Gloster here,
- To make the blessed period of this peace.
- And, in good time, here comes the noble duke.
- Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen;
- And, princely peers, a happy time of day!
- Happy, indeed, as we have spent the day.
- Gloster, we have done deeds of charity;
- Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate,
- Between these swelling wrong-incensed peers.
- A blessed labour, my most sovereign lord,—
- Among this princely heap, if any here,
- By false intelligence or wrong surmise,
- Hold me a foe;
- If I unwittingly, or in my rage,
- Have aught committed that is hardly borne
- To any in this presence, I desire
- To reconcile me to his friendly peace:
- 'Tis death to me to be at enmity;
- I hate it, and desire all good men's love.—
- First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,
- Which I will purchase with my duteous service;—
- Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
- If ever any grudge were lodg'd between us;—
- Of you, and you, Lord Rivers, and of Dorset,
- That all without desert have frown'd on me;
- Of you, Lord Woodville, and, Lord Scales, of you;—
- Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen;—indeed, of all.
- I do not know that Englishman alive
- With whom my soul is any jot at odds
- More than the infant that is born to-night:
- I thank my God for my humility.
- A holy day shall this be kept hereafter:—
- I would to God all strifes were well compounded.—
- My sovereign lord, I do beseech your highness
- To take our brother Clarence to your grace.
- Why, madam, have I off'red love for this,
- To be so flouted in this royal presence?
- Who knows not that the gentle duke is dead?
[They all start.]
- You do him injury to scorn his corse.
- Who knows not he is dead! Who knows he is?
- All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!
- Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?
- Ay, my good lord; and no man in the presence
- But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.
- Is Clarence dead? the order was revers'd.
- But he, poor man, by your first order died,
- And that a winged Mercury did bear;
- Some tardy cripple bore the countermand
- That came too lag to see him buried.
- God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
- Nearer in bloody thoughts, an not in blood,
- Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
- And yet go current from suspicion!
- A boon, my sovereign, for my service done!
- I pr'ythee, peace: my soul is full of sorrow.
- I Will not rise unless your highness hear me.
- Then say at once what is it thou request'st.
- The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life;
- Who slew to-day a riotous gentleman
- Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
- Have I a tongue to doom my brother's death,
- And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?
- My brother kill'd no man,—his fault was thought,
- And yet his punishment was bitter death.
- Who su'd to me for him? who, in my wrath,
- Kneel'd at my feet, and bid me be advis'd?
- Who spoke of brotherhood? who spoke of love?
- Who told me how the poor soul did forsake
- The mighty Warwick, and did fight for me?
- Who told me, in the field at Tewksbury,
- When Oxford had me down, he rescu'd me,
- And said "Dear brother, live, and be a king"?
- Who told me, when we both lay in the field
- Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
- Even in his garments, and did give himself,
- All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?
- All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
- Sinfully pluck'd, and not a man of you
- Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
- But when your carters or your waiting-vassals
- Have done a drunken slaughter, and defac'd
- The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
- You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;
- And I, unjustly too, must grant it you:—
- But for my brother not a man would speak,—
- Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
- For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
- Have been beholding to him in his life;
- Yet none of you would once beg for his life.—
- O God, I fear Thy justice will take hold
- On me, and you, and mine, and yours, for this!
- Come, Hastings, help me to my closet.
- Ah, poor Clarence!
[Exeunt KING, QUEEN, HASTINGS, RIVERS, DORSET, and GREY.]
- This is the fruit of rashness! Mark'd you not
- How that the guilty kindred of the queen
- Look'd pale when they did hear of Clarence' death?
- O, they did urge it still unto the king!
- God will revenge it.—Come, lords, will you go
- To comfort Edward with our company?
- We wait upon your grace.
SCENE II. Another Room in the palace.
[Enter the DUCHESS OF YORK, with A SON and DAUGHTER of CLARENCE.]
- Good grandam, tell us, is our father dead?
- No, boy.
- Why do you weep so oft, and beat your breast,
- And cry "O Clarence, my unhappy son!"
- Why do you look on us, and shake your head,
- And call us orphans, wretches, castaways,
- If that our noble father were alive?
- My pretty cousins, you mistake me both;
- I do lament the sickness of the king,
- As loath to lose him, not your father's death;
- It were lost sorrow to wail one that's lost.
- Then you conclude, my grandam, he is dead.
- The king mine uncle is to blame for this:
- God will revenge it; whom I will importune
- With earnest prayers all to that effect.
- And so will I.
- Peace, children, peace! the king doth love you well:
- Incapable and shallow innocents,
- You cannot guess who caus'd your father's death.
- Grandam, we can; for my good uncle Gloster
- Told me, the king, provok'd to it by the queen,
- Devis'd impeachments to imprison him:
- And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
- And pitied me, and kindly kiss'd my cheek;
- Bade me rely on him as on my father,
- And he would love me dearly as his child.
- Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shape,
- And with a virtuous visard hide deep vice!
- He is my son; ay, and therein my shame;
- Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.
- Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?
- Ay, boy.
- I cannot think it.—Hark! what noise is this?
[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, distractedly; RIVERS and DORSET following her.]
- Ah, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,
- To chide my fortune, and torment myself?
- I'll join with black despair against my soul,
- And to myself become an enemy.
- What means this scene of rude impatience?
- To make an act of tragic violence:—
- Edward, my lord, thy son, our king, is dead.—
- Why grow the branches when the root is gone?
- Why wither not the leaves that want their sap?—
- If you will live, lament; if die, be brief,
- That our swift-winged souls may catch the king's;
- Or, like obedient subjects, follow him
- To his new kingdom of perpetual rest.
- Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow
- As I had title in thy noble husband!
- I have bewept a worthy husband's death,
- And liv'd by looking on his images:
- But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
- Are crack'd in pieces by malignant death,
- And I for comfort have but one false glass,
- That grieves me when I see my shame in him.
- Thou art a widow, yet thou art a mother,
- And hast the comfort of thy children left;
- But death hath snatch'd my husband from mine arms,
- And pluck'd two crutches from my feeble hands,—
- Clarence and Edward. O, what cause have I,—
- Thine being but a moiety of my moan,—
- To overgo thy woes and drown thy cries?
- Ah, aunt, you wept not for our father's death!
- How can we aid you with our kindred tears?
- Our fatherless distress was left unmoan'd,
- Your widow-dolour likewise be unwept!
- Give me no help in lamentation;
- I am not barren to bring forth complaints:
- All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
- That I, being govern'd by the watery moon,
- May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world!
- Ah for my husband, for my dear Lord Edward!
- Ah for our father, for our dear Lord Clarence!
- Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence!
- What stay had I but Edward? and he's gone.
- What stay had we but Clarence? and he's gone.
- What stays had I but they? and they are gone.
- Was never widow had so dear a loss!
- Were never orphans had so dear a loss!
- Was never mother had so dear a loss!
- Alas, I am the mother of these griefs!
- Their woes are parcell'd, mine is general.
- She for an Edward weeps, and so do I:
- I for a Clarence weep, so doth not she:
- These babes for Clarence weep, and so do I;
- I for an Edward weep, so do not they:—
- Alas, you three, on me, threefold distress'd,
- Pour all your tears! I am your sorrow's nurse,
- And I will pamper it with lamentation.
- Comfort, dear mother: God is much displeas'd
- That you take with unthankfulness His doing:
- In common worldly things 'tis called ungrateful,
- With dull unwillingness to repay a debt
- Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent;
- Much more to be thus opposite with heaven,
- For it requires the royal debt it lent you.
- Madam, bethink you, like a careful mother,
- Of the young prince your son: send straight for him;
- Let him be crown'd; in him your comfort lives.
- Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward's grave,
- And plant your joys in living Edward's throne.
[Enter GLOSTER, BUCKINGHAM, STANLEY, HASTINGS, RATCLIFF and others.]
- Sister, have comfort: all of us have cause
- To wail the dimming of our shining star;
- But none can help our harms by wailing them.—
- Madam, my mother, I do cry you mercy;
- I did not see your grace:—humbly on my knee
- I crave your blessing.
- God bless thee; and put meekness in thy breast,
- Love, charity, obedience, and true duty!
- Amen! [Aside.]
- And make me die a good old man!—
- That is the butt end of a mother's blessing;
- I marvel that her grace did leave it out.
- You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers,
- That bear this heavy mutual load of moan,
- Now cheer each other in each other's love:
- Though we have spent our harvest of this king,
- We are to reap the harvest of his son.
- The broken rancour of your high-swoln hearts,
- But lately splinter'd, knit, and join'd together,
- Must gently be preserv'd, cherish'd, and kept;
- Me seemeth good that, with some little train,
- Forthwith from Ludlow the young prince be fetched
- Hither to London, to be crown'd our king.
- Why with some little train, my Lord of Buckingham?
- Marry, my lord, lest by a multitude,
- The new-heal'd wound of malice should break out;
- Which would be so much the more dangerous
- By how much the estate is green and yet ungovern'd:
- Where every horse bears his commanding rein
- And may direct his course as please himself,
- As well the fear of harm as harm apparent,
- In my opinion, ought to be prevented.
- I hope the king made peace with all of us;
- And the compact is firm and true in me.
- And so in me; and so, I think, in all:
- Yet, since it is but green, it should be put
- To no apparent likelihood of breach,
- Which haply by much company might be urg'd:
- Therefore I say with noble Buckingham,
- That it is meet so few should fetch the prince.
- And so say I.
- Then be it so; and go we to determine
- Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow.
- Madam,—and you, my mother,—will you go
- To give your censures in this business?
[Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM and GLOSTER.]
- My lord, whoever journeys to the prince,
- For God'd sake, let not us two stay at home;
- For by the way I'll sort occasion,
- As index to the story we late talk'd of,
- To part the queen's proud kindred from the Prince.
- My other self, my counsel's consistory,
- My oracle, my prophet!—my dear cousin,
- I, as a child, will go by thy direction.
- Toward Ludlow then, for we'll not stay behind.
SCENE III. London. A street.
[Enter two CITIZENS, meeting.]
- Good morrow, neighbour: whither away so fast?
- I promise you, I scarcely know myself:
- Hear you the news abroad?
- Yes,—that the king is dead.
- Ill news, by'r lady; seldom comes the better:
- I fear, I fear 'twill prove a giddy world.
[Enter third CITIZEN.]
- Neighbours, God speed!
- Give you good morrow, sir.
- Doth the news hold of good King Edward's death?
- Ay, sir, it is too true; God help the while!
- Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.
- No, no; by God's good grace, his son shall reign.
- Woe to that land that's govern'd by a child!
- In him there is a hope of government,
- Which, in his nonage, council under him,
- And, in his full and ripen'd years, himself,
- No doubt, shall then, and till then, govern well.
- So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
- Was crown'd in Paris but at nine months old.
- Stood the state so? No, no, good friends, God wot;
- For then this land was famously enrich'd
- With politic grave counsel; then the king
- Had virtuous uncles to protect his grace.
- Why, so hath this, both by his father and mother.
- Better it were they all came by his father,
- Or by his father there were none at all;
- For emulation who shall now be nearest
- Will touch us all too near, if God prevent not.
- O, full of danger is the Duke of Gloster!
- And the queen's sons and brothers haught and proud:
- And were they to be rul'd, and not to rule,
- This sickly land might solace as before.
- Come, come, we fear the worst; all will be well.
- When clouds are seen, wise men put on their cloaks;
- When great leaves fall, then winter is at hand;
- When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
- Untimely storms make men expect a dearth.
- All may be well; but, if God sort it so,
- 'Tis more than we deserve or I expect.
- Truly, the hearts of men are fun of fear:
- You cannot reason almost with a man
- That looks not heavily and fun of dread.
- Before the days of change, still is it so:
- By a divine instinct men's minds mistrust
- Ensuing danger; as, by proof, we see
- The water swell before a boisterous storm.
- But leave it all to God.—Whither away?
- Marry, we were sent for to the justices.
- And so was I; I'll bear you company.
SCENE IV. London. A Room in the Palace.
[Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, the young DUKE OF YORK, QUEEN ELIZABETH, and the DUCHESS OF YORK.]
- Last night, I hear, they lay at Stony Straford,
- And at Northampton they do rest to-night:
- Tomorrow, or next day, they will be here.
- I long with all my heart to see the prince:
- I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.
- But I hear no; they say my son of York
- Has almost overta'en him in his growth.
- Ay, mother; but I would not have it so.
- Why, my good cousin? it is good to grow.
- Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,
- My uncle Rivers talk'd how I did grow
- More than my brother. "Ay," quoth my uncle Gloster,
- "Small herbs have grace: great weeds do grow apace."
- And since, methinks, I would not grow so fast,
- Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.
- Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
- In him that did object the same to thee:
- He was the wretched'st thing when he was young,
- So long a growing and so leisurely,
- That, if his rule were true, he should be gracious.
- And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.
- I hope he is; but yet let mothers doubt.
- Now, by my troth, if I had been remember'd,
- I could have given my uncle's grace a flout
- To touch his growth nearer than he touch'd mine.
- How, my young York? I pr'ythee let me hear it.
- Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
- That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old:
- 'Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
- Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.
- I pr'ythee, pretty York, who told thee this?
- Grandam, his nurse.
- His nurse! why she was dead ere thou wast born.
- If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.
- A parlous boy!—go to, you are too shrewd.
- Good madam, be not angry with the child.
- Pitchers have ears.
- Here comes a messenger.
[Enter a MESSENGER.]
- What news?
- Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.
- How doth the prince?
- Well, madam, and in health.
- What is thy news?
- Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
- With them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.
- Who hath committed them?
- The mighty dukes, Gloster and Buckingham.
- For what offence?
- The sum of all I can, I have disclos'd;
- Why or for what the nobles were committed
- Is all unknown to me, my gracious lady.
- Ah me, I see the ruin of my house!
- The tiger now hath seiz'd the gentle hind;
- Insulting tyranny begins to jet
- Upon the innocent and aweless throne:—
- Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre!
- I see, as in a map, the end of all.
- Accursed and unquiet wrangling days
- How many of you have mine eyes beheld?
- My husband lost his life to get the crown;
- And often up and down my sons were toss'd
- For me to joy and weep their gain and loss:
- And being seated, and domestic broils
- Clean over-blown, themselves, the conquerors
- Make war upon themselves; brother to brother,
- Blood to blood, self against self: O, preposterous
- And frantic outrage, end thy damned spleen;
- Or let me die, to look on death no more!
- Come, come, my boy; we will to sanctuary.—
- Madam, farewell.
- Stay, I will go with you.
- You have no cause.
ARCHBISHOP. [To the queen.]
- My gracious lady, go.
- And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
- For my part, I'll resign unto your grace
- The seal I keep; and so betide to me
- As well I tender you and all of yours!
- Go, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary.
SCENE I. London. A street.
[The trumpets sound. Enter the PRINCE OF WALES, GLOSTER, BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, CARDINAL BOURCHIER, and others.]
- Welcome, sweet prince, to London, to your chamber.
- Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts' sovereign:
- The weary way hath made you melancholy.
- No, uncle; but our crosses on the way
- Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy:
- I want more uncles here to welcome me.
- Sweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years
- Hath not yet div'd into the world's deceit:
- Nor more can you distinguish of a man
- Than of his outward show; which, God He knows,
- Seldom or never jumpeth with the heart.
- Those uncles which you want were dangerous;
- Your grace attended to their sugar'd words
- But look'd not on the poison of their hearts:
- God keep you from them and from such false friends!
- God keep me from false friends! but they were none.
- My lord, the mayor of London comes to greet you.
[Enter the LORD MAYOR and his train.]
- God bless your grace with health and happy days!
- I thank you, good my lord;—and thank you all.
[Exeunt MAYOR, &c.]
- I thought my mother and my brother York
- Would long ere this have met us on the way:
- Fie, what a slug is Hastings, that he comes not
- To tell us whether they will come or no!
- And, in good time, here comes the sweating lord.
- Welcome, my lord: what, will our mother come?
- On what occasion, God He knows, not I,
- The queen your mother and your brother York
- Have taken sanctuary: the tender prince
- Would fain have come with me to meet your grace,
- But by his mother was perforce withheld.
- Fie, what an indirect and peevish course
- Is this of hers?—Lord cardinal, will your grace
- Persuade the queen to send the Duke of York
- Unto his princely brother presently?
- If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him,
- And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.
- My Lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory
- Can from his mother win the Duke of York,
- Anon expect him here; but if she be obdurate
- To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid
- We should infringe the holy privilege
- Of blessed sanctuary! not for all this land
- Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.
- You are too senseless-obstinate, my lord,
- Too ceremonious and traditional:
- Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,
- You break not sanctuary in seizing him.
- The benefit thereof is always granted
- To those whose dealings have deserv'd the place
- And those who have the wit to claim the place:
- This prince hath neither claim'd it nor deserv'd it;
- And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it:
- Then, taking him from thence that is not there,
- You break no privilege nor charter there.
- Oft have I heard of sanctuary-men;
- But sanctuary-children ne'er till now.
- My lord, you shall o'errule my mind for once.—
- Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?
- I go, my lord.
- Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.
[Exeunt CARDINAL and HASTINGS.]
- Say, uncle Gloster, if our brother come,
- Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?
- Where it seems best unto your royal self.
- If I may counsel you, some day or two
- Your highness shall repose you at the Tower:
- Then where you please and shall be thought most fit
- For your best health and recreation.
- I do not like the Tower, of any place.—
- Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?
- He did, my gracious lord, begin that place;
- Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.
- Is it upon record, or else reported
- Successively from age to age, he built it?
- Upon record, my gracious lord.
- But say, my lord, it were not register'd,
- Methinks the truth should live from age to age,
- As 'twere retail'd to all posterity,
- Even to the general all-ending day.
- So wise so young, they say, do never live long.
- What say you, uncle?
- I say, without characters, fame lives long.—
- Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,
- I moralize two meanings in one word.
- That Julius Caesar was a famous man;
- With what his valour did enrich his wit,
- His wit set down to make his valour live;
- Death makes no conquest of this conqueror;
- For now he lives in fame, though not in life.—
- I'll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham,—
- What, my gracious lord?
- An if I live until I be a man,
- I'll win our ancient right in France again,
- Or die a soldier as I liv'd a king.
- Short summers lightly have a forward spring.
- Now, in good time, here comes the Duke of York.
[Enter YORK, HASTINGS, and the CARDINAL.]
- Richard of York! how fares our loving brother?
- Well, my dread lord; so must I call you now.
- Ay brother,—to our grief, as it is yours:
- Too late he died that might have kept that title,
- Which by his death hath lost much majesty.
- How fares our cousin, noble Lord of York?
- I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord,
- You said that idle weeds are fast in growth:
- The prince my brother hath outgrown me far.
- He hath, my lord.
- And therefore is he idle?
- O, my fair cousin, I must not say so.
- Then he is more beholding to you than I.
- He may command me as my sovereign;
- But you have power in me as in a kinsman.
- I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.
- My dagger, little cousin? with all my heart!
- A beggar, brother?
- Of my kind uncle, that I know will give,
- And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.
- A greater gift than that I'll give my cousin.
- A greater gift! O, that's the sword to it!
- Ay, gentle cousin, were it light enough.
- O, then, I see you will part but with light gifts;
- In weightier things you'll say a beggar nay.
- It is too heavy for your grace to wear.
- I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.
- What, would you have my weapon, little lord?
- I would, that I might thank you as you call me.
- My Lord of York will still be cross in talk:—
- Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him.
- You mean, to bear me, not to bear with me:—
- Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me;
- Because that I am little, like an ape,
- He thinks that you should bear me on your shoulders.
- With what a sharp-provided wit he reasons!
- To mitigate the scorn he gives his uncle,
- He prettily and aptly taunts himself:
- So cunning and so young is wonderful.
- My lord, wil't please you pass along?
- Myself and my good cousin Buckingham
- Will to your mother, to entreat of her
- To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.
- What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?
- My lord protector needs will have it so.
- I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower.
- Why, what should you fear?
- Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost:
- My grandam told me he was murder'd there.
- I fear no uncles dead.
- Nor none that live, I hope.
- An if they live, I hope I need not fear.
- But come, my lord; and with a heavy heart,
- Thinking on them, go I unto the Tower.
[Sennet. Exeunt PRINCE, YORK, HASTINGS, CARDINAL, and Attendants.]
- Think you, my lord, this little prating York
- Was not incensed by his subtle mother
- To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?
- No doubt, no doubt: O, 'tis a parlous boy;
- Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable:
- He is all the mother's, from the top to toe.
- Well, let them rest.—Come hither, Catesby.
- Thou art sworn as deeply to effect what we intend
- As closely to conceal what we impart:
- Thou know'st our reasons urg'd upon the way;—
- What think'st thou? is it not an easy matter
- To make William Lord Hastings of our mind,
- For the instalment of this noble duke
- In the seat royal of this famous isle?
- He for his father's sake so loves the prince
- That he will not be won to aught against him.
- What think'st thou then of Stanley? will not he?
- He will do all in all as Hastings doth.
- Well then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
- And, as it were far off, sound thou Lord Hastings
- How he doth stand affected to our purpose;
- And summon him to-morrow to the Tower,
- To sit about the coronation.
- If thou dost find him tractable to us,
- Encourage him, and tell him all our reasons:
- If he be leaden, icy, cold, unwilling,
- Be thou so too; and so break off the talk,
- And give us notice of his inclination:
- For we to-morrow hold divided councils,
- Wherein thyself shalt highly be employ'd.
- Commend me to Lord William: tell him, Catesby,
- His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
- To-morrow are let blood at Pomfret Castle;
- And bid my lord, for joy of this good news,
- Give Mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more.
- Good Catesby, go, effect this business soundly.
- My good lords both, with all the heed I can.
- Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?
- You shall, my lord.
- At Crosby Place, there shall you find us both.
- Now, my lord, what shall we do if we perceive
- Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?
- Chop off his head. man;—somewhat we will do:—
- And, look when I am king, claim thou of me
- The earldom of Hereford, and all the movables
- Whereof the king my brother was possess'd.
- I'll claim that promise at your grace's hand.
- And look to have it yielded with all kindness.
- Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards
- We may digest our complots in some form.
SCENE II. Before LORD HASTING'S house.
[Enter a MESSENGER.]
- My lord, my lord!—
- [Within.] Who knocks?
- One from the Lord Stanley.
- [Within.] What is't o'clock?
- Upon the stroke of four.
- Cannot my Lord Stanley sleep these tedious nights?
- So it appears by that I have to say.
- First, he commends him to your noble self.
- What then?
- Then certifies your lordship that this night
- He dreamt the boar had razed off his helm:
- Besides, he says there are two councils held;
- And that may be determin'd at the one
- Which may make you and him to rue at the other.
- Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,—
- If you will presently take horse with him,
- And with all speed post with him toward the north,
- To shun the danger that his soul divines.
- Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
- Bid him not fear the separated councils:
- His honour and myself are at the one,
- And at the other is my good friend Catesby;
- Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
- Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
- Tell him his fears are shallow, without instance:
- And for his dreams, I wonder he's so simple
- To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers:
- To fly the boar before the boar pursues
- Were to incense the boar to follow us,
- And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
- Go, bid thy master rise and come to me;
- And we will both together to the Tower,
- Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.
- I'll go, my lord, and tell him what you say.
- Many good morrows to my noble lord!
- Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring:
- What news, what news, in this our tottering state?
- It is a reeling world indeed, my lord;
- And I believe will never stand upright
- Till Richard wear the garland of the realm.
- How! wear the garland! dost thou mean the crown?
- Ay, my good lord.
- I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
- Before I'll see the crown so foul misplac'd.
- But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
- Ay, on my life; and hopes to find you forward
- Upon his party for the gain thereof:
- And thereupon he sends you this good news,—
- That this same very day your enemies,
- The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.
- Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
- Because they have been still my adversaries:
- But that I'll give my voice on Richard's side
- To bar my master's heirs in true descent,
- God knows I will not do it to the death.
- God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!
- But I shall laugh at this a twelve month hence,—
- That they which brought me in my master's hate,
- I live to look upon their tragedy.
- Well, Catesby, ere a fortnight make me older,
- I'll send some packing that yet think not on't.
- 'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
- When men are unprepar'd and look not for it.
- O monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out
- With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill do
- With some men else that think themselves as safe
- As thou and I; who, as thou knowest, are dear
- To princely Richard and to Buckingham.
- The princes both make high account of you,—
- For they account his head upon the bridge.
- I know they do, and I have well deserv'd it.
- Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
- Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?
- My lord, good morrow; and good morrow, Catesby:—
- You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
- I do not like these several councils, I.
- My lord, I hold my life as dear as you do yours;
- And never in my days, I do protest,
- Was it so precious to me as 'tis now;
- Think you, but that I know our state secure,
- I would be so triumphant as I am?
- The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
- Were jocund and suppos'd their states were sure,—
- And they, indeed, had no cause to mistrust;
- But yet, you see, how soon the day o'ercast!
- This sudden stab of rancour I misdoubt;
- Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward.
- What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.
- Come, come, have with you.—Wot you what, my lord?
- To-day the lords you talk'd of are beheaded.
- They, for their truth, might better wear their heads
- Than some that have accus'd them wear their hats.—
- But come, my lord, let's away.
[Enter a Pursuivant.]
- Go on before; I'll talk with this good fellow.
[Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY.]
- How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee?
- The better that your lordship please to ask.
- I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now
- Than when thou mett'st me last where now we meet:
- Then was I going prisoner to the Tower,
- By the suggestion of the queen's allies;
- But now, I tell thee,—keep it to thyself,—
- This day those enemies are put to death,
- And I in better state than e'er I was.
- God hold it, to your honour's good content!
- Gramercy, fellow: there, drink that for me.
[Throwing him his purse.]
- I thank your honour.
[Enter a PRIEST.]
- Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.
- I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
- I am in your debt for your last exercise;
- Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.
- What, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain!
- Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest;
- Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.
- Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
- The men you talk of came into my mind.—
- What, go you toward the Tower?
- I do, my lord, but long I cannot stay there;
- I shall return before your lordship thence.
- Nay, like enough, for I stay dinner there.
- [Aside.] And supper too, although thou knowest it not.—
- Come, will you go?
- I'll wait upon your lordship.
SCENE III. Pomfret. Before the Castle.
[Enter RATCLIFF, with Guard, conducting RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN to execution.]
- Sir Richard Ratcliff, let me tell thee this,—
- To-day shalt thou behold a subject die
- For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.
- God bless the prince from all the pack of you!
- A knot you are of damned blood-suckers.
- You live that shall cry woe for this hereafter.
- Despatch; the limit of your lives is out.
- O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
- Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
- Within the guilty closure of thy walls
- Richard the Second here was hack'd to death:
- And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
- We give to thee our guiltless blood to drink.
- Now Margaret's curse is fallen upon our heads,
- When she exclaim'd on Hastings, you, and I,
- For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son.
- Then curs'd she Richard, then curs'd she Buckingham,
- Then curs'd she Hastings:—O, remember, God,
- To hear her prayer for them, as now for us!
- And for my sister, and her princely sons,
- Be satisfied, dear God, with our true blood,
- Which, as Thou know'st, unjustly must be spilt.
- Make haste; the hour of death is expiate.
- Come, Grey;—come, Vaughan;—let us here embrace.
- Farewell, until we meet again in heaven.
SCENE IV. London. A Room in the Tower.
[BUCKINGHAM, STANLEY, HASTINGS, the BISHOP of ELY, RATCLIFF, LOVEL, and others sitting at a table: Officers of the Council attending.]
- Now, noble peers, the cause why we are met
- Is to determine of the coronation.
- In God's name speak,—when is the royal day?
- Are all things ready for that royal time?
- Thery are, and wants but nomination.
- To-morrow, then, I judge a happy day.
- Who knows the lord protector's mind herein?
- Who is most inward with the noble duke?
- Your grace, we think, should soonest know his mind.
- We know each other's faces: for our hearts,
- He knows no more of mine than I of yours;
- Or I of his, my lord, than you of mine.—
- Lord 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 deliver'd
- His gracious pleasure any way therein:
- But you, my honourable lords, may name the time;
- And in the duke's behalf I'll give my voice,
- Which, I presume, he'll take in gentle part.
- In happy time, here comes the duke himself.
- My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
- I have been long a sleeper; but I trust
- My absence doth neglect no great design
- Which by my presence might have been concluded.
- Had you not come upon your cue, my lord,
- William Lord Hastings had pronounc'd 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.—
- My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn
- I saw good strawberries in your garden there:
- I do beseech you send for some of them.
- Marry, and will, my lord, with all my heart.
- Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
[Takes him aside.]
- Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business,
- And finds the testy gentleman so hot
- That he will lose his head ere give consent
- His master's child, as worshipfully he terms it,
- Shall lose the royalty of England's throne.
- Withdraw yourself awhile; I'll go with you.
[Exeunt GLOSTER and BUCKINGHAM.]
- We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
- To-morrow, in my judgment, is too sudden;
- For I myself am not so well provided
- As else I would be, were the day prolong'd.
[Re-enter BISHOP OF ELY.]
- Where is my lord the Duke of Gloster?
- I have sent for these strawberries.
- His grace looks cheerfully and smooth this morning;
- There's some conceit or other likes him well
- When that he bids good morrow with such spirit.
- I think there's ne'er a man in Christendom
- 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 livelihood he showed to-day?
- Marry, that with no man here he is offended;
- For, were he, he had shown it in his looks.
[Re-enter GLOSTER and BUCKINGHAM.]
- I pray you all, tell me what they deserve
- That do conspire my death with devilish plots
- Of damned witchcraft, and that have prevail'd
- Upon my body with their hellish charms?
- The tender love I bear your grace, my lord,
- Makes me most forward in this princely presence
- To doom the offenders: whosoe'er they be.
- I say, my lord, they have deserved death.
- Then be your eyes the witness of their evil:
- Look how I am bewitch'd; behold, mine arm
- Is, like a blasted sapling, wither'd up:
- And this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,
- Consorted with that harlot-strumpet Shore,
- That by their witchcraft thus have marked me.
- If they have done this deed, my noble lord,—
- If!—thou protector of this damned strumpet,
- Talk'st thou to me of "ifs"?—Thou art a traitor:—
- Off with his head!—now, by Saint Paul I swear,
- I will not dine until I see the same.—
- Lovel and Ratcliff:—look that it be done:—
- The rest, that love me, rise and follow me.
[Exeunt all except HASTINGS, LOVEL, and RATCLIFF.]
- Woe, woe, for England! not a whit for me;
- For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
- Stanley did dream the boar did raze his helm;
- And I did scorn it, and disdain to fly.
- Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
- And started, when he look'd upon the Tower,
- As loth to bear me to the slaughter-house.
- O, now I need the priest that spake to me:
- I now repent I told the pursuivant,
- As too triumphing, how mine enemies
- To-day at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd,
- And I myself secure in grace and favour.
- O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
- Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head!
- Come, come, despatch; the duke would be at dinner:
- Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.
- O momentary grace of mortal men,
- Which we more hunt for than the grace of God!
- Who builds his hope in air of your good looks
- Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
- Ready, with every nod, to tumble down
- Into the fatal bowels of the deep.
- Come, come, despatch; 'tis bootless to exclaim.
- O bloody Richard!—miserable England!
- I prophesy the fearfull'st time to thee
- That ever wretched age hath look'd upon.—
- Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head:
- They smile at me who shortly shall be dead.
SCENE V. London. The Tower Walls.
[Enter GLOSTER and BUCKINGHAM in rusty armour, marvellous ill-favoured.]
- Come, cousin, canst thou quake and change thy colour,
- Murder thy breath in middle of a word,
- And then again begin, and stop again,
- As if thou were distraught and mad with terror?
- Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian;
- Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
- Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,
- Intending deep suspicion: ghastly looks
- Are at my service, like enforced smiles;
- And both are ready in their offices,
- At any time to grace my stratagems.
- But what, is Catesby gone?
- He is; and, see, he brings the mayor along.
[Enter the LORD MAYOR and CATESBY.]
- Lord mayor,—
- Look to the drawbridge there!
- Hark! a drum.
- Catesby, o'erlook the walls.
- Lord Mayor, the reason we have sent,—
- Look back, defend thee,—here are enemies.
- God and our innocency defend and guard us!
- Be patient; they are friends,—Ratcliff and Lovel.
[Enter LOVEL and RATCLIFF, with HASTINGS' head.]
- Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
- The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.
- So dear I lov'd the man that I must weep.
- I took him for the plainest harmless creature
- That breath'd upon the earth a Christian;
- Made him my book, wherein my soul recorded
- The history of all her secret thoughts:
- So smooth he daub'd his vice with show of virtue
- That, his apparent open guilt omitted,—
- I mean, his conversation with Shore's wife,—
- He liv'd from all attainder of suspects.
- Well, well, he was the covert'st shelter'd traitor
- That ever liv'd.—
- Would you imagine, or almost believe,—
- Were't not that by great preservation
- We live to tell it you,—that the subtle traitor
- This day had plotted, in the council-house,
- To murder me and my good Lord of Gloster!
- Had he done so?
- What! think you we are Turks or Infidels?
- Or that we would, against the form of law,
- Proceed thus rashly in the villain's death,
- But that the extreme peril of the case,
- The peace of England and our persons' safety,
- Enforc'd us to this execution?
- Now, fair befall you! he deserv'd his death;
- And your good graces both have well proceeded,
- To warn false traitors from the like attempts.
- I never look'd for better at his hands
- After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.
- Yet had we not determin'd he should die
- Until your lordship came to see his end;
- Which now the loving haste of these our friends,
- Something against our meanings, have prevented:
- Because, my lord, we would have had you heard
- The traitor speak, and timorously confess
- The manner and the purpose of his treasons;
- That 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 and heard him speak:
- And do not doubt, right noble princes both,
- But I'll acquaint our duteous citizens
- With all your just proceedings in this case.
- And to that end we wish'd your lordship here,
- To avoid the the the censures of the carping world.
- But since you come too late of our intent,
- Yet witness what you hear we did intend:
- And so, my good lord mayor, we bid farewell.
[Exit LORD MAYOR.]
- Go, after, after, cousin Buckingham.
- The 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
- Heir to the crown;—meaning, indeed, his house,
- Which, by the sign thereof, was termed so.
- Moreover, urge his hateful luxury,
- And bestial appetite in change of lust;
- Which stretch'd unto their servants, daughters, wives,
- Even where his raging eye or savage heart,
- Without control, listed to make a 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,
- My princely father, then had wars in France
- And, by true computation of the time,
- Found that the issue was not his begot;
- Which well appeared in his lineaments,
- Being nothing like the noble duke my father.
- Yet touch this sparingly, as 'twere far off;
- Because, my lord, you know my mother lives.
- Doubt not, my lord, I'll play the orator
- As if the golden fee for which I plead
- Were for myself: and so, my lord, adieu.
- If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard's Castle;
- Where you shall find me well accompanied
- With reverend fathers and well learned bishops.
- I go; and towards three or four o'clock
- Look for the news that the Guildhall affords.
- Go, Lovel, with all speed to Doctor Shaw.—
- Go thou [to CATESBY] to Friar Penker;—bid them both
- Meet me within this hour at Baynard's Castle.
[Exeunt LOVEL and CATESBY.]
- Now will I in, to take some privy order
- To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight;
- And to give order that no manner person
- Have any time recourse unto the princes.
SCENE VI. London. A street.
[Enter a SCRIVENER.]
- Here is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings;
- Which in a set hand fairly is engross'd,
- That it may be to-day read o'er in Paul's.
- And mark how well the sequel hangs together:—
- Eleven hours I have spent to write it over,
- For yesternight by Catesby was it sent me;
- The precedent was full as long a-doing:
- And yet within these five hours Hastings liv'd,
- Untainted, unexamin'd, free, at liberty.
- Here's a good world the while! Who is so gross
- That cannot see this palpable device!
- Yet who so bold but says he sees it not!
- Bad is the world; and all will come to naught,
- When such ill dealing must be seen in thought.
SCENE VII. London. Court of Baynard's Castle.
[Enter GLOSTER and BUCKINGHAM, meeting.]
- How now, how now! what say the citizens?
- Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
- The citizens are mum, say not a word.
- Touch'd you the bastardy of Edward's children?
- I did; with his contract with Lady Lucy,
- And his contract by deputy in France;
- The insatiate greediness of his desires,
- And his enforcement of the city wives;
- His tyranny for trifles; his own bastardy,—
- As being got, your father then in France,
- And his resemblance, being not like the duke:
- Withal I did infer your lineaments,—
- Being the right idea of your father,
- Both in your form and nobleness of mind;
- Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
- Your discipline in war, wisdom in peace,
- Your bounty, virtue, fair humility;
- Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose
- Untouch'd or slightly handled in discourse:
- And when mine oratory drew toward end
- I bid them that did love their country's good
- Cry "God save Richard, England's royal king!"
- And did they so?
- No, so God help me, they spake not a word;
- But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
- Star'd each on other, and look'd deadly pale.
- Which when I saw, I reprehended them;
- And ask'd the mayor what meant this wilful silence:
- His answer was—the people were not us'd
- To be spoke to but by the recorder.
- Then he was urg'd to tell my tale again,—
- "Thus saith the duke, thus hath the duke inferr'd;"
- But nothing spoke in warrant from himself.
- When he had done, some followers of mine own,
- At lower end of the hall hurl'd up their caps,
- And some ten voices cried, "God save King Richard!"
- And thus I took the vantage of those few,—
- "Thanks, gentle citizens and friends," quoth I;
- "This general applause and cheerful shout
- Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard:"
- And even here brake off and came away.
- What, tongueless blocks were they! would they not speak?
- Will not the mayor, then, and his brethren, come?
- The mayor is here at hand. Intend some fear;
- Be not you spoke with but by mighty suit:
- And look you get a prayer-book in your hand,
- And stand between two churchmen, good my lord;
- For on that ground I'll make a holy descant:
- And be not easily won to our requests;
- Play the maid's part,—still answer nay, and take it.
- I go; and if you plead as well for them
- As I can say nay to thee for myself,
- No doubt we bring it to a happy issue.
- Go, go, up to the leads; the lord mayor knocks.
[Enter the LORD MAYOR, ALDERMEN, and Citizens.]
- Welcome, my lord. I dance attendance here;
- I think the duke will not be spoke withal.
[Enter, from the Castle, CATESBY.]
- Now, Catesby,—what says your lord to my request?
- He doth entreat your grace, my noble lord,
- To visit him to-morrow or next day:
- He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
- Divinely bent to meditation:
- And in no worldly suit would he be mov'd,
- To draw him from his holy exercise.
- Return, good Catesby, to the gracious duke;
- Tell him, myself, the mayor and aldermen,
- In deep designs, in matter of great moment,
- No less importing than our general good,
- Are come to have some conference with his grace.
- I'll signify so much unto him straight.
- Ah, ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward!
- He is not lolling on a lewd day-bed,
- But on his knees at meditation;
- Not dallying with a brace of courtezans,
- But meditating with two deep divines;
- Not sleeping, to engross his idle body,
- But praying, to enrich his watchful soul:
- Happy were England would this virtuous prince
- Take on his grace the sovereignty thereof:
- But, sure, I fear, we shall not win him to it.
- Marry, God defend his grace should say us nay!
- I fear he will. Here Catesby comes again.
- Now, Catesby, what says his grace?
- He wonders to what end you have assembled
- Such troops of citizens to come to him:
- His grace not being warn'd thereof before,
- He fears, my lord, you mean no good to him.
- Sorry I am my noble cousin should
- Suspect me, that I mean no good to him:
- By heaven, we come to him in perfect love;
- And so once more return and tell his grace.
- When holy and devout religious men
- Are at their beads, 'tis much to draw them thence,—
- So sweet is zealous contemplation.
[Enter GLOSTER in a Galery above, between two BISHOPS. CATESBY
- See where his grace stands 'tween two clergymen!
- Two props of virtue for a Christian prince,
- To stay him from the fall of vanity:
- And, see, a book of prayer in his hand,—
- True ornaments to know a holy man.—
- Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
- Lend favourable ear to our requests;
- And pardon us the interruption
- Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.
- My lord, there needs no such apology:
- I rather do beseech you pardon me,
- Who, earnest in the service of my God,
- Deferr'd the visitation of my friends.
- But, leaving this, what is your grace's pleasure?
- Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above,
- And all good men of this ungovern'd isle.
- I do suspect I have done some offence
- That seems disgracious in the city's eye;
- And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.
- You have, my lord: would it might please your grace,
- On our entreaties, to amend your fault!
- Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land?
- Know then, it is your fault that you resign
- The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
- The scepter'd office of your ancestors,
- Your state of fortune and your due of birth,
- The lineal glory of your royal house,
- To the corruption of a blemish'd stock:
- Whilst, in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,—
- Which here we waken to our country's good,—
- The noble isle doth want her proper limbs;
- Her face defac'd with scars of infamy,
- Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
- And almost shoulder'd in the swallowing gulf
- Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion.
- Which to recure, we heartily solicit
- Your gracious self to take on you the charge
- And kingly government of this your land;—
- Not as protector, steward, substitute,
- Or lowly factor for another's gain;
- But as successively, from blood to blood,
- Your right of birth, your empery, your own.
- For this, consorted with the citizens,
- Your very worshipful and loving friends,
- And, by their vehement instigation,
- In this just cause come I to move your grace.
- I cannot tell if to depart in silence
- Or bitterly to speak in your reproof
- Best fitteth my degree or your condition:
- If not to answer, you might haply think
- Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
- To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
- Which fondly you would here impose on me;
- If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
- So season'd with your faithful love to me,
- Then, on the other side, I check'd my friends.
- Therefore,—to speak, and to avoid the first,
- And then, in speaking, not to incur the last,—
- Definitively thus I answer you.
- Your love deserves my thanks; but my desert
- Unmeritable shuns your high request.
- First, if all obstacles were cut away,
- And that my path were even to the crown,
- As the ripe revenue and due of birth,
- Yet so much is my poverty of spirit,
- So mighty and so many my defects,
- That I would rather hide me from my greatness,—
- Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,—
- Than in my greatness covet to be hid,
- And in the vapour of my glory smother'd.
- But, God be thank'd, there is no need of me,—
- And much I need to help you, were there need;—
- The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
- Which, mellow'd by the stealing hours of time,
- Will well become the seat of majesty,
- And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.
- On him I lay that you would lay on me,—
- The right and fortune of his happy stars;
- Which God defend that I should wring from him!
- My lord, this argues conscience in your grace;
- But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
- All circumstances well considered.
- You say that Edward is your brother's son:
- So say we too, but not by Edward's wife;
- For first was he contract to Lady Lucy,—
- Your mother lives a witness to his vow,—
- And afterward by substitute betroth'd
- To Bona, sister to the King of France.
- These both put off, a poor petitioner,
- A care-craz'd mother to a many sons,
- A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
- Even in the afternoon of her best days,
- Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
- Seduc'd the pitch and height of his degree
- To base declension and loath'd bigamy:
- By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
- This Edward, whom our manners call the prince.
- More bitterly could I expostulate,
- Save that, for reverence to some alive,
- I give a sparing limit to my tongue.
- Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
- This proffer'd benefit of dignity;
- If not to bless us and the land withal,
- Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
- From the corruption of abusing time
- Unto a lineal true-derived course.
- Do, good my lord; your citizens entreat you.
- Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffer'd love.
- O, make them joyful, grant their lawful suit!
- Alas, why would you heap those cares on me?
- I am unfit for state and majesty:—
- I do beseech you, take it not amiss:
- I cannot nor I will not yield to you.
- If you refuse it,—as, in love and zeal,
- Loath to depose the child, your brother's son—
- As well we know your tenderness of heart
- And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
- Which we have noted in you to your kindred,
- And equally, indeed, to all estates,—
- Yet know, whe'er you accept our suit or no,
- Your brother's son shall never reign our king;
- But we will plant some other in the throne,
- To the disgrace and downfall of your house:
- And in this resolution here we leave you.—
- Come, citizens, we will entreat no more.
[Exeunt BUCKINGHAM, the MAYOR and citizens retiring.]
- Call them again, sweet prince, accept their suit:
- If you deny them, all the land will rue it.
- Will you enforce me to a world of cares?
- Call them again.
[CATESBY goes to the MAYOR, &c., and then exit.]
- I am not made of stone,
- But penetrable to your kind entreaties,
- Albeit against my conscience and my soul.
[Re-enter BUCKINGHAM and CATESBY, MAYOR, &c., coming forward.]
- Cousin of Buckingham,—and sage grave men,
- Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
- To bear her burden, whe'er I will or no,
- I must have patience to endure the load:
- But if black scandal or foul-fac'd reproach
- Attend the sequel of your imposition,
- Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
- From all the impure blots and stains thereof;
- For God doth know, and you may partly see,
- How far I am from the desire of this.
- God bless your grace! we see it, and will say it.
- In saying so, you shall but say the truth.
- Then I salute you with this royal title,—
- Long live King Richard, England's worthy king!
- To-morrow may it please you to be crown'd?
- Even when you please, for you will have it so.
- To-morrow, then, we will attend your grace:
- And so, most joyfully, we take our leave.
GLOSTER. [To the BISHOPS.]
- Come, let us to our holy work again.—
- Farewell, my cousin;—farewell, gentle friends.
SCENE I. London. Before the Tower
[Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS of YORK, and MARQUIS of DORSET; on the other, ANNE DUCHESS of GLOSTER, leading LADY MARGARET PLANTAGENET, CLARENCE's young daughter.]
- Who meets us here?—my niece Plantagenet,
- Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloster?
- Now, for my life, she's wandering to the Tower,
- On pure heart's love, to greet the tender princes.—
- Daughter, well met.
- God give your graces both
- A happy and a joyful time of day!
- As much to you, good sister! Whither away?
- No farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,
- Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
- To gratulate the gentle princes there.
- Kind sister, thanks; we'll enter all together:—
- And in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
- Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,
- How doth the prince, and my young son of York?
- Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
- I may not suffer you to visit them.
- The king hath strictly charg'd the contrary.
- The king! who's that?
- I mean the lord protector.
- The Lord protect him from that kingly title!
- Hath he set bounds between their love and me?
- I am their mother; who shall bar me from them?
- I am their father's mother; I will see them.
- Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother:
- Then bring me to their sights; I'll bear thy blame,
- And take thy office from thee on my peril.
- No, madam, no,—I may not leave it so:
- I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.
- Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence,
- And I'll salute your grace of York as mother
- And reverend looker-on of two fair queens.—
[To the DUCHESS OF GLOSTER.]
- Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,
- There to be crowned Richard's royal queen.
- Ah, cut my lace asunder,
- That my pent heart may have some scope to beat,
- Or else I swoon with this dead-killing news!
- Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!
- Be of good cheer: mother, how fares your grace?
- O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee gone!
- Death and destruction dog thee at thy heels;
- Thy 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;
- And 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.—
- Take all the swift advantage of the hours;
- You shall have letters from me to my son
- In your behalf, to meet you on the way:
- Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
- O ill-dispersing wind of misery!—
- O my accursed womb, the bed of death!
- A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world,
- Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
- Come, madam, come; I in all haste was sent.
- And I with all unwillingness will go.—
- O, would to God that the inclusive verge
- Of golden metal that must round my brow
- Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain !
- Anointed let me be with deadly venom,
- And die ere men can say God save the queen!
- Go, go, poor soul; I envy not thy glory;
- To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm.
- No, why?—When he that is my husband now
- Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse;
- When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his hands
- Which issued from my other angel husband,
- And that dear saint which then I weeping follow'd;
- O, when, I say, I look'd on Richard's face,
- This was my wish,—"Be thou," quoth I, "accurs'd
- For making me, so young, so old a widow!
- And when thou wedd'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
- And be thy wife,—if any be so mad,—
- More miserable by the life of thee
- Than thou hast made me by my dear lord's death!"
- Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
- Within so small a time, my woman's heart
- Grossly grew captive to his honey words,
- And prov'd the subject of mine own soul's curse,—
- Which hitherto hath held my eyes from rest;
- For never yet one hour in his bed
- Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep,
- But with his timorous dreams was still awak'd.
- Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick;
- And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
- Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy complaining.
- No more than with my soul I mourn for yours.
- Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory!
- Adieu, poor soul, that tak'st thy leave of it!
DUCHESS. [To DORSET.]
- Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!—
- Go thou to Richard, and good angels tend thee!—
[To QUEEN ELIZABETH.]
- Go thou to sanctuary, and 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 wreck'd with a week of teen.
- Stay yet, look back with me unto the Tower.—
- Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
- Whom envy hath immur'd within your walls!
- Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!
- Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
- For tender princes, use my babies well!
- So foolish sorrows bids your stones farewell.
SCENE II. London. A Room of State in the Palace.
[Flourish of trumpets. RICHARD, as King, upon his throne; BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, RATCLIFF, LOVEL, a Page, and others.]
- Stand all apart—Cousin of Buckingham,—
- My gracious sovereign?
- Give me thy hand. Thus high, by thy advice
- And thy assistance, is King Richard seated:—
- But shall we wear these glories for a day?
- Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?
- Still live they, and for ever let them last!
- Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
- To try if thou be current gold indeed:—
- Young Edward lives;—think now what I would speak.
- Say on, my loving lord.
- Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king.
- Why, so you are, my thrice-renowned lord.
- Ha! am I king? 'tis so: but Edward lives.
- True, noble prince.
- O bitter consequence,
- That Edward still should live,—true, noble Prince!—
- Cousin, thou wast not wont to be so dull:—
- Shall I be plain?—I wish the bastards dead;
- And I would have it suddenly perform'd.
- What say'st thou now? speak suddenly, be brief.
- Your grace may do your pleasure.
- Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness freezes:
- Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
- Give me some little breath, some pause, dear lord,
- Before I positively speak in this:
- I will resolve your grace immediately.
- [Aside.] The king is angry: see, he gnaws his lip.
- I will converse with iron-witted fools
- [Descends from his throne.]
- And unrespective boys; none are for me
- That look into me with considerate eyes:
- High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
- My lord?
- Know'st thou not any whom corrupting gold
- Will tempt unto a close exploit of death?
- I know a discontented gentleman
- Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit:
- Gold were as good as twenty orators,
- And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.
- What is his name?
- His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
- I partly know the man: go, call him hither, boy.
- The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
- No more shall be the neighbour to my counsels:
- Hath he so long held out with me untir'd,
- And stops he now for breath?—well, be it so.
- How now, Lord Stanley! what's the news?
- Know, my loving lord,
- The Marquis Dorset, as I hear, is fled
- To Richmond, in the parts where he abides.
- Come hither, Catesby: rumour it abroad
- That Anne, my wife, is very grievous sick;
- I will take order for her keeping close:
- Inquire me out some mean poor gentleman,
- Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter;—
- The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.—
- Look how thou dream'st!—I say again, give out
- That Anne, my queen, is sick and like to die:
- About it; for it stands me much upon,
- To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.
- I must be married to my brother's daughter,
- Or 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.
[Re-enter PAGE, with TYRREL.]
- Is thy name Tyrrel?
- James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.
- Art thou, indeed?
- Prove me, my gracious lord.
- Dar'st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
- Please you. But I had rather kill two enemies.
- Why, then thou hast it: two deep enemies,
- Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep's disturbers,
- Are they that I would have thee deal upon:—
- Tyrell, 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.
- Thou sing'st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel:
- Go, by this token:—rise, and lend thine ear:
- [Whispers.] There is no more but so:—say it is done,
- And I will love thee, and prefer thee for it.
- I will despatch it straight.
- My lord, I have consider'd in my mind
- The late request that you did sound me in.
- Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to Richmond.
- I hear the news, my lord.
- Stanley, he is your wife's son:—well, look to it.
- My lord, I claim the gift, my due by promise,
- For which your honour and your faith is pawn'd:
- The earldom of Hereford, and the movables
- Which you have promised I shall possess.
- Stanley, look to your wife: if she convey
- Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.
- What says your highness to my just request?
- I do remember me:—Henry the Sixth
- Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
- When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
- A king!—perhaps,—
- My lord,—
- 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,—
- Richmond!—When last I was at Exeter,
- The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle
- And call'd it Rougemount; at which name I started,
- Because a bard of Ireland told me once
- I should not live long after I saw Richmond.
- My lord—
- Ay, what's o'clock?
- I am thus bold to put your grace in mind
- Of what you promis'd me.
- Well, but what's o'clock?
- Upon the stroke of ten.
- Well, let it strike.
- Why let it strike?
- Because that, like a Jack, thou keep'st the stroke
- Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
- I am not in the giving vein to-day.
- Why then, resolve me whether you will or no.
- Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.
[Exeunt KING RICHARD and Train.]
- And is it thus? repays he my deep service
- With such contempt? made I him king for this?
- O, let me think on Hastings, and be gone
- To Brecknock while my fearful head is on!
SCENE III. London. Another Room in the Palace.
- The tyrannous and bloody act is done,—
- The most arch deed of piteous massacre
- That ever yet this land was guilty of.
- Dighton and Forrest, who I did suborn
- To do this piece of ruthless butchery,
- Albeit they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs,
- Melted with tenderness and mild compassion,
- Wept like two children in their deaths' sad story.
- "O, thus," quoth Dighton, "lay the gentle babes,"—
- "Thus, thus," quoth Forrest, "girdling one another
- Within their alabaster innocent arms:
- Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
- And in their summer beauty kiss'd each other.
- A book of prayers on their pillow lay;
- Which once," quoth Forrest, "almost chang'd my mind;
- But, O, the devil,"—there the villain stopp'd;
- When Dighton thus told on:—"We smothered
- The most replenished sweet work of nature
- That from the prime creation e'er she framed."—
- Hence both are gone; with conscience and remorse
- They could not speak; and so I left them both,
- To bear this tidings to the bloody king:—
- And here he comes:—
[Enter KING RICHARD.]
- All health, my sovereign lord!
- Kind Tyrrel, am I happy in thy news?
- If to have done the thing you gave in charge
- Beget your happiness, be happy then,
- For it is done.
- But didst thou see them dead?
- I did, my lord.
- And buried, gentle Tyrrel?
- The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them;
- But where, to say the truth, I do not know.
- Come to me, Tyrrel, soon, at after supper,
- When thou shalt tell the process of their death.
- Meantime, but think how I may do thee good,
- And be inheritor of thy desire.
- Farewell till then.
- I humbly take my leave.
- The son of Clarence have I pent up close;
- His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage;
- The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom,
- And Anne my wife hath bid the world good-night.
- Now, for I know the Britagne Richmond aims
- At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter,
- And by that knot looks proudly on the crown,
- To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.
- My lord,—
- Good or bad news, that thou com'st in so bluntly?
- Bad news, my lord: Morton is fled to Richmond;
- And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen,
- Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.
- Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
- Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength.
- Come,—I have learn'd that fearful commenting
- Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
- Delay leads impotent and snail-pac'd beggary:
- Then fiery expedition be my wing,
- Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king!
- Go, muster men: my counsel is my shield;
- We must be brief when traitors brave the field.
SCENE IV. London. Before the Palace.
[Enter QUEEN MARGARET.]
- So, now prosperity begins to mellow,
- And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
- Here in these confines slily have I lurk'd
- To watch the waning of mine enemies.
- A dire induction am I witness to,
- And will to France; hoping the consequence
- Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.—
- Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret: who comes here?
[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and the DUCHESS OF YORK.]
- Ah, my poor princes! ah, my tender babes!
- My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets!
- If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
- And be not fix'd in doom perpetual,
- Hover about me with your airy wings
- And hear your mother's lamentation!
- Hover about her; say that right for right
- Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.
- So many miseries have craz'd my voice
- That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.—
- Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
- Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet,
- Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
- Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs,
- And throw them in the entrails of the wolf?
- When didst Thou sleep when such a deed was done?
- When holy Harry died, and my sweet son.
- Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal living ghost,
- Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd,
- Brief abstract and record of tedious days,
- Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
- [Sitting down.]
- Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.
- Ah, that thou wouldst as soon afford a grave
- As thou canst yield a melancholy seat!
- Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
- Ah, who hath any cause to mourn but we?
- [Sitting down by her.]
QUEEN MARGARET. [Coming forward.]
- If ancient sorrow be most reverent,
- Give mine the benefit of seniory,
- And let my griefs frown on the upper hand.
- If sorrow can admit society,
- [Sitting down with them.]
- Tell o'er your woes again by viewing mine:—
- I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
- I had a Henry, till a Richard kill'd him:
- Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
- Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard kill'd him.
- I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
- I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him.
- Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard kill'd him.
- From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
- A hell-hound that doth hunt us all to death:
- That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
- To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood;
- That foul defacer of God's handiwork;
- That excellent grand tyrant of the earth,
- That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,—
- Thy womb let loose to chase us to our graves.—
- O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
- How do I thank Thee that this carnal cur
- Preys on the issue of his mother's body,
- And makes her pew-fellow with others' moan!
- O Harry's wife, triumph not in my woes!
- God witness with me, I have wept for thine.
- Bear with me; I am hungry for revenge,
- And now I cloy me with beholding it.
- Thy Edward he is dead, that kill'd my Edward;
- The other Edward dead to quit my Edward;
- Young York he is but boot, because both they
- Match not the high perfection of my loss:
- Thy Clarence he is dead that stabb'd my Edward;
- And the beholders of this frantic play,
- The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
- Untimely smother'd in their dusky graves.
- Richard yet lives, hell's black intelligencer;
- Only reserv'd their factor to buy souls,
- And send them thither: but at hand, at hand,
- Ensues his piteous and unpitied end:
- Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray,
- To have him suddenly convey'd from hence.—
- Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I pray,
- That I may live to say "The dog is dead."
- O, thou didst prophesy the time would come
- That I should wish for thee to help me curse
- That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back'd toad!
- I call'd thee then, vain flourish of my fortune;
- I call'd thee then, poor shadow, painted queen;
- The presentation of but what I was,
- The flattering index of a direful pageant;
- One heav'd a-high to be hurl'd down below,
- A mother only mock'd with two fair babes;
- A dream of what thou wast; a garish flag,
- To be the aim of every dangerous shot;
- A sign of dignity, a breath, a bubble;
- A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
- Where is thy husband now? where be thy brothers?
- Where be thy two sons? wherein dost thou joy?
- Who sues, and kneels, and says, "God save the queen?"
- Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee?
- Where be the thronging troops that follow'd thee?
- Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
- For happy wife, a most distressed widow;
- For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
- For one being su'd to, one that humbly sues;
- For queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care;
- For she that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
- For she being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
- For she commanding all, obey'd of none.
- Thus hath the course of justice wheel'd about
- And left thee but a very prey to time;
- Having no more but thought of what thou wast,
- To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
- Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
- Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow?
- Now thy proud neck bears half my burden'd yoke;
- From which even here I slip my weary head,
- And leave the burden of it all on thee.
- Farewell, York's wife, and queen of sad mischance:—
- These English woes shall make me smile in France.
- O thou well skill'd in curses, stay awhile,
- And teach me how to curse mine enemies!
- Forbear to sleep the night, and fast the day;
- Compare dead happiness with living woe;
- Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were,
- And he that slew them fouler than he is;
- Bettering thy loss makes the bad-causer worse;
- Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.
- My words are dull; O, quicken them with thine!
- Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine.
- Why should calamity be full of words?
- Windy attorneys to their client woes,
- Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
- Poor breathing orators of miseries!
- Let them have scope: though what they do impart
- Help nothing else, yet do they ease the heart.
- If so, then be not tongue-tied: go with me,
- And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
- My damned son, that thy two sweet sons smother'd.
- I hear his drum:—be copious in exclaims.
[Enter KING RICHARD and his Train, marching.]
- Who intercepts me in my expedition?
- O, she that might have intercepted thee,
- By strangling thee in her accursed womb,
- From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!
- Hidest thou that forehead with a golden crown,
- Where should be branded, if that right were right,
- The slaughter of the prince that ow'd that crown,
- And the dire death of my poor sons and brothers?
- Tell me, thou villain-slave, where are my children?
- Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?
- And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
- Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
- Where is kind Hastings?
- A flourish, trumpets! strike alarum, drums!
- Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
- Rail on the Lord's anointed: strike, I say!
- Either be patient and entreat me fair,
- Or with the clamorous report of war
- Thus will I drown your exclamations.
- Art thou my son?
- Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.
- Then patiently hear my impatience.
- Madam, I have a touch of your condition
- That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
- O, let me speak!
- Do, then; but I'll not hear.
- I will be mild and gentle in my words.
- And brief, good mother; for I am in haste.
- Art thou so hasty? I have stay'd for thee,
- God knows, in torment and in agony.
- And came I not at last to comfort you?
- No, by the holy rood, thou know'st it well
- Thou cam'st on earth to make the earth my hell.
- A grievous burden was thy birth to me;
- Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy;
- Thy school-days frightful, desperate, wild, and furious;
- Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous;
- Thy age confirm'd, proud, subtle, sly, and bloody,
- More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred:
- What comfortable hour canst thou name
- That ever grac'd me with thy company?
- Faith, none but Humphrey Hour, that call'd your grace
- To breakfast once forth of my company.
- If I be so disgracious in your eye,
- Let me march on and not offend you, madam.—
- Strike up the drum.
- I pr'ythee hear me speak.
- You speak too bitterly.
- Hear me a word;
- For I shall never speak to thee again.
- Either thou wilt die by God's just ordinance
- Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror;
- Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
- And never more behold thy face again.
- Therefore take with thee my most grievous curse;
- Which in the day of battle tire thee more
- Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
- My prayers on the adverse party fight;
- And there the little souls of Edward's children
- Whisper the spirits of thine enemies,
- And promise them success and victory.
- Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end:
- Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.
- Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse
- Abides in me; I say amen to her.
- Stay, madam, I must talk a word with you.
- I have no more sons of the royal blood
- For thee to slaughter: for my daughters, Richard,—
- They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens;
- And therefore level not to hit their lives.
- You have a daughter call'd Elizabeth.
- Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
- And must she die for this? O, let her live,
- And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty:
- Slander myself as false to Edward's bed;
- Throw over her the veil of infamy:
- So she may live unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
- I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.
- Wrong not her birth; she is of royal blood.
- To save her life I'll say she is not so.
- Her life is safest only in her birth.
- And only in that safety died her brothers.
- Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.
- No, to their lives bad friends were contrary.
- All unavoided is the doom of destiny.
- True, when avoided grace makes destiny:
- My babes were destined to a fairer death,
- If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.
- You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.
- Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen'd
- Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
- Whose hand soever lanc'd their tender hearts,
- Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:
- No doubt the murderous knife was dull and blunt
- Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
- To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
- But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
- My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
- Till that my nails were anchor'd in thine eyes;
- And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
- Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
- Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.
- Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
- And dangerous success of bloody wars,
- As I intend more good to you and yours
- Than ever you or yours by me were harm'd!
- What good is cover'd with the face of heaven,
- To be discover'd, that can do me good?
- Advancement of your children, gentle lady.
- Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads?
- Unto the dignity and height of honour,
- The high imperial type of this earth's glory.
- Flatter my sorrows with report of it;
- Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour,
- Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
- Even all I have; ay, and myself and all
- Will I withal endow a child of thine;
- So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
- Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs
- Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
- Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness
- Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.
- Then know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.
- My daughter's mother thinks it with her soul.
- What do you think?
- That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul:
- So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers;
- And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.
- Be not so hasty to confound my meaning:
- I mean that with my soul I love thy daughter,
- And do intend to make her Queen of England.
- Well, then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?
- Even he that makes her queen: who else should be?
- What, thou?
- I, even I: what think you of it, madam?
- How canst thou woo her?
- That would I learn of you,
- As one being best acquainted with her humour.
- And wilt thou learn of me?
- Madam, with all my heart.
- Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
- A pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave
- "Edward" and "York." Then haply will she weep:
- Therefore present to her,—as sometimes Margaret
- Did to thy father, steep'd in Rutland's blood,—
- A handkerchief; which, say to her, did drain
- The purple sap from her sweet brothers' bodies,
- And bid her wipe her weeping eyes withal.
- If this inducement move her not to love,
- Send her a letter of thy noble deeds;
- Tell her thou mad'st away her uncle Clarence,
- Her uncle Rivers; ay, and for her sake
- Mad'st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
- You mock me, madam; this is not the way
- To win your daughter.
- There is no other way;
- Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,
- And not be Richard that hath done all this.
- Say that I did all this for love of her?
- Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
- Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.
- Look, what is done cannot be now amended:
- Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
- Which after-hours gives leisure to repent.
- If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
- To make amends I'll give it to your daughter.
- If I have kill'd the issue of your womb,
- To quicken your increase I will beget
- Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter.
- A grandam's name is little less in love
- Than is the doating title of a mother;
- They are as children but one step below,
- Even of your mettle, of your very blood;
- Of all one pain,—save for a night of groans
- Endur'd of her, for whom you bid like sorrow.
- Your children were vexation to your youth;
- But mine shall be a comfort to your age.
- The loss you have is but a son being king,
- And by that loss your daughter is made queen.
- I cannot make you what amends I would,
- Therefore accept such kindness as I can.
- Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul
- Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
- This fair alliance quickly shall call home
- To high promotions and great dignity:
- The king, that calls your beauteous daughter wife,
- Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother;
- Again shall you be mother to a king,
- And all the ruins of distressful times
- Repair'd with double riches of content.
- What! we have many goodly days to see:
- The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
- Shall come again, transform'd to orient pearl,
- Advantaging their loan with interest
- Of ten times double gain of happiness.
- Go, then, my mother, to thy daughter go;
- Make bold her bashful years with your experience;
- Prepare her ears to hear a wooer's tale:
- Put in her tender heart the aspiring flame
- Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the princess
- With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys:
- And when this arm of mine hath chastised
- The petty rebel, dull-brain'd Buckingham,
- Bound with triumphant garlands will I come,
- And lead thy daughter to a conqueror's bed;
- To whom I will retail my conquest won,
- And she shall be sole victoress, Caesar's Caesar.
- What were I best to say? her father's brother
- Would be her lord? or shall I say her uncle?
- Or he that slew her brothers and her uncles?
- Under what title shall I woo for thee,
- That God, the law, my honour, and her love
- Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
- Infer fair England's peace by this alliance.
- Which she shall purchase with still-lasting war.
- Tell her the king, that may command, entreats.
- That at her hands which the king's King forbids.
- Say she shall be a high and mighty queen.
- To wail the title, as her mother doth.
- Say I will love her everlastingly.
- But how long shall that title, "ever," last?
- Sweetly in force unto her fair life's end.
- But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?
- As long as heaven and nature lengthens it.
- As long as hell and Richard likes of it.
- Say I, her sovereign, am her subject low.
- But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.
- Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
- An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.
- Then plainly to her tell my loving tale.
- Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.
- Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.
- O, no, my reasons are too deep and dead;—
- Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves.
- Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.
- Harp on it still shall I till heartstrings break.
- Now, by my George, my garter, and my crown,—
- Profan'd, dishonour'd, and the third usurp'd.
- I swear,—
- By nothing; for this is no oath:
- Thy George, profan'd, hath lost his lordly honour;
- Thy garter, blemish'd, pawn'd his knightly virtue;
- Thy crown, usurp'd, disgrac'd his kingly glory.
- If something thou wouldst swear to be believ'd,
- Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.
- Now, by the world,—
- 'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
- My father's death,—
- Thy life hath that dishonour'd.
- Then, by myself,—
- Thy self is self-misus'd.
- Why, then, by God,—
- God's wrong is most of all.
- If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
- The unity the king thy brother made
- Had not been broken, nor my brother slain:
- If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
- The imperial metal, circling now thy head,
- Had grac'd the tender temples of my child;
- And both the princes had been breathing here,
- Which now, two tender bedfellows for dust,
- Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
- What canst thou swear by now?
- The time to come.
- That thou hast wronged in the time o'erpast;
- For I myself have many tears to wash
- Hereafter time, for time past wronged by thee.
- The children live whose fathers thou hast slaughter'd,
- Ungovern'd youth, to wail it in their age;
- The parents live whose children thou hast butcher'd,
- Old barren plants, to wail it with their age.
- Swear not by time to come: for that thou hast
- Misus'd ere used, by times ill-us'd o'erpast.
- As I intend to prosper and repent!
- So thrive I in my dangerous attempt
- Of hostile arms! myself myself confound!
- Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours!
- Day, yield me not thy light; nor, night, thy rest!
- Be opposite all planets of good luck
- To my proceeding!—if, with pure heart's love,
- Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
- I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter!
- In her consists my happiness and thine;
- Without her, follows to myself and thee,
- Herself, the land, and many a Christian soul,
- Death, desolation, ruin, and decay:
- It cannot be avoided but by this;
- It will not be avoided but by this.
- Therefore, dear mother,—I must call you so,—
- Be the attorney of my love to her:
- Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
- Not my deserts, but what I will deserve:
- Urge the necessity and state of times,
- And be not peevish found in great designs.
- Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
- Ay, if the devil tempt you to do good.
- Shall I forget myself to be myself?
- Ay, if your self's remembrance wrong yourself.
- Yet thou didst kill my children.
- But in your daughter's womb I bury them:
- Where, in that nest of spicery, they shall breed
- Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
- Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?
- And be a happy mother by the deed.
- I go.—Write to me very shortly,
- And you shall understand from me her mind.
- Bear her my true love's kiss; and so, farewell.
[Kissing her. Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH.]
- Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!
[Enter RATCLIFF; CATESBY following.]
- How now! what news?
- Most mighty sovereign, on the western coast
- Rideth a puissant navy; to the shore
- Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
- Unarm'd, and unresolv'd to beat them back:
- 'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
- And there they hull, expecting but the aid
- Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.
- Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of Norfolk:—
- Ratcliff, thyself,—or Catesby; where is he?
- Here, my good lord.
- Catesby, fly to the duke.
- I will my lord, with all convenient haste.
- Ratcliff, come hither: post to Salisbury:
- When thou com'st thither,—
- [To CATESBY.] Dull, unmindful villain,
- Why stay'st thou here, and go'st not to the duke?
- First, mighty liege, tell me your highness' pleasure,
- What from your grace I shall deliver to him.
- O, true, good Catesby:—bid him levy straight
- The greatest strength and power that he can make,
- And meet me suddenly at Salisbury.
- I go.
- What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?
- Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go?
- Your highness told me I should post before.
- My mind is chang'd.—Stanley, what news with you?
- None good, my liege, to please you with the hearing;
- Nor none so bad but well may be reported.
- Hoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
- What need'st thou run so many miles about,
- When thou mayest tell thy tale the nearest way?
- Once more, what news?
- Richmond is on the seas.
- There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
- White-liver'd runagate, what doth he there?
- I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
- Well, as you guess?
- Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton,
- He makes for England here, to claim the crown.
- Is the chair empty? is the sword unsway'd?
- Is the king dead? the empire unpossess'd?
- What heir of York is there alive but we?
- And who is England's king but great York's heir?
- Then tell me, what makes he upon the seas?
- Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
- Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
- You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
- Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.
- No, mighty leige; therefore mistrust me not.
- Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
- Where be thy tenants and thy followers?
- Are they not now upon the western shore,
- Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?
- No, my good lord, my friends are in the north.
- Cold friends to me: what do they in the north,
- When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
- They have not been commanded, mighty king:
- Pleaseth your majesty to give me leave,
- I'll muster up my friends, and meet your grace
- Where and what time your majesty shall please.
- Ay, ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond;
- But I'll not trust thee.
- Most mighty sovereign,
- You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful:
- I never was nor never will be false.
- Go, then, and muster men. But leave behind
- Your son, George Stanley: look your heart be firm,
- Or else his head's assurance is but frail.
- So deal with him as I prove true to you.
[Enter a MESSENGER.]
- My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
- As I by friends am well advertised,
- Sir Edward Courtney, and the haughty prelate,
- Bishop of Exeter, his elder brother,
- With many more confederates, are in arms.
[Enter a second MESSENGER.]
- In Kent, my liege, the Guilfords are in arms;
- And every hour more competitors
- Flock to the rebels, and their power grows strong.
[Enter a third MESSENGER.]
- My lord, the army of great Buckingham,—
- Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of death?
[He strikes him.]
- There, take thou that till thou bring better news.
- The news I have to tell your majesty
- Is, that by sudden floods and fall of waters,
- Buckingham's army is dispers'd and scatter'd;
- And he himself wander'd away alone,
- No man knows whither.
- I cry you mercy:
- There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
- Hath any well-advised friend proclaim'd
- Reward to him that brings the traitor in?
- Such proclamation hath been made, my liege.
[Enter a fourth MESSENGER.]
- Sir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis Dorset,
- 'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
- But this good comfort bring I to your highness,—
- The Britagne navy is dispers'd by tempest:
- Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat
- Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks
- If they were his assistants, yea or no;
- Who answer'd him they came from Buckingham
- Upon his party. He, mistrusting them,
- Hois'd sail, and made his course again for Britagne.
- March on, march on, since we are up in arms;
- If not to fight with foreign enemies,
- Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.
- My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken,—
- That is the best news: that the Earl of Richmond
- Is with a mighty power landed at Milford
- Is colder tidings, yet they must be told.
- Away towards Salisbury! while we reason here
- A royal battle might be won and lost:—
- Some one take order Buckingham be brought
- To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.
SCENE V. A Room in LORD STANLEY'S house.
[Enter STANLEY and SIR CHRISTOPHER URSWICK.]
- Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me:—
- That in the sty of the most deadly boar
- My son George Stanley is frank'd up in hold:
- If I revolt, off goes young George's head;
- The fear of that holds off my present aid.
- So, get thee gone: commend me to thy lord;
- Withal say that the queen hath heartily consented
- He should espouse Elizabeth her daughter.
- But tell me, where is princely Richmond now?
- At Pembroke, or at Ha'rford-west in Wales.
- What men of name resort to him?
- Sir Walter Herbert, a renowned soldier;
- Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley;
- Oxford, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt,
- And Rice ap Thomas, with a valiant crew;
- And many other of great name and worth:
- And towards London do they bend their power,
- If by the way they be not fought withal.
- Well, hie thee to thy lord; I kiss his hand;
- My letter will resolve him of my mind.
[Gives papers to SIR CHRISTOPHER. Exeunt.]
SCENE I. Salisbury. An open place.
[Enter the Sheriff and Guard, with BUCKINGHAM, led to execution.]
- Will not King Richard let me speak with him?
- No, my good lord; therefore be patient.
- Hastings, and Edward's children, Grey, and Rivers,
- Holy King Henry, and thy fair son Edward,
- Vaughan, and all that have miscarried
- By underhand corrupted foul injustice,—
- If that your moody discontented souls
- Do through the clouds behold this present hour,
- Even for revenge mock my destruction!—
- This is All-Souls' day, fellow, is it not?
- It is, my lord.
- Why, then All-Souls' day is my body's doomsday.
- This is the day which in King Edward's time
- I wish'd might fall on me, when I was found
- False to his children and his wife's allies;
- This is the day wherein I wish'd to fall
- By the false faith of him whom most I trusted;
- This, this All-Souls' day to my fearful soul
- Is the determin'd respite of my wrongs:
- That high All-Seer which I dallied with
- Hath turn'd my feigned prayer on my head
- And given in earnest what I begg'd in jest.
- Thus doth He force the swords of wicked men
- To turn their own points in their masters' bosoms:
- Thus Margaret's curse falls heavy on my neck,—
- "When he," quoth she, "shall split thy heart with sorrow,
- Remember Margaret was a prophetess."—
- Come lead me, officers, to the block of shame;
- Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame.
SCENE II. Plain near Tamworth.
[Enter with drum and colours, RICHMOND, OXFORD, SIR JAMES BLUNT, SIR WALTER HERBERT, and others, with Forces, marching.]
- Fellows in arms, and my most loving friends,
- Bruis'd underneath the yoke of tyranny,
- Thus far into the bowels of the land
- Have we march'd on without impediment;
- And here receive we from our father Stanley
- Lines of fair comfort and encouragement.
- The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar
- That spoil'd your summer fields and fruitful vines,
- Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
- In your embowell'd bosoms,—this foul swine
- Lies now even in the centre of this isle,
- Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn:
- From Tamworth thither is but one day's march.
- In God's name cheerly on, courageous friends,
- To reap the harvest of perpetual peace
- By this one bloody trial of sharp war.
- Every man's conscience is a thousand swords,
- To fight against that bloody homicide.
- I doubt not but his friends will turn to us.
- He hath no friends but what are friends for fear,
- Which in his dearest need will fly from him.
- All for our vantage. Then in God's name, march:
- True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings;
- Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.
SCENE III. Bosworth Field.
[Enter KING RICHARD and Forces; the DUKE OF NORFOLK, the EARL of
- SURREY, and others.]
- Here pitch our tents, even here in Bosworth field.—
- My Lord of Surrey, why look you so sad?
- My heart is ten times lighter than my looks.
- My Lord of Norfolk,—
- Here, most gracious liege.
- Norfolk, we must have knocks; ha! must we not?
- We must both give and take, my loving lord.
- Up With my tent! Here will I lie to-night;
[Soldiers begin to set up the King's tent.]
- But where to-morrow? Well, all's one for that.—
- Who hath descried the number of the traitors?
- Six or seven thousand is their utmost power.
- Why, our battalia trebles that account:
- Besides, the king's name is a tower of strength,
- Which they upon the adverse faction want.—
- Up with the tent!—Come, noble gentlemen,
- Let us survey the vantage of the ground;—
- Call for some men of sound direction:—
- Let's lack no discipline, make no delay;
- For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.
[Enter, on the other side of the field, RICHMOND, SIR WILLIAM BRANDON, OXFORD, and other Lords. Some of the Soldiers pitch RICHMOND'S tent.]
- The weary sun hath made a golden set,
- And by the bright tract of his fiery car
- Gives token of a goodly day to-morrow.
- Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard.—
- Give me some ink and paper in my tent:
- I'll draw the form and model of our battle,
- Limit each leader to his several charge,
- And part in just proportion our small power.—
- My Lord of Oxford,—you, Sir William Brandon,—
- And you, Sir Walter Herbert,—stay with me.—
- The Earl of Pembroke keeps 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 captain, do for me,—
- Where is Lord Stanley quarter'd, do you know?
- Unless I have mista'en his colours much,—
- Which well I am assur'd 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 note.
- Upon my life, my lord, I'll undertake it;
- And so, God give you quiet rest to-night!
- Good night, good Captain Blunt.—Come, gentlemen,
- Let us consult upon to-morrow's business:
- In to my tent; the air is raw and cold.
[They withdraw into the tent.]
[Enter, to his tent, KING RICHARD, NORFOLK, RATCLIFF, and CATESBY.]
- What is't o'clock?
- It's supper-time, my lord; It's six o'clock.
- I will not sup to-night.—
- Give me some ink and paper.—
- What, is my beaver easier than it was?
- And all my armour laid into my tent?
- It is, my liege; and all things are in readiness.
- Good Norfolk, hie thee to thy charge;
- Use careful watch, choose trusty sentinels.
- I go, my lord.
- Stir with the lark to-morrow, gentle Norfolk.
- I warrant you, my lord.
- My lord?
- Send out a pursuivant-at-arms
- To Stanley's regiment; bid him bring his power
- Before sunrising, lest his son George fall
- Into the blind cave of eternal night.—
- Fill me a bowl of wine.—Give me a watch.—
- Saddle white Surrey for the field to-morrow.—
- Look that my staves be sound, and not too heavy.—
- My lord?
- Saw'st thou the melancholy Lord Northumberland?
- Thomas the Earl of Surrey and himself,
- Much about cock-shut time, from troop to troop
- Went through the army, cheering up the soldiers.
- So, I am satisfied.—Give me a bowl of wine:
- I have not that alacrity of spirit
- Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have.
- Set it down.—Is ink and paper ready?
- It is, my lord.
- Bid my guard watch; leave me.
- Ratcliff, about the mid of night come to my tent
- And help to arm me. Leave me, I say.
[KING RICHARD retires into his tent. Exeunt RATCLIFF and CATESBY.]
[RICHMOND's tent opens, and discovers him and his Officers, &c.]
- 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,—
- Prepare 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,
- And aid thee in this doubtful stroke 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
- Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love
- And ample interchange of sweet discourse,
- Which so-long-sunder'd 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 to-morrow,
- When I should mount with wings of victory:
- Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.
[Exeunt Lords, &c., with STANLEY.]
- 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
- The usurping helmets of our adversaries!
- Make us Thy ministers of chastisement,
- That we may praise Thee in Thy victory!
- To Thee I do commend my watchful soul
- Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes:
- Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still!
[The Ghost of PRINCE EDWARD, son to HENRY THE SIXTH, rises between the two tents.]
- [To KING RICHARD.] Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
- Think how thou stabb'dst me in my prime of youth
- At Tewksbury: despair, therefore, and die!—
- [To RICHMOND.] Be cheerful, Richmond; for the wronged souls
- Of butcher'd princes fight in thy behalf:
- King Henry's issue, Richmond, comforts thee.
[The Ghost of HENRY THE SIXTH rises.]
- [To KING RICHARD.] When I was mortal, my anointed body
- By thee was punched full of deadly holes:
- Think on the Tower and me: despair, and die,—
- Harry the Sixth bids thee despair and die.—
- [To RICHMOND.] Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror!
- Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king,
- Doth comfort thee in thy sleep: live, and flourish!
[The Ghost of CLARENCE rises.]
- [To KING RICHARD.] Let me sit heavy in thy soul to-morrow!
- I that was wash'd to death with fulsome wine,
- Poor Clarence, by thy guile betray'd to death!
- To-morrow in the battle think on me,
- And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!—
- [To RICHMOND.] Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster,
- The wronged heirs of York do pray for thee:
- Good angels guard thy battle! live, and flourish!
[The Ghosts of RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN rise.]
GHOST OF RIVERS.
- [To KING RICHARD.] Let me sit heavy in thy soul to-morrow,
- Rivers that died at Pomfret! despair and die!
GHOST OF GREY.
- [To KING RICHARD.] Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!
GHOST OF VAUGHAN.
- [To KING RICHARD.] Think upon Vaughan, and, with guilty fear,
- Let fall thy lance: despair and die!—
- [To RICHMOND.] Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard's bosom
- Will conquer him!—awake, and win the day!
[The GHOST of HASTINGS rises.]
- [To KING RICHARD.] Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake,
- And in a bloody battle end thy days!
- Think on Lord Hastings: despair and die!—
- [To RICHMOND.] Quiet untroubled soul, awake, awake!
- Arm, fight, and conquer, for fair England's sake!
[The Ghosts of the two young PRINCES rise.]
- [To KING RICHARD.] Dream on thy cousins smothered 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 RICHMOND.] Sleep, Richmond, sleep 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.
[The GHOST of QUEEN ANNE rises.]
- [To KING RICHARD.] Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife,
- That never slept a quiet hour with thee,
- Now fills thy sleep with perturbations:
- To-morrow in the battle think on me,
- And fall thy edgeless sword: despair and die!—
- [To RICHMOND.] Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep;
- Dream of success and happy victory:
- Thy adversary's wife doth pray for thee.
[The Ghost of BUCKINGHAM rises.]
- [To KING RICHARD.] The first was I that help'd thee to the crown;
- The last was I that felt thy tyranny:
- O, in the battle think on Buckingham,
- And die in terror of thy guiltiness!
- Dream on, dream on of bloody deeds and death:
- Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath!—
- [To RICHMOND.] I died for hope ere I could lend thee aid:
- But cheer thy heart and be thou not dismay'd:
- God and good angels fight on Richmond's side;
- And Richard falls in height of all his pride.
[The GHOSTS vanish. KING RICHARD starts out of his dream.]
- Give me another horse,—bind up my wounds,—
- Have 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:
- Richard loves Richard; that is, I am 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
- That 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.
- My 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 high'st degree;
- Murder, stern murder, in the dir'st degree;
- All several sins, all us'd 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
- Find in myself no pity to myself?
- Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd
- Came to my tent; and every one did threat
- To-morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.
- My lord,—
- Who's there?
- Ratcliff, my lord; 'tis I. The early village-cock
- Hath twice done salutation to the morn;
- Your friends are up, and buckle on their armour.
- O Ratcliff, I have dream'd a fearful dream!—
- What think'st thou,—will our friends prove all true?
- No doubt, my lord.
- O Ratcliff, I fear, I fear,—
- Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.
- By the apostle Paul, shadows to-night
- Have stuck more terror to the soul of Richard
- Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers
- Armed in proof and led by shallow Richmond.
- It is not yet near day. Come, go with me;
- Under our tents I'll play the eaves-dropper,
- To see if any mean to shrink from me.
[Exeunt KING RICHARD and RATCLIFF.]
[RICHMOND wakes. Enter OXFORD and others.]
- 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 enter'd in a drowsy head
- Have I since your departure had, my lords.
- Methought their souls whose bodies Richard murder'd
- Came to my tent and cried on victory:
- I promise you, my heart 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.—
[He advances to the Troops.]
- More than I have said, loving countrymen,
- The leisure and enforcement of the time
- Forbids to dwell on: yet remember this,—
- God and our good cause fight upon our side;
- The prayers of holy saints and wronged souls,
- Like high-rear'd bulwarks, stand before our faces;
- Richard except, those whom we fight against
- Had rather have us win than him they follow:
- For what is he they follow? truly, gentlemen,
- A bloody tyrant and a homicide;
- One rais'd in blood, and one in blood establish'd;
- One that made means to come by what he hath,
- And slaughter'd 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,
- God 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;
- If 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 quit it in your age.
- Then, in the name of God and all these rights,
- Advance 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.
- Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully;
- God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!
[Re-enter KING RICHARD, RATCLIFF, Attendants, and Forces.]
- What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?
- That he was never trained up in arms.
- He said the truth; and what said Surrey then?
- He smil'd, and said, "the better for our purpose."
- He was in the right; and so indeed it is.
- Tell the clock there.—Give me a calendar.—
- Who saw the sun to-day?
- Not I, my lord.
- Then he disdains to shine; for by the book
- He should have brav'd the east an hour ago:
- A black day will it be to somebody.—
- My lord?
- The sun will not be seen to-day;
- The sky doth frown and lower upon our army.
- I would these dewy tears were from the ground.
- Not shine to-day! Why, what is that to me
- More than to Richmond? for the selfsame heaven
- That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.
- Arm, arm, my lord; the foe vaunts in the field.
- Come, bustle, bustle; caparison my horse;—
- Call up Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power:
- I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain,
- And thus my battle shall be ordered:—
- My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,
- Consisting equally of horse and foot;
- Our archers shall be placed in the midst:
- John 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 winged with our chiefest horse.
- This, and Saint George to boot!—What think'st thou,
- A good direction, warlike sovereign.—
- This found I on my tent this morning.
[Giving a scroll.]
- [Reads.] "Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,
- For Dickon thy master is bought and sold."
- A thing devised 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,
- Devis'd at first to keep the strong in awe:
- Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.
- March on, join bravely, let us to't pell-mell;
- If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell.—
- What shall I say more than I have inferr'd?
- Remember whom you are to cope withal;—
- A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,
- A scum of Britagnes, and base lackey peasants,
- Whom their o'er-cloyed country vomits forth
- To desperate adventures and assur'd destruction.
- You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest;
- You having lands, and bless'd with beauteous wives,
- They would restrain the one, distain the other.
- And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,
- Long kept in Britagne at our mother's cost?
- A milk-sop, 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 over-weening rags of France,
- These famish'd beggars, weary of their lives;
- Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,
- For want of means, poor rats, had hang'd themselves:
- If we be conquered, let men conquer us,
- And not these bastard Britagnes, whom our fathers
- Have in their own land beaten, bobb'd, and thump'd,
- And, on record, left them the heirs of shame.
- Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives,
- Ravish our daughters?—Hark! I hear their drum.
- [Drum afar off.]
- Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yeomen!
- Draw, 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.]
- What says Lord Stanley? will he bring his power?
- My lord, he doth deny to come.
- Off with his son George's head!
- My lord, the enemy is pass'd the marsh:
- After the battle let George Stanley die.
- A thousand hearts are great within my bosom:
- Advance 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.
SCENE IV. Another part of the Field.
[Alarum; excursions. Enter NORFOLK and forces; to him CATESBY.]
- Rescue, my Lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!
- The king enacts more wonders than a man,
- Daring an opposite to every danger:
- His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights,
- Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death.
- Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!
[Alarum. Enter KING RICHARD.]
- A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
- Withdraw, my lord! I'll help you to a horse.
- Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
- And I will stand the hazard of the die:
- I think there be six Richmonds in the field:
- Five have I slain to-day instead of him.—
- A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
SCENE V. Another part of the Field.
[Alarums. Enter, from opposite sides, KING RICHARD and RICHMOND; and exeunt fighting. Retreat and flourish. Then re-enter RICHMOND, with STANLEY bearing the crown, and divers other Lords and Forces.]
- God and your arms be prais'd, victorious friends;
- The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead.
- Courageous Richmond, well hast thou acquit thee!
- Lo, here, this long-usurped royalty
- From the dead temples of this bloody wretch
- Have I pluck'd off, to grace thy brows withal.
- Wear it, enjoy it, and make much of it.
- Great God of heaven, say Amen to all!—
- But, tell me is young George Stanley living?
- He is, my lord, and safe in Leicester town,
- Whither, if it please you, we may now withdraw us.
- What men of name are slain on either side?
- John Duke of Norfolk, Walter Lord Ferrers,
- Sir Robert Brakenbury, and Sir William Brandon.
- Inter their bodies as becomes their births:
- Proclaim a pardon to the soldiers fled
- That in submission will return to us:
- And then, as we have ta'en the sacrament,
- We will unite the white rose and the red:—
- Smile heaven upon this fair conjunction,
- That long have frown'd upon their emnity!
- What traitor hears me, and says not Amen?
- England hath long been mad, and scarr'd herself;
- The brother blindly shed the brother's blood,
- The father rashly slaughter'd his own son,
- The son, compell'd, been butcher to the sire:
- All this divided York and Lancaster,
- Divided in their dire division,—
- O, now let Richmond and Elizabeth,
- The true succeeders of each royal house,
- By God's fair ordinance conjoin together!
- And let their heirs,—God, if Thy will be so,—
- Enrich the time to come with smooth'd-fac'd peace,
- With smiling plenty, and fair prosperous days!
- Abate the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,
- That would reduce these bloody days again,
- And make poor England weep in streams of blood!
- Let them not live to taste this land's increase
- That would with treason wound this fair land's peace!
- Now civil wounds are stopp'd, peace lives again:
- That she may long live here, God say Amen!