Shakespeare in the Digital Age


Act III, Scene 1

London. A street.

[The trumpets sound. Enter the young PRINCE EDWARD, GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, CARDINAL, CATESBY, and others]

Duke of Buckingham. Welcome, sweet prince, to London, to your chamber.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts' sovereign
The weary way hath made you melancholy.

Prince Edward. No, uncle; but our crosses on the way 1570
Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy
I want more uncles here to welcome me.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Sweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years
Hath not yet dived into the world's deceit
Nor more can you distinguish of a man 1575
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 : 1580
God keep you from them, and from such false friends!

Prince Edward. God keep me from false friends! but they were none.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My lord, the mayor of London comes to greet you.

[Enter the Lord Mayor and his train]

Lord Mayor of London. God bless your grace with health and happy days! 1585

Prince Edward. I thank you, good my lord; and thank you all.
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! 1590


Duke of Buckingham. And, in good time, here comes the sweating lord.

Prince Edward. Welcome, my lord: what, will our mother come?

Lord Hastings. On what occasion, God he knows, not I,
The queen your mother, and your brother York, 1595
Have taken sanctuary: the tender prince
Would fain have come with me to meet your grace,
But by his mother was perforce withheld.

Duke of Buckingham. Fie, what an indirect and peevish course
Is this of hers! Lord cardinal, will your grace 1600
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.

Cardinal Bourchier. My Lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory 1605
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 1610
Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.

Duke of Buckingham. 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. 1615
The benefit thereof is always granted
To those whose dealings have deserved the place,
And those who have the wit to claim the place:
This prince hath neither claim'd it nor deserved it;
And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it: 1620
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.

Cardinal Bourchier. My lord, you shall o'er-rule my mind for once. 1625
Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?

Lord Hastings. I go, my lord.

Prince Edward. Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.
Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come, 1630
Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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 1635
For your best health and recreation.

Prince Edward. I do not like the Tower, of any place.
Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?

Duke of Buckingham. He did, my gracious lord, begin that place;
Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified. 1640

Prince Edward. Is it upon record, or else reported
Successively from age to age, he built it?

Duke of Buckingham. Upon record, my gracious lord.

Prince Edward. But say, my lord, it were not register'd,
Methinks the truth should live from age to age, 1645
As 'twere retail'd to all posterity,
Even to the general all-ending day.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] So wise so young, they say, do never
live long.

Prince Edward. What say you, uncle? 1650

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I say, without characters, fame lives long.
Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,
I moralize two meanings in one word.

Prince Edward. That Julius Caesar was a famous man; 1655
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,— 1660

Duke of Buckingham. What, my gracious lord?

Prince Edward. An if I live until I be a man,
I'll win our ancient right in France again,
Or die a soldier, as I lived a king.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). [Aside] Short summers lightly have a forward spring. 1665

[Enter young YORK, HASTINGS, and the CARDINAL]

Duke of Buckingham. Now, in good time, here comes the Duke of York.

Prince Edward. Richard of York! how fares our loving brother?

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Well, my dread lord; so must I call you now.

Prince Edward. Ay, brother, to our grief, as it is yours: 1670
Too late he died that might have kept that title,
Which by his death hath lost much majesty.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). How fares our cousin, noble Lord of York?

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord,
You said that idle weeds are fast in growth 1675
The prince my brother hath outgrown me far.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). He hath, my lord.

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). And therefore is he idle?

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O, my fair cousin, I must not say so.

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Then is he more beholding to you than I. 1680

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). He may command me as my sovereign;
But you have power in me as in a kinsman.

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My dagger, little cousin? with all my heart.

Prince Edward. A beggar, brother? 1685

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Of my kind uncle, that I know will give;
And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A greater gift than that I'll give my cousin.

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). A greater gift! O, that's the sword to it.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A gentle cousin, were it light enough. 1690

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). O, then, I see, you will part but with light gifts;
In weightier things you'll say a beggar nay.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). It is too heavy for your grace to wear.

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I weigh it lightly, were it heavier.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What, would you have my weapon, little lord? 1695

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I would, that I might thank you as you call me.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). How?

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Little.

Prince Edward. My Lord of York will still be cross in talk:
Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him. 1700

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). 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.

Duke of Buckingham. With what a sharp-provided wit he reasons! 1705
To mitigate the scorn he gives his uncle,
He prettily and aptly taunts himself:
So cunning and so young is wonderful.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My lord, will't please you pass along?
Myself and my good cousin Buckingham 1710
Will to your mother, to entreat of her
To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord? 
Prince Edward. My lord protector needs will have it so.

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower. 1715

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, what should you fear?

Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost:
My grandam told me he was murdered there.

Prince Edward. I fear no uncles dead.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Nor none that live, I hope. 1720

Prince Edward. 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.
[A Sennet. Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM]
and CATESBY] 1725

Duke of Buckingham. Think you, my lord, this little prating York
Was not incensed by his subtle mother
To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). No doubt, no doubt; O, 'tis a parlous boy;
Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable 1730
He is all the mother's, from the top to toe.

Duke of Buckingham. 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 urged upon the way; 1735
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?

Sir William Catesby. He for his father's sake so loves the prince, 1740
That he will not be won to aught against him.

Duke of Buckingham. What think'st thou, then, of Stanley? what will he?

Sir William Catesby. He will do all in all as Hastings doth.

Duke of Buckingham. Well, then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
And, as it were far off sound thou Lord Hastings, 1745
How doth he 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 show him all our reasons: 1750
If he be leaden, icy-cold, unwilling,
Be thou so too; and so break off your talk,
And give us notice of his inclination:
For we to-morrow hold divided councils,
Wherein thyself shalt highly be employ'd. 1755

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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 friend, for joy of this good news,
Give mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more. 1760

Duke of Buckingham. Good Catesby, go, effect this business soundly.

Sir William Catesby. My good lords both, with all the heed I may.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?

Sir William Catesby. You shall, my lord.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). At Crosby Place, there shall you find us both. 1765


Duke of Buckingham. Now, my lord, what shall we do, if we perceive
Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Chop off his head, man; somewhat we will do:
And, look, when I am king, claim thou of me 1770
The earldom of Hereford, and the moveables
Whereof the king my brother stood possess'd.

Duke of Buckingham. I'll claim that promise at your grace's hands.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And look to have it yielded with all willingness.
Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards 1775
We may digest our complots in some form.


Act III, Scene 2

Before Lord Hastings’ house.

[Enter a Messenger]

Messenger. What, ho! my lord!

Lord Hastings. [Within] Who knocks at the door? 1780

Messenger. A messenger from the Lord Stanley.


Lord Hastings. What is't o'clock?

Messenger. Upon the stroke of four.

Lord Hastings. Cannot thy master sleep these tedious nights? 1785

Messenger. So it should seem by that I have to say.
First, he commends him to your noble lordship.

Lord Hastings. And then?

Messenger. And then he sends you word
He dreamt to-night the boar had razed his helm: 1790
Besides, he says there are two councils held;
And that may be determined at the one
which may make you and him to rue at the other.
Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,
If presently you will take horse with him, 1795
And with all speed post with him toward the north,
To shun the danger that his soul divines.

Lord Hastings. Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
Bid him not fear the separated councils
His honour and myself are at the one, 1800
And at the other is my servant Catesby
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
Tell him his fears are shallow, wanting instance:
And for his dreams, I wonder he is so fond 1805
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 1810
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.

Messenger. My gracious lord, I'll tell him what you say.



Sir William Catesby. Many good morrows to my noble lord!

Lord Hastings. Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring
What news, what news, in this our tottering state?

Sir William Catesby. It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord;
And I believe twill never stand upright 1820
Tim Richard wear the garland of the realm.

Lord Hastings. How! wear the garland! dost thou mean the crown?

Sir William Catesby. Ay, my good lord.

Lord Hastings. I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
Ere I will see the crown so foul misplaced. 1825
But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?

Sir William Catesby. Ay, on my life; and hopes to find forward
Upon his party for the gain thereof:
And thereupon he sends you this good news,
That this same very day your enemies, 1830
The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.

Lord Hastings. Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
Because they have been still mine enemies:
But, that I'll give my voice on Richard's side,
To bar my master's heirs in true descent, 1835
God knows I will not do it, to the death.

Sir William Catesby. God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!

Lord Hastings. But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,
That they who brought me in my master's hate
I live to look upon their tragedy. 1840
I tell thee, Catesby—

Sir William Catesby. What, my lord?

Lord Hastings. Ere a fortnight make me elder,
I'll send some packing that yet think not on it.

Sir William Catesby. 'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord, 1845
When men are unprepared and look not for it.

Lord Hastings. O monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out
With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill do
With some men else, who think themselves as safe
As thou and I; who, as thou know'st, are dear 1850
To princely Richard and to Buckingham.

Sir William Catesby. The princes both make high account of you;
For they account his head upon the bridge.

Lord Hastings. I know they do; and I have well deserved it. 1855
Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?

Sir William Stanley. My lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby:
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood, 1860
I do not like these several councils, I.

Lord Hastings. My lord,
I hold my life as dear as you do yours;
And never in my life, I do protest,
Was it more precious to me than 'tis now: 1865
Think you, but that I know our state secure,
I would be so triumphant as I am?

Sir William Stanley. The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
Were jocund, and supposed their state was sure,
And they indeed had no cause to mistrust; 1870
But yet, you see how soon the day o'ercast.
This sudden stag of rancour I misdoubt:
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.

Lord Hastings. Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my lord? 1875
To-day the lords you talk of are beheaded.

Sir William Stanley. They, for their truth, might better wear their heads
Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
But come, my lord, let us away.

[Enter a Pursuivant]

Lord Hastings. Go on before; I'll talk with this good fellow.
How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee?

Pursuivant. The better that your lordship please to ask.

Lord Hastings. I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now 1885
Than when I met thee 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, 1890
And I in better state than e'er I was.

Pursuivant. God hold it, to your honour's good content!

Lord Hastings. Gramercy, fellow: there, drink that for me.

[Throws him his purse]

Pursuivant. God save your lordship! 1895


[Enter a Priest]

Priest. Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.

Lord Hastings. I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
I am in your debt for your last exercise; 1900
Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.

[He whispers in his ear]


Duke of Buckingham. What, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain?
Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest; 1905
Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.

Lord Hastings. Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
Those men you talk of came into my mind.
What, go you toward the Tower?

Duke of Buckingham. I do, my lord; but long I shall not stay 1910
I shall return before your lordship thence.

Lord Hastings. 'Tis like enough, for I stay dinner there.

Duke of Buckingham. [Aside] And supper too, although thou know'st it not.
Come, will you go?

Lord Hastings. I'll wait upon your lordship. 1915


Act III, Scene 3

Pomfret Castle.

[Enter RATCLIFF, with halberds, carrying RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN to death]

Sir Richard Ratcliff. Come, bring forth the prisoners.

Lord (Earl) Rivers. Sir Richard Ratcliff, let me tell thee this: 1920
To-day shalt thou behold a subject die
For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.

Lord Grey. God keep the prince from all the pack of you!
A knot you are of damned blood-suckers!

Sir Thomas Vaughan. You live that shall cry woe for this after. 1925

Sir Richard Ratcliff. Dispatch; the limit of your lives is out.

Lord (Earl) Rivers. 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; 1930
And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.

Lord Grey. Now Margaret's curse is fall'n upon our heads,
For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son.

Lord (Earl) Rivers. Then cursed she Hastings, then cursed she Buckingham, 1935
Then cursed she Richard. O, remember, God
To hear her prayers 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. 1940

Sir Richard Ratcliff. Make haste; the hour of death is expiate.

Lord (Earl) Rivers. Come, Grey, come, Vaughan, let us all embrace:
And take our leave, until we meet in heaven.


Act III, Scene 4

The Tower of London.

[Enter BUCKINGHAM, DERBY, HASTINGS, the BISHOP OF ELY, RATCLIFF, LOVEL, with others, and take their seats at a table]

Lord Hastings. My lords, at once: the cause why we are met
Is, to determine of the coronation.
In God's name, speak: when is the royal day? 1950

Duke of Buckingham. Are all things fitting for that royal time?

Sir William Stanley. It is, and wants but nomination.

John Morton. To-morrow, then, I judge a happy day.

Duke of Buckingham. Who knows the lord protector's mind herein?
Who is most inward with the royal duke? 1955

John Morton. Your grace, we think, should soonest know his mind.

Duke of Buckingham. Who, I, my lord I we know each other's faces,
But for our hearts, he knows no more of mine,
Than I of yours;
Nor I no more of his, than you of mine. 1960
Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.

Lord Hastings. 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: 1965
But you, my noble 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.


John Morton. Now in good time, here comes the duke himself. 1970

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
I have been long a sleeper; but, I hope,
My absence doth neglect no great designs,
Which by my presence might have been concluded.

Duke of Buckingham. Had not you come upon your cue, my lord 1975
William Lord Hastings had pronounced your part,—
I mean, your voice,—for crowning of the king.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Than my Lord Hastings no man might be bolder;
His lordship knows me well, and loves me well.

Lord Hastings. I thank your grace. 1980

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My lord of Ely!

John Morton. My lord?

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). When I was last in Holborn,
I saw good strawberries in your garden there
I do beseech you send for some of them. 1985

John Morton. Marry, and will, my lord, with all my heart.


Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
[Drawing him aside]
Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business, 1990
And finds the testy gentleman so hot,
As he will lose his head ere give consent
His master's son, as worshipful as he terms it,
Shall lose the royalty of England's throne.

Duke of Buckingham. Withdraw you hence, my lord, I'll follow you. 1995


Sir William Stanley. We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
To-morrow, in mine opinion, is too sudden;
For I myself am not so well provided
As else I would be, were the day prolong'd. 2000

[Re-enter BISHOP OF ELY]

John Morton. Where is my lord protector? I have sent for these

Lord Hastings. His grace looks cheerfully and smooth to-day;
There's some conceit or other likes him well, 2005
When he doth bid good morrow with such a spirit.
I think there's never a man in Christendom
That can less hide his love or hate than he;
For by his face straight shall you know his heart.

Sir William Stanley. What of his heart perceive you in his face 2010
By any likelihood he show'd to-day?

Lord Hastings. Marry, that with no man here he is offended;
For, were he, he had shown it in his looks.

Sir William Stanley. I pray God he be not, I say.


Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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?

Lord Hastings. The tender love I bear your grace, my lord, 2020
Makes me most forward in this noble presence
To doom the offenders, whatsoever they be
I say, my lord, they have deserved death.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then be your eyes the witness of this ill:
See how I am bewitch'd; behold mine arm 2025
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.

Lord Hastings. If they have done this thing, my gracious lord— 2030

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). If I thou protector of this damned strumpet—
Tellest thou 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: 2035
The rest, that love me, rise and follow me.

[Exeunt all but HASTINGS, RATCLIFF, and LOVEL]

Lord Hastings. 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; 2040
But I disdain'd it, and did scorn to fly:
Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
And startled, when he look'd upon the Tower,
As loath to bear me to the slaughter-house.
O, now I want the priest that spake to me: 2045
I now repent I told the pursuivant
As 'twere triumphing at mine enemies,
How they at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd,
And I myself secure in grace and favour.
O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse 2050
Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head!

Sir Richard Ratcliff. Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner:
Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.

Lord Hastings. O momentary grace of mortal men,
Which we more hunt for than the grace of God! 2055
Who builds his hopes 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.

Lord Lovel. Come, come, dispatch; 'tis bootless to exclaim. 2060

Lord Hastings. O bloody Richard! miserable England!
I prophesy the fearful'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 that shortly shall be dead. 2065


Act III, Scene 5

The Tower-walls.

[Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, in rotten armour, marvellous ill-favoured]

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, cousin, canst thou quake, and change thy colour,
Murder thy breath in the middle of a word, 2070
And then begin again, and stop again,
As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?

Duke of Buckingham. Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian;
Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
Tremble and start at wagging of a straw, 2075
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? 2080

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). He is; and, see, he brings the mayor along.

[Enter the Lord Mayor and CATESBY]

Duke of Buckingham. Lord mayor,—

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Look to the drawbridge there!

Duke of Buckingham. Hark! a drum. 2085

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Catesby, o'erlook the walls.

Duke of Buckingham. Lord mayor, the reason we have sent—

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Look back, defend thee, here are enemies.

Duke of Buckingham. God and our innocency defend and guard us!

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Be patient, they are friends, Ratcliff and Lovel. 2090

[Enter LOVEL and RATCLIFF, with HASTINGS' head]

Lord Lovel. Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). So dear I loved the man, that I must weep.
I took him for the plainest harmless creature 2095
That breathed upon this 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, 2100
I mean, his conversation with Shore's wife,
He lived from all attainder of suspect.

Duke of Buckingham. Well, well, he was the covert'st shelter'd traitor
That ever lived.
Would you imagine, or almost believe, 2105
Were't not that, by great preservation,
We live to tell it you, the subtle traitor
This day had plotted, in the council-house
To murder me and my good Lord of Gloucester?

Lord Mayor of London. What, had he so? 2110

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What, think You we are Turks or infidels?
Or that we would, against the form of law,
Proceed thus rashly to the villain's death,
But that the extreme peril of the case,
The peace of England and our persons' safety, 2115
Enforced us to this execution?

Lord Mayor of London. Now, fair befall you! he deserved his death;
And you my good lords, both have well proceeded,
To warn false traitors from the like attempts.

I never look'd for better at his hands, 2120
After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Yet had not we determined he should die,
Until your lordship came to see his death;
Which now the loving haste of these our friends,
Somewhat against our meaning, have prevented: 2125
Because, my lord, we would have had you heard
The traitor speak, and timorously confess
The manner and the purpose of his treason;
That you might well have signified the same
Unto the citizens, who haply may 2130
Misconstrue us in him and wail his death.

Lord Mayor of London. But, my good lord, your grace's word shall serve,
As well as I had seen and heard him speak
And doubt you not, right noble princes both,
But I'll acquaint our duteous citizens 2135
With all your just proceedings in this cause.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And to that end we wish'd your lord-ship here,
To avoid the carping censures of the world.

Duke of Buckingham. But since you come too late of our intents,
Yet witness what you hear we did intend: 2140
And so, my good lord mayor, we bid farewell.

[Exit Lord Mayor]

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Go, after, after, cousin Buckingham.
The mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post:
There, at your meet'st advantage of the time, 2145
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. 2150
Moreover, urge his hateful luxury
And bestial appetite in change of lust;
Which stretched to their servants, daughters, wives,
Even where his lustful eye or savage heart,
Without control, listed to make his prey. 2155
Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:
Tell them, when that my mother went with child
Of that unsatiate Edward, noble York
My princely father then had wars in France
And, by just computation of the time, 2160
Found that the issue was not his begot;
Which well appeared in his lineaments,
Being nothing like the noble duke my father:
But touch this sparingly, as 'twere far off,
Because you know, my lord, my mother lives. 2165

Duke of Buckingham. Fear 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.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard's Castle;
Where you shall find me well accompanied 2170
With reverend fathers and well-learned bishops.

Duke of Buckingham. I go: and towards three or four o'clock
Look for the news that the Guildhall affords.


Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Go, Lovel, with all speed to Doctor Shaw; 2175
Go thou to Friar Penker; bid them both
Meet me within this hour at Baynard's Castle.
[Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER]
Now will I in, to take some privy order, 2180
To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight;
And to give notice, that no manner of person
At any time have recourse unto the princes.


Act III, Scene 6

The same.

[Enter a Scrivener, with a paper in his hand]

Scrivener. This is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings;
Which in a set hand fairly is engross'd,
That it may be this day read over in Paul's.
And mark how well the sequel hangs together:
Eleven hours I spent to write it over, 2190
For yesternight by Catesby was it brought me;
The precedent was full as long a-doing:
And yet within these five hours lived Lord Hastings,
Untainted, unexamined, free, at liberty
Here's a good world the while! Why who's so gross, 2195
That seeth not this palpable device?
Yet who's so blind, but says he sees it not?
Bad is the world; and all will come to nought,
When such bad dealings must be seen in thought. 


Act III, Scene 7

Baynard’s Castle.

[Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, at several doors]

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). How now, my lord, what say the citizens?

Duke of Buckingham. Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
The citizens are mum and speak not a word.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Touch'd you the bastardy of Edward's children? 2205

Duke of Buckingham. 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, 2210
As being got, your father then in France,
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; 2215
Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
Your dicipline in war, wisdom in peace,
Your bounty, virtue, fair humility:
Indeed, left nothing fitting for the purpose
Untouch'd, or slightly handled, in discourse 2220
And when mine oratory grew to an end
I bid them that did love their country's good
Cry 'God save Richard, England's royal king!'

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ah! and did they so?

Duke of Buckingham. No, so God help me, they spake not a word; 2225
But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
Gazed 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 wont 2230
To be spoke to but by the recorder.
Then he was urged to tell my tale again,
'Thus saith the duke, thus hath the duke inferr'd;'
But nothing spake in warrant from himself.
When he had done, some followers of mine own, 2235
At the 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 loving shout 2240
Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard:'
And even here brake off, and came away.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What tongueless blocks were they! would not they speak?

Duke of Buckingham. No, by my troth, my lord.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Will not the mayor then and his brethren come? 2245

Duke of Buckingham. 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 betwixt two churchmen, good my lord;
For on that ground I'll build a holy descant: 2250
And be not easily won to our request:
Play the maid's part, still answer nay, and take it.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I go; and if you plead as well for them
As I can say nay to thee for myself,
No doubt well bring it to a happy issue. 2255

Duke of Buckingham. Go, go, up to the leads; the lord mayor knocks.
[Enter the Lord Mayor and Citizens]
Welcome my lord; I dance attendance here;
I think the duke will not be spoke withal. 2260
Here comes his servant: how now, Catesby,
What says he?

Sir William Catesby. My lord: he doth entreat your grace;
To visit him to-morrow or next day: 2265
He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
Divinely bent to meditation;
And no worldly suit would he be moved,
To draw him from his holy exercise.

Duke of Buckingham. Return, good Catesby, to thy lord again; 2270
Tell him, myself, the mayor and citizens,
In deep designs and matters of great moment,
No less importing than our general good,
Are come to have some conference with his grace.

Sir William Catesby. I'll tell him what you say, my lord. 2275


Duke of Buckingham. 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, 2280
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 gracious prince
Take on himself the sovereignty thereof: 2285
But, sure, I fear, we shall ne'er win him to it.

Lord Mayor of London. Marry, God forbid his grace should say us nay!

Duke of Buckingham. I fear he will.
[Re-enter CATESBY]
How now, Catesby, what says your lord? 2290

Sir William Catesby. My lord,
He wonders to what end you have assembled
Such troops of citizens to speak with him,
His grace not being warn'd thereof before:
My lord, he fears you mean no good to him. 2295

Duke of Buckingham. Sorry I am my noble cousin should
Suspect me, that I mean no good to him:
By heaven, I come in perfect love to him;
And so once more return and tell his grace.
[Exit CATESBY] 2300
When holy and devout religious men
Are at their beads, 'tis hard to draw them thence,
So sweet is zealous contemplation.
[Enter GLOUCESTER aloft, between two Bishops.]
CATESBY returns] 2305

Lord Mayor of London. See, where he stands between two clergymen!

Duke of Buckingham. 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. 2310
Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
Lend favourable ears to our request;
And pardon us the interruption
Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My lord, there needs no such apology: 2315
I rather do beseech you pardon me,
Who, earnest in the service of my God,
Neglect the visitation of my friends.
But, leaving this, what is your grace's pleasure?

Duke of Buckingham. Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above, 2320
And all good men of this ungovern'd isle.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I do suspect I have done some offence
That seems disgracious in the city's eyes,
And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.

Duke of Buckingham. You have, my lord: would it might please your grace, 2325
At our entreaties, to amend that fault!

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land?

Duke of Buckingham. Then know, it is your fault that you resign
The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
The scepter'd office of your ancestors, 2330
Your state of fortune and your due of birth,
The lineal glory of your royal house,
To the corruption of a blemished stock:
Whilst, in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
Which here we waken to our country's good, 2335
This noble isle doth want her proper limbs;
Her face defaced with scars of infamy,
Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
And almost shoulder'd in the swallowing gulf
Of blind forgetfulness and dark oblivion. 2340
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; 2345
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, 2350
In this just suit come I to move your grace.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I know not whether 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 2355
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. 2360
Then, on the other side, I cheque'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 2365
Unmeritable shuns your high request.
First if all obstacles were cut away,
And that my path were even to the crown,
As my ripe revenue and due by birth
Yet so much is my poverty of spirit, 2370
So mighty and so many my defects,
As I had 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. 2375
But, God be thank'd, there's no need of me,
And much I need to help you, if need were;
The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
Which, mellow'd by the stealing hours of time,
Will well become the seat of majesty, 2380
And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.
On him I lay what you would lay on me,
The right and fortune of his happy stars;
Which God defend that I should wring from him!

Duke of Buckingham. My lord, this argues conscience in your grace; 2385
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 he was contract to Lady Lucy— 2390
Your mother lives a witness to that vow—
And afterward by substitute betroth'd
To Bona, sister to the King of France.
These both put by a poor petitioner,
A care-crazed mother of a many children, 2395
A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
Even in the afternoon of her best days,
Made prize and purchase of his lustful eye,
Seduced the pitch and height of all his thoughts
To base declension and loathed bigamy 2400
By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
This Edward, whom our manners term the prince.
More bitterly could I expostulate,
Save that, for reverence to some alive,
I give a sparing limit to my tongue. 2405
Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
This proffer'd benefit of dignity;
If non to bless us and the land withal,
Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
From the corruption of abusing times, 2410
Unto a lineal true-derived course.

Lord Mayor of London. Do, good my lord, your citizens entreat you.

Duke of Buckingham. Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffer'd love.

Sir William Catesby. O, make them joyful, grant their lawful suit!

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Alas, why would you heap these cares on me? 2415
I am unfit for state and majesty;
I do beseech you, take it not amiss;
I cannot nor I will not yield to you.

Duke of Buckingham. If you refuse it,—as, in love and zeal,
Loath to depose the child, Your brother's son; 2420
As well we know your tenderness of heart
And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
Which we have noted in you to your kin,
And egally indeed to all estates,—
Yet whether you accept our suit or no, 2425
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: 'zounds! I'll entreat no more. 2430

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O, do not swear, my lord of Buckingham.

[Exit BUCKINGHAM with the Citizens]

Sir William Catesby. Call them again, my lord, and accept their suit.

Another. Do, good my lord, lest all the land do rue it.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Would you enforce me to a world of care? 2435
Well, call them again. I am not made of stone,
But penetrable to your. kind entreats,
Albeit against my conscience and my soul.
[Re-enter BUCKINGHAM and the rest]
Cousin of Buckingham, and you sage, grave men, 2440
Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
To bear her burthen, whether I will or no,
I must have patience to endure the load:
But if black scandal or foul-faced reproach
Attend the sequel of your imposition, 2445
Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
From all the impure blots and stains thereof;
For God he knows, and you may partly see,
How far I am from the desire thereof.

Lord Mayor of London. God bless your grace! we see it, and will say it. 2450

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). In saying so, you shall but say the truth.

Duke of Buckingham. Then I salute you with this kingly title:
Long live Richard, England's royal king!

Lord Mayor of London. [with citizens] Amen.

Duke of Buckingham. To-morrow will it please you to be crown'd? 2455

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Even when you please, since you will have it so.

Duke of Buckingham. To-morrow, then, we will attend your grace:
And so most joyfully we take our leave.

Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, let us to our holy task again.
Farewell, good cousin; farewell, gentle friends. 2460


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