Before the Tower.
[Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF YORK, and DORSET; on the other, ANNE, Duchess of Gloucester, leading Lady Margaret Plantagenet, CLARENCE's young Daughter]
Duchess of York. Who meets us here? my niece Plantagenet
Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?
Now, for my life, she's wandering to the Tower,
On pure heart's love to greet the tender princes.
Daughter, well met. 2470
Lady Anne. God give your graces both
A happy and a joyful time of day!
Queen Elizabeth. As much to you, good sister! Whither away?
Lady Anne. No farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,
Upon the like devotion as yourselves, 2475
To gratulate the gentle princes there.
Queen Elizabeth. Kind sister, thanks: we'll enter all together.
And, in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
Master lieutenant, pray you, by your leave, 2480
How doth the prince, and my young son of York?
Sir Robert Brakenbury. Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
I may not suffer you to visit them;
The king hath straitly charged the contrary.
Queen Elizabeth. The king! why, who's that? 2485
Sir Robert Brakenbury. I cry you mercy: I mean the lord protector.
Queen Elizabeth. The Lord protect him from that kingly title!
Hath he set bounds betwixt their love and me?
I am their mother; who should keep me from them?
Duchess of York. I am their fathers mother; I will see them. 2490
Lady Anne. 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.
Sir Robert Brakenbury. No, madam, no; I may not leave it so:
I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me. 2495
[Enter LORD STANLEY]
Sir William Stanley. 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. 2500
[To LADY ANNE]
Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,
There to be crowned Richard's royal queen.
Queen Elizabeth. O, cut my lace in sunder, that my pent heart
May have some scope to beat, or else I swoon 2505
With this dead-killing news!
Lady Anne. Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!
Marquis of Dorset. Be of good cheer: mother, how fares your grace?
Queen Elizabeth. O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee hence!
Death and destruction dog thee at the heels; 2510
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; 2515
And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.
Sir William Stanley. 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 2520
To meet you on the way, and welcome you.
Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
Duchess of York. O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
O my accursed womb, the bed of death!
A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world, 2525
Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
Sir William Stanley. Come, madam, come; I in all haste was sent.
Lady Anne. And I in all unwillingness will go.
I would to God that the inclusive verge
Of golden metal that must round my brow 2530
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!
Queen Elizabeth. Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory
To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm. 2535
Lady Anne. 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 dead saint which then I weeping follow'd; 2540
O, when, I say, I look'd on Richard's face,
This was my wish: 'Be thou,' quoth I, ' accursed,
For making me, so young, so old a widow!
And, when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
And be thy wife—if any be so mad— 2545
As miserable by the life of thee
As thou hast made me by my dear lord's death!
Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
Even in so short a space, my woman's heart
Grossly grew captive to his honey words 2550
And proved the subject of my own soul's curse,
Which ever since hath kept my eyes from rest;
For never yet one hour in his bed
Have I enjoy'd the golden dew of sleep,
But have been waked by his timorous dreams. 2555
Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick;
And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
Queen Elizabeth. Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy complaining.
Lady Anne. No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.
Queen Elizabeth. Farewell, thou woful welcomer of glory! 2560
Lady Anne. Adieu, poor soul, that takest thy leave of it!
Duchess of York. [To DORSET]
Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!
[To LADY ANNE]
Go thou to Richard, and good angels guard thee! 2565
[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 wrecked with a week of teen. 2570
Queen Elizabeth. Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.
Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
Whom envy hath immured within your walls!
Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!
Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow 2575
For tender princes, use my babies well!
So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell.
Act IV, Scene 2
London. The palace.
[Sennet. Enter KING RICHARD III, in pomp, crowned; BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, a page, and others]
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Stand all apart Cousin of Buckingham!
Duke of Buckingham. My gracious sovereign?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Give me thy hand.
[Here he ascendeth his throne]
Thus high, by thy advice 2585
And thy assistance, is King Richard seated;
But shall we wear these honours for a day?
Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?
Duke of Buckingham. Still live they and for ever may they last!
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O Buckingham, now do I play the touch, 2590
To try if thou be current gold indeed
Young Edward lives: think now what I would say.
Duke of Buckingham. Say on, my loving lord.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, Buckingham, I say, I would be king,
Duke of Buckingham. Why, so you are, my thrice renowned liege. 2595
Duke of Buckingham. Your grace may do your pleasure.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness freezeth: 2605
Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
Duke of Buckingham. Give me some breath, some little pause, my lord
Before I positively herein:
I will resolve your grace immediately.
Sir William Catesby. [Aside to a stander by]
The king is angry: see, he bites the lip.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I will converse with iron-witted fools
And unrespective boys: none are for me
That look into me with considerate eyes: 2615
High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
Page. My lord?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Know'st thou not any whom corrupting gold
Would tempt unto a close exploit of death? 2620
Page. My lord, I know a discontented gentleman,
Whose humble means match not his haughty mind:
Gold were as good as twenty orators,
And will, no doubt, tempt him to any thing.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What is his name? 2625
Page. His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I partly know the man: go, call him hither.
The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
No more shall be the neighbour to my counsel: 2630
Hath he so long held out with me untired,
And stops he now for breath?
How now! what news with you?
Sir William Stanley. My lord, I hear the Marquis Dorset's fled 2635
To Richmond, in those parts beyond the sea
Where he abides.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Catesby!
Sir William Catesby. My lord? 2640
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Rumour it abroad
That Anne, my wife, is sick and like to die:
I will take order for her keeping close.
Inquire me out some mean-born gentleman,
Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter: 2645
The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.
Look, how thou dream'st! I say again, give out
That Anne my wife is sick and like to die:
About it; for it stands me much upon,
To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me. 2650
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 2655
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?
Sir James Tyrrel. James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject. 2660
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Art thou, indeed?
Sir James Tyrrel. Prove me, my gracious sovereign.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Darest thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
Sir James Tyrrel. Ay, my lord;
But I had rather kill two enemies. 2665
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, there 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:
Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
Sir James Tyrrel. Let me have open means to come to them, 2670
And soon I'll rid you from the fear of them.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Thou sing'st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel
Go, by this token: rise, and lend thine ear:
There is no more but so: say it is done, 2675
And I will love thee, and prefer thee too.
Sir James Tyrrel. 'Tis done, my gracious lord.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Shall we hear from thee, Tyrrel, ere we sleep?
Sir James Tyrrel. Ye shall, my Lord.
Duke of Buckingham. My Lord, I have consider'd in my mind. The late demand that you did sound me in.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well, let that pass. Dorset is fled to Richmond.
Duke of Buckingham. I hear that news, my lord.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Stanley, he is your wife's son well, look to it. 2685
Duke of Buckingham. My lord, I claim your gift, my due by promise,
For which your honour and your faith is pawn'd;
The earldom of Hereford and the moveables
The which you promised I should possess.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Stanley, look to your wife; if she convey 2690
Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.
Duke of Buckingham. What says your highness to my just demand?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). As I remember, Henry the Sixth
Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
When Richmond was a little peevish boy. 2695
A king, perhaps, perhaps,—
Duke of Buckingham. My lord!
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). How chance the prophet could not at that time
Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?
Duke of Buckingham. My lord, your promise for the earldom,— 2700
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle,
And call'd it Rougemont: at which name I started,
Because a bard of Ireland told me once
I should not live long after I saw Richmond. 2705
Duke of Buckingham. My Lord!
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, what's o'clock?
Duke of Buckingham. I am thus bold to put your grace in mind
Of what you promised me.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well, but what's o'clock? 2710
Duke of Buckingham. Upon the stroke of ten.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well, let it strike.
Duke of Buckingham. Why let it strike?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Because that, like a Jack, thou keep'st the stroke
Betwixt thy begging and my meditation. 2715
I am not in the giving vein to-day.
Duke of Buckingham. Why, then resolve me whether you will or no.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Tut, tut,
Thou troublest me; am not in the vein.
[Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM]
Duke of Buckingham. Is it even so? rewards he my true service
With such deep contempt made I him king for this?
O, let me think on Hastings, and be gone
To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on!
Act IV, Scene 3
Sir James Tyrrel. The tyrannous and bloody deed is done.
The most arch of piteous massacre
That ever yet this land was guilty of.
Dighton and Forrest, whom I did suborn 2730
To do this ruthless piece of butchery,
Although they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs,
Melting with tenderness and kind compassion
Wept like two children in their deaths' sad stories.
'Lo, thus' quoth Dighton, 'lay those tender babes:' 2735
'Thus, thus,' quoth Forrest, 'girdling one another
Within their innocent alabaster arms:
Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
Which in their summer beauty kiss'd each other.
A book of prayers on their pillow lay; 2740
Which once,' quoth Forrest, 'almost changed my mind;
But O! the devil'—there the villain stopp'd
Whilst Dighton thus told on: 'We smothered
The most replenished sweet work of nature,
That from the prime creation e'er she framed.' 2745
Thus both are gone with conscience and remorse;
They could not speak; and so I left them both,
To bring this tidings to the bloody king.
And here he comes.
[Enter KING RICHARD III] 2750
All hail, my sovereign liege!
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Kind Tyrrel, am I happy in thy news?
Sir James Tyrrel. If to have done the thing you gave in charge
Beget your happiness, be happy then,
For it is done, my lord. 2755
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). But didst thou see them dead?
Sir James Tyrrel. I did, my lord.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And buried, gentle Tyrrel?
Sir James Tyrrel. The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them;
But how or in what place I do not know. 2760
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper,
And 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 soon. 2765
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. 2770
Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims
At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter,
And, by that knot, looks proudly o'er the crown,
To her I go, a jolly thriving wooer.
Sir William Catesby. My lord!
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Good news or bad, that thou comest in so bluntly?
Sir William Catesby. Bad news, my lord: Ely is fled to Richmond;
And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen,
Is in the field, and still his power increaseth. 2780
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
Than Buckingham and his rash-levied army.
Come, I have heard that fearful commenting
Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary 2785
Then fiery expedition be my wing,
Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king!
Come, muster men: my counsel is my shield;
We must be brief when traitors brave the field.
Act IV, Scene 4
Before the palace.
[Enter QUEEN MARGARET]
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 adversaries. 2795
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]
Queen Elizabeth. Ah, my young 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 2805
And hear your mother's lamentation!
Queen Margaret. Hover about her; say, that right for right
Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.
Duchess of York. So many miseries have crazed my voice,
That my woe-wearied tongue is mute and dumb, 2810
Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
Queen Margaret. Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet.
Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
Queen Elizabeth. Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs,
And throw them in the entrails of the wolf? 2815
When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?
Queen Margaret. When holy Harry died, and my sweet son.
Duchess of York. Blind sight, dead life, poor mortal living ghost,
Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd,
Brief abstract and record of tedious days, 2820
Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
Unlawfully made drunk with innocents' blood!
Queen Elizabeth. O, that thou wouldst as well afford a grave
As thou canst yield a melancholy seat! 2825
Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
O, who hath any cause to mourn but I?
[Sitting down by her]
Queen Margaret. If ancient sorrow be most reverend,
Give mine the benefit of seniory, 2830
And let my woes 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; 2835
I had a Harry, till a Richard kill'd him:
Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard killed him;
Duchess of York. I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him. 2840
Queen Margaret. 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, 2845
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, 2850
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!
Duchess of York. O Harry's wife, triumph not in my woes!
God witness with me, I have wept for thine. 2855
Queen Margaret. Bear with me; I am hungry for revenge,
And now I cloy me with beholding it.
Thy Edward he is dead, that stabb'd my Edward:
Thy other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
Young York he is but boot, because both they 2860
Match not the high perfection of my loss:
Thy Clarence he is dead that kill'd my Edward;
And the beholders of this tragic play,
The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
Untimely smother'd in their dusky graves. 2865
Richard yet lives, hell's black intelligencer,
Only reserved 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. 2870
To have him suddenly convey'd away.
Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I prey,
That I may live to say, The dog is dead!
Queen Elizabeth. O, thou didst prophesy the time would come
That I should wish for thee to help me curse 2875
That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back'd toad!
Queen Margaret. 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; 2880
One heaved a-high, to be hurl'd down below;
A mother only mock'd with two sweet babes;
A dream of what thou wert, a breath, a bubble,
A sign of dignity, a garish flag,
To be the aim of every dangerous shot, 2885
A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
Where is thy husband now? where be thy brothers?
Where are thy children? wherein dost thou, joy?
Who sues to thee and cries 'God save the queen'?
Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee? 2890
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 queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care; 2895
For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
For one that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
For one being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
For one commanding all, obey'd of none.
Thus hath the course of justice wheel'd about, 2900
And left thee but a very prey to time;
Having no more but thought of what thou wert,
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? 2905
Now thy proud neck bears half my burthen'd yoke;
From which even here I slip my weary neck,
And leave the burthen of it all on thee.
Farewell, York's wife, and queen of sad mischance:
These English woes will make me smile in France. 2910
Queen Elizabeth. O thou well skill'd in curses, stay awhile,
And teach me how to curse mine enemies!
Queen Margaret. Forbear to sleep the nights, and fast the days;
Compare dead happiness with living woe;
Think that thy babes were fairer than they were, 2915
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.
Queen Elizabeth. My words are dull; O, quicken them with thine!
Queen Margaret. Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine. 2920
Duchess of York. Why should calamity be full of words?
Queen Elizabeth. Windy attorneys to their client woes,
Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries! 2925
Let them have scope: though what they do impart
Help not all, yet do they ease the heart.
Duchess of York. If so, then be not tongue-tied: go with me.
And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
My damned son, which thy two sweet sons smother'd. 2930
I hear his drum: be copious in exclaims.
[Enter KING RICHARD III, marching, with drums and trumpets]
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Who intercepts my expedition?
Duchess of York. O, she that might have intercepted thee,
By strangling thee in her accursed womb 2935
From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!
Queen Elizabeth. Hidest thou that forehead with a golden crown,
Where should be graven, if that right were right,
The slaughter of the prince that owed that crown,
And the dire death of my two sons and brothers? 2940
Tell me, thou villain slave, where are my children?
Duchess of York. Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?
And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
Queen Elizabeth. Where is kind Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). A flourish, trumpets! strike alarum, drums! 2945
Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
Rail on the Lord's enointed: strike, I say!
Either be patient, and entreat me fair,
Or with the clamorous report of war 2950
Thus will I drown your exclamations.
Duchess of York. Art thou my son?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.
Duchess of York. Then patiently hear my impatience.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Madam, I have a touch of your condition, 2955
Which cannot brook the accent of reproof.
Duchess of York. O, let me speak!
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Do then: but I'll not hear.
Duchess of York. I will be mild and gentle in my speech.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And brief, good mother; for I am in haste. 2960
Duchess of York. Art thou so hasty? I have stay'd for thee,
God knows, in anguish, pain and agony.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And came I not at last to comfort you?
Duchess of York. No, by the holy rood, thou know'st it well,
Thou camest on earth to make the earth my hell. 2965
A grievous burthen 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, subdued, bloody, 2970
More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred:
What comfortable hour canst thou name,
That ever graced me in thy company?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Faith, none, but Humphrey Hour, that call'd 2975
To breakfast once forth of my company.
If I be so disgracious in your sight,
Let me march on, and not offend your grace.
Strike the drum. 2980
Duchess of York. I prithee, hear me speak.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). You speak too bitterly.
Duchess of York. Hear me a word;
For I shall never speak to thee again.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). So. 2985
Duchess of York. 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 look upon thy face again.
Therefore take with thee my most heavy curse; 2990
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 2995
And promise them success and victory.
Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end;
Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.
Queen Elizabeth. Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse 3000
Abides in me; I say amen to all.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Stay, madam; I must speak a word with you.
Queen Elizabeth. I have no more sons of the royal blood
For thee to murder: for my daughters, Richard,
They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens; 3005
And therefore level not to hit their lives.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). You have a daughter call'd Elizabeth,
Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
Queen Elizabeth. And must she die for this? O, let her live,
And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty; 3010
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.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Wrong not her birth, she is of royal blood. 3015
Queen Elizabeth. To save her life, I'll say she is not so.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Her life is only safest in her birth.
Queen Elizabeth. And only in that safety died her brothers.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.
Queen Elizabeth. No, to their lives bad friends were contrary. 3020
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). All unavoided is the doom of destiny.
Queen Elizabeth. True, when avoided grace makes destiny:
My babes were destined to a fairer death,
If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). You speak as if that I had slain my cousins. 3025
Queen Elizabeth. Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen'd
Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
Whose hand soever lanced their tender hearts,
Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:
No doubt the murderous knife was dull and blunt 3030
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; 3035
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.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
And dangerous success of bloody wars, 3040
As I intend more good to you and yours,
Than ever you or yours were by me wrong'd!
Queen Elizabeth. What good is cover'd with the face of heaven,
To be discover'd, that can do me good?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The advancement of your children, gentle lady. 3045
Queen Elizabeth. Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). No, to the dignity and height of honour
The high imperial type of this earth's glory.
Queen Elizabeth. Flatter my sorrows with report of it;
Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour, 3050
Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Even all I have; yea, 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 3055
Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
Queen Elizabeth. Be brief, lest that be process of thy kindness
Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.
Queen Elizabeth. My daughter's mother thinks it with her soul. 3060
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). What do you think?
Queen Elizabeth. 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.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Be not so hasty to confound my meaning: 3065
I mean, that with my soul I love thy daughter,
And mean to make her queen of England.
Queen Elizabeth. Say then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Even he that makes her queen who should be else?
Queen Elizabeth. What, thou? 3070
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I, even I: what think you of it, madam?
Queen Elizabeth. How canst thou woo her?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). That would I learn of you,
As one that are best acquainted with her humour.
Queen Elizabeth. And wilt thou learn of me? 3075
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Madam, with all my heart.
Queen Elizabeth. Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
A pair of bleeding-hearts; thereon engrave
Edward and York; then haply she will weep:
Therefore present to her—as sometime Margaret 3080
Did to thy father, steep'd in Rutland's blood,—
A handkerchief; which, say to her, did drain
The purple sap from her sweet brother's body
And bid her dry her weeping eyes therewith.
If this inducement force her not to love, 3085
Send her a story of thy noble acts;
Tell her thou madest away her uncle Clarence,
Her uncle Rivers; yea, and, for her sake,
Madest quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Come, come, you mock me; this is not the way 3090 To win our daughter. Queen Elizabeth. There is no other way Unless thou couldst put on some other shape, And not be Richard that hath done all this. Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say that I did all this for love of her. 3095 Queen Elizabeth. Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Look, what is done cannot be now amended:
Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
Which after hours give leisure to repent. 3100
If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
To make amends, Ill 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 3105
A grandam's name is little less in love
Than is the doting title of a mother;
They are as children but one step below,
Even of your mettle, of your very blood;
Of an one pain, save for a night of groans 3110
Endured 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. 3115
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 3120
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 3125
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 3130
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 3135
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 3140
And lead thy daughter to a conqueror's bed;
To whom I will retail my conquest won,
And she shall be sole victress, Caesar's Caesar.
Queen Elizabeth. What were I best to say? her father's brother
Would be her lord? or shall I say, her uncle? 3145
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?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Infer fair England's peace by this alliance. 3150
Queen Elizabeth. Which she shall purchase with still lasting war.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say that the king, which may command, entreats.
Queen Elizabeth. That at her hands which the king's King forbids.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say, she shall be a high and mighty queen.
Queen Elizabeth. To wail the tide, as her mother doth. 3155
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say, I will love her everlastingly.
Queen Elizabeth. But how long shall that title 'ever' last?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Sweetly in force unto her fair life's end.
Queen Elizabeth. But how long fairly shall her sweet lie last?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). So long as heaven and nature lengthens it. 3160
Queen Elizabeth. So long as hell and Richard likes of it.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Say, I, her sovereign, am her subject love.
Queen Elizabeth. But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
Queen Elizabeth. An honest tale speeds best being plainly told. 3165
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then in plain terms tell her my loving tale.
Queen Elizabeth. Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.
Queen Elizabeth. O no, my reasons are too deep and dead;
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their grave. 3170
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.
Queen Elizabeth. Harp on it still shall I till heart-strings break.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now, by my George, my garter, and my crown,—
Queen Elizabeth. Profaned, dishonour'd, and the third usurp'd.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I swear— 3175
Queen Elizabeth. By nothing; for this is no oath:
The George, profaned, hath lost his holy honour;
The garter, blemish'd, pawn'd his knightly virtue;
The crown, usurp'd, disgraced his kingly glory.
if something thou wilt swear to be believed, 3180
Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Now, by the world—
Queen Elizabeth. 'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My father's death—
Queen Elizabeth. Thy life hath that dishonour'd. 3185
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Then, by myself—
Queen Elizabeth. Thyself thyself misusest.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why then, by God—
Queen Elizabeth. God's wrong is most of all.
If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him, 3190
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 brow,
Had graced the tender temples of my child, 3195
And both the princes had been breathing here,
Which now, two tender playfellows to dust,
Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
What canst thou swear by now?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). The time to come. 3200
Queen Elizabeth. That thou hast wronged in the time o'erpast;
For I myself have many tears to wash
Hereafter time, for time past wrong'd by thee.
The children live, whose parents thou hast
Ungovern'd youth, to wail it in their age;
The parents live, whose children thou hast butcher'd,
Old wither'd plants, to wail it with their age.
Swear not by time to come; for that thou hast
Misused ere used, by time misused o'erpast. 3210
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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! 3215
Be opposite all planets of good luck
To my proceedings, if, with pure heart's love,
Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter!
In her consists my happiness and thine; 3220
Without her, follows to this land and me,
To thee, herself, 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. 3225
Therefore, good mother,—I must can 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, 3230
And be not peevish-fond in great designs.
Queen Elizabeth. Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, if the devil tempt thee to do good.
Queen Elizabeth. Shall I forget myself to be myself?
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, if yourself's remembrance wrong yourself. 3235
Queen Elizabeth. But thou didst kill my children.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). But in your daughter's womb I bury them:
Where in that nest of spicery they shall breed
Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
Queen Elizabeth. Shall I go win my daughter to thy will? 3240
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). And be a happy mother by the deed.
Queen Elizabeth. I go. Write to me very shortly.
And you shall understand from me her mind.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Bear her my true love's kiss; and so, farewell.
[Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH] 3245
Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!
[Enter RATCLIFF; CATESBY following]
How now! what news?
Sir Richard Ratcliff. My gracious sovereign, on the western coast
Rideth a puissant navy; to the shore 3250
Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
Unarm'd, and unresolved 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. 3255
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of Norfolk:
Ratcliff, thyself, or Catesby; where is he?
Sir William Catesby. Here, my lord.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Fly to the duke:
[To RATCLIFF] 3260
Post thou to Salisbury
When thou comest thither—
Dull, unmindful villain,
Why stand'st thou still, and go'st not to the duke? 3265
Sir William Catesby. First, mighty sovereign, let me know your mind,
What from your grace I shall deliver to him.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). O, true, good Catesby: bid him levy straight
The greatest strength and power he can make,
And meet me presently at Salisbury. 3270
Sir William Catesby. I go.
Sir Richard Ratcliff. What is't your highness' pleasure I shall do at
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go? 3275
Sir Richard Ratcliff. Your highness told me I should post before.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). My mind is changed, sir, my mind is changed.
How now, what news with you?
Sir William Stanley. None good, my lord, to please you with the hearing; 3280
Nor none so bad, but it may well be told.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Hoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
Why dost thou run so many mile about,
When thou mayst tell thy tale a nearer way?
Once more, what news? 3285
Sir William Stanley. Richmond is on the seas.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
White-liver'd runagate, what doth he there?
Sir William Stanley. I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well, sir, as you guess, as you guess? 3290
Sir William Stanley. Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Ely,
He makes for England, there to claim the crown.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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? 3295
And who is England's king but great York's heir?
Then, tell me, what doth he upon the sea?
Sir William Stanley. Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes. 3300
Thou wilt revolt, and fly to him, I fear.
Sir William Stanley. No, mighty liege; therefore mistrust me not.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
Where are thy tenants and thy followers?
Are they not now upon the western shore. 3305
Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships!
Sir William Stanley. No, my good lord, my friends are in the north.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Cold friends to Richard: what do they in the north,
When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
Sir William Stanley. They have not been commanded, mighty sovereign: 3310
Please it your majesty to give me leave,
I'll muster up my friends, and meet your grace
Where and what time your majesty shall please.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Ay, ay. thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond:
I will not trust you, sir. 3315
Sir William Stanley. Most mighty sovereign,
You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful:
I never was nor never will be false.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Well,
Go muster men; but, hear you, leave behind 3320
Your son, George Stanley: look your faith be firm.
Or else his head's assurance is but frail.
Sir William Stanley. So deal with him as I prove true to you.
[Enter a Messenger]
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 brother there,
With many more confederates, are in arms. 3330
[Enter another Messenger]
Second Messenger. My liege, in Kent the Guildfords are in arms;
And every hour more competitors
Flock to their aid, and still their power increaseth.
[Enter another Messenger]
Third Messenger. My lord, the army of the Duke of Buckingham—
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Out on you, owls! nothing but songs of death?
[He striketh him]
Take that, until thou bring me better news.
Third Messenger. The news I have to tell your majesty 3340
Is, that by sudden floods and fall of waters,
Buckingham's army is dispersed and scatter'd;
And he himself wander'd away alone,
No man knows whither.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). I cry thee mercy: 3345
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?
Third Messenger. Such proclamation hath been made, my liege.
[Enter another Messenger]
Fourth Messenger. Sir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis Dorset,
'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
Yet this good comfort bring I to your grace,
The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest:
Richmond, in Yorkshire, sent out a boat 3355
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,
Hoisted sail and made away for Brittany. 3360
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). 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.
Sir William Catesby. My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken; 3365
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.
Richard III (Duke of Gloucester). Away towards Salisbury! while we reason here,
A royal battle might be won and lost 3370
Some one take order Buckingham be brought
To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.
Act IV, Scene 5
Lord Derby’s house.
[Enter DERBY and SIR CHRISTOPHER URSWICK]
Sir William Stanley. Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me: 3375
That in the sty of this most bloody boar
My son George Stanley is frank'd up in hold:
If I revolt, off goes young George's head;
The fear of that withholds my present aid.
But, tell me, where is princely Richmond now? 3380
Christopher Urswick. At Pembroke, or at Harford-west, in Wales.
Sir William Stanley. What men of name resort to him?
Christopher Urswick. Sir Walter Herbert, a renowned soldier;
Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley;
Oxford, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt, 3385
And Rice ap Thomas with a valiant crew;
And many more of noble fame and worth:
And towards London they do bend their course,
If by the way they be not fought withal.
Sir William Stanley. Return unto thy lord; commend me to him: 3390
Tell him the queen hath heartily consented
He shall espouse Elizabeth her daughter.
These letters will resolve him of my mind. Farewell.