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Home > Richard III > ACT I - SCENE III. The palace.

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ACT I - SCENE III. The palace.
Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, RIVERS, and GREY

RIVERS
1    Have patience, madam: there's no doubt his majesty
2    Will soon recover his accustom'd health.
GREY
3    In that you brook it in, it makes him worse:
4    Therefore, for God's sake, entertain good comfort,
5    And cheer his grace with quick and merry words.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
6    If he were dead, what would betide of me?
RIVERS
7    No other harm but loss of such a lord.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
8    The loss of such a lord includes all harm.
GREY
9    The heavens have bless'd you with a goodly son,
10   To be your comforter when he is gone.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
11   Oh, he is young and his minority
12   Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,
13   A man that loves not me, nor none of you.
RIVERS
14   Is it concluded that he shall be protector?
QUEEN ELIZABETH
15   It is determined, not concluded yet:
16   But so it must be, if the king miscarry.
Enter BUCKINGHAM and DERBY

GREY
17   Here come the lords of Buckingham and Derby.
BUCKINGHAM
18   Good time of day unto your royal grace!
DERBY
19   God make your majesty joyful as you have been!
QUEEN ELIZABETH
20   The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Derby.
21   To your good prayers will scarcely say amen.
22   Yet, Derby, notwithstanding she's your wife,
23   And loves not me, be you, good lord, assured
24   I hate not you for her proud arrogance.
DERBY
25   I do beseech you, either not believe
26   The envious slanders of her false accusers;
27   Or, if she be accused in true report,
28   Bear with her weakness, which, I think proceeds
29   From wayward sickness, and no grounded malice.
RIVERS
30   Saw you the king to-day, my Lord of Derby?
DERBY
31   But now the Duke of Buckingham and I
32   Are come from visiting his majesty.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
33   What likelihood of his amendment, lords?
BUCKINGHAM
34   Madam, good hope; his grace speaks cheerfully.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
35   God grant him health! Did you confer with him?
BUCKINGHAM
36   Madam, we did: he desires to make atonement
37   Betwixt the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers,
38   And betwixt them and my lord chamberlain;
39   And sent to warn them to his royal presence.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
40   Would all were well! but that will never be
41   I fear our happiness is at the highest.
Enter GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and DORSET

GLOUCESTER
42   They do me wrong, and I will not endure it:
43   Who are they that complain unto the king,
44   That I, forsooth, am stern, and love them not?
45   By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly
46   That fill his ears with such dissentious rumours.
47   Because I cannot flatter and speak fair,
48   Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive and cog,
49   Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
50   I must be held a rancorous enemy.
51   Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
52   But thus his simple truth must be abused
53   By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?
RIVERS
54   To whom in all this presence speaks your grace?
GLOUCESTER
55   To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace.
56   When have I injured thee? when done thee wrong?
57   Or thee? or thee? or any of your faction?
58   A plague upon you all! His royal person,--
59   Whom God preserve better than you would wish!--
60   Cannot be quiet scarce a breathing-while,
61   But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
62   Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the matter.
63   The king, of his own royal disposition,
64   And not provoked by any suitor else;
65   Aiming, belike, at your interior hatred,
66   Which in your outward actions shows itself
67   Against my kindred, brothers, and myself,
68   Makes him to send; that thereby he may gather
69   The ground of your ill-will, and so remove it.
GLOUCESTER
70   I cannot tell: the world is grown so bad,
71   That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch:
72   Since every Jack became a gentleman
73   There's many a gentle person made a Jack.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
74   Come, come, we know your meaning, brother
75   Gloucester;
76   You envy my advancement and my friends':
77   God grant we never may have need of you!
GLOUCESTER
78   Meantime, God grants that we have need of you:
79   Your brother is imprison'd by your means,
80   Myself disgraced, and the nobility
81   Held in contempt; whilst many fair promotions
82   Are daily given to ennoble those
83   That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
84   By Him that raised me to this careful height
85   From that contented hap which I enjoy'd,
86   I never did incense his majesty
87   Against the Duke of Clarence, but have been
88   An earnest advocate to plead for him.
89   My lord, you do me shameful injury,
90   Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.
GLOUCESTER
91   You may deny that you were not the cause
92   Of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment.
RIVERS
93   She may, my lord, for--
GLOUCESTER
94   She may, Lord Rivers! why, who knows not so?
95   She may do more, sir, than denying that:
96   She may help you to many fair preferments,
97   And then deny her aiding hand therein,
98   And lay those honours on your high deserts.
99   What may she not? She may, yea, marry, may she--
RIVERS
100  What, marry, may she?
GLOUCESTER
101  What, marry, may she! marry with a king,
102  A bachelor, a handsome stripling too:
103  I wis your grandam had a worser match.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
104  My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne
105  Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs:
106  By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
107  With those gross taunts I often have endured.
108  I had rather be a country servant-maid
109  Than a great queen, with this condition,
110  To be thus taunted, scorn'd, and baited at:
Enter QUEEN MARGARET, behind
111  Small joy have I in being England's queen.
QUEEN MARGARET
112  And lessen'd be that small, God, I beseech thee!
113  Thy honour, state and seat is due to me.
GLOUCESTER
114  What! threat you me with telling of the king?
115  Tell him, and spare not: look, what I have said
116  I will avouch in presence of the king:
117  I dare adventure to be sent to the Tower.
118  'Tis time to speak; my pains are quite forgot.
QUEEN MARGARET
119  Out, devil! I remember them too well:
120  Thou slewest my husband Henry in the Tower,
121  And Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.
GLOUCESTER
122  Ere you were queen, yea, or your husband king,
123  I was a pack-horse in his great affairs;
124  A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,
125  A liberal rewarder of his friends:
126  To royalize his blood I spilt mine own.
QUEEN MARGARET
127  Yea, and much better blood than his or thine.
GLOUCESTER
128  In all which time you and your husband Grey
129  Were factious for the house of Lancaster;
130  And, Rivers, so were you. Was not your husband
131  In Margaret's battle at Saint Alban's slain?
132  Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
133  What you have been ere now, and what you are;
134  Withal, what I have been, and what I am.
QUEEN MARGARET
135  A murderous villain, and so still thou art.
GLOUCESTER
136  Poor Clarence did forsake his father, Warwick;
137  Yea, and forswore himself,--which Jesu pardon!--
QUEEN MARGARET
138  Which God revenge!
GLOUCESTER
139  To fight on Edward's party for the crown;
140  And for his meed, poor lord, he is mew'd up.
141  I would to God my heart were flint, like Edward's;
142  Or Edward's soft and pitiful, like mine
143  I am too childish-foolish for this world.
QUEEN MARGARET
144  Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave the world,
145  Thou cacodemon! there thy kingdom is.
RIVERS
146  My Lord of Gloucester, in those busy days
147  Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
148  We follow'd then our lord, our lawful king:
149  So should we you, if you should be our king.
GLOUCESTER
150  If I should be! I had rather be a pedlar:
151  Far be it from my heart, the thought of it!
QUEEN ELIZABETH
152  As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
153  You should enjoy, were you this country's king,
154  As little joy may you suppose in me.
155  That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.
QUEEN MARGARET
156  A little joy enjoys the queen thereof;
157  For I am she, and altogether joyless.
158  I can no longer hold me patient.
Advancing
159  Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
160  In sharing that which you have pill'd from me!
161  Which of you trembles not that looks on me?
162  If not, that, I being queen, you bow like subjects,
163  Yet that, by you deposed, you quake like rebels?
164  O gentle villain, do not turn away!
GLOUCESTER
165  Foul wrinkled witch, what makest thou in my sight?
QUEEN MARGARET
166  But repetition of what thou hast marr'd;
167  That will I make before I let thee go.
GLOUCESTER
168  Wert thou not banished on pain of death?
QUEEN MARGARET
169  I was; but I do find more pain in banishment
170  Than death can yield me here by my abode.
171  A husband and a son thou owest to me;
172  And thou a kingdom; all of you allegiance:
173  The sorrow that I have, by right is yours,
174  And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.
GLOUCESTER
175  The curse my noble father laid on thee,
176  When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper
177  And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his eyes,
178  And then, to dry them, gavest the duke a clout
179  Steep'd in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland--
180  His curses, then from bitterness of soul
181  Denounced against thee, are all fall'n upon thee;
182  And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
183  So just is God, to right the innocent.
HASTINGS
184  O, 'twas the foulest deed to slay that babe,
185  And the most merciless that e'er was heard of!
RIVERS
186  Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported.
DORSET
187  No man but prophesied revenge for it.
BUCKINGHAM
188  Northumberland, then present, wept to see it.
QUEEN MARGARET
189  What were you snarling all before I came,
190  Ready to catch each other by the throat,
191  And turn you all your hatred now on me?
192  Did York's dread curse prevail so much with heaven?
193  That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death,
194  Their kingdom's loss, my woful banishment,
195  Could all but answer for that peevish brat?
196  Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?
197  Why, then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses!
198  If not by war, by surfeit die your king,
199  As ours by murder, to make him a king!
200  Edward thy son, which now is Prince of Wales,
201  For Edward my son, which was Prince of Wales,
202  Die in his youth by like untimely violence!
203  Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen,
204  Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self!
205  Long mayst thou live to wail thy children's loss;
206  And see another, as I see thee now,
207  Deck'd in thy rights, as thou art stall'd in mine!
208  Long die thy happy days before thy death;
209  And, after many lengthen'd hours of grief,
210  Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen!
211  Rivers and Dorset, you were standers by,
212  And so wast thou, Lord Hastings, when my son
213  Was stabb'd with bloody daggers: God, I pray him,
214  That none of you may live your natural age,
215  But by some unlook'd accident cut off!
GLOUCESTER
216  Have done thy charm, thou hateful wither'd hag!
QUEEN MARGARET
217  And leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.
218  If heaven have any grievous plague in store
219  Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
220  O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe,
221  And then hurl down their indignation
222  On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace!
223  The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul!
224  Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou livest,
225  And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
226  No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
227  Unless it be whilst some tormenting dream
228  Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils!
229  Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog!
230  Thou that wast seal'd in thy nativity
231  The slave of nature and the son of hell!
232  Thou slander of thy mother's heavy womb!
233  Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins!
234  Thou rag of honour! thou detested--
GLOUCESTER
235  Margaret.
QUEEN MARGARET
236  Richard!
GLOUCESTER
237  Ha!
QUEEN MARGARET
238  I call thee not.
GLOUCESTER
239  I cry thee mercy then, for I had thought
240  That thou hadst call'd me all these bitter names.
QUEEN MARGARET
241  Why, so I did; but look'd for no reply.
242  O, let me make the period to my curse!
GLOUCESTER
243  'Tis done by me, and ends in 'Margaret.'
QUEEN ELIZABETH
244  Thus have you breathed your curse against yourself.
QUEEN MARGARET
245  Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my fortune!
246  Why strew'st thou sugar on that bottled spider,
247  Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about?
248  Fool, fool! thou whet'st a knife to kill thyself.
249  The time will come when thou shalt wish for me
250  To help thee curse that poisonous bunchback'd toad.
HASTINGS
251  False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse,
252  Lest to thy harm thou move our patience.
QUEEN MARGARET
253  Foul shame upon you! you have all moved mine.
RIVERS
254  Were you well served, you would be taught your duty.
QUEEN MARGARET
255  To serve me well, you all should do me duty,
256  Teach me to be your queen, and you my subjects:
257  O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty!
DORSET
258  Dispute not with her; she is lunatic.
QUEEN MARGARET
259  Peace, master marquess, you are malapert:
260  Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current.
261  O, that your young nobility could judge
262  What 'twere to lose it, and be miserable!
263  They that stand high have many blasts to shake them;
264  And if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.
GLOUCESTER
265  Good counsel, marry: learn it, learn it, marquess.
DORSET
266  It toucheth you, my lord, as much as me.
GLOUCESTER
267  Yea, and much more: but I was born so high,
268  Our aery buildeth in the cedar's top,
269  And dallies with the wind and scorns the sun.
QUEEN MARGARET
270  And turns the sun to shade; alas! alas!
271  Witness my son, now in the shade of death;
272  Whose bright out-shining beams thy cloudy wrath
273  Hath in eternal darkness folded up.
274  Your aery buildeth in our aery's nest.
275  O God, that seest it, do not suffer it!
276  As it was won with blood, lost be it so!
BUCKINGHAM
277  Have done! for shame, if not for charity.
QUEEN MARGARET
278  Urge neither charity nor shame to me:
279  Uncharitably with me have you dealt,
280  And shamefully by you my hopes are butcher'd.
281  My charity is outrage, life my shame
282  And in that shame still live my sorrow's rage.
BUCKINGHAM
283  Have done, have done.
QUEEN MARGARET
284  O princely Buckingham I'll kiss thy hand,
285  In sign of league and amity with thee:
286  Now fair befal thee and thy noble house!
287  Thy garments are not spotted with our blood,
288  Nor thou within the compass of my curse.
BUCKINGHAM
289  Nor no one here; for curses never pass
290  The lips of those that breathe them in the air.
QUEEN MARGARET
291  I'll not believe but they ascend the sky,
292  And there awake God's gentle-sleeping peace.
293  O Buckingham, take heed of yonder dog!
294  Look, when he fawns, he bites; and when he bites,
295  His venom tooth will rankle to the death:
296  Have not to do with him, beware of him;
297  Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,
298  And all their ministers attend on him.
GLOUCESTER
299  What doth she say, my Lord of Buckingham?
BUCKINGHAM
300  Nothing that I respect, my gracious lord.
QUEEN MARGARET
301  What, dost thou scorn me for my gentle counsel?
302  And soothe the devil that I warn thee from?
303  O, but remember this another day,
304  When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow,
305  And say poor Margaret was a prophetess!
306  Live each of you the subjects to his hate,
307  And he to yours, and all of you to God's!
Exit

HASTINGS
308  My hair doth stand on end to hear her curses.
RIVERS
309  And so doth mine: I muse why she's at liberty.
GLOUCESTER
310  I cannot blame her: by God's holy mother,
311  She hath had too much wrong; and I repent
312  My part thereof that I have done to her.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
313  I never did her any, to my knowledge.
GLOUCESTER
314  But you have all the vantage of her wrong.
315  I was too hot to do somebody good,
316  That is too cold in thinking of it now.
317  Marry, as for Clarence, he is well repaid,
318  He is frank'd up to fatting for his pains
319  God pardon them that are the cause of it!
RIVERS
320  A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion,
321  To pray for them that have done scathe to us.
GLOUCESTER
322  So do I ever:
Aside
323  being well-advised.
324  For had I cursed now, I had cursed myself.
Enter CATESBY

CATESBY
325  Madam, his majesty doth call for you,
326  And for your grace; and you, my noble lords.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
327  Catesby, we come. Lords, will you go with us?
RIVERS
328  Madam, we will attend your grace.
Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER
329  I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl.
330  The secret mischiefs that I set abroach
331  I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
332  Clarence, whom I, indeed, have laid in darkness,
333  I do beweep to many simple gulls
334  Namely, to Hastings, Derby, Buckingham;
335  And say it is the queen and her allies
336  That stir the king against the duke my brother.
337  Now, they believe it; and withal whet me
338  To be revenged on Rivers, Vaughan, Grey:
339  But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
340  Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
341  And thus I clothe my naked villany
342  With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
343  And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
Enter two Murderers
344  But, soft! here come my executioners.
345  How now, my hardy, stout resolved mates!
346  Are you now going to dispatch this deed?
First Murderer
347  We are, my lord; and come to have the warrant
348  That we may be admitted where he is.
GLOUCESTER
349  Well thought upon; I have it here about me.
Gives the warrant
350  When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.
351  But, sirs, be sudden in the execution,
352  Withal obdurate, do not hear him plead;
353  For Clarence is well-spoken, and perhaps
354  May move your hearts to pity if you mark him.
First Murderer
355  Tush!
356  Fear not, my lord, we will not stand to prate;
357  Talkers are no good doers: be assured
358  We come to use our hands and not our tongues.
GLOUCESTER
359  Your eyes drop millstones, when fools' eyes drop tears:
360  I like you, lads; about your business straight;
361  Go, go, dispatch.
First Murderer
362  We will, my noble lord.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IIACT I, SCENE IV (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V

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