Richard III

by William Shakespeare

Easiest-to-Read Edition




Richard III

Richard III Easiest-to-Read Edition


Table of Contents

Act 1, Scene 1: London, a street 2

Act 1, Scene 2: London, another street 14

Act 1, Scene 3: London. The Palace. 36

Act 1, Scene 4: London. The Tower 63

Act 2, Scene 1: London. The Palace. 84

Act 2, Scene 2: London. The Palace. 95

Act 2, Scene 3: London. A street 107

Act 2, Scene 4: London. The Palace. 112

Act 3, Scene 1: London. A street 119

Act 3, Scene 2: Before Lord Hastings’ house. 137

Act 3, Scene 3: Pomfret Castle. 148

Act 3, Scene 4: The Tower of London. 151

Act 3, Scene 5: The Tower walls. 160

Act 3, Scene 6: The Tower walls. 168

Act 3, Scene 7: Baynard’s castle. 169

Act 4, Scene 1: Before the Tower 185

Act 4, Scene 2: London. The palace. 194

Act 4, Scene 3: London. The palace. 206

Act 4, Scene 4: London. Before the palace. 211

Act 4, Scene 5: Lord Derby’s house. 254

Act 5, Scene 1: Salisbury. An open place. 256

Act 5, Scene 2: The camp near Tamworth. 259

Act 5, Scene 3: Bosworth Field. 261

Act 5, Scene 4: Another part of the field. 287

Act 5, Scene 5: Another part of the field. 289


Act 1, Scene 1: London, a street


Enter RICHARD, Duke of Gloucester, solus (later, Richard III)



Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York,
the sun is also the son of York (Edward IV)
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
clouds=the former rulers (House of Lancaster)
(the apostrophe suggests
a one-syllable pronunciation - not lour-ed
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
buried=are buried
(three-syllable pronunciation - bur-i-ed)
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments,
bruised - two-syllable pronunciation - bruis-ed
bruised - the word was chosen because arms
are bruised

Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
measures=dance rhythms
Grim-visaged War hath smoothed his wrinkled front,
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds
barbed=armed and harnessed
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
fearful=full of fear
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
he=grim-visaged War
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks
sportive tricks=amorous mischief
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass,
court . . .=look in a mirror for self-satisfaction
I, that am rudely stamped and want love's majesty
rudely stamped - Richard was a hunchback

To strut before a wanton ambling nymph,
wanton ambling nymph=lustful prancing woman
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
curtailed of this fair proportion=cut short of this lovely shape
Cheated of feature (good looks) by dissembling nature,
dissembling=lying (Richard doesn't think much of nature)
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them,
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace
piping=playing cheerful tunes
Have no delight to pass away the time
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on my own deformity.

And, therefore, since I cannot prove [to be] a lover

To entertain these fair well-spoken days,

I am determinèd to prove a villain

And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous (mischievous preparations),

By [means of] drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,

To set my brother Clarence and the king

In deadly hate, the one against the other,

And, if King Edward be as true and just (naively unsuspecting)

As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,

This day should Clarence closely be mewed up
mewed up=caged (like a hawk)

About a prophecy which says that “G”
(Clarence’s first name was George)

Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Edward’s heirs=sons of Edward III
(Edward IV; George,
Duke of Clarence; Richard, Duke of Gloucester

Dive, thoughts, down to my soul. Here Clarence comes.
dive down to my soul=lie hidden

Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY

Brother, good day. What means this armèd guard

That waits upon your Grace?



His majesty,

Tend'ring (being concerned for) my person’s safety, hath appointed

This conduct (escort) to convey me to the Tower.



Upon what cause?



Because my name is George.



Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours.

He should, for that, commit your godfathers.

O, belike his majesty hath some intent

That you shall be new christened in the Tower.

But what’s the matter, Clarence? May I know?



Yea, Richard, when I know, for, I protest,

As yet I do not, but, as I can learn,

He hearkens after prophecies and dreams

And from the crossrow plucks the letter G

And says a wizard told him that by “G”

His issue (children) disinherited should be

And, for my name of George begins with G,

It follows in his thought that I am he.

These, as I learn, and such like toys as these

Have moved his Highness to commit me now.



Why, this (thus) it is when men are ruled by women.

'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower.

My Lady Grey, his wife, Clarence, ’tis she

That tempers him to this extremity.

Was it not she and that good man of worship,

Anthony Woodeville, her brother there,

That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,

From whence this present day he is delivered?

We are not safe, Clarence. We are not safe.



By heaven, I think there is no man is secure

But the queen’s kindred and night-walking heralds (secret messengers)

That trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.
mistress=title of respect for any woman
Mistress Shore=Jane Shore, mistress of King Edward IV

Heard ye not what an humble suppliant

Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
delivery=release from prison



Humbly complaining to “her deity”

Got my Lord Chamberlain his liberty.
Lord Chamberlain=Lord Hastings, at one time chamberlain to Edward IV

I’ll tell you what: I think it is our way (course),

If we will keep in favor with the king,

To be her men and wear her livery (uniform).

The jealous o'erworn widow and herself,
widow=Queen Elizabeth, who was a widow when Edward married her
herself=Mistress Shore

Since that our brother dubbed them gentlewomen,

Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.



I beseech your Graces both to pardon me.

His majesty hath straitly (strictly) given in charge

That no man shall have private conference,

Of what degree soever (no matter what his rank), with his brother (Clarence).



Even so. An please your Worship, Brakenbury,
(if it please your Honor)

You may partake of anything we say.

We speak no treason, man. We say the king

Is wise and virtuous and his noble queen,

Well struck (advanced) in years, fair and not jealous.

We say that Shore’s wife hath a pretty foot,

A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue

And that the queen’s kindred are made (elevated in rank) gentlefolks.

How say you, sir? Can you deny all this?



With this, my lord, myself have naught (nothing) to do.



Naught to do with Mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,

He that doth naught with her (does what is improper), excepting one,

Were best he do it secretly, alone.



What one, my lord?



Her husband, knave. Wouldst thou betray me?



I do beseech your Grace to pardon me and withal (at the same time)

Forbear (give up) your conference with the noble duke.



We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.
charge=command from the King



We are the queen’s abjects (degraded people) and must obey.—

Brother, farewell. I will [go] unto the king,

And whatsoe'er you will employ me in,

Were it to call King Edward’s widow “sister,”

I will perform it to enfranchise you.

Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood

Touches me deeper than you can imagine.



I know it pleaseth neither of us well.



Well, your imprisonment shall not be long.

I will deliver you or else lie for you.

Meantime, have patience.



I must perforce. Farewell.




Go tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return.

Simple, plain Clarence, I do love thee so [much]

That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,

If heaven will take the present at our hands (will accept anything from me).

But who comes here? The new-delivered Hastings?




Good time of day unto my gracious lord.



As much unto my good Lord Chamberlain.

Well are you welcome to the open air.

How hath your lordship brooked (endured) imprisonment?



With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must,

But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks

That were the cause of my imprisonment.



No doubt, no doubt, and so shall Clarence, too,

For they that were your enemies are his

And have prevailed as much on him as you.



More pity that the eagle should be mewed

While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.



What news abroad?



No news so bad abroad as this at home:

The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,

And his physicians fear [for] him mightily.



Now, by Saint Paul, that news is bad, indeed.

O, he hath kept an evil diet long
(been self-indulgent)

And overmuch consumed his royal person (wasted away).

'Tis very grievous to be thought upon.

Where is he, in his bed?



He is.



Go you before, and I will follow you.


He cannot live, I hope, and must not die

Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
post-horse=quickly, as if with a horse used in a relay

I’ll in to urge (incite) his hatred more to Clarence

With lies well steeled with weighty arguments,

And, if I fail not in my deep intent (wicked intention),

Clarence hath not another day to live,

Which done, God take King Edward to His mercy

And leave the world for me to bustle in.
bustle=move about energetically

For then I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter.

What though I killed her husband (Prince Edward) and her father (father-in-law, Henry VI)?

The readiest way to make the wench amends

Is to become her husband and her father,

The which will I, not all so much for love

As for another secret close intent

By marrying her which I must reach unto.

But yet I run before my horse to market.

Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns.

When they are gone, then must I count my gains.



Act 1, Scene 2: London, another street


Enter the corpse of Henry the Sixth on a bier (framework), with halberds (guards with axes with long handles) to guard it, Lady ANNE being the mourner, accompanied by gentlemen



Set down, set down your honorable load,

If honor may be shrouded (wrapped up) in a hearse (coffin),

Whilst I awhile obsequiously (mournfully) lament

Th' untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.

They set down the bier and Anne addresses the corpse

Poor key-cold figure of a holy king,
key-cold=cold as metal

Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster,

Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood,

Be it lawful that I invocate (conjure up) thy ghost

To hear the lamentations of poor Anne,

Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son,

Stabbed by the selfsame hand that made these wounds (namely, Richard).

Lo, in these windows (gaping wounds) that let forth thy life

I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.

O, cursèd be the hand that made these holes,

Cursèd the heart that had the heart to do it,

Cursèd the blood that let this blood from hence.

More direful hap (more awful fate) betide (befall) that hated wretch

That makes us wretched by the death of thee

Than I can wish to wolves, to spiders, toads,

Or any creeping venomed (venomous) thing that lives.

If ever he (Richard) have child, abortive be it,

Prodigious (monstrous), and untimely brought to light,

Whose ugly and unnatural aspect

May fright the hopeful mother at the view,

And that be heir to his unhappiness.
(may Richard’s child inherit his wicked ways)

If ever he have wife, let her be made

More miserable by the death of him

Than I am made by my poor lord and thee (Prince Edward and King Henry VI).—

Come now towards Chertsey with your holy load,

Taken from Paul’s (St. Paul’s Cathedral) to be interrèd there.

They take up the bier

And still (always), as (when) you are weary of this weight,

Rest you, whiles I [continue to] lament King Henry’s corpse.

Enter RICHARD, Duke of Gloucester



Stay, you that bear the corpse, and set it down.



What black magician conjures up this fiend

To stop devoted charitable deeds?
(deeds of devoted charity)



Villains (peasants), set down the corpse or, by Saint Paul,

I’ll make a corpse of him that disobeys.



My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass.



Unmannered dog, stand thou [back] when I command!—

Advance thy halberd higher than my breast,
(that is, tilt it in my direction)

Or, by Saint Paul, I’ll strike thee to [lie at] my foot

And spurn (trample) upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.

They set down the bier



(to gentlemen and halberds)

What, do you tremble? Are you all afraid?

Alas, I blame you not, for you are mortal,

And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil.—

Avaunt (away!), thou dreadful minister of hell.

Thou hadst but power over his mortal body;

His soul thou canst not have. Therefore, begone.



Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst (bad tempered).



Foul devil, for God’s sake, hence, and trouble us not,

For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
(with you in it, the earth is hell)

Filled it with cursing cries and deep exclaims (exclamations).

If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,

Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.

She points to the corpse

O, gentlemen, see, see dead Henry’s wounds

Open their congealed mouths and bleed afresh!—
(it was thought that the victim’s wounds bled when the murderer was present)

Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity,

For ’tis thy presence that exhales this blood

From cold and empty veins where no blood dwells.

Thy deeds, inhuman and unnatural,

Provoke this deluge most unnatural.—

O God, which this blood mad’st, revenge his death!

O earth, which this blood drink’st, revenge his death!

Either heaven with lightning strike the murderer dead,

Or earth gape open wide and eat him quick (alive),

As thou dost swallow up this good king’s blood,

Which his hell-governed arm hath butcherèd!



Lady, you know no rules of charity,

Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.



Villain, thou know’st not law of God nor man.

No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.



But I know none and therefore am no beast.



O, wonderful, when devils tell the truth!



More wonderful, when angels are so angry.

Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,

Of these supposèd crimes to give me leave

By circumstance (in detail) but to acquit myself.
(allow me, perfect woman, to acquit myself of these crimes)



Vouchsafe, defused (diffused=misshapen) infection of a man,

Of these known evils but to give me leave

By circumstance to curse thy cursèd self.



Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have

Some patient leisure to excuse (explain) myself.



Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make

No excuse current but to hang thyself.



By such despair I should accuse myself.
(by hanging myself, I would admit to guilt)



And by despairing shalt thou stand excused

For doing worthy vengeance on thyself
(for hanging yourself)

That didst unworthy slaughter upon others.



Say (just suppose) that I slew them not.



Then say they were not slain.

But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.



I did not kill your husband.



Why then, he is alive.



Nay, he is dead and slain by Edward’s hands.



In thy foul throat thou liest. Queen Margaret saw

Thy murd'rous falchion (curved sword) smoking (steaming) in his blood,

The which thou once didst bend against her breast

But that (in her defense) thy brothers beat aside the point.



I was provokèd by her sland'rous tongue

That laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.



Thou wast provokèd by thy bloody mind

That never dream’st on aught but butcheries.

Didst thou not kill this king?



I grant you.



Dost grant me, hedgehog? Then, God grant me, too,

Thou mayst be damnèd for that wicked deed.

O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous.



The better for the King of heaven that hath him.



He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.



Let him thank me, that holp to send him thither,

For he was fitter for that place than earth.



And thou unfit for any place but hell.



Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.



Some dungeon.



Your bedchamber.



Ill rest betide (befall) the chamber where thou liest!



So will it, madam, till I lie with you.



I hope so.
(that is, I’ll never lie with you)



I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,

To leave this keen encounter of our wits

And fall something (somewhat) into a slower method—

Is not the causer of the timeless (untimely) deaths

Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,

As blameful as the executioner?



Thou wast the cause and most accursed effect.



Your beauty was the cause of that effect—

Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep

To undertake the death of all the world,

So I might live one hour in your sweet bosom.



If I thought that, I tell thee, homicide,

These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks.



These eyes could never endure that beauty’s wrack (destruction).

You should not (would not be able to) blemish it, if I stood by (next to you).

As all the world is cheerèd by the sun,

So I by that. It is my day, my life.



Black night o'ershade thy day and death, thy life.



Curse not thyself, fair creature; thou art both.



I would (wish) I were, to be revenged on thee.



It is a quarrel most unnatural

To be revenged on him that loveth thee.



It is a quarrel just and reasonable

To be revenged on him that killed my husband.



He that bereft thee, lady, of thy husband

Did it to help thee to a better husband.



His better doth not breathe upon the earth.



He lives that loves thee better than he could.



Name him.



The family of York, including Richard, and the rival family of Lancaster were both descended from the Plantagenets)



Why, that was he.



The selfsame name but one of better nature.



Where is he?




She spitteth at him

Why dost thou spit at me?



Would it were mortal poison for thy sake.



Never came poison from so sweet a place.



Never hung poison on a fouler toad.

Out of my sight! Thou dost infect mine eyes.



Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine.



Would they were basilisks to strike thee dead.
(the glance of such a serpent caused death)



I would they were, that I might die at once,

For now they kill me with a living death.

Those eyes of thine from mine have drawn salt tears,

Shamed their aspect with store (abundance) of childish drops.
(your eyes have put my eyes to shame)

These eyes, which never shed remorseful (pitying) tear—

No, when my father York and [my brother] Edward wept

To hear the piteous moan that Rutland made
(Rutland was Richard and Edward’s brother, killed by a Lancastrian)

When black-faced Clifford shook his sword at (slaughtered) him;

Nor when thy warlike father, like a child,

Told the sad story of my father’s death

And twenty times made pause to sob and weep,

[so] That all the standers-by had wet their cheeks

Like trees bedashed with rain—in that sad time,

My manly eyes did scorn an humble tear,

And what these [aforesaid] sorrows could not [from] thence exhale (cause to weep)

Thy beauty hath and made them blind with weeping.

I never sued (begged) to friend nor enemy.

My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing word,

But now thy beauty is proposed my fee,

My proud heart sues (begs) and prompts my tongue to speak.
(since your beauty is the payment for speaking, I’ll speak)

She looks scornfully at him

Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it were made

For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.

If thy revengeful heart cannot forgive,

Lo, here I lend thee this sharp-pointed sword,

Which if thou please to hide (stab) in this true breast

And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,

I lay it naked to the deadly stroke

And humbly beg the death upon my knee.

He kneels and lays his breast open; she offers at it (makes a move towards it) with his sword

Nay, do not pause; for I did kill King Henry—

But ’twas thy beauty that provokèd me.

Nay, now dispatch (make haste); ’twas I that stabbed young Edward—

But ’twas thy heavenly face that set me on.

She falls the sword
she lets the sword drop)

Take up the sword again, or take up me.



Arise, dissembler. Though I wish thy death,

I will not be the executioner.



(rising) Then bid me kill myself, and I will do it.



I have already.



That was in thy rage.

Speak it again and, even with the word,

This hand, which for thy love did kill thy love,

Shall for thy love kill a far truer love.

To both their deaths shalt thou be accessory.



I would I knew thy heart.



'Tis figured in my tongue.



I fear me both are false.



Then never man was man true.



Well, well, put up your sword.



Say then my peace is made.



That shall you know hereafter.



But shall I live in hope?



All men I hope live so.



Vouchsafe (consent) to wear this ring.



To take is not to give.

He places the ring on her finger



Look how this ring encompasseth finger;

Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart.

Wear both of them, for both of them are thine,

And, if thy poor devoted servant may

But beg one favor at thy gracious hand,

Thou dost confirm his happiness forever.



What is it?



That it would please you leave these sad designs (burial arrangements)

To him that hath more cause to be a mourner

And presently (immediately) repair to Crosby House,

Where, after I have solemnly interred

At Chertsey monast'ry this noble king

And wet his grave with my repentant tears,

I will with all expedient duty see you.

For divers unknown reasons, I beseech you,

Grant me this boon.



With all my heart, and much it joys me, too,

To see you are become so penitent.—

Tressel and Berkeley, go along with me.



Bid me farewell.



'Tis more than you deserve,

But, since you teach me how to flatter you,

Imagine I have said “farewell” already.

Exeunt Lady ANNE and two others



Sirs, take up the corpse.



Towards Chertsey, noble lord?



No, to Whitefriars. There attend (wait for) my coming.

Exeunt all but RICHARD

Was ever woman in this humor (mood) wooed?

Was ever woman in this humor won?

I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long.

What, I that killed her husband and his father,

To take her [while] in her heart’s extremest hate

With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,

The bleeding witness of my hatred [lying] by,

Having God, her conscience, and these bars (self-created obstacles) against me

And I no friends to back my suit at all

But the plain devil and dissembling looks?

And yet to win her, all the world to nothing!
(the odds against my winning her were all the world against nothing)


Hath she forgot already that brave prince,

Edward, her lord, whom I some three months since

Stabbed in my angry mood [at the battlefield] at Tewkesbury?

A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman,

Framed in the prodigality of nature,

Young, valiant, wise, and, no doubt, right royal,

The spacious world cannot again afford.

And will she yet abase (lower) her eyes on me,

That cropped the golden prime of this sweet prince

And made her widow to a woeful bed?

On me, whose all not equals Edward’s moiety (half)?

On me, that halts and am misshapen thus?

[I’ll bet] My dukedom to a beggarly denier (tenth of a penny),

I do mistake my person all this while!

Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,

Myself to be a marv'lous proper man.

I’ll be at charges for (will buy) a looking glass

And entertain a score or two of tailors

To study fashions to adorn my body.

Since I am crept in (come into) favor with myself,

I will maintain it with some little cost,

But first I’ll turn (dump) yon fellow in his grave

And then return lamenting to my love.

Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a [looking] glass,

That I may see my shadow as I pass.



Act 1, Scene 3: London. The Palace


Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, Lord Marquess of DORSET, Lord RIVERS, and Lord GREY



Have patience, madam. There’s no doubt his majesty

Will soon recover his accustomed health.



In that you brook (endure) it ill, it makes him worse.

Therefore, for God’s sake, entertain good comfort (let people comfort you),

And cheer his grace with quick and merry eyes.



If he were dead, what would betide on me (what would happen to me)?



No other harm but loss of such a lord.



The loss of such a lord includes all harms.



The heavens have blessed you with a goodly son

To be your comforter when he is gone.



Ah, he is young, and his minority

Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,

A man that loves not me nor none of you.



Is it concluded that he shall be Protector (act on the young king’s behalf)?



It is determined, not concluded (announced) yet,

But so it must be if the king miscarry (dies).

Enter BUCKINGHAM and Lord STANLEY, Earl of Derby



Here comes the lord of Buckingham, and Derby.



(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) Good time of day unto your royal Grace.



God make your Majesty joyful, as you [at one time] have been.



The countess Richmond, good my lord of Derby,

To your good prayer will scarcely say amen.

Yet, Derby, notwithstanding she’s your wife

And loves not me, be you, good lord, assured

I hate not you for her proud arrogance.



I do beseech you either not believe

The envious slanders of her false accusers,

Or, if she be accused in true report,

Bear with her weakness, which I think proceeds

From wayward sickness and no grounded malice.



Saw you the king today, my lord of Derby?



But (just) now the duke of Buckingham and I

Are come from visiting his majesty.



What likelihood of his amendment (improvement in health), lords?



Madam, good hope. His grace speaks cheerfully.



God grant him health. Did you confer with him?



Ay, madam. He desires to make atonement

Betwixt the duke of Gloucester and your brothers,

And betwixt them and my Lord Chamberlain,

And sent to warn them to his royal presence.



Would all were well—but that will never be.

I fear our happiness is at the height (peak).

Enter RICHARD, Duke of Gloucester, and HASTINGS



They do me wrong, and I will not endure it!

Who is it that complains unto the king

That I, forsooth (in truth), am stern and love them not?

By holy Paul (St. Paul), they love his grace but lightly

That (who) fill his ears with such dissentious rumors.

Because I cannot flatter and speak fair (pleasingly),

Smile in men’s faces, smooth (encourage flatteringly), deceive, and cog (lie or cheat),

Duck (dip the head) with French nods and apish (ape-like=stupidly imitative) courtesy,

I must be held a rancorous (angry) enemy.

Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,

But, thus, his simple truth must be abused

With silken, sly, insinuating jacks (low-lifes)?



To whom in all this presence speaks your Grace?



To thee, that hast nor (neither) honesty nor grace.

When have I injured thee? When done thee wrong?—

Or thee?—Or thee? Or any of your faction?

A plague upon you all! His royal grace,

Whom God preserve better than you would wish,

Cannot be quiet scarce a-breathing while

But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.



Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the matter.

The king, on his own royal disposition

And not provoked by any suitor else,

Aiming belike at your interior hatred

That in your outward actions shows itself

Against my children, brothers, and myself,

Makes him (is motivated) to send, that he may learn the ground (reason).



I cannot tell. The world is grown so bad

That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.

Since every jack (peasant) became a gentleman,

There’s many a gentle (gentleman) person made a jack.



Come, come, we know your meaning, brother Gloucester.

You envy my advancement and my friends'.

God grant we never may have need of you.



Meantime, God grants that we have need of you.

Our brother is imprisoned by your means,

Myself disgraced, and the nobility

Held in contempt, while great promotions

Are daily given to ennoble those

That scarce (barely) some two days since were worth a noble (English gold coin).



By Him that raised me to this careful height

From that contented hap (circumstance) which I enjoyed,

I never did incense his majesty

Against the Duke of Clarence but have been

An earnest advocate to plead for him.

My lord, you do me shameful injury

Falsely to draw (represent) me in (among) these vile suspects.
(OR suspects=suspicions)



You may deny that you were not the mean
not the mean=the means (double negative)

Of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment.



She may, my lord, for—



She may, Lord Rivers. Why, who knows not so?

She may do more, sir, than denying that.

She may help you to many fair preferments

And then deny her aiding hand therein

And lay those honors on your high desert (merits).

What may she not? She may, ay, marry (by the Virgin Mary), may she—



What, marry, may she?



What, marry, may she? Marry with a king,

A bachelor, a handsome stripling, too.

I wis (certainly), your grandma had a worser match.



My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne

Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs.

By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty

With those gross taunts that oft I have endured.

I had rather be a country servant-maid

Than a great queen with this condition,

To be so baited, scorned, and stormèd at.

Enter old QUEEN MARGARET, apart from others

Small joy have I in being England’s queen.



(aside) And lessened be that small, God I beseech Him!
(may your small joy be even less)

Thy honor, state, and seat is due to me.



(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) What, threat you me with telling of (to) the king?

Tell him, and spare not. Look, what I have said,

I will avouch ’t (certify it) in presence of the king.

I dare adventure (chance it) to be sent to th' Tower.

'Tis time to speak. My pains are quite forgot.



(aside) Out, devil! I do remember them too well.

Thou killed’st my husband Henry in the Tower

And Edward, my poor son, at Tewkesbury.



(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) Ere you were queen, ay, or your husband king,

I was a packhorse in his great affairs,

A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,

A liberal rewarder of his friends.

To royalize his blood, I spent mine own.



(aside) Ay, and much better blood than his or thine.



(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) In all which time, you and your husband Grey

Were factious for the house of Lancaster.—

And, Rivers, so were you. — (addressing ELIZABETH) Was not your husband

In Margaret’s battle (army) at Saint Albans slain?

Let me put in your minds, if you forget,

What you have been ere this and what you are,

Withal (moreover), what I have been and what I am.



(aside) A murd'rous villain, and so still thou art.



(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) Poor Clarence did forsake his father Warwick,

Ay, and forswore himself—which Jesu pardon!—



(aside) Which God revenge!



To fight on Edward’s party for the crown,

And for his meed, poor lord, he is mewed up.

I would to God my heart were flint like Edward’s

Or Edward’s soft and pitiful like mine.

I am too childish-foolish for this world.



(aside) Hie thee to hell for shame and leave the world,

Thou caco(bad)demon! There thy kingdom is.



My Lord of Gloucester, in those busy days,

Which here you urge (put forward) to prove us enemies,

We followed then our lord, our sovereign king.

So should we you, if you should be our king.



If I should be? I had rather be a peddler.

Far be it from my heart, the thought thereof.



As little joy, my lord, as you suppose

You should enjoy were you this country’s king,

As little joy may you suppose in me

That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.



(aside) As little joy enjoys the queen thereof,

For I am she and altogether joyless.

I can no longer hold [back] me patient.

She steps forward

Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out

In sharing that which you have pilled (pulled the hair out of my head) from me!

Which of you trembles not that looks on me?

If not, that I am queen, you bow like subjects,

Yet that, by you deposed, you quake like rebels.—
(you bow when I am queen, but, when I am deposed, you tremble with guilt)

(addressing Richard) Ah, gentle (high-born) villain, do not turn away.



Foul, wrinkled witch, what mak’st thou (what are you doing) in my sight?



But repetition of what thou hast marred.

That will I make before I let thee go.



Wert thou not banishèd on pain of death?



I was, but I do find more pain in banishment

Than death can yield me here by my abode.

A husband and a son thou ow’st to me,


And thou a kingdom; —all of you, allegiance.

The sorrow that I have by right is yours,

And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.



The curse my noble father (Duke of York) laid on thee

When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper
(to mock him before she killed him, Margaret put a paper crown on his head)

And with thy scorns drew’st rivers from his eyes

And then, to dry them, gav’st the Duke a clout (rag)

Steeped in the faultless blood of [his son] pretty Rutland—

His (the Duke’s) curses, then, from bitterness of soul

Denounced against thee, are all fall'n upon thee,

And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed.



So just is God to right (reward) the innocent.



O, ’twas the foulest deed to slay that babe (Rutland)

And the most merciless that e'er was heard of!



Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported.



No man but prophesied revenge for it.



Northumberland, then present, wept to see it.


(Edward IV replaced Henry VI, murdered by the Yorks. Richard III replaced Edward IV.)

What, were you snarling all before I came,

Ready to catch each other by the throat,

And turn you all your hatred now on me?

Did York’s dread curse prevail so much with heaven

That Henry’s death, my lovely Edward’s death,

Their kingdom’s loss, my woeful banishment,

Could all but answer for that peevish brat (Rutland)?

Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?

Why, then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick (alive) curses!

Though not by war, by surfeit (overindulgence) die your king (Edward IV),

As ours (Henry VI) by murder to make him (Edward IV) a king.




Edward thy son, that now is Prince of Wales,

For Edward our son, that was Prince of Wales,

Die in his youth by like untimely violence.

Thyself a queen, for (in place of) me that was a queen,

Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self.

Long mayst thou live to wail thy children’s death

And see another, as I see thee now,

Decked in thy rights, as thou art stalled (installed) in mine.

Long die thy happy days before thy death,

And, after many lengthened hours of grief,

Die neither mother, wife, nor England’s queen.—

Rivers and Dorset, you were standers-by,

And so wast thou, Lord Hastings, when my son

Was stabbed with bloody daggers. God I pray Him

That none of you may live [to] his natural age,

But, by some unlooked (unexpected) accident, [be] cut off.



Have done thy charm (curse), thou hateful, withered hag.



And leave out thee? Stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.

If heaven have any grievous plague in store

Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,

O, let them (heaven) keep it till thy sins be ripe

And then hurl down their indignation

On thee, the troubler of the poor world’s peace.

The worm of conscience still (always) begnaw thy soul.

Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv’st,
(suspect thy friends)

And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends.

No sleep close up that deadly (killing) eye of thine,

Unless it be while some tormenting dream

Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils.



Thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog,
elvish-marked=deformed by elves at birth

Thou that wast sealed (confirmed) in thy nativity

The slave of nature and the son of hell,

Thou slander of thy heavy mother’s womb,
(thy mother’s heavy womb)

Thou loathèd issue of thy father’s loins,

Thou rag of honor, thou detested—












I call thee not.



I cry thee mercy, then, for I did think

That thou hadst called me all these bitter names.



Why, so I did, but looked for no reply.

O, let me make the period (conclusion) to my curse!



'Tis done by me and ends in “Margaret.”




Thus have you breathed your curse against yourself.



Poor painted (imitation) queen, vain flourish (ornament) of my fortune,
my fortune=MY queenship

Why strew’st thou sugar on that bottled (bottle-shaped) spider (namely, Richard)

Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about?

Fool, fool, thou whet’st (sharpens) a knife to kill thyself.

The day will come that thou shalt wish for me

To help thee curse that poisonous bunch (hump)-backed toad.



False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse,

Lest to thy harm thou move our patience.



Foul shame upon you, you have all moved mine (exhausted my patience).



Were you well served, you would be taught your duty.



To serve me well, you all should do me duty (subject yourselves to me).

Teach me to be your queen and you my subjects.

O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty (subjection)!



(to RIVERS) Dispute not with her; she is lunatic.



Peace, Master Marquess, you are malapert (impudent).

Your fire-new stamp of honor (title) is scarce current (too new to be respected).

O, that your young nobility could judge

What ’twere to lose it and be miserable!

They that stand high have many blasts [of wind] to shake them,

And, if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.



Good counsel, marry (by the Virgin Mary). —Learn it, learn it, marquess.



It touches you, my lord, as much as me.



Ay, and much more, but I was born so high

[that] Our aerie (eagle’s nestlings) buildeth in the cedar’s top

And dallies with the wind and scorns the sun.



And turns the sun to shade. Alas, alas,

Witness my son, now in the shade of death (the underworld),

Whose bright out-shining beams thy cloudy wrath

Hath in eternal darkness folded up.

Your aerie buildeth in our aerie’s nest.

O God, that seest it, do not suffer (endure) it!

As it was won with blood, lost be it so (also by bloodshed).



Peace, peace, for shame, if not for charity.



Urge neither charity nor shame to me.

(addressing the others)

Uncharitably with me have you dealt,

And shamefully my hopes by you are butchered.

My charity is outrage, life my shame,

And in that shame still (always) live my sorrows' rage.



Have done, have done.



O princely Buckingham, I’ll kiss thy hand

In sign of league and amity with thee.

Now fair befall thee and thy noble house!

Thy garments are not spotted with our blood

Nor thou within the compass (range) of my curse.



Nor no one here, for curses never pass

The lips of those that breathe them in[to] the air.



I will not think but [that] they ascend [to] the sky

And there awake God’s gentle-sleeping peace.

(aside to BUCKINGHAM)

O Buckingham, take heed of yonder dog!

Look - when he fawns, he bites, and, when he bites,

His venom tooth will rankle (cause a festering wound) to the death.

Have not to do with him. Beware of him.

Sin, death, and hell have set their marks [of ownership] on him,

And all their ministers attend on him.



What doth she say, my lord of Buckingham?



Nothing that I respect, my gracious lord.



What, dost thou scorn me for my gentle (gentile) counsel

And soothe the devil that I warn thee from?

O, but remember this another day,

When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow,

And say poor Margaret was a prophetess.—

Live each of you the subjects to his hate,

And he to yours (your hate), and all of you to God’s (God’s hate).




My hair doth stand an end to hear her curses.



And so doth mine. I muse why she’s at liberty.



I cannot blame her. By God’s holy mother,

She hath had too much wrong, and I repent

My part thereof that I have done to her.



I never did her any, to my knowledge.



Yet, you have all the [ad]vantage of her wrong (the wrong done to her).

I was too hot to do somebody (Edward IV) good
(too eager in helping Edward to the crown)

That is too cold in thinking of it now.
(somebody that is too cold=Edward IV is ungrateful)

Marry (by the Virgin Mary), as for Clarence, he is well repaid -

He is franked up to fatting for his pains.
franked up to fatting=penned up like a pig in a frank (pigsty) to be fattened

God pardon them that are the cause thereof.



A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion

To pray for them that have done scathe (harm) to us.



So do I ever (aside) being well-advised (wary),

For, had I cursed now, I had cursed myself.




Madam, his majesty doth call for you,—

And for your Grace, —and yours, my gracious lords.



Catesby, I come. —Lords, will you go with me?



We wait upon your Grace.

Exeunt all but RICHARD, Duke of Gloucester



I do the wrong and [am] first [to] begin to brawl.

The secret mischiefs that I set abroach (afoot)

I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
(blame on others)

Clarence, whom I indeed have cast in darkness,

I do beweep to many simple gulls (credulous fools),

Namely, to Derby, Hastings, Buckingham,

And tell them ’tis the queen and her allies

That stir the king against the duke my brother.

Now they believe it and withal (moreover) whet (urge) me

To be revenged on Rivers, Dorset, Grey,

But then I sigh and, with a piece of scripture,

Tell them that God bids us do good for evil,

And thus I clothe my naked villainy

With odd old ends stolen out of Holy Writ

And seem a saint when most I play the devil.


But, soft! here come my executioners.—

How now, my hardy, stout, resolvèd mates?
(strong and brave, resolute mates)

Are you now going to dispatch this thing?



We are, my lord, and come to have the warrant (permit)

That we may be admitted where he is.



Well thought upon. I have it here about me.

He gives a paper

When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.

But, sirs, be sudden in the execution,

Withal (moreover) obdurate (hard hearted). Do not hear him plead,

For Clarence is well-spoken and perhaps

May move your hearts to pity if you mark (listen to) him.



Tut, tut, my lord, we will not stand to prate (stop to chat).

Talkers are no good doers. Be assured
the greatest talkers are the least doers

We go to use our hands and not our tongues.



Your eyes drop millstones, when fools' eyes drop tears.
(you are hard as rock)

I like you lads. About your business straight.

Go, go, dispatch (hurry).



We will, my noble lord.



Act 1, Scene 4: London. The Tower





Why looks your grace so heavily today?



O, I have passed a miserable night,

So full of ugly dreams, of ugly sights,

That, as I am a Christian faithful man,

I would not spend another such a night

Though ’twere to buy a world of happy days,

So full of dismal terror was the time.



What was your dream, my lord? I pray you tell me.



Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower

And was embarked to cross to Burgundy,

And in my company [was] my brother Gloucester,

Who from my cabin tempted me to walk

Upon the hatches. Thence we looked toward England
hatches=movable planks forming a deck

And cited up (recalled) a thousand fearful times,

During the wars of York and Lancaster,

That had befall'n us. As we paced along

Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,

Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling

Struck me, that (who) thought to stay (steady) him, overboard

Into the tumbling billows of the main (ocean).

O Lord, methought what pain it was to drown,

What dreadful noise of waters in my ears,

What sights of ugly death within my eyes.

Methoughts I saw a thousand fearful wracks (frightening wrecks),

A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon,

Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,

Inestimable stones, unvalued (priceless) jewels,

All scattered in the bottom of the sea.

Some lay in dead men’s skulls, and in the holes

Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept—

As ’twere (as if it were) in scorn of eyes—reflecting gems

That wooed the slimy bottom of the deep

And mocked the dead bones that lay scattered by.



Had you such leisure in the time of death

To gaze upon the secrets of the deep?



Methought I had, and often did I strive

To yield [up] the ghost, but still the envious (malicious) flood

Stopped in (up) my soul and would not let it forth

To find the empty, vast, and wand'ring air

But smothered it within my panting bulk,

Who almost burst to belch it in[to] the sea.



Awaked you not in this sore agony?



No, no, my dream was lengthened after life.

O, then began the tempest to my soul.

I passed, methought, the melancholy flood (river at the border of hell),

With that sour ferryman which poets write of,

Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.

The first that there did greet my stranger-soul

Was my great father-in-law, renownèd Warwick,

Who spake aloud, “What scourge for perjury

Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?”

And so he vanished. Then came wand'ring by

A shadow like an angel, with bright hair

Dabbled in blood, and he shrieked out aloud:

“Clarence is come—false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,

That stabbed me (Prince Edward) in the field by Tewkesbury.

Seize on him, furies. Take him unto torment.”

With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends

Environed me and howlèd in mine ears

Such hideous cries that with the very noise

I trembling waked and, for a season after,

Could not believe but that I was in hell,

Such terrible impression made my dream.
(Clarence helped kill Prince Edward, the shadow in the dream)



No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you.
(no wonder it scared you)

I am afraid, methinks, [just] to hear you tell it.



Ah keeper, keeper, I have done those things

That now give evidence against my soul

For Edward’s sake, and see how he requites me.—

O God, if my deep prayers cannot appease thee

But thou wilt be avenged on my misdeeds,

Yet execute thy wrath in me alone!

O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children!—

Keeper, I prithee sit by me awhile.

My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.



I will, my lord. God give your Grace good rest.


Enter BRAKENBURY the lieutenant



Sorrow breaks (interrupts) seasons and reposing hours,
(“to every thing there is a season”)

Makes the night morning and the noontide night.

Princes have but (only) their titles for their glories,

An outward honor for an inward toil,

And, for (instead of) unfelt (unfulfilled) imaginations (hopes of glory),

They often feel (endure) a world of restless cares,

So that betwixt their titles and [a] low name (commoners)

There’s nothing differs (there is no real difference) but the outward fame (reputation).

Enter the two MURDERERS



Ho, who’s here?



What wouldst thou, fellow? And how cam’st thou hither?



I would speak with Clarence, and I came hither on my legs.



What, so brief?



'Tis better, sir, to be brief than tedious.—Let him see our commission, and talk no more.

BRAKENBURY reads the paper



I am in this commanded to deliver

The noble duke of Clarence to your hands.

I will not reason (argue) what is meant hereby

Because I will be (wish to be) guiltless from the meaning.

There lies the duke asleep, and there the keys.

He hands them the keys

I’ll to the king and signify to him

That thus I have resigned my charge to you.



You may, sir. 'Tis a point of wisdom. Fare you well.




What, shall I stab him as he sleeps?



No. He’ll say ’twas done cowardly, when he wakes.



Why, he shall never wake until the great Judgment Day.



Why, then he’ll say we stabbed him sleeping.



The urging (mention) of that word “judgment” hath bred a kind of remorse in me.



What, art thou afraid?



Not to kill him, having a warrant, but to be damned for killing him, from the which no warrant can defend me.
(I am afraid not of secular powers but of heavenly powers)



I thought thou hadst been resolute.



So I am—to let him live.



I’ll back to the duke of Gloucester and tell him so.



Nay, I prithee stay a little. I hope this passionate humor of mine will change. It was wont to hold me but while one tells (counts to) twenty.



How dost thou feel thyself now?



Faith, some certain dregs of conscience are yet within me.



Remember our reward when the deed’s done.



Zounds (God’s wounds), he dies! I had forgot the reward.



Where’s thy conscience now?



O, in the Duke of Gloucester’s purse.



So when he opens his purse to give us our reward, thy conscience flies out.



'Tis no matter. Let it go. There’s few or none will entertain (pay attention to) it.



What if it come to thee again?



I’ll not meddle with it. It makes a man a coward - a man cannot steal but it accuseth him; a man cannot swear but it checks him; a man cannot lie with his neighbor’s wife but it detects him. 'Tis a blushing, shamefaced spirit that mutinies in a man’s bosom. It fills a man full of obstacles. It made me once restore a purse of gold that by chance I found. It beggars any man that keeps it. It is turned out of towns and cities for a dangerous thing, and every man that means to live well endeavors to trust to himself and live without it.



Zounds, ’tis even now at my elbow, persuading me not to kill the duke.



Take (subdue) the devil in thy mind, and believe him not. He would insinuate (wriggle in) with thee but to make thee sigh.



I am strong-framed. He cannot prevail with me.



Spoke like a tall (fine) man that respects thy reputation. Come, shall we fall to work?



Take (attack) him on the costard (a kind of apple=head) with the hilt of thy sword, and then throw him into the malmsey butt (wine cask) in the next room.



O excellent device— and make a sop of him.



Soft, he wakes.






No, we’ll reason (talk) with him.




Where art thou, keeper? Give me a cup of wine.



You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon.



In God’s name, what (who) art thou?



A man, as you are.



But not, as I am, royal.



Nor you, as we are, loyal.



Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are humble.



My voice is now the king’s, my looks mine own.



How darkly and how deadly dost thou speak!

Your eyes do menace me. Why look you pale?

Who sent you hither? Wherefore (why) do you come?



To, to, to—



To murder me?



Ay, ay.



You scarcely have the hearts to tell me so

And, therefore, cannot have the hearts to do it.

Wherein, my friends, have I offended you?



Offended us you have not, but the king.



I shall be reconciled to him again.



Never, my lord. Therefore, prepare to die.



Are you drawn forth among a world of men

To slay the innocent? What is my offense?

Where is the evidence that doth accuse me?

What lawful quest (inquest=jury) have given their verdict up

Unto the frowning judge? Or who pronounced

The bitter sentence of poor Clarence' death

Before I be convict by course of law?

To threaten me with death is most unlawful.

I charge you, as you hope to have redemption,

By Christ’s dear blood shed for our grievous sins,

That you depart and lay no hands on me.

The deed you undertake is damnable (it will damn you).



What we will do, we do upon command.



And he that hath commanded is our king.



Erroneous (misguided) vassals, the great King of kings

Hath in the tables of His law (Ten Commandments) commanded

That thou shalt do no murder. Will thou then

Spurn at His edict and fulfill a man’s?

Take heed, for He holds vengeance in His hand

To hurl upon their heads that break His law.



And that same vengeance doth He hurl on thee

For false forswearing (oath breaking) and for murder, too.

Thou didst receive the sacrament (took an oath upon the Eucharist) to fight

In quarrel of (on the side of) the house of Lancaster.



And, like a traitor to the name of God,

Didst break that vow and, with thy treacherous blade,

Unrippedst the bowels of thy sovereign’s son (Henry VI’s son Prince Edward).



Whom thou wert sworn to cherish and defend.



How canst thou urge God’s dreadful law to us

When thou hast broke it in such dear (extreme) degree?



Alas! For whose sake did I that ill (evil) deed?

For Edward, for my brother, for his sake.

He sends you not to murder me for this,

For in that sin he is as deep as I.

If God will be avengèd for this deed,

O, know you yet He doth it publicly!

Take not the quarrel from His powerful arm.

He needs no indirect or lawless course

To cut off those that have offended Him.



Who made thee then a bloody minister (agent of death)

When gallant-springing, brave Plantagenet (lively Prince Edward),

That princely novice, was struck dead by thee?



My brother’s love (love for my brother), the devil, and my rage.



Thy brother’s love (our love for your brother), our duty, and thy faults

Provoke us hither now to slaughter thee.



If you do love my brother, hate not me.

I am his brother, and I love him well.

If you are hired for meed (reward), go back again,

And I will send you to my brother Gloucester,

Who shall reward you better for my life

Than Edward will for tidings of my death.



You are deceived. Your brother Gloucester hates you.



O, no, he loves me, and he holds me dear.

Go you to him from me.



Ay, so we will.



Tell him, when that our princely father York

Blessed his three sons with his victorious arm,

He little thought of this divided friendship.

Bid Gloucester think of this, and he will weep.



Ay, millstones, as he lessoned us to weep.



O, do not slander him, for he is kind.



Right, as snow in harvest. Come, you deceive yourself.

'Tis he that sends us to destroy you here.



It cannot be, for he bewept my [mis]fortune

And hugged me in his arms and swore with sobs

That he would labor [for] my delivery.



Why, so he doth, when he delivers you

From this earth’s thralldom to the joys of heaven.



Make peace with God, for you must die, my lord.



Have you that holy feeling in your souls

To counsel me to make my peace with God,

And art you yet to your own souls so blind,

That thou will war with God by murd'ring me?

O sirs, consider - they that set you on

To do this deed will hate you for the deed.



(to FIRST MURDERER) What shall we do?



Relent and save your souls.

Which of you, if you were a prince’s son

Being pent from liberty, as I am now,

If two such murderers as yourselves came to you,

Would not entreat for life? Ay, you would beg,

Were you in my distress.



Relent? No. 'Tis cowardly and womanish.



Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish.


My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks.

O, if thine eye be not a flatterer,

Come thou on my side and entreat for me.

A begging prince what beggar pities not?



Look behind you, my lord.



Take that, and that. (stabs CLARENCE)

If all this will not do,

I’ll drown you in the malmsey butt within.

Exit with the body



A bloody deed and desperately (unthinkingly) dispatched.

How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands

Of this most grievous murder.




How now? What mean’st thou that thou help’st me not?

By heavens, the duke shall know how slack you have been.



I would he knew that I had saved his brother.

Take thou the fee, and tell him what I say,

For I repent me that the duke is slain.




So do not I. Go, coward as thou art.

Well, I’ll go hide the body in some hole

Till that the duke give order for his burial,

And, when I have my meed (payment), I will away,

For this will out, and then I must not stay.



Act 2, Scene 1: London. The Palace


Flourish (trumpets). Enter KING EDWARD IV, sick, QUEEN ELIZABETH, Lord Marquess DORSETRIVERS, HASTINGSBUCKINGHAMGREY, and others



Why, so. Now have I done a good day’s work.

You peers, continue this united league.

I every day expect an embassage (message)

From my Redeemer to redeem me hence (to Heaven),

And more in peace my soul shall [de]part to heaven

Since I have made my friends at peace on earth.

Rivers and Hastings, take each other’s hand.

Dissemble not your hatred. Swear your love.
(do more than merely conceal your hatred)



(taking HASTINGS’s hand) By heaven, my soul is purged from grudging hate,

And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love.



So thrive I as I truly swear the like.



Take heed you dally not before your king,

Lest He that is the supreme King of kings

Confound (expose to shame) your hidden falsehood and award

Either of you to be the other’s end.



So prosper I as I swear perfect love.



And I as I love Hastings with [all] my heart.




Madam, yourself is not exempt in this,—

Nor you, son (step-son) Dorset, —Buckingham, nor you.

You have been factious one against the other.—

Wife, love Lord Hastings. Let him kiss your hand,

And, what you do, do it unfeignedly.



There, Hastings, I will never more remember

Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine.

HASTINGS kisses her hand



Dorset, embrace him.—Hastings, love Lord Marquess.



This interchange of love, I here protest,

Upon my part shall be inviolable.



And so swear I.

They embrace



Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league

With thy embracements to (embraces of) my wife’s allies,

And make me happy in your unity.




Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate

Upon your Grace, but with all duteous love

Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me,

When I have most need to employ a friend,

With hate in those where I expect most love,

And, [feeling] most assurèd that he is a friend,

Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile

Be he unto me. This do I beg of God

When I am cold in love to you or yours.

They embrace



A pleasing cordial (restorative), princely Buckingham,

Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.

There wanteth (lacks) now our brother Gloucester here

To make the blessèd period (conclusion) of this peace.



And in good time,

Here comes Sir Richard Ratcliffe and the duke.




Good morrow (morning) to my sovereign king and queen

And, princely peers (nobles), a happy time of day.



Happy, indeed, as we have spent the day.

Gloucester, we have done deeds of charity,

Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate,

Between these swelling, wrong-incensèd (mistakenly angry) peers.



A blessèd labor, my most sovereign lord.

Amongst this princely heap (group), if any here

By false intelligence or wrong surmise

Hold me a foe,

If I unwittingly, or in my rage,

Have aught committed that is hardly (with resentment) borne

By any in this presence, I desire

To reconcile me to his friendly peace.

'Tis death to me to be at enmity;

I hate it and desire all good men’s love.

First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,

Which I will purchase with my duteous service;—

Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,

If ever any grudge were lodged between us;—

Of you and you, Lord Rivers and of Dorset,

That all without desert (deserving) have frowned on me;—

Of you, Lord Woodeville and Lord Scales;— of you,

Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.

I do not know that Englishman alive

With whom my soul is any jot at odds

More than the infant that is born tonight.

I thank my God for my humility.



A holy day shall this be kept hereafter.

I would to God all strifes were well compounded (concluded).

My sovereign lord, I do beseech your Highness

To take our brother Clarence to your grace (favor).



Why, madam, have I offered love for this,

To be so flouted (mocked at) in this royal presence?

Who knows not that the gentle (gentile) duke is dead?

They all start

You do him injury to scorn his corpse.



Who knows not he is dead! Who knows he is?



All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!



Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?



Ay, my good lord, and no one in the presence [of the King]

But his red color hath forsook his cheeks.



Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.



But he, poor man, by your first order died,

And that a wingèd Mercury (messenger) did bear.

Some tardy cripple [did] bear the countermand

That came - too lag! (late) - to see him burièd.

God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,

Nearer in bloody thoughts and not in blood (kindship),

Deserve not worse (equally) than wretched Clarence did

And yet go current from suspicion.

Enter Lord STANLEY, Earl of Derby



(kneeling) A boon (favor), my sovereign, for my service done (already rendered).



I prithee, peace. My soul is full of sorrow.



I will not rise unless your Highness hear me.



Then say at once what is it thou requests.



The [undoing of] forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life,
(release of my servant from capital punishment)

Who slew today a riotous gentleman

Lately attendant on the duke of Norfolk.



Have I a tongue to doom my brother’s death,

And shall the tongue give pardon to a slave?

My brother killed no man; his fault was thought,

And yet his punishment was bitter death.

Who sued to (begged) me for him? Who, in my wrath,

Kneeled at my feet and bade me be advised?

Who spoke of brotherhood? Who spoke of love?

Who told me how the poor soul did forsake

The mighty Warwick and did fight for me?

Who told me, in the field by Tewkesbury,

When Oxford had me down, he rescued me

And said, “Dear brother, live, and be a king”?

Who told me, when we both lay (rested) in the field

Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me

Even in his garments and did give himself,

All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?

All this from my remembrance brutish wrath

Sinfully plucked, and not a man of you
(brutish wrath sinfully plucked all this from my rememberance)

Had so much grace to put it in my mind,

But, when your carters or your waiting vassals

Have done a drunken slaughter and defaced

The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
(all people, including those slain, are the image of Christ)

You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon,

And I, unjustly, too, must grant it you.

Stanley rises

But, for my brother not a man would speak,

Nor [did] I, ungracious, speak unto myself

For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all

Have been beholding to him in his life,

Yet none of you would once beg for his life.

O, God, I fear Thy justice will take hold

On me and you and mine and yours for this!—

Come, Hastings, help me to my closet (private quarters).—

Ah, poor Clarence.




This is the fruits of rashness. Marked (noticed) you not

How that the guilty kindred of the queen

Looked pale when they did hear of Clarence' death?

O, they did urge it still (constantly) unto the king.

God will revenge it. Come, lords, will you go

To comfort Edward with our company?



We wait upon your Grace.



Act 2, Scene 2: London. The Palace


Enter the old DUCHESS of York with the two children of Clarence



Good grandam, tell us, is our father dead?



No, boy.



Why do you weep so oft and beat your breast

And cry, “O Clarence, my unhappy (unfortunate) son?”



Why do you look on us and shake your head

And call us orphans, wretches, castaways

If that our noble father were alive?



My pretty cousins (relatives), you mistake me both.
(you both mistake me)

I do lament the sickness of the king,

As loath to lose him, not your father’s death.

It were lost sorrow to wail (weep for) one that’s lost.
(proverb: “for a lost thing care not”)



Then, you conclude, my grandam, he is dead.

The king mine uncle is to blame for it.

God will revenge it, whom I will importune

With earnest prayers, all to that effect.



And so will I.



Peace, children, peace. The king doth love you well.

Incapable and shallow innocents,
(they are too young to understand)

You cannot guess who caused your father’s death.



Grandam, we can, for my good uncle Gloucester

Told me the king, provoked to it by the queen,

Devised impeachments (accusations) to imprison him,

And, when my uncle told me so, he wept

And pitied me and kindly kissed my cheek,

Bade me rely on him as on my father

And he would love me dearly as a child.



Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shape,
gentle shape=appearance of gentlemanliness

And with a virtuous visor (mask) hide deep vice.

He is my son, ay, and therein my shame,

Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.



Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?



Ay, boy.



I cannot think it. Hark, what noise is this?

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH with her hair about her ears, RIVERS, and DORSET after her



Ah, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,

To chide my fortune (curse my bad luck), and torment myself?

I’ll join with black despair against my soul

And to myself become an enemy.



What means this scene of rude impatience?



To make an act of tragic violence.
(to enact a performance that is appropriate to tragedy)

Edward, my lord, thy son, our king, is dead.

Why grow the branches when the root is gone?

Why wither not the leaves that want (lack) their sap?

If you will live, lament. If die, be brief,

[so] That our swift-wingèd souls may catch the king’s,

Or, like obedient subjects, follow him

To his new kingdom of ne'er-changing night.



Ah, so much (the same) interest (legal claim) have I in thy sorrow

As I had title (ownership as his mother) in thy noble husband.

I have bewept a worthy husband’s death

And lived with looking on his images,

But now two mirrors (Edward and Clarence) of his princely semblance (appearance)

Are cracked in pieces by malignant death,

And I, for comfort, have but one false glass (mirror=Richard)

That grieves me when I see my shame in him.

Thou art a widow, yet thou art a mother

And hast the comfort of thy children left,

But death hath snatched my husband from mine arms

And plucked two crutches from my feeble hands,

Clarence and Edward. O, what cause have I,

Thine being but a moiety (portion) of my moan,

To overgo (override) THY woes and drown THY cries!



(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) Ah, aunt, you wept not for our father’s death.

How can we [or anyone] aid you with our kindred tears?


Our fatherless distress was left unmoaned.

Your widow-dolor likewise be unwept!



Give me no help in lamentation.

I am not barren to bring forth complaints.

All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,

That I, being governed by the watery moon,
(the moon governs the ocean)

May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world.

Ah, for my husband, for my dear lord Edward!



Ah, for our father, for our dear lord Clarence!



Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence!



What stay (support) had I but Edward? And he’s gone.



What stay had we but Clarence? And he’s gone.



Was never widow had so dear a loss.



Were never orphans had so dear a loss.



Was never mother had so dear a loss.

Alas, I am the mother of these griefs.

Their woes are parceled; mine are general.

She for an Edward weeps, and so do I;

I for a Clarence weep; so doth not she.

These babes for Clarence weep and so do I;

I for an Edward weep; so do not they.

Alas, you three, on me, threefold distressed,

Pour all your tears. I am your sorrow’s nurse,

And I will pamper it with lamentations.



(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) Comfort, dear mother. God is much displeased

That you take with unthankfulness his doing.

In common worldly things, ’tis called ungrateful

With dull unwillingness to repay a debt

Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent.

Much more to be thus opposite with heaven,

For it requires the royal debt it lent you.



Madam, bethink you, like a careful mother,

Of the young prince your son. Send straight for him.

Let him be crowned. In him your comfort lives.

Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward’s grave

And plant your joys in living Edward’s throne.




Sister (sister-in-law), have comfort. All of us have cause

To wail the dimming of our shining star (Edward IV),

But none can help our harms by wailing them.—

Madam, my mother, I do cry you mercy;

I did not see your Grace. Humbly on my knee

I crave your blessing.

He kneels



God bless thee and put meekness in thy breast,

Love, charity, obedience, and true duty.



(standing) Amen. (aside) And make me die a good old man!

That is the butt end (last part) of a mother’s blessing.

I marvel that her Grace did leave it out.



You cloudy (gloomy) princes and heart-sorrowing peers

That bear this heavy mutual load of moan,

Now cheer each other in each other’s love.

Though we have spent (used up) our harvest of this king,

We are to reap the harvest of his son.

The broken (burst, as a boil is burst) rancor of your high-swoll'n (as a boil is swollen) hates,

But lately splintered (bound in splints), knit, and joined together,

Must gently be preserved, cherished, and kept.

Meseemeth good (it seems good to me) that with some little train (small entourage)

Forthwith from Ludlow (prince Edward’s castle) the young prince be fet (fetched)

Hither to London, to be crowned our king.



Why “with some little train,” my Lord of Buckingham?



Marry (indeed), my lord, lest by a multitude (large entourage)

The new-healed wound of malice should break out,

Which would be so much the more dangerous

By how much (the extent to which) the estate (state=government) is green (newly established with a new king) and [as] yet ungoverned.

Where (the situation in which) every horse bears his commanding rein

And may direct his course as please himself,

As well the fear of harm as harm apparent (seen clearly),
(the fear of harm as well as harm seen clearly)

In my opinion, ought to be prevented.



I hope the king made peace with all of us.

[And] The compact (peace) is firm and true in me.



And so in me, and so, I think, in all.

Yet, since it is but green, it should be put

To no apparent likelihood of breach,

Which haply (perhaps) by much company might be urged.

Therefore, I say with noble Buckingham

That it is meet (appropriate) so few should fetch the prince.



And so say I.



Then be it so, and go we to determine

Who they shall be that straight shall post (hasten) to Ludlow.—

Madam, and you, my sister (sister-in-law), will you go

To give your censures (judgment=support) in this business?



With all our hearts.

Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM and RICHARD



My lord, whoever journeys to the prince,

For God’s sake, let not us two at home.

For by (along) the way I’ll sort occasion (find an opportunity),

As index (introduction) to the story we late (recently) talked of,

To part the queen’s proud kindred from the prince.



My other self, my council’s consistory (meeting place),

My oracle, my prophet, my dear cousin,

I, as a child, will go by thy direction

Toward Ludlow then, for we’ll not stay behind.



Act 2, Scene 3: London. A street


Enter one CITIZEN at one door and another at the other



Good morrow, neighbor, whither away so fast?



I promise you I scarcely know myself.

Hear you the news abroad?



Yes, that the king is dead.



Ill news, by 'r Lady (Virgin Mary). Seldom comes the better.
(“Better news seldom follows bad news.”)

I fear, I fear, ’twill prove a giddy (insane) world.




Neighbors, God speed.



[God] Give you good morrow (morning), sir.



Doth this news hold of good King Edward’s death?



Ay, sir, it is too true, God help the while.



Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.



No, no, by God’s good grace, his son shall reign.



Woe to the land that’s governed by a child.
(Ecclesiastes: “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child”)



In him there is a hope of government,

Which, in his nonage (minority), council under him,

And, in his full and ripened years, himself,

No doubt shall then, and till then, govern well.



So stood the state when Henry the Sixth

Was crowned in Paris but at (only) nine months old.



Stood the state so? No, no, good friends, God wot (knows),

For then this land was famously enriched

With politic grave counsel (wise professional advisors). Then the king

Had virtuous uncles to protect his Grace.



Why, so hath this, both by the father and mother.



Better it were they all came by his father,

Or by the father there were none at all,
(or none at all on his father’s side)

For emulation (rivalry between his mother’s and father’s relatives) who shall now be nearest [to the prince]

Will touch us all too near if God prevent not.

O, full of danger is the Duke of Gloucester

And the queen’s sons and brothers, haught (haughty) and proud,

And, were they to be ruled and not to rule,

This sickly land might [find] solace as before.



Come, come, we fear the worst. All will be well.



When clouds are seen, wise men put on their cloaks;

When great leaves fall, then winter is at hand;

When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?

Untimely (unseasonable) storms make men expect a dearth (famine).

All may be well, but, if God sort (arrange) it so,

'Tis more than we deserve or I expect.



Truly, the hearts of men are full of fear.

Ye cannot reason (converse) almost with a man

That looks not heavily and full of dread.



Before the days of change, still (always) is it so.

By a divine instinct, men’s minds mistrust

Ensuing dangers, as by (for) proof we see

The water (sea) swell before a boist'rous storm.

But leave it all to God. Whither away?



Marry, we were sent for to the justices.



And so was I. I’ll bear you company.



Act 2, Scene 4: London. The Palace


Enter the ARCHBISHOP of YORK, the young DUKE of YORKQUEEN ELIZABETH, and the old DUCHESS of YORK



Last night, I hear, they lay at Stony Stratford,

And at Northampton they do rest tonight.

Tomorrow or next day they will be here.



I long with all my heart to see the prince.
prince=Edward, Prince of Wales

I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.



But I hear no. They say my son of York
son of York=Richard, Duke of York

Has almost overta'en him in his growth.



Ay, mother, but I would not have it so.



Why, my young cousin (kinsman)? It is good to grow.



Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,

My uncle Rivers talked how I did grow

More than my brother. “Ay,” quoth my uncle Gloucester,

“Small herbs have grace; great weeds do grow apace,”

And, since, methinks I would not grow so fast,

Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.



Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold

In him (Richard) that did object (proclaim) the same to thee!

He was the wretched’st thing when he was young,

So long a-growing and so leisurely,

That, if this rule were true, he should be gracious.



And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.



I hope he is, but yet let mothers doubt.



Now, by my troth, if I had been remembered (recollected),

I could have given my uncle’s grace a flout (taunt)
my uncle’s grace=his Grace, my uncle (the future Richard III)

To touch (ridicule) his growth nearer (more tellingly) than he touched mine.



How, my pretty York? I prithee let me hear it.



Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast

That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old.

'Twas full two years ere (before) I could get a tooth.

Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.



I prithee, pretty York, who told thee this?



Grandam, his nurse.



His nurse? Why, she was dead ere thou wast born.



If ’twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.



A parlous (perilous=cunning) boy! Go to, you are too shrewd.



Good madam, be not angry with the child.



Pitchers have ears.
(little pitchers have big ears (curved handles))




Here comes a messenger. —What news?



Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.



How doth the prince?



Well, madam, and in health.



What is thy news then?



Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret
Pomfret=a castle where, sometimes, prisoners were executed

And, with them, Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.



Who hath committed them?



The mighty dukes, Gloucester and Buckingham.



For what offence?



The sum of all I can, I have disclosed.

Why, or for what, the nobles were committed

Is all unknown to me, my gracious lord.



Ay me! I see the ruin of my house.

The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind (deer).

Insulting tyranny begins to jut (loom threateningly)

Upon the innocent and aweless (lacking stature) throne.

Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre.

I see, as in a map, the end of all.



Accursèd and unquiet wrangling days,

How many of you have mine eyes beheld?

My husband lost his life to get the crown,

And often, up and down, my sons were tossed

For me to joy - and weep - their gain and loss,
(enjoy their gains and weep for their losses)

And, being seated (achieving the throne), and domestic broils

Clean overblown, themselves the conquerors

Make war upon themselves, brother to brother,

Blood to blood, self against self. O, preposterous

And frantic outrage, end thy damnèd spleen (anger)

Or let me die, to look on death no more.



(to YORK) Come, come, my boy. We will to sanctuary.

Madam, farewell.



Stay, I will go with you



You have no cause.




My gracious lady, go,

And thither bear your treasure and your goods.

For my part, I’ll resign unto your Grace

The seal I keep, and so betide (happen) to me
seal=the Great Seal of England, which, at that time, was kept by the Archbishop
betide to me=may my fate be determined by how well I care for . . .

As [how] well I tender (care for) you and all of yours.

Go. I’ll conduct you to the sanctuary.


Act 3, Scene 1: London. A street


The trumpets sound. Enter the young PRINCE EDWARD, GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, the CARDINALCATESBY, and others



Welcome, sweet prince, to London, to your chamber.
(London was known as the King’s chamber)



(to PRINCE) Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts' sovereign.

The weary way hath made you melancholy.



No, uncle, but our crosses on the way
crosses=unfortunate events (the arrests)

Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy.

I want more uncles here to welcome me.
(he misses the uncles whom Richard has imprisoned)



Sweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years

Hath not yet dived into (sounded the depths of) the world’s deceit;

Nor more can you distinguish (discern) of a man

Than of his outward show, which, God He knows,

Seldom or never jumpeth (is in accord) with the heart.

Those uncles which you want were dangerous.

Your Grace attended to their sugared words

But looked not on the poison of their hearts.

God keep you from them and from such false friends.



God keep me from false friends, but they were none (not false).



My lord, the mayor of London comes to greet you.

Enter the LORD MAYOR and his train



God bless your Grace with health and happy days.



I thank you, good my lord, and thank you all.—

I thought my mother and my brother York

Would long ere this have met us on the way.

Fie, what a slug is Hastings that he comes not

To tell us whether they will come or no!




And in good time here comes the sweating lord.



Welcome, my lord. What (interjection preceding a question), will our mother come?



On what occasion (provocation) God He knows, not I,

The queen your mother and your brother York

Have taken sanctuary. The tender prince

Would fain have come with me to meet your Grace

But by his mother was perforce (forcibly) withheld.



Fie, what an indirect and peevish course

Is this of hers! —Lord Cardinal (archbishop), will your Grace

Persuade the queen to send the Duke of York

Unto his princely brother presently (immediately)?—

If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him

And from her jealous (suspicious) arms pluck him perforce.



My Lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory

Can from his mother win the Duke of York,

Anon (soon) expect him here, but, if she be obdurate

To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid

We should infringe the holy privilege

Of blessèd sanctuary! Not for all this land

Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.



You are too senseless-obstinate, my lord,

Too ceremonious and traditional.

Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,

You break not sanctuary in seizing him.

The benefit thereof is always granted

To those whose dealings have deserved the place
deserved the place=were guilty and needed sanctuary

And those who have the wit to claim the place.

This prince hath neither claimed it nor deserved it

And, therefore, in mine opinion cannot have it.

Then, taking him from thence that is not there,
that is not there=that is not in his case a sanctuary

You break no privilege nor charter (immunity) there.

Oft have I heard of sanctuary men

But sanctuary children ne'er, till now.



My lord, you shall o'errule my mind for once.—

Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?



I go, my lord.



Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.


Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come,

Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?



Where it seems best unto your royal self.

If I may counsel you, some day or two

Your Highness shall repose you at the Tower.
Tower=at that time sometimes a royal residence

Then, where you please and shall be thought (think) most fit

For your best health and recreation.



I do not like the Tower, [least] of any place.—

Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?



He did, my gracious lord, begin that place,

Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified (rebuilt).



Is it upon record, or else [is it] reported

Successively from age to age [that] he built it?



Upon record, my gracious lord.



But say, my lord, [even if] it were not registered,

Methinks the truth should live from age to age,

As ’twere retailed to all posterity,

Even to the general all-ending day (doomsday).



(aside) So wise so young, they say, do never live long.



What say you, uncle?



I say, without characters (a written record and, also, “character”) fame lives long.

(aside) Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,
(in the morality plays Iniquity represented all the vices)

I moralize (interpret) two meanings in one word.



That Julius Caesar was a famous man,

With what (the help of fame) his valor did enrich his wit (cleverness),

His wit set down (wrote in the Gallic Wars) to make his valor live (outlive him).

Death makes no conquest of this conqueror,

For now he lives in fame, though not in life.

I’ll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham—



What, my gracious lord?



An if I live until I be a man,

I’ll win our ancient right in France again
ancient right=legal claim to the French throne

Or die a soldier, as I lived a king.



(aside) Short summers lightly have a forward (early) spring.

Enter young YORKHASTINGS, and the CARDINAL



Now in good time here comes the Duke of York.



Richard of York, how fares our loving brother?



Well, my dread (revered) lord—so must I call you now.



Ay, brother, to our grief, as it is yours.

Too late (soon) he (their father, Edward IV) died that might have kept that title,

Which by his death hath lost much majesty.



How fares our cousin (kinsman), noble Lord of York?



I thank you, gentle (gentlemanly) uncle. O, my lord,

You said that idle weeds are fast in growth.

The prince my brother hath outgrown me far.



He hath, my lord.



And, therefore, is he idle?



O, my fair cousin, I must not say so.



Then is he more beholding (obligated) to you than I.



He may command me as my sovereign,

But you have power in me as in a kinsman.



I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.



My dagger, little cousin? With all my heart.



A beggar, brother?



Of my kind uncle, that (who), I know, will give,

And [its] being but a toy, which is no grief to give.



A greater gift than that I’ll give my cousin.



A greater gift? O, that’s the sword to it (to match the dagger).



Ay, gentle cousin, were it light enough.



O, then I see you will part but with light gifts.

In weightier things you’ll say a beggar “nay”.



It is too heavy for your Grace to wear.



I [would] weigh it lightly, were it heavier (of more value).



What, would you have my weapon, little lord?



I would, that I might thank you as you call me (for what you called me).









My lord of York will still (always) be cross (opposing) in talk.

Uncle, your Grace knows how to bear with him.



You mean, to bear me, not to bear with me.—

Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me.

Because that I am little, like an ape,

He thinks that you should bear me on your shoulders.
(like Richard’s hump on his shoulders)



(aside) With what a sharp-provided wit he reasons!

To mitigate the scorn he gives his uncle,

He prettily and aptly taunts himself.

So cunning and so young is wonderful.



(to PRINCE) My lord, will ’t please you pass along?

Myself and my good cousin Buckingham

Will to your mother, to entreat of her

To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.



(to PRINCE) What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?



My lord protector needs will have it so.



I shall not sleep in quiet (peacefully) at the Tower.



Why, what should you fear?



Marry (by the Virgin Mary), my uncle Clarence' angry ghost.

My grandam told me he was murdered there.



I fear no uncles dead.



Nor none that live, I hope.



An if they (Rivers and Grey) live, I hope I need not fear [for them].

(to YORK) But come, my lord. With a heavy heart,

Thinking on them (my dead uncles), go I unto the Tower.

A sennet (trumpet notes). Exeunt all but RICHARD, BUCKINGHAM, and CATESBY



Think you, my lord, this little prating (chattering) York

Was not incensèd by his subtle mother

To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?



No doubt, no doubt. O, ’tis a parlous (clever) boy,

Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable.

He is all the mother’s, from the top to toe.



Well, let them rest.—Come hither, Catesby.

Thou art sworn as deeply to effect what we intend

As closely to conceal what we impart.

Thou knowest our reasons, urged (advanced) upon the way.

What thinkest thou? Is it not an easy matter

To make William Lord Hastings of our mind

For the installment of this noble duke (Richard)

In the seat royal (throne) of this famous isle?



He, for his father’s sake, so loves the prince
his father’s sake=the sake of Edward IV

That he will not be won to aught (anything) against him.



What think’st thou then of Stanley? Will not he?



He will do all in all as Hastings doth.



Well, then, no more but this: go, gentle (gentleman) Catesby,

And, as it were far off (merely supposition), sound [out] thou Lord Hastings

How he doth stand affected to our purpose (to seize the throne)

And summon him tomorrow to the Tower

To sit (meet in council) about the coronation.

If thou dost find him tractable to us,

Encourage him and show him all our reasons.

If he be leaden, icy, cold, unwilling,

Be thou so (like him), too, and so break off the talk

And give us notice of his inclination,

For we tomorrow hold divided councils,

Wherein thyself shalt highly be employed.



Commend me to Lord William (Hastings). Tell him, Catesby,

His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries

Tomorrow are let blood (will be executed) at Pomfret castle,

And bid my lord, for joy of this good news,

Give mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more.



Good Catesby, go effect this business soundly.



My good lords both, with all the heed I can.



Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?



You shall, my lord.



At Crosby Place, there shall you find us both.




Now, my lord, what shall we do if we perceive

Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots (conspiracies)?



Chop off his head. Something we will determine.

And, look, when I am king, claim thou of me (ask me for)

The earldom of Hereford and all the moveables
moveables=personal property

Whereof the king my brother was possessed.



I’ll claim that promise at your Grace’s hands.



And look (expect) to have it yielded with all kindness.

Come, let us sup betimes (soon), that afterwards

We may digest (arrange) our complots in some form.



Act 3, Scene 2: Before Lord Hastings’ house


Enter a MESSENGER at door of HASTINGS



(knocking) My lord, my lord.



(within) Who knocks?



One from the Lord Stanley.



(within) What is ‘t o’clock?



Upon the stroke of four.




Cannot my Lord Stanley sleep these tedious nights?



So it appears by that I have to say.

First, he commends him to your noble self.



What then?



Then certifies your Lordship that this night

He dreamt the boar (Richard) had razed (cut off) his helm.
helm=helmet (head)

Besides, he says there are two councils kept

And that [something] may be determined at the one

Which may make you and him [engaged at the other] to rue (be sorry) at th' other.

Therefore, he sends to know your Lordship’s pleasure,

If you will presently (immediately) take horse with him

And with all speed post with him toward the north

To shun the danger that his soul divines (prophesies).



Go, fellow, go. Return unto thy lord.

Bid him not fear the separated council.

His Honor (Stanley) and myself are at the one,

And at the other is my good friend Catesby,

Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us

Whereof I shall not have intelligence.

Tell him his fears are shallow, without instance,

And, [as] for his dreams, I wonder he’s so simple

To trust the mock'ry of unquiet slumbers.

To fly the boar before the boar pursues

Were to incense the boar to follow us

And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.

Go, bid thy master rise and come to me,

And we will both together to the Tower,

Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.
kindly=courteously and, also, according to his kind (his nature)



I’ll go, my lord, and tell him what you say.





Many good morrows to my noble lord.



Good morrow, Catesby. You are early stirring.

What news, what news in this our tott'ring state?



It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord,

And I believe will never stand upright

Till Richard wear the garland (wreath) of the realm.



How “wear the garland”? Dost thou mean the crown?



Ay, my good lord.



I’ll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders

Before I’ll see the crown so foul (foully) misplaced.

But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?



Ay, on my life, and hopes to find you forward

Upon his party for the gain thereof,
forward upon his party=zealous on his side

And, thereupon, he sends you this good news -

That this same very day your enemies,

The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.



Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,

Because they have been still (always) my adversaries,

But, that I’ll give my voice on Richard’s side

To bar my master’s (Edward IV’s) heirs in true descent,

God knows I will not do it, to the death.



God keep your Lordship in that gracious mind.



But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,

That they which brought me in my master’s hate (turned Edward IV against me),

I live to look upon their tragedy (downfall).

Well, Catesby, ere (before) a fortnight make me older

I’ll send some packing that yet think not on ’t.



'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,

When men are unprepared and look not for it.



O monstrous, monstrous! And so falls it out (that’s how it will be)

With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey, and so ’twill do (it will also be)

With some men else that think themselves as safe

As thou and I, who, as thou know’st, are dear

To princely Richard and to Buckingham.



The princes both make high account of you—(aside) For they account his head upon the Bridge.
(they expect to see his head displayed on London Bridge)



I know they do, and I have well deserved it.


Come on, come on. Where is your boar-spear, man?

Fear you the boar and go so unprovided?



My lord, good morrow. —Good morrow, Catesby.—

You may jest on, but, by the Holy Rood (Holy Cross),

I do not like these several councils, I.



My lord, I hold my life as dear as you do yours,

And never in my days, I do protest,

Was it so precious to me as ’tis now.

Think you but that I know our state (situation) secure,
but that I know=if I didn’t know

I would be so triumphant as I am?



The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,

Were jocund and supposed their states were sure,

And they, indeed, had no cause to mistrust,

But, yet, you see how soon the day o'ercast.

This sudden stab of rancor (Richard’s) I misdoubt (suspect).

Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
needless=without cause

What, shall we toward the Tower? The day is spent.



Come, come. Have with you (I’ll accompany you). Wot (know) you what, my lord?

Today the lords you talked of are beheaded.



They, for their truth, might better wear their heads

Than some that have accused them wear their hats.

But, come, my lord, let’s away.

Enter a PURSUIVANT (an official empowered to serve warrants)



Go on before. I’ll talk with this good fellow.


How now, sirrah! How goes the world with thee?



The better [now] that your Lordship please (is pleased) to ask.



I tell thee, man, ’tis better with me now

Than when thou met’st me last where now we meet.

Then was I going prisoner to the Tower by the suggestion of the queen’s allies,

But now, I tell thee—keep it to thyself—

This day those enemies are put to death

And I in better state (condition) than e'er I was.



God hold it (preserve things as they are), to your Honor’s good content!



Gramercy (grand merci=great thanks), fellow. There, drink that for (to) me.

Throws him his purse



I thank your Honor.


Enter a PRIEST



Well met, my lord. I am glad to see your Honor.



I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.

I am in your debt for your last exercise (sermon).

Come the next sabbath, and I will content (reward) you.



I’ll wait upon your Lordship

HASTINGS whispers in his ear.





What, talking with a priest, Lord Chamberlain?

Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest.

Your Honor hath no shriving (taking confessions) work in hand.



Good faith, and, when I met this holy man,

The men you talk of came into my mind.

What, go you toward the Tower?



Good faith, and when I met this holy man,

The men you talk of came into my mind.

What, go you toward the Tower?



I do, my lord, but long I shall not stay there.

I shall return before your Lordship thence (from there).



Nay, like enough, for I stay dinner there.



(aside) And supper, too, although thou know’st it not.—

Come, will you go?



I’ll wait upon (follow) your Lordship.



Act 3, Scene 3: Pomfret Castle


Enter Sir Richard RATCLIFFE, with halberds (men carrying axes), carrying (leadingRIVERSGREY, and VAUGHAN to death at Pomfret.



Sir Richard Ratcliffe, let me tell thee this:

Today shalt thou behold a subject die

For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.




God bless the prince from all the pack of you!

A knot you are of damnèd bloodsuckers (blood-thirsty men).



(to RATCLIFFE) You live that shall cry woe for this, hereafter.



Dispatch (hurry). The limit of your lives is out.



O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,

Fatal and ominous to noble peers!

Within the guilty closure of thy walls,

Richard the Second here was hacked to death,

And, for more slander (disgrace) to thy dismal seat (site),

We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.



Now Margaret’s curse is fall'n upon our heads,

When she exclaimed on Hastings, you, and I,

For standing by when Richard stabbed her son.



Then cursed she Richard, then cursed she Buckingham.

Then cursed she Hastings. O, remember, God,

To hear her prayer for (curse against) them, as now for us!

And for my sister and her princely sons,
sister=Queen Elizabeth

Be satisfied, dear God, with our true blood,

Which, as thou know’st, unjustly must be spilt.



Make haste. The hour of death is expiate (fully come).



Come, Grey. Come, Vaughan. Let us all embrace.

They embrace

Farewell until we meet in heaven.



Act 3, Scene 4: The Tower of London


Enter BUCKINGHAMSTANLEYHASTINGS, the bishop of ELYRATCLIFFELOVELL with others at a table



Now, noble peers. the cause why we are met

Is to determine of the coronation (of Edward V).

In God’s name, speak. When is the royal day?



Is all things ready for the royal time?



It is and wants but nomination (lacks only the naming of the day).



Tomorrow, then, I judge a happy day.



Who knows the Lord Protector’s mind herein?

Who is most inward with the noble duke?



Your Grace, we think, should soonest know his mind.



We know each other’s faces; [as] for our hearts,

He knows no more of mine than I of yours

Or I of his, my lord, than you of mine.—

Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.



I thank his Grace. I know he loves me well.

But [as] for his purpose in the coronation,

I have not sounded him nor he delivered

His gracious pleasure (preference) any way therein,

But you, my honorable lords, may name the time,

And in the duke’s behalf I’ll give my voice,

Which I presume he’ll take in gentle part.




In happy time here comes the duke himself.



My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
(cousins – a more general term in Shakespeare’s day)

I have been long a sleeper, but I trust

My absence doth neglect no great design

Which by my presence might have been concluded.



Had you not come upon your cue, my lord,

William Lord Hastings had pronounced your part—

I mean your voice for crowning of the king.



Than my Lord Hastings no man might be bolder.

His Lordship knows me well and loves me well.—

My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn
(Holborn – district in which was Ely’s home)

I saw good strawberries in your garden there;

I do beseech you, send for some of them.



Marry (by the Virgin Mary) and will, my lord, with all my heart.




Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.

They move aside

Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business

And finds the testy (quick-tempered) gentleman so hot

As he will lose his head [to the executioner] ere give consent
ere give=before he will give

[that] His master’s child, as worshipfully (respectfully) he terms it,

Shall lose the royalty (sovereignty) of England’s throne.



Withdraw yourself awhile. I’ll go with you.




We have not yet set down this day of triumph.

Tomorrow, in my judgement, is too sudden,

For I myself am not so well provided

As else I would be were the day prolonged (postponed).

Enter Bishop of ELY



Where is my lord the Duke of Gloucester?

I have sent for these strawberries.



His grace (Richard) looks cheerfully and smooth this morning.

There’s some conceit (fancy) or other likes (pleases) him well

When that he bids good morrow with such spirit.

I think there’s never a man in Christendom

Can lesser hide his love or hate than he,

For by his face straight shall you know his heart.



What of his heart perceive you in his face

By any livelihood (animation) he showed today?



Marry, that with no man here he is offended,

For were he, he had shown it in his looks.



I pray God he be not, I say.




I pray you all, tell me what they deserve

That do conspire [to bring about] my death with devilish plots

Of damnèd witchcraft and that have prevailed

Upon my body with their hellish charms (spells)?



The tender love I bear your Grace, my lord,

Makes me most forward in this princely presence
princely presence=Richard and Buckingham

To doom th' offenders, whosoe'er they be.

I say, my lord, they have deservèd death.



Then be your eyes the witness of their evil.

(shows his arm)

Look how I am bewitched! Behold mine arm

Is like a blasted sapling withered up,

And this is Edward’s wife, that monstrous witch,

Consorted with that harlot, strumpet Shore,

That by their witchcraft thus have markèd me.



If they have done this deed, my noble lord—



If? Thou protector of this damnèd strumpet,

Talk’st thou to me of “ifs”? Thou art a traitor—

Off with his head. Now, by Saint Paul, I swear

I will not dine until I see the same.—

Lovell and Ratcliffe, look that it be done.—

The rest that love me, rise and follow me.




Woe, woe for England! Not a whit [of sympathy] for me,

For I, too fond, might have prevented this.

Stanley did dream the boar did raze (cut off) his helm (helmet=head)

And I did scorn it and disdain[ed] to fly (flee).

Three times today my foot-cloth horse did stumble
foot-cloth horse=horse with ornamental trappings

And started (was startled) when he looked upon the Tower,

As [if] loath to bear me to the slaughterhouse.

O, now I need the priest that spake to me!

I now repent I told the pursuivant (state messenger),

As too triumphing (exulting), how mine enemies

Today at Pomfret bloodily were butchered

And I myself secure in grace and favor.

O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse

Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head.



Come, come, dispatch (make haste). The duke would be (wishes to be) at dinner.

Make a short shrift (brief confession). He longs to see your head.



O, momentary grace (favor) of mortal men,

Which we more hunt for than the grace of God!

[he] Who builds his hopes in air of your (on his) good looks

Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,

Ready with every nod to tumble down

Into the fatal bowels of the deep.



Come, come, dispatch. 'Tis bootless (useless) to exclaim.



O bloody Richard! Miserable England,

I prophesy the fearfull’st time to thee

That ever wretched age hath looked upon.—

Come, lead me to the block. Bear him my head.

They smile at me that shortly shall be dead.



Act 3, Scene 5: The Tower walls


Enter RICHARD and BUCKINGHAM, in rotten (rusty) armor, marvelous ill-favored (ugly)



Come, cousin, canst thou quake and change thy color,

Murder thy breath in the middle of a word

And then begin again and stop again,

As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?



Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian (tragic actor),

Speak and look back and pry on every side,

Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,

Intending (signifying) deep suspicion. Ghastly looks

Are at my service, like enforcèd smiles,

And both are ready in their offices (functions)

At any time to grace my stratagems.

But, what, is Catesby gone?



He is, and, see, he brings the mayor along.




Lord Mayor—


RICHARD (pretending to be under attack)

Look to the drawbridge there!



Hark, a drum!



Catesby, o'erlook (inspect) the walls.




Lord Mayor, the reason we have sent—



Look back (in back of you)! Defend thee! Here are enemies.



God and our innocence defend and guard us!





Be patient. They are friends, Ratcliffe and Lovell.



Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,

The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.



So dear I loved the man that I must weep.

I took him for the plainest harmless creature

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 daubed his vice with show of virtue

That, his apparent open (obvious manifest) guilt omitted—

I mean his conversation with Shore’s wife—

He lived [free] from all attainder of suspects (taint of suspicion).



Well, well, he was the covert’st sheltered traitor

That ever lived.—

Would you imagine, or almost believe,

Were ’t not that by great preservation (God’s protection)

We live to tell it, that subtle traitor

This day had plotted, in the council house,

To murder me and my good Lord of Gloucester?



Had he done so (he would have)?



What, think you we are Turks or infidels?

Or that we would, against the form of law,

Proceed thus rashly in the villain’s death

But that the extreme peril of the case,

The peace of England and our persons' safety,

Enforced us to this execution?



Now fair (good fortune) befall you! He deserved his death,

And your good Graces both have well proceeded

To warn false traitors from the like attempts.



I never looked for better at his hands

After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.



Yet, had we not determined he should die

Until your Lordship came to see his end

(Which now the loving haste of these our friends,

Something against our meaning, have (has) prevented),

Because, my lord, I would have had you heard (hear)

The traitor speak and timorously confess

The manner and the purpose of his treasons

[so] That you might well have signified the same

Unto the citizens, who haply (perhaps) may

Misconstrue us in him (misconstrue what we did) and wail his death.



But, my good lord, your Graces' words shall serve

As well as [if] I had seen and heard him speak,

And do not doubt, right (truly) noble princes both,

But [that] I’ll acquaint our duteous citizens

With all your just proceedings in this case.



And to that end we wished your Lordship here

T' avoid the censures of the carping world.



Which since you come too late of our intent,
(too late to fulfill or original intentions for you)

Yet witness (bear witness) what you hear we did intend.

And so, my good Lord Mayor, we bid farewell.




Go, after [the Lord Mayor], after, cousin Buckingham.

The mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post (haste).

There, at your meetest vantage (most advantageous) of the time,

Infer the bastardy of Edward’s children.

Tell them how Edward put to death a citizen

Only for saying he would make his son

Heir to the “Crown”—meaning, indeed, his house,

Which, by the sign thereof, was termèd so.
sign=a sign identifying the establishment

Moreover, urge his hateful luxury (licentiousness)

And bestial appetite in change of lust,
change=changing from one woman to another

Which stretched to their servants, daughters, wives,

Even where his raging eye or savage heart,

Without control, lusted to make his prey.

Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:
for a need=if necessary

Tell them when that my mother went with child

Of (pregnant with) that insatiate (insatiable) Edward, noble York,

My princely father then had wars in France,

And, by true computation of the time,

Found that the issue was not his begot,

Which well appearèd [appeared to be different] in his lineaments (features),

Being nothing like the noble duke my father.

Yet, touch this sparingly, as ’twere far off (vaguely),

Because, my lord, you know my mother lives.



Doubt not, my lord. I’ll play the orator

As if the golden fee (the crown) for which I plead

Were for myself. And so, my lord, adieu.



If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard’s Castle,

Where you shall find me well accompanied

With reverend fathers and well-learnèd bishops.



I go, and towards three or four o'clock

Look for the news that the Guildhall affords.
Guildhall=city seat of government




Go, Lovell, with all speed to Doctor [of divinity] Shaw.

(to RATCLIFFE) Go thou to Friar Penker. Bid them both

Meet me within this hour at Baynard’s Castle.


Now will I go to take some privy order
(make some private arrangement)

To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight

And to give order that no manner of person

Have [at] any time recourse (access) unto the princes.



Act 3, Scene 6: The Tower walls


Enter a SCRIVENER with paper


SCRIVENER (professional copier)

This is the indictment (written condemnation) of the good Lord Hastings,

Which in a set (standard) hand fairly (legibly) is engrossed (written out),

That it may be today read o'er in Paul’s [Cross] (at St. Paul’s Cathedral).

And mark how well the sequel (sequence) hangs together.

Eleven hours I have spent to write it over,

For yesternight by Catesby was it sent me.

The precedent (original of the copy) was full as long a-doing,

And, yet, within these five hours (five hours ago) Hastings lived,

Untainted, unexamined, free, at liberty.

Here’s a good world (some world this is!) the while. Who is so gross

That cannot see this palpable (apparent) device?

Yet, who so bold but says (as not to say) he sees it not?

Bad is the world, and all will come to naught (nothing)

When such ill dealing must be seen in thought (seen but not spoken of).



Act 3, Scene 7: Baynard’s castle


Enter RICHARD and BUCKINGHAM at several (different) doors



How now, how now? What say the citizens?



Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,

The citizens are mum, say not a word.



Touched you the bastardy of Edward’s children?



I did, with his contract with Lady Lucy
(Lady Lucy preceded Elizabeth as Edward’s paramour)

And his contract by deputy in France,
(he was engaged to marry a French woman but backed out)

Th' unsatiate greediness of his desire

And his enforcement of the city wives,

His tyranny for trifles, his own bastardy,

As being got, your father then in France,

His resemblance being not like the duke.

Withal (in addition), I did infer your lineaments,

Being the right idea (very image) of your father,

Both in your form and nobleness of mind,

Laid open all your victories in Scotland,

Your discipline (experience) in war, wisdom in peace,

Your bounty, virtue, fair (excellent) humility,

Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose

Untouched or slightly handled in discourse,

And, when mine oratory grew toward [its] end

I bid them that did love their country’s good

Cry, “God save Richard, England’s royal king!”



And did they so?



No. So God help me, they spake not a word

But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,

Stared each on other and looked deadly pale,

Which, when I saw, I reprehended them

And asked the mayor what meant this willful silence.

His answer was, the people were not used

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 inferred”—

But nothing spoke in warrant from himself (on his own authority).

When he had done, some followers of mine own,

At the lower end of the hall, hurled up their caps,

And some ten voices cried, “God save King Richard!”

And, thus, I took the vantage of those few.

“Thanks, gentle citizens and friends,” quoth I.

"This general applause and cheerful shout

Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard"—

And even here broke off and came away.



What tongueless blocks were they! Would not they speak?

Will not the mayor then and his brethren come?



The mayor is here at hand. Intend (induce) some fear.

Be not you spoke with but by mighty suit (urgent entreaty),

And look you get a prayer book in your hand

And stand between two churchmen, good my lord,

For on that ground (melodic bass) I’ll make a holy descant (melody of support)

And be not easily won to our requests (requests to us).

Play the maid’s (maiden’s) part - still answer “nay” and take it (accept).



I go. An if you plead as well for them (on their behalf)

As I can say “nay” to thee for myself,

No doubt we bring it to a happy issue (fortunate outcome).

Knocking within



Go, go, up to the leads (roof covered with sheets of lead). The Lord Mayor knocks.



Welcome, my lord. I dance attendance here.

I think the duke will not be spoke withal (with) (wants his privacy).


Now, Catesby, what says your lord to my request?



He doth entreat your Grace, my noble lord,

To visit him tomorrow or next day.

He is within, with two right reverend fathers,

Divinely bent to meditation,

And in no worldly suits (petitions) would he be moved

To draw him from his holy exercise.



Return, good Catesby, to the gracious duke.

Tell him myself, the mayor, and aldermen,

No less importing than (intending only) our general good,

In deep designs and matters of great moment

Are come to have some conference with his grace.



I’ll signify so much unto him straight.




Ah, ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward!

He is not lolling on a lewd love bed

But on his knees at meditation,

Not dallying with a brace of courtesans

But meditating with two deep divines,

Not sleeping, to engross (fatten) his idle body,

But praying, to enrich his watchful soul.

Happy were England would this virtuous prince

Take on his grace the sovereignty thereof.

But sure I fear we shall not win him to it.



Marry, God defend his grace should say us nay!
(God forbid he should say “nay” to us)



I fear he will. Here Catesby comes again.


Now, Catesby, what says his grace?



He wonders to what end you have assembled

Such troops of citizens to come to him,

His grace not being warned thereof before.

He fears, my lord, you mean no good to him.



Sorry I am my noble cousin should

Suspect me that I mean no good to him.

By heaven, we come to him in perfect love,

And so once more return and tell his grace.


When holy and devout religious men

Are at their beads (rosary), ’tis much (difficult) to draw them thence (from there),

So sweet is zealous contemplation.

Enter RICHARD aloft, between two bishops. CATESBY returns



See where his Grace stands, ’tween two clergymen.



Two props of virtue for a Christian prince,

To stay (uphold) him from the fall of vanity,

And, see, a book of prayer in his hand,

True ornaments (the book and the bishops) to know a holy man.—

Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,

Lend favorable ears to our requests,

And pardon us the interruption

Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.



My lord, there needs no such apology.

I do beseech your Grace pardon me,

Who, earnest in the service of my God,

Deferred the visitation of my friends.

But, leaving this, what is your Grace’s pleasure?



Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above

And all good men of this ungoverned isle.



I do suspect I have done some offense

That seems disgracious in the city’s eye

And that you come to reprehend my ignorance (neglect).



You have, my lord. Would it might please your Grace,

On our entreaties, to amend your fault.



Else, wherefore (why) breathe I in a Christian land?



Know, then, it is your fault that you resign

The supreme seat, the throne majestical,

The sceptered office of your ancestors,

Your state of [good] fortune, and your due of birth,

The lineal glory of your royal house (family),

To the corruption of a blemished stock (Edward IV)_,

Whiles in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,

Which here we waken to our country’s good,

The noble isle doth want her proper limbs—
(lack her own limbs)

Her face defaced with scars of infamy,

Her royal stock graft[ed] with ignoble plants,

And almost shouldered in (plunged into) the swallowing gulf

Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion,

Which, to recure (remedy), we heartily solicit

Your gracious self to take on you the charge (responsibility)

And kingly government of this your land,

Not as Protector, steward, substitute,

Or lowly factor for another’s gain

But as successively, from blood to blood,

Your right of birth, your empery (realm to be ruled), your own.

For this, consorted with (in the company of) the citizens,

Your very worshipful (honoring) and loving friends,

And by their vehement instigation,

In this just suit come I to move your Grace.



I cannot tell if (whether) to depart in silence

Or bitterly to speak in your reproof

Best fitteth my degree (rank) or your condition.

If not to answer, you might haply (perhaps) think (blame)

Tongue-tied ambition, not replying [implying consent], yielded
(“silence yields consent”)

[to your entreaties] To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,

Which fondly (foolishly) you would here impose on me.

If [I were] to reprove you for this suit of yours,

So seasoned with your faithful love to me,

Then on the other side I [would have] checked (stopped in their tracks) my friends.

Therefore, to speak, and to avoid the first (effect of not speaking),

And then, in speaking, not to incur the last (stopping my friends),

Definitively thus I answer you:

Your love deserves my thanks, but my desert (deserving)

Unmeritable (undeserving) shuns your high request.

First, if all obstacles were cut away

And that my path were even (smooth) to the crown

As the ripe revenue and due of birth,

Yet so much is my poverty of spirit,

So mighty and so many my defects,

That I would rather hide me from my greatness (kingship),

Being a bark (ship) to brook (endure) no mighty sea,

Than in my greatness (kingship) covet (desire) to be hid

And in the vapor of my glory smothered,

But, God be thanked, there is no need of me

And much I need (am lacking) [in order] to help you, were there need.
(even if there were need of me)

The royal tree hath left us royal fruit (Edward V),

Which, mellowed by the stealing hours of time,

Will well become the seat of majesty,

And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.

On him I lay what you would lay on me,

The right and fortune of his happy stars (fortunate destiny),

Which God defend that I should wring from him.



My lord, this argues conscience in your Grace,

But the respects (considerations) thereof are nice (overscrupulous) and trivial,

All circumstances well considerèd.

You say that Edward is your brother’s (King Edward IV’s) son.

So say we, too, but not by Edward’s wife,

For first was he contract[ed] to Lady Lucy—

Your mother lives a witness to that vow—

And, afterward, by substitute betrothed

To Bona, sister[-in-law] to the king of France.

These both put off (laid aside), a poor petitioner (Elizabeth Grey, ultimately Queen Elizabeth),

A care-crazed mother to a many sons,

A beauty-waning and distressèd widow,

Even in the afternoon of her best days,

Made prize and purchase (plunder) of his wanton eye,

Seduced the pitch (height – a term from falconry) and height of his degree (rank)

To base declension (decline) and loathed bigamy.

By her in his unlawful bed he got

This Edward, whom our [good] manners term “the Prince.”

More bitterly could I expostulate,

Save that, for reverence to some alive,

I give a sparing limit to my tongue.

Then, good my lord, take to your royal self

This proffered benefit of dignity,

If not to bless us and the land withal (in addition),

Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry

From the corruption of abusing times

Unto a lineal, true-derivèd course.



Do, good my lord. Your citizens entreat you.



Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffered love.



O, make them joyful. Grant their lawful suit.



Alas, why would you heap this care on me?

I am unfit for state (pomp) and majesty.

I do beseech you, take it not amiss.

I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you.



If you refuse it, as (being) in love and zeal

Loath to depose the child, your brother’s son—

As well we know your tenderness of heart

And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse (pity),

Which we have noted in you to[ward] your kindred

And equally indeed to[ward] all estates (classes)—

Yet know, whe'er you accept our suit or no,

Your brother’s son shall never reign our king,

But we will plant some other in the throne,

To the disgrace and downfall of your house (family).

And in this resolution here we leave you.—

Come, citizens. Zounds (God’s wounds), I’ll entreat no more.



O, do not swear, my lord of Buckingham!

Exit BUCKINGHAM and some others



Call them again, sweet prince. Accept their suit.

If you deny them, all the land will rue (regret) it.



Will you enforce me to a world of cares?

Call them again. I am not made of stones

But penetrable to your kind entreaties,

Albeit against my conscience and my soul.

Enter BUCKINGHAM and the rest

Cousin of Buckingham and sage, grave men,

Since you will buckle fortune on my back,

To bear her burden, whe'er I will or no,

I must have patience to endure the load,

But if black scandal or foul-faced reproach

Attend the sequel of your imposition,

Your mere enforcement shall acquittance (acquit) me

From all the impure blots and stains thereof,

For God doth know, and you may partly see,

How far I am from the desire of this.



God bless your Grace! We see it and will say it.



In saying so, you shall but say the truth.



Then I salute you with this royal title:

Long live Richard, England’s worthy king!






Tomorrow will it please you to be crowned?



Even when you please, since you will have it so.



Tomorrow, then, we will attend your Grace,

And so most joyfully we take our leave.



(to the bishops) Come, let us to our holy task (praying) again.—

Farewell, my cousin. Farewell, gentle (gentlemanly) friends.



Act 4, Scene 1: Before the Tower


Enter QUEEN ELIZABETHDUCHESS OF YORK, and DORSET at one door, ANNE, Duchess of Gloucester, with Clarence’s young daughter (LADY MARGARET PLANTAGENET) at another door



Who meets us here? My niece Plantagenet
(niece in this case is “granddaughter”)

Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester (Anne)?

Now, for my life, she’s (Anne’s) wandering to the Tower

On pure heart’s love to greet the tender (young) princes.—

Daughter, well met.
daughter=daughter-in-law (Anne)



God give your Graces both

A happy and a joyful time of day.



As much to you, good sister. Whither away?



No farther than the Tower, and, as I guess,

Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
(to perform the same devout act as yourselves)

To gratulate (greet) the gentle (noble) princes there.



Kind sister, thanks. We’ll enter all together.


And in good time here the lieutenant comes.—
lieutenant=governor of the Tower

Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,

How doth the prince and my young son of York?



Right well, dear madam. By your patience,

I may not suffer (allow) you to visit them.

The king hath strictly charged the contrary.



The king? Who’s that?



I mean, the Lord Protector.



The Lord protect him from that kingly title!

Hath he set bounds between their love and me?

I am their mother. Who shall bar me from them?



I am their father’s mother. I will see them.



Their aunt I am in law (by marriage), in love their mother.

Then bring me to their sights. I’ll bear thy blame

And take thy office (duty) from thee on my peril (at my own risk).



No, madam, no. I may not leave it so.

I am bound by oath, and, therefore, pardon me.


Enter Lord STANLEY, earl of Derby



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.
two fair queens=Elizabeth and Anne

(to ANNE)

Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,
Westminster=Westminster Abbey

There to be crownèd Richard’s royal queen.



Ah, cut my lace (the lace of my corset) asunder,

[so] That my pent (imprisoned) heart may have some scope (room) to beat,

Or else I swoon with this dead-killing (death-dealing) news!



Despiteful (cruel) tidings! O, unpleasing news!



(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) Be of good cheer, mother. How fares your Grace?



O Dorset, speak not to me. Get thee gone.

Death and destruction dogs thee at thy heels.

Thy mother’s name is ominous to children.

If thou wilt outstrip death, go, cross the seas,

And live with Richmond, [away] from the reach of hell.
Richmond=Henry Tudor in exile in Brittany

Go, hie (hasten) thee, hie thee from this slaughterhouse,

Lest thou increase the number of the dead

And make me die the thrall (slave) of Margaret’s curse,

Nor (neither) mother, wife, nor England’s counted (recognized) queen.
(nor . . . nor=neither . . . nor)



Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.

(to DORSET) Take all the swift advantage of the hours.

You shall have letters from me to my son

In your behalf, to meet you on the way.

Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.



O ill-dispersing wind of misery!

O my accursèd womb, the bed of death!

A cockatrice hast thou hatched to the world
cockatrice=mythical creature with a deadly glance

Whose unavoided eye is murderous.



(to ANNE) Come, madam, come. I in all haste was sent.



And I in all unwillingness will go.

O, would to God that the inclusive verge (rim)

Of golden metal that must round my brow
(enclosing rim of the crown)

Were red-hot steel to sear me to the brains!

Anointed (smeared) let me be with deadly venom

And die ere men can say, “God save the Queen.”



Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory.

To feed my humor, wish thyself no harm.



No? Why? When he that is my husband now (Richard)

Came to me, as I followed Henry’s corpse,

When scarce the blood was well washed from his (Richard’s) hands

Which issued from my other angel husband
(Prince Edward, son of Henry VI)

And that dear saint (Henry VI) which then I weeping followed—

O, when, I say, I looked on Richard’s face,

This was my wish: be thou, quoth I, accursed

For making me, so young, so old a widow;
so old a widow=so long in widowhood

And, when thou wedd’st, let sorrow haunt thy bed,

And be thy wife, if any be so mad,

More miserable by the life of thee

Than thou hast made me by my dear lord’s death.

Lo, ere I can (could) repeat this curse again,

Within so small a time my woman’s heart

Grossly grew captive to his honey words

And proved the subject of mine own soul’s curse,

Which hitherto hath held my eyes from rest,

For never yet one hour in his bed

Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep

But with his timorous (frightened) dreams was still awaked.

Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick

And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.



Poor heart, adieu. I pity thy complaining (cause for complaint).



No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.



Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory (majesty).



Adieu, poor soul that tak’st thy leave of it.




Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee.

(to ANNE) Go thou to Richard, and good angels tend thee.


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 wracked with a week of teen (grief).



Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.—

Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes

Whom envy (malice) hath immured within your walls—

Rough cradle for such little pretty ones.

Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
rude ragged nurse=the Tower

For tender princes, use my babies well.

So foolish sorrows bid your stones farewell.



Act 4, Scene 2: London. The palace



Sound a sennet (trumpet fanfare). Enter RICHARD in pomp, BUCKINGHAMCATESBYRATCLIFFELOVELL, a page, and others



Stand all apart. —Cousin of Buckingham.

Others move aside



My gracious sovereign?



Give me thy hand.

Here he ascendeth the throne. Sound trumpets

Thus high, by thy advice

And thy assistance is King Richard seated.

But shall we wear these glories for a day,

Or shall they last and we rejoice in them?



Still live they, and forever let them last.



Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
touch=touchstone, to test the quality of gold

To try if thou be current (genuine) gold indeed.

Young Edward lives; think now what I would speak.



Say on, my loving lord.



Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king,



Why so you are, my thrice-renownèd lord.



Ha! Am I king? 'Tis so—but Edward lives.



True, noble prince.



O bitter consequence

That Edward still should live “true noble prince”!

Cousin, thou wast not wont (accustomed) to be so dull.

Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead,

And I would have it suddenly performed.

What sayest thou now? Speak suddenly. Be brief.



Your Grace may do your pleasure (may do whatever you want).



Tut, tut, thou art all ice; thy kindness freezes.

Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?



Give me some little breath, some pause, dear lord,
breath=breathing space

Before I positively speak in this.

I will resolve (answer) you herein presently (soon).




(aside to the other attendants)

The king is angry. See, he gnaws his lip.



(aside) I will converse (keep company) with iron-witted (dull witted) fools

And unrespective (thoughtless) boys. None are for me

That look into me with considerate (reflective) eyes.

High-reaching (ambitious) Buckingham grows circumspect.—




(coming forward) My lord?



Know’st thou not any whom corrupting gold

Will tempt unto a close exploit (secret undertaking) of death?



I know a discontented gentleman

Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit.

Gold were as good as twenty orators
“Gold speaks”

And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.



What is his name?



His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.



I partly know the man. Go, call him hither, boy.


(aside) The deep-revolving (profoundly thoughtful) witty (clever) Buckingham

No more shall be the neighbor to my counsels.

Hath he so long held out with me, untired,
(joined in the hunt)

And stops he now for breath? Well, be it so.


How now, Lord Stanley, what’s the news?



Know, my long lord,

The marquess Dorset, as I hear, is fled

To [the Earl of] Richmond, in the parts where he abides (resides).

He walks aside


Come hither, Catesby. Rumor it abroad

That Anne, my wife, is very grievous sick.

I will take order for her keeping close.
(I will take charge of keeping her hidden)

Inquire me out (find me) some mean poor gentleman,

Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter.

The boy (her brother) is foolish, and I fear not him.

Look how thou dream’st (are in a stupor)! I say again, give out

That Anne, my queen, is sick and like (likely) to die.

[set] About it, for it stands me much upon (is of great concern to me)

To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.


(aside) I must be married to my brother’s daughter
(a plan that never came to pass)

Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.

Murder her brothers, and then marry her—

Uncertain way of gain. But I am in

So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin (draw more sin after it).

Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.

Enter PAGE with TYRREL

Is thy name Tyrrel?



James Tyrrel and your most obedient subject.



Art thou, indeed?



Prove me, my gracious sovereign.



Dar’st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?



Please you (if it pleases you). But I had rather kill two enemies.



Why, then, thou hast it (that is what I want). Two deep enemies,

Foes to my rest and my sweet sleep’s disturbers,

Are they that I would have thee deal upon (with).

Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.



Let me have open means to come to them,

And soon I’ll rid you from the fear of them.



Thou sing’st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel.

TYRREL approaches RICHARD and kneels

Go, by this token (a pass to the Tower). Rise, and lend thine ear.

He whispers

There is no more but so (that). Say it is done,

And I will love thee and prefer thee (promote you) for it.



I will dispatch it straight[away].





My lord, I have considered in my mind

The late request that you did sound me in (ask me about).



Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to [the Earl of] Richmond.



I hear the news, my lord.



Stanley, he (Richmond) is your wife’s son. Well, look unto it.



My lord, I claim the gift, my due by promise,

For which your honor and your faith is pawned (pledged)—

Th' earldom of Hereford and the movables
movables=portable possessions

Which you promisèd I shall possess.



Stanley, look to your wife. If she convey

Letters to Richmond, you shall answer [for] it.



What says your Highness to my just request?



I do remember me, Henry the Sixth

Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,

When Richmond was a little peevish boy.

A king, perhaps—



My lord—



How chance (how chances it that) the prophet (Henry VI) could not at that time

Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?



My lord, your promise for the earldom—



Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,

The mayor in courtesy showed me the castle

And called it Rougemont, at which name I started,

Because a bard of Ireland told me once

I should not live long after I saw Richmond.



My Lord—



Ay, what’s o'clock?



I am thus bold to put your Grace in mind

Of what you promised me.



Well, but what’s o'clock?



Upon the stroke of ten.



Well, let it strike.



Why let it strike?



Because that, like a jack (manikin in old clocks), thou keep’st (keep on striking) the stroke

Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.

I am not in the giving vein (mood) today.



Why then, resolve (satisfy) me whether you will or no.



Thou troublest me. I am not in the vein.

Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM



And is it thus? Repays he my deep 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!
Brecknock=Buckingham’s house in Wales



Act 4, Scene 3: London. The palace





The tyrannous and bloody act is done,

The most arch (extreme) deed of piteous massacre

That ever yet this land was guilty of.

Dighton and Forrest, whom I did suborn (hire)

To do this piece of ruthless butchery,

Albeit they were fleshed villains, bloody dogs,
fleshed=like dogs eating their kill

Melted with tenderness and mild compassion,

Wept like two children in their deaths' sad story (the sad story of the princes’ deaths).

“O thus” quoth Dighton, “lay those gentle (aristocratic) babes.”

“Thus, thus,” quoth Forrest, “girdling one another

Within their alabaster (marble-white) innocent arms.

Their lips were four red roses on a stalk

And in their summer beauty kissed each other.

A book of prayers on their pillow lay,

Which once,” quoth Forrest, “almost changed my mind,

But, O, the devil—” There the villain stopped,

When Dighton thus told on, “We smotherèd

The most replenished (complete) sweet work of nature

That from the prime creation e'er she (nature) framed.”

Hence both are gone (undone) with conscience and remorse.

They could not speak, and so I left them both

To bear this tidings to the bloody (bloodthirsty) king.


And here he comes.—All health, my sovereign lord.



Kind Tyrrel, am I happy in thy news?



If to have done the thing you gave in charge

Begets your happiness, be happy then,

For it is done.



But did’st thou see them dead?



I did, my lord.



And buried, gentle (noble) Tyrrel?



The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them,

But where, to say the truth, I do not know.



Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after-supper,

When thou shalt tell the process of their death.

Meantime, but think how I may do thee good,

And be inheritor of thy desire.

Farewell till then.



     I humbly take my leave.




The son of Clarence have I pent up close,

His (Clarence’) daughter meanly (ignobly) have I matched in marriage,

The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham’s bosom,

And Anne, my wife, hath bid this world goodnight.

Now, for I know the Breton [Earl of] Richmond aims

At young Elizabeth, my brother’s daughter,

And by that knot looks proudly on the crown,

To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.




My lord!



Good or bad news, that thou com’st in so bluntly?



Bad news, my lord. Morton (Bishop of Ely) is fled to [the Earl of] Richmond,

And Buckingham, backed with the hardy Welshmen,

Is in the field (on the march), and still his power (army) increaseth.



Ely with Richmond troubles me more near

Than Buckingham and his rash-levied (hastily recruited) strength.

Come, I have learned that fearful commenting

Is leaden servitor (leads) to dull delay.

Delay leads [to] impotent and snail-paced beggary (ruin).

Then, fiery expedition be my wing,

Jove’s Mercury, and herald for a king.

Go, muster men. My [only] counsel is my shield.
(there is not enough time to gather counsellors)

We must be brief when traitors brave the field (challenge us to fight).



Act 4, Scene 4: London. Before the palace





So now prosperity [like fruit] begins to mellow (ripen)

And drop [off the tree] into the rotten mouth of death.

Here in these confines slyly have I lurked

To watch the waning of mine enemies.

A dire induction (beginning, as of a play) am I witness to

And will [go] to France, hoping the consequence (for my enemies)

Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.

Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret. Who comes here?

She steps aside




Ah, my poor princes! Ah, my tender babes,

My unblown flowers (still in the bud), new-appearing sweets,

If yet your gentle souls fly in the air

And be not fixed in doom perpetual,
(have not yet faced the Final Judgment)

Hover about me with your airy wings

And hear your mother’s lamentation.



(aside) Hover about her. Say that right for right (avenging justice)

Hath dimmed your infant morn to agèd night.



So many miseries have crazed my voice

That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.

Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?



(aside) Plantagenet doth quit (pay for) Plantagenet.
(Edward V, Elizabeth’s son, pays a debt for Edward, Prince of Wales, Margaret’s son, who died)

Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.


Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs

And throw them in the entrails of the wolf (let the wolf eat them)?

When[ever] [in the past] didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?



(aside) When holy Harry (Henry VI) died and my sweet son.



(sitting down)

Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal living ghost (a ghost doomed to life),

Woe’s scene, world’s shame, grave’s due by life usurped,
(life robs what is due to the grave)

Brief abstract and record of tedious days (Margaret’s own life),

Rest thy unrest on England’s lawful earth,
(bury me)

Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.



(sitting down beside her)

Ah, that thou (England’s lawful earth) wouldst as soon (easily) afford (provide) a grave

As thou canst yield a melancholy seat,

Then would I hide my bones [in a grave], not rest them here.

O, who hath any cause to mourn but we (compared with us)?



(joining them) If ancient sorrow be most reverend (revered),

Give mine the benefit of seigniory (seniority)

And let my griefs frown on the upper hand (in first place).

If sorrow can admit society,

Tell (count) o'er your woes again by viewing mine.

I had an Edward till a Richard killed him.
Edward=Edward V, killed by Richard at Tewksbury

I had a husband (Harry, killed in the Tower) till a Richard killed him.

Thou (Queen Elizabeth) hadst an Edward till a Richard killed him.
Edward=young Edward, killed in the Tower

Thou hadst a [young] Richard (York) till a Richard killed him.



I had a Richard (her husband, the Duke of York), too, and thou did’st kill him.

I had a Rutland (her son), too. Thou holp’st (helped) to kill him.



Thou hadst a Clarence, too, and Richard killed him.

Then forth [from] the kennel of thy womb hath crept

A hellhound that doth hunt us all to death—

That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,

To worry (pull to pieces) lambs and lap their gentle blood,

That excellent (supreme) grand tyrant of the earth

That reigns in (flourishes upon) galled (sore) eyes of weeping souls,

That foul defacer of God’s handiwork

Thy womb (the issue of thy womb) let loose to chase us to our graves.

O, upright, just, and true-disposing (justly ordering) God,

How do I thank thee that this carnal (murderous) cur

Preys on the issue (children) of his mother’s body

And makes her [a] pew-fellow (companion in the same “church pew”) [joining] with others' moan!



O, Harry’s wife, triumph not in my woes!

God witness with me (to the truth of my words), I have wept for thine.



Bear with me. I am hungry for revenge,

And now I cloy me (stuff myself too full) with beholding it.

Thy Edward (Edward IV) he is dead, that killed my Edward,

Thy other Edward (Edward V) dead to quit (repay) my Edward.

Young York, he is but boot (an extra), because both they [together]

Matched not the high perfection of my loss.

Thy Clarence he is dead that stabbed my Edward,

And the beholders of this frantic (insane) play,

Th' adulterate (adulterous) Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,

Untimely (before their time was up) smothered in their dusky graves.

Richard yet lives, hell’s black intelligencer (spy),

Only reserved (preserved, kept alive) their factor (the agent of hell) to buy souls

And send them thither (to hell). But at hand, at hand

Ensues his piteous and unpitied end.
piteous and unpitied=deplorable suffering that no one pities

Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray

To have him suddenly conveyed from hence.

Cancel his bond of life, dear God I pray,

That I may live to say, “The dog is dead.”



O, thou didst prophesy the time would come

That I should wish for thee to help me curse

That bottled spider, that foul bunch-backed toad!



I called thee [back] then “vain flourish of my fortune.”

I called thee then poor shadow, “painted queen,”

The presentation of but what I was,

The flattering index (prologue) of a direful (calamitous) pageant,

One heaved a-high, to be hurled down below,

A mother only mocked with two fair babes,

A dream of what thou wast, a garish flag

To be the aim of every dangerous shot,

A sign (token) of dignity, a breath, a bubble,

A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.

Where is thy husband now? Where be thy brothers?

Where are thy two sons? Wherein dost thou joy?

Who sues (petitions) and kneels and says, “God save the queen?”

Where be the bending (bowing) peers (nobles) that flattered thee?

Where be the thronging troops that followed thee?

Decline (inflect, recite) all this and see what now thou art -

For happy wife, a most distressèd widow;

For joyful mother, one that wails the name;

For queen, a very caitiff (wretch) crowned with care;

For her that scorned at me, now scorned of me;

For her being feared of all, now fearing one (Richard);

For her commanding all, obeyed of none.

Thus hath the course of justice (wheel of fortune) whirled about

And left thee but a very prey to time,

Having no more but [the] thought of what thou wast

To torture thee the more, being what thou art.

Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not

Usurp the just proportion (proper share) of my sorrow?

Now thy proud neck bears half my burdened yoke,

From which even here I slip [from] my weary head

And leave the burthen of it all on thee.

Farewell, York’s wife and queen of sad mischance (misfortune).

These English woes will make me smile in France.



O, thou well-skilled in curses, stay awhile

And teach me how to curse mine enemies.



Forbear to (desist from) sleep [during] the nights and fast [during] the days;

Compare dead happiness with living woe;

Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were

And he that slew them fouler than he is.

Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse.
(exaggerating your losses will make you hate the cause of them more)

Revolving (thinking about) this will teach thee how to curse.



My words are dull. O, quicken (put life into) them with thine!



Thy woes will make them (words) sharp and pierce like mine.




Why should calamity be full of words?



[words are] Windy (verbose) attorneys to their clients' woes,

Airy succeeders (heirs) of intestate joys,
(heirs to joys that died with the dead – only the words are left)

Poor breathing orators of miseries,

Let them have scope, though what they will impart [is]

Help [and] nothing else, yet do they ease the heart.



If so, then be not tongue-tied. Go with me,

And in the breath of bitter words let’s smother

My damnèd son that thy two sweet sons smothered.

A trumpet sounds

The trumpet sounds. Be copious in exclaims (exclamations).

They rise

Enter King RICHARD and his train, including CATESBY



Who intercepts my expedition (march)?



O, she that might have intercepted thee

By strangling thee in her accursèd womb

From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done.



Hid’st thou that forehead with a golden crown

Where should be branded, if that right were right,
(if everything was as it should be)

The slaughter of the prince that owed (owned) that crown

And the dire death of my poor sons and brothers?

Tell me, thou villain-slave (low-born rogue), where are my children?



Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?

And little Ned Plantagenet his son?



Where is gentle (aristocratic) Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?



Where is kind (loyal – to Edward IV) Hastings?



A flourish, trumpets! Strike alarum, drums!

Let not the heavens hear these telltale women

Rail on (scold) the Lord’s anointed (the king, following the Old Testament). Strike (sound), I say!

Flourish. Alarums

Either be patient and entreat me fair (treat me fairly),

Or with the clamorous report (resounding noise) of war

Thus will I drown your exclamations.



Art thou my son?



Ay, I thank God, my father and yourself.



Then patiently hear my impatience.



Madam, I have a touch of your condition (I am like you),

Which cannot brook (endure) the accent of reproof.



O, let me speak!



Do then, but I’ll not hear.



I will be mild and gentle (gentile) in my words.



And brief, good mother, for I am in haste.



Art thou so hasty? I have stayed for thee,

God knows, in torment and in agony (childbirth).



And came I not at last to comfort you?



No, by the Holy Rood (Christ’s cross), thou know’st it well.

Thou cam’st on earth to make the earth my hell.

A grievous burden was thy birth to me;

Tetchy and wayward (fretful and willful) was thy infancy;

Thy school days frightful (frightening), desp'rate (reckless), wild, and furious;

Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous (adventurous);

Thy age confirmed (once mature), proud, subtle, sly, and bloody,

More mild but yet more harmful, kind in hatred (vindictive under a pretense of kindness).

What comfortable hour canst thou name

That ever graced (benefited) me in thy company?



Faith, none but Humphrey Hower (or Hour - unexplainable), that called your Grace

To breakfast once, forth of (without) my company.

If I be so disgracious in your eye,

Let me march on and not offend you, madam.—

Strike up the drum.



I prithee, hear me speak.



You speak too bitterly.



Hear me a word,

For I shall never speak to thee again.






Either thou wilt die by God’s just ordinance (the will of God)

Ere (before) from this war thou [re]turn a conqueror,

Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish

And nevermore behold thy face again.

Therefore, take with thee my most grievous curse,

Which in the day of battle [at]tire thee more

Than all the complete armor that thou wear’st.

[may] My prayers on [behalf of] the adverse party (the party opposing you) fight [against you],

And there the little souls of Edward’s children

Whisper [to] the spirits of thine enemies

And promise them success and victory.

Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end.

Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.




Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse,

Abides in me. I say amen to her.



Stay, madam. I must talk a word with you.



I have no more sons of the royal blood

For thee to slaughter. [as] For my daughters, Richard,

They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens,

And, therefore, level (aim) not to hit their lives.



You have a daughter called Elizabeth,

Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.



And must she die for this? O, let her live,

And I’ll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty,

Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed,

Throw over her the veil of infamy.

So she may live unscarred of bleeding slaughter,

I will confess she was not Edward’s daughter.



Wrong not her birth. She is a royal princess.



To save her life, I’ll say she is not so.



Her life is safest only in her birth.



And only in that safety died her brothers.



Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.



No, to their lives ill (evil) friends were contrary.



All unavoided is the doom of destiny.



True, when avoided grace (the benefits of God) makes destiny.

My babes were destined to a fairer death

If grace had blessed thee with a fairer life.



You speak as if that I had slain my cousins (nephews).



Cousins, indeed, and by their uncle cozened (cheated)

Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.

Whose hand soever lanced their tender hearts,

Thy head, all (although) indirectly, gave direction.

No doubt the murd'rous knife was dull and blunt

Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart

To revel in the entrails of my lambs.

But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
(except that continual indulgence of grief makes wild grief tame)

My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys

Till that my nails were anchored in thine eyes,

And I, in such a desp'rate (hopeless) bay (inlet) of death,

Like a poor bark of sails-and-tackling (rigging) [be]reft,

Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.



Madam, so thrive I (may I thrive) in my enterprise

And dangerous success of bloody wars,

As I intend [to provide] more good to you and yours

Than ever you or yours were by me harmed!



What good is covered (hidden) with the face of heaven,

To be discovered, that can do me good?



The advancement of your children, gentle lady.



Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads.



Unto the dignity and height of fortune,

The high imperial type (a crown) of this earth’s glory.



Flatter my sorrow with report of it.

Tell me what state, what dignity, what honor

Canst thou demise (convey) to any child of mine?



Even all I have— ay, and myself and all—

Will I withal endow a child of thine,

So in the Lethe (the river of forgetfulness) of thy angry soul

Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs

Which thou supposest I have done to thee.



Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness

Last longer telling than thy kindness' date (duration).



Then know that from my soul I love thy daughter.



My daughter’s mother thinks it with her soul.



What do you think?



That thou dost love my daughter [apart] from thy soul.

So from thy soul’s love didst thou love her brothers,

And from my heart’s love I do thank thee for it.



Be not so hasty to confound my meaning.

I mean that with my soul I love thy daughter

And do intend to make her Queen of England.



Well, then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?



Even he that makes her queen. Who else should be?



What, thou?



Even so. How think you of it?



How canst thou woo her?



That would I learn of you,

As one being best acquainted with her humor (disposition).



And wilt thou learn of me?



Madam, with all my heart.



Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,

A pair of bleeding hearts. Thereon engrave

“Edward” and “York.” Then, haply (perhaps) she will weep.

Therefore, present to her—as sometime Margaret

Did to thy father, steeped in Rutland’s blood—

A handkerchief, which, say to her, did drain

The purple sap from her sweet brother’s body (her half-brother, Lord Grey),

And bid her wipe her weeping eyes withal.

If this inducement move her not to love,

Send her a letter of thy noble deeds.

Tell her thou mad’st away [with] her uncle Clarence,

Her uncle Rivers, ay, and, for her sake

Mad’st quick conveyance with (riddance of) her good aunt Anne.



You mock me, madam. This is not the way

To win your daughter.



There is no other way,

Unless thou couldst put on some other shape

And not be Richard that hath done all this.



Say that I did all this for love of her.



Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,

Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.
spoil=slaughter (a hunting term)



Look, what is done cannot be now amended.

Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,

Which after-hours give [them] leisure to repent.
after-hours=later moments

If I did take the kingdom from your sons,

To make amends I’ll give it to your daughter.

If I have killed the issue of your womb,

To quicken your increase (give new life to your progeny) I will beget

Mine issue (offspring) of your blood[line] upon your daughter.

A grandam’s name is little less in love

Than is the doting title of a mother.
(title of a doting mother)

They (grandchildren) are as children but one step below,

Even (equal) of your metal (substance), of your very (own) blood,

Of all one pain, save for a night of groans
one pain – some editors suggest “no pain”

Endured of her (by your daughter) for whom you bid (endured) like sorrow (similar labor pain).

Your children were vexation to your youth,

But mine shall be a comfort to your [old] age.

The loss you have is but a son being king,

And by that loss your daughter is made queen.

I cannot make you what amends I would [like].

Therefore, accept such kindness as I can.

Dorset, your son, that with a fearful soul

Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
(leads a discontented life)

This fair alliance (marriage) quickly shall call home

To high promotions and great dignity.

The king that calls your beauteous daughter wife

Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother.

Again shall you be mother to a king,

And all the ruins of distressful times

Repaired with double riches of content (contentment).

What, we have many goodly days to see!

The liquid drops of tears that you have shed

Shall come again, transformed to orient pearl,

Advantaging their love with interest (return on investment)

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 th' aspiring flame

Of golden sovereignty. Acquaint the Princess

With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys,

And, when this arm of mine hath chastisèd

The petty rebel, dull-brained Buckingham,

Bound with triumphant garlands (laurel wreaths, as in Roman times) will I come

And lead thy daughter to a conqueror’s bed,

To whom I will retail (relate) my conquest won,

And she shall be sole victoress, Caesar’s Caesar.
Caesar’s Caesar=the ruler of Caesar



What were I best to say? Her father’s brother

Would be her lord? Or shall I say her uncle?

Or he that slew her brothers and her uncles?

Under what title shall I woo for thee,

That God, the law, my honor, and her love

Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?



Infer fair England’s peace by this alliance.



Which she shall purchase with still-lasting war.



Tell her the king, that may command, entreats—



That, at her hands, which the king’s King (God) forbids.
(God forbids marrying an uncle)



Say she shall be a high and mighty queen.



To vail the title, as her mother doth.
vail=lower the worth of



Say I will love her everlastingly.



But how long shall that title “ever” last?



Sweetly in force unto her fair life’s end.



But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?



As long as heaven and nature lengthens it.



As long as hell and Richard likes of it.



Say I, her sovereign, am her subject low.



But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.



Be eloquent in my behalf to her.



An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.



Then, plainly to her tell my loving tale.




Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.



Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.



O, no, my reasons are too deep and dead—

Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves.



Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.



Harp on it still (always) shall I till heart-strings break.



Now by my George, my Garter, and my crown—
George=pendant of the Order of the Garter
(members wear the garter below the left knee)



[the first] Profaned, [the second] dishonored, and the third usurped (stolen).



I swear—



By nothing, for this is no oath.

Thy George, profaned, hath lost his (its) lordly honor;

Thy garter, blemished, pawned (sold off) his (its) knightly virtue;

Thy crown, usurped, disgraced his (its) kingly glory.

If something thou wouldst swear to be believed,

Swear then by something that thou hast not wronged.



Then, by myself—



Thyself is self-misused.



Now, by the world—



'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.



My father’s death—



Thy life hath it dishonored.



Why then, by God.



God’s wrong is most of all.

If thou didst fear to break an oath by Him,

The unity (reconciliation) the king my husband made

Thou hadst not broken, nor my brothers died.

If thou hadst feared to break an oath by Him,

Th' imperial metal (crown) circling now thy head

Had graced the tender temples of my child,

And both the princes had been breathing here,

Which, now, two tender bedfellows for dust,

Thy broken faith hath made the prey for worms.

What canst thou swear by now?



The time to come.



That (the time to come) thou hast wrongèd in the time o'erpast,

For I myself have many tears to wash

“Hereafter time,” (the future) for time past wronged by thee.

The children live whose fathers thou hast slaughtered,

Ungoverned youth (without parents to guide them), to wail [about] it in their age.

The parents live whose children thou hast butchered,

Old barren plants, to wail [about] it with (along with) their [old] age.

Swear not by time to come, for that thou hast

Misused ere used, by times ill-used o'erpast.
ere used=before the proper time came for using it



As I intend to prosper and repent,

So (to such a degree) thrive I in my dangerous affairs

Of hostile arms! Myself myself confound,

Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours,

Day, yield me not thy light nor night thy rest,

Be opposite all planets of good luck

To my proceedings if, with dear heart’s love,

Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,

I tender (esteem) not thy beauteous princely daughter.

In her consists my happiness and thine.

Without her follows to myself and thee,

Herself, the land, and many a Christian soul,

Death, desolation, ruin, and decay.

It cannot be avoided but by this [marriage];

It will not be avoided but by this.

Therefore, dear mother—I must call you so—

Be the attorney (advocate) of my love to her.

Plead what I will be, not what I have been,

Not my deserts (what I deserve) but what I will deserve.

Urge the necessity and state of times (condition of the times),

And be not peevish (small-minded) found (when you look) in [my] great designs.



Shall I be tempted of (by) the devil thus?



Ay, if the devil tempt you to do good.



Shall I forget myself (myself harmed) to be myself (a new self)?



Ay, if your self’s remembrance wrong yourself.



Yet, thou didst kill my children.



But in your daughter’s womb I bury them,

Where, in that [phoenix’s] nest of spicery (spices), they (her children) will breed

Selves of themselves [like a phoenix], to your recomforture.



Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?



And be a happy mother by the deed.



I go. Write to me very shortly,

And you shall understand from me her mind.



Bear her my true love’s kiss, and, so, farewell.


Relenting fool and shallow, changing woman!

Enter RATCLIFFE with CATESBY, behind

How now, what news?



Most mighty sovereign, on the western coast

Rideth a puissant (powerful) navy. To our shores

Throng many doubtful (questioning) hollow-hearted (faint hearted) friends,

Unarmed and unresolved to beat them back.

'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral,

And there they hull (drift), expecting but (only) the aid

Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.



Some light-foot friend post to the duke of Norfolk—

Ratcliffe, thyself, or Catesby. Where is he?



Here, my good lord.



Catesby, fly to the duke.



I will, my lord, with all convenient haste.



Ratcliffe, come hither. Post to Salisbury.

When thou com’st thither

— (to CATESBY) Dull, unmindful villain (peasant),

Why stay’st thou here and go’st not to the duke?



First, mighty liege, tell me your Highness' pleasure,

What from your Grace I shall deliver to him.



O true, good Catesby. Bid him levy (recruit) straight

The greatest strength and power that he can make

And meet me suddenly (right away) at Salisbury.



I go.




What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?



Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go (arrive)?



Your Highness told me I should post (hurry) before.



My mind is changed.


Stanley, what news with you?



None good, my liege, to please you with the hearing,

Nor none so bad but [it] well may be reported.



Richmond is on the seas.



There let him sink, and be the seas on him!

White-livered (cowardly) runagate (rebel), what doth he there?



I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.



Well, as you guess?



Stirred up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton (Bishop of Ely),

He makes for England, here to claim the crown.



Is the chair (throne) empty? Is the sword unswayed (uncontrolled)?

Is the king dead, the empire unpossessed?

What heir of York is there alive but we (the royal we)?

And who is England’s king but great York’s heir?

Then, tell me, what makes he upon the seas?



Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.



Unless for that he comes to be your liege (sovereign),

You cannot guess wherefore (why) the Welshman (Richmond) comes.

Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.



No, my good lord. Therefore, mistrust me not.



Where is thy power (army), then, to beat him back?

Where be thy tenants and thy followers?

Are they not now upon the western shore,

Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?



No, my good lord. My friends are in the north.



Cold friends to me. What do they in the north

When they should serve their sovereign in the west?



They have not been commanded, mighty king.

Pleaseth your Majesty to give me leave,

I’ll muster up my friends and meet your Grace

Where and what time your Majesty shall please.



Ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond,

But I’ll not trust thee.



Most mighty sovereign,

You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful.

I never was nor never will be false.



Go then and muster men, but leave behind

Your son George Stanley. Look your heart be firm

Or else his head’s assurance is but frail.



So deal with him as I prove true to you.





My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,

As I by friends am well advertisèd,

Sir Edward Courtney and the haughty prelate,

Bishop of Exeter, his elder brother,

With many more confederates are in arms.




In Kent, my liege, the Guilfords are in arms,

And every hour more competitors

Flock to the rebels, and their power grows strong.




My lord, the army of great Buckingham—



Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of death.
(the hoot of the owl forecast death)

He striketh him

There, take thou that till thou bring better news.



The news I have to tell your Majesty

Is that by sudden floods and fall of waters

Buckingham’s army is dispersed and scattered

And he himself wandered away alone,

No man knows whither.



I cry thee mercy.

There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.

He gives money

Hath any well-advisèd friend proclaimed

Reward to him that brings the traitor in?



Such proclamation hath been made, my lord.




Sir Thomas Lovell and Lord Marquess Dorset (supporters of Buckingham),

'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms,

But this good comfort bring I to your Highness:

The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest.

Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat

Unto the shore to ask those on the banks

If they were his assistants, yea or no—

Who answered him they came from Buckingham

Upon his party (on his side). He, mistrusting them,

Hoisted sail and made his course for Brittany.



March on, march on, since we are up in arms (ready to take action),

If not to fight with foreign enemies

Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.




My liege, the duke of Buckingham is taken.

That is the best news. That the earl of Richmond

Is with a mighty power landed at Milford

Is colder tidings, yet they (tidings) must be told.



Away towards Salisbury! While we reason here,

A royal battle might be won and lost.

Someone take order Buckingham be brought

To Salisbury. The rest march on with me.

Flourish. Exeunt


Act 4, Scene 5: Lord Derby’s house





Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me:

That in the sty of the most deadly boar

My son George Stanley is franked (penned) up in hold.

If I revolt, off goes young George’s head.

The fear of that holds off my present aid.

So get thee gone. Commend me to thy lord.

Withal, say that the queen hath heartily consented

He (Richmond) should espouse Elizabeth her daughter.
(Her espousal to Richard was only a ruse)

But, tell me, where is princely Richmond now?



At Pembroke or at Ha'rfordwest in Wales.



What men of name (high rank) resort to him?



Sir Walter Herbert, a renownèd soldier;

Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley,

Oxford, redoubted (dreaded) Pembroke, Sir James Blunt,

And Rice ap (Welsh for “son of”) Thomas with a valiant crew,

And many other of great name and worth,

And towards London they do bend their power,

If by the way they be not fought [against] withal.



(gives him a paper) Well, hie thee to thy lord.

I kiss his hand. My letter will resolve (inform) him of my mind.




Act 5, Scene 1: Salisbury. An open place


Enter BUCKINGHAM, led to execution, with SHERIFF and halberds (spear bearers)



Will not King Richard let me speak with him?



No, my good lord. Therefore, be patient.



Hastings and Edward’s children, Grey and Rivers,

Holy King Henry and thy fair son Edward (son of Henry VI),

Vaughan and all that have miscarried (perished)

By underhand, corrupted, foul injustice,

If that your moody, discontented souls

Do through the clouds behold this present hour,

Even for (impelled by) revenge mock (jeer at) my destruction.—

This is All Souls' Day, fellow, is it not?



It is.



Why, then All Souls' Day is my body’s doomsday.
doomsday=Day of Final Judgment

This is the day which, in King Edward’s time,

I wished might fall on me
when I was found=should I be found to be

False to his children and his wife’s allies.

This is the day wherein I wished to fall

By (because of) the false faith of him whom most I trusted.

This, this All Souls' Day to my fearful soul

Is the determined respite of my wrongs.

That high All-Seer which I dallied with

Hath turned my feigned (fake) prayer on my head

And given in earnest what I begged [for] in jest.

Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men

To turn their own points in their masters' bosoms.

Thus, Margaret’s curse falls heavy upon my neck:

“When he,” quoth she, “shall split thy heart with sorrow,

Remember Margaret was a prophetess.”—

Come, lead me, officers, to the block of shame (the beheading block).

Wrong hath but wrong and blame the due of blame.



Act 5, Scene 2: The camp near Tamworth


Enter RICHMONDOXFORDBLUNTHERBERT, and others, with drum and colors



Fellows in arms, and my most loving friends,

Bruised underneath the yoke of tyranny,

Have we marched on without impediment

Thus far into the bowels of the land,

And here receive we from our father Stanley (father-in-law)

Lines (written lines) of fair comfort and encouragement.

The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar

That spoiled your summer fields and fruitful vines

Swills (devours) your warm blood like [hog]wash and makes his trough

In your [dis]embowelled bosoms—this foul swine

Is now even in the center of this isle

Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn.

From Tamworth thither (farther along) is but one day’s march.

In God’s name, cheerly on, courageous friends,

To reap the harvest of perpetual peace

By this one bloody trial of sharp war.



Every man’s conscience is [equal to] a thousand men

To fight against this guilty homicide.



I doubt not but his friends will turn to us.



He hath no friends but who are friends for fear,

Which in his dearest (most crucial) need will fly from him.



All for our [ad]vantage. Then, in God’s name, march.

True hope is swift and flies with swallow’s wings.

Kings it makes gods and meaner (lowlier) creatures kings.



Act 5, Scene 3: Bosworth Field


Enter RICHARD in arms with NORFOLK, RATCLIFFESURREY, and soldiers



Here pitch our tent, even here in Bosworth Field.—

My Lord of Surrey, why look you so sad?



My heart is ten times lighter than my looks.



My Lord of Norfolk—



Here, most gracious liege.



Norfolk, we must have knocks (blows), ha, must we not?



We must both give and take, my loving lord.



Up with my tent!—Here will I lie tonight.

But where tomorrow? Well, all’s one for that (it doesn’t matter).

Who hath descried the number of the traitors?



Six or seven thousand is their utmost power.



Why, our battalia (battle array) trebles that account.

Besides, the king’s name is a tower of strength

Which they upon the adverse party want (lack).

Up with the tent!—Come, noble gentlemen,

Let us survey the vantage (features) of the ground.

Call for some men of sound direction (judgment).

Let’s lack no discipline, make no delay,

For, lords, tomorrow is a busy day.





The weary sun hath made a golden set

And, by the bright track of his fiery car (the chariot of the sun god),

Gives token of a goodly day tomorrow.—

Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard (flag).—

Give me some ink and paper in my tent.

I’ll draw the form and model (military plan) of our battle,

Limit each leader to his several charge (separate command),

And part in just proportion our small power (army).

My Lord of Oxford, you, Sir William Brandon,

And you, Sir Walter Herbert, stay with me.

The Earl of Pembroke keeps [to] his regiment—

Good Captain Blunt, bear my goodnight to him

And, by the second hour in the morning,

Desire the Earl to see me in my tent.

Yet one thing more, good captain, do for me.

Where is Lord Stanley quartered, do you know?



Unless I have mista'en his colors much,

Which well I am assured I have not done,

His regiment lies half a mile, at least,

South from the mighty power of the king.



If without peril it be possible,

Sweet Blunt, make some good means to speak with him

And give him from me this most needful (urgent) note.

He hands him a paper



Upon my life, my lord, I’ll undertake it.

And so God give you quiet rest tonight!



Good night, good Captain Blunt.

BLUNT exits

Come, gentlemen,

Let us consult upon tomorrow’s business

Into my tent. The dew is raw and cold.

Enter to his tent RICHARDNORFOLK, RATCLIFFECATESBY, and others



What is ‘t o’clock?



It’s suppertime, my lord. It’s nine o'clock.



I will not sup tonight. Give me some ink and paper.

What, is my beaver (helmet) easier [to put on] than it was?

And all my armor laid into my tent?



It is, my liege, and all things are in readiness.



Good Norfolk, hie thee to thy charge.

Use careful watch[ers]. Choose trusty sentinels.



I go, my lord.



Stir with the lark tomorrow, gentle (gentlemanly) Norfolk.



I warrant (guarantee) you, my lord.







My lord.



Send out a pursuivant-at-arms (attendant)

To Stanley’s regiment. Bid him bring his power (army)

Before sunrising lest his son George fall [by my hand]

Into the blind cave of eternal night.


(to soldiers) Fill me a bowl of wine. Give me a watch.

Saddle white Surrey for the field to-morrow.

Look that my staves (lances) be sound and not too heavy.




My lord.



Sawst thou the melancholy Lord Northumberland?



Thomas the Earl of Surrey and himself,

Much about cockshut (chicken roosting time - twilight) time, from troop to troop

Went through the army cheering up the soldiers.



So, I am satisfied. Give me a bowl of wine.

I have not that alacrity of spirit

Nor cheer of mind that I was wont (accustomed) to have.

Set it (the wine) down. Is ink and paper ready?



It is, my lord.



Bid my guard watch. Leave me.

Ratcliffe, about the mid of night come to my tent

And help to arm me. Leave me, I say.

Exeunt Ratcliffe and the other attendants. RICHARD sleeps.

Enter STANLEY to RICHMOND in his tent, lords and others attending



Fortune and victory sit on thy helm!
helm=helmet, which displayed emblems showing rank and social status



All comfort that the dark night can afford

Be to thy person, noble father-in-law.

Tell me, how fares our loving mother?



I, by attorney (proxy), bless thee from thy mother,

Who prays continually for Richmond’s good.

So much for that. The silent hours steal on,

And flaky darkness breaks [up] within the east.

In brief, for so the season (time) bids us be,
be=to be brief

Prepare thy battle [array] early in the morning

And put thy fortune to the arbitrament (decision)

Of bloody strokes and mortal-staring (deadly glaring) war.

I, as I may—that which I would I cannot,—
(Stanley cannot be openly opposed to Richard)

With best advantage (opportunity) will deceive the time
deceive the time=be tricky in helping Richmond

And aid thee in this doubtful shock of arms (encounter of uncertain outcome),

But on thy side I may not be too forward

Lest, being seen [to be on your side], thy brother (stepbrother), tender (young) George,

Be executed in his father’s sight.

Farewell. The [lack of] leisure and the fearful time

Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love

And ample interchange of sweet discourse

Which so-long-sundered friends should dwell upon.

God give us leisure for these rites of love!

Once more, adieu. Be valiant, and speed (prosper) well.



Good lords, conduct him to his regiment.

I’ll strive with (against) troubled thoughts to take a nap,

Lest leaden slumber peise (weigh) me down tomorrow,

When I should mount with wings of victory.

Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.

Exeunt all but RICHMOND

O Thou (God), whose captain I account myself [to be],

Look on my forces with a gracious eye.

Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath (swords),

That they may crush down with a heavy fall

The usurping helmets (personification of soldiers) of our adversaries!

Make us thy ministers of chastisement,

That we may praise thee in the victory!

To thee I do commend my watchful soul

Ere I let fall the windows (eyelids) of mine eyes.

Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still (always)!


Enter the ghost of PRINCE EDWARD, son to KING HENRY VI



(to RICHARD) Let me sit heavy on thy soul tomorrow!

Think how thou stabbedst me in my prime of youth

At Tewkesbury. Despair, therefore, and die!


Be cheerful, Richmond, for the wrongèd souls

Of butchered princes fight in thy behalf.

King Henry’s issue (son), Richmond, comforts thee.


Enter the ghost of KING HENRY VI



(to RICHARD) When I was mortal, my anointed body
anointed=made sacred by rubbing the body with an ointment
(kings were sometimes anointed, signifying their holiness

By thee was punchèd full of deadly holes.

Think on the Tower and me. Despair, and die!

Harry the Sixth bids thee despair and die.


Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror.

Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king,

Doth comfort thee in thy sleep. Live and flourish.


Enter the ghost of CLARENCE



(to RICHARD) Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow,

I, that was washed to death [in a cask] with fulsome (cloying) wine,

Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death.

Tomorrow in the battle think on me,

And fall (drop) thy edgeless (useless) sword. Despair, and die!

(to RICHMOND) Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster,

The wrongèd heirs of York do pray for thee.

Good angels guard thy battle. Live and flourish.

Enter the ghosts of RIVERSGRAY, and VAUGHAN



(to RICHARD) Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow,

Rivers, that died at Pomfret. Despair, and die!



(to RICHARD) Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!




Think upon Vaughan, and with guilty fear

Let fall thy lance. Despair, and die!




Awake, and think our wrongs (the wrongs to us) in Richard’s bosom

Will conquer him! Awake, and win the day.


Enter the ghosts of the two young PRINCES




Dream on thy cousins (nephews) smothered in the Tower.

Let us be lead (heavy metal) within thy bosom, Richard,

And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death.

Thy nephews' souls bid thee despair and die.


Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace and wake in joy.

Good angels guard thee from the boar’s annoy (annoyance).

Live, and beget a happy race of kings.

Edward’s unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.


Enter the ghost of HASTINGS



(to RICHARD) Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake,

And in a bloody battle end thy days.

Think on Lord Hastings. Despair, and die!

(to RICHMOND) Quiet, untroubled soul, awake, awake.

Arm, fight, and conquer for fair England’s sake.

Enter the ghost of ANNE




Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife,

That never slept a quiet hour with thee,

Now fills thy sleep with perturbations.

Tomorrow, in the battle, think on me,

And fall thy edgeless sword: Despair, and die!

(to RICHMOND) Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep.

Dream of success and happy victory.

Thy adversary’s wife doth pray for thee.


Enter the ghost of BUCKINGHAM



(to RICHARD) The last was I that helped thee to the crown.

The last was I that felt thy tyranny.

O, in the battle think on Buckingham,

And die in terror of thy guiltiness.

Dream on, dream on of bloody deeds and death.

Fainting (losing heart), despair; despairing, yield thy breath.

(to RICHMOND) I died for hope (hoping I could aid you) ere I could lend thee aid,

But cheer thy heart and be thou not dismayed.

God and good angels fight on Richmond’s side,

And Richard fall in height (at the height) of all his pride.


RICHARD starts out of his dream



Give me another horse! Bind up my wounds!
(He has dreamed that his white horse has been shot from under him)

Have mercy, Jesu!—Soft, I did but dream.

O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!

The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight.

Cold, fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.

What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by.

Richard loves Richard; that is, I and I.

Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am.

Then fly! What, from myself? Great reason why:

Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself?

Alack, I love myself. Wherefore? For any good

That I myself have done unto myself?

O, no! Alas, I rather hate myself

For hateful deeds committed by myself.

I am a villain. Yet I lie. I am not.

Fool, of thyself speak well. Fool, do not flatter.

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,

And every tongue brings in a several (separate) tale,

And every tale condemns me for a villain.

Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree;

Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree;

All several sins, all used in each degree,

Throng to the bar, crying all, “Guilty! guilty!”

I shall despair. There is no creature loves me,

And, if I die, no soul will pity me,

And wherefore (why) should they, since that I myself

Find in myself no pity to myself?

Methought the souls of all that I had murdered

Came to my tent, and every one did threat

Tomorrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard.




My lord.



Zounds (God’s wounds), who is there?



Ratcliffe, my lord, ’tis I. The early village cock

Hath twice done salutation to the morn.

Your friends are up and buckle on their armor.



O Ratcliffe, I have dreamed a fearful dream!

What think’st thou, will our friends prove all true?



No doubt, my lord.



O Ratcliffe, I fear, I fear.



Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.



By the apostle Paul, shadows tonight

Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard

Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers

Armed in [sword-]proof [armor] and led by shallow Richmond.

'Tis not yet near day. Come, go with me.

Under our tents I’ll play the eavesdropper

To see if any mean to shrink from me.


Enter the lords to RICHMOND, sitting in his tent



Good morrow, Richmond.



Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen,

That you have ta'en (come upon) a tardy sluggard here.



How have you slept, my lord?



The sweetest sleep and fairest-boding (most happily prophetic) dreams

That ever entered in a drowsy head

Have I since your departure had, my lords.

Methought their souls whose bodies Richard murdered

Came to my tent and cried (yelped on the scent) on (toward) victory.

I promise you, my soul is very jocund

In the remembrance of so fair a dream.

How far into the morning is it, lords?



Upon the stroke of four.



Why, then ’tis time to arm and give direction.

(to his soldiers)

More than I have said, loving countrymen,

The [want of] leisure and enforcement of the time

Forbids to dwell upon. Yet remember this:

God and our good cause fight upon our side.

The prayers of holy saints and wrongèd souls,

Like high-reared bulwarks (defensive mounds of earth), stand before our faces.

Richard except[ed], those whom we fight against

Had rather have us win than him they follow.

For what is he they follow? Truly, gentlemen,

A bloody tyrant and a homicide,

One raised in blood and one in blood established,

One that made means (manufactured reasons) to come by what he hath

And slaughtered those that were the means to help him,

A base foul stone, made precious by the foil

Of England’s chair (throne), where he is falsely set,

One that hath ever been God’s enemy.

Then, if you fight against God’s enemy,

God will, in justice, ward (protect) you as his soldiers.

If you do sweat to put a tyrant down,

You sleep in peace, the tyrant being slain.

If you do fight against your country’s foes,

Your country’s fat shall pay your pains the hire (the wages for your labor).

If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,

Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors.

If you do free your children from the sword,

Your children’s children quits (repays) it in your [old] age.

Then, in the name of God and all these rights,

Advance your standards (flags). Draw your willing swords.

[as] For me, the ransom (payment in case of failure) of my bold attempt

Shall be this cold corpse on the earth’s cold face,

But, if I thrive, the gain of my attempt

The least of you shall share his part thereof.

Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully.

God and Saint George (patron saint of England)! Richmond and victory!


Enter King RICHARDRATCLIFFE, attendants and forces



What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?



That he was never trainèd up in arms.



He said the truth. And what said Surrey then?



He smiled and said, “The better for our purpose.”



He was in the right, and so, indeed, it is.

The clock striketh

Tell the clock there (count the strokes). Give me a calendar (almanac).

He looks in an almanac

Who saw the sun today?



Not I, my lord.



Then he disdains to shine, for by the book

He should have braved the east an hour ago.

A black day will it be to somebody. Ratcliffe!



My lord.



The sun will not be seen today.

The sky doth frown and lour (scowl) upon our army.

I would these dewy tears were from the ground.

Not shine today? Why, what is that to me

More than to Richmond, for the selfsame heaven

That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.




Arm, arm, my lord. The foe vaunts (displays themselves) in the [battle]field.



Come, bustle, bustle. Caparison (hang trappings on) my horse .—

Call up Lord Stanley; bid him bring his power.—

I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain,

And thus my battle shall be orderèd:

My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,

Consisting equally of horse and foot.

Our archers shall be placèd in the midst.

John, Duke of Norfolk, [and] Thomas, Earl of Surrey,

Shall have the leading of this foot and horse.

They thus directed (deployed), we will follow

In the main battle, whose puissance (power) on either side

Shall be well winged (led in the wings) with our chiefest horse (horsemen).

This, and Saint George to boot (for good measure)—What think’st thou,




A good direction (plan), warlike sovereign.

He sheweth him a paper

This found I on my tent this morning.




Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold.

For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.

A thing devisèd by the enemy.—

Go, gentlemen, every man unto his charge.

Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls.

Conscience is but a word that cowards use,

Devised at first to keep the strong in awe.

Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.




Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold.

For Dickon (the devil) thy master is bought and sold.

A thing devisèd by the enemy.—

Go, gentlemen, every man unto his charge (command).

Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls.

Conscience is but a word that cowards use,

Devised at first to keep the strong in awe.

Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.

March on. Join (engage) bravely. Let us to it pell mell (recklessly)

If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell.

What shall I say more than I have inferred?

Remember [with] whom you are to cope withal,

A sort (assortment) of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,

A scum of Bretons and base lackey (camp following) peasants,

Whom their o'er-cloyèd (overly full) country vomits forth

To desperate ventures and assured destruction.

You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest;

You, having lands and blessed with beauteous wives,

They would restrain the one (landholding), distain (dishonor) the other,

And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,

Long kept in Brittany at our brother’s (brother’s-in-law) (Duke of Burgundy’s) cost,

A milksop (bread soaked in milk), one that never in his life

Felt so much cold as over-shoes in snow?

Let’s whip these stragglers o'er the seas (back to France) again,

Lash hence (away) these overweening (arrogant) rags of France,

These famished beggars weary of their lives,

Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,

For want of means, poor rats, had (would have) hanged themselves.

If we be conquered, let men conquer us

And not these bastard Bretons, whom our fathers

Have in their own land beaten, bobbed (thrashed), and thumped,

And, in [the historical] record, left them the heirs of shame.

Shall these enjoy our lands, lie with our wives,

Ravish our daughters?

Drum afar off

Hark! I hear their drum.

Fight, gentlemen of England.—Fight, bold yeomen (farmers).—

Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head.—

Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood.

Amaze the welkin (sky) with [the sounds of] your broken staves (lances)—


What says Lord Stanley? Will he bring his power?



My lord, he doth deny to come.



Off with his son George’s head!



My lord, the enemy is past the marsh.

After the battle let George Stanley die.



A thousand hearts are great within my bosom.

Advance our standards. Set upon our foes.

Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,

Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons.

Upon them! Victory sits on our helms (helmets).



Act 5, Scene 4: Another part of the field


Alarum (trumpet call to arms). Excursions (attacks). Enter NORFOLK and forces fighting, CATESBY with him



Rescue (come to the rescue), my Lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!

The king enacts more wonders than a man,

Daring an opposite to every danger.

His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights,

Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death.

Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!

Alarums. Enter RICHARD



A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!



Withdraw, my lord. I’ll help you to a horse.



Slave, I have set (wagered) my life upon a cast,
cast=throw of the dice

And I will stand the hazard of the die.
hazard of the die=chance that one of the dice will show a losing number

I think there be six Richmonds in the field.
(sometimes leaders dressed other men in clothes like theirs)

Five have I slain today instead of him.

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!



Act 5, Scene 5: Another part of the field


Alarum. Enter RICHARD and RICHMOND. They fight. RICHARD is slain. Retreat and flourish. Enter RICHMONDSTANLEY bearing the crown, with divers other lords and soldiers



God and your arms be praised, victorious friends!

The day is ours; the bloody dog is dead.



(offering him the crown)

Courageous Richmond, well hast thou acquit thee (acquitted yourself).

Lo, here this long-usurpèd royalty (crown)

From the dead temples (head) of this bloody wretch

Have I plucked off to grace thy brows withal.

Wear it, enjoy it, and make much of it.



Great God of heaven, say amen to all!

But tell me, is young George Stanley living?



He is, my lord, and safe in Leicester town,

Whither, if it please you, we may now withdraw us.



What men of name (rank) are slain on either side?



John, Duke of Norfolk, Walter, Lord Ferrers,

Sir Robert Brakenbury, and Sir William Brandon.


RICHMOND (later, King Henry VII)

Inter their bodies as becomes their births.

Proclaim a pardon to the soldiers fled

That in submission will return to us,

And, then, as we have ta'en the sacrament (vowed upon the Eucharist),

We will unite the white rose and the red (unite the House of Lancaster and the House of York).

Smile heavens upon this fair conjunction

That long have frowned upon their enmity.

What traitor hears me and says not “Amen?”
(only traitors don’t say, “Amen”)

England hath long been mad and scarred herself.

The brother blindly shed the brother’s blood.

The father rashly slaughtered his own son.

The son, compelled, [has] been butcher to the sire.

All this divided York and Lancaster,

Divided, in their dire division.

O, now let Richmond and Elizabeth (daughter of Edward IV),

The true succeeders of each royal house,

By God’s fair ordinance conjoin together (marry),

And let their heirs, God, if thy will be so,

Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace,

With smiling plenty and fair prosperous days!

Abate the edge (blunt the swords’ edges) of traitors, gracious Lord,

That would reduce (bring back) these bloody days again

And make poor England weep in streams of blood!

Let them not live to taste this land’s increase

That would with treason wound this fair land’s peace.

Now civil wounds are stopped, peace lives again.

That she may long live here, God say amen.