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Richard III

Please see the bottom of this page for full explanatory notes.

ACT III SCENE I London. A street. 
 The trumpets sound. Enter the young PRINCE EDWARD, GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, CARDINAL, CATESBY, and others. 
BUCKINGHAM Welcome, sweet prince, to London, to your chamber. 
GLOUCESTER Welcome, dear cousin, my thoughts' sovereign 
 The weary way hath made you melancholy. 
PRINCE EDWARD No, uncle; but our crosses on the way
 Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy  5
 I want more uncles here to welcome me. 
GLOUCESTER Sweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years 
 Hath not yet dived into the world's deceit 
 Nor more can you distinguish of a man
 Than of his outward show; which, God he knows,  10
 Seldom or never jumpeth with the heart. 
 Those uncles which you want were dangerous; 
 Your grace attended to their sugar'd words, 
 But look'd not on the poison of their hearts :
 God keep you from them, and from such false friends!  15
PRINCE EDWARD God keep me from false friends! but they were none. 
GLOUCESTER My lord, the mayor of London comes to greet you. 
 Enter the Lord Mayor and his train. 
Lord Mayor God bless your grace with health and happy days! 
PRINCE EDWARD I thank you, good my lord; and thank you all.
 I thought my mother, and my brother York,  20
 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! 
BUCKINGHAM And, in good time, here comes the sweating lord.
PRINCE EDWARD Welcome, my lord: what, will our mother come?  25
HASTINGS On what occasion, God he knows, not I, 
 The queen your mother, and your brother York, 
 Have taken sanctuary: the tender prince 
 Would fain have come with me to meet your grace,
 But by his mother was perforce withheld.  30
BUCKINGHAM Fie, what an indirect and peevish course 
 Is this of hers! Lord cardinal, will your grace 
 Persuade the queen to send the Duke of York 
 Unto his princely brother presently?
 If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him,  35
 And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce. 
CARDINAL My Lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory 
 Can from his mother win the Duke of York, 
 Anon expect him here; but if she be obdurate
 To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid  40
 We should infringe the holy privilege 
 Of blessed sanctuary! not for all this land 
 Would I be guilty of so deep a sin. 
BUCKINGHAM You are too senseless--obstinate, my lord,
 Too ceremonious and traditional  45
 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,
 And those who have the wit to claim the place:  50
 This prince hath neither claim'd it nor deserved it; 
 And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it: 
 Then, taking him from thence that is not there, 
 You break no privilege nor charter there.
 Oft have I heard of sanctuary men;  55
 But sanctuary children ne'er till now. 
CARDINAL My lord, you shall o'er-rule my mind for once. 
 Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me? 
HASTINGS I go, my lord.
PRINCE EDWARD Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.  60
 Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come, 
 Where shall we sojourn till our coronation? 
GLOUCESTER Where it seems best unto your royal self. 
 If I may counsel you, some day or two
 Your highness shall repose you at the Tower:  65
 Then where you please, and shall be thought most fit 
 For your best health and recreation. 
PRINCE EDWARD I do not like the Tower, of any place. 
 Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?
BUCKINGHAM He did, my gracious lord, begin that place;  70
 Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified. 
PRINCE EDWARD Is it upon record, or else reported 
 Successively from age to age, he built it? 
BUCKINGHAM Upon record, my gracious lord.
PRINCE EDWARD But say, my lord, it were not register'd,  75
 Methinks the truth should live from age to age, 
 As 'twere retail'd to all posterity, 
 Even to the general all-ending day. 
GLOUCESTER [Aside] So wise so young, they say, 
 do never live long.
PRINCE EDWARD What say you, uncle?  80
GLOUCESTER I say, without characters, fame lives long. 
 [Aside] Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity, 
 I moralize two meanings in one word. 
PRINCE EDWARD That Julius Caesar was a famous man;
 With what his valour did enrich his wit,  85
 His wit set down to make his valour live 
 Death makes no conquest of this conqueror; 
 For now he lives in fame, though not in life. 
 I'll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham,--
BUCKINGHAM What, my gracious lord?  90
PRINCE EDWARD An if I live until I be a man, 
 I'll win our ancient right in France again, 
 Or die a soldier, as I lived a king. 
GLOUCESTER [Aside] Short summers lightly have a forward spring. 
 Enter young YORK, HASTINGS, and the CARDINAL. 
BUCKINGHAM Now, in good time, here comes the Duke of York.  95
PRINCE EDWARD Richard of York! how fares our loving brother? 
YORK Well, my dread lord; so must I call you now. 
PRINCE EDWARD Ay, brother, to our grief, as it is yours: 

Too late he died that might have kept that title,
 Which by his death hath lost much majesty.  100
GLOUCESTER How fares our cousin, noble Lord of York? 
YORK I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord, 
 You said that idle weeds are fast in growth 
 The prince my brother hath outgrown me far. 
GLOUCESTER He hath, my lord.  105
YORK And therefore is he idle? 
GLOUCESTER O, my fair cousin, I must not say so. 
YORK Then is he more beholding to you than I. 
GLOUCESTER He may command me as my sovereign; 
 But you have power in me as in a kinsman.
YORK I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger.  110
GLOUCESTER My dagger, little cousin? with all my heart. 
PRINCE EDWARD A beggar, brother? 
YORK Of my kind uncle, that I know will give; 
 And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.
GLOUCESTER A greater gift than that I'll give my cousin.  115
YORK A greater gift! O, that's the sword to it. 
GLOUCESTER A gentle cousin, were it light enough. 
YORK O, then, I see, you will part but with light gifts; 
 In weightier things you'll say a beggar nay.
GLOUCESTER It is too heavy for your grace to wear.  120
YORK I weigh it lightly, were it heavier. 
GLOUCESTER What, would you have my weapon, little lord? 
YORK I would, that I might thank you as you call me. 
YORK Little.  125
PRINCE EDWARD My Lord of York will still be cross in talk: 
 Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him. 
YORK 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,  130
 He thinks that you should bear me on your shoulders. 
BUCKINGHAM 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.  135
GLOUCESTER 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.
YORK What, will you go unto the Tower, my lord?  140
PRINCE EDWARD My lord protector needs will have it so. 
YORK I shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower. 
GLOUCESTER Why, what should you fear? 
YORK Marry, my uncle Clarence' angry ghost:
 My grandam told me he was murdered there.  145
PRINCE EDWARD I fear no uncles dead. 
GLOUCESTER Nor none that live, I hope. 
PRINCE EDWARD An if they live, I hope I need not fear. 
 But come, my lord; and with a heavy heart,
 Thinking on them, go I unto the Tower.  150
 A Sennet. Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM and CATESBY. 
BUCKINGHAM Think you, my lord, this little prating York 
 Was not incensed by his subtle mother 
 To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously? 
GLOUCESTER No doubt, no doubt; O, 'tis a parlous boy;
 Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable  155
 He is all the mother's, from the top to toe. 
BUCKINGHAM Well, let them rest. Come hither, Catesby. 
 Thou art sworn as deeply to effect what we intend 
 As closely to conceal what we impart:
 Thou know'st our reasons urged upon the way;  160
 What think'st thou? is it not an easy matter 
 To make William Lord Hastings of our mind, 
 For the instalment of this noble duke 
 In the seat royal of this famous isle?
CATESBY He for his father's sake so loves the prince,  165
 That he will not be won to aught against him. 
BUCKINGHAM What think'st thou, then, of Stanley? what will he? 
CATESBY He will do all in all as Hastings doth. 
BUCKINGHAM Well, then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
 And, as it were far off sound thou Lord Hastings,  170
 How doth he stand affected to our purpose; 
 And summon him to-morrow to the Tower, 
 To sit about the coronation. 
 If thou dost find him tractable to us,
 Encourage him, and show him all our reasons:  175
 If he be leaden, icy-cold, unwilling, 
 Be thou so too; and so break off your talk, 
 And give us notice of his inclination: 
 For we to-morrow hold divided councils,
 Wherein thyself shalt highly be employ'd.  180
GLOUCESTER Commend me to Lord William: tell him, Catesby, 
 His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries 
 To-morrow are let blood at Pomfret Castle; 
 And bid my friend, for joy of this good news,
 Give mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more.  185
BUCKINGHAM Good Catesby, go, effect this business soundly. 
CATESBY My good lords both, with all the heed I may. 
GLOUCESTER Shall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep? 
CATESBY You shall, my lord.
GLOUCESTER At Crosby Place, there shall you find us both.  190
BUCKINGHAM Now, my lord, what shall we do, if we perceive 
 Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots? 
GLOUCESTER Chop off his head, man; somewhat we will do: 
 And, look, when I am king, claim thou of me  195
 The earldom of Hereford, and the moveables 
 Whereof the king my brother stood possess'd. 
BUCKINGHAM I'll claim that promise at your grace's hands. 
GLOUCESTER And look to have it yielded with all willingness. 
 Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards  200
 We may digest our complots in some form. 

Richard III, Act 3, Scene 2


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 1

From King Richard III. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard.

Abbreviations. — A.-S. = Anglo-Saxon: M.E. = Middle English (from the 13th to the 15th century) ; Fr. = French ; Ger. = German ; Gr. = Greek ; Cf. = compare (Lat. confer) ; Abbott refers to the excellent Shakespearean Grammar of Dr. Abbott; Schmidt, to Dr. Schmidt's invaluable Shakespeare Lexicon.


1. Chamber. London was anciently called Camera regis, the King's Chamber.

2. Cousin means (1) the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt; (2) any kinsman or kinswoman, as nephew, uncle, niece, grandchild (II. ii. 8; II. iv. 9); (3) a title applied by princes to other princes and distinguished noblemen.

9. Of = as regards, concerning.

11. Jumpeth, agrees.

31. Peevish, silly, childish.

32. Cardinal. The unaccented i in the middle of this word is dropped in reading. Thomas Bourchier was created Archbishop of Canterbury in 1454, and cardinal in 1464.

46-47. Weigh this action against the violent practices of these times, and it cannot be considered as a breach of sanctuary; or, Weigh it by the same standard with which actions are weighed in this gross age, and it cannot be looked upon as a breach of sanctuary.

66. Supply where it before shall be thought.

68. Of any place, of all places I dislike the Tower most. This is due to a confusion of two constructions : I dislike the Tower more than any place, and most of all places. This is a Greek idiom, but occurs pretty frequently in Shakespeare.

69. It was supposed that Julius Caesar built the Tower, as well as the castles of Dover, Rochester, and Salisbury.

71. Re-edified, rebuilt, the word in its primary meaning.

79. The saying is ascribed to Cato the Censor : For (saith hee) youth resembling age is an undoubted signe of untimely death, or short life.

82. Formal vice, the conventional vice of the old dramas. In the old moralities, there was always one character bearing the name of some vice, sometimes of Iniquity itself. He was grotesquely dressed in a cap with asses' ears, a long coat, and a dagger of lath; and he was always accompanied by the devil, whom he belabored with his dagger, but was ultimately carried off by him to hell. His principal business was to make the audience laugh, and his chief device to this end was to play upon the double meaning of words.

94. Lightly = usually.

155. Capable, able.

179. Divided councils, besides the public council held in the Tower, there was a private one at Crosby-place.

185. Mistress Shore. According to Hall, Hastings took her for his mistress after the king's death.

192. Complots, conspiracies.

195. Earldom of Hereford. Buckingham claimed this as his inheritance, but could never obtain it in King Edward's time.

How to cite the explanatory notes:

Shakespeare, William. Richard III. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1886. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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