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Richard III

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ACT III SCENE II Before Lord Hastings' house. 
 Enter a Messenger. [Knocking.] 
Messenger What, ho! my lord! 
Messenger A messenger from the Lord Stanley. 
HASTINGS What is't o'clock? 
Messenger Upon the stroke of four.  5
HASTINGS Cannot thy master sleep these tedious nights? 
Messenger So it should seem by that I have to say. 
 First, he commends him to your noble lordship. 
HASTINGS And then? 
Messenger And then he sends you word
 He dreamt to-night the boar had razed his helm:  10
 Besides, he says there are two councils held; 
 And that may be determined at the one 
 which may make you and him to rue at the other. 
 Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,
 If presently you will take horse with him,  15
 And with all speed post with him toward the north, 
 To shun the danger that his soul divines. 
HASTINGS Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord; 
 Bid him not fear the separated councils
 His honour and myself are at the one,  20
 And at the other is my servant Catesby 
 Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us 
 Whereof I shall not have intelligence. 
 Tell him his fears are shallow, wanting instance:
 And for his dreams, I wonder he is so fond  25
 To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers 
 To fly the boar before the boar pursues, 
 Were to incense the boar to follow us 
 And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
 Go, bid thy master rise and come to me  30
 And we will both together to the Tower, 
 Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly. 
Messenger My gracious lord, I'll tell him what you say. 
 Enter CATESBY. 
CATESBY Many good morrows to my noble lord!
HASTINGS Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring  35
 What news, what news, in this our tottering state? 
CATESBY It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord; 
 And I believe twill never stand upright 
 Tim Richard wear the garland of the realm.
HASTINGS How! wear the garland! dost thou mean the crown?  40
CATESBY Ay, my good lord. 
HASTINGS I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders 
 Ere I will see the crown so foul misplaced. 
 But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
CATESBY Ay, on my life; and hopes to find forward  45
 Upon his party for the gain thereof: 
 And thereupon he sends you this good news, 
 That this same very day your enemies, 
 The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.
HASTINGS Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,  50
 Because they have been still mine enemies: 
 But, that I'll give my voice on Richard's side, 
 To bar my master's heirs in true descent, 
 God knows I will not do it, to the death.
CATESBY God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!  55
HASTINGS But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence, 
 That they who brought me in my master's hate 
 I live to look upon their tragedy. 
 I tell thee, Catesby--
CATESBY What, my lord? 
HASTINGS Ere a fortnight make me older, 
 I'll send some packing that yet think not on it.  60
CATESBY 'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord, 
 When men are unprepared and look not for it.
HASTINGS O monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out 
 With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill do 
 With some men else, who think themselves as safe  65
 As thou and I; who, as thou know'st, are dear 
 To princely Richard and to Buckingham.
CATESBY The princes both make high account of you -- 
 [Aside] For they account his head upon the bridge. 
HASTINGS I know they do; and I have well deserved it.  70
 Enter STANLEY. 
 Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man? 
 Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?
STANLEY My lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby: 
 You may jest on, but, by the holy rood, 
 I do not like these several councils, I.  75
HASTINGS My lord, 
 I hold my life as dear as you do yours;
 And never in my life, I do protest, 
 Was it more precious to me than 'tis now: 
 Think you, but that I know our state secure,  80
 I would be so triumphant as I am? 
STANLEY The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
 Were jocund, and supposed their state was sure, 
 And they indeed had no cause to mistrust; 
 But yet, you see how soon the day o'ercast.  85
 This sudden stag of rancour I misdoubt: 
 Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
 What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent. 
HASTINGS Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my lord? 
 To-day the lords you talk of are beheaded.  90
LORD STANLEY They, for their truth, might better wear their heads 
 Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
 But come, my lord, let us away. 
 Enter a Pursuivant. 
HASTINGS Go on before; I'll talk with this good fellow. 
 How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee?  95
Pursuivant The better that your lordship please to ask. 
HASTINGS I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now
 Than when I met thee last where now we meet: 
 Then was I going prisoner to the Tower, 
 By the suggestion of the queen's allies;  100
 But now, I tell thee--keep it to thyself-- 
 This day those enemies are put to death,
 And I in better state than e'er I was. 
Pursuivant God hold it, to your honour's good content! 
HASTINGS Gramercy, fellow: there, drink that for me.  105
 Throws him his purse. 
Pursuivant God save your lordship! 
 Enter a Priest. 
Priest Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.
HASTINGS I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart. 
 I am in your debt for your last exercise; 
 Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.  110
 He whispers in his ear 
BUCKINGHAM What, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain? 
 Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest;
 Your honour hath no shriving work in hand. 
HASTINGS Good faith, and when I met this holy man, 
 Those men you talk of came into my mind.  115
 What, go you toward the Tower? 
BUCKINGHAM I do, my lord; but long I shall not stay
 I shall return before your lordship thence. 
HASTINGS 'Tis like enough, for I stay dinner there. 
BUCKINGHAM Aside And supper too, although thou knowest it not.  120
 Come, will you go? 
HASTINGS I'll wait upon your lordship. 

Richard III, Act 3, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 2

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.


10. Razed, struck. Helm, helmet.

24. Instance, motive.

52. Voice, vote.

69. Bridge, London Bridge, on which the heads of executed traitors were exposed.

74. Rood, the cross or crucifix placed in every church. The same word as rod, which is shortened from M.E. rood. A.-S. rod, a gallows, a cross, properly a rod, or pole.

88. The day is spent. Yet the scene opens at four in the morning (line 5).

89. Have with you = come along.

105. Gramercy = thanks! From Fr. grand merci, much thanks.

108. Sir John. The title Sir was applied to such priests as had taken the degree of bachelor at a university.

109. Exercise, an exposition of Scripture.

110. Content, pay, satisfy.

113. Your honor has no occasion to be making your shrift, or last confession.

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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