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Richard III

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ACT IV SCENE IV Before the Palace. 
QUEEN MARGARETSo, now prosperity begins to mellow
And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
Here in these confines slily have I lurk'd,
To watch the waning of mine adversaries.
A dire induction am I witness to,
And will to France, hoping the consequence
Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.
Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret: who comes here?
[ Retires.
QUEEN ELIZABETHAh, my young princes! ah, my tender babes!
My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets!10
If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
And be not fix'd in doom perpetual,
Hover about me with your airy wings
And hear your mother's lamentation!
QUEEN MARGARETHover about her; say, that right for right
Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.
DUCHESS OF YORKSo many miseries have crazed my voice,
That my woe-wearied tongue is mute and dumb,
Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
QUEEN MARGARETPlantagenet doth quit Plantagenet.20
Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
QUEEN ELIZABETHWilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs,
And throw them in the entrails of the wolf?

When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?
QUEEN MARGARETWhen holy Harry died, and my sweet son.25
DUCHESS OF YORKBlind sight, dead life, poor mortal living ghost,
Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd,
Brief abstract and record of tedious days,
Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
[Sitting down.
Unlawfully made drunk with innocents' blood!30
QUEEN ELIZABETHO, that thou wouldst as well afford a grave
As thou canst yield a melancholy seat!
Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
O, who hath any cause to mourn but I?
[Sitting down by her]
QUEEN MARGARETIf ancient sorrow be most reverend,
Give mine the benefit of seniory,
And let my woes frown on the upper hand.
If sorrow can admit society,
[Sitting down with them]
Tell o'er your woes again by viewing mine:
I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;40
I had a Henry, till a Richard kill'd him:
Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard killed him;
DUCHESS OF YORKI had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him.
QUEEN MARGARETThou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard kill'd him.
From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
A hell-hound that doth hunt us all to death:
That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood,50
That foul defacer of God's handiwork,
That excellent grand tyrant of the earth,
That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,
Thy womb let loose, to chase us to our graves.
O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
How do I thank thee, that this carnal cur
Preys on the issue of his mother's body,
And makes her pew-fellow with others' moan!
DUCHESS OF YORKO Harry's wife, triumph not in my woes!
God witness with me, I have wept for thine.60
QUEEN MARGARETBear with me; I am hungry for revenge,
And now I cloy me with beholding it.
Thy Edward he is dead, that kill'd my Edward:
Thy other Edward dead to quit my Edward;
Young York he is but boot, because both they
Match not the high perfection of my loss:
Thy Clarence he is dead that kill'd my Edward;
And the beholders of this tragic play,
The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
Untimely smother'd in their dusky graves.70
Richard yet lives, hell's black intelligencer,
Only reserved their factor, to buy souls
And send them thither: but at hand, at hand,
Ensues his piteous and unpitied end:
Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray.
To have him suddenly convey'd away.
Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I prey,
That I may live to say, "The dog is dead!"
QUEEN ELIZABETHO, thou didst prophesy the time would come
That I should wish for thee to help me curse80
That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back'd toad!
QUEEN MARGARETI call'd thee then vain flourish of my fortune;
I call'd thee then poor shadow, painted queen;
The presentation of but what I was;
The flattering index of a direful pageant;
One heaved a-high, to be hurl'd down below;
A mother only mock'd with two sweet babes;
A dream of what thou wert, a breath, a bubble,
A sign of dignity, a garish flag,
To be the aim of every dangerous shot,90
A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
Where is thy husband now? where be thy brothers?
Where are thy children? wherein dost thou, joy?
Who sues to thee and cries "God save the queen?"
Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee?
Where be the thronging troops that follow'd thee?
Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
For happy wife, a most distressed widow;
For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
For queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care;100
For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
For one that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
For one being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
For one commanding all, obey'd of none.
Thus hath the course of justice wheel'd about,
And left thee but a very prey to time;
Having no more but thought of what thou wert,
To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow?110
Now thy proud neck bears half my burthen'd yoke;
From which even here I slip my wearied head,
And leave the burthen of it all on thee.
Farewell, York's wife, and queen of sad mischance:
These English woes will make me smile in France.
QUEEN ELIZABETHO thou well skill'd in curses, stay awhile,
And teach me how to curse mine enemies!
QUEEN MARGARETForbear to sleep the nights, and fast the days;
Compare dead happiness with living woe;
Think that thy babes were fairer than they were,120
And he that slew them fouler than he is:
Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse:
Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.
QUEEN ELIZABETHMy words are dull; O, quicken them with thine!
QUEEN MARGARETThy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine.
DUCHESS OF YORKWhy should calamity be full of words?
QUEEN ELIZABETHWindy attorneys to their client woes,
Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries!
Let them have scope: though what they do impart130
Help not all, yet do they ease the heart.
DUCHESS OF YORKIf so, then be not tongue-tied: go with me.
And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
My damned son, which thy two sweet sons smother'd. [ Trumpets within.
The trumpet sounds: be copious in exclaims.
[Enter KING RICHARD III and his Train, marching, with drums and trumpets]
KING RICHARD IIIWho intercepts my expedition?
DUCHESS OF YORKO, she that might have intercepted thee,
By strangling thee in her accursed womb
From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!
QUEEN ELIZABETHHidest thou that forehead with a golden crown,140
Where should be graven, if that right were right,
The slaughter of the prince that owed that crown,
And the dire death of my two sons and brothers?
Tell me, thou villain slave, where are my children?
DUCHESS OF YORKThou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?
And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
QUEEN ELIZABETHWhere is kind Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
KING RICHARD IIIA flourish, trumpets! strike alarum, drums!
Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
Rail on the Lord's enointed: strike, I say!150
[Flourish. Alarums]
Either be patient, and entreat me fair,
Or with the clamorous report of war
Thus will I drown your exclamations.
DUCHESS OF YORKArt thou my son?
KING RICHARD IIIAy, I thank God, my father, and yourself.
DUCHESS OF YORKThen patiently hear my impatience.
KING RICHARD IIIMadam, I have a touch of your condition,
Which cannot brook the accent of reproof.
DUCHESS OF YORKO, let me speak!
KING RICHARD IIIDo then: but I'll not hear.
DUCHESS OF YORKI will be mild and gentle in my words.160
KING RICHARD IIIAnd brief, good mother; for I am in haste.
DUCHESS OF YORKArt thou so hasty? I have stay'd for thee,
God knows, in anguish, pain and agony.
KING RICHARD IIIAnd came I not at last to comfort you?
DUCHESS OF YORKNo, by the holy rood, thou know'st it well,
Thou camest on earth to make the earth my hell.
A grievous burthen was thy birth to me;
Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy;
Thy school-days frightful, desperate, wild, and furious,170
Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous,
Thy age confirm'd, proud, subdued, bloody,
More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred:
What comfortable hour canst thou name,
That ever graced me in thy company?
KING RICHARD III'Faith, none, but Humphrey Hour, that call'd
your grace
To breakfast once forth of my company.
If I be so disgracious in your eye,
Let me march on, and not offend you, madam.
Strike up the drum.
DUCHESS OF YORKI prithee, hear me speak.
KING RICHARD IIIYou speak too bitterly.
DUCHESS OF YORKHear me a word;
For I shall never speak to thee again.
DUCHESS OF YORKEither thou wilt die, by God's just ordinance,
Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror,
Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish,190
And never more behold thy face again.
Therefore take with thee my most heavy curse;
Which, in the day of battle, tire thee more
Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
My prayers on the adverse party fight;
And there the little souls of Edward's children
Whisper the spirits of thine enemies
And promise them success and victory.
Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end;
Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.200
QUEEN ELIZABETHThough far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse
Abides in me; I say amen to all.
KING RICHARD IIIStay, madam; I must speak a word with you.
QUEEN ELIZABETHI have no more sons of the royal blood
For thee to murder: for my daughters, Richard,
They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens;
And therefore level not to hit their lives.
KING RICHARD IIIYou have a daughter call'd Elizabeth,
Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
QUEEN ELIZABETHAnd must she die for this? O, let her live,210
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 unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.
KING RICHARD IIIWrong not her birth, she is of royal blood.
QUEEN ELIZABETHTo save her life, I'll say she is not so.
KING RICHARD IIIHer life is only safest in her birth.
QUEEN ELIZABETHAnd only in that safety died her brothers.
KING RICHARD IIILo, at their births good stars were opposite.220
QUEEN ELIZABETHNo, to their lives bad friends were contrary.
KING RICHARD IIIAll unavoided is the doom of destiny.
QUEEN ELIZABETHTrue, when avoided grace makes destiny:
My babes were destined to a fairer death,
If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.
KING RICHARD IIIYou speak as if that I had slain my cousins.
QUEEN ELIZABETHCousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen'd
Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
Whose hand soever lanced their tender hearts,
Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:230
No doubt the murderous 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,
My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
Till that my nails were anchor'd in thine eyes;
And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.
KING RICHARD IIIMadam, so thrive I in my enterprise240
And dangerous success of bloody wars,
As I intend more good to you and yours,
Than ever you or yours were by me wrong'd!
QUEEN ELIZABETHWhat good is cover'd with the face of heaven,
To be discover'd, that can do me good?
KING RICHARD IIIThe advancement of your children, gentle lady.
QUEEN ELIZABETHUp to some scaffold, there to lose their heads?
KING RICHARD IIINo, to the dignity and height of honour
The high imperial type of this earth's glory.
QUEEN ELIZABETHFlatter my sorrows with report of it;250
Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour,
Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
KING RICHARD IIIEven all I have; yea, and myself and all,
Will I withal endow a child of thine;
So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs
Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
QUEEN ELIZABETHBe brief, lest that be process of thy kindness
Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.
KING RICHARD IIIThen know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.260
QUEEN ELIZABETHMy daughter's mother thinks it with her soul.
KING RICHARD IIIWhat do you think?
QUEEN ELIZABETHThat thou dost love my daughter from thy soul:
So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers;
And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.
KING RICHARD IIIBe not so hasty to confound my meaning:
I mean, that with my soul I love thy daughter,
And mean to make her queen of England.
QUEEN ELIZABETHSay then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?
KING RICHARD IIIEven he that makes her queen who should be else?270
KING RICHARD IIII, even I: what think you of it, madam?
QUEEN ELIZABETHHow canst thou woo her?
KING RICHARD IIIThat would I learn of you,
As one that are best acquainted with her humour.
QUEEN ELIZABETHAnd wilt thou learn of me?
KING RICHARD IIIMadam, with all my heart.
QUEEN ELIZABETHSend to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
A pair of bleeding-hearts; thereon engrave
"Edward and York"; then haply she will weep:
Therefore present to her--as sometime Margaret
Did to thy father, steep'd in Rutland's blood,--280
A handkerchief; which, say to her, did drain
The purple sap from her sweet brother's body
And bid her dry her weeping eyes therewith.
If this inducement force her not to love,
Send her a story of thy noble acts;
Tell her thou madest away her uncle Clarence,
Her uncle Rivers; yea, and, for her sake,
Mad'st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
KING RICHARD IIICome, come, you mock me; this is not the way
To win our daughter.
QUEEN ELIZABETHThere's no other way290
Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,
And not be Richard that hath done all this.
KING RICHARD IIISay that I did all this for love of her.
QUEEN ELIZABETHNay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.
KING RICHARD IIILook, what is done cannot be now amended:
Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
Which after hours give leisure to repent.
If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
To make amends, Ill give it to your daughter.300
If I have kill'd the issue of your womb,
To quicken your increase, I will beget
Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter
A grandam's name is little less in love
Than is the doting title of a mother;
They are as children but one step below,
Even of your mettle, of your very blood;
Of an one pain, save for a night of groans
Endured of her, for whom you bid like sorrow.
Your children were vexation to your youth,
But mine shall be a comfort to your age.
The loss you have is but a son being king,
And by that loss your daughter is made queen.
I cannot make you what amends I would,
Therefore accept such kindness as I can.310
Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul
Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
This fair alliance 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
Repair'd with double riches of content.
What! we have many goodly days to see:320
The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
Shall come again, transform'd to orient pearl,
Advantaging their loan with interest
Of ten times double gain of happiness.
Go, then my mother, to thy daughter go
Make bold her bashful years with your experience;
Prepare her ears to hear a wooer's tale
Put in her tender heart the aspiring flame
Of golden sov'reignty; acquaint the princess
With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys330
And when this arm of mine hath chastised
The petty rebel, dull-brain'd Buckingham,
Bound with triumphant garlands will I come
And lead thy daughter to a conqueror's bed;
To whom I will retail my conquest won,
And she shall be sole victress, Caesar's Caesar.
QUEEN ELIZABETHWhat 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 honour and her love,
Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
KING RICHARD IIIInfer fair England's peace by this alliance.
QUEEN ELIZABETHWhich she shall purchase with still lasting war.
KING RICHARD IIISay that the king, which may command, entreats.
QUEEN ELIZABETHThat at her hands which the king's King forbids.
KING RICHARD IIISay, she shall be a high and mighty queen.
QUEEN ELIZABETHTo wail the tide, as her mother doth.
KING RICHARD IIISay, I will love her everlastingly.
QUEEN ELIZABETHBut how long shall that title "ever" last?350
KING RICHARD IIISweetly in force unto her fair life's end.
QUEEN ELIZABETHBut how long fairly shall her sweet lie last?
KING RICHARD IIISo long as heaven and nature lengthens it.
QUEEN ELIZABETHSo long as hell and Richard likes of it.
KING RICHARD IIISay, I, her sovereign, am her subject love.
QUEEN ELIZABETHBut she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.
KING RICHARD IIIBe eloquent in my behalf to her.
QUEEN ELIZABETHAn honest tale speeds best being plainly told.
KING RICHARD IIIThen in plain terms tell her my loving tale.
QUEEN ELIZABETHPlain and not honest is too harsh a style.360
KING RICHARD IIIYour reasons are too shallow and too quick.
QUEEN ELIZABETHO no, my reasons are too deep and dead;
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their grave.
KING RICHARD IIIHarp not on that string, madam; that is past.
QUEEN ELIZABETHHarp on it still shall I till heart-strings break.
KING RICHARD IIINow, by my George, my garter, and my crown,--
QUEEN ELIZABETHProfan'd, dishonour'd, and the third usurp'd.
QUEEN ELIZABETHBy nothing; for this is no oath:
The George, profan'd, hath lost his holy honour;
The garter, blemish'd, pawn'd his knightly virtue;370
The crown, usurp'd, disgrac'd his knightly glory.
if something thou wilt swear to be believ'd,
Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.
KING RICHARD IIINow, by the world--
QUEEN ELIZABETH'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
KING RICHARD IIIMy father's death--
QUEEN ELIZABETHThy life hath that dishonour'd.
KING RICHARD IIIThen, by myself--
QUEEN ELIZABETHThyself thyself misusest.
KING RICHARD IIIWhy then, by God--
QUEEN ELIZABETHGod's wrong is most of all.
If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
The unity the king thy brother made
Had not been broken, nor my brother slain:380
If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
The imperial metal, circling now thy brow,
Had grac'd the tender temples of my child,
And both the princes had been breathing here,
Which now, too tender bedfellows for dust,
Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
What canst thou swear by now?
KING RICHARD IIIThe time to come.
QUEEN ELIZABETHThat thou hast wronged in the time o'erpast;
For I myself have many tears to wash390
Hereafter time, for time past wrong'd by thee.
The children live, whose fathers thou hast
Ungovern'd youth, to wail it in their age;
The parents live, whose children thou hast butcher'd,
Old wither'd plants, to wail it with their age.
Swear not by time to come; for that thou hast
Misused ere used, by time misused o'erpast.
KING RICHARD IIIAs I intend to prosper and repent,
So thrive I in my dangerous attempt
Of hostile arms! myself myself confound!
Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours!400
Day, yield me not thy light; nor, night, thy rest!
Be opposite all planets of good luck
To my proceedings, if, with pure heart's love,
Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter!
In her consists my happiness and thine;
Without her, follows to this land and me,
To thee, herself, and many a Christian soul,
Death, desolation, ruin and decay:
It cannot be avoided but by this;410
It will not be avoided but by this.
Therefore, dear mother, --I must call you so--
Be the attorney of my love to her:
Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
Not my deserts, but what I will deserve:
Urge the necessity and state of times,
And be not peevish-fond in great designs.
QUEEN ELIZABETHShall I be tempted of the devil thus?
KING RICHARD IIIAy, if the devil tempt thee to do good.
QUEEN ELIZABETHShall I forget myself to be myself?420
KING RICHARD IIIAy, if yourself's remembrance wrong yourself.
QUEEN ELIZABETHBut thou didst kill my children.
KING RICHARD IIIBut in your daughter's womb I bury them:
Where in that nest of spicery they shall breed
Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
QUEEN ELIZABETHShall I go win my daughter to thy will?
KING RICHARD IIIAnd be a happy mother by the deed.
QUEEN ELIZABETHI go. Write to me very shortly.
And you shall understand from me her mind.
KING RICHARD IIIBear her my true love's kiss; and so, farewell.
[Kissing her. Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!
Enter RATCLIFF; CATESBY following.
How now! what news?430
RATCLIFFMy gracious sovereign, on the western coast
Rideth a puissant navy; to the shore
Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
Unarm'd, and unresolved to beat them back:
'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
And there they hull, expecting but the aid
Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.
KING RICHARD IIISome light-foot friend post to the Duke of Norfolk:
Ratcliff, thyself, or Catesby; where is he?
CATESBYHere, my lord.
KING RICHARD IIIFly to the duke:440
Post thou to Salisbury
When thou comest thither--
Dull, unmindful villain,
Why stand'st thou still, and go'st not to the duke?
CATESBYFirst, mighty sovereign, let me know your mind,
What from your grace I shall deliver to him.
KING RICHARD IIIO, true, good Catesby: bid him levy straight
The greatest strength and power he can make,
And meet me presently at Salisbury.
RATCLIFFWhat is't your highness' pleasure I shall do at
KING RICHARD IIIWhy, what wouldst thou do there before I go?
RATCLIFFYour highness told me I should post before.
KING RICHARD IIIMy mind is changed, sir, my mind is changed.
How now, what news with you?
STANLEYNone good, my lord, to please you with the hearing;
Nor none so bad, but it may well be told.
KING RICHARD IIIHoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
Why dost thou run so many mile about,
When thou mayst tell thy tale a nearer way?
Once more, what news?460
STANLEYRichmond is on the seas.
KING RICHARD IIIThere let him sink, and be the seas on him!
White-liver'd runagate, what doth he there?
STANLEYI know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
KING RICHARD IIIWell, sir, as you guess, as you guess?
STANLEYStirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Ely,
He makes for England, there to claim the crown.
KING RICHARD IIIIs the chair empty? is the sword unsway'd?
Is the king dead? the empire unpossess'd?
What heir of York is there alive but we?
And who is England's king but great York's heir?470
Then, tell me, what doth he upon the sea?
STANLEYUnless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
KING RICHARD IIIUnless for that he comes to be your liege,
You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
Thou wilt revolt, and fly to him, I fear.
STANLEYNo, mighty liege; therefore mistrust me not.
KING RICHARD IIIWhere is thy power, then, to beat him back?
Where are thy tenants and thy followers?
Are they not now upon the western shore.
Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?480
STANLEYNo, my good lord, my friends are in the north.
KING RICHARD IIICold friends to Richard: what do they in the north,
When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
STANLEYThey have not been commanded, mighty sovereign:
Please it your majesty to give me leave,
I'll muster up my friends, and meet your grace
Where and what time your majesty shall please.
KING RICHARD IIIAy, ay. thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond:
I will not trust you, sir.
STANLEYMost mighty sovereign,
You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful:490
I never was nor never will be, false.
Go then, and muster men; but, hear you, leave behind
Your son, George Stanley: look your faith be firm.
Or else his head's assurance is but frail.
STANLEYSo deal with him as I prove true to you.
[Enter a Messenger]
MessengerMy gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
As I by friends am well advertised,
Sir Edward Courtney, and the haughty prelate
Bishop of Exeter, his brother there,
With many more confederates, are in arms.
[Enter another Messenger]
Second MessengerMy liege, in Kent the Guildfords are in arms;
And every hour more competitors
Flock to their aid, and still their power increaseth.
[Enter another Messenger]
Third MessengerMy lord, the army of the Duke of Buckingham--
KING RICHARD IIIOut on ye, owls! nothing but songs of death?
[He striketh him]
Take that, until thou bring me better news.
Third MessengerThe news I have to tell your majesty
Is, that by sudden floods and fall of waters,
Buckingham's army is dispersed and scatter'd;
And he himself wander'd away alone,510
No man knows whither.
KING RICHARD IIII cry thee mercy:
There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
Hath any well-advised friend proclaim'd
Reward to him that brings the traitor in?
Third MessengerSuch proclamation hath been made, my liege.
[Enter another Messenger]
Fourth MessengerSir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis Dorset,
'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
Yet this good comfort bring I to your grace,
The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest:
Richmond, in Yorkshire, sent out a boat520
Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks
If they were his assistants, yea or no;
Who answer'd him, they came from Buckingham.
Upon his party: he, mistrusting them,
Hoisted sail and made away for Brittany.
KING RICHARD IIIMarch on, march on, since we are up in arms;
If not to fight with foreign enemies,
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.
[Re-enter CATESBY]
CATESBYMy liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken;
That is the best news: that the Earl of Richmond530
Is with a mighty power landed at Milford,
Is colder news, yet they must be told.
KING RICHARD IIIAway towards Salisbury! while we reason here,
A royal battle might be won and lost:
Some one take order Buckingham be brought
To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.
[Flourish. Exeunt]

Richard III, Act 4, Scene 5


Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 4
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. Mellow, ripen.

3. Confines, districts.

5. Induction, beginning.

6. Consequence, the sequel.

15. Right for right, measure for measure, a just punishment for an offense against justice.

20. Quit, pay or compensate for.

21. A dying debt, a debt of death.

26-29. These lines the duchess addresses to herself.

36. Seniory, priority from age.

37. Let my griefs exceed yours.

40. Edward, her son, young Prince Edward, murdered after the battle of Tewksbury.

41. Henry, Henry VI, her husband.

42-43. These lines are addressed to Queen Elizabeth. Edward and Richard Duke of York were the two murdered princes.

44. Richard, Duke of York, father of Edward IV, Clarence, and Richard III.

45. Rutland. See I. ii. 162, and note.

53. Galled, sore with weeping.

56. Carnal, flesh-devouring.

58. Pew-fellow, companion, literally one who sits in the same pew at church.

63. Thy Edward — Edward IV. My Edward, Prince Edward, wno was killed at Tewksbury.

64. Thy other Edward, the young prince, Edward V.

65. York, the young murdered Duke of York, brother of the prince, Edward V. But boot, but something thrown into the bargain. Boot literally means addition. A.-S. bot, profit, ultimately from the same root as better. It is still preserved in the adjective bootless. The phrase to boot means in addition.

71. Intelligencer, agent or go-between.

72. Their, the plural for the singular.

75. Lines with four accents are sometimes found as here, where several short clauses or epithets are connected together in one line, and pronounced slowly.

77. Cf. Macbeth, III. ii. 49:
"Cancel and tear in pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale."
84. Presentation, the mere semblance.

85. Flattering, deluding with vain hopes. Index, the prelude, or introduction to. Pageant, a show or spectacle.

86. A-high, on high. The adjective being here considered as a noun, is preceded by a, which represents the A.-S. on, on, as in a-bed, among, etc.

89. Garish, gaudy, showy.

97. Decline, run through from first to last, as one would a list of grammatical inflections.

98-104. For, instead of.

101. Caitiff, a wretch. Old Fr. caitif (modem Fr. chetif,) from Lat. captivus, from, capio, capere, to take.

108. To torture, the innnitive expressing purpose. The more: the here is not the article, but the old demonstrative — by that the more. See note to II. iii. 4. Being what thou art. Supply thou in the nominative absolute before being.

111. My burden'd yoke, the yoke which is a burden to me.

127. Windy attorneys, etc (words) windy representatives or substitutes for silent woes.

128. Airy succeeders of joys that have perished and left nothing behind.

135. Be copious in exclaims, be plentiful in your reproaches.

151. Entreat me fair, use me well.

157. A touch of your condition, a dash of your temper.

168. Tetchy, irritable.

170. Thy prime of manhood, thy early manhood.

171. Thy age confirm'd, thy full manhood.

172. Kind, that is, in appearance.

180. Humphrey Hour. This passage, as Schmidt observes, has not yet been satisfactorily explained. The phrase to dine with Duke Humphrey was a common expression for going without one's dinner, and originated, according to Nares, in the following manner: Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, though really buried at St. Albans, was supposed to have a monument in old St. Paul's, from which one part of the church was termed Duke Humphrey's Walk. In this, as the church was then a place of the most public resort, they who had no means or procuring a dinner frequently loitered about, probably in hopes of meeting with an invitation, but under pretense of looking at the monuments.

Hunter says that, as Humphrey was Duke of Gloucester, Richard intends some reference to the hour of his own birth, when his mother was, as it were, delivered from fasting with the duke. Forth of, away from.

193-198. In these lines, tire (193), necessarily subjunctive, impresses on the reader that the co-ordinate verbs flight (195), whisper (167), and promise (198), are also subjunctive. This aptative use of the subjunctive, dispensing with let, may etc, gives great vigor to the Shakespearean line (Abbott sect. 365).

207. Level, aim.

222. Unavoided, unavoidable.

227. Cozen'd, cheated. The play upon the words is explained by the etymology. To cozen is to act as cousin or kinsman, to sponge upon, to beguile.

234. Still, constant.

238. Tackling, cordage. Reft, bereft.

241. Success, issue, result.

248. Type, image.

262. Demise, bequeath.

254. Withal, follows its object, but is (on account of the all at the end of the previous verse) not placed at the end of this sentence.

255. Lethe, the river in the lower world from which the shades drank, and thus obtained forgetfullness of the past.

259. Telling, a-telling, or in telling. Date, time of duration.

263-266. From, away from, apart ftom.

207. Shall deal, cannot help dealing.

208. The original relative was that. Who and what were interrogatives, the former being the form for the masculine and feminine alike, the latter for the neuter. Which (A.-S. hwile, hwele, short for hwi-lic, literally why-like; hwi being the instrumental case of hwa, who, and lic the adjective like) was also used interrogatively. Which,who and whom occur as relatives as early as the end of the twelfth century, but who as a relative is not found, according to Dr. Morris, before the fourteenth century. Dr. Abbott notes that if "Wicliffe's version of the New Testament be compared with the versions of the sixteenth century and with that of 1611, that in the former will be found replaced by which and who in the latter, who being especially common in the latest, the Authorized version.

304. Mettle, disposition.

322. Orient, shining: properly Eastern, as pearls came first from the East.

323. Advantaging, making up for.

345. That, object of entreats.

364. The puns deprive the conversation of all appearance of genuine feeling.

366. The George and Garter were insignia of the Order of the Garter [see picture above], but the former was not added until the time of Henry VII. The George is a figure of St. George, the patron saint of England, in the act of killing the dragon. The Garter is worn on the left leg, and is inscnbed with the motto, Honi soit qui mal y pense.

369. His, its. His is much more common in Shakespeare than its which, indeed, was just coming into use in the great dramatist's time. He uses it only about ten times. Its does not occur in the Bible of 1611 (which has it where modern editions have its in Leviticus 25 : 5), nor in Spenser, is found only thrice in Milton's verse, and is not common until the time of Dryden.

392. Youth, in apposition with children.

405. Tender, regard not.

417. Peevish-fond, childishly foolish.

429. Elizabeth was not won over in a single interview, but she did consent that her daughter might marry Richard. Some think, however, that she feigned acquiescence and so outwitted Richard. Her daughter's hand was already pledged to Richmond, and the mother knew the whole plot for seating Richmond on the throne.

432. Puissant, powerful.

438. Hull, float without use of sails.

464. Richard's inconsistent orders reveal the agitation of his mind.

482. White-liver'd runagate, cowardly vagabond. The liver was considered to be the seat of courage. Runagate is a corruption of M.E. renegat a renegade, apostate, through Fr. from Lat. renegatus, renegare; re, again, and negare to deny. The corruption in the form of the word was due to a mistaken identity on the analogy of run-a-way with runne a gate — run on the road, be a vagabond. (Skeat.)

467. Chair, the throne. Sword, the sword of state.

474. Welshman. Richmond was the grandson of Owen Tudor.

498. This is found in Hall. The Courtneys, however, were not brothers, but cousins.

502. Competitors, confederates. Every, a trisyllable.

506. The owl's cry was supposed to be a portent of death.

516. Sir Thomas Lovel was afterwards Treasurer of the Household to Henry VII.

531. Richmond landed at Milford, August 7, 1486.

534. Royal battle, a battle on which a kingdom depends.

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Richard III. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1886. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2014. < >.

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