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Richard III

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

ACT V SCENE I Salisbury. An open place. 
 Enter the Sheriff, and BUCKINGHAM, with halberds, led to execution. 
BUCKINGHAM Will not King Richard let me speak with him? 
Sheriff No, my good lord; therefore be patient. 
BUCKINGHAM Hastings, and Edward's children, Gre and Rivers, 
 Holy King Henry, and thy fair son Edward,
 Vaughan, and all that have miscarried 
 By underhand corrupted foul injustice,-- 
 If that your moody discontented souls 
 Do through the clouds behold this present hour, 
 Even for revenge mock my destruction!
 This is All-Souls' day, fellows, is it not? 10
Sheriff It is, my lord. 
BUCKINGHAM Why, then All-Souls' day is my body's doomsday. 
 This is the day that, in King Edward's time, 
 I wish't might fall on me, when I was found
 False to his children or his wife's allies 
 This is the day wherein I wish'd to fall 
 By the false faith of him I trusted most; 
 This, this All-Souls' day to my fearful soul 
 Is the determin'd respite of my wrongs:
 That high All-Seer that I dallied with 20
 Hath turn'd my feigned prayer on my head 
 And given in earnest what I begg'd in jest. 
 Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men 
 To turn their own points on their masters' bosoms:
 Now Margaret's curse fall heavy on my neck, 
 'When he,' quoth she, 'shall split thy heart with sorrow, 
 Remember Margaret was a prophetess.' 
 Come, sirs, convey me to the block of shame; 
 Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame. 30
 [ Exeunt. 

Richard III, Act 5, Scene 2


Explanatory Notes for Act 5, 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.


4. Holy. Henry VI., though never canonized, was popularly considered as a saint. See "Wordworth's sonnet, Inside of King's College Chapel, Cambridge: "Tax not the royal saint with vain expense."

10. All-Soul's day: the day on which supplications are made for all souls by the Roman Church, the 2nd of November.

13. See II. i. 32-40.

19. Determin'd respite, the fixed term to which the wrongs done by me have been limited.

26. See I. iii. 297-299.

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

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham

"Oechelhauser sees in the character of Buckingham, as drawn by Shakespeare, 'a mere puppet of Richard with whose cleverness Buckingham's is placed in direct contrast; somewhat the same relation as in the characters of Wagner and Faust. Richard is type of an intellectual hypocrite, while Buckingham is that of a soft-hearted hypocrite, he hesitates for a moment at the murder of Edward's sons, and his hesitation is his destruction. But, throughout, Buckingham stands more closely to Richard than the others in Richard's party, -- Catesby, Ratcliffe, and Lovel, -- who are merely his implements,-- Buckingham is his confidant." (Quoted by Furness in his Variorum Edition, p. 2)

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