list of parts
RICHARD, Duke of Gloucester, later King RICHARD III
Duke of CLARENCE, his brother
Duke of BUCKINGHAM
Lord HASTINGS, the Lord Chamberlain
Sir William CATESBY
Sir Richard RATCLIFFE
BRACKENBURY, Lord Lieutenant of the Tower
Lord Stanley, Earl of DERBY (sometimes addressed as Derby and sometimes as Stanley, here given speech prefix Derby)
KING EDWARD IV, Gloucester's older brother
QUEEN ELIZABETH, his wife
PRINCE EDWARD, their older son
Duke of YORK, their younger son
Lord RIVERS, Elizabeth's brother
Lord GREY, Elizabeth's son by her first husband
Marquis of DORSET, his brother
Sir Thomas VAUGHAN
Lady ANNE, Widow of Edward, Prince of Wales, later Duchess of Gloucester
QUEEN MARGARET, widow of
DUCHESS OF YORK, mother to Gloucester, Clarence, Edward IV
Earl of RICHMOND, later King Henry VII
Earl of OXFORD
Sir JAMES BLUNT
Sir WALTER HERBERT
Sir WILLIAM BRANDON
Duke of NORFOLK
Earl of SURREY
CARDINAL, Archbishop of
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
BISHOP OF ELY
SIR CHRISTOPHER, a priest
Sir John, a PRIEST
Lord MAYOR of London
Ghost of KING HENRY VI
Ghost of EDWARD, his son
Two Bishops, Soldiers,
Halberdiers, Gentlemen, Lords, Citizens, AttendantsAct 1 Scene 1 running scene 1
Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester, solus
RICHARD Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York:
And all the clouds that loured upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front,
And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass:
I, that am rudely stamped, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph:
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling 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,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to see my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity.
And therefore, since I cannot prove 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,
By 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
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mewed up
About a prophecy, which says that 'G'
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here Clarence
comes.-Enter Clarence, guarded, and Brackenbury
Brother, good day. What means this armèd guard
That waits upon your grace?
CLARENCE His majesty,
Tend'ring my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to th'Tower.
RICHARD Upon what cause?
CLARENCE Because my name is George.
RICHARD 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 should be new-christened in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence, may I know?
CLARENCE Yea, Richard, when I know, but I protest
As yet I do not. But, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies and dreams,
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
And says a wizard told him that by 'G'
His issue 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,
Hath moved his highness to commit me now.
RICHARD Why, this 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 tempts him to this harsh extremity.
Was it not she and that good man of worship,
Anthony Woodville, 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.
CLARENCE By heaven, I think there is no man secure
But the queen's kindred and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.
Heard you not what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was to her, for his delivery?
RICHARD Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my Lord Chamberlain his liberty.
I'll tell you what: I think it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men and wear her livery.
The jealous o'erworn widow and herself,
Since that our brother dubbed them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in our monarchy.
BRACKENBURY I beseech your graces both to pardon me:
His majesty hath straitly given in charge
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with your brother.
RICHARD Even so, an please your worship, Brackenbury,
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 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 gentlefolks.
How say you sir? Can you deny all this?
BRACKENBURY With this, my lord, myself have nought
RICHARD Naught to do with Mistress Shore? I tell thee,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best to do it secretly, alone.
BRACKENBURY What one, my lord?
RICHARD Her husband, knave. Wouldst thou betray me?
BRACKENBURY I do beseech your grace to pardon me,
Forbear your conference with the noble duke.
CLARENCE We know thy charge, Brackenbury, and will
RICHARD We are the queen's abjects, and must obey.-
Brother, farewell. I will 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. Embraces him
CLARENCE I know it pleaseth neither of us well.
RICHARD Well, your imprisonment shall not be long.
I will deliver you or else lie for you.
Meantime, have patience.
CLARENCE I must perforce. Farewell.Exit Clarence [led by Brackenbury and Guards]
RICHARD Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return.
Simple, plain Clarence, I do love thee so
That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
But who comes here? The new-delivered Hastings?Enter Lord Hastings
HASTINGS Good time of day unto my gracious lord.
RICHARD As much unto my good Lord Chamberlain.
Well are you welcome to this open air.
How hath your lordship brooked imprisonment?
HASTINGS With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must.
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
That were the cause of my imprisonment.
RICHARD 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.
HASTINGS More pity that the eagles should be mewed,
Whiles kites and buzzards play at liberty.
RICHARD What news abroad?
HASTINGS No news so bad abroad as this at home:
The king is sickly, weak and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.
RICHARD Now, by Saint John, that news is bad indeed.
O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
And overmuch consumed his royal person.
'Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
Where is he, in his bed?
HASTINGS He is.
RICHARD Go you before, and I will follow you.Exit Hastings
He cannot live, I hope, and must not die
Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
I'll in to urge his hatred more to Clarence,
With lies well steeled with weighty arguments.
And, if I fail not in my deep intent,
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.
For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter.
What though I killed her husband and her father?
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.ExitAct 1 Scene 2 running scene 1 continuesEnter the corpse of Henry the Sixth with [Gentlemen bearing] halberds to guard it, Lady Anne being the mourner
ANNE Set down, set down your honourable load -
If honour may be shrouded in a hearse -
Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
Th'untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster. [They set down the coffin]
Poor key-cold figure of a holy king,
Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster,
Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood,
Be it lawful that I invocate 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
Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life,
I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.
O, cursèd be the hand that made these holes:
Cursed the heart that had the heart to do it:
Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!
More direful hap betide 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 thing that lives.
If ever he have child, abortive be it,
Prodigious, 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.
If ever he have wife, let her be made
More miserable by the death of him
Than I am made by my young lord and thee.-
Come, now towards Chertsey with your holy load,
Taken from Paul's to be interrèd there. [They lift the coffin
And still as you are weary of this weight,
Rest you, whiles I lament King Henry's corpse.Enter Richard, Duke of Gloucester
RICHARD Stay, you that bear the corpse, and set it down.
ANNE What black magician conjures up this fiend,
To stop devoted charitable deeds?
RICHARD Villains, set down the corpse, or, by Saint Paul,
I'll make a corpse of him that disobeys.
GENTLEMAN My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass.
RICHARD Unmannered dog, stand'st thou when I
Advance thy halberd higher than my breast,
Or, by Saint Paul, I'll strike thee to my foot,
And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness. [They set down the coffin
ANNE 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, thou dreadful minister of hell!
Thou hadst but power over his mortal body,
His soul thou canst not have: therefore be gone.
RICHARD Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.
ANNE Foul devil, for God's sake, hence, and trouble us
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Filled it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.- ]Uncovers the body
O, gentlemen, see, see dead Henry's wounds
Open their congealed mouths and bleed afresh.-
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,
Provokes 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 heav'n with lightning strike the murd'rer
Or earth gape open wide and eat him quick,
As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood
Which his hell-governed arm hath butcherèd!
RICHARD Lady, you know no rules of charity,
Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.
ANNE Villain, thou know'st nor law of God nor man:
No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.
RICHARD But I know none, and therefore am no beast.
ANNE O, wonderful, when devils tell the truth!
RICHARD More wonderful, when angels are so angry.
Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,
Of these supposèd crimes to give me leave,
By circumstance but to acquit myself.
ANNE Vouchsafe, defused infection of man,
Of these known evils, but to give me leave,
By circumstance to curse thy cursèd self.
RICHARD Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have
Some patient leisure to excuse myself.
ANNE Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make
No excuse current, but to hang thyself.
RICHARD By such despair, I should accuse myself.
ANNE And by despairing shalt thou stand excused
For doing worthy vengeance on thyself,
That didst unworthy slaughter upon others.
RICHARD Say that I slew them not.
ANNE Then say they were not slain.
But dead they are, and devilish slave, by thee.
RICHARD I did not kill your husband.
ANNE Why, then he is alive.
RICHARD Nay, he is dead, and slain by Edward's hands.
ANNE In thy foul throat thou liest: Queen Margaret saw
Thy murd'rous falchion smoking in his blood,
The which thou once didst bend against her breast,
But that thy brothers beat aside the point.
RICHARD I was provokèd by her sland'rous tongue,
That laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.
ANNE Thou wast provokèd by thy bloody mind,
That never dream'st on aught but butcheries.
Didst thou not kill this king?
RICHARD I grant ye.
ANNE Dost grant me, hedgehog? Then, God grant me too
Thou mayst be damnèd for that wicked deed.
O, he was gentle, mild and virtuous!
RICHARD The better for the king of heaven that hath
ANNE He is in heaven, where thou shalt never come.
RICHARD Let him thank me, that holp to send him
For he was fitter for that place than earth.
ANNE And thou unfit for any place but hell.
RICHARD Yes, one place else, if you will hear me name it.
ANNE Some dungeon.
RICHARD Your bedchamber.
ANNE I'll rest betide the chamber where thou liest.
RICHARD So will it, madam, till I lie with you.
ANNE I hope so.
RICHARD I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,
To leave this keen encounter of our wits,
And fall something into a slower method:
Is not the causer of the timeless deaths
Of these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,
As blameful as the executioner?
ANNE Thou wast the cause and most accursed effect.
RICHARD 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.
Copyright © 2008 by William Shakespeare. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.