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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act II. Scene I.

The Tragedy of King Richard the Third

London.A Room in the Palace.


K. Edw.Why, so: now have I done a good day’s work.

You peers, continue this united league:

I every day expect an embassage

From my Redeemer to redeem me hence;

And more in peace my soul shall part to heaven,

Since I have made my friends at peace on earth.

Rivers and Hastings, take each other’s hand;

Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.

Riv.By heaven, my soul is purg’d from grudging hate;

And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love.

Hast.So thrive I, as I truly swear the like!

K. Edw.Take heed, you dally not before your king;

Lest he that is the supreme King of kings

Confound your hidden falsehood, and award

Either of you to be the other’s end.

Hast.So prosper I, as I swear perfect love!

Riv.And I, as I love Hastings with my heart!

K. Edw.Madam, yourself are not exempt in this,

Nor you, son Dorset, Buckingham, nor you;

You have been factious one against the other.

Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand;

And what you do, do it unfeignedly

Q. Eliz.There, Hastings; I will never more remember

Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!

K. Edw.Dorset, embrace him; Hastings, love lord marquess.

Dor.This interchange of love, I here protest,

Upon my part shall be inviolable.

Hast.And so swear I.[They embrace.

K. Edw.Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league

With thy embracements to my wife’s allies,

And make me happy in your unity.

Buck.[To the QUEEN.]Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate

Upon your Grace, but with all duteous love

Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me

With hate in those where I expect most love!

When I have most need to employ a friend,

And most assured that he is a friend,

Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,

Be he unto me! This do I beg of God,

When I am cold in love to you or yours.[They embrace.

K. Edw.A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,

Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.

There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here

To make the blessed period of this peace.

Buck.And, in good time, here comes the noble duke.


Glo.Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen;

And princely peers, a happy time of day!

K. Edw.Happy, indeed, as we have spent the day.

Gloucester, we have done deeds of charity;

Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate,

Between these swelling wrong-incensed peers.

Glo.A blessed labour, my most sovereign lord.

Among this princely heap, if any here,

By false intelligence, or wrong surmise,

Hold me a foe;

If I un wittingly, or in my rage,

Have aught committed that is hardly borne

By any in this presence, I desire

To reconcile me to his friendly peace:

’Tis death to me to be at enmity;

I hate it, and desire all good men’s love.

First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,

Which I will purchase with my duteous service;

Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,

If ever any grudge were lodg’d between us;

Of you, Lord Rivers, and Lord Grey, of you,

That all without desert have frown’d on me;

Of you, Lord Woodvile, and Lord Scales, of you;

Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.

I do not know that Englishman alive

With whom my soul is any jot at odds

More than the infant that is born to-night:

I thank my God for my humility.

Q. Eliz.A holy day shall this be kept hereafter:

I would to God all strifes were well compounded.

My sov’reign lord, I do beseech your highness

To take our brother Clarence to your grace.

Glo.Why, madam, have I offer’d love for this,

To be so flouted in this royal presence?

Who knows not that the gentle duke is dead?[They all start.

You do him injury to scorn his corse.

K. Edw.Who knows not he is dead! who knows he is?

Q. Eliz.All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!

Buck.Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?

Dor.Ay, my good lord; and no man in the presence

But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.

K. Edw.Is Clarence dead? the order was revers’d.

Glo.But he, poor man, by your first order died,

And that a winged Mercury did bear;

Some tardy cripple bore the countermand,

That came too lag to see him buried.

God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,

Nearer in bloody thoughts, and not in blood,

Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,

And yet go current from suspicion.


Stan.A boon, my sov’reign, for my service done!

K. Edw.I prithee, peace: my soul is full of sorrow.

Stan.I will not rise, unless your highness hear me.

K. Edw.Then say at once, what is it thou request’st.

Stan.The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life;

Who slew to-day a riotous gentleman

Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.

K. Edw.Have I a tongue to doom my brother’s death,

And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?

My brother kill’d no man, his fault was thought;

And yet his punishment was bitter death.

Who su’d to me for him? who, in my wrath,

Kneel’d at my feet, and bade me be advis’d?

Who spoke of brotherhood? who spoke of love?

Who told me how the poor soul did forsake

The mighty Warwick, and did fight for me?

Who told me, in the field at Tewksbury,

When Oxford had me down, he rescu’d me,

And said, ‘Dear brother, live, and be a king?’

Who told me, when we both lay in the field

Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me

Even in his garments; and did give himself,

All thin and naked, to the numb cold night?

All this from my remembrance brutish wrath

Sinfully pluck’d, and not a man of you

Had so much grace to put it in my mind.

But when your carters or your waiting-vassals

Have done a drunken slaughter, and defac’d

The precious image of our dear Redeemer,

You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;

And I, unjustly too, must grant it you;

But for my brother not a man would speak,

Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself

For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all

Have been beholding to him in his life,

Yet none of you would once beg for his life.

O God! I fear, thy justice will take hold

On me and you and mine and yours for this.

Come, Hastings, help me to my closet. O! poor Clarence![Exeunt KING EDWARD, QUEEN, HASTINGS, RIVERS, DORSET, and GREY.

Glo.This is the fruit of rashness. Mark’d you not

How that the guilty kindred of the queen

Look’d pale when they did hear of Clarence’ death?

O! they did urge it still unto the king:

God will revenge it. Come, lords; will you go

To comfort Edward with our company?

Buck.We wait upon your Grace.[Exeunt.