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Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 2, Scene 1

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Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV, sick, QUEEN ELIZABETH, Lord Marquess DORSET, RIVERS, HASTINGS, BUCKINGHAM, GREY, and others

KING EDWARD

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.

KING EDWARD

Well, now I've done a good day's work. You must all maintain this unity and friendship. Every day I expect a messenger of God to bear me away from here, and I can leave for heaven in peace now that my friends have made their peace on earth. Rivers and Hastings, take each other's hand. Don't just hide your hatred under a facade of friendship. Swear your love for each other.

RIVERS

[taking HASTINGS’s hand] By heaven, my soul is purged from grudging hate, And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love.

RIVERS

[Taking HASTINGS' hand] By heaven, my soul is now cleansed of all grudges and hatred. With this handshake I swear that this love is true.

HASTINGS

So thrive I as I truly swear the like.

HASTINGS

So may I prosper, as I swear the same thing.

KING EDWARD

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.

KING EDWARD

Make sure that you don't mock your king by lying in front of him. Otherwise God, the supreme King of Kings, will uncover your hidden lies and cause you to be the death of each other.

HASTINGS

So prosper I as I swear perfect love.

HASTINGS

I swear perfect love for Rivers, or may I never prosper.

RIVERS

And I as I love Hastings with my heart.

RIVERS

And I love Hastings with all my heart.

KING EDWARD

[to QUEEN ELIZABETH] Madam, yourself is 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.

KING EDWARD

[To QUEEN ELIZABETH] Madam, you're not exempt from this. 

[To DORSET] Nor are you, Dorset.

[To BUCKINGHAM] Nor you, Buckingham. You have all been too quarrelsome with each other in the past.

[To QUEEN ELIZABETH] My wife, I ask you to befriend Lord Hastings. Let him kiss your hand, and do it with sincerity.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

There, Hastings, I will never more rememberOur former hatred, so thrive I and mine.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Here's my hand, Hastings. I will forget all our past hatred for each other, and may we both prosper in the future.

HASTINGS kisses her hand

KING EDWARD

Dorset, embrace him.—Hastings, love Lord Marquess.

KING EDWARD

Now Dorset, hug Hastings. Hastings, befriend Lord Marquess of Dorset.

DORSET

This interchange of love, I here protest,Upon my part shall be inviolable.

DORSET

I swear that I will never go back on this exchange of love and friendship.

HASTINGS

And so swear I.

HASTINGS

And I swear it too.

They embrace

KING EDWARD

Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league With thy embracements to my wife’s alliesAnd make me happy in your unity.

KING EDWARD

Now, princely Buckingham, seal this friendship by embracing my wife's allies, and through your unity make me happy.

BUCKINGHAM

[to QUEEN ELIZABETH] 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 assurèd 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.

BUCKINGHAM

[To QUEEN ELIZABETH] If I should ever come to hate your Grace, and fail to love and cherish you and your relatives, may God punish me by making me find hatred where I expect love. When I most need a friend and am sure that my friends are trustworthy, may they turn false, treacherous, and full of deceit. I beg that God will do this if I ever lose my love for you and your allies.

They embrace

KING EDWARD

A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham, Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart. There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here To make the blessèd period of this peace.

KING EDWARD

Noble Buckingham, your vow of friendship is like medicine for my sickly heart. Now all we need is my brother Richard to bring the blessed conclusion to this time of peace.

BUCKINGHAM

And in good time,Here comes Sir Richard Ratcliffe and the duke.

BUCKINGHAM

And just in time, here comes Richard with Sir Richard Ratcliffe.

Enter RICHARD and RATCLIFFE

RICHARD

Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen,And, princely peers, a happy time of day.

RICHARD

Good morning to my sovereign king and queen. And I'm happy to see you too, my princely peers.

KING EDWARD

Happy indeed, as we have spent the day. Brother, we have done deeds of charity, Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate, Between these swelling, wrong-incensèd peers.

KING EDWARD

Happy indeed—that's the way we've spent the day. Brother, we have done deeds of love, turning enmity to peace and hatred to love between these misguidedly angry nobles.

RICHARD

A blessèd labor, my most sovereign lord. Amongst this princely heap, if any here By false intelligence, or wrong surmise Hold me a foe, If I unwittingly, 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 lodged between us;— Of you, Lord Rivers, and Lord Gray 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 tonight. I thank my God for my humility.

RICHARD

A blessed labor, my sovereign lord. If any among this princely group considers me an enemy—whether from lies they've heard about me, or because by accident or in anger I've done something to give offense—I want us to be reconciled and become peaceful friends. To be enemies with anyone is like death to me; I hate it, and only desire the love of all good men.

[To QUEEN ELIZABETH] First, madam, I ask that there be true peace between us, and I will purchase it with my obedient service.

[To BUCKINGHAM] And you, my noble cousin Buckingham, if there was ever any grudge between us, let it be forgotten.

[To RIVERS and GREY and others] And I also want peace with you, Lord Rivers, and Lord Grey, and indeed all of you, dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen, everyone! I can't think of any Englishman alive with whom my soul is at odds. My soul is as free from conflict as that of a newborn infant. I thank God for my humility.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

A holy day shall this be kept hereafter. I would to God all strifes were well compounded. My sovereign lord, I do beseech your Highness To take our brother Clarence to your grace.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

This will be remembered as a holy day. I wish to God that all troubles could end this well. But I must also ask your Highness to pardon your brother Clarence.

RICHARD

Why, madam, have I offered love for this,To be so flouted in this royal presence? Who knows not that the gentle duke is dead?

RICHARD

Why, madam, have I offered you my love only to be mocked in front of the king? Who doesn't know that the gentle duke is dead?

They all start

You do him injury to scorn his corse.

You do him wrong to joke about his death.

KING EDWARD

Who knows not he is dead! Who knows he is?

KING EDWARD

Who doesn't know that he's dead? Who knew that he was!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Oh all-seeing God, what a terrible world!

BUCKINGHAM

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

BUCKINGHAM

Do I look as pale as everyone else, Lord Dorset?

DORSET

Ay, my good lord, and no one in the presenceBut his red color hath forsook his cheeks.

DORSET

Yes, my good lord. Everyone here in the king's presence has gone totally pale.

KING EDWARD

Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.

KING EDWARD

Is Clarence dead? The death sentence had been reversed.

RICHARD

But he, poor man, by your first order died, And that a wingèd Mercury did bear. Some tardy cripple bear the countermand, That came too lag to see him burièd. 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.

RICHARD

But Clarence died by your first order, the poor man. The death sentence must have been carried by Mercury, the winged messenger god, while the counter-order was carried by some slow cripple. It arrived too late even for his burial. It seems that someone less noble and less loyal—nearer in bloody thoughts but not a blood relation—deserves the punishment that poor Clarence got, but instead goes free without suspicion.

Enter Lord STANLEY, Earl of Derby

STANLEY

[kneeling] A boon, my sovereign, for my service done.

STANLEY

[Kneeling] I must ask you a favor in return for the service I've done for you, my king.

KING EDWARD

I prithee, peace. My soul is full of sorrow.

KING EDWARD

Quiet, please. My soul is full of sorrow.

STANLEY

I will not rise unless your Highness hear me.

STANLEY

I will not rise until your Highness hears my request.

KING EDWARD

Then say at once what is it thou requests.

KING EDWARD

Then quickly say what it is you want.

STANLEY

The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life,Who slew today a riotous gentlemanLately attendant on the duke of Norfolk.

STANLEY

I ask you to spare the life of my servant, who just today killed a rowdy gentleman that used to serve the Duke of Norfolk.

KING EDWARD

Have I a tongue to doom my brother’s death, And shall the tongue give pardon to a slave? My brother killed no man; his fault was thought, And yet his punishment was bitter death. Who sued to me for him? Who, in my wrath, Kneeled at my feet, and bade me be advised? 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 by Tewkesbury, When Oxford had me down, he rescued 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 plucked, 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 defaced The precious image of our dear Redeemer, You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon, And I, unjustly too, must grant it you. [STANLEY rises] 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.— Ah, poor Clarence.

KING EDWARD

I was willing to condemn my own brother to death, and now you want me to pardon a servant? My brother Clarence didn't kill anyone. His only fault was his ideas, and yet he was punished with bitter death. Who pled on his behalf?  When I was so angry, who kneeled at my feet and asked me to think about what I was doing? Who spoke to me about brotherhood? Who spoke about love? Who told me how the poor soul abandoned his father-in-law—the mighty Earl of Warwick—to come fight for me? Who told me of the battlefield at Tewkesbury, where Clarence rescued me when Oxford had me down, saying, "Dear brother, live, and be a king?" Who told me how, when we both lay in the field almost freezing to death, he wrapped me in his own clothes and left himself naked, exposed to the mercy of the numbingly cold night? All this seemed erased from my memory in my brutish rage, and not a man of you had the grace to remind me. But when your servants drunkenly kill someone and scorn the law of our dear Christ, you immediately get on your knees and beg, "pardon, pardon." And I, unfair as I am, must give it to you.

 [Stanley rises] But no one spoke on behalf my brother, and I didn't speak to myself on his behalf either, the poor soul. Even the proudest among you owed him something, and yet none of you would beg for his life. Oh God, I fear that your justice will punish me and all these gathered here, and our families as well, because of this!

[To HASTINGS] Come, Hastings, help me to my room.

[To himself] Ah, poor Clarence!

Exeunt some with KING EDWARD IV and QUEEN ELIZABETH

RICHARD

This is the fruits of rashness. Marked you not How that the guilty kindred of the queen Looked 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?

RICHARD

This sorrow is the result of recklessness. Didn't you notice how the queen's guilty relatives turned pale when they heard about Clarence's death? Oh, they were always urging the king to do it. God will revenge it. Come, lords, will you come with me to comfort Edward with our companionship?

BUCKINGHAM

We wait upon your Grace.

BUCKINGHAM

We will attend you, your Grace.

Exeunt

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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.