A line-by-line translation

Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 3, Scene 2

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Enter a MESSENGER at door of HASTINGS

MESSENGER

[knocking] My lord, my lord.

MESSENGER

[Knocking] My lord, my lord.

HASTINGS

[within] Who knocks?

HASTINGS

[Offstage] Who's knocking?

MESSENGER

One from the Lord Stanley.

MESSENGER

A messenger from Lord Stanley.

HASTINGS

[within] What is ‘t o’clock?

HASTINGS

[Offstage] What time is it?

MESSENGER

Upon the stroke of four.

MESSENGER

Four in the morning.

Enter HASTINGS

HASTINGS

Cannot my Lord Stanley sleep these tedious nights?

HASTINGS

Can't Lord Stanley sleep on this long night?

MESSENGER

So it appears by that I have to say. First, he commends him to your noble self.

MESSENGER

It appears not, based on his message. First, he sends his regards to your noble self.

HASTINGS

What then?

HASTINGS

And what else?

MESSENGER

Then certifies your Lordship that this night He dreamt the boar had razèd his helm. Besides, he says there are two councils kept, And that may be determined at the one Which may make you and him to rue at th' other. Therefore he sends to know your Lordship’s pleasure, If you will presently take horse with him And with all speed post with him toward the north To shun the danger that his soul divines.

MESSENGER

He then tells your Lordship that tonight he dreamed that the boar cut off his head. He also says that there will be two council meetings tomorrow, and that the results of one meeting may make you and Stanley—who will be at the other—very sorry indeed. Because of this, he wants to know if you'll ride with him to the north as soon as possible, to escape the danger that his soul senses.

HASTINGS

Go, fellow, go. Return unto thy lord. Bid him not fear the separated council. His Honor and myself are at the one, And at the other is my good friend Catesby, Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us Whereof I shall not have intelligence. Tell him his fears are shallow, without instance. And for his dreams, I wonder he’s so simple To trust the mock'ry of unquiet slumbers. To fly the boar before the boar pursues Were to incense the boar to follow us And make pursuit where he did mean no chase. Go, bid thy master rise and come to me, And we will both together to the Tower, Where he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.

HASTINGS

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MESSENGER

I’ll go, my lord, and tell him what you say.

MESSENGER

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Exits.

Enter CATESBY

CATESBY

Many good morrows to my noble lord.

CATESBY

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HASTINGS

Good morrow, Catesby. You are early stirring.What news, what news in this our tott'ring state?

HASTINGS

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CATESBY

It is a reeling world indeed, my lord,And I believe will never stand uprightTill Richard wear the garland of the realm.

CATESBY

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HASTINGS

How “wear the garland?” Dost thou mean the crown?

HASTINGS

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CATESBY

Ay, my good lord.

CATESBY

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HASTINGS

I’ll have this crown of mine cut from my shouldersBefore I’ll see the crown so foul misplaced.But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?

HASTINGS

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CATESBY

Ay, on my life, and hopes to find you forward Upon his party for the gain thereof; And thereupon he sends you this good news, That this same very day your enemies, The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.

CATESBY

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HASTINGS

Indeed, I am no mourner for that news, Because they have been still my adversaries. But that I’ll give my voice on Richard’s side To bar my master’s heirs in true descent, God knows I will not do it, to the death.

HASTINGS

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CATESBY

God keep your Lordship in that gracious mind.

CATESBY

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HASTINGS

But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence, That they which brought me in my master’s hate, I live to look upon their tragedy. Well, Catesby, ere a fortnight make me older I’ll send some packing that yet think not on ’t.

HASTINGS

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CATESBY

'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord, When men are unprepared and look not for it.

CATESBY

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HASTINGS

O monstrous, monstrous! And so falls it out With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey; and so ’twill do With some men else that think themselves as safe As thou and I, who, as thou know’st, are dear To princely Richard and to Buckingham.

HASTINGS

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CATESBY

The princes both make high account of you— [aside] For they account his head upon the Bridge.

CATESBY

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HASTINGS

I know they do, and I have well deserved it.

HASTINGS

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Enter STANLEY

Come on, come on. Where is your boar-spear, man? Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?

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STANLEY

My lord, good morrow. —Good morrow, Catesby.—You may jest on, but, by the Holy Rood,I do not like these several councils, I.

STANLEY

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HASTINGS

My lord, I hold my life as dear as you do yours, And never in my days, I do protest, Was it so precious to me as ’tis now. Think you but that I know our state secure, I would be so triumphant as I am?

HASTINGS

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STANLEY

The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London, Were jocund and supposed their states were sure, And they indeed had no cause to mistrust; But yet you see how soon the day o'ercast. This sudden stab of rancor I misdoubt. Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward! What, shall we toward the Tower? The day is spent.

STANLEY

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HASTINGS

Come, come. Have with you. Wot you what, my lord?Today the lords you talked of are beheaded.

HASTINGS

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STANLEY

They, for their truth, might better wear their headsThan some that have accused them wear their hats. But come, my lord, let’s away.

STANLEY

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Enter a PURSUIVANT

HASTINGS

Go on before. I’ll talk with this good fellow.

HASTINGS

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Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY

How now, sirrah! How goes the world with thee?

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PURSUIVANT

The better that your Lordship please to ask.

PURSUIVANT

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HASTINGS

I tell thee, man, ’tis better with me now Than when thou met’st me last where now we meet. Then was I going prisoner to the Tower By the suggestion of the queen’s allies. But now, I tell thee—keep it to thyself— This day those enemies are put to death, And I in better state than e'er I was.

HASTINGS

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PURSUIVANT

God hold it, to your Honor’s good content!

PURSUIVANT

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HASTINGS

Gramercy, fellow. There, drink that for me.

HASTINGS

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Throws him his purse

PURSUIVANT

I thank your Honor.

PURSUIVANT

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Exit

Enter a PRIEST

PRIEST

Well met, my lord. I am glad to see your Honor.

PRIEST

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HASTINGS

I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.I am in your debt for your last exercise.Come the next sabbath, and I will content you.

HASTINGS

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PRIEST

I’ll wait upon your Lordship.

PRIEST

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HASTINGS whispers in his ear.

Exit PRIEST

Enter BUCKINGHAM

BUCKINGHAM

What, talking with a priest, Lord Chamberlain?Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest; Your Honor hath no shriving work in hand.

BUCKINGHAM

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HASTINGS

Good faith, and when I met this holy man,The men you talk of came into my mind.What, go you toward the Tower?

HASTINGS

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BUCKINGHAM

I do, my lord, but long I shall not stay there. I shall return before your Lordship thence.

BUCKINGHAM

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HASTINGS

Nay, like enough, for I stay dinner there.

HASTINGS

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BUCKINGHAM

[aside] And supper too, although thou know’st it not.—Come, will you go?

BUCKINGHAM

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HASTINGS

I’ll wait upon your Lordship.

HASTINGS

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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.