A line-by-line translation

Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS of York, and DORSET at one door; ANNE, duchess of Gloucester with CLARENCE’s young daughter at another door

DUCHESS

Who meets us here? My niece Plantagenet Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester? Now, for my life, she’s wandering to the Tower, On pure heart’s love, to greet the tender prince.— Daughter, well met.

DUCHESS

Who is this? My granddaughter Plantagenet, led by the hand of her kind aunt, the Duchess of Gloucester? Now, I swear, she's heading to the Tower to greet the young prince, whom she loves so purely.

[To ANNE] Nice to see you, daughter-in-law.

ANNE

God give your Graces bothA happy and a joyful time of day.

ANNE

May God grant both of you a nice day.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

As much to you, good sister. Whither away?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

And you too, good sister-in-law. Where are you off to?

ANNE

No farther than the Tower, and, as I guess,Upon the like devotion as yourselves, To gratulate the gentle princes there.

ANNE

Just to the Tower. And I can guess that I'm going for the same reason you are: to greet the gentle princes who are staying there.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Kind sister, thanks. We’ll enter all together.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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Enter BRAKENBURY

And in good time here the lieutenant comes.—Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,How doth the prince and my young son of York?

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BRAKENBURY

Right well, dear madam. By your patience,I may not suffer you to visit them.The king hath strictly charged the contrary.

BRAKENBURY

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

The king? Who’s that?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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BRAKENBURY

I mean, the Lord Protector.

BRAKENBURY

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

The Lord protect him from that kingly title! Hath he set bounds between their love and me?I am their mother. Who shall bar me from them?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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DUCHESS

I am their father’s mother. I will see them.

DUCHESS

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ANNE

Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother.Then bring me to their sights. I’ll bear thy blame And take thy office from thee, on my peril.

ANNE

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BRAKENBURY

No, madam, no. I may not leave it so.I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.

BRAKENBURY

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Exit

Enter Lord STANLEY, earl of Derby

STANLEY

Let me but meet you ladies one hour hence, And I’ll salute your Grace of York as mother And reverend looker-on, of two fair queens. [to ANNE] Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster, There to be crownèd Richard’s royal queen.

STANLEY

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Ah, cut my lace asunder that my pent heart May have some scope to beat, or else I swoon With this dead-killing news!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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ANNE

Despiteful tidings! O, unpleasing news!

ANNE

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DORSET

[to QUEEN ELIZABETH] Be of good cheer, mother. How fares your Grace?

DORSET

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

O Dorset, speak not to me. Get thee gone. Death and destruction dogs thee at thy heels. Thy mother’s name is ominous to children. If thou wilt outstrip death, go, cross the seas, And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell. Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughterhouse, Lest thou increase the number of the dead And make me die the thrall of Margaret’s curse, Nor mother, wife, nor England’s counted queen.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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STANLEY

Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam. [to DORSET] Take all the swift advantage of the hours.You shall have letters from me to my son In your behalf, to meet you on the way.Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.

STANLEY

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DUCHESS

O ill-dispersing wind of misery!O my accursèd womb, the bed of death!A cockatrice hast thou hatched to the world, Whose unavoided eye is murderous.

DUCHESS

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STANLEY

[to ANNE] Come, madam, come. I in all haste was sent.

STANLEY

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ANNE

And I in all unwillingness will go. O, would to God that the inclusive verge Of golden metal that must round my brow Were red-hot steel to sear me to the brains! Anointed let me be with deadly venom, And die ere men can say, “God save the Queen.”

ANNE

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory.To feed my humor, wish thyself no harm.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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ANNE

No? Why? When he that is my husband now Came to me, as I followed Henry’s corse, When scarce the blood was well washed from his hands Which issued from my other angel husband And that dear saint which then I weeping followed— O, when, I say, I looked on Richard’s face, This was my wish: be thou, quoth I, accursed For making me, so young, so old a widow; And, when thou wedd’st, let sorrow haunt thy bed; And be thy wife, if any be so mad, More miserable by the life of thee Than thou hast made me by my dear lord’s death. Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again, Within so small a time my woman’s heart Grossly grew captive to his honey words And proved the subject of mine own soul’s curse, Which hitherto hath held my eyes from rest, For never yet one hour in his bed Did I enjoyed the golden dew of sleep, But with his timorous dreams was still awaked. Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick, And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.

ANNE

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Poor heart, adieu. I pity thy complaining.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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ANNE

No more than from my soul I mourn for yours.

ANNE

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DORSET

Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory.

DORSET

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ANNE

Adieu, poor soul that tak’st thy leave of it.

ANNE

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DUCHESS

[to DORSET] Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee. [to ANNE] Go thou to Richard, and good angels tend thee. [to QUEEN ELIZABETH] Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee. I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me. Eighty-odd years of sorrow have I seen, And each hour’s joy wracked with a week of teen.

DUCHESS

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.— Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes Whom envy hath immured within your walls— Rough cradle for such little pretty ones. Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow For tender princes, use my babies well. So foolish sorrows bids your stones farewell.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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Exeunt

Richard iii
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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.