A line-by-line translation

Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 4, Scene 3

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Enter TYRREL

TYRREL

The tyrannous and bloody act is done, The most arch deed of piteous massacre That ever yet this land was guilty of. Dighton and Forrest, whom I did suborn To do this piece of ruthless butchery, Albeit they were fleshed villains, bloody dogs, Melted with tenderness and mild compassion, Wept like two children in their deaths' sad story. “O thus” quoth Dighton, “lay those gentle babes.” “Thus, thus,” quoth Forrest, “girdling one another Within their alabaster innocent arms. Their lips were four red roses on a stalk, And in their summer beauty kissed each other. A book of prayers on their pillow lay, Which once,” quoth Forrest, “almost changed my mind, But O, the devil—”There the villain stopped; When Dighton thus told on: “We smotherèd The most replenishèd sweet work of nature That from the prime creation e'er she framed.” Hence both are gone with conscience and remorse; They could not speak; and so I left them both To bear this tidings to the bloody king.

TYRREL

The tyrannous and bloody act is done. It was the worst, most horrible massacre of which this land has ever been guilty. Dighton and Forrest—whom I hired to do this piece of ruthless butchery—are experienced villains. They are like bloody hunting dogs. But even they melted with tenderness and compassion, and wept like children when they told the sad story of what they'd done. "The gentle children lay like this," Dighton said. "Like this," said Forrest, "embracing each other with their white innocent arms. Their lips were touching, like four red roses on a stalk. And a prayer book lay on their pillow," said Forrest, "which almost made me change my mind. But oh, the devil—" And there the villain stopped talking, and Dighton continued the tale: "We smothered the most perfect, sweet work that nature ever created." Both men were crushed with remorse, so that they couldn't speak any more. I left them both to bring this news to the bloody king.

Enter RICHARD

And here he comes.—All health, my sovereign lord.

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RICHARD

Kind Tyrrel, am I happy in thy news?

RICHARD

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TYRREL

If to have done the thing you gave in chargeBeget your happiness, be happy then,For it is done.

TYRREL

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RICHARD

But did’st thou see them dead?

RICHARD

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TYRREL

I did, my lord.

TYRREL

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RICHARD

And buried, gentle Tyrrel?

RICHARD

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TYRREL

The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them, But where, to say the truth, I do not know.

TYRREL

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RICHARD

Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after-supper, When thou shalt tell the process of their death. Meantime, but think how I may do thee good, And be inheritor of thy desire. Farewell till then.

RICHARD

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TYRREL

I humbly take my leave.

TYRREL

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Exit TYRREL

RICHARD

The son of Clarence have I pent up close, His daughter meanly have I matched in marriage, The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham’s bosom, And Anne my wife hath bid this world goodnight. Now, for I know the Breton Richmond aims At young Elizabeth, my brother’s daughter, And by that knot looks proudly on the crown, To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.

RICHARD

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Enter RATCLIFFE

RATCLIFFE

My lord!

RATCLIFFE

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RICHARD

Good or bad news, that thou com’st in so bluntly?

RICHARD

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RATCLIFFE

Bad news, my lord. Morton is fled to Richmond,And Buckingham, backed with the hardy Welshmen,Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.

RATCLIFFE

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RICHARD

Ely with Richmond troubles me more near Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength. Come, I have learned that fearful commenting Is leaden servitor to dull delay; Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary; Then fiery expedition be my wing, Jove’s Mercury, and herald for a king. Go, muster men. My counsel is my shield. We must be brief when traitors brave the field.

RICHARD

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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.