A line-by-line translation

Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 4, Scene 4

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Enter old QUEEN MARGARET

QUEEN MARGARET

So now prosperity begins to mellow And drop into the rotten mouth of death. Here in these confines slyly have I lurked To watch the waning of mine enemies. A dire induction am I witness to, And will to France, hoping the consequence Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical. Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret. Who comes here?

QUEEN MARGARET

So now the Yorks' prosperity has ripened and rotted, falling into the mouth of death. I've been lurking in the shadows here to watch my enemies come to ruin, and it's a terrible scene I've witnessed—an ominous prologue to what I hope will be a bitter, dark, and tragic conclusion. I'll head to France. But hide now, wretched Margaret. Who's coming?

She steps aside

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and the DUCHESS of York

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Ah, my poor princes! Ah, my tender babes, My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets, If yet your gentle souls fly in the air And be not fixed in doom perpetual, Hover about me with your airy wings And hear your mother’s lamentation.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Ah, my poor princes! Ah, my tender babes—my flowers who didn't have a chance to bloom! If your gentle souls are still flying about in the air and haven't yet landed in their final resting place, then hover about me now with your airy wings, and hear your mother's cries of mourning.

QUEEN MARGARET

[aside] Hover about her; say that right for rightHath dimmed your infant morn to agèd night.

QUEEN MARGARET

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DUCHESS

So many miseries have crazed my voiceThat my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?

DUCHESS

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QUEEN MARGARET

[aside] Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet;Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.

QUEEN MARGARET

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambsAnd throw them in the entrails of the wolf?When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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QUEEN MARGARET

[aside] When holy Harry died, and my sweet son.

QUEEN MARGARET

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DUCHESS

[sitting down] Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal living ghost, Woe’s scene, world’s shame, grave’s due by life usurped, Brief abstract and record of tedious days, Rest thy unrest on England’s lawful earth, Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.

DUCHESS

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

[sitting down beside her] Ah, that thou wouldst as soon afford a grave As thou canst yield a melancholy seat, Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here. O, who hath any cause to mourn but we?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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QUEEN MARGARET

[joining them] If ancient sorrow be most reverend, Give mine the benefit of seigniory, And let my griefs frown on the upper hand. If sorrow can admit society, Tell o'er your woes again by viewing mine. I had an Edward till a Richard killed him; I had a husband till a Richard killed him. Thou hadst an Edward till a Richard killed him; Thou hadst a Richard till a Richard killed him.

QUEEN MARGARET

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DUCHESS

I had a Richard too, and thou did’st kill him; I had a Rutland too; thou holp’st to kill him.

DUCHESS

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QUEEN MARGARET

Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard killed him Then forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept A hellhound that doth hunt us all to death— That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes, To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood; That excellent grand tyrant of the earth, That reigns in gallèd eyes of weeping souls; That foul defacer of God’s handiwork Thy womb let loose to chase us to our graves. O upright, just, and true-disposing God, How do I thank thee that this carnal cur Preys on the issue of his mother’s body And makes her pew-fellow with others' moan!

QUEEN MARGARET

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DUCHESS

O Harry’s wife, triumph not in my woes! God witness with me, I have wept for thine.

DUCHESS

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QUEEN MARGARET

Bear with me, I am hungry for revenge, And now I cloy me with beholding it. Thy Edward he is dead, that killed my Edward, Thy other Edward dead, to quit my Edward; Young York, he is but boot, because both they Matched not the high perfection of my loss. Thy Clarence he is dead that stabbed my Edward, And the beholders of this frantic play, Th' adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey, Untimely smothered in their dusky graves. Richard yet lives, hell’s black intelligencer, Only reserved their factor to buy souls And send them thither. But at hand, at hand Ensues his piteous and unpitied end. Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray, To have him suddenly conveyed from hence. Cancel his bond of life, dear God I pray, That I may live to say, “The dog is dead.”

QUEEN MARGARET

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

O, thou didst prophesy the time would come That I should wish for thee to help me curseThat bottled spider, that foul bunch-backed toad!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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QUEEN MARGARET

I called thee then “vain flourish of my fortune.” I called thee then poor shadow, “painted queen,” The presentation of but what I was, The flattering index of a direful pageant, One heaved a-high, to be hurled down below, A mother only mocked with two fair babes, A dream of what thou wast, a garish flag To be the aim of every dangerous shot, A sign of dignity, a breath, a bubble, A queen in jest, only to fill the scene. Where is thy husband now? Where be thy brothers? Where are thy two sons? Wherein dost thou joy? Who sues and kneels and says “God save the queen?” Where be the bending peers that flattered thee? Where be the thronging troops that followed thee? Decline all this, and see what now thou art: For happy wife, a most distressèd widow; For joyful mother, one that wails the name; For queen, a very caitiff crowned with care; For one being sued to, one that humbly sues; For she that scorned at me, now scorned of me; For she being feared of all, now fearing one; For she commanding all, obeyed of none. Thus hath the course of justice whirled about And left thee but a very prey to time, Having no more but thought of what thou wast To torture thee the more, being what thou art. Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow? Now thy proud neck bears half my burdened yoke, From which even here I slip my weary head And leave the burthen of it all on thee. Farewell, York’s wife, and queen of sad mischance. These English woes will make me smile in France.

QUEEN MARGARET

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

O, thou well-skilled in curses, stay awhile,And teach me how to curse mine enemies.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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QUEEN MARGARET

Forbear to sleep the nights, and fast the days; Compare dead happiness with living woe; Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were, And he that slew them fouler than he is. Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse.Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.

QUEEN MARGARET

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

My words are dull. O, quicken them with thine!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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QUEEN MARGARET

Thy woes will make them sharp and pierce like mine.

QUEEN MARGARET

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Exit

DUCHESS

Why should calamity be full of words?

DUCHESS

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Windy attorneys to their clients' woes, Airy succeeders of intestate joys, Poor breathing orators of miseries, Let them have scope, though what they will impart Help nothing else, yet do they ease the heart.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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DUCHESS

If so, then be not tongue-tied. Go with me,And in the breath of bitter words let’s smotherMy damnèd son that thy two sweet sons smothered.

DUCHESS

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A trumpet sounds

The trumpet sounds. Be copious in exclaims.

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They rise

Enter King RICHARD and his train, including CATESBY

RICHARD

Who intercepts my expedition?

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

O, she that might have intercepted thee,By strangling thee in her accursèd womb,From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done.

DUCHESS

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Hid’st thou that forehead with a golden crown Where should be branded, if that right were right, The slaughter of the prince that owed that crown And the dire death of my poor sons and brothers? Tell me, thou villain-slave, where are my children?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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DUCHESS

Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?And little Ned Plantagenet his son?

DUCHESS

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Where is gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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DUCHESS

Where is kind Hastings?

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

A flourish, trumpets! Strike alarum, drums! Let not the heavens hear these telltale womenRail on the Lord’s anointed. Strike, I say!

RICHARD

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Flourish. Alarums

Either be patient and entreat me fair,Or with the clamorous report of warThus will I drown your exclamations.

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DUCHESS

Art thou my son?

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

Then patiently hear my impatience.

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

Madam, I have a touch of your condition,Which cannot brook the accent of reproof.

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

O, let me speak!

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

Do then, but I’ll not hear.

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

I will be mild and gentle in my words.

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

And brief, good mother, for I am in haste.

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

Art thou so hasty? I have stayed for thee,God knows, in torment and in agony.

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

And came I not at last to comfort you?

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

No, by the Holy Rood, thou know’st it well. Thou cam’st on earth to make the earth my hell. A grievous burden was thy birth to me; Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy; Thy school days frightful, desp'rate, wild, and furious; Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous; Thy age confirmed, proud, subtle, sly, and bloody, More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred. What comfortable hour canst thou name, That ever graced me in thy company?

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

Faith, none but Humfrey Hower, that called your Grace To breakfast once, forth of my company. If I be so disgracious in your eye, Let me march on and not offend you, madam.— Strike up the drum.

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

I prithee, hear me speak.

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

You speak too bitterly.

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

Hear me a word,For I shall never speak to thee again.

DUCHESS

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RICHARD

So.

RICHARD

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DUCHESS

Either thou wilt die by God’s just ordinance Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror, Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish And nevermore behold thy face again. Therefore take with thee my most grievous curse, Which in the day of battle tire thee more Than all the complete armor that thou wear’st. My prayers on the adverse party fight, And there the little souls of Edward’s children Whisper the spirits of thine enemies And promise them success and victory. Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end. Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.

DUCHESS

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Exit

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curseAbides in me. I say amen to her.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Stay, madam. I must talk a word with you.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

I have no more sons of the royal blood For thee to slaughter. For my daughters, Richard, They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens, And therefore level not to hit their lives.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

You have a daughter called Elizabeth, Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

And must she die for this? O, let her live, And I’ll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty, Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed, Throw over her the veil of infamy. So she may live unscarred of bleeding slaughter, I will confess she was not Edward’s daughter.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Wrong not her birth. She is a royal princess.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

To save her life, I’ll say she is not so.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Her life is safest only in her birth.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

And only in that safety died her brothers.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

No, to their lives ill friends were contrary.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

All unavoided is the doom of destiny.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

True, when avoided grace makes destiny. My babes were destined to a fairer deathIf grace had blessed thee with a fairer life.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Cousins, indeed, and by their uncle cozened Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life. Whose hand soever launched their tender hearts, Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction. No doubt the murd'rous knife was dull and blunt Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart, To revel in the entrails of my lambs. But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame, My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys Till that my nails were anchored in thine eyes, And I, in such a desp'rate bay of death, Like a poor bark of sails and tackling reft, Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise And dangerous success of bloody wars As I intend more good to you and yours Than ever you or yours were by me harmed!

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

What good is covered with the face of heaven,To be discovered, that can do me good?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

The advancement of your children, gentle lady.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Unto the dignity and height of fortune, The high imperial type of this earth’s glory.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Flatter my sorrow with report of it.Tell me what state, what dignity, what honor,Canst thou demise to any child of mine?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Even all I have— ay, and myself and all— Will I withal endow a child of thine; So in the Lethe of thy angry soul Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs Which thou supposest I have done to thee.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Then know that from my soul I love thy daughter.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

My daughter’s mother thinks it with her soul.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

What do you think?

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul. So from thy soul’s love didst thou love her brothers,And from my heart’s love I do thank thee for it.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Be not so hasty to confound my meaning.I mean that with my soul I love thy daughterAnd do intend to make her Queen of England.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Well then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Even he that makes her queen. Who else should be?

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

What, thou?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Lorem ipsu

RICHARD

Even so. How think you of it?

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

How canst thou woo her?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

That would I learn of you,As one being best acquainted with her humor.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

And wilt thou learn of me?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Madam, with all my heart.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers, A pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave “Edward” and “York.” Then haply she will weep. Therefore present to her—as sometime Margaret Did to thy father, steeped in Rutland’s blood— A handkerchief, which say to her did drain The purple sap from her sweet brother’s body, And bid her wipe her weeping eyes withal. If this inducement move her not to love, Send her a letter of thy noble deeds; Tell her thou mad’st away her uncle Clarence, Her uncle Rivers, ay, and for her sake Mad’st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

You mock me, madam. This is not the wayTo win your daughter.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

There is no other way,Unless thou couldst put on some other shape And not be Richard, that hath done all this.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Say that I did all this for love of her.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Look what is done cannot be now amended. Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes, Which after-hours give leisure to repent. If I did take the kingdom from your sons, To make amends I’ll give it to your daughter. If I have killed the issue of your womb, To quicken your increase I will beget Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter. A grandam’s name is little less in love Than is the doting title of a mother. They are as children but one step below, Even of your metal, of your very blood, Of all one pain, save for a night of groans Endured of her for whom you bid like sorrow. Your children were vexation to your youth, But mine shall be a comfort to your age. The loss you have is but a son being king, And by that loss your daughter is made queen. I cannot make you what amends I would; Therefore accept such kindness as I can. Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul Leads discontented steps in foreign soil, This fair alliance quickly shall call home To high promotions and great dignity. The king that calls your beauteous daughter wife Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother. Again shall you be mother to a king, And all the ruins of distressful times Repaired with double riches of content. What, we have many goodly days to see! The liquid drops of tears that you have shed Shall come again, transformed to orient pearl, Advantaging their love with interest Of ten times double gain of happiness. Go then, my mother; to thy daughter go. Make bold her bashful years with your experience; Prepare her ears to hear a wooer’s tale; Put in her tender heart th' aspiring flame Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the Princess With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys; And when this arm of mine hath chastisèd The petty rebel, dull-brained Buckingham, Bound with triumphant garlands will I come And lead thy daughter to a conqueror’s bed, To whom I will retail my conquest won, And she shall be sole victoress, Caesar’s Caesar.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

What were I best to say? Her father’s brother Would be her lord? Or shall I say her uncle? Or he that slew her brothers and her uncles? Under what title shall I woo for thee, That God, the law, my honor and her love Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Infer fair England’s peace by this alliance.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Which she shall purchase with still-lasting war.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Tell her the king, that may command, entreats—

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

That, at her hands, which the king’s King forbids.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Say she shall be a high and mighty queen.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

To vail the title, as her mother doth.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Say I will love her everlastingly.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

But how long shall that title “ever” last?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Sweetly in force unto her fair life’s end.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

As long as heaven and nature lengthens it.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

As long as hell and Richard likes of it.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Say I, her sovereign, am her subject low.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Be eloquent in my behalf to her.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Then plainly to her tell my loving tale.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

O no, my reasons are too deep and dead—Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Harp on it still shall I till heart-strings break.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Now by my George, my Garter, and my crown—

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Profaned, dishonored, and the third usurped.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

I swear—

RICHARD

Lorem ip

QUEEN ELIZABETH

By nothing, for this is no oath. Thy George, profaned, hath lost his lordly honor; Thy garter, blemished, pawned his knightly virtue; Thy crown, usurped, disgraced his kingly glory. If something thou wouldst swear to be believed, Swear then by something that thou hast not wronged.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Then, by myself—

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Thyself is self-misused.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Now, by the world—

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

My father’s death—

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Thy life hath it dishonored.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Why then, by God.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

God’s wrong is most of all. If thou didst fear to break an oath by Him, The unity the king my husband made Thou hadst not broken, nor my brothers died. If thou hadst feared to break an oath by Him, Th' imperial metal circling now thy head Had graced the tender temples of my child, And both the princes had been breathing here, Which now, two tender bedfellows for dust, Thy broken faith hath made the prey for worms. What canst thou swear by now?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

The time to come.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

That thou hast wrongèd in the time o'erpast; For I myself have many tears to wash Hereafter time, for time past wronged by thee. The children live whose fathers thou hast slaughtered, Ungoverned youth, to wail it in their age; The parents live whose children thou hast butchered, Old barren plants, to wail it with their age. Swear not by time to come, for that thou hast Misused ere used, by times ill-used o'erpast.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

As I intend to prosper and repent, So thrive I in my dangerous affairs Of hostile arms! Myself myself confound, Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours, Day, yield me not thy light, nor night thy rest, Be opposite all planets of good luck To my proceedings if, with dear heart’s love, Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts, I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter. In her consists my happiness and thine. Without her follows to myself and thee, Herself, the land, and many a Christian soul, Death, desolation, ruin and decay. It cannot be avoided but by this; It will not be avoided but by this. Therefore, dear mother—I must call you so— Be the attorney of my love to her: Plead what I will be, not what I have been; Not my deserts, but what I will deserve. Urge the necessity and state of times, And be not peevish found in great designs.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Ay, if the devil tempt you to do good.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Shall I forget myself to be myself?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Ay, if your self’s remembrance wrong yourself.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Yet thou didst kill my children.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

But in your daughter’s womb I bury them,Where, in that nest of spicery, they will breedSelves of themselves, to your recomforture.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

And be a happy mother by the deed.

RICHARD

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

I go. Write to me very shortly,And you shall understand from me her mind.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

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RICHARD

Bear her my true love’s kiss; and so, farewell.

RICHARD

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Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH

Relenting fool and shallow, changing woman!

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Enter RATCLIFFE, with CATESBY behind

How now, what news?

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RATCLIFFE

Most mighty sovereign, on the western coast Rideth a puissant navy. To our shores Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends, Unarmed and unresolved to beat them back. 'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral; And there they hull, expecting but the aid Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.

RATCLIFFE

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RICHARD

Some light-foot friend post to the duke of Norfolk—Ratcliffe, thyself, or Catesby. Where is he?

RICHARD

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CATESBY

Here, my good lord.

CATESBY

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RICHARD

Catesby, fly to the duke.

RICHARD

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CATESBY

I will, my lord, with all convenient haste.

CATESBY

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RICHARD

Ratcliffe, come hither. Post to Salisbury. When thou com’st thither [to CATESBY] Dull, unmindful villain, Why stay’st thou here and go’st not to the duke?

RICHARD

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CATESBY

First, mighty liege, tell me your Highness' pleasure,What from your Grace I shall deliver to him.

CATESBY

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RICHARD

O true, good Catesby. Bid him levy straightThe greatest strength and power that he can make And meet me suddenly at Salisbury.

RICHARD

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CATESBY

I go.

CATESBY

Lorem ip

Exit

RATCLIFFE

What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?

RATCLIFFE

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RICHARD

Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go?

RICHARD

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RATCLIFFE

Your Highness told me I should post before.

RATCLIFFE

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RICHARD

My mind is changed.

RICHARD

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Enter STANLEY

Stanley, what news with you?

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STANLEY

None good, my liege, to please you with the hearing,Nor none so bad but well may be reported.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

Hoyday, a riddle! Neither good nor bad. What need’st thou run so many mile about When thou mayst tell thy tale the nearest way? Once more, what news?

RICHARD

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STANLEY

Richmond is on the seas.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

There let him sink, and be the seas on him!White-livered runagate, what doth he there?

RICHARD

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STANLEY

I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

Well, as you guess?

RICHARD

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STANLEY

Stirred up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton,He makes for England, here to claim the crown.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

Is the chair empty? Is the sword unswayed? Is the king dead, the empire unpossessed? What heir of York is there alive but we? And who is England’s king but great York’s heir? Then tell me, what makes he upon the seas?

RICHARD

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STANLEY

Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

Unless for that he comes to be your liege, You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.

RICHARD

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STANLEY

No, my good lord. Therefore mistrust me not.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

Where is thy power, then, to beat him back? Where be thy tenants and thy followers? Are they not now upon the western shore, Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?

RICHARD

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STANLEY

No, my good lord. My friends are in the north.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

Cold friends to me. What do they in the northWhen they should serve their sovereign in the west?

RICHARD

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STANLEY

They have not been commanded, mighty king. Pleaseth your Majesty to give me leave, I’ll muster up my friends and meet your Grace Where and what time your Majesty shall please.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

Ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond,But I’ll not trust thee.

RICHARD

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STANLEY

Most mighty sovereign,You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful.I never was nor never will be false.

STANLEY

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RICHARD

Go then and muster men, but leave behindYour son George Stanley. Look your heart be firm. Or else his head’s assurance is but frail.

RICHARD

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STANLEY

So deal with him as I prove true to you.

STANLEY

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Exit

Enter a MESSENGER

MESSENGER

My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire, As I by friends am well advertisèd, Sir Edward Courtney and the haughty prelate, Bishop of Exeter, his elder brother, With many more confederates are in arms.

MESSENGER

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Enter SECOND MESSENGER

SECOND MESSENGER

In Kent, my liege, the Guilfords are in arms,And every hour more competitorsFlock to the rebels, and their power grows strong.

SECOND MESSENGER

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Enter THIRD MESSENGER

THIRD MESSENGER

My lord, the army of great Buckingham—

THIRD MESSENGER

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RICHARD

Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of death. [he striketh him] There, take thou that till thou bring better news.

RICHARD

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THIRD MESSENGER

The news I have to tell your Majesty Is that by sudden floods and fall of waters Buckingham’s army is dispersed and scattered, And he himself wandered away alone, No man knows whither.

THIRD MESSENGER

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RICHARD

I cry thee mercy. There is my purse to cure that blow of thine. [he gives money] Hath any well-advisèd friend proclaimed Reward to him that brings the traitor in?

RICHARD

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THIRD MESSENGER

Such proclamation hath been made, my lord.

THIRD MESSENGER

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Enter FOURTH MESSENGER

FOURTH MESSENGER

Sir Thomas Lovell and Lord Marquess Dorset, 'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms. But this good comfort bring I to your Highness: The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest. Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat Unto the shore to ask those on the banks If they were his assistants, yea or no— Who answered him they came from Buckingham Upon his party. He, mistrusting them, Hoisted sail and made his course for Brittany.

FOURTH MESSENGER

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RICHARD

March on, march on, since we are up in arms,If not to fight with foreign enemies,Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

RICHARD

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Enter CATESBY

CATESBY

My liege, the duke of Buckingham is taken. That is the best news. That the earl of Richmond Is with a mighty power landed at Milford, Is colder tidings, yet they must be told.

CATESBY

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RICHARD

Away towards Salisbury! While we reason here, A royal battle might be won and lost. Someone take order Buckingham be brought To Salisbury. The rest march on with me.

RICHARD

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Flourish. 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.