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Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 5, Scene 1

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Enter BUCKINGHAM with SHERIFF and halberds, led to execution

BUCKINGHAM

Will not King Richard let me speak with him?

BUCKINGHAM

Won't King Richard let me speak with him?

SHERIFF

No, my good lord. Therefore be patient.

SHERIFF

No, my good lord. So calm down.

BUCKINGHAM

Hastings and Edward’s children, Grey and Rivers, Holy King Henry and thy fair son Edward, Vaughan, and all that have miscarrièd By underhand, corrupted, foul injustice, If that your moody, discontented souls Do through the clouds behold this present hour, Even for revenge mock my destruction.— This is All Souls' Day, fellow, is it not?

BUCKINGHAM

Oh, Hastings; Edward's children; Grey and Rivers; holy King Henry and your fair son Edward; Vaughan; and all who have died because of underhanded, corrupt, foul injustice—if your angry souls still cannot rest and are witnessing this scene through the clouds, then enjoy your revenge and mock my destruction.

[To SHERIFF] This is All Souls' Day, isn't it?

SHERIFF

It is.

SHERIFF

It is.

BUCKINGHAM

Why, then All Souls' Day is my body’s doomsday. This is the day which, in King Edward’s time, I wished might fall on me when I was found False to his children and his wife’s allies. This is the day wherein I wished to fall By the false faith of him who most I trusted. This, this All Souls' Day to my fearful soul Is the determined respite of my wrongs. That high All-seer which I dallied with Hath turned my feignèd prayer on my head And given in earnest what I begged in jest. Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men To turn their own points in their masters' bosoms. Thus Margaret’s curse falls heavy upon my neck: “When he,” quoth she, “shall split thy heart with sorrow, Remember Margaret was a prophetess.”— Come, lead me, officers, to the block of shame. Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame.

BUCKINGHAM

Why, then All Souls' Day is also my body's Judgment Day. This is the punishment that I once wished might fall on me if I was ever false to King Edward's children or his wife's allies. This is the punishment I wished might fall on me—that I would be betrayed by the man I trusted most. This, this All Souls' Day, is the predestined punishment for my frightened soul. I tried to play games with God—the all-knowing seer—but he has turned my false prayer on my head and earnestly given me what I asked for as a joke. This is how he forces wicked men to turn their swords against their masters. Now Margaret's curse falls heavy on my neck. "When Richard splits your heart in two with sorrow," she said, "remember that Margaret was a prophetess."

[To others] Come, officers. Lead me to the block of shame. I have done evil, so I will get evil. I receive only the blame I deserve.

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.