A line-by-line translation

Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 5, Scene 3

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter RICHARD, in arms, with NORFOLK, RATCLIFFE, SURREY, and soldiers

RICHARD

Here pitch our tent, even here in Bosworth field.—My Lord of Surrey, why look you so sad?

RICHARD

Pitch our tents right here, in Bosworth field.

[To SURREY] My Lord of Surrey, why do you look sad?

SURREY

My heart is ten times lighter than my looks.

SURREY

My heart is ten times lighter than my appearance.

RICHARD

My Lord of Norfolk—

RICHARD

My Lord of Norfolk—

NORFOLK

Here, most gracious liege.

NORFOLK

Here, most gracious lord.

RICHARD

Norfolk, we must have knocks, ha, must we not?

RICHARD

Norfolk, we must have a few swings of the sword, ha, must we not?

NORFOLK

We must both give and take, my loving lord.

NORFOLK

We must both give them and take them, my loving lord.

RICHARD

Up with my tent!—Here will I lie tonight.But where tomorrow? Well, all’s one for that.Who hath descried the number of the traitors?

RICHARD

Put up my tent! I'll sleep here tonight. But where will I sleep tomorrow? Well, it makes no difference. Who has spied out the size of the traitor's army?

NORFOLK

Six or seven thousand is their utmost power.

NORFOLK

Six or seven thousand, at the most.

RICHARD

Why, our battalia trebles that account. Besides, the king’s name is a tower of strength Which they upon the adverse party want. Up with the tent!—Come, noble gentlemen, Let us survey the vantage of the ground. Call for some men of sound direction. Let’s lack no discipline, make no delay, For, lords, tomorrow is a busy day.

RICHARD

Why, our army is three times that many. Besides, the King's name is a tower of strength, which the opposition lacks. Put up the tent! Come, noble gentlemen, let's survey the military advantages of this battlefield. Call for some experienced officers. Let's lack no discipline and make no delay, for tomorrow will be a busy day, my lords.

Exeunt

Enter RICHMOND, Sir William Brandon, OXFORD, DORSET, HERBERT, BLUNT, and others. The soldiers pitch RICHMOND’s tent

RICHMOND

The weary sun hath made a golden set, And by the bright track of his fiery car, Gives token of a goodly day tomorrow.— Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard.— Give me some ink and paper in my tent; I’ll draw the form and model of our battle, Limit each leader to his several charge, And part in just proportion our small power. My Lord of Oxford, you, Sir William Brandon, And you, Sir Walter Herbert, stay with me. The earl of Pembroke keeps his regiment— Good Captain Blunt, bear my goodnight to him, And by the second hour in the morning Desire the earl to see me in my tent. Yet one thing more, good captain, do for me. Where is Lord Stanley quartered, do you know?

RICHMOND

The weary sun has had a golden sunset, and left a bright trail in the sky. This is an omen that tomorrow will be a good day.

[To BRANDON] Sir William Brandon, you will carry my banner.

[To others] Bring some ink and paper to my tent, and I'll draw out the shape and strategy of our battle, appoint each leader to his specific troops, and divide up our small army.

[To OXFORD, BRANDON, and HERBERT] My Lord of Oxford, you, Sir William Brandon, and you, Sir Walter Herbert, stay with me. The Earl of Pembroke will stay with his regiment. 

[To BLUNT] Good Captain Blunt, tell the Earl goodnight for me, and tell him to come see me in my tent by two in the morning. And one more thing, good Blunt: do you know where Lord Stanley is staying?

BLUNT

Unless I have mista'en his colors much, Which well I am assured I have not done, His regiment lies half a mile, at least, South from the mighty power of the king.

BLUNT

Unless I've mistaken his banners—which I'm sure I haven't—his regiment lies at least half a mile south of the King's mighty army.

RICHMOND

If without peril it be possible, Sweet Blunt, make some good means to speak with him,And give him from me this most needful note.

RICHMOND

Sweet Captain Blunt, if it can be done without too much danger, find a way to speak with him, and give him this important note from me.

He hands him a paper

BLUNT

Upon my life, my lord, I’ll undertake it.And so God give you quiet rest tonight!

BLUNT

I swear by my life that I'll do this for you, my lord. And may God give you a quiet, restful night!

RICHMOND

Good night, good Captain Blunt.

RICHMOND

Goodnight, good Captain Blunt.

BLUNT exits

Come, gentlemen,Let us consult upon tomorrow’s businessInto my tent. The dew is raw and cold.

Come, gentlemen, let's go to my tent and discuss tomorrow's business. The night is too raw and cold to stay outside.

Enter, to his tent, RICHARD, NORFOLK, RATCLIFFE, CATESBY, and others

RICHARD

What is “t o”clock?

RICHARD

What time is it?

CATESBY

It’s suppertime, my lord. It’s nine o'clock.

CATESBY

It's dinnertime, my lord. It's nine o'clock.

RICHARD

I will not sup tonight. Give me some ink and paper.What, is my beaver easier than it was?And all my armor laid into my tent?

RICHARD

I will not eat tonight. Give me some ink and paper. Is my helmet's visor working better now? And is my armor laid out in my tent?

CATESBY

It is, my liege, and all things are in readiness.

CATESBY

It is, my lord. Everything's ready.

RICHARD

Good Norfolk, hie thee to thy charge. Use careful watch. Choose trusty sentinels.

RICHARD

Good Norfolk, hurry to your post. Make sure everyone is on constant alert. Choose trusty watchmen.

NORFOLK

I go, my lord.

NORFOLK

I'm off to do it, my lord.

RICHARD

Stir with the lark tomorrow, gentle Norfolk.

RICHARD

Rise with the lark at dawn tomorrow, gentle Norfolk.

NORFOLK

I warrant you, my lord.

NORFOLK

I promise I will, my lord.

Exit

RICHARD

Catesby.

RICHARD

Catesby.

CATESBY

My lord.

CATESBY

My lord.

RICHARD

Send out a pursuivant-at-arms To Stanley’s regiment. Bid him bring his power Before sunrising, lest his son George fall Into the blind cave of eternal night.

RICHARD

Send out a junior officer to Stanley's regiment. Tell Stanley to bring his army here before sunrise, or else his son George will go to his eternal rest.

Exit CATESBY

[to soldiers] Fill me a bowl of wine. Give me a watch. Saddle white Surrey for the field to-morrow. Look that my staves be sound, and not too heavy.— Ratcliffe.

[To soldiers] Give me a goblet of wine. Give me a personal guard. Saddle my white horse Surrey for the battle tomorrow. Make sure that my lances are strong, but not too heavy.

[To RATCLIFFE] Ratcliffe!

RATCLIFFE

My lord.

RATCLIFFE

My lord.

RICHARD

Sawst thou the melancholy Lord Northumberland?

RICHARD

Did you see the gloomy Lord Northumberland?

RATCLIFFE

Thomas the earl of Surrey and himself,Much about cockshut time, from troop to troopWent through the army cheering up the soldiers.

RATCLIFFE

He and Thomas, the Earl of Surrey, were moving from troop to troop around twilight, and cheering up the soldiers.

RICHARD

So, I am satisfied. Give me a bowl of wine. I have not that alacrity of spirit Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have. Set it down. Is ink and paper ready?

RICHARD

Good, I am satisfied. Give me some wine. I don't have the same energetic spirit or optimistic mind that I used to. Set down the goblet. Is the ink and paper ready?

RATCLIFFE

It is, my lord.

RATCLIFFE

It is, my lord.

RICHARD

Bid my guard watch. Leave me. Ratcliffe, about the mid of night come to my tentAnd help to arm me. Leave me, I say.

RICHARD

Tell my guard to be on alert. Now leave me. Ratcliffe, come to my tent around midnight and help me put on my armor. Now leave me, I say.

Exeunt Ratcliffe and the other attendants. RICHARD sleeps.

Enter STANLEY to RICHMOND in his tent, lords and others attending

STANLEY

Fortune and victory sit on thy helm!

STANLEY

May fortune and victory be yours!

RICHMOND

All comfort that the dark night can affordBe to thy person, noble father-in-law. Tell me, how fares our loving mother?

RICHMOND

Take all the comfort that such a dark night as this can offer, noble father-in-law. Tell me, how is my loving mother?

STANLEY

I, by attorney, bless thee from thy mother, Who prays continually for Richmond’s good. So much for that. The silent hours steal on, And flaky darkness breaks within the east. In brief, for so the season bids us be, Prepare thy battle early in the morning, And put thy fortune to the arbitrament Of bloody strokes and mortal-staring war. I, as I may—that which I would I cannot,— With best advantage will deceive the time, And aid thee in this doubtful shock of arms. But on thy side I may not be too forward, Lest, being seen, thy brother, tender George, Be executed in his father’s sight. Farewell. The leisure and the fearful time Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love And ample interchange of sweet discourse, Which so-long-sundered friends should dwell upon. God give us leisure for these rites of love! Once more, adieu. Be valiant, and speed well.

STANLEY

I bless you on your mother's behalf. She prays continually for you. But enough of that. The silent hours keep passing, and dawn is breaking in the east. To be brief—as the situation requires—you should prepare your army early in the morning. Let bloody fighting and deadly war be the judges of your destiny. I can't help you in this battle as much as I'd like to, but I'll do the best I can without Richard finding out. If I act too boldly on your behalf and Richard notices, then your stepbrother, young George, will be executed in front of me. Farewell. The danger and urgency of the current situation must keep us from the long greetings and happy catching-up that friends like us, who have been separated for so long, should have. But may God grant us time for all that soon! Once more, farewell. Be brave, and do well.

RICHMOND

Good lords, conduct him to his regiment: I’ll strive with troubled thoughts to take a nap, Lest leaden slumber peise me down tomorrow, When I should mount with wings of victory. Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.

RICHMOND

Good lords, escort him to his regiment. I'll wrestle with my troubled thoughts and try to take a nap, so that sleepiness won't weigh me down tomorrow and keep me from flying on the wings of victory. Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.

Exeunt all but RICHMOND

O Thou, whose captain I account myself, Look on my forces with a gracious eye. Put in their hands thy bruising irons of wrath, That they may crush down with a heavy fall The usurping helmets of our adversaries! Make us thy ministers of chastisement, That we may praise thee in the victory! To thee I do commend my watchful soul, Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes. Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still! [Sleeps]

Oh God—of whose side I call myself captain—please look upon my forces with a gracious eye. Put the bruising swords of anger in their hands, so they can crush the helmets of our enemies! Make us agents of your divine punishment, so we can praise you when we're victorious! I entrust my soul to you now, before I close my eyes and fall asleep. Oh God, defend me always, whether sleeping or waking! [He falls asleep]

Enter the GHOST OF PRINCE EDWARD, son to KING HENRY VI

GHOST OF PRINCE EDWARD

[to RICHARD] Let me sit heavy on thy soul tomorrow! Think how thou stabbed’st me in my prime of youth At Tewkesbury. Despair therefore, and die! [to RICHMOND] Be cheerful, Richmond, for the wrongèd souls Of butchered princes fight in thy behalf. King Henry’s issue, Richmond, comforts thee.

GHOST OF PRINCE EDWARD

[To RICHARD] May I weigh down your soul tomorrow! Remember how you stabbed me at Tewkesbury in the prime of my life. So despair, and die! 

[To RICHMOND] Be cheerful, Richmond, for the wronged souls of butchered princes fight on your side. I, King Henry's son, offer you my comfort, Richmond.

Exit

Enter the GHOST OF KING HENRY VI

GHOST OF KING HENRY VI

[to RICHARD] When I was mortal, my anointed body By thee was punchèd full of deadly holes. Think on the Tower and me. Despair, and die! Harry the Sixth bids thee despair and die. [to RICHMOND] Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror. Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king, Doth comfort thee in thy sleep. Live and flourish.

GHOST OF KING HENRY VI

[To RICHARD] When I was alive, you stabbed my kingly body full of deadly holes. Remember the Tower, and remember me. Despair, and die! Henry the Sixth tells you to despair and die! 

[To RICHMOND] You who are virtuous and holy, be also victorious. I, Henry—who prophesied that you would be king one day—comforts you in your sleep. Live and prosper!

Exit

Enter the GHOST OF CLARENCE

GHOST OF CLARENCE

[to RICHARD] Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow, I, that was washed to death with fulsome wine, Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death. Tomorrow in the battle think on me, And fall thy edgeless sword. Despair, and die! [to RICHMOND] Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster, The wrongèd heirs of York do pray for thee Good angels guard thy battle. Live and flourish.

GHOST OF CLARENCE

[To RICHARD] May I weigh down your soul tomorrow! It's me, poor Clarence, who was drowned to death in a barrel of sickening wine, betrayed by your plotting. Remember me tomorrow in the battle, and let your blunted sword fall from your hand. Despair, and die! 

[To RICHMOND] You offspring of the house of Lancaster, the wronged heirs of York pray for you. Good angels will guard you in battle. Live and prosper!

Exit

Enter the GHOSTS OF RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN

GHOST OF RIVERS

[to RICHARD] Let me sit heavy in thy soul tomorrow,Rivers, that died at Pomfret. Despair, and die!

GHOST OF RIVERS

[To RICHARD] May I weigh down your soul tomorrow! It's me, Rivers, who died at Pomfret. Despair, and die!

GHOST OF GREY

[to RICHARD] Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!

GHOST OF GREY

[To RICHARD] Remember Grey, and let your soul despair!

GHOST OF VAUGHAN

[to RICHARD] Think upon Vaughan, and with guilty fearLet fall thy lance. Despair, and die!

GHOST OF VAUGHAN

[To RICHARD] Remember Vaughan, and drop your lance with guilt and fear. Despair, and die!

ALL

[to RICHMOND] Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard’s bosomWill conquer him! Awake, and win the day.

ALL

[To RICHMOND] Wake up, and believe that Richard's guilty conscience will be his downfall! Wake up, and win the day!

Exeunt

Enter the GHOSTS OF the two young PRINCES

GHOSTS OF PRINCES

[to RICHARD] Dream on thy cousins smothered in the Tower. Let us be lead within thy bosom, Richard, And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death. Thy nephews' souls bid thee despair and die. [to RICHMOND] Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace and wake in joy. Good angels guard thee from the boar’s annoy. Live, and beget a happy race of kings. Edward’s unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.

GHOSTS OF PRINCES

[To RICHARD] Dream about your nephews, smothered in the Tower. Richard, may we weigh down your soul like lead, and drag you down to ruin, shame, and death. Your nephews' souls tell you to despair and die! 

[To RICHMOND] Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace and wake in joy. Good angels wil protect you from the boar's attacks. Live, and give birth to a happy race of kings. Edward's unhappy sons tell you to prosper!

Exeunt

Enter the GHOST OF HASTINGS

GHOST OF HASTINGS

[to RICHARD] Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake, And in a bloody battle end thy days. Think on Lord Hastings. Despair and die! [to RICHMOND] Quiet, untroubled soul, awake, awake. Arm, fight, and conquer for fair England’s sake.

GHOST OF HASTINGS

[To RICHARD] You bloody, guilty man, wake up full of guilt and then die in a bloody battle! Remember Lord Hastings. Despair, and die! 

[To RICHMOND] You quiet, untroubled soul, wake up, wake up! Arm yourself, fight, and win, for fair England's sake!

He exits.

Enter the GHOST OF ANNE

GHOST OF ANNE

[to RICHARD] Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife, That never slept a quiet hour with thee, Now fills thy sleep with perturbations. Tomorrow, in the battle, think on me, And fall thy edgeless sword: Despair and die! [to RICHMOND] Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep. Dream of success and happy victory. Thy adversary’s wife doth pray for thee.

GHOST OF ANNE

[To RICHARD] Richard, it's your wife, wretched Anne your wife, who never had a quiet hour of sleep with you. Now I've come to fill your sleep with disturbing thoughts. Tomorrow in the battle, remember me and drop your blunted sword. Despair, and die! 

[To RICHMOND] You quiet soul, sleep a quiet sleep. Dream of success and happy victory. Your enemy's wife prays for you.

Exit

Enter the GHOST OF BUCKINGHAM

GHOST OF BUCKINGHAM

[to RICHARD] The last was I that helped thee to the crown; The last was I that felt thy tyranny. O, in the battle think on Buckingham, And die in terror of thy guiltiness. Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death. Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath. [to RICHMOND] I died for hope ere I could lend thee aid, But cheer thy heart, and be thou not dismayed. God and good angels fight on Richmond’s side, And Richard fall in height of all his pride.

GHOST OF BUCKINGHAM

[To RICHARD] I was the last to help you to the crown, and the last to feel the sting of your tyranny. Oh, in battle remember Buckingham, and die in terror of your own guilt. Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death. And tomorrow, fall and despair, and despairing die! 

[To RICHMOND] I died while hoping that I could help you, but be cheerful, and don't worry. God and his good angels fight on your side, and Richard will fall from the height of his pride.

Exit

RICHARD starts out of his dream

RICHARD

Give me another horse! Bind up my wounds! Have mercy, Jesu!—Soft, I did but dream. O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me! The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight. Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh. What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by. Richard loves Richard; that is, I and I. Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am. Then fly! What, from myself? Great reason why: Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself? Alack, I love myself. Wherefore? For any good That I myself have done unto myself? O, no! Alas, I rather hate myself For hateful deeds committed by myself. I am a villain. Yet I lie. I am not. Fool, of thyself speak well. Fool, do not flatter. My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, And every tongue brings in a several tale, And every tale condemns me for a villain. Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree; Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree; All several sins, all used in each degree, Throng to the bar, crying all, “Guilty! guilty!” I shall despair. There is no creature loves me, And if I die no soul will pity me. And wherefore should they, since that I myself Find in myself no pity to myself? Methought the souls of all that I had murdered Came to my tent, and every one did threat Tomorrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard.

RICHARD

Give me another horse! Bind up my wounds! Have mercy, Jesus! But wait, I was only dreaming. Oh, you coward conscience, how you torture me! The candles burn blue. It is now dead midnight. I'm in a cold sweat and trembling with fear. What am I so afraid of? Myself? There's no one else here. Richard loves Richard; that is, I am only myself. Is there a murderer here? No. But yes, it's me. Then run away! What, from myself? Yes, so I won't take revenge. What, revenge myself upon myself? Alas, I love myself. But why? Have I ever done myself any good? No, no! Alas, I hate myself instead, for all the hateful deeds I've committed. I am a villain. But I'm lying—I am not a villain. Fool, speak well of yourself. Fool, do not flatter yourself. My conscience has a thousand separate voices, and each voice tells a separate story, and each story condemns me as a villain. Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree; murder, ominous murder, in the highest degree; all kinds of sins, all done in each degree—bad, worse, and worst—all of these crimes cry out "Guilty! guilty!" I will despair. There is no one who loves me, and if I die no one will pity me. And why should they, since I can't even find any pity for myself in myself? Just now it seemed like the souls of all those I murdered came to my tent, and every one of them threatened that vengeance would fall on my head tomorrow.

Enter RATCLIFFE

RATCLIFFE

My lord.

RATCLIFFE

My lord.

RICHARD

Zounds, who is there?

RICHARD

By God! Who's there?

RATCLIFFE

Ratcliffe, my lord, ’tis I. The early village cockHath twice done salutation to the morn.Your friends are up and buckle on their armor.

RATCLIFFE

My lord, it's Ratcliffe, it's me. The village rooster has already crowed twice to welcome the dawn. Your friends are up and putting on their armor.

RICHARD

O Ratcliffe, I have dreamed a fearful dream! What think’st thou, will our friends prove all true?

RICHARD

Oh, Ratcliffe, I have dreamed a fearful dream! What do you think, will all our friends prove loyal?

RATCLIFFE

No doubt, my lord.

RATCLIFFE

No doubt, my lord.

RICHARD

O Ratcliffe, I fear, I fear.

RICHARD

Oh, Ratcliffe, I'm afraid, I'm afraid.

RATCLIFFE

Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.

RATCLIFFE

No, my good lord, don't be afraid of shadows.

RICHARD

By the apostle Paul, shadows tonight Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers Armed in proof and led by shallow Richmond. 'Tis not yet near day. Come, go with me; Under our tents I’ll play the eavesdropper To see if any mean to shrink from me.

RICHARD

By Saint Paul, tonight shadows have struck more terror in my soul than ten thousand soldiers could, even if they were dressed in impenetrable armor and led by that fool Richmond. It's not yet daytime. Come with me; I'll eavesdrop under our tents to see if anyone plans to desert me.

Exeunt

Enter the lords to RICHMOND, sitting in his tent

LORDS

Good morrow, Richmond.

LORDS

Good morning, Richmond.

RICHMOND

Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen,That you have ta'en a tardy sluggard here.

RICHMOND

I beg your pardon, lords and gentlemen who stayed awake and alert—you've caught me sleeping late.

A LORD

How have you slept, my lord?

A LORD

How did you sleep, my lord?

RICHMOND

The sweetest sleep and fairest-boding dreams That ever entered in a drowsy head Have I since your departure had, my lords. Methought their souls whose bodies Richard murdered Came to my tent and cried on victory. I promise you, my soul is very jocund In the remembrance of so fair a dream. How far into the morning is it, lords?

RICHMOND

My lords, since you last left me, I've had the sweetest sleep and the most hopeful dreams that ever entered someone's drowsy head. It seemed like the souls of those Richard had murdered came to my tent and encouraged me to victory. I promise you, my soul is very joyful now, remembering that beautiful dream. How late in the morning is it, lords?

LORDS

Upon the stroke of four.

LORDS

Almost four o'clock.

RICHMOND

Why, then ’tis time to arm and give direction. [his oration to his soldiers] More than I have said, loving countrymen, The leisure and enforcement of the time Forbids to dwell upon. Yet remember this: God and our good cause fight upon our side. The prayers of holy saints and wrongèd souls, Like high-reared bulwarks, stand before our faces. Richard except, those whom we fight against Had rather have us win than him they follow. For what is he they follow? Truly, gentlemen, A bloody tyrant and a homicide; One raised in blood, and one in blood established; One that made means to come by what he hath, And slaughtered those that were the means to help him; A base foul stone, made precious by the foil Of England’s chair, where he is falsely set; One that hath ever been God’s enemy. Then if you fight against God’s enemy, God will, in justice, ward you as his soldiers. If you do sweat to put a tyrant down, You sleep in peace, the tyrant being slain. If you do fight against your country’s foes, Your country’s fat shall pay your pains the hire. If you do fight in safeguard of your wives, Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors. If you do free your children from the sword, Your children’s children quits it in your age. Then, in the name of God and all these rights, Advance your standards. Draw your willing swords. For me, the ransom of my bold attempt Shall be this cold corpse on the earth’s cold face; But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt The least of you shall share his part thereof. Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully; God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!

RICHMOND

Why, then it's time to arm myself and direct my troops. 

[To soldiers] The urgency of the present forbids me from saying all I want to say, my loving countrymen, but remember this: God and a good cause fight on our side. The prayers of holy saints and the souls of those Richard has wronged will protect us like high fortress walls. Other than Richard himself, those we fight against would prefer that we won instead of the king they follow. For who is this king they follow? Truly, gentlemen, he is a bloody tyrant and a murderer, one who took the throne through bloodshed and has held it through further bloodshed. He manipulated events to his advantage, and then slaughtered those who helped him do the manipulating. He is a foul, worthless stone, who only seems precious because he's wrapped himself in the gold of England's throne, where he falsely sits. He has always been God's enemy. And if you fight against God's enemy, then God—in his justice—will protect you as his soldiers. If you struggle to bring down a tyrant, then you will sleep in peace when the tyrant is dead. If you fight against your country's enemies, then your country's wealth will repay you for your suffering. If you fight to protect your wives, then your wives will welcome you home as conquerors. If you free your children from the sword, then your children's children will repay you in your old age. So, in the name of God and all these truths, raise your banners. Draw your swords. As for me, if I fail and I'm captured, the only ransom I'll offer will be my cold corpse in the cold earth. But if I succeed, every one of your will share in my profits. Beat the drums and play the trumpets boldly and cheerfully. For God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!

Exeunt

Enter King RICHARD, RATCLIFFE, attendants and forces

RICHARD

What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?

RICHARD

What did Northumberland say regarding Richmond?

RATCLIFFE

That he was never trainèd up in arms.

RATCLIFFE

That he was never trained to be a soldier.

RICHARD

He said the truth. And what said Surrey then?

RICHARD

He said the truth. And what did Surrey say to that?

RATCLIFFE

He smiled and said “The better for our purpose.”

RATCLIFFE

He smiled and said, "All the better for us."

RICHARD

He was in the right, and so indeed it is.

RICHARD

He was right, and so indeed it is.

The clock striketh

Tell the clock there. Give me a calendar. [he looks in an almanac] Who saw the sun today?

Read the clock there. Give me an almanac. [He looks in the almanac] Has anyone seen the sun yet today?

RATCLIFFE

Not I, my lord.

RATCLIFFE

Not I, my lord.

RICHARD

Then he disdains to shine, for by the bookHe should have braved the east an hour ago A black day will it be to somebody. Ratcliffe!

RICHARD

Then it's refusing to shine. For according to this almanac, it should have risen in the east an hour ago. It will be a dark day for somebody today. Hey, Ratcliffe!

RATCLIFFE

My lord.

RATCLIFFE

My lord.

RICHARD

The sun will not be seen today. The sky doth frown and lour upon our army. I would these dewy tears were from the ground. Not shine today? Why, what is that to me More than to Richmond, for the selfsame heaven That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.

RICHARD

The sun won't come out today. The sky frowns and scowls at our army. I wish there wasn't all this dew on the ground. So the sun won't shine today? Why, that shouldn't matter any more to me than it does to Richmond. The same heaven that frowns on me also looks sadly on him.

Enter NORFOLK

NORFOLK

Arm, arm, my lord. The foe vaunts in the field.

NORFOLK

Arm yourself, my lord. The enemy is on the battlefield.

RICHARD

Come, bustle, bustle. Caparison my horse.— Call up Lord Stanley; bid him bring his power.— I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain, And thus my battle shall be orderèd: My foreward shall be drawn out all in length, Consisting equally of horse and foot; Our archers shall be placèd in the midst. John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey, Shall have the leading of this foot and horse. They thus directed, we will follow In the main battle, whose puissance on either side Shall be well wingèd with our chiefest horse. This, and Saint George to boot—What think’st thou, Norfolk?

RICHARD

Come, hurry, hurry. Prepare my horse. Call up Lord Stanley. Tell him to bring his army. I will lead my soldiers in the field, with my army arranged like this: the front lines will be equal parts horsemen and foot soldiers and our archers will be placed in the middle. John—the Duke of Norfolk—and Thomas—the Earl of Surrey—will lead the horsemen and foot soldiers. With them placed like this, I will follow with the main army, which will be defended on both sides by our best horsemen. We will have all this, and Saint George on our side as well. What do you think, Norfolk?

NORFOLK

A good direction, warlike sovereign.

NORFOLK

A good plan, my warrior king.

He sheweth him a paper

This found I on my tent this morning.

I found this on my tent this morning.

RICHARD

[reads] Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold. For Dickon thy master is bought and sold. A thing devisèd by the enemy.— Go, gentlemen, every man unto his charge. Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls. Conscience is but a word that cowards use, Devised at first to keep the strong in awe. Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law. March on. Join bravely. Let us to it pell mell If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell. [his oration to his army] What shall I say more than I have inferred? Remember whom you are to cope withal, A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways, A scum of Bretons and base lackey peasants, Whom their o'er-cloyèd country vomits forth To desperate ventures and assured destruction. You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest; You having lands and blessed with beauteous wives, They would restrain the one, distain the other. And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow, Long kept in Brittany at our mother’s cost, A milksop, one that never in his life Felt so much cold as overshoes in snow? Let’s whip these stragglers o'er the seas again, Lash hence these overweening rags of France, These famished beggars weary of their lives, Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit, For want of means, poor rats, had hanged themselves. If we be conquered, let men conquer us, And not these bastard Bretons, whom our fathers Have in their own land beaten, bobbed, and thumped, And in record, left them the heirs of shame. Shall these enjoy our lands, lie with our wives, Ravish our daughters?

RICHARD

[Reading] "Jack of Norfolk, don't be too bold, for Dick your master's been bought and sold." Some plot of the enemy's. Go, gentlemen, every man to his position. Don't let our babbling dreams frighten our souls. "Conscience" is just a word that cowards use to keep down the strong. Our strength will make us right; our swords will be the law. March on. Meet the enemy bravely. Let's go down fighting—if not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell. 

[To his army] What more can I say than what I've reported? Remember who you're about to meet in battle: a band of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways; Breton scum and lowbred peasants. Their overcrowded country vomits them out to pursue their desperate adventures and suicidal enterprises. You sleep in safety, and they bring you unrest; you own lands, and they try to take them; you are blessed with beautiful wives, and they try to defile them. And who leads these men? Just an inconsequential fellow who's been living in Brittany at his mother's expense, a coward who's never in his life felt more cold than when snow came in over his shoes! Let's whip these stragglers back over the sea, and strike back these overflowing rags of France; these starving beggars weary of their own lives, who would have hanged themselves from hunger—poor rats—if they weren't dreaming of this foolish exploit. If we are to be conquered, then let us be conquered by real men, not these French bastards. Our forefathers already beat them down in their own land, shaming them forever. Will we let these men enjoy our lands, sleep with our wives, rape our daughters?

Drum afar off

Hark! I hear their drum. Fight, gentlemen of England.—Fight, bold yeomen.— Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head.— Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood. Amaze the welkin with your broken staves—

Listen! I hear their drums. Fight, gentlemen of England! Fight, bold citizens! Draw, archers—draw your bows all the way back! Horsemen, spur your proud horses hard, and ride with violence, to violence! Break your lances against the enemy and amaze even the heavens!

Enter a MESSENGER

What says Lord Stanley? Will he bring his power?

What does Lord Stanley say? Will he bring his army?

MESSENGER

My lord, he doth deny to come.

MESSENGER

My lord, he refuses to come.

RICHARD

Off with his son George’s head!

RICHARD

Off with his son George's head!

NORFOLK

My lord, the enemy is past the marsh.After the battle let George Stanley die.

NORFOLK

My lord, the enemy has passed the marsh. Let George Stanley die after the battle is over.

RICHARD

A thousand hearts are great within my bosom. Advance our standards. Set upon our foes. Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George, Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons. Upon them! Victory sits on our helms.

RICHARD

A thousand hearts seem to beat within my chest. Advance our banners. Attack our enemies. May our ancient battle cry of courage, fair Saint George, inspire us with the fury of fiery dragons! Attack! Victory rides with us.

Exeunt

Richard iii
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Richard III Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 1180 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 26,026 quotes covering 1180 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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.