Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

1

[blocks in formation]

Glo. My lord, there needs no such apology;

I rather do beseech you pardon me,

Who, earnest in the service of my God,
Neglect the visitation of my friends.

But, leaving this, what is your grace's pleasure?

Buck. Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above, And all good men of this ungovern'd isle.

Glo. I do suspect I have done some offence, That seems disgracious in the city's eye; And that you come to reprehend my ignorance. Buck. You have, my lord; would it might please On our entreaties to amend your fault! [your grace, Glo. Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land? Buck Know, then, it is your fault that you resign

The supreme seat, the throne majestical,

The sceptred office of your ancestors,

Your state of fortune and your due of birtn,
The lineal glory of your royal house,

To the corruption of a blemish'd stock:
Whilst, in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
(Which here we waken to our country's good,)
The noble isle doth want her proper limbs;
Her face defaced with scars of infamy,
Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
And almost shoulder'd in the swallowing gulf
Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion.
Which to recure, we heartily solicit
Your gracious self to take on you the charge
And kingly government of this your land :-
Not as protector, steward, substitute,
Or lowly factor for another's gain;
But as successively, from blood to blood,
Your right of birth, your empery, your own
For this, consorted with the citizens,
Your very worshipful and loving friends,
And by their vehement instigation,

In this just suit come I to move your grace.
Glo. I cannot tell, if to depart in silence,
Or bitterly to speak in your reproof,
Best fitteth my degree, or your condition:
If not to answer,-you might haply think
Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
Which fondly you would here impose on me;
If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
So season'd with your faithful love to me,
Then, on the other side, I check'd my friends.
Therefore, to speak, and to avoid the first,
And then, in speaking, not to incur the last,-
Definitively thus I answer you.

Your love deserves my thanks; but my desert,
Unmeritable, shuns your high request.
First, if all obstacles were cut away,

And that my path were even to the crown,

As the ripe revenue and due of birth;

Yet so much is my poverty of spirit,

So mighty and so many my defects,

That I would rather hide me from my greatnem,——
Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,-

Than in my greatness covet to be hid,
And in the vapour of my glory smother'd.
But, God be thank'd, there is no need of me;

(And much I need to help you, if need were ;)
The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,

Which, mellow'd by the stealing hours of time,
Will well become the seat of majesty,

And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.

On him I lay what you would lay on me,

The right and fortune of his happy stars,

Which God defend that I should wring from him!

Buck. My lord, this argues Conscience in your gra;
But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
All circumstances well considered.

You say that Edward is your brother's son:
So say we too, but not by Edward's wife;
For first he was contract to lady Lucy,-
Your mother lives a witness to his vow,-
And afterwards by substitute betroth'd
To Bona, sister to the king of France.
These both put by, a poor petitioner,
A care-crazed mother to a many sons,
A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
Even in the afternoon of her best days,
Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
Seduced the pitch and height of all his thoughts
To base declension and loathed bigamy:
By her, in his unlawful bed, he got

This Edward, whom our manners call the prince.

More bitterly could I expostulate,
Save that, for reverence to some alive,
I give a sparing limit to my tongue.
Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
This proffer'd benefit of dignity:

If not to bless us and the land withal
Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
From the corruption of abusing time,
Unto a lineal true-derived course.

May. Do, good my lord; your citizens entreat you.
Buck. Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffer'd love.
Cate. O, make them joyful, grant their lawful suit!
Glo. Alas, why would you heap those cares on me
I am unfit for state and majesty.-
I do beseech you, take it not amiss;
I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you.

Buck. If you refuse it,-as in love and zeal,
Loath to depose the child, your brother's son;
As well we know your tenderness of heart,
And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
Which we have noted in you to your kindred,
And equally indeed to all estates,--

Yet know, whe'r you accept our suit or no,
Your brother's son shall never reign our king;
But we will plant some other in your throne,
To the disgrace and downfall of your house
And in this resolution here we leave you.-
Come, citizens, we will entreat no more.

[Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and Citizens.
Cate. Call them again, sweet prince, accept their suit,
If you deny them, all the land will rue it.
Glo. Will you enforce me to a world of cares?
Well, call them again. [Exit CATESBY.] I am not made
But penetrable to your kind entreaties, [of stone,
Albeit against my conscience and my soul.-
Re-enter BUCKINGHAM and the rest.
Cousin of Buckingham,-and sage, grave men,-
Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
To bear her burden, whe'r I will or no,

I must have patience to endure the load:
But if black scandal, or foul-faced reproach,
Attend the sequel of your imposition,
Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
From all the impure blots and stains thereof;
For God he knows, and you may partly see,
How far I am from the desire of this.

May. God bless your grace! we see it, and will say it
Glo. In saying so, you shall but say the truth.
Buck. Then I salute you with this royal title,-
Long live king Richard, England's worthy king!
All. Amen.

[blocks in formation]

Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF YORK and MARQUIS OF DORSET; on the other, ANNE, Duchess of Gloster, leading Lady MARGARET PLANTAGENET, CLARENCE'S young Daughter.

Duch. Who meets us here?-my niece Plantagenet, Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloster? Now, for my life, she's wand'ring to the Tower, On pure heart's love, to greet the tender prince.Daughter, well met.

Anne. God give your graces both

A happy and a joyful time of day!

Q. Eliz. As much to you, good sister! whither away Anne. No further than the Tower; and, as I guess, Upon the like devotion as yourselves,

To gratulate the gentle princes there.

Q. Eliz. Kind sister, thanks; we'll enter all together

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? Brak. Right well, dear Madam. By your patience,

I may not suffer you to visit them;

The king hath strictly charged the contrary.

Q. Eliz. The king! who's that?

Brak. I mean the lord protector.

Q. Elis. 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? Duch. I am their father's mother, I will see them. 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 thy peril.

Brak. No, Madam, no,-I may not leave it so; I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me. [Exit BRAKENBURY.

Enter STANLEY.

Stan. Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence, And I'll salute vour grace of York as mother, And reverend looker-on, of two fair queens.[To the Duchess of Gloster.] Come, Madam, you must straight to Westminster.

There to be crowned Richard's royal queen.

Q. Eliz. Ah, cut my lace asunder!

That my pent heart may have some scope to beat,
Or else I swoon with this dead-killing news.

Anne. Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!
Dor. Be of good cheer:-mother, how fares your
grace?

Q. Eliz. O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee gone! Death and destruction dog thee at the 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 slaughter-house, Lest thou increase the number of the dead; And make me die the thrall of Margaret's carse,Nor mother, wife, nor England's 'counted queen.

Stan. Full of wise care is this your counsel, Madam.— [TO DOR.] 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.

Duch. O ill-dispersing wind of misery!

O my accursed womb, the bed of death!

A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world,

Whose unavoided eye is murderous!

Stan. Come, Madam, come; I in all haste was sent. Anne. And I with 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 brain!

Anointed let me be with deadly venom;

And die, ere men can say-God save the queen!

Q. Eliz. Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory; To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm.

Anne. No! why?-When he, that is my husband Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse;

[now,

When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his hands, Which issued from my other angel husband,

And that dead saint which then I weeping follow'd;

O, when, I say, I look'd 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,
Even in so short a space, my woman's heart
Grossly grew captive to his honey words,

And proved the subject of mine own soul's curse,—
Which ever since hath held mine eyes from rest;
For never yet one hour in his bed

Did I enjoy 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.

Q. Eliz. Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy complaining. Anne. No more than with my soul I mourn for yours. Dor. Farewell, thou woful welcomer of glory! Anne. Adieu, poor soul, that tak'st thy leave of it! Duch. [To DORSET.] Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee![thee!

[To ANNE.] Go thou to Richard, and good angels tend 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 wreck'd with a week of teen.
Q. Eliz. 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!

[blocks in formation]

SCENE II.-A Room of State in the Palace. Flourish of trumpets. RICHARD, as king upon his throne; BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, a Page, and others. K. Rich. Stand all apart.-Cousin of Buckingham,Buck. My gracious sovereign?

K. Rich. Give me thy hand. Thus high, by thy And thy assistance, is king Richard seated:- [advice But shall we wear these glories for a day?

Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?

Buck. Still live they, and for ever let them last! K. Rich. Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch, To try if thou be current gold indeed:Young Edward lives;-think now what I would speak. Buck. Say on, my loving lord.

K. Rich. Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king. Buck. Why, so you are, my thrice-renowned liege. K. Rich. Ha! am I king? 'Tis so:-but Edward lives. Buck. True, noble prince.

K. Rich. O bitter consequence,

That Edward still should live,-"true, noble prince!"-
Cousin, thou wast not wont to be so dull :-
Shall I be plain?-I wish the bastards dead;
And I would have it suddenly perform'd.

What say'st thou now? speak suddenly, be brief.
Buck. Your grace may do your pleasure.

K. Rich. Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness Say, have I thy consent that they shall die? [freezes: Buck. Give me some breath, some little pause, dear Before I positively speak in this:

I will resolve your grace immediately.

[lord,

[Exit BUCKINGHAM. Cate. [Aside.] The king is angry: see, he gnaws his lip.

K. Rich. Descends from his throne] I will converse with iron-witted fools

And unrespective boys: none are for me,

That look into me with considerate eyes:-
High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.-
Boy!-

Page. My lord?

K. Rich. Know'st thou not any, whom corrupting Would tempt unto a close exploit of death?

Page. I know a discontented gentleman,

[gold

Whose hunble means match not his haughty mind: Gold were as good as twenty orators,

And will, no doubt. tempt him to anything.

K. Rich. What is his name?

Page. His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.

K. Rich. I partly know the man: go, call him hither, boy..

The deep-revolving witty Buckingham

[Exit Page

No more shall be the neighbour to my counsels:
Hath he so long held out with me untired,
And stops he now for breath?—well, be it so.

Enter STANLEY.

How now, lord Stanley? what's the news?
Stan. Know, my loving lord,

The marquis Dorset, as I hear, is fled
To Richmond, in the parts where he abides.
K. Rich. Come hither, Catesby :-rumour it abroad,
That Anne my wife is very grievous sick;

I will take order for her keeping close.
Inquire me out some mean-born gentleman,
Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter;-
The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.-
Look, how thou dream'st!-I say again, give out
That Anne my queen is sick, and like to die:
About it; for it stands me much upon,
To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.-
[Erit CATESBY

I must be married to my brother's daughter,
Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass:-
Murder her brothers, and then marry ner!
Uncertain way of gain! but I am in
So far in blood, that sin will pluck on sin.
Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.-
Re-enter Page, with TYRREL.

Is thy name Tyrrel?

Tyr. James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject. K. Rich. Art thou, indeed?

Tyr. Prove me, my gracious lord.

K. Rich. Dar'st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine Tyr. Please you; but I had rather kill two enemies. K. Rich. Why, then thou hast it: two deep enemies Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep's disturbers, Are they that I would have thee deal upon :Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.

[blocks in formation]

Buck. My lord. I claim the gift. my due by promise, For which your honour and your faith is pawn'd; The earldom of Hereford and the movables, Which you have promised I shall possess.

K. Rich. Stanly, look to your wife; if she convey Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.

Buck. What says your highness to my just request?
K. Rich. I do remember me,-Henry the sixth

Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
A king!-perhaps-

Buck. My lord,

K Rich. How chance, the prophet could not time

that

[blocks in formation]

Tyr. 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,

[Exit

Albeit they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs, Melting with tenderness and mild compassion, Wept like two children in their death's sad story. "O, thus," quoth Dighton, "lay the gentle babes.""Thus, thus," quoth Forrest, "girdling one another Within their alabaster innocent arms: Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,

Which in their summer beauty kiss'd each other.

A book of prayers on their pillow lay;

Which once," quoth Forrest, "almost changed my mind;
But, 0, the devil"-there the villain stopp'd;
When Dighton thus told on,-"we smothered
The most replenished 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.

[blocks in formation]

K. Rich. 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.

Tyr. I humbly take my leave.

[Exit.

K. Rich. The son of Clarence have I penn'd up close; His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage; The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom, And Anne my wife hath bid the world good night. Now, for I know the Bretagne 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.

Cate. My lord,

Enter CATESBY.

[bluntly?

K. Rich. Good news or bad, that thou com'st in so Cate Bad news, my lord: Morton is fled to Richmond; And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen, Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.

K. Rich Ely with Richmond troubles me more near,
Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength.
Come,-I have learn'd 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. [Exeunt.

SCENE IV.-The same. Before the Palace.
Enter QUEEN MARGARET.

Q. Mar. So, now prosperity begins to mellow,
And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
Here in these confines slily have I lurk'd,

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?

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and the DUCHESS OF YORK.
Q. Eliz. Ah, my poor princes! ah, my tender babes 1
My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets!
If yet your gentle souls fly in the air,
And be not fix'd in doom perpetual,
Hover about me with your airy wings,
And hear your mother's lamentation!

Q. Mar. [Apart.] Hover about her; say that right for Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.

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

[right

Q. Mar. [Apart.] Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet, Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.

Q. Eliz. Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs, And throw them in the entrails of the wolf? When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done? Q. Mar. [Apart.] When holy Harry died, and my

sweet son.

Duch. Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal-living ghost, Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd, Brief abstract and record of tedious days,

Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth, [Sitting down. Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood!

Q. Eliz. 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. Ah, who hath any cause to mourn but we?

[Sitting down by her. Q. Mar. [Coming forward.] If ancient sorrow be most Give mine the benefit of seniory, [reverent,

And let my griefs frown on the upper hand.
If sorrow can admit society, [Sitting down with them.
Tell o'er your woes again by viewing mine:-

I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;

I had a husband, till a Richard kill'd him:

Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard kill'd him.
Duch. I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;

I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him.

Q. Mar. Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard kill'd From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept [him A hell-hound, 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 foul defacer of God's handiwork:

That excellent grand tyrant of the earth,
That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,
Thy womb let loose, to chase us to our graves.-
O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
How I do thank thee that this carnal cur
Preys on the issue of his mother's body,
And makes her pew-fellow with other's moan!
Duch. O Harry's wife, triumph not in my woes!
God witness with me, I have wept for thine.

Q. Mar. Bear with me; I am hungry for revenge,
And now I cloy me with beholding it.
Thy Edward he is dead, that kill'd my Edward;
Thy other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
Young York he is but boot, because both they
Match not the high perfection of my loss.

Thy Clarence he is dead, that stabb'd my Edward;
And the beholders of this tragic play,

The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
Untimely smother'd 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 convey'd from hence.—
Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I pray,
That I may live to say, the dog is dead!

Q. Eliz. O, thou didst prophesy the time would come, That I should wish for thee to help me curse

That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back'd toad!

Q. Mar. I call'd thee then, vain flourish of my fortune; I call'd 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 hurl'd down below:

A mother only mock'd 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 be thy two sons? wherein dost thou joy?

Who sues, and kneels, and says-God save the queen?
Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee?
Where be the thronging troops that follow'd thee?
Decline all this, and see what now thou art.
For happy wife, a most distressed widow;
For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
For queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care;
For one that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
For one being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
For one commanding all, obey'd of none.
Thus hath the course of justice wheel'd about,
And left thee but a very prey to time;
Having no more but thought of what thou wert,
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 burden'd yoke;
From which even here I slip my wearied head,
And leave the burden of it all on thee.
Farewell, York's wife, and queen of sad mischance,
These English woes shall make me smile in Franc

Q. Eliz. O thou, well skill'd in curses, stay a while, And teach me how to curse mine enemies.

Q. Mar. Forbear to sleep the night, and fast the da;
Compare dead happiness with living woe;
Think that thy babes were fairer 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. [thine!
Q. Eliz. My words are dull; 0, quicken them with
Q. Mar. Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce
like mine.
[Exit.

Duch. Why should calamity be full of words?
Q. Eliz. Windy attorneys to their client woes,
Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries!

Let them have scope: though what they do impart
Help nothing else, yet do they ease the heart.

Duch. If so, then be not tongue-tied: go with me,
And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
My damned son, that thy two sweet sons smother'd.
[Drum within.

I hear his drum,-be copious in exclaims.

Enter KING RICHARD and his rain, marching. K. Rich. Who intercepts me in my expedition? Duch. O, she that might have intercepted thee, By strangling thee in her accursed womb,

From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!
Q. Eliz. 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?
Duch. Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother
And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
[Clarence!

Q. Eliz. Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
Duch. Where is kind Hastings!

K. Rich. A flourish, trumpets! - strike alarum, Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women [drums! Rail on the Lord's anointed: strike, I say.

[Flourish.

Either be patient, and entreat me fair, Or with the clamorous report of war Thus will I drown your exclamations. Duch. Art thou my son?

Alarumi

K. Rich. Ay; I thank God, my father, and yourself. Duch. Then patiently hear my impatience.

K. Rich. Madam, I have a touch of your condition, That cannot brook the accent of reproof. Duch. O, let me speak.

K. Rich. Do, then; but I'll not hear.

Duch. I will be mild and gentle in my words.
K. Rich. And brief, good mother; for I am in haste.
Duch. Art thou so hasty? I have stay'd for thee,
God knows, in torment and in agony.

K. Rich. And came I not at last to comfort you?
Duch. 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, desperate, wild, and furious;
Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous;
Thy age confirm'd, 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?

K. Rich. 'Faith, none but Humphrey Hour, that call'd your grace

To breakfast once forth of my company

If I be so disgracious in your sight,

Let me march on, and not offend you, Madam.—
Strike up the drum !

Duch. I pr'ythee, hear me speak.

K. Rich. You spe

too bitterly.

Duch. Hear me a word;

For I shall never speak to thee again.
K. Rich. So.

Duch. 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 never look upon thy face again.
Therefore take with thee my most heavy curse;
Which, in the day of battle, tire thee more
Than all the complete armour 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.

[Exil Q. Eliz. Though far more cause, yet much less spirit

to curse Abides in me; I say amen to her.

[Going

K. Rich. Stay, Madam; I must speak a word with you. Q. Eliz. I have no more sons of the royal blood, For thee to murder: for my daughters, Richard,— They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens; And therefore level not to hit their lives.

K. Rich. You have a daughter call'd Elizabeth, Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.

Q. Eliz. 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 unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,

I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.

K. Rich. Wrong not her birth, she is of royal blood. Q. Eliz. To save her life, I'll say she is not so. K. Rich. Her life is safest only in her birth. Q. Eliz. And only in that safety died her brothers. K. Rich. Lo, at their births good stars were opposite. Q. Eliz. No, to their lives bad friends were contrary K. Rich. All unavoided is the doom of destiny. Q. Eliz. True, when avoided grace makes destiny: My babes were destined to a fairer death,

If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.

K. Rich. You speak as if that I had slain my cousins

Q. Eliz. Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen'd
Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
Whose hands soever lanced their tender hearts,
Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:

No doubt the murderous 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 anchor'd in thine eyes;
And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.

K. Rich. 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 by me were harm'd!

Q. Elia. What good is cover'd with the face of heaven, To be discover'd, that can do me good?

[lady.

K. Rich. The advancement of your children, gentle Q. Elis. Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads? K. Rich. No, to the dignity and height of fortune, The high imperial type of this earth's glory.

Q. Eliz. Flatter my sorrows with report of it; Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour, Canst thou demise to any child of mine?

K. Rich. 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.

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

K. Rich. Then know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.

Q. Eliz. My daughter's mother thinks it with her soul. K. Rich. What do you think?

Q. Eliz. 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.

K. Rich. Be not so hasty to confound my meaning: I mean that with my soul I love thy daughter, And do intend to make her queen of England. [king? Q. Elia. Well, then, who dost thou mean shall be her K. Rich. Even he that makes her queen who else Q. Eliz. What, thou? [should be?

K. Rich. Even so: what think you of it, Madam ? Q. Eliz. How canst thou woo her?

K. Rich. That I would learn of you,

As one being best acquainted with her humour.
Q. Eliz. And wilt thou learn of me?

K. Rich. Madam, with all my heart.

[thers,

Q. Eliz. Send to her, by the man that slew her broA pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave Edward and York, then haply will she weep: Therefore present to her-as sometime Margaret Did to thy father, steep'd in Rutland's bloodA 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

K. Rich. You mock me, Madam; this is not the way

To win your daughter.

Q. Eliz. There is no other way;

Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,

And not be Richard that hath done all this.

K. Rich. Say, that I did all this for love of her?

Q. Eliz. Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but have

thee,

Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.

K. Rich. Look, what is done cannot be now amender:
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 kill'd 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 mettle, 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
Repair'd 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, transform'd to orient pearl,
Advantaging their loan 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 the aspiring flame
Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the princess
With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys;
And when this arm of mine hath chastised
The petty rebel, dull-brain'd 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 victress, Cæsar's Cæsar.
Q. Eliz. 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 honour, and her love,
Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
K. Rich. Infer fair England's peace by this alliance.
Q. Elis. Which she shall purchase with still lasting
[entreats.
K. Rich. Tell her, the king, that may command,
Q. Eliz. That at her hands which the king's King
forbids.

war.

K. Rich. Say, she shall be a high and mighty queen. Q. Eliz. To wail the title, as her mother doth. K. Rich. Say, I will love her everlastingly. Q. Eliz. But how long shall that title "ever" last? K. Rich. Sweetly in force unto her fair life's end. Q. Eliz. But how long fairly shall her sweet life last! K. Rich. As long as heaven and nature lengthens it. Q. Eliz. As long as hell and Richard likes of it. K. Rich. Say, I, her sovereign, am her subject low. Q. Eliz. But she, your subject, loathes such sov'reignty K. Rich. Be eloquent in my behalf to her. Q. Eliz. An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told. K. Rich. Then, in plain terms, tell her my loving tale. Q. Eliz. Plain, and not honest, is too harsh a style. K. Rich. Your reasons are too shallow and too quick. Q. Eliz. O, no, my reasons are too deep and dead:Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves. K. Rich. Harp not on that string, Madam; that is

past.

Q. Eliz. Harp on it still shall I, till heart-strings break. K. Rich. Now by my George, my garter, and my

crown,

Q. Eliz. Profaned, dishonour'd, and the third usurp'd K. Rich. I swear

Q. Eliz. By nothing; for this is no oath. Thy George, profaned, hath lost his holy honour; Thy garter, blemish'd, pawn'd his knightly virtue; Thy crown, usurp'd, disgraced his kingly glory; If something thou wouldst swear to be believed, Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd. K. Rich. Now, by the world,—

Q. Eliz. 'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.

K. Rich. My father's death,

Q. Eliz. Thy life hath that dishonour'd.

K. Rich. Then, by myself,

Q. Eliz. Thyself is self misused.

K. Rich. Why then, by God,

Q. Eliz. God's wrong is most of all.

If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
The unity the king thy brother made
Had not been broken, nor my brother slain:
If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Hm,
The 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 bed-fellows for dust.
Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
What canst thou swear by now?
K. Rich. By the time to come.

« AnteriorContinuar »