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Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
To bear her burthen, whe'r I will or no,
I must have patience to endure the load:
But if black scandal, or foul-fac'd reproach,
Attend the sequel of your imposition,
Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
From all the impure blots and stains thereof :
For God doth know, 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!
Buck, To-morrow may it please you to be crown'd?
Glo. Even when you please, for you will have it so.
Buck. To-morrow, then, we wiil attend your grace;
And so most joyfully we take our leave.
Glo. Come, let us to our holy work again,
[To the Bishops. Farewell, my cousin ;-farewell, gentle friends.
SCENE 1.–Before the Tower. Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF YORK, and
MARQUIS OF DORSET ; on the other, ANNE DUCHESS OP
GLOSTER, leading LADY MARGARET PLANTAGENET, CLA-
RENCE'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.
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.
(1) My niece Plantagenet. Niece is here used for granddaughter.
Q. Eliz. Kind sister, thanks; we'll enter all together:
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.
may not suffer you to visit them;
The king hath strictly charg'd the contrary.
Q. Eliz. The king! who's that?
I mean the lord protector.
Q. Eliz. 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 my 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 your grace of York as mother, And reverend looker-on, of two fair queens. Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,
[To the DUCHESS OF GLOSTER. 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 thy 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 slaughterhouse,
Lest thou increase the number of the dead;
And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,-
Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.
Stan. Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam :
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 murtherous !
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 now
Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse;
When scarce the blood was well-wash'd from his hands,
Which issued from my other angel husband,
And that dear 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, “accurs'd,
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,
Within so small a time, my woman's heart
Grossly grew captive to his honey words,
And prov'd the subject of mine own soul's curse ;
Which hitherto 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 awak'd.
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 woeful welcomer of glory!
Anne. Adieu, poor soul, that tak'st thy leave of it!
Duch. Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!
[To DORSET. Go thou to Richard, and good angels tend thee! [To ANNE. Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee!
[To Q. ELIZABETH.
(1) His timorous dreams. 'Tis recorded of Richard III. that he was frequently disturbed by fearful dreams.
I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me!
Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen,
And each hour's joy wrack'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 immur'd within your walls !
Rough cradle for such little pretty ones !
Rude ragged nurse! old sullen playfellow
For tender princes, use my babies well!
So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell. [Exeunt.
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 advice,
And thy assistance, is king Richard seated :
But shall we wear these glories for a day?
Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?
Buck. Still live they, and 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 lord.
K. Rich. Ha! am I king?' 'Tis so: but Edward lives.
Buck. True, noble prince.
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 freezes : Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
Buck. Give me some little breath, some pause, dear lord, Before I positively speak in this : I will resolve you herein presently.
[Exit Buck. Cate. The king is angry; see, he gnaws his lip. [Aside.
(1) Teen, i. e. sorrow.
(2) Now do I play the touch, i.e. now do I prove you, use the touchstone on you.
K. Rich. I will converse with iron-witted fools,
[Descends from his throne.
And unrespective' boys; none are for me
That look into me with considerate eyes.
High reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
Page. My lord.
K. Rich. Know'st thou not any whom corrupting gold
Would tempt unto a close exploitof death ?
Page. I know a discontented gentleman,
Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit:
Gold were as good as twenty orators,
And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.
K. Rich. What is his name?
His name, my lord, is Tyrrel. K. Rich. I partly know the man. Go call him hither, boy.
(Exit Page. The deep-revolving witty Buckingham No more shall be the neighbour to my counsels : Hath he so long held out with me untir'd, And stops he now for breath?—well, be it so.
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, poor 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.
I must be married to my brother's daughter,
Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass :
Murther her brothers, and then marry her!
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.
(1) Unrespective, taking no notice, inconsiderate.
(2) A close exploit. Close is used for secret.