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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 hunch-back'd toad.
Q. Mar. I callid 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 heav'd 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?
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 she that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
For she being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
For she commanding all, obey'd of none.
Thus hath the course of justice whirl'd 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 burthen'd yoke;
From which even here I slip my wearied head,
And leave the burthen of it all on thee.
Farewell, York's wife, -and queen of sad mischance,-
These English woes shall make me smile in France.
Q. Eliz. O thou well skill'd in curses, stay a while,
And teach me how to curse mine enemies.
(1) Decline all this, i.e. run through all this from first to last; enumerate it all.
Q. Mar. Forbear to sleep the night, and fast the day;
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.
Q. Eliz. My words are dull, О quicken them with thine!
Q. Mar. Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like
[Ex. Q. MAR.
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.
[Trumpet within. The trumpet sounds,-be copious in exclaims.
Enter KING RICHARD, and his Train, 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 ow'd 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 Clarence ? And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
Q. Eliz. Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
Duch. Where is kind Hastings?
K. Rich. A flourish, trumpets !-strike alarum, drums !
Let not the Heavens hear these tell-tale women
Rail on the Lord's anointed: Strike, I say.
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 ?
K. Rich. Ay; I thank God, my father, and yourself.
Duch. Then patiently hear my impatience.
(1) That ow'd that crown, i.e. who owned or possessed that crown.
K. Rich. Madam, I have a touch of your condition,
That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
Duch. O, let me speak.
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 burthen 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 grac'd me in thy company?
K. Rich. 'Faith, none, but Humphrey Hower, that call’d your
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.
I prithee, hear me speak.
K. Rich. You speak too bitterly.
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 more 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 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.
(1) A touch of your condition, i.e. a spice of your temper or disposition. (2) Shame serves thy life; serves is here used for accimpunies.
K. Rich. Stay, madam, I must talk a word with you.
Q. Eliz. 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.
K. Rich. You have a daughter callid 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 a royal princess.
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 ill friends were contrary.
K. Rich. All unavoided' is the doom of destiny.
Q. Eliz. True, when avoided grace
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 lanc'd their tender hearts,
Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:
No doubt the murtherous 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
Tiil 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
yours, Than ever you and yours by me were harm'd!
Q. Eliz. What good is 'cover'd with the face of heaven, To be discover'd, that can do me good ?
K. Rich. The advancement of your children, gentle lady. Q. Eliz. Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads ?
(i) All unavoided : unavoided means unavoidable.
K. Rich. Unto the dignity and height of fortune, The high imperial type of this earth's glory.
Q. Eliz. Flatter my sorrow 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.
Q. Eliz. Well then, who dost thou mean shall be her king ?
K. Rich. Even he that makes her queen : Who else should
Q. Eliz. What, thou ?
Even so : How think you of it?
Q. Eliz. How canst thou woo her?
That I would learn of you, As one being best acquainted with her humour.
Q. Eliz. And wilt thou learn of me?
Madam, with all my heart.
Q. Eli. Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
A 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 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;
(1) Demise means grant. (2)
Steep'd in Rutland's blood
A handkerchief ; This is a reference to the death of the Duke of York at Wakefield, as related in Third Part of Henry VI. When he was taken prisoner, and wept at his misfortunes, Queen Margaret gave him to wipe his eyes a handkerchief which had been steeped in the blood of Rutland.