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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Scenes from the Comedies and Histories: Gloster and Anne: Gloster’s Soliloquy

By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

From ‘King Richard III.’

WAS ever woman in this humor wooed?

Was ever woman in this humor won?

I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long.

What! I that killed her husband, and his father,

To take her in her heart’s extremest hate;

With curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes,

The bleeding witness of my hatred by,

Having God, her conscience, and these bars against me,

And I no friends to back my suit withal,

But the plain Devil, and dissembling looks,

And yet to win her,—all the world to nothing! Ha!

Hath she forgot already that brave prince,

Edward, her lord, whom I, some three months since,

Stabbed in my angry mood at Tewksbury?

A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman—

Framed in the prodigality of nature,

Young, valiant, wise, and no doubt right royal—

The spacious world cannot again afford:

And will she yet abase her eyes on me,

That cropped the golden prime of this sweet prince,

And made her widow to a woeful bed?

On me, whose all not equals Edward’s moiety?

On me, that halt, and am misshapen thus?

My dukedom to a beggarly denier,

I do mistake my person all this while:

Upon my life, she finds, although I cannot,

Myself to be a marvelous proper man.

I’ll be at charges for a looking-glass;

And entertain a score or two of tailors,

To study fashions to adorn my body:

Since I am crept in favor with myself,

I will maintain it with some little cost.

But, first, I’ll turn yon’ fellow in his grave,

And then return lamenting to my love.—

Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,

That I may see my shadow as I pass.