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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act III. Scene V.

The Tragedy of King Richard the Third

London.The Tower Walls.

Enter GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, in rotten armour, marvellous ill-favoured.

Glo.Come, cousin, canst thou quake, and change thy colour,

Murder thy breath in middle of a word,

And then again begin, and stop again,

As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?

Buck.Tut! I can counterfeit the deep tragedian,

Speak and look back, and pry on every side,

Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,

Intending deep suspicion: ghastly looks

Are at my service, like enforced smiles;

And both are ready in their offices,

At any time, to grace my stratagems.

But what! is Catesby gone?

Glo.He is; and, see, he brings the mayor along.

Enter the Lord Mayor and CATESBY.

Buck.Lord Mayor,—

Glo.Look to the drawbridge there!

Buck.Hark! a drum.

Glo.Catesby, o’erlook the walls.

Buck.Lord Mayor, the reason we have sent,—

Glo.Look back, defend thee; here are enemies.

Buck.God and our innocency defend and guard us!

Enter LOVEL and RATCLIFF, with HASTINGS’ head.

Glo.Be patient, they are friends, Ratcliff and Lovel.

Lov.Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,

The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.

Glo.So dear I lov’d the man, that I must weep.

I took him for the plainest harmless creature

That breath’d upon the earth a Christian;

Made him my book, wherein my soul recorded

The history of all her secret thoughts:

So smooth he daub’d his vice with show of virtue,

That, his apparent open guilt omitted,

I mean his conversation with Shore’s wife,

He liv’d from all attainder of suspect.

Buck.Well, well, he was the covert’st shelter’d traitor

That ever liv’d.

Would you imagine, or almost believe,—

Were ’t not that by great preservation

We live to tell it, that the subtle traitor

This day had plotted, in the council-house,

To murder me and my good Lord of Gloucester?

May.Had he done so?

Glo.What! think you we are Turks or infidels?

Or that we would, against the form of law,

Proceed thus rashly in the villain’s death,

But that the extreme peril of the case,

The peace of England and our person’s safety,

Enforc’d us to this execution?

May.Now, fair befall you! he deserv’d his death;

And your good Graces both have well proceeded,

To warn false traitors from the like attempts.

I never look’d for better at his hands,

After he once fell in with Mistress Shore.

Buck.Yet had we not determin’d he should die,

Until your lordship came to see his end;

Which now the loving haste of these our friends,

Something against our meaning, hath prevented:

Because, my lord, we would have had you heard

The traitor speak, and timorously confess

The manner and the purpose of his treason;

That you might well have signified the same

Unto the citizens, who haply may

Misconster us in him, and wail his death.

May.But, my good lord, your Grace’s word shall serve,

As well as I had seen and heard him speak:

And do not doubt, right noble princes both,

But I’ll acquaint our duteous citizens

With all your just proceedings in this cause.

Glo.And to that end we wish’d your lordship here,

To avoid the censures of the carping world.

Buck.But since you come too late of our intent,

Yet witness what you hear we did intend:

And so, my good Lord Mayor, we bid farewell.[Exit Lord Mayor.

Glo.Go, after, after, cousin Buckingham.

The mayor towards Guildhall hies him in all post:

There, at your meetest vantage of the time,

Infer the bastardy of Edward’s children:

Tell them how Edward put to death a citizen,

Only for saying he would make his son

Heir to the crown; meaning indeed his house,

Which by the sign thereof was termed so.

Moreover, urge his hateful luxury

And bestial appetite in change of lust;

Which stretch’d unto their servants, daughters, wives,

Even where his raging eye or savage heart

Without control lusted to make a prey.

Nay, for a need, thus far come near my person:

Tell them, when that my mother went with child

Of that insatiate Edward, noble York

My princely father then had wars in France;

And, by true computation of the time,

Found that the issue was not his begot;

Which well appeared in his lineaments,

Being nothing like the noble duke my father.

Yet touch this sparingly, as ’twere far off;

Because, my lord, you know my mother lives.

Buck.Doubt not, my lord, I’ll play the orator

As if the golden fee for which I plead

Were for myself: and so, my lord, adieu.

Glo.If you thrive well, bring them to Baynard’s Castle;

Where you shall find me well accompanied

With reverend fathers and well-learned bishops.

Buck.I go; and towards three or four o’clock

Look for the news that the Guildhall affords.[Exit.

Glo.Go, Lovel, with all speed to Doctor Shaw;

[To CATESBY.]Go thou to Friar Penker; bid them both

Meet me within this hour at Baynard’s Castle.[Exeunt LOVEL and CATESBY.

Now will I in, to take some privy order,

To draw the brats of Clarence out of sight;

And to give notice that no manner person

Have any time recourse unto the princes.[Exit.