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

Act IV. Scene II.

The Tragedy of King Richard the Third

The Same.A Room of State in the Palace.

Sennet.RICHARD, in pomp, crowned: BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, a Page, and Others.

K. Rich.Stand all apart. Cousin of Buckingham.

Buck.My gracious sovereign!

K. Rich.Give me thy hand.[He ascends the throne.]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 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 sayst 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.

Cate.[Aside to another.]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.


Page.My lord!

K. Rich.Know’st thou not any whom corrupting gold

Will tempt unto a close exploit of 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?

Page.His name, my lord, is Tyrrell.

K. Rich.I partly know the man: go, call him hither.[Exit Page.

The deep-revolving witty Buckingham

No more shall be the neighbour to my counsel.

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 Marquess 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.[Exit CATESBY.

I must be married to my brother’s daughter,

Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.

Murder 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.

Re-enter Page, with TYRRELL.

Is thy name Tyrrell?

Tyr.James Tyrrell, 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.

Tyrrell, I mean those bastards in the Tower.

Tyr.Let me have open means to come to them,

And soon I’ll rid you from the fear of them.

K. Rich.Thou sing’st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrell:

Go, by this token: rise, and lend thine ear.[Whispers.

There is no more but so: say it is done,

And I will love thee, and prefer thee for it.

Tyr.I will dispatch it straight.[Exit.


Buck.My lord, I have consider’d in my mind

The late demand that you did sound me in.

K. Rich.Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to Richmond.

Buck.I hear the news, my lord.

K. Rich.Stanley, he is your wife’s son: well, look to it.

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 moveables

Which you have promised I shall possess.

K. Rich.Stanley, 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 at that time

Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?

Buck.My lord, your promise for the earldom,—

K. Rich.Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,

The mayor in courtesy show’d me the castle,

And call’d it Rougemont: at which name I started,

Because a bard of Ireland told me once

I should not live long after I saw Richmond.

Buck.My lord!

K. Rich.Ay, what’s o’clock?

Buck.I am thus bold to put your Grace in mind

Of what you promis’d me.

K. Rich.Well, but what is ’t o’clock?

Buck.Upon the stroke of ten.

K. Rich.Well, let it strike.

Buck.Why let it strike?

K. Rich.Because that, like a Jack, thou keep’st the stroke

Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.

I am not in the giving vein to-day.

Buck.Why, then resolve me whe’r you will, or no.

K. Rich.Thou troublest me: I am not in the vein.[Exeunt KING RICHARD and Train.

Buck.And is it thus? repays he my deep service

With such contempt? made I him king for this?

O, let me think on Hastings, and be gone

To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on.[Exit.