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

Act II. Scene III.

The Tragedy of King Richard the Third

The Same.A Street.

Enter two Citizens, meeting.

First Cit.Good morrow, neighbour: whither away so fast?

Sec. Cit.I promise you, I scarcely know myself:

Hear you the news abroad?

First Cit.Ay; that the king is dead.

Sec. Cit.Ill news, by ’r lady; seldom comes the better:

I fear, I fear, ’twill prove a giddy world.

Enter a third Citizen.

Third Cit.Neighbours, God speed!

First Cit.Give you good morrow, sir.

Third Cit.Doth the news hold of good King Edward’s death?

Sec. Cit.Ay, sir, it is too true; God help the while!

Third Cit.Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.

First Cit.No, no; by God’s good grace, his son shall reign.

Third Cit.Woe to that land that’s govern’d by a child!

Sec. Cit.In him there is a hope of government,

That in his nonage council under him,

And in his full and ripen’d years himself,

No doubt, shall then and till then govern well.

First Cit.So stood the state when Henry the Sixth

Was crown’d at Paris but at nine months old.

Third Cit.Stood the state so? no, no, good friends, God wot;

For then this land was famously enrich’d

With politic grave counsel; then the king

Had virtuous uncles to protect his Grace.

First Cit.Why, so hath this, both by his father and mother.

Third Cit.Better it were they all came by his father,

Or by his father there were none at all;

For emulation, who shall now be nearest,

Will touch us all too near, if God prevent not.

O! full of danger is the Duke of Gloucester!

And the queen’s sons and brothers haught and proud;

And were they to be rul’d, and not to rule,

This sickly land might solace as before.

First Cit.Come, come, we fear the worst; all will be well.

Third Cit.When clouds are seen, wise men put on their cloaks;

When great leaves fall, then winter is at hand;

When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?

Untimely storms make men expect a dearth.

All may be well; but, if God sort it so,

’Tis more than we deserve, or I expect.

Sec. Cit.Truly, the hearts of men are full of fear:

You cannot reason almost with a man

That looks not heavily and full of dread.

Third Cit.Before the days of change, still is it so:

By a divine instinct men’s minds mistrust

Ensuing danger; as, by proof, we see

The waters swell before a boisterous storm.

But leave it all to God. Whither away?

Sec. Cit.Marry, we were sent for to the justices.

Third Cit.And so was I: I’ll bear you company.[Exeunt.