Richard III eText - Act II

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Act II

Act II, Scene 1

ACT II.

SCENE I. London. A Room in the palace.

[Enter KING EDWARD, led in sick, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DORSET,
RIVERS, HASTINGS, BUCKINGHAM, GREY, and others.]

KING EDWARD.
Why, so. Now have I done a good day's work:--
You peers, continue this united league:
I every day expect an embassage
From my Redeemer, to redeem me hence;
And more at peace my soul shall part to heaven,
Since I have made my friends at peace on earth.
Rivers and Hastings, take each other's hand;
Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.

RIVERS.
By heaven, my soul is purg'd from grudging hate;
And with my hand I seal my true heart's love.

HASTINGS.
So thrive I, as I truly swear the like!

KING EDWARD.
Take heed you dally not before your king;
Lest He that is the supreme King of kings
Confound your hidden falsehood, and award
Either of you to be the other's end.

HASTINGS.
So prosper I, as I swear perfect love!

RIVERS.
And I, as I love Hastings with my heart!

KING EDWARD.
Madam, yourself is not exempt from this;--
Nor you, son Dorset;--Buckingham, nor you;--
You have been factious one against the other.
Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand;
And what you do, do it unfeignedly.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
There, Hastings; I will never more remember
Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!

KING EDWARD.
Dorset, embrace him;--Hastings, love lord marquis.

DORSET.
This interchange of love, I here protest,
Upon my part shall be inviolable.

HASTINGS.
And so swear I.

[Embraces Dorset.]

KING EDWARD.
Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
With thy embracements to my wife's allies,
And make me happy in your unity.

BUCKINGHAM.
Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
Upon your grace [to the queen], but with all duteous love
Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
With hate in those where I expect most love!
When I have most need to employ a friend,
And most assured that he is a friend,
Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,
Be he unto me!--this do I beg of heaven
When I am cold in love to you or yours.

[Embracing Rivers &c.]

KING EDWARD.
A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
Is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
There wanteth now our brother Gloster here,
To make the blessed period of this peace.

BUCKINGHAM.
And, in good time, here comes the noble duke.

[Enter GLOSTER.]

GLOSTER.
Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen;
And, princely peers, a happy time of day!

KING EDWARD.
Happy, indeed, as we have spent the day.
Gloster, we have done deeds of charity;
Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate,
Between these swelling wrong-incensed peers.

GLOSTER.
A blessed labour, my most sovereign lord,--
Among this princely heap, if any here,
By false intelligence or wrong surmise,
Hold me a foe;
If I unwittingly, or in my rage,
Have aught committed that is hardly borne
To any in this presence, I desire
To reconcile me to his friendly peace:
'Tis death to me to be at enmity;
I hate it, and desire all good men's love.--
First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,
Which I will purchase with my duteous service;--
Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
If ever any grudge were lodg'd between us;--
Of you, and you, Lord Rivers, and of Dorset,
That all without desert have frown'd on me;
Of you, Lord Woodville, and, Lord Scales, of you;--
Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen;--indeed, of all.
I do not know that Englishman alive
With whom my soul is any jot at odds
More than the infant that is born to-night:
I thank my God for my humility.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
A holy day shall this be kept hereafter:--
I would to God all strifes were well compounded.--
My sovereign lord, I do beseech your highness
To take our brother Clarence to your grace.

GLOSTER.
Why, madam, have I off'red love for this,
To be so flouted in this royal presence?
Who knows not that the gentle duke is dead?

[They all start.]

You do him injury to scorn his corse.

KING EDWARD.
Who knows not he is dead! Who knows he is?

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!

BUCKINGHAM.
Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?

DORSET.
Ay, my good lord; and no man in the presence
But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.

KING EDWARD.
Is Clarence dead? the order was revers'd.

GLOSTER.
But he, poor man, by your first order died,
And that a winged Mercury did bear;
Some tardy cripple bore the countermand
That came too lag to see him buried.
God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
Nearer in bloody thoughts, an not in blood,
Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
And yet go current from suspicion!

[Enter Stanley.]

STANLEY.
A boon, my sovereign, for my service done!

KING EDWARD.
I pr'ythee, peace: my soul is full of sorrow.

STANLEY.
I Will not rise unless your highness hear me.

KING EDWARD.
Then say at once what is it thou request'st.

STANLEY.
The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life;
Who slew to-day a riotous gentleman
Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.

KING EDWARD.
Have I a tongue to doom my brother's death,
And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?
My brother kill'd no man,--his fault was thought,
And yet his punishment was bitter death.
Who su'd to me for him? who, in my wrath,
Kneel'd at my feet, and bid me be advis'd?
Who spoke of brotherhood? who spoke of love?
Who told me how the poor soul did forsake
The mighty Warwick, and did fight for me?
Who told me, in the field at Tewksbury,
When Oxford had me down, he rescu'd me,
And said "Dear brother, live, and be a king"?
Who told me, when we both lay in the field
Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
Even in his garments, and did give himself,
All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?
All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
Sinfully pluck'd, and not a man of you
Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
But when your carters or your waiting-vassals
Have done a drunken slaughter, and defac'd
The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;
And I, unjustly too, must grant it you:--
But for my brother not a man would speak,--
Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
Have been beholding to him in his life;
Yet none of you would once beg for his life.--
O God, I fear Thy justice will take hold
On me, and you, and mine, and yours, for this!
Come, Hastings, help me to my closet.
Ah, poor Clarence!

[Exeunt KING, QUEEN, HASTINGS, RIVERS, DORSET, and GREY.]

GLOSTER.
This is the fruit of rashness! Mark'd you not
How that the guilty kindred of the queen
Look'd pale when they did hear of Clarence' death?
O, they did urge it still unto the king!
God will revenge it.--Come, lords, will you go
To comfort Edward with our company?

BUCKINGHAM.
We wait upon your grace.

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 2

SCENE II. Another Room in the palace.

[Enter the DUCHESS OF YORK, with A SON and DAUGHTER of
CLARENCE.]

SON.
Good grandam, tell us, is our father dead?

DUCHESS.
No, boy.

DAUGHTER.
Why do you weep so oft, and beat your breast,
And cry "O Clarence, my unhappy son!"

SON.
Why do you look on us, and shake your head,
And call us orphans, wretches, castaways,
If that our noble father were alive?

DUCHESS.
My pretty cousins, you mistake me both;
I do lament the sickness of the king,
As loath to lose him, not your father's death;
It were lost sorrow to wail one that's lost.

SON.
Then you conclude, my grandam, he is dead.
The king mine uncle is to blame for this:
God will revenge it; whom I will importune
With earnest prayers all to that effect.

DAUGHTER.
And so will I.

DUCHESS.
Peace, children, peace! the king doth love you well:
Incapable and shallow innocents,
You cannot guess who caus'd your father's death.

SON.
Grandam, we can; for my good uncle Gloster
Told me, the king, provok'd to it by the queen,
Devis'd impeachments to imprison him:
And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
And pitied me, and kindly kiss'd my cheek;
Bade me rely on him as on my father,
And he would love me dearly as his child.

DUCHESS.
Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shape,
And with a virtuous visard hide deep vice!
He is my son; ay, and therein my shame;
Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.

SON.
Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?

DUCHESS.
Ay, boy.

SON.
I cannot think it.--Hark! what noise is this?

[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, distractedly; RIVERS and DORSET following
her.]

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Ah, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,
To chide my fortune, and torment myself?
I'll join with black despair against my soul,
And to myself become an enemy.

DUCHESS.
What means this scene of rude impatience?

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
To make an act of tragic violence:--
Edward, my lord, thy son, our king, is dead.--
Why grow the branches when the root is gone?
Why wither not the leaves that want their sap?--
If you will live, lament; if die, be brief,
That our swift-winged souls may catch the king's;
Or, like obedient subjects, follow him
To his new kingdom of perpetual rest.

DUCHESS.
Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow
As I had title in thy noble husband!
I have bewept a worthy husband's death,
And liv'd by looking on his images:
But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
Are crack'd in pieces by malignant death,
And I for comfort have but one false glass,
That grieves me when I see my shame in him.
Thou art a widow, yet thou art a mother,
And hast the comfort of thy children left;
But death hath snatch'd my husband from mine arms,
And pluck'd two crutches from my feeble hands,--
Clarence and Edward. O, what cause have I,--
Thine being but a moiety of my moan,--
To overgo thy woes and drown thy cries?

SON.
Ah, aunt, you wept not for our father's death!
How can we aid you with our kindred tears?

DAUGHTER.
Our fatherless distress was left unmoan'd,
Your widow-dolour likewise be unwept!

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Give me no help in lamentation;
I am not barren to bring forth complaints:
All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
That I, being govern'd by the watery moon,
May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world!
Ah for my husband, for my dear Lord Edward!

CHILDREN.
Ah for our father, for our dear Lord Clarence!

DUCHESS.
Alas for both, both mine, Edward and Clarence!

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
What stay had I but Edward? and he's gone.

CHILDREN.
What stay had we but Clarence? and he's gone.

DUCHESS.
What stays had I but they? and they are gone.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Was never widow had so dear a loss!

CHILDREN.
Were never orphans had so dear a loss!

DUCHESS.
Was never mother had so dear a loss!
Alas, I am the mother of these griefs!
Their woes are parcell'd, mine is general.
She for an Edward weeps, and so do I:
I for a Clarence weep, so doth not she:
These babes for Clarence weep, and so do I;
I for an Edward weep, so do not they:--
Alas, you three, on me, threefold distress'd,
Pour all your tears! I am your sorrow's nurse,
And I will pamper it with lamentation.

DORSET.
Comfort, dear mother: God is much displeas'd
That you take with unthankfulness His doing:
In common worldly things 'tis called ungrateful,
With dull unwillingness to repay a debt
Which with a bounteous hand was kindly lent;
Much more to be thus opposite with heaven,
For it requires the royal debt it lent you.

RIVERS.
Madam, bethink you, like a careful mother,
Of the young prince your son: send straight for him;
Let him be crown'd; in him your comfort lives.
Drown desperate sorrow in dead Edward's grave,
And plant your joys in living Edward's throne.

[Enter GLOSTER, BUCKINGHAM, STANLEY, HASTINGS, RATCLIFF and
others.]

GLOSTER.
Sister, have comfort: all of us have cause
To wail the dimming of our shining star;
But none can help our harms by wailing them.--
Madam, my mother, I do cry you mercy;
I did not see your grace:--humbly on my knee
I crave your blessing.

DUCHESS.
God bless thee; and put meekness in thy breast,
Love, charity, obedience, and true duty!

GLOSTER.
Amen! [Aside.]
And make me die a good old man!--
That is the butt end of a mother's blessing;
I marvel that her grace did leave it out.

BUCKINGHAM.
You cloudy princes and heart-sorrowing peers,
That bear this heavy mutual load of moan,
Now cheer each other in each other's love:
Though we have spent our harvest of this king,
We are to reap the harvest of his son.
The broken rancour of your high-swoln hearts,
But lately splinter'd, knit, and join'd together,
Must gently be preserv'd, cherish'd, and kept;
Me seemeth good that, with some little train,
Forthwith from Ludlow the young prince be fetched
Hither to London, to be crown'd our king.

RIVERS.
Why with some little train, my Lord of Buckingham?

BUCKINGHAM.
Marry, my lord, lest by a multitude,
The new-heal'd wound of malice should break out;
Which would be so much the more dangerous
By how much the estate is green and yet ungovern'd:
Where every horse bears his commanding rein
And may direct his course as please himself,
As well the fear of harm as harm apparent,
In my opinion, ought to be prevented.

GLOSTER.
I hope the king made peace with all of us;
And the compact is firm and true in me.

RIVERS.
And so in me; and so, I think, in all:
Yet, since it is but green, it should be put
To no apparent likelihood of breach,
Which haply by much company might be urg'd:
Therefore I say with noble Buckingham,
That it is meet so few should fetch the prince.

HASTINGS.
And so say I.

GLOSTER.
Then be it so; and go we to determine
Who they shall be that straight shall post to Ludlow.
Madam,--and you, my mother,--will you go
To give your censures in this business?

[Exeunt all but BUCKINGHAM and GLOSTER.]

BUCKINGHAM.
My lord, whoever journeys to the prince,
For God'd sake, let not us two stay at home;
For by the way I'll sort occasion,
As index to the story we late talk'd of,
To part the queen's proud kindred from the Prince.

GLOSTER.
My other self, my counsel's consistory,
My oracle, my prophet!--my dear cousin,
I, as a child, will go by thy direction.
Toward Ludlow then, for we'll not stay behind.

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 3

SCENE III. London. A street.

[Enter two CITIZENS, meeting.]

FIRST CITIZEN.
Good morrow, neighbour: whither away so fast?

SECOND CITIZEN.
I promise you, I scarcely know myself:
Hear you the news abroad?

FIRST CITIZEN.
Yes,--that the king is dead.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Ill news, by'r lady; seldom comes the better:
I fear, I fear 'twill prove a giddy world.

[Enter third CITIZEN.]

THIRD CITIZEN.
Neighbours, God speed!

FIRST CITIZEN.
Give you good morrow, sir.

THIRD CITIZEN.
Doth the news hold of good King Edward's death?

SECOND CITIZEN.
Ay, sir, it is too true; God help the while!

THIRD CITIZEN.
Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.

FIRST CITIZEN.
No, no; by God's good grace, his son shall reign.

THIRD CITIZEN.
Woe to that land that's govern'd by a child!

SECOND CITIZEN.
In him there is a hope of government,
Which, 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 CITIZEN.
So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
Was crown'd in Paris but at nine months old.

THIRD CITIZEN.
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 CITIZEN.
Why, so hath this, both by his father and mother.

THIRD CITIZEN.
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 Gloster!
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 CITIZEN.
Come, come, we fear the worst; all will be well.

THIRD CITIZEN.
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.

SECOND CITIZEN.
Truly, the hearts of men are fun of fear:
You cannot reason almost with a man
That looks not heavily and fun of dread.

THIRD CITIZEN.
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 water swell before a boisterous storm.
But leave it all to God.--Whither away?

SECOND CITIZEN.
Marry, we were sent for to the justices.

THIRD CITIZEN.
And so was I; I'll bear you company.

[Exeunt.]

Act II, Scene 4

SCENE IV. London. A Room in the Palace.

[Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, the young DUKE OF YORK, QUEEN
ELIZABETH, and the DUCHESS OF YORK.]

ARCHBISHOP.
Last night, I hear, they at Northampton lay;
And at Stony-Stratford they do rest to-night:
To-morrow or next day they will be here.

DUCHESS.
I long with all my heart to see the prince:
I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
But I hear no; they say my son of York
Has almost overta'en him in his growth.

YORK.
Ay, mother; but I would not have it so.

DUCHESS.
Why, my good cousin? it is good to grow.

YORK.
Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,
My uncle Rivers talk'd how I did grow
More than my brother. "Ay," quoth my uncle Gloster,
"Small herbs have grace: great weeds do grow apace."
And since, methinks, I would not grow so fast,
Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.

DUCHESS.
Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
In him that did object the same to thee:
He was the wretched'st thing when he was young,
So long a growing and so leisurely,
That, if his rule were true, he should be gracious.

ARCHBISHOP.
And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.

DUCHESS.
I hope he is; but yet let mothers doubt.

YORK.
Now, by my troth, if I had been remember'd,
I could have given my uncle's grace a flout
To touch his growth nearer than he touch'd mine.

DUCHESS.
How, my young York? I pr'ythee let me hear it.

YORK.
Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old:
'Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.

DUCHESS.
I pr'ythee, pretty York, who told thee this?

YORK.
Grandam, his nurse.

DUCHESS.
His nurse! why she was dead ere thou wast born.

YORK.
If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
A parlous boy!--go to, you are too shrewd.

ARCHBISHOP.
Good madam, be not angry with the child.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Pitchers have ears.

ARCHBISHOP.
Here comes a messenger.

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

What news?

MESSENGER.
Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
How doth the prince?

MESSENGER.
Well, madam, and in health.

DUCHESS.
What is thy news?

MESSENGER.
Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
With them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.

DUCHESS.
Who hath committed them?

MESSENGER.
The mighty dukes, Gloster and Buckingham.

ARCHBISHOP.
For what offence?

MESSENGER.
The sum of all I can, I have disclos'd;
Why or for what the nobles were committed
Is all unknown to me, my gracious lady.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Ah me, I see the ruin of my house!
The tiger now hath seiz'd the gentle hind;
Insulting tyranny begins to jet
Upon the innocent and aweless throne:--
Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre!
I see, as in a map, the end of all.

DUCHESS.
Accursed and unquiet wrangling days
How many of you have mine eyes beheld?
My husband lost his life to get the crown;
And often up and down my sons were toss'd
For me to joy and weep their gain and loss:
And being seated, and domestic broils
Clean over-blown, themselves, the conquerors
Make war upon themselves; brother to brother,
Blood to blood, self against self: O, preposterous
And frantic outrage, end thy damned spleen;
Or let me die, to look on death no more!

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Come, come, my boy; we will to sanctuary.--
Madam, farewell.

DUCHESS.
Stay, I will go with you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
You have no cause.

ARCHBISHOP.
[To the queen.]
My gracious lady, go.
And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
For my part, I'll resign unto your grace
The seal I keep; and so betide to me
As well I tender you and all of yours!
Go, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary.

[Exeunt.]