William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of King Richard the <i><b>Third </b></i>in the complete original text.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > The Tragedy of King Richard the Third > Act IV. Scene I.

The Tragedy of King Richard the Third

Study Guides
Hamlet
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Macbeth
Merchant of Venice
Othello
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Trivia
Authorship
Bard Facts
Bibliography
Biography
FAQ
Films
Globe Theatre
Pictures
Quiz
Timeline

Act IV. Scene I.

Act IV. Scene I.—London. Before the Tower.

Enter on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH,
DUCHESS OF YORK, and MARQUESS
OF DORSET; on the other, ANNE,
DUCHESS OFGLOUCESTER, leading
LADY MARGARET PLANTAGENET,
CLARENCE'S young daughter.

Duch. Who meets us here? my niece Plan-
tagenet,
Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?
Now, for my life, she's wand'ring to the Tower,
On pure heart's love, to greet the tender princes.
Daughter, well met.
Anne. God give your Graces both
A happy and a joyful time of day!
Q. Eliz. As much to you, good sister! whither
away?
Anne. No further than the Tower; and, as
I guess,
Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
To gratulate the gentle princes there.
Q. Eliz. Kind sister, thanks: we'll enter all
together:—

Enter BRAKENBURY.
And, in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
Master lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,
How doth the prince, and my young son of York?
Brak. Right well, dear madam. By your
patience,
I may not suffer you to visit them:
The king hath strictly charg'd the contrary.
Q. Eliz. The king! who's that?
Brak. I mean the Lord Protector.
Q. Eliz. The Lord protect him from that
kingly title!
Hath he set bounds between their love and me?
I am their mother; who shall bar me from them?
Duch. I am their father's mother; I will see
them.
Anne. Their aunt I am in law, in love their
mother:
Then bring me to their sights; I'll bear thy
blame,
And take thy office from thee, on my peril.
Brak. No, madam, no, I may not leave it so:
I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.
[Exit.

Enter STANLEY.
Stan. Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour
hence,
And I'll salute your Grace of York as mother,
And reverend looker-on of two fair queens.
[To the DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER.]
Come, madam,you must straight to
Westminster, there to be crowned Richard's
royal queen.

Q. Eliz. Ah! cut my lace asunder,
That my pent heart may have some scope to beat,
Or else I swoon with this dead-killing news.
Anne. Despiteful tidings! O! unpleasing
news.
Dor. Be of good cheer: mother, how fares
your Grace?
Q. Eliz. O, Dorset! speak not to me, get thee
gone;
Death and destruction dog thee at the heels:
Thy mother's name is ominous to children.
If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,
And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell:
Go, hie thee, hie thee, from this slaughter-house,
Lest thou increase the number of the dead,
And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.
Stan. Full of wise care is this your counsel,
madam.
[To DORSET.] Take all the swift advantage of the
hours;
You shall have letters from me to my son
In your behalf, to meet you on the way:
Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
Duch. O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
my accursed womb, the bed of death,
A cockatrice hast thou hateh'd to the world,
Whose unavoided eye is murderous!
Stan. Come, madam, come; I in all haste
was sent.
Anne. And I with all unwillingness will go.
O! would to God that the inclusive verge
Of golden metal that must round my brow
Were red-hot steel to sear me to the brain.
Anointed let me be with deadly venom;
And die, ere men can say 'God save the queen!'
Q. Eliz. Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory;
To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm.
Anne. No! why? When he, that is my hus-
band now
Came to me, as I followed Henry's corse;
When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his
hands,
Which issu'd from my other angel husband,
And that dead saint which then I weeping fol-
low'd;
O! when I say, I look'd on Richard's face,
This was my wish, 'Be thou,' quoth I, 'accurs'd,
For making me so young, so old a widow!
And, when thou wedd'st, let sorrow haunt thy
bed;
And be thy wife—if any be so mad—
More miserable by the life of thee
Than thou hast made me by my dear lord's
death!'
Lo! ere I can repeat this curse again,
Within so small a time, my woman's heart
Grossly grew captive to his honey words,
And prov'd the subject of mine own soul's curse:
Which hitherto hath held mine eyes from rest;
For never yet one hour in his bed
Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep,
But with his timorous dreams was still awak'd.
Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick,
And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
Q. Eliz. Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy com-
plaining.
Anne. No more than with my soul I mourn
for yours.
Q. Eliz. Farewell! thou woeful welcomer of
glory!
Anne. Adieu, poor soul, that tak'yt thy leave
of it!
Duch. [To DORSET.] Go thou to Richmond,
and good fortune guide thee!
[To ANNE.] Go thou to Richard, and good angels
tend thee!
[To Q. ELIZABETH.] Go thou to sanctuary, and
good thoughts possess thee!
I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me!
Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen,
And each hour's joy wrack'd with a week of teen.
Q. Eliz. Stay yet, look back with me unto the
Tower.
Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
Whom envy hath immur'd within your walls,
Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!
Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
For tender princes, use my babies well.
So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell.
[Exeunt.
< PREVIOUS
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards