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Richard III


ACT II SCENE ILondon. The palace.
KING EDWARD IVWhy, 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 now in peace my soul shall part to heaven, 5
Since I have set my friends at peace on earth.
Rivers and Hastings, take each other’s hand;
Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.
RIVERSBy heaven, my heart is purged from grudging hate:
And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love. 10
HASTINGSSo thrive I, as I truly swear the like!
KING EDWARD IVTake 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.
HASTINGSSo prosper I, as I swear perfect love!
RIVERSAnd I, as I love Hastings with my heart!
KING EDWARD IVMadam, yourself are not exempt in this, 18
Nor your 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 ELIZABETHHere, Hastings; I will never more remember
Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!
KING EDWARD IVDorset, embrace him; Hastings, love lord marquess.
DORSETThis interchange of love, I here protest,
Upon my part shall be unviolable.
HASTINGSAnd so swear I, my lord
They embrace
KING EDWARD IVNow, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
With thy embracements to my wife’s allies, 30
And make me happy in your unity.
BUCKINGHAMWhenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
On you or yours,
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 God,
When I am cold in zeal to yours.
KING EDWARD IVA pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here,
To make the perfect period of this peace. 44
BUCKINGHAMAnd, in good time, here comes the noble duke.
GLOUCESTERGood morrow to my sovereign king and queen:
And, princely peers, a happy time of day!
KING EDWARD IVHappy, indeed, as we have spent the day.
Brother, we done deeds of charity;
Made peace enmity, fair love of hate,
Between these swelling wrong-incensed peers.
GLOUCESTERA blessed labour, my most sovereign liege:
Amongst 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
By 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 lodged between us;
Of you, Lord Rivers, and, Lord Grey, of you; 66
That without desert have frown’d on me;
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 ELIZABETHA holy day shall this be kept hereafter:
I would to God all strifes were well compounded. 76
My sovereign liege, I do beseech your majesty
To take our brother Clarence to your grace.
GLOUCESTERWhy, madam, have I offer’d love for this
To be so flouted in this royal presence?
Who knows not that the noble duke is dead?
They all start
You do him injury to scorn his corse.
RIVERSWho knows not he is dead! who knows he is?
QUEEN ELIZABETHAll seeing heaven, what a world is this!
BUCKINGHAMLook I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?
DORSETAy, my good lord; and no one in this presence
But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.
KING EDWARD IVIs Clarence dead? the order was reversed.
GLOUCESTERBut he, poor soul, by your first order died,
And that a winged Mercury did bear: 88
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, but not in blood,
Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
And yet go current from suspicion! 94
Enter DERBY.
DORSETA boon, my sovereign, for my service done!
KING EDWARD IVI pray thee, peace: my soul is full of sorrow.
DORSETI will not rise, unless your highness grant.
KING EDWARD IVThen speak at once what is it thou demand’st.
DORSETThe forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life;
Who slew to-day a righteous gentleman
Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
KING EDWARD IVHave a tongue to doom my brother’s death,
And shall the same give pardon to a slave?
My brother slew no man; his fault was thought,
And yet his punishment was cruel death.
Who sued to me for him? who, in my rage,
Kneel’d at my feet, and bade me be advised
Who spake of brotherhood? who spake 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 by Tewksbury
When Oxford had me down, he rescued 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 own garments, and gave himself,
All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night? 117
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 defaced
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 plead 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. 133
Oh, poor Clarence!
GLOUCESTERThis 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. But come, let us in,
To comfort Edward with our company.
BUCKINGHAMWe wait upon your grace.

Richard III, Act 2, Scene 2


Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 1

From King Richard III. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard.

Abbreviations. — A.-S. = Anglo-Saxon: M.E. = Middle English (from the 13th to the 15th century) ; Fr. = French ; Ger. = German ; Gr. = Greek ; Cf. = compare (Lat. confer) ; Abbott refers to the excellent Shakespearean Grammar of Dr. Abbott; Schmidt, to Dr. Schmidt’s invaluable Shakespeare Lexicon.

3. Embassage, message.

5. Part, depart.

8. Dissemble, do not cover your hatred by a false show of friendship.

11. The so here is conditional, and expresses that his swearing true love is the condition on which his thriving depends.

18. Exempt, excepted.

30. Embracements, embraces.

34. But . . . doth, and doth not.

44. Period, consummation.

51. Swelling with passion.

66. Lord Rivers was the title of Anthony Woodville, the queen’s brother. Lord Grey, or rather, Sir Richard Grey, was the queen’s second son by her first husband.

74. Compounded, composed, settled amicably.

78. Flouted, mocked, befooled.

88. Mercury, the son of Jupiter and Maia, was the ancient messenger of the gods. He was furnished with wings to add to his speed.

90. Too lag, too slowly. Lag is a word of Celtic origin, but is ultimately cognate with lax and languish.

91-92, The reference is no doubt to the queen’s family.

94. Current, generally received as free from.

99. Forfeit, the remission of the forfeit.

117. Thin, thinly clad. Numb-cold, making benumbed With cold.

120. Supply as before to put.

129. Beholding, beholden, indebted. Shakespeare often uses -ing as if it was equivalent to -en, the old affix of the passive participle.

133. Closet, a private room. Cf. Matt. 6: 6. Old Fr. closet, diminutive of clos, an inclosed place, from Lat. clausus, past participle of claudo, I shut.


How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Richard III. Ed. Brainerd Kellogg. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1886.