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Richard III


ACT III SCENE ILondon. A street.
The trumpets sound. Enter the young PRINCE EDWARD, GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM, CARDINAL, CATESBY, and others.
BUCKINGHAMWelcome, sweet prince, to London, to your chamber.
GLOUCESTERWelcome, dear cousin, my thoughts’ sovereign
The weary way hath made you melancholy.
PRINCE EDWARDNo, uncle; but our crosses on the way
Have made it tedious, wearisome, and heavy 5
I want more uncles here to welcome me.
GLOUCESTERSweet prince, the untainted virtue of your years
Hath not yet dived into the world’s deceit
Nor more can you distinguish of a man
Than of his outward show; which, God he knows, 10
Seldom or never jumpeth with the heart.
Those uncles which you want were dangerous;
Your grace attended to their sugar’d words,
But look’d not on the poison of their hearts :
God keep you from them, and from such false friends! 15
PRINCE EDWARDGod keep me from false friends! but they were none.
GLOUCESTERMy lord, the mayor of London comes to greet you.
Enter the Lord Mayor and his train.
Lord MayorGod bless your grace with health and happy days!
PRINCE EDWARDI thank you, good my lord; and thank you all.
I thought my mother, and my brother York, 20
Would long ere this have met us on the way
Fie, what a slug is Hastings, that he comes not
To tell us whether they will come or no!
BUCKINGHAMAnd, in good time, here comes the sweating lord.
PRINCE EDWARDWelcome, my lord: what, will our mother come? 25
HASTINGSOn what occasion, God he knows, not I,
The queen your mother, and your brother York,
Have taken sanctuary: the tender prince
Would fain have come with me to meet your grace,
But by his mother was perforce withheld. 30
BUCKINGHAMFie, what an indirect and peevish course
Is this of hers! Lord cardinal, will your grace
Persuade the queen to send the Duke of York
Unto his princely brother presently?
If she deny, Lord Hastings, go with him, 35
And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.
CARDINALMy Lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory
Can from his mother win the Duke of York,
Anon expect him here; but if she be obdurate
To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid 40
We should infringe the holy privilege
Of blessed sanctuary! not for all this land
Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.
BUCKINGHAMYou are too senseless–obstinate, my lord,
Too ceremonious and traditional 45
Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,
You break not sanctuary in seizing him.
The benefit thereof is always granted
To those whose dealings have deserved the place,
And those who have the wit to claim the place: 50
This prince hath neither claim’d it nor deserved it;
And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it:
Then, taking him from thence that is not there,
You break no privilege nor charter there.
Oft have I heard of sanctuary men; 55
But sanctuary children ne’er till now.
CARDINALMy lord, you shall o’er-rule my mind for once.
Come on, Lord Hastings, will you go with me?
HASTINGSI go, my lord.
PRINCE EDWARDGood lords, make all the speedy haste you may. 60
Say, uncle Gloucester, if our brother come,
Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?
GLOUCESTERWhere it seems best unto your royal self.
If I may counsel you, some day or two
Your highness shall repose you at the Tower: 65
Then where you please, and shall be thought most fit
For your best health and recreation.
PRINCE EDWARDI do not like the Tower, of any place.
Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?
BUCKINGHAMHe did, my gracious lord, begin that place; 70
Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edified.
PRINCE EDWARDIs it upon record, or else reported
Successively from age to age, he built it?
BUCKINGHAMUpon record, my gracious lord.
PRINCE EDWARDBut say, my lord, it were not register’d, 75
Methinks the truth should live from age to age,
As ’twere retail’d to all posterity,
Even to the general all-ending day.
GLOUCESTER[Aside] So wise so young, they say,
do never live long.
PRINCE EDWARDWhat say you, uncle? 80
GLOUCESTERI say, without characters, fame lives long.
[Aside] Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,
I moralize two meanings in one word.
PRINCE EDWARDThat Julius Caesar was a famous man;
With what his valour did enrich his wit, 85
His wit set down to make his valour live
Death makes no conquest of this conqueror;
For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
I’ll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham,–
BUCKINGHAMWhat, my gracious lord? 90
PRINCE EDWARDAn if I live until I be a man,
I’ll win our ancient right in France again,
Or die a soldier, as I lived a king.
GLOUCESTER[Aside] Short summers lightly have a forward spring.
Enter young YORK, HASTINGS, and the CARDINAL.
BUCKINGHAMNow, in good time, here comes the Duke of York. 95
PRINCE EDWARDRichard of York! how fares our loving brother?
YORKWell, my dread lord; so must I call you now.
PRINCE EDWARDAy, brother, to our grief, as it is yours:
Too late he died that might have kept that title,
Which by his death hath lost much majesty. 100
GLOUCESTERHow fares our cousin, noble Lord of York?
YORKI thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord,
You said that idle weeds are fast in growth
The prince my brother hath outgrown me far.
GLOUCESTERHe hath, my lord. 105
YORKAnd therefore is he idle?
GLOUCESTERO, my fair cousin, I must not say so.
YORKThen is he more beholding to you than I.
GLOUCESTERHe may command me as my sovereign;
But you have power in me as in a kinsman.
YORKI pray you, uncle, give me this dagger. 110
GLOUCESTERMy dagger, little cousin? with all my heart.
PRINCE EDWARDA beggar, brother?
YORKOf my kind uncle, that I know will give;
And being but a toy, which is no grief to give.
GLOUCESTERA greater gift than that I’ll give my cousin. 115
YORKA greater gift! O, that’s the sword to it.
GLOUCESTERA gentle cousin, were it light enough.
YORKO, then, I see, you will part but with light gifts;
In weightier things you’ll say a beggar nay.
GLOUCESTERIt is too heavy for your grace to wear. 120
YORKI weigh it lightly, were it heavier.
GLOUCESTERWhat, would you have my weapon, little lord?
YORKI would, that I might thank you as you call me.
YORKLittle. 125
PRINCE EDWARDMy Lord of York will still be cross in talk:
Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him.
YORKYou mean, to bear me, not to bear with me:
Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me;
Because that I am little, like an ape, 130
He thinks that you should bear me on your shoulders.
BUCKINGHAMWith what a sharp-provided wit he reasons!
To mitigate the scorn he gives his uncle,
He prettily and aptly taunts himself:
So cunning and so young is wonderful. 135
GLOUCESTERMy lord, will’t please you pass along?
Myself and my good cousin Buckingham
Will to your mother, to entreat of her
To meet you at the Tower and welcome you.
YORKWhat, will you go unto the Tower, my lord? 140
PRINCE EDWARDMy lord protector needs will have it so.
YORKI shall not sleep in quiet at the Tower.
GLOUCESTERWhy, what should you fear?
YORKMarry, my uncle Clarence’ angry ghost:
My grandam told me he was murdered there. 145
PRINCE EDWARDI fear no uncles dead.
GLOUCESTERNor none that live, I hope.
PRINCE EDWARDAn if they live, I hope I need not fear.
But come, my lord; and with a heavy heart,
Thinking on them, go I unto the Tower. 150
A Sennet. Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER, BUCKINGHAM and CATESBY.
BUCKINGHAMThink you, my lord, this little prating York
Was not incensed by his subtle mother
To taunt and scorn you thus opprobriously?
GLOUCESTERNo doubt, no doubt; O, ’tis a parlous boy;
Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable 155
He is all the mother’s, from the top to toe.
BUCKINGHAMWell, let them rest. Come hither, Catesby.
Thou art sworn as deeply to effect what we intend
As closely to conceal what we impart:
Thou know’st our reasons urged upon the way; 160
What think’st thou? is it not an easy matter
To make William Lord Hastings of our mind,
For the instalment of this noble duke
In the seat royal of this famous isle?
CATESBYHe for his father’s sake so loves the prince, 165
That he will not be won to aught against him.
BUCKINGHAMWhat think’st thou, then, of Stanley? what will he?
CATESBYHe will do all in all as Hastings doth.
BUCKINGHAMWell, then, no more but this: go, gentle Catesby,
And, as it were far off sound thou Lord Hastings, 170
How doth he stand affected to our purpose;
And summon him to-morrow to the Tower,
To sit about the coronation.
If thou dost find him tractable to us,
Encourage him, and show him all our reasons: 175
If he be leaden, icy-cold, unwilling,
Be thou so too; and so break off your talk,
And give us notice of his inclination:
For we to-morrow hold divided councils,
Wherein thyself shalt highly be employ’d. 180
GLOUCESTERCommend me to Lord William: tell him, Catesby,
His ancient knot of dangerous adversaries
To-morrow are let blood at Pomfret Castle;
And bid my friend, for joy of this good news,
Give mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more. 185
BUCKINGHAMGood Catesby, go, effect this business soundly.
CATESBYMy good lords both, with all the heed I may.
GLOUCESTERShall we hear from you, Catesby, ere we sleep?
CATESBYYou shall, my lord.
GLOUCESTERAt Crosby Place, there shall you find us both. 190
BUCKINGHAMNow, my lord, what shall we do, if we perceive
Lord Hastings will not yield to our complots?
GLOUCESTERChop off his head, man; somewhat we will do:
And, look, when I am king, claim thou of me 195
The earldom of Hereford, and the moveables
Whereof the king my brother stood possess’d.
BUCKINGHAMI’ll claim that promise at your grace’s hands.
GLOUCESTERAnd look to have it yielded with all willingness.
Come, let us sup betimes, that afterwards 200
We may digest our complots in some form.

Richard III, Act 3, Scene 2


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, 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.


1. Chamber. London was anciently called Camera regis, the King’s Chamber.

2. Cousin means (1) the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt; (2) any kinsman or kinswoman, as nephew, uncle, niece, grandchild (II. ii. 8; II. iv. 9); (3) a title applied by princes to other princes and distinguished noblemen.

9. Of = as regards, concerning.

11. Jumpeth, agrees.

31. Peevish, silly, childish.

32. Cardinal. The unaccented i in the middle of this word is dropped in reading. Thomas Bourchier was created Archbishop of Canterbury in 1454, and cardinal in 1464.

46-47. Weigh this action against the violent practices of these times, and it cannot be considered as a breach of sanctuary; or, Weigh it by the same standard with which actions are weighed in this gross age, and it cannot be looked upon as a breach of sanctuary.

66. Supply where it before shall be thought.

68. Of any place, of all places I dislike the Tower most. This is due to a confusion of two constructions : I dislike the Tower more than any place, and most of all places. This is a Greek idiom, but occurs pretty frequently in Shakespeare.

69. It was supposed that Julius Caesar built the Tower, as well as the castles of Dover, Rochester, and Salisbury.

71. Re-edified, rebuilt, the word in its primary meaning.

79. The saying is ascribed to Cato the Censor : For (saith hee) youth resembling age is an undoubted signe of untimely death, or short life.

82. Formal vice, the conventional vice of the old dramas. In the old moralities, there was always one character bearing the name of some vice, sometimes of Iniquity itself. He was grotesquely dressed in a cap with asses’ ears, a long coat, and a dagger of lath; and he was always accompanied by the devil, whom he belabored with his dagger, but was ultimately carried off by him to hell. His principal business was to make the audience laugh, and his chief device to this end was to play upon the double meaning of words.

94. Lightly = usually.

155. Capable, able.

179. Divided councils, besides the public council held in the Tower, there was a private one at Crosby-place.

185. Mistress Shore. According to Hall, Hastings took her for his mistress after the king’s death.

192. Complots, conspiracies.

195. Earldom of Hereford. Buckingham claimed this as his inheritance, but could never obtain it in King Edward’s time.


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