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Richard III


ACT III SCENE IIBefore Lord Hastings’ house.
Enter a Messenger. [Knocking.]
MessengerWhat, ho! my lord!
MessengerA messenger from the Lord Stanley.
HASTINGSWhat is’t o’clock?
MessengerUpon the stroke of four. 5
HASTINGSCannot thy master sleep these tedious nights?
MessengerSo it should seem by that I have to say.
First, he commends him to your noble lordship.
MessengerAnd then he sends you word
He dreamt to-night the boar had razed his helm: 10
Besides, he says there are two councils held;
And that may be determined at the one
which may make you and him to rue at the other.
Therefore he sends to know your lordship’s pleasure,
If presently you will take horse with him, 15
And with all speed post with him toward the north,
To shun the danger that his soul divines.
HASTINGSGo, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
Bid him not fear the separated councils
His honour and myself are at the one, 20
And at the other is my servant Catesby
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
Tell him his fears are shallow, wanting instance:
And for his dreams, I wonder he is so fond 25
To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers
To fly the boar before the boar pursues,
Were to incense the boar to follow us
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
Go, bid thy master rise and come to me 30
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.
MessengerMy gracious lord, I’ll tell him what you say.
CATESBYMany good morrows to my noble lord!
HASTINGSGood morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring 35
What news, what news, in this our tottering state?
CATESBYIt is a reeling world, indeed, my lord;
And I believe twill never stand upright
Tim Richard wear the garland of the realm.
HASTINGSHow! wear the garland! dost thou mean the crown? 40
CATESBYAy, my good lord.
HASTINGSI’ll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
Ere I will see the crown so foul misplaced.
But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
CATESBYAy, on my life; and hopes to find forward 45
Upon his party for the gain thereof:
And thereupon he sends you this good news,
That this same very day your enemies,
The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.
HASTINGSIndeed, I am no mourner for that news, 50
Because they have been still mine enemies:
But, that I’ll give my voice on Richard’s side,
To bar my master’s heirs in true descent,
God knows I will not do it, to the death.
CATESBYGod keep your lordship in that gracious mind! 55
HASTINGSBut I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,
That they who brought me in my master’s hate
I live to look upon their tragedy.
I tell thee, Catesby–
CATESBYWhat, my lord?
HASTINGSEre a fortnight make me older,
I’ll send some packing that yet think not on it. 60
CATESBY‘Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepared and look not for it.
HASTINGSO monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out
With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so ’twill do
With some men else, who think themselves as safe 65
As thou and I; who, as thou know’st, are dear
To princely Richard and to Buckingham.
CATESBYThe princes both make high account of you —
[Aside] For they account his head upon the bridge.
HASTINGSI know they do; and I have well deserved it. 70
Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?
STANLEYMy lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby:
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
I do not like these several councils, I. 75
I hold my life as dear as you do yours;
And never in my life, I do protest,
Was it more precious to me than ’tis now:
Think you, but that I know our state secure, 80
I would be so triumphant as I am?
STANLEYThe lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
Were jocund, and supposed their state was sure,
And they indeed had no cause to mistrust;
But yet, you see how soon the day o’ercast. 85
This sudden stag of rancour I misdoubt:
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.
HASTINGSCome, come, have with you. Wot you what, my lord?
To-day the lords you talk of are beheaded. 90
LORD STANLEYThey, for their truth, might better wear their heads
Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
But come, my lord, let us away.
Enter a Pursuivant.
HASTINGSGo on before; I’ll talk with this good fellow.
How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee? 95
PursuivantThe better that your lordship please to ask.
HASTINGSI tell thee, man, ’tis better with me now
Than when I met thee last where now we meet:
Then was I going prisoner to the Tower,
By the suggestion of the queen’s allies; 100
But now, I tell thee–keep it to thyself–
This day those enemies are put to death,
And I in better state than e’er I was.
PursuivantGod hold it, to your honour’s good content!
HASTINGSGramercy, fellow: there, drink that for me. 105
Throws him his purse.
PursuivantGod save your lordship!
Enter a Priest.
PriestWell met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.
HASTINGSI thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
I am in your debt for your last exercise;
Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you. 110
He whispers in his ear
BUCKINGHAMWhat, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain?
Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest;
Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.
HASTINGSGood faith, and when I met this holy man,
Those men you talk of came into my mind. 115
What, go you toward the Tower?
BUCKINGHAMI do, my lord; but long I shall not stay
I shall return before your lordship thence.
HASTINGS‘Tis like enough, for I stay dinner there.
BUCKINGHAMAside And supper too, although thou knowest it not. 120
Come, will you go?
HASTINGSI’ll wait upon your lordship.

Richard III, Act 3, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 2

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.


10. Razed, struck. Helm, helmet.

24. Instance, motive.

52. Voice, vote.

69. Bridge, London Bridge, on which the heads of executed traitors were exposed.

74. Rood, the cross or crucifix placed in every church. The same word as rod, which is shortened from M.E. rood. A.-S. rod, a gallows, a cross, properly a rod, or pole.

88. The day is spent. Yet the scene opens at four in the morning (line 5).

89. Have with you = come along.

105. Gramercy = thanks! From Fr. grand merci, much thanks.

108. Sir John. The title Sir was applied to such priests as had taken the degree of bachelor at a university.

109. Exercise, an exposition of Scripture.

110. Content, pay, satisfy.

113. Your honor has no occasion to be making your shrift, or last confession.


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