Richard III - Act 2, scene 1
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Act 2, scene 1
The dying King Edward IV attempts to reconcile the quarreling factions in his royal court. Queen Elizabeth and her kindred, on the one side, and Hastings, Buckingham, and Richard, on the other, vow to make and keep peace among themselves. Rejoicing about this “united league” is interrupted by news of Clarence’s murder, which King Edward blames on himself and Richard blames on the Queen’s kindred.Flourish. Enter King ⌜Edward,⌝ sick, Queen ⌜Elizabeth,⌝
Lord Marquess Dorset, Rivers, Hastings, Buckingham,
Woodeville, ⌜Grey, and Scales.⌝
1125 Why, so. Now have I done a good day’s work.
1126 You peers, continue this united league.
1127 I every day expect an embassage
1128 From my Redeemer to redeem me hence,
1129 5 And more ⟨in⟩ peace my soul shall part to heaven
1130 Since I have made my friends at peace on Earth.
1131 ⟨Rivers and Hastings,⟩ take each other’s hand.
1132 Dissemble not your hatred. Swear your love.
RIVERS, ⌜taking Hastings’ hand⌝
1133 By heaven, my soul is purged from grudging hate,
1134 10 And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love.
1135 So thrive I as I truly swear the like.
1136 Take heed you dally not before your king,
1137 Lest He that is the supreme King of kings
1138 Confound your hidden falsehood and award
1139 15 Either of you to be the other’s end.
1140 So prosper I as I swear perfect love.
1141 And I as I love Hastings with my heart.
KING EDWARD, ⌜to Queen Elizabeth⌝
1142 Madam, yourself is not exempt from this,—
1143 Nor you, son Dorset,—Buckingham, nor you.
1144 20 You have been factious one against the other.—
1145 Wife, love Lord Hastings. Let him kiss your hand,
1146 And what you do, do it unfeignedly.
1147 There, Hastings, I will never more remember
1148 Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine.
⌜Hastings kisses her hand.⌝
1149 25 Dorset, embrace him.—Hastings, love Lord
1151 This interchange of love, I here protest,
1152 Upon my part shall be inviolable.
HASTINGS 1153 And so swear I.⌜They embrace.⌝
1154 30 Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
1155 With thy embracements to my wife’s allies
1156 And make me happy in your unity.
BUCKINGHAM, ⌜to Queen Elizabeth⌝
1157 Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
1158 Upon your Grace, but with all duteous love
1159 35 Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
1160 With hate in those where I expect most love.
1161 When I have most need to employ a friend,
1162 And most assurèd that he is a friend,
1163 Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile
1164 40 Be he unto me: this do I beg of ⟨God,⟩
1165 When I am cold in love to you or yours.
⌜Queen Elizabeth and Buckingham⌝ embrace.
1166 A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
1168 There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here
1169 45 To make the blessèd period of this peace.
BUCKINGHAM 1170 And in good time
1171 Here comes Sir Richard Ratcliffe and the Duke.
Enter Ratcliffe, and ⌜Richard, Duke of⌝ Gloucester.
1172 Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen,
1173 And, princely peers, a happy time of day.
1174 50 Happy indeed, as we have spent the day.
1175 Gloucester, we have done deeds of charity,
1176 Made peace of enmity, fair love of hate,
1177 Between these swelling, wrong-incensèd peers.
1178 A blessèd labor, my most sovereign lord.
1179 55 Among this princely heap, if any here
1180 By false intelligence or wrong surmise
1181 Hold me a foe,
1182 If I ⟨unwittingly,⟩ or in my rage,
1183 Have aught committed that is hardly borne
1184 60 ⟨By⟩ any in this presence, I desire
1185 To reconcile me to his friendly peace.
1186 ’Tis death to me to be at enmity;
1187 I hate it, and desire all good men’s love.
1188 First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,
1189 65 Which I will purchase with my duteous service;—
1190 Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
1191 If ever any grudge were lodged between us;—
1192 Of you and you, Lord Rivers and of Dorset,
1193 That all without desert have frowned on me;—
1194 70 Of you, Lord Woodeville and Lord Scales;—of you,
1195 Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.
1196 I do not know that Englishman alive
1197 With whom my soul is any jot at odds
1199 75 I thank my God for my humility.
1200 A holy day shall this be kept hereafter.
1201 I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
1202 My sovereign lord, I do beseech your Highness
1203 To take our brother Clarence to your grace.
1204 80 Why, madam, have I offered love for this,
1205 To be so flouted in this royal presence?
1206 Who knows not that the gentle duke is dead?
They all start.
1207 You do him injury to scorn his corse.
1208 Who knows not he is dead! Who knows he is?
1209 85 All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!
1210 Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?
1211 Ay, my good lord, and no man in the presence
1212 But his red color hath forsook his cheeks.
1213 Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.
1214 90 But he, poor man, by your first order died,
1215 And that a wingèd Mercury did bear.
1216 Some tardy cripple bare the countermand,
1217 That came too lag to see him burièd.
1218 God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
1219 95 Nearer in bloody thoughts, and not in blood,
1220 Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
1221 And yet go current from suspicion.
Enter ⌜Lord Stanley,⌝ Earl of Derby.
1222 A boon, my sovereign, for my service done.
1223 I prithee, peace. My soul is full of sorrow.
1224 100 I will not rise unless your Highness hear me.
1225 Then say at once what is it thou requests.
1226 The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life,
1227 Who slew today a riotous gentleman
1228 Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
1229 105 Have I a tongue to doom my brother’s death,
1230 And shall that tongue give pardon to a slave?
1231 My brother killed no man; his fault was thought,
1232 And yet his punishment was bitter death.
1233 Who sued to me for him? Who, in my wrath,
1234 110 Kneeled ⟨at⟩ my feet, and ⟨bade⟩ me be advised?
1235 Who spoke of brotherhood? Who spoke of love?
1236 Who told me how the poor soul did forsake
1237 The mighty Warwick and did fight for me?
1238 Who told me, in the field at Tewkesbury,
1239 115 When Oxford had me down, he rescued me,
1240 And said “Dear brother, live, and be a king”?
1241 Who told me, when we both lay in the field
1242 Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
1243 Even in his garments and did give himself,
1244 120 All thin and naked, to the numb-cold night?
1245 All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
1246 Sinfully plucked, and not a man of you
1247 Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
1248 But when your carters or your waiting vassals
1249 125 Have done a drunken slaughter and defaced
1250 The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
1252 And I, unjustly too, must grant it you.
1253 But for my brother, not a man would speak,
1254 130 Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
1255 For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
1256 Have been beholding to him in his life,
1257 Yet none of you would once beg for his life.
1258 O God, I fear Thy justice will take hold
1259 135 On me and you, and mine and yours for this!—
1260 Come, Hastings, help me to my closet.—
1261 Ah, poor Clarence.
Some exit with King and Queen.
1262 This is the fruits of rashness. Marked you not
1263 How that the guilty kindred of the Queen
1264 140 Looked pale when they did hear of Clarence’ death?
1265 O, they did urge it still unto the King.
1266 God will revenge it. Come, lords, will you go
1267 To comfort Edward with our company?
BUCKINGHAM 1268 We wait upon your Grace.