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Richard III - Act 2, scene 4
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Navigate this workRichard III - Act 2, scene 4
Act 2, scene 4
As Queen Elizabeth awaits the coming of Prince Edward, news arrives that Richard has imprisoned her brother Rivers, her son Grey, and Sir Thomas Vaughan. She rushes to sanctuary with her son the Duke of York.Enter Archbishop, ⌜the⌝ young ⌜Duke of⌝ York,
Queen ⌜Elizabeth,⌝ and the Duchess ⌜of York.⌝
1479 Last night, I ⟨hear,⟩ they lay at Stony Stratford,
1480 And at Northampton they do rest tonight.
1481 Tomorrow or next day they will be here.
1482 I long with all my heart to see the Prince.
1483 5 I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.
1484 But I hear no; they say my son of York
1485 Has almost overta’en him in his growth.
1486 Ay, mother, but I would not have it so.
1487 Why, my good cousin? It is good to grow.
1488 10 Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper,
1489 My uncle Rivers talked how I did grow
1490 More than my brother. “Ay,” quoth my uncle
1492 “Small herbs have grace; great weeds do grow
1493 15 apace.”
1494 And since, methinks I would not grow so fast
1495 Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make
1497 Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
1498 20 In him that did object the same to thee!
1499 He was the wretched’st thing when he was young,
1500 So long a-growing and so leisurely,
1501 That if his rule were true, he should be gracious.
1502 And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.
1503 25 I hope he is, but yet let mothers doubt.
1504 Now, by my troth, if I had been remembered,
1505 I could have given my uncle’s Grace a flout
1506 To touch his growth nearer than he touched mine.
1507 How, my young York? I prithee let me hear it.
1508 30 Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
1509 That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old.
1510 ’Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
1511 Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.
1512 I prithee, pretty York, who told thee this?
YORK 1513 35Grandam, his nurse.
1514 His nurse? Why, she was dead ere thou wast born.
1515 If ’twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.
1516 A parlous boy! Go to, you are too shrewd.
1517 Good madam, be not angry with the child.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 1518 40Pitchers have ears.
Enter a Messenger.
ARCHBISHOP 1519 Here comes a messenger.—What news?
1520 Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 1521 How doth the Prince?
MESSENGER 1522 Well, madam, and in health.
DUCHESS 1523 45What is thy news?
1524 Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
1525 And, with them, Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.
DUCHESS 1526 Who hath committed them?
1527 The mighty dukes, Gloucester and Buckingham.
ARCHBISHOP 1528 50For what offense?
1529 The sum of all I can, I have disclosed.
1530 Why, or for what, the nobles were committed
1531 Is all unknown to me, my gracious lord.
p. 125QUEEN ELIZABETH
1532 Ay me! I see the ruin of my house.
1533 55 The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind.
1534 Insulting tyranny begins to jut
1535 Upon the innocent and aweless throne.
1536 Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre.
1537 I see, as in a map, the end of all.
1538 60 Accursèd and unquiet wrangling days,
1539 How many of you have mine eyes beheld?
1540 My husband lost his life to get the crown,
1541 And often up and down my sons were tossed
1542 For me to joy, and weep, their gain and loss.
1543 65 And being seated, and domestic broils
1544 Clean overblown, themselves the conquerors
1545 Make war upon themselves, brother to brother,
1546 Blood to blood, self against self. O, preposterous
1547 And frantic outrage, end thy damnèd spleen,
1548 70 Or let me die, to look on Earth no more.
QUEEN ELIZABETH, ⌜to York⌝
1549 Come, come, my boy. We will to sanctuary.—
1550 Madam, farewell.
DUCHESS 1551 Stay, I will go with you.
1552 You have no cause.
ARCHBISHOP, ⌜to Queen Elizabeth⌝ 1553 75 My gracious lady, go,
1554 And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
1555 For my part, I’ll resign unto your Grace
1556 The seal I keep; and so betide to me
1557 As well I tender you and all of yours.
1558 80 Go. I’ll conduct you to the sanctuary.