Richard III - Act 3, scene 4
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Act 3, scene 4
A council of lords meets to plan the coronation of Edward V. Richard, learning from Buckingham of Hastings’ refusal to support them, accuses Hastings’ mistress of witchcraft and orders Hastings’ execution. Hastings, led off to his death, remembers Stanley’s warning dream and Margaret’s curse.Enter Buckingham, ⌜Lord Stanley, Earl of⌝ Derby,
Hastings, Bishop of Ely, Norfolk, Ratcliffe, Lovell, with
others, at a table.
1913 Now, noble peers, the cause why we are met
1914 Is to determine of the coronation.
1915 In God’s name, speak. When is the royal day?
1916 Is all things ready for the royal time?
1917 5 It is, and wants but nomination.
1918 Tomorrow, then, I judge a happy day.
1919 Who knows the Lord Protector’s mind herein?
1920 Who is most inward with the noble duke?
1921 Your Grace, we think, should soonest know his
1922 10 mind.
1923 We know each other’s faces; for our hearts,
1924 He knows no more of mine than I of yours,
1925 Or I of his, my lord, than you of mine.—
1926 Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.
1927 15 I thank his Grace, I know he loves me well.
1928 But for his purpose in the coronation,
1929 I have not sounded him, nor he delivered
1930 His gracious pleasure any way therein.
1931 But you, my honorable lords, may name the time,
1932 20 And in the Duke’s behalf I’ll give my voice,
1933 Which I presume he’ll take in gentle part.
Enter ⌜Richard, Duke of⌝ Gloucester.
1934 In happy time here comes the Duke himself.
1935 My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow.
1936 I have been long a sleeper; but I trust
1937 25 My absence doth neglect no great design
1938 Which by my presence might have been concluded.
1939 Had you not come upon your cue, my lord,
1940 William Lord Hastings had pronounced your part—
1941 I mean your voice for crowning of the King.
1942 30 Than my Lord Hastings no man might be bolder.
1943 His Lordship knows me well and loves me well.—
1944 My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn
1945 I saw good strawberries in your garden there;
1946 I do beseech you, send for some of them.
1947 35 Marry and will, my lord, with all my heart.
Exit Bishop ⌜of Ely.⌝
1948 Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
⌜They move aside.⌝
1949 Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business
1950 And finds the testy gentleman so hot
1951 That he will lose his head ere give consent
1952 40 His master’s child, as worshipfully he terms it,
1953 Shall lose the royalty of England’s throne.
1954 Withdraw yourself awhile. I’ll go with you.
⌜Richard and Buckingham⌝ exit.
1955 We have not yet set down this day of triumph.
1956 Tomorrow, in my judgment, is too sudden,
1957 45 For I myself am not so well provided
1958 As else I would be, were the day prolonged.
1959 Where is my lord the Duke of Gloucester?
1960 I have sent for these strawberries.
1961 His Grace looks cheerfully and smooth this
1962 50 morning.
1963 There’s some conceit or other likes him well
1964 When that he bids good morrow with such spirit.
1965 I think there’s never a man in Christendom
1966 Can lesser hide his love or hate than he,
1967 55 For by his face straight shall you know his heart.
1968 What of his heart perceive you in his face
1969 By any livelihood he showed today?
1970 Marry, that with no man here he is offended,
1971 For were he, he had shown it in his looks.
Enter Richard and Buckingham.
1972 60 I pray you all, tell me what they deserve
1973 That do conspire my death with devilish plots
1974 Of damnèd witchcraft, and that have prevailed
1975 Upon my body with their hellish charms?
1976 The tender love I bear your Grace, my lord,
1977 65 Makes me most forward in this princely presence
1978 To doom th’ offenders, whosoe’er they be.
1979 I say, my lord, they have deservèd death.
1980 Then be your eyes the witness of their evil.
⌜He shows his arm.⌝
1981 Look how I am bewitched! Behold mine arm
1982 70 Is like a blasted sapling withered up;
1984 Consorted with that harlot, strumpet Shore,
1985 That by their witchcraft thus have markèd me.
1986 If they have done this deed, my noble lord—
1987 75 If? Thou protector of this damnèd strumpet,
1988 Talk’st thou to me of “ifs”? Thou art a traitor.—
1989 Off with his head. Now by Saint Paul I swear
1990 I will not dine until I see the same.—
1991 Lovell and Ratcliffe, look that it be done.—
1992 80 The rest that love me, rise and follow me.
They exit. Lovell and Ratcliffe remain,
with the Lord Hastings.
1993 Woe, woe for England! Not a whit for me,
1994 For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
1995 Stanley did dream the boar did ⟨raze his helm,⟩
1996 And I did scorn it and disdain to fly.
1997 85 Three times today my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
1998 And started when he looked upon the Tower,
1999 As loath to bear me to the slaughterhouse.
2000 O, now I need the priest that spake to me!
2001 I now repent I told the pursuivant,
2002 90 As too triumphing, how mine enemies
2003 Today at Pomfret bloodily were butchered,
2004 And I myself secure in grace and favor.
2005 O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
2006 Is lighted on poor Hastings’ wretched head.
2007 95 Come, come, dispatch. The Duke would be at
2009 Make a short shrift. He longs to see your head.
2010 O momentary grace of mortal men,
2011 Which we more hunt for than the grace of God!
2013 Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
2014 Ready with every nod to tumble down
2015 Into the fatal bowels of the deep.
2016 Come, come, dispatch. ’Tis bootless to exclaim.
2017 105 O bloody Richard! Miserable England,
2018 I prophesy the fearfull’st time to thee
2019 That ever wretched age hath looked upon.—
2020 Come, lead me to the block. Bear him my head.
2021 They smile at me who shortly shall be dead.