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Navigate this workRichard III
Act 4, scene 2
The newly crowned Richard asks Buckingham to arrange the deaths of Prince Edward and the Duke of York. When Buckingham resists the request, Richard procures “a discontented gentleman,” James Tyrrel, to kill the boys. Richard decides to have Lady Anne killed and to marry Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth. He then refuses a promised earldom to Buckingham, and Buckingham flees.Sound a sennet. Enter Richard in pomp; Buckingham,
Catesby, Ratcliffe, Lovell, ⌜and others, including a Page.⌝
2507 Stand all apart.—Cousin of Buckingham.
⌜The others move aside.⌝
BUCKINGHAM 2508 My gracious sovereign.
2509 Give me thy hand.
⟨Here he ascendeth the throne.⟩ Sound ⌜trumpets.⌝
2510 Thus high, by thy advice
2511 5 And thy assistance is King Richard seated.
2512 But shall we wear these glories for a day,
2513 Or shall they last and we rejoice in them?
2514 Still live they, and forever let them last.
2515 Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
2516 10 To try if thou be current gold indeed:
2517 Young Edward lives; think now what I would speak.
p. 207BUCKINGHAM 2518 Say on, my loving lord.
2519 Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king.
2520 Why so you are, my thrice-renownèd lord.
2521 15 Ha! Am I king? ’Tis so—but Edward lives.
2522 True, noble prince.
RICHARD 2523 O bitter consequence
2524 That Edward still should live “true noble prince”!
2525 Cousin, thou wast not wont to be so dull.
2526 20 Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead,
2527 And I would have it suddenly performed.
2528 What sayst thou now? Speak suddenly. Be brief.
BUCKINGHAM 2529 Your Grace may do your pleasure.
2530 Tut, tut, thou art all ice; thy kindness freezes.
2531 25 Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
2532 Give me some little breath, some pause, dear lord,
2533 Before I positively speak in this.
2534 I will resolve you herein presently.
CATESBY, ⌜aside to the other Attendants⌝
2535 The King is angry. See, he gnaws his lip.
2536 30 I will converse with iron-witted fools
2537 And unrespective boys. None are for me
2538 That look into me with considerate eyes.
2539 High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.—
PAGE, ⌜coming forward⌝ 2541 35My lord?
2542 Know’st thou not any whom corrupting gold
2543 Will tempt unto a close exploit of death?
2544 I know a discontented gentleman
2545 Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit.
2546 40 Gold were as good as twenty orators,
2547 And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.
2548 What is his name?
PAGE 2549 His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
2550 I partly know the man. Go, call him hither, boy.
2551 45 ⌜Aside.⌝ The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
2552 No more shall be the neighbor to my counsels.
2553 Hath he so long held out with me, untired,
2554 And stops he now for breath? Well, be it so.
2555 How now, Lord Stanley, what’s the news?
STANLEY 2556 50Know, my loving lord,
2557 The Marquess Dorset, as I hear, is fled
2558 To Richmond, in the parts where he abides.
⌜He walks aside.⌝
2559 Come hither, Catesby. Rumor it abroad
2560 That Anne my wife is very grievous sick.
2561 55 I will take order for her keeping close.
2562 Inquire me out some mean poor gentleman,
2563 Whom I will marry straight to Clarence’ daughter.
2564 The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.
2565 Look how thou dream’st! I say again, give out
2566 60 That Anne my queen is sick and like to die.
2567 About it, for it stands me much upon
2568 To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.
2569 ⌜Aside.⌝ I must be married to my brother’s daughter,
2570 Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass.
p. 2112571 65 Murder her brothers, and then marry her—
2572 Uncertain way of gain. But I am in
2573 So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.
2574 Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.
2575 Is thy name Tyrrel?
2576 70 James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.
2577 Art thou indeed?
TYRREL 2578 Prove me, my gracious lord.
2579 Dar’st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
2580 Please you. But I had rather kill two enemies.
2581 75 Why then, thou hast it. Two deep enemies,
2582 Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep’s disturbers,
2583 Are they that I would have thee deal upon.
2584 Tyrrel, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
2585 Let me have open means to come to them,
2586 80 And soon I’ll rid you from the fear of them.
2587 Thou sing’st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel.
⌜Tyrrel approaches Richard and kneels.⌝
2588 Go, by this token. Rise, and lend thine ear.
⌜Tyrrel rises, and Richard⌝ whispers
⌜to him. Then Tyrrel steps back.⌝
2589 There is no more but so. Say it is done,
2590 And I will love thee and prefer thee for it.
TYRREL 2591 85I will dispatch it straight.He exits.
2592 My lord, I have considered in my mind
2593 The late request that you did sound me in.
2594 Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to Richmond.
BUCKINGHAM 2595 I hear the news, my lord.
2596 90 Stanley, he is your wife’s son. Well, look unto it.
2597 My lord, I claim the gift, my due by promise,
2598 For which your honor and your faith is pawned—
2599 Th’ earldom of ⟨Hereford⟩ and the movables
2600 Which you have promisèd I shall possess.
2601 95 Stanley, look to your wife. If she convey
2602 Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.
2603 What says your Highness to my just request?
2604 I do remember me, Henry the Sixth
2605 Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
2606 100 When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
2607 A king perhaps—
⟨BUCKINGHAM 2608 My lord—
2609 How chance the prophet could not at that time
2610 Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?
2611 105 My lord, your promise for the earldom—
2612 Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
2613 The Mayor in courtesy showed me the castle
2614 And called it Rougemont, at which name I started,
2615 Because a bard of Ireland told me once
2616 110 I should not live long after I saw Richmond.
BUCKINGHAM 2617 My lord—
p. 215RICHARD 2618 Ay, what’s o’clock?
2619 I am thus bold to put your Grace in mind
2620 Of what you promised me.
RICHARD 2621 115Well, but what’s o’clock?
BUCKINGHAM 2622 Upon the stroke of ten.
RICHARD 2623 Well, let it strike.
BUCKINGHAM 2624 Why let it strike?
2625 Because that, like a jack, thou keep’st the stroke
2626 120 Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
2627 I am not in the giving vein today.
2628 Why then, resolve me whether you will or no.⟩
2629 Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.
He exits, ⌜and is followed by all but Buckingham.⌝
2630 And is it thus? Repays he my deep service
2631 125 With such contempt? Made I him king for this?
2632 O, let me think on Hastings and be gone
2633 To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on!