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Navigate this workRichard III
Act 4, scene 4
Queen Margaret, Queen Elizabeth, and the Duchess of York grieve for their dead. Richard enters on his way to confront Buckingham’s army, and he tries to persuade Queen Elizabeth to give him her daughter Elizabeth in marriage. Then a series of messengers bring Richard news of his enemies’ maneuvers against him, and of Buckingham’s capture.Enter old Queen Margaret.
2695 So now prosperity begins to mellow
2696 And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
2697 Here in these confines slyly have I lurked
2698 To watch the waning of mine enemies.
2699 5 A dire induction am I witness to,
2700 And will to France, hoping the consequence
2701 Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.
2702 Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret. Who comes
2703 here?⌜She steps aside.⌝
Enter Duchess ⟨of York⟩ and Queen ⌜Elizabeth.⌝
2704 10 Ah, my poor princes! Ah, my tender babes,
2705 My ⟨unblown⟩ flowers, new-appearing sweets,
2706 If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
2707 And be not fixed in doom perpetual,
2708 Hover about me with your airy wings
2709 15 And hear your mother’s lamentation.
QUEEN MARGARET, ⌜aside⌝
2710 Hover about her; say that right for right
2711 Hath dimmed your infant morn to agèd night.
2712 So many miseries have crazed my voice
2713 That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.
2714 20 Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
QUEEN MARGARET, ⌜aside⌝
2715 Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet;
2716 Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
2717 Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs
2718 And throw them in the entrails of the wolf?
2719 25 When didst thou sleep when such a deed was done?
p. 223QUEEN MARGARET, ⌜aside⌝
2720 When holy Harry died, and my sweet son.
DUCHESS, ⌜to Queen Elizabeth⌝
2721 Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal living ghost,
2722 Woe’s scene, world’s shame, grave’s due by life
2724 30 Brief abstract and record of tedious days,
2725 Rest thy unrest on England’s lawful earth,
2726 Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.
QUEEN ELIZABETH, ⌜as they both sit down⌝
2727 Ah, that thou wouldst as soon afford a grave
2728 As thou canst yield a melancholy seat,
2729 35 Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
2730 Ah, who hath any cause to mourn but we?
QUEEN MARGARET, ⌜coming forward⌝
2731 If ancient sorrow be most reverend,
2732 Give mine the benefit of seigniory,
2733 And let my griefs frown on the upper hand.
2734 40 If sorrow can admit society,
2735 ⟨Tell over your woes again by viewing mine.⟩
2736 I had an Edward till a Richard killed him;
2737 I had a husband till a Richard killed him.
2738 Thou hadst an Edward till a Richard killed him;
2739 45 Thou hadst a Richard till a Richard killed him.
2740 I had a Richard too, and thou did’st kill him;
2741 I had a Rutland too; thou ⌜holp’st⌝ to kill him.
2742 Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard killed him.
2743 From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
2744 50 A hellhound that doth hunt us all to death—
2745 That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
2746 To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood;
2747 That excellent grand tyrant of the Earth,
2748 That reigns in gallèd eyes of weeping souls;
2749 55 That foul defacer of God’s handiwork
p. 2252750 Thy womb let loose to chase us to our graves.
2751 O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
2752 How do I thank thee that this carnal cur
2753 Preys on the issue of his mother’s body
2754 60 And makes her pew-fellow with others’ moan!
DUCHESS , ⌜standing⌝
2755 O Harry’s wife, triumph not in my woes!
2756 God witness with me, I have wept for thine.
2757 Bear with me. I am hungry for revenge,
2758 And now I cloy me with beholding it.
2759 65 Thy Edward he is dead, that killed my Edward,
2760 ⟨Thy⟩ other Edward dead, to quit my Edward;
2761 Young York, he is but boot, because both they
2762 Matched not the high perfection of my loss.
2763 Thy Clarence he is dead that stabbed my Edward,
2764 70 And the beholders of this frantic play,
2765 Th’ adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
2766 Untimely smothered in their dusky graves.
2767 Richard yet lives, hell’s black intelligencer,
2768 Only reserved their factor to buy souls
2769 75 And send them thither. But at hand, at hand
2770 Ensues his piteous and unpitied end.
2771 Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray,
2772 To have him suddenly conveyed from hence.
2773 Cancel his bond of life, dear God I pray,
2774 80 That I may live and say “The dog is dead.”
QUEEN ELIZABETH , ⌜standing⌝
2775 O, thou didst prophesy the time would come
2776 That I should wish for thee to help me curse
2777 That bottled spider, that foul bunch-backed toad!
2778 I called thee then “vain flourish of my fortune.”
2779 85 I called thee then poor shadow, “painted queen,”
2780 The presentation of but what I was,
2781 The flattering index of a direful pageant,
p. 2272782 One heaved a-high to be hurled down below,
2783 A mother only mocked with two fair babes,
2784 90 A dream of what thou wast, a garish flag
2785 To be the aim of every dangerous shot,
2786 A sign of dignity, a breath, a bubble,
2787 A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
2788 Where is thy husband now? Where be thy brothers?
2789 95 Where ⟨are⟩ thy two sons? Wherein dost thou joy?
2790 Who sues and kneels and says “God save the
2792 Where be the bending peers that flattered thee?
2793 Where be the thronging troops that followed thee?
2794 100 Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
2795 For happy wife, a most distressèd widow;
2796 For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
2797 For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
2798 For queen, a very caitiff crowned with care;
2799 105 For she that scorned at me, now scorned of me;
2800 For she being feared of all, now fearing one;
2801 For she commanding all, obeyed of none.
2802 Thus hath the course of justice whirled about
2803 And left thee but a very prey to time,
2804 110 Having no more but thought of what thou wast
2805 To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
2806 Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
2807 Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow?
2808 Now thy proud neck bears half my burdened yoke,
2809 115 From which even here I slip my ⟨weary⟩ head
2810 And leave the burden of it all on thee.
2811 Farewell, York’s wife, and queen of sad mischance.
2812 These English woes shall make me smile in France.
⌜She begins to exit.⌝
2813 O, thou well-skilled in curses, stay awhile,
2814 120 And teach me how to curse mine enemies.
p. 229QUEEN MARGARET
2815 Forbear to sleep the ⟨nights,⟩ and fast the ⟨days;⟩
2816 Compare dead happiness with living woe;
2817 Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were,
2818 And he that slew them fouler than he is.
2819 125 Bettering thy loss makes the bad causer worse.
2820 Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.
2821 My words are dull. O, quicken them with thine!
2822 Thy woes will make them sharp and pierce like
2823 mine.Margaret exits.
2824 130 Why should calamity be full of words?
2825 Windy attorneys to their clients’ woes,
2826 Airy succeeders of ⟨intestate⟩ joys,
2827 Poor breathing orators of miseries,
2828 Let them have scope; though what they will impart
2829 135 Help nothing else, yet do they ease the heart.
2830 If so, then be not tongue-tied. Go with me,
2831 And in the breath of bitter words let’s smother
2832 My damnèd son that thy two sweet sons smothered.
⌜A trumpet sounds.⌝
2833 The trumpet sounds. Be copious in exclaims.
Enter King Richard and his train, ⌜including Catesby.⌝
2834 140 Who intercepts me in my expedition?
2835 O, she that might have intercepted thee,
2836 By strangling thee in her accursèd womb,
2837 From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done.
p. 231QUEEN ELIZABETH, ⌜to Richard⌝
2838 Hid’st thou that forehead with a golden crown
2839 145 Where should be branded, if that right were right,
2840 The slaughter of the prince that owed that crown
2841 And the dire death of my poor sons and brothers?
2842 Tell me, thou villain-slave, where are my children?
DUCHESS, ⌜to Richard⌝
2843 Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence,
2844 150 And little Ned Plantagenet his son?
QUEEN ELIZABETH, ⌜to Richard⌝
2845 Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
DUCHESS, ⌜to Richard⌝ 2846 Where is kind Hastings?
2847 A flourish, trumpets! Strike alarum, drums!
2848 Let not the heavens hear these telltale women
2849 155 Rail on the Lord’s anointed. Strike, I say!
2850 Either be patient and entreat me fair,
2851 Or with the clamorous report of war
2852 Thus will I drown your exclamations.
DUCHESS 2853 Art thou my son?
2854 160 Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.
2855 Then patiently hear my impatience.
2856 Madam, I have a touch of your condition,
2857 That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
2858 O, let me speak!
RICHARD 2859 165 Do then, but I’ll not hear.
2860 I will be mild and gentle in my words.
2861 And brief, good mother, for I am in haste.
2862 Art thou so hasty? I have stayed for thee,
2863 God knows, in torment and in agony.
2864 170 And came I not at last to comfort you?
2865 No, by the Holy Rood, thou know’st it well.
2866 Thou cam’st on Earth to make the Earth my hell.
2867 A grievous burden was thy birth to me;
2868 Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy;
2869 175 Thy school days frightful, desp’rate, wild, and
2871 Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous;
2872 Thy age confirmed, proud, subtle, sly, and bloody,
2873 More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred.
2874 180 What comfortable hour canst thou name,
2875 That ever graced me with thy company?
2876 Faith, none but Humfrey Hower, that called your
2878 To breakfast once, forth of my company.
2879 185 If I be so disgracious in your eye,
2880 Let me march on and not offend you, madam.—
2881 Strike up the drum.
DUCHESS 2882 I prithee, hear me speak.
2883 You speak too bitterly.
DUCHESS 2884 190 Hear me a word,
2885 For I shall never speak to thee again.
RICHARD 2886 So.
2887 Either thou wilt die by God’s just ordinance
2888 Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror,
2889 195 Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
2890 And nevermore behold thy face again.
2891 Therefore take with thee my most grievous curse,
p. 2352892 Which in the day of battle tire thee more
2893 Than all the complete armor that thou wear’st.
2894 200 My prayers on the adverse party fight,
2895 And there the little souls of Edward’s children
2896 Whisper the spirits of thine enemies
2897 And promise them success and victory.
2898 Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end.
2899 205 Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.
2900 Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to
2902 Abides in me. I say amen to her.
2903 Stay, madam. I must talk a word with you.
2904 210 I have no more sons of the royal blood
2905 For thee to slaughter. For my daughters, Richard,
2906 They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens,
2907 And therefore level not to hit their lives.
2908 You have a daughter called Elizabeth,
2909 215 Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
2910 And must she die for this? O, let her live,
2911 And I’ll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty,
2912 Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed,
2913 Throw over her the veil of infamy.
2914 220 So she may live unscarred of bleeding slaughter,
2915 I will confess she was not Edward’s daughter.
2916 Wrong not her birth. She is a royal princess.
2917 To save her life, I’ll say she is not so.
2918 Her life is safest only in her birth.
p. 237QUEEN ELIZABETH
2919 225 And only in that safety died her brothers.
2920 Lo, at their birth good stars were opposite.
2921 No, to their lives ill friends were contrary.
2922 All unavoided is the doom of destiny.
2923 True, when avoided grace makes destiny.
2924 230 My babes were destined to a fairer death
2925 If grace had blessed thee with a fairer life.
2926 You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.
2927 Cousins, indeed, and by their uncle cozened
2928 Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
2929 235 Whose hand soever launched their tender hearts,
2930 Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction.
2931 No doubt the murd’rous knife was dull and blunt
2932 Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
2933 To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
2934 240 But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
2935 My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
2936 Till that my nails were anchored in thine eyes,
2937 And I, in such a desp’rate bay of death,
2938 Like a poor bark of sails and tackling reft,
2939 245 Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.
2940 Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
2941 And dangerous success of bloody wars
2942 As I intend more good to you and yours
2943 Than ever you ⟨or⟩ yours by me were harmed!
2944 250 What good is covered with the face of heaven,
2945 To be discovered, that can do me good?
2946 Th’ advancement of your children, gentle lady.
2947 Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads.
2948 Unto the dignity and height of fortune,
2949 255 The high imperial type of this Earth’s glory.
2950 Flatter my sorrow with report of it.
2951 Tell me what state, what dignity, what honor,
2952 Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
2953 Even all I have—ay, and myself and all—
2954 260 Will I withal endow a child of thine;
2955 So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
2956 Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs
2957 Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
2958 Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness
2959 265 Last longer telling than thy kindness’ date.
2960 Then know that from my soul I love thy daughter.
2961 My daughter’s mother thinks it with her soul.
RICHARD 2962 What do you think?
2963 That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul.
2964 270 So from thy soul’s love didst thou love her brothers,
2965 And from my heart’s love I do thank thee for it.
2966 Be not so hasty to confound my meaning.
2967 I mean that with my soul I love thy daughter
2968 And do intend to make her Queen of England.
2969 275 Well then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?
2970 Even he that makes her queen. Who else should be?
2971 What, thou?
RICHARD 2972 Even so. How think you of it?
2973 How canst thou woo her?
RICHARD 2974 280 That ⟨would I⟩ learn of you,
2975 As one being best acquainted with her humor.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 2976 And wilt thou learn of me?
RICHARD 2977 Madam, with all my heart.
2978 Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
2979 285 A pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave
2980 “Edward” and “York.” Then haply will she weep.
2981 Therefore present to her—as sometime Margaret
2982 Did to thy father, steeped in Rutland’s blood—
2983 A handkerchief, which say to her did drain
2984 290 The purple sap from her sweet brother’s body,
2985 And bid her wipe her weeping eyes withal.
2986 If this inducement move her not to love,
2987 Send her a letter of thy noble deeds;
2988 Tell her thou mad’st away her uncle Clarence,
2989 295 Her uncle Rivers, ay, and for her sake
2990 Mad’st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
2991 You mock me, madam. This ⟨is⟩ not the way
2992 To win your daughter.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 2993 There is no other way,
2994 300 Unless thou couldst put on some other shape
2995 And not be Richard, that hath done all this.
2996 Say that I did all this for love of her.
2997 Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
2998 Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.
2999 305 Look what is done cannot be now amended.
3000 Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
3001 Which after-hours gives leisure to repent.
3002 If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
3003 To make amends I’ll give it to your daughter.
3004 310 If I have killed the issue of your womb,
3005 To quicken your increase I will beget
3006 Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter.
3007 A grandam’s name is little less in love
3008 Than is the doting title of a mother.
3009 315 They are as children but one step below,
3010 Even of your metal, of your very blood,
3011 Of all one pain, save for a night of groans
3012 Endured of her for whom you bid like sorrow.
3013 Your children were vexation to your youth,
3014 320 But mine shall be a comfort to your age.
3015 The loss you have is but a son being king,
3016 And by that loss your daughter is made queen.
3017 I cannot make you what amends I would;
3018 Therefore accept such kindness as I can.
3019 325 Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul
3020 Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
3021 This fair alliance quickly shall call home
3022 To high promotions and great dignity.
3023 The king that calls your beauteous daughter wife
3024 330 Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother.
3025 Again shall you be mother to a king,
3026 And all the ruins of distressful times
3027 Repaired with double riches of content.
3028 What, we have many goodly days to see!
3029 335 The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
3030 Shall come again, transformed to orient pearl,
3031 Advantaging their love with interest
3032 Of ten times double gain of happiness.
3033 Go then, my mother; to thy daughter go.
p. 2453034 340 Make bold her bashful years with your experience;
3035 Prepare her ears to hear a wooer’s tale;
3036 Put in her tender heart th’ aspiring flame
3037 Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the Princess
3038 With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys;
3039 345 And when this arm of mine hath chastisèd
3040 The petty rebel, dull-brained Buckingham,
3041 Bound with triumphant garlands will I come
3042 And lead thy daughter to a conqueror’s bed,
3043 To whom I will retail my conquest won,
3044 350 And she shall be sole victoress, Caesar’s Caesar.
3045 What were I best to say? Her father’s brother
3046 Would be her lord? Or shall I say her uncle?
3047 Or he that slew her brothers and her uncles?
3048 Under what title shall I woo for thee,
3049 355 That God, the law, my honor, and her love
3050 Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
3051 Infer fair England’s peace by this alliance.
3052 Which she shall purchase with still-lasting war.
3053 Tell her the King, that may command, entreats—
3054 360 That, at her hands, which the King’s King forbids.
3055 Say she shall be a high and mighty queen.
3056 To vail the title, as her mother doth.
3057 Say I will love her everlastingly.
3058 But how long shall that title “ever” last?
3059 365 Sweetly in force unto her fair life’s end.
p. 247QUEEN ELIZABETH
3060 But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?
3061 As long as heaven and nature lengthens it.
3062 As long as hell and Richard likes of it.
3063 Say I, her sovereign, am her subject low.
3064 370 But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.
3065 Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
3066 An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.
3067 Then plainly to her tell my loving tale.
3068 Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.
3069 375 Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.
3070 O no, my reasons are too deep and dead—
3071 Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves.
3072 ⟨Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.
3073 Harp on it still shall I till heart-strings break.
3074 380 Now by my George, my Garter, and my crown—
3075 Profaned, dishonored, and the third usurped.
3076 I swear—
QUEEN ELIZABETH 3077 By nothing, for this is no oath.
3078 Thy George, profaned, hath lost his lordly honor;
p. 2493079 385 Thy Garter, blemished, pawned his knightly virtue;
3080 Thy crown, usurped, disgraced his kingly glory.
3081 If something thou wouldst swear to be believed,
3082 Swear then by something that thou hast not
3084 390 Then, by myself—
QUEEN ELIZABETH 3085 Thyself is self-misused.
3086 Now, by the world—
QUEEN ELIZABETH 3087 ’Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
3088 My father’s death—
QUEEN ELIZABETH 3089 395 Thy life hath it dishonored.
3090 Why then, by ⟨God.⟩
QUEEN ELIZABETH 3091 ⟨God’s⟩ wrong is most of all.
3092 If thou didst fear to break an oath with Him,
3093 The unity the King my husband made
3094 400 Thou hadst not broken, nor my brothers died.
3095 If thou hadst feared to break an oath by Him,
3096 Th’ imperial metal circling now thy head
3097 Had graced the tender temples of my child,
3098 And both the Princes had been breathing here,
3099 405 Which now, two tender bedfellows for dust,
3100 Thy broken faith hath made the prey for worms.
3101 What canst thou swear by now?
RICHARD 3102 The time to come.
3103 That thou hast wrongèd in the time o’erpast;
3104 410 For I myself have many tears to wash
3105 Hereafter time, for time past wronged by thee.
3106 The children live whose fathers thou hast
3108 Ungoverned youth, to wail it ⟨in⟩ their age;
p. 2513109 415 The parents live whose children thou hast
3111 Old barren plants, to wail it with their age.
3112 Swear not by time to come, for that thou hast
3113 Misused ere used, by times ill-used ⟨o’erpast.⟩
3114 420 As I intend to prosper and repent,
3115 So thrive I in my dangerous affairs
3116 Of hostile arms! Myself myself confound,
3117 Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours,
3118 Day, yield me not thy light, nor night thy rest,
3119 425 Be opposite all planets of good luck
3120 To my proceeding if, with dear heart’s love,
3121 Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
3122 I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter.
3123 In her consists my happiness and thine.
3124 430 Without her follows to myself and thee,
3125 Herself, the land, and many a Christian soul,
3126 Death, desolation, ruin, and decay.
3127 It cannot be avoided but by this;
3128 It will not be avoided but by this.
3129 435 Therefore, dear mother—I must call you so—
3130 Be the attorney of my love to her;
3131 Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
3132 Not my deserts, but what I will deserve.
3133 Urge the necessity and state of times,
3134 440 And be not peevish found in great designs.
3135 Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
3136 Ay, if the devil tempt you to do good.
3137 Shall I forget myself to be myself?
3138 Ay, if your self’s remembrance wrong yourself.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 3139 445Yet thou didst kill my children.
3140 But in your daughter’s womb I bury them,
3141 Where, in that nest of spicery, they will breed
3142 Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
3143 Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?
3144 450 And be a happy mother by the deed.
QUEEN ELIZABETH 3145 I go. Write to me very shortly,
3146 And you shall understand from me her mind.
3147 Bear her my true love’s kiss; and so, farewell.
3148 Relenting fool and shallow, changing woman!
3149 455 How now, what news?
3150 Most mighty sovereign, on the western coast
3151 Rideth a puissant navy. To our shores
3152 Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
3153 Unarmed and unresolved to beat them back.
3154 460 ’Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
3155 And there they hull, expecting but the aid
3156 Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.
3157 Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of
3159 465 Ratcliffe thyself, or Catesby. Where is he?
3160 Here, my good lord.
RICHARD 3161 Catesby, fly to the Duke.
3162 I will, my lord, with all convenient haste.
3163 ⌜Ratcliffe,⌝ come hither. Post to Salisbury.
p. 2553164 470When thou com’st thither—⌜To Catesby.⌝ Dull,
3165 unmindful villain,
3166 Why stay’st thou here and go’st not to the Duke?
3167 First, mighty liege, tell me your Highness’ pleasure,
3168 What from your Grace I shall deliver to him.
3169 475 O true, good Catesby. Bid him levy straight
3170 The greatest strength and power that he can make
3171 And meet me suddenly at Salisbury.
CATESBY 3172 I go.He exits.
3173 What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?
3174 480 Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go?
3175 Your Highness told me I should post before.
3176 My mind is changed.
Enter Lord Stanley.
3177 Stanley, what news with you?
3178 None good, my liege, to please you with the hearing,
3179 485 Nor none so bad but well may be reported.
3180 Hoyday, a riddle! Neither good nor bad.
3181 What need’st thou run so many miles about
3182 When thou mayst tell thy tale the nearest way?
3183 Once more, what news?
STANLEY 3184 490 Richmond is on the seas.
3185 There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
3186 White-livered runagate, what doth he there?
3187 I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
p. 257RICHARD 3188 Well, as you guess?
3189 495 Stirred up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton,
3190 He makes for England, here to claim the crown.
3191 Is the chair empty? Is the sword unswayed?
3192 Is the King dead, the empire unpossessed?
3193 What heir of York is there alive but we?
3194 500 And who is England’s king but great York’s heir?
3195 Then tell me, what makes he upon the seas?
3196 Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
3197 Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
3198 You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
3199 505 Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.
3200 No, my good lord. Therefore mistrust me not.
3201 Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
3202 Where be thy tenants and thy followers?
3203 Are they not now upon the western shore,
3204 510 Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?
3205 No, my good lord. My friends are in the north.
3206 Cold friends to me. What do they in the north
3207 When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
3208 They have not been commanded, mighty king.
3209 515 Pleaseth your Majesty to give me leave,
3210 I’ll muster up my friends and meet your Grace
3211 Where and what time your Majesty shall please.
3212 Ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond,
3213 But I’ll not trust thee.
p. 259STANLEY 3214 520 Most mighty sovereign,
3215 You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful.
3216 I never was nor never will be false.
3217 Go then and muster men, but leave behind
3218 Your son George Stanley. Look your heart be firm,
3219 525 Or else his head’s assurance is but frail.
3220 So deal with him as I prove true to you.
Enter a Messenger.
3221 My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
3222 As I by friends am well advertisèd,
3223 Sir Edward Courtney and the haughty prelate,
3224 530 Bishop of Exeter, his elder brother,
3225 With many more confederates are in arms.
Enter another Messenger.
3226 In Kent, my liege, the Guilfords are in arms,
3227 And every hour more competitors
3228 Flock to the rebels, and their power grows strong.
Enter another Messenger.
3229 535 My lord, the army of great Buckingham—
3230 Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of death.
He striketh him.
3231 There, take thou that till thou bring better news.
3232 The news I have to tell your Majesty
3233 Is that by sudden floods and fall of waters
3234 540 Buckingham’s army is dispersed and scattered,
p. 2613235 And he himself wandered away alone,
3236 No man knows whither.
RICHARD 3237 I cry thee mercy.
3238 There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
⌜He gives money.⌝
3239 545 Hath any well-advisèd friend proclaimed
3240 Reward to him that brings the traitor in?
3241 Such proclamation hath been made, my lord.
Enter another Messenger.
3242 Sir Thomas Lovell and Lord Marquess Dorset,
3243 ’Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
3244 550 But this good comfort bring I to your Highness:
3245 The Breton navy is dispersed by tempest.
3246 Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat
3247 Unto the shore to ask those on the banks
3248 If they were his assistants, yea, or no—
3249 555 Who answered him they came from Buckingham
3250 Upon his party. He, mistrusting them,
3251 Hoised sail and made his course again for Brittany.
3252 March on, march on, since we are up in arms,
3253 If not to fight with foreign enemies,
3254 560 Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.
3255 My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken.
3256 That is the best news. That the Earl of Richmond
3257 Is with a mighty power landed at Milford
3258 Is colder ⟨tidings,⟩ yet they must be told.
3259 565 Away towards Salisbury! While we reason here,
3260 A royal battle might be won and lost.
p. 2633261 Someone take order Buckingham be brought
3262 To Salisbury. The rest march on with me.
Flourish. They exit.