Act I, Scene 1
London. A street.
- Enter Richard Duke of Gloucester solus.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester1 - 43
- Now is the winter of our discontent
- Made glorious summer by this son of York;
- And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house
- In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
- Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
- Our bruised arms hung up for monuments,
- Our stern alarums chang’d to merry meetings,
- Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
- Grim-visag’d War hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
- And now, in stead of mounting barbed steeds
- To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
- He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
- To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
- But I, that am not shap’d for sportive tricks,
- Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
- I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
- To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
- I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
- Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
- Deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before my time
- Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
- And that so lamely and unfashionable
- That dogs bark at me as I halt by them—
- Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
- Have no delight to pass away the time,
- Unless to see my shadow in the sun
- And descant on mine own deformity.
- And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
- To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
- I am determined to prove a villain
- And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
- Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
- By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
- To set my brother Clarence and the King
- In deadly hate the one against the other;
- And if King Edward be as true and just
- As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
- This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up
- About a prophecy, which says that G
- Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
- Dive, thoughts, down to my soul, here Clarence comes!
- Enter Clarence, guarded, and Brakenbury,
- Lieutenant of the Tower.
- Brother, good day. What means this armed guard
- That waits upon your Grace?
George, Duke of Clarence44 - 46
- His Majesty,
- Tend’ring my person’s safety, hath appointed
- This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester47
- Upon what cause?
George, Duke of Clarence48
- Because my name is George.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester49 - 53
- Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
- He should for that commit your godfathers.
- O, belike his Majesty hath some intent
- That you should be new christ’ned in the Tower.
- But what’s the matter, Clarence, may I know?
George, Duke of Clarence54 - 63
- Yea, Richard, when I know; but I protest
- As yet I do not. But, as I can learn,
- He hearkens after prophecies and dreams,
- And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
- And says a wizard told him that by G
- His issue disinherited should be;
- And for my name of George begins with G,
- It follows in his thought that I am he.
- These (as I learn) and such-like toys as these
- Hath mov’d his Highness to commit me now.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester64 - 72
- Why, this it is, when men are rul’d by women:
- ’Tis not the King that sends you to the Tower;
- My Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, ’tis she
- That tempers him to this extremity.
- Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
- Anthony Woodvile, her brother there,
- That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,
- From whence this present day he is delivered?
- We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.
George, Duke of Clarence73 - 77
- By heaven, I think there is no man is secure
- But the Queen’s kindred, and night-walking heralds
- That trudge betwixt the King and Mistress Shore.
- Heard you not what an humble suppliant
- Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
Richard, Duke of Gloucester78 - 85
- Humbly complaining to her deity
- Got my Lord Chamberlain his liberty.
- I’ll tell you what, I think it is our way,
- If we will keep in favor with the King,
- To be her men and wear her livery.
- The jealous o’erworn widow and herself,
- Since that our brother dubb’d them gentlewomen,
- Are mighty gossips in our monarchy.
Brakenbury86 - 89
- I beseech your Graces both to pardon me:
- His Majesty hath straitly given in charge
- That no man shall have private conference
- (Of what degree soever) with your brother.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester90 - 98
- Even so? And please your worship, Brakenbury,
- You may partake of any thing we say:
- We speak no treason, man. We say the King
- Is wise and virtuous, and his noble queen
- Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous;
- We say that Shore’s wife hath a pretty foot,
- A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
- And that the Queen’s kindred are made gentlefolks.
- How say you, sir? Can you deny all this?
- With this, my lord, myself have nought to do.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester100 - 102
- Naught to do with Mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,
- He that doth naught with her (excepting one)
- Were best to do it secretly alone.
- What one, my lord?
Richard, Duke of Gloucester104
- Her husband, knave. Wouldst thou betray me?
Brakenbury105 - 106
- I do beseech your Grace to pardon me, and withal
- Forbear your conference with the noble Duke.
George, Duke of Clarence107
- We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester108 - 114
- We are the Queen’s abjects, and must obey.
- Brother, farewell, I will unto the King,
- And whatsoe’er you will employ me in,
- Were it to call King Edward’s widow sister,
- I will perform it to enfranchise you.
- Mean time, this deep disgrace in brotherhood
- Touches me deeper than you can imagine.
George, Duke of Clarence115
- I know it pleaseth neither of us well.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester116 - 118
- Well, your imprisonment shall not be long,
- I will deliver you, or else lie for you.
- Mean time, have patience.
George, Duke of Clarence119
- I must perforce. Farewell.
- Exit Clarence with Brakenbury and Guard.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester120 - 124
- Go tread the path that thou shalt ne’er return:
- Simple plain Clarence, I do love thee so
- That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
- If heaven will take the present at our hands.
- But who comes here? The new-delivered Hastings?
- Enter Lord Hastings.
- Good time of day unto my gracious lord!
Richard, Duke of Gloucester126 - 128
- As much unto my good Lord Chamberlain!
- Well are you welcome to the open air.
- How hath your lordship brook’d imprisonment?
Hastings129 - 131
- With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must;
- But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks
- That were the cause of my imprisonment.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester132 - 134
- No doubt, no doubt, and so shall Clarence too,
- For they that were your enemies are his,
- And have prevail’d as much on him as you.
Hastings135 - 136
- More pity that the eagles should be mew’d,
- Whiles kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester137
- What news abroad?
Hastings138 - 140
- No news so bad abroad as this at home:
- The King is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
- And his physicians fear him mightily.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester141 - 145
- Now by Saint John, that news is bad indeed!
- O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
- And overmuch consum’d his royal person:
- ’Tis very grievous to be thought upon.
- Where is he? In his bed?
- He is.
Richard, Duke of Gloucester147 - 165
- Go you before, and I will follow you.
- Exit Hastings.
- He cannot live, I hope, and must not die
- Till George be pack’d with post-horse up to heaven.
- I’ll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence
- With lies well steel’d with weighty arguments,
- And if I fail not in my deep intent,
- Clarence hath not another day to live:
- Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,
- And leave the world for me to bustle in!
- For then I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter.
- What though I kill’d her husband and her father?
- The readiest way to make the wench amends
- Is to become her husband and her father:
- The which will I, not all so much for love
- As for another secret close intent
- By marrying her which I must reach unto.
- But yet I run before my horse to market:
- Clarence still breathes, Edward still lives and reigns;
- When they are gone, then must I count my gains.