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By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty,
of those gross taunts 1 often have endur'd.
1 had rather be a country servant-maid.
Than a great queen, with this condition-
To be so baited, scorn'd, and storm'd at :
Small joy have 1 in being England's queen.
Enter Queen Margaret, ie/jind.
Q. Mar. And lessen'd be that small, God, I be-
seech thee !
Thy honour, state, and seat, is due to me.
Glo. What ? threat you rae with telling of the
king ?
Tell him, and spare not : look, what I have said,
I will avouch, in presence of the king :
I dare adventure to be sent to the Tower.
*Tis time to speak, my pains are quite forgot.

Q. Mar. Out, devil ! I remember them too well ;
Thou kill'dst my husband Henry in the Tower,
And Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.

Glo. Ere you were queen, ay, or your husband
1 was a pack-horse in his great affairs ;
A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,
A liberal rewarder of his friends ;
I'o royalize his blood, I spilt mine own.
Q. Mar. Ay, and much better blood than his, or

Glo. In all which time, you, and your husband
Were factious for the house of Lancaster ;
And, Rivers, so were you : Was not your husband
In Margaret's battle at Saint .-Vlban's slain ?
Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
AVhat you have been ere now, and what you are;
A\'ithal, what I have been, and what I am.

Q. Mar. A murd'rous villain, and so still thou

Glo. Poor Clarence did forsake his father War-
Ay, and forswore hiinself, Which Jesu pardon !
Q. Mar. Which God revenge !
Glo. To fight on- Edward's party, for the crown ;
And, for his meed, poor lord, he is mew'd up :
I would to God, my heart were flint like Edward's,
Or Edward's soft and pitiful, like mine ;
I am too childish-foolish for this world.

Q. Mar. Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave
this world.
Thou cacodcemon ! there thy kingdom is.

Riv. My lord of Gloster, in those busy days.
Which here you urge, to prove us enemies.
We foUow'd then our lord, our lawful king ;
So should we vou, if you should be our king.

Gin. If I should be ? I had rather be a pedlar
Far be it from my heart, the thought thereof!

Q. Eliz. As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
You should enjoy, were you this country's king;
As little joy you may suppose in me.
That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.

Q. Mar. A little joy enjoys the queen thereof!
for I am she, and altogether joyless.
I can no longer hold me patient. [Advancinir.
Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
In sharing that which you have pill'd from me :
Which of you trembles not, that looks on me?
If not, that, I being queen, you bow like subjects ;
Yet that, by you depos'd, you quake like rebels ?
Ah, gentle villain, do not turn away !

Glo. Foul wrinkled witch, what mak'st thou in

my sight ?

Q. Mar. But repetition of what thou hast
marr'd ;
That will I make, before I let thee go.
Gin. Wert thou not banished on pain of death

Q. Mar. I was ; btit I do find more pain in

Than death can yield me here by my abode.
-A. husband, and a son, thou ow'st to me,
And thou, a kingdom ; all of you, allegiance:
This sorrow that I have, by right is yours ;
And all the pleasures you usurp, are mine.

Glo. The curse my noble father laid on thee,
When thou didst crown his warlike brows with

And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his

eyes j
And then, to dry them, gav'st the duke a clout,
Steep'd in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland ;
His curses, then from bitterness of soul
Denounc'd against thee, are all fallen upon thee ;
And God, not we, hath plagu'd thy bloody deed.
Q. Eliz. So just is (iod, to right the innocent.
Uast. O, 'twas the foulest deed, to slay that

And the most merciless, that e'er was heard of.
Riv. Tyrants themselves wept when it was it-
Dors. i\o man but prophecy'd revenge for it.
Buck. Northumberland, then present, wept to

see it.
Q. Mar. What ! were you snarling all, before I

Ready to catch each other by the throat,
-And turn you all jour hatred now on me ?
Did York's dread curse prevail so much with

That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death.
Their kingdom's loss, my woful banishment.
Could all but answer for that peevish brat ?
Can curses pierce the clouds, and enter heaven ?
Why, then give way, dull clouds, to my quick

curses !
Though not by war, by surfeit die your king I
As ours by murder, to make him a king !
Edward, thy son, that now is prince of Wales,
For Edward, my son, that was prince of Wales,
Die in his youth, by like untimely violence !
Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen.
Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self !
Long may'st thou live, to wail thy children's loss;
-And see another, as I see thee now,
Deck'd in thy rights, as thou art stall'd in mine.'
Long die thy happy days before thy death ;
And, after many lengthen'd hours of grief.
Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen '
Rivers, and Dorset, you were slanders by,
-And so wast thou, lord Hastings, when my son
Was stabb'd with bloody daggers : God, I pray

That none of you may live your natural age.
But by some unlook'd accident cut off!

Glo. Have done thy charm, thou hateful wither'd

Q. Mar. And leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou

Shalt hear me.
If heaven have any grievous plague in store
Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
O, let them keep it, till thy sins be ripe.
And then hurl down their indignation
On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace !
The worm of conscience still be-gnaw thy soul !
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv'st.
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends !
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
Unle;is it be while some tormenting dream
Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils !
Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog 1
Thou that wast seal'd in thy nativity
The slave of nature, and the son of hell ;
Thou slander of thy mother's heavy womb !
Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins !

Thou rag of honour ! thou detested

Glo. Margaret.
Q. Mar. Richard !

Glo. Ha ?

Q. Mar. I call thee not.

2 11


Act I.

Glo. I cry thee mercy then ; for I did think.
That thou had'st call'd me all these bitter names.

Q. Mar. Why, so I did ; but look'd for no reply.
O, let me make the period to my curse.

Glo. 'Tis done by me ; and ends in Margaret.

Q. Eliz. Thus have you breath'd your curse
against yourself.

Q. Mar. I'oor painted queen, vain flourish of my
fortune !
Wn^y strew'st thou sugar on that bottled spider,
Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about ?
Fool, fool ! thcu whet'st a knife to kill thyself.
The day will come, that thou shalt wish for me
To help thee curse this pois'nous bunch-back'd

Hatt. False-boding woman, end thy frantick
curse ;
Lest, to thy harm, thou moe our patience.

Q.Mar. Foul shame upon yon! you hare all
mov'd mine.

Riv. Were you well serv'd, you would be taught
your duty.

?. Mar. To serve me well, you all should do me
Teach me to be your queen, and you my subjects :
O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty.

Dor. Dispute not with her, she is lunatick.

Q. Mar. Peace, master marquis, yon are mala-
pert :
Yonr fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current :
O, that your youn? nobility could judge,
\Vhat 'twere to lose it, and be miserable !
They that stand high, have many blasts to shake

them ;
And, if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.

Glo. Good counsel, marry; learn it, learn it,

Dor. It touches you, my lord, as much as me.

Glo. Ay, and much more : But I was bom so
Our aiery buildeth in the cedar's top,
And dallies with the wind, and scorns the sun.

Q. Mar. And turns the sun to shade ; alas ! alas !
Witness my son, now in the shade of death :
Whose bright out-shining beams thy cloudy wrath
Hath in eternal darkness folded up.
Your aiery buildeth in our aiery's nest :
O God, that see'st it, do not suffer it ;
As it w.is won with blood, lost be it so !

Buck. Peace, peace, for shame, if not for charity.

Q. Mar. Urge neither charity nor shame to me ;
Uncharitably with me have you dealt.
And shamefully by you my hopes are butcher'd.
My charity is outrage, life my shame,
And in my shame still live my sorrow's rage !

Buck. Have done, have done.

Q. Mar. O princely Buckingham, I kiss thy hand.
In sign of league and amity with thee :
Now fair befal thee, and thy noble house !
Thy garments are not spotted with our blood,
Xor thou within the compass of my curse.

Buck. Nor no one here ; for curses never pass
The lips of those that breathe them in the air.

Q. Mar. I'll not believe but they ascend the sky.
And there awake God's gentle-sleeping peace.
O BuckinjjRam, beware of yonder dog ;
Look, when he fawns, he bites ; and, when he

His venom tooth will rankle to the death :
Have not to do with him. beware of him ;
Sin, death, and hell, have set their marks on him ;
.\nd all their ministers attend on him. [ham ?

Glo. V\ hat doth she say, my lord of Bucking-

Buck. Nothing that 1 respect, my gracious lord.

q. Miir. What, dost thou scorn me for my geutie
counsel ?
And sooth the devil that I warn thee from ?
' ', but remember this another day.
When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow ;
And say, poor Margaret was a prophetess
Live each of you the subjects to his hate,
.4nd be to yours, and all of you to God's ! [xi7.

first. My hair doth stand on end to hear her

Riv. And so doth mine ; 1 muse, why she's at

Glo. I cannot blame her, by God's holy mother ;
She hath had too much wrong, and I repent
My part thereof, that 1 have done to her.

Q. i7i2. I never did her any, to my knowledge.

Glo. Yet you have all the vantage of her wrong.
I was too hot to do some body good.
That is too cold in thinking of it now.
Marry, as for Clarence, he is well repaid;
He is frank'd up to fatting for his pains ;
God pardon them that are the cause thereof !

Jiir. A virtuous and a christian-like concltision,
To pray for them that have done scath to us.

G/(). So do I ever, being well adis'd ;
For had 1 curs'd now, I had curs'd myself. [Atide.

Enter Catesby.

Cafes. :\radam, his majesty doth call for you,
And for your grace, and you, my noble lords.

Q. Eliz. Catesby, I come : Lords, will you go
with me ?

Ric. Madam, we will attend upon your grace.

[Exeuut all bui Gloster.

Glo. I do the wrong, and fiist begin to brawl.
The secret mischiefs that I set abroach,
I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
Clarence, whom 1, indeed, have laid in darkness,
I do beweep to many simple gulls ;
Namely, to Stanley, Hastings, Buckingham ;
And tell them 'tis the queen and her allies.
That stir the king against the duke ray brother.
Now they believe it ; and withal whet me
To he reveng'd on llivers, Vaughan, Grey :
But then 1 sigh, and, with a piece of scripture
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, s"tol'n forth of holy writ ;
And seem a saint, when most 1 play the devil.

Enter trvo ^lurderers.
But soft, here come my executioners.
How now, my hardy, stout resolved mates .>
Are you now going to despatch this thing ?

1 Muril. We are, my lord ; and come to have the
That we may be admitted where he is.
Clo. Well thought upon, 1 have it here about
me : [Givet the warrant.

^^'hen you have done, repair to Crosby-place.
But, .sirs, be sudden in the execution.
Withal obdurate, do not hear him plead ;
For Clarence is well spoken, and, perhaps,
May move your hearts to pity, if you mark him.
Murd. Tut, tut, my lord, we will not stand to

Talkers are no good doers ; be assur'd,
We go to use our hands, an* not our tongues.
Glo. Your eyes drop mill-stones, when fools' eyes
drop tears :
I like you, lads ; about your business straight;
Go, go, despatch.
1 Murd. M'e will, my noble lord.


SCENE lY The tame. A Room in the Tower.

Enter Clarence and Brakenbury.
Brak. Why looks your grace so heavily to-day ?
Clnr. O, I have pass'd a miserable night.
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights.
That, as 1 am a christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night.
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days ;
So full of dismal terror was the time.
Drak. What was vour dream, my lord ? I pray

vou, tell me.'
C!ar. jlethought, that I had broken from the

Act 1.



And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy ;
And, in my company, my brother Gloster :
Who from ray cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches; thence we look'd toward Eng-
And cited up a thousand heavy times.
During the wars of York and Lancaster
That had befall'n us. As we pac'd along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
jMethought, that (Hosier stumbled ; and, in falling,
Struck rae, that thought to stay him, over-board,
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
() Lord ! methought, what pain it was to drown !
What dreadful noise of water in mine ears !
What sights of ugly death within mine eyes !
Methought, I saw a thousand fearful wrecks ;
A thousand men, that fishes gnaw'd upon ;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl.
Inestimable .stones, unvalued jewels.
All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea.
Some lay in dend men's skulls ; and, in those holes
Where eves did once inhabit, there were crept
(As 'twere in scorn of eyes,) reflecting gems.
That woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep.
And mock'd the dead bones that lav scatter'd by.

Brak. Had you such leisure in the time of death.
To gaze upon these secrets of the deep ?

Clar. Methought, I had ; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost : but still the envious flood
Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth
To seek the empty, vast, and wand'ring air ;
But smother'd it within my panting biilk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.

Brak. Awak'd you not with this sore agony ?

Clar. (), no, my dream was lengthened after life ;
O, then began the tempest to my soul !
I pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood,
With that grim ferryman which poets write of.
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger soul.
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick ;
Who cry'd aloud, JT/iai 3court:efor perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence f
And so he vanish'd : Then came wand'ring by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood ; and he shriek'd out aloud,
Clarence ia come, false,, fleetin/;, perjur'd Clarence,
That stahb'd me in thefiHd hy Tew/csbmy ;_
Seize on him, furies, take him to your torments .'
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends
Environ'd me, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries, that, with the very noise,
I trembling wak'd, and, for a season after.
Could not believe but that I was in hell ;
Such terrible impression made my dream.

Brak. No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you ;

I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.

Clar. O, Brakenbury, I have done these things,

That now give evidence against my soul,
For Edward's sake; and, see, how he requites
me ! I

II God ! if my deep prayers cannot appease thee.
But thou wilt be aveng'd on my misdeeds.

Yet execute thy wrath on me alone :

I pray thee, gentle keeper, stay by me ;
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.

Brak. I will, my lord; God give your grace
good rest !

[Clarence reposes himself on a chair.
Sorrow breaks seasons, and reposing hours,
Makes the night morning, and the noon-tide night.
Princes have but their titles for their glories.
An outward honour for an inward toil ;
And, for unfelt imaginations, '

They often feel a world of restless cares :
So that, between their titles, and low name.
There's nothing differs but the outward fame.

Enter the two Murderers.
1 .lliird. Ho ! who's here ?

Brak. What would'st thou, fellow ? and how
cam'st thou hither ?

1 Murd. I would speak with Clarence, and I
came hither on my legs.

Brak. What, so brief?

2 Murd. O, sir, 'tis better to be brief t an te-

dious :
Let him see our commission ; talk no more.

\^A paper is delivered to Brakenbury, rvho
rea-'s it.
Brak. I am in this, commanded to deliver
The noble duke of Clarence to your hands :
I will not reason what is meant hereby.
Because I will be guiltless of the meaning.
Here are the keys ; there sits the duke asleep :
I'll to the king ; and signify to him.
That thus I have resign'd to you my charge.

1 Murd. You may, sir ; 'tis a point of wisdom :
Fare you well. [Exit Brakenbury

2 Murd. What, shall we stab him as he sleeps ?

1 Murd. No; he'll say, 'twas done cowardly,
when he wakes.

2 Murd. When he wakes ! why, fool, he shall
never wake until the great judgment day.

1 Murd. Why, then he'il say, we stabb'd him

2 Murd. The urging of that word, judgment,
hath bred a kind of remorse in me.

1 Murd. What, art thou afraid ?

2 Murd. Not to kill him, having a warrant for
it ; but to be damn'd for killing him, from the
which no warrant can defend me.

1 Murd, I thought, thou had'st been resolute.

2 Murd. So I am, to let him live.

1 Murd. I'll back to the duke of Gloster, and tell
him so.

2 Mnrd. Nay, I pr'ythee, stay a little : I liope,
this holy humour of mine will change ; it was wont
to hold me but while one would tell twenty.

1 Murd. How dost thou feel thyself now ?

2 Murd. 'Faith, some certain dregs of conscience
are yet within me.

1 Murd. Remember our reward, when the deed's

2 Murd. Come, he dies ; I had forgot the re-

1 Murd. Where's thy conscience now ?

2 Murd. In the duke of Gloster's purse.

1 Murd. So, when he opens his purse to give us
our reward, thy conscience flies out.

2 Murd. 'Tis no matter ; let it go ; there's few,
or none, will entertain it.

1 Murd. What, if it come to thee again ?

2 Murd. I'll not meddle with it, it is a dangerous ^
thing, it makes a man a coward ; a man cannot |
steal, but it accuseth him ; a man cannot swear, '
but it checks him ; a man cannot lie with his
neighbour's wife, but it detects him : 'Tis a blu.sh- ',
ing shame-fared spirit, that mutinies in a man's
bosom ; it fills one full of obstacles : it made me
once restore a purse of gold, that by chance I
found ; it beggars any man that keeps it : it is turned
out of all towns and cities for a dangerous thing ;
and every man, that means to live well, endeavours

to trust to himself, and live without it.

Murd. 'Zounds, it is even now at my elbow,
persuading me not to kill the duke.

2 Murd. Take the devil in thy mind, and be-
ieve him not : he would insinuate with thee, but
to make thee sigh.

Murd. I am strong-fram'd, he cannot prevail
with me.

2 Murd. Spoke like a tall fellow, that respects
his reputation. Come, shall we fall to work ?

1 Murd. Take him over the costard with the
hilts of thy sword, and then throw him into the
malmsey-butt, in the next room.

2 Murd. O excellent device ! and make a sop of

1 Murd. Soft ! he wakes.

2 Murd. Strike.

1 Murd. No, we'll reason with him.
2 H 2



Act I.

Clar. Where art thou, keeper ? giTe me a cup of i

1 ilurd. Vou shall have wim tnough, mj lord,

Clar. In God's name, what art thou ?
1 ilurd. A man, as you are.
Clar. But not, as 1 am, roval.
1 Murd. Sot yu, as we are, loval.
Clar. Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are

1 Murd. 3Wy voice is now the king's, my looks

mine own.
Ctar. How darkly, and how deadly do&t thou
speak !
Your eves do menace me : Why look you pale ?
Who sent you hither ? Wherefore do you come ?

Both Mu'rd. To, to, to,

Clar. To murder me ?
Both Murd. .\v,ay.

Clar. Vou scarcely have the hearts to tell me so.
And therefore cannot have the hearts to do it.
Wherein, my friends, have I offended you ?

1 ilurd. Offended ui you have not, but the king.
Clar. I shall be reconcil'd to him again.

2 ilurd. Never, my lord ; therefore, prepare to

Clar. Are you call'd forth from out a world of

To slay the innocent ? \\'hat is my ofTence ?
WTiere is the evidence that doth accuse me .'
vVhat lawful quest have given their verdict up
L'nto the frowning judge ? or who pronounc'd
The bitter sentence of poor lUarence' death ?
Before 1 be convict by course of law.
To threaten me with death, is most unlawful.
I charge you, as you hope for any goodness.
By Christ's dear blood shed for our grievous sins.
That you depart, and lay no hands on me ;
The deed you underuke is damnable.

1 .Uurt/.'W hat we will do, we do upon command.
S Murd. .\nd he, that hath commanded, is our

Clar. Erroneous vassal ! the great King of kings
Hath in the table of his law commanded,
That thou shalt do no murder ; Wilt thou then
Spurn at his edict, and fulfil a man's ?
Take heed ; for he holds vengeance in his hand.
To hurl upon their heads that break his law.

2 Murd. .And that same vengeance doth he hurl

on thee.
For false forswearing, and for murder too :
Thou didst ieceie the sacrament to fight
In quarrel of the house of l.anczister.

1 Murd. .And, like a traitor to the name of God,
Didst break that vow ; and, with thy treacherous

Unrip'dst the bowels of thy sovereign's son.

2 Murd. Whom thou wast sworn to cherish and


1 Murd. How canst thou urge God's dreadful law

to us, \

When thou hast broke it in such dear degree ? |

Clar. .Alas ! for whose sake did ! that ill deed .' :
For Edward, for my brother, for his sake : ,

He sends you not to murder me for this ; i

For in th it sin he is as deep sis I.
If (iod will be avenged for the deed, j

O, know you, that he doth it publickly ; |

Take not the quarrel from his powerful arm ;
He needs no indirect nor lawless course.
To cut off those that have ofTended him.

I ilurd. Who made thee then a bloody minister.
When gallant-springing, brave Flantagenet,
That princelv novice, was struck dead by thee ? ]

Clar. My brother's love, the devil, and my rage,

1 Murd. Thy brother's love, our duty, and thy
ProToke us hither now to slaughter thee.

Clar. If vou do love my brother, hate not me ;
I am his brother, and I love him well.
If you are hir'd for meed, go back agam.
And I will send vou to my brother Gloster ;

Who shall reward you better for my life.
Than Edward will fot tidings of my death

2 Murd. Vou are deceiv'd, your brother Gloster
hates you.

Clar. (), no ; he loves me, and he holds me dear :
Go you to him from me.

Both Murd. Ay, so we will.

Clar. Tell him, when th .i our princely father
Bless'd his three sons with his victorious arm.
And charg'd us from his soul to love each other.
He little thought of this divided frienilship :
Bid Gloster thmk on this, and he will weep.

i Murd. Ay, mill-stones; as he lesaon'd us t

Clar. O, do not slander him, for he is kind.

1 Murd. kight, as snow in harvest Come, you
deceive yourself:
'Tis he that sends us to destroy you here.

Clur. It cannot be ; for he bewept my fortune.
And hugg'd me in his arms, and swore, with sobs
That he would labour my delivery.

1 Murd. \\ hy, so he doth, when he delivers you
From this earth's thraldom to the joys of heaven.

2 Murd. .Make peace with God, for you must die,

TOj lord.

Clar. lidst thou that holy feeling in thy soul.
To counsel me to make my peace with God,
-And art thou yet to thy own soul so blind.
That thou wiU war with God, by murdering me -'
Ah, sirs, consider, he, that set you on
To do this deed, will hate you for the deed.

2 Mur. W hat shall we do ?

Clar. Kelent, and save your souls.

1 Murd. Relent I 'tis cowardly, and womanish.
Clar. Not to relent, is beastly, savage, devilish.

Which of you, if you were a prince's son.

Being pent from liberty, as I am now,

If two such murderers as yourselves came to you,

A\'ould not entreat for life ?

yij friend, I spy some pity in thy looks;

O, if thine eye be not a Hatterer,

Come thou on my side, and entreat for me,

-As you would beg, were you in my distress.

A begging prince what beggar pities not ?

2 iiurd. l.ook behind vou, my lord.

i Murd. Take that, and that ; if all this will not
do, [Siubs hnii.

I'll drowo jou in the malmsey-butt within.

[Exit with the body.
S Murd. A bloody deed, and desperately de-
spatch'd !
How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands
Of this most grievous guilty murder done !
Re-enter first Murderer.

1 Murd. How now ? what mean'st thou, that thou

help'st me not ?
By heaven, the duke shall know how slack jou
have been.

2 Murd. I would he knew, that I had sav'd h

brother !
Take thou the fee, and tell him what I say ;
For I repent me that the duke is slain. [Ent.

Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe plays of William Shakespeare → online text (page 106 of 190)