SCENE I. London. Before the Tower
[Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS of YORK, and
MARQUIS of DORSET; on the other, ANNE DUCHESS of GLOSTER,
leading LADY MARGARET PLANTAGENET, CLARENCE's young daughter.]
Who meets us here?--my niece Plantagenet,
Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloster?
Now, for my life, she's wandering to the Tower,
On pure heart's love, to greet the tender princes.--
Daughter, well met.
God give your graces both
A happy and a joyful time of day!
As much to you, good sister! Whither away?
No farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,
Upon the like devotion as yourselves,
To gratulate the gentle princes there.
Kind sister, thanks; we'll enter all together:--
And in good time, here the lieutenant comes.
Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,
How doth the prince, and my young son of York?
Right well, dear madam. By your patience,
I may not suffer you to visit them.
The king hath strictly charg'd the contrary.
The king! who's that?
I mean the lord protector.
The Lord protect him from that kingly title!
Hath he set bounds between their love and me?
I am their mother; who shall bar me from them?
I am their father's mother; I will see them.
Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother:
Then bring me to their sights; I'll bear thy blame,
And take thy office from thee on my peril.
No, madam, no,--I may not leave it so:
I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.
Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence,
And I'll salute your grace of York as mother
And reverend looker-on of two fair queens.--
[To the DUCHESS OF GLOSTER.]
Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,
There to be crowned Richard's royal queen.
Ah, cut my lace asunder,
That my pent heart may have some scope to beat,
Or else I swoon with this dead-killing news!
Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!
Be of good cheer: mother, how fares your grace?
O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee gone!
Death and destruction dog thee at thy heels;
Thy mother's name is ominous to children.
If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,
And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell:
Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughter-house,
Lest thou increase the number of the dead;
And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,
Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.
Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.--
Take all the swift advantage of the hours;
You shall have letters from me to my son
In your behalf, to meet you on the way:
Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.
O ill-dispersing wind of misery!--
O my accursed womb, the bed of death!
A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world,
Whose unavoided eye is murderous.
Come, madam, come; I in all haste was sent.
And I with all unwillingness will go.--
O, would to God that the inclusive verge
Of golden metal that must round my brow
Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain !
Anointed let me be with deadly venom,
And die ere men can say God save the queen!
Go, go, poor soul; I envy not thy glory;
To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm.
No, why?--When he that is my husband now
Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse;
When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his hands
Which issued from my other angel husband,
And that dear saint which then I weeping follow'd;
O, when, I say, I look'd on Richard's face,
This was my wish,--"Be thou," quoth I, "accurs'd
For making me, so young, so old a widow!
And when thou wedd'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;
And be thy wife,--if any be so mad,--
More miserable by the life of thee
Than thou hast made me by my dear lord's death!"
Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,
Within so small a time, my woman's heart
Grossly grew captive to his honey words,
And prov'd the subject of mine own soul's curse,--
Which hitherto hath held my eyes from rest;
For never yet one hour in his bed
Did I enjoy the golden dew of sleep,
But with his timorous dreams was still awak'd.
Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick;
And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.
Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy complaining.
No more than with my soul I mourn for yours.
Farewell, thou woeful welcomer of glory!
Adieu, poor soul, that tak'st thy leave of it!
Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!--
Go thou to Richard, and good angels tend thee!--
[To QUEEN ELIZABETH.]
Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee!
I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me!
Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen,
And each hour's joy wreck'd with a week of teen.
Stay yet, look back with me unto the Tower.--
Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes
Whom envy hath immur'd within your walls!
Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!
Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow
For tender princes, use my babies well!
So foolish sorrows bids your stones farewell.
SCENE II. London. A Room of State in the Palace.
[Flourish of trumpets. RICHARD, as King, upon his throne;
BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, RATCLIFF, LOVEL, a Page, and others.]
Stand all apart--Cousin of Buckingham,--
My gracious sovereign?
Give me thy hand. Thus high, by thy advice
And thy assistance, is King Richard seated:--
But shall we wear these glories for a day?
Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?
Still live they, and for ever let them last!
Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,
To try if thou be current gold indeed:--
Young Edward lives;--think now what I would speak.
Say on, my loving lord.
Why, Buckingham, I say I would be king.
Why, so you are, my thrice-renowned lord.
Ha! am I king? 'tis so: but Edward lives.
True, noble prince.
O bitter consequence,
That Edward still should live,--true, noble Prince!--
Cousin, thou wast not wont to be so dull:--
Shall I be plain?--I wish the bastards dead;
And I would have it suddenly perform'd.
What say'st thou now? speak suddenly, be brief.
Your grace may do your pleasure.
Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness freezes:
Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
Give me some little breath, some pause, dear lord,
Before I positively speak in this:
I will resolve your grace immediately.
[Aside.] The king is angry: see, he gnaws his lip.
I will converse with iron-witted fools
[Descends from his throne.]
And unrespective boys; none are for me
That look into me with considerate eyes:
High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.
Know'st thou not any whom corrupting gold
Will tempt unto a close exploit of death?
I know a discontented gentleman
Whose humble means match not his haughty spirit:
Gold were as good as twenty orators,
And will, no doubt, tempt him to anything.
What is his name?
His name, my lord, is Tyrrel.
I partly know the man: go, call him hither, boy.
The deep-revolving witty Buckingham
No more shall be the neighbour to my counsels:
Hath he so long held out with me untir'd,
And stops he now for breath?--well, be it so.
How now, Lord Stanley! what's the news?
Know, my loving lord,
The Marquis Dorset, as I hear, is fled
To Richmond, in the parts where he abides.
Come hither, Catesby: rumour it abroad
That Anne, my wife, is very grievous sick;
I will take order for her keeping close:
Inquire me out some mean poor gentleman,
Whom I will marry straight to Clarence' daughter;--
The boy is foolish, and I fear not him.--
Look how thou dream'st!--I say again, give out
That Anne, my queen, is sick and like to die:
About it; for it stands me much upon,
To stop all hopes whose growth may damage me.
I must be married to my brother's daughter,
Or else my kingdom stands on brittle glass:--
Murder her brothers, and then marry her!
Uncertain way of gain! But I am in
So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin:
Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.
[Re-enter PAGE, with TYRREL.]
Is thy name Tyrrel?
James Tyrrel, and your most obedient subject.
Art thou, indeed?
Prove me, my gracious lord.
Dar'st thou resolve to kill a friend of mine?
Please you. But I had rather kill two enemies.
Why, then thou hast it: two deep enemies,
Foes to my rest, and my sweet sleep's disturbers,
Are they that I would have thee deal upon:--
Tyrell, I mean those bastards in the Tower.
Let me have open means to come to them,
And soon I'll rid you from the fear of them.
Thou sing'st sweet music. Hark, come hither, Tyrrel:
Go, by this token:--rise, and lend thine ear:
[Whispers.] There is no more but so:--say it is done,
And I will love thee, and prefer thee for it.
I will despatch it straight.
My lord, I have consider'd in my mind
The late request that you did sound me in.
Well, let that rest. Dorset is fled to Richmond.
I hear the news, my lord.
Stanley, he is your wife's son:--well, look to it.
My lord, I claim the gift, my due by promise,
For which your honour and your faith is pawn'd:
The earldom of Hereford, and the movables
Which you have promised I shall possess.
Stanley, look to your wife: if she convey
Letters to Richmond, you shall answer it.
What says your highness to my just request?
I do remember me:--Henry the Sixth
Did prophesy that Richmond should be king,
When Richmond was a little peevish boy.
How chance the prophet could not at that time
Have told me, I being by, that I should kill him?
My lord, your promise for the earldom,--
Richmond!--When last I was at Exeter,
The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle
And call'd it Rougemount; at which name I started,
Because a bard of Ireland told me once
I should not live long after I saw Richmond.
Ay, what's o'clock?
I am thus bold to put your grace in mind
Of what you promis'd me.
Well, but what's o'clock?
Upon the stroke of ten.
Well, let it strike.
Why let it strike?
Because that, like a Jack, thou keep'st the stroke
Betwixt thy begging and my meditation.
I am not in the giving vein to-day.
Why then, resolve me whether you will or no.
Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.
[Exeunt KING RICHARD and Train.]
And is it thus? repays he my deep service
With such contempt? made I him king for this?
O, let me think on Hastings, and be gone
To Brecknock while my fearful head is on!
SCENE III. London. Another Room in the Palace.
The tyrannous and bloody act is done,--
The most arch deed of piteous massacre
That ever yet this land was guilty of.
Dighton and Forrest, who I did suborn
To do this piece of ruthless butchery,
Albeit they were flesh'd villains, bloody dogs,
Melted with tenderness and mild compassion,
Wept like two children in their deaths' sad story.
"O, thus," quoth Dighton, "lay the gentle babes,"--
"Thus, thus," quoth Forrest, "girdling one another
Within their alabaster innocent arms:
Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
And in their summer beauty kiss'd each other.
A book of prayers on their pillow lay;
Which once," quoth Forrest, "almost chang'd my mind;
But, O, the devil,"--there the villain stopp'd;
When Dighton thus told on:--"We smothered
The most replenished sweet work of nature
That from the prime creation e'er she framed."--
Hence both are gone; with conscience and remorse
They could not speak; and so I left them both,
To bear this tidings to the bloody king:--
And here he comes:--
[Enter KING RICHARD.]
All health, my sovereign lord!
Kind Tyrrel, am I happy in thy news?
If to have done the thing you gave in charge
Beget your happiness, be happy then,
For it is done.
But didst thou see them dead?
I did, my lord.
And buried, gentle Tyrrel?
The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them;
But where, to say the truth, I do not know.
Come to me, Tyrrel, soon, at after supper,
When thou shalt tell the process of their death.
Meantime, but think how I may do thee good,
And be inheritor of thy desire.
Farewell till then.
I humbly take my leave.
The son of Clarence have I pent up close;
His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage;
The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom,
And Anne my wife hath bid the world good-night.
Now, for I know the Britagne Richmond aims
At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter,
And by that knot looks proudly on the crown,
To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.
Good or bad news, that thou com'st in so bluntly?
Bad news, my lord: Morton is fled to Richmond;
And Buckingham, back'd with the hardy Welshmen,
Is in the field, and still his power increaseth.
Ely with Richmond troubles me more near
Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength.
Come,--I have learn'd that fearful commenting
Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
Delay leads impotent and snail-pac'd beggary:
Then fiery expedition be my wing,
Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king!
Go, muster men: my counsel is my shield;
We must be brief when traitors brave the field.
SCENE IV. London. Before the Palace.
[Enter QUEEN MARGARET.]
So, now prosperity begins to mellow,
And drop into the rotten mouth of death.
Here in these confines slily have I lurk'd
To watch the waning of mine enemies.
A dire induction am I witness to,
And will to France; hoping the consequence
Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical.--
Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret: who comes here?
[Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and the DUCHESS OF YORK.]
Ah, my poor princes! ah, my tender babes!
My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets!
If yet your gentle souls fly in the air
And be not fix'd in doom perpetual,
Hover about me with your airy wings
And hear your mother's lamentation!
Hover about her; say that right for right
Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.
So many miseries have craz'd my voice
That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute.--
Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet,
Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs,
And throw them in the entrails of the wolf?
When didst Thou sleep when such a deed was done?
When holy Harry died, and my sweet son.
Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal living ghost,
Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd,
Brief abstract and record of tedious days,
Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.
Ah, that thou wouldst as soon afford a grave
As thou canst yield a melancholy seat!
Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here.
Ah, who hath any cause to mourn but we?
[Sitting down by her.]
If ancient sorrow be most reverent,
Give mine the benefit of seniory,
And let my griefs frown on the upper hand.
If sorrow can admit society,
[Sitting down with them.]
Tell o'er your woes again by viewing mine:--
I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
I had a Henry, till a Richard kill'd him:
Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard kill'd him.
I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
I had a Rutland too, thou holp'st to kill him.
Thou hadst a Clarence too, and Richard kill'd him.
From forth the kennel of thy womb hath crept
A hell-hound that doth hunt us all to death:
That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes,
To worry lambs and lap their gentle blood;
That foul defacer of God's handiwork;
That excellent grand tyrant of the earth,
That reigns in galled eyes of weeping souls,--
Thy womb let loose to chase us to our graves.--
O upright, just, and true-disposing God,
How do I thank Thee that this carnal cur
Preys on the issue of his mother's body,
And makes her pew-fellow with others' moan!
O Harry's wife, triumph not in my woes!
God witness with me, I have wept for thine.
Bear with me; I am hungry for revenge,
And now I cloy me with beholding it.
Thy Edward he is dead, that kill'd my Edward;
The other Edward dead to quit my Edward;
Young York he is but boot, because both they
Match not the high perfection of my loss:
Thy Clarence he is dead that stabb'd my Edward;
And the beholders of this frantic play,
The adulterate Hastings, Rivers, Vaughan, Grey,
Untimely smother'd in their dusky graves.
Richard yet lives, hell's black intelligencer;
Only reserv'd their factor to buy souls,
And send them thither: but at hand, at hand,
Ensues his piteous and unpitied end:
Earth gapes, hell burns, fiends roar, saints pray,
To have him suddenly convey'd from hence.--
Cancel his bond of life, dear God, I pray,
That I may live to say "The dog is dead."
O, thou didst prophesy the time would come
That I should wish for thee to help me curse
That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back'd toad!
I call'd thee then, vain flourish of my fortune;
I call'd thee then, poor shadow, painted queen;
The presentation of but what I was,
The flattering index of a direful pageant;
One heav'd a-high to be hurl'd down below,
A mother only mock'd with two fair babes;
A dream of what thou wast; a garish flag,
To be the aim of every dangerous shot;
A sign of dignity, a breath, a bubble;
A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
Where is thy husband now? where be thy brothers?
Where be thy two sons? wherein dost thou joy?
Who sues, and kneels, and says, "God save the queen?"
Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee?
Where be the thronging troops that follow'd thee?
Decline all this, and see what now thou art:
For happy wife, a most distressed widow;
For joyful mother, one that wails the name;
For one being su'd to, one that humbly sues;
For queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care;
For she that scorn'd at me, now scorn'd of me;
For she being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
For she commanding all, obey'd of none.
Thus hath the course of justice wheel'd about
And left thee but a very prey to time;
Having no more but thought of what thou wast,
To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow?
Now thy proud neck bears half my burden'd yoke;
From which even here I slip my weary head,
And leave the burden of it all on thee.
Farewell, York's wife, and queen of sad mischance:--
These English woes shall make me smile in France.
O thou well skill'd in curses, stay awhile,
And teach me how to curse mine enemies!
Forbear to sleep the night, and fast the day;
Compare dead happiness with living woe;
Think that thy babes were sweeter than they were,
And he that slew them fouler than he is;
Bettering thy loss makes the bad-causer worse;
Revolving this will teach thee how to curse.
My words are dull; O, quicken them with thine!
Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine.
Why should calamity be full of words?
Windy attorneys to their client woes,
Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
Poor breathing orators of miseries!
Let them have scope: though what they do impart
Help nothing else, yet do they ease the heart.
If so, then be not tongue-tied: go with me,
And in the breath of bitter words let's smother
My damned son, that thy two sweet sons smother'd.
I hear his drum:--be copious in exclaims.
[Enter KING RICHARD and his Train, marching.]
Who intercepts me in my expedition?
O, she that might have intercepted thee,
By strangling thee in her accursed womb,
From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done!
Hidest thou that forehead with a golden crown,
Where should be branded, if that right were right,
The slaughter of the prince that ow'd that crown,
And the dire death of my poor sons and brothers?
Tell me, thou villain-slave, where are my children?
Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother Clarence?
And little Ned Plantagenet, his son?
Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey?
Where is kind Hastings?
A flourish, trumpets! strike alarum, drums!
Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women
Rail on the Lord's anointed: strike, I say!
Either be patient and entreat me fair,
Or with the clamorous report of war
Thus will I drown your exclamations.
Art thou my son?
Ay, I thank God, my father, and yourself.
Then patiently hear my impatience.
Madam, I have a touch of your condition
That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
O, let me speak!
Do, then; but I'll not hear.
I will be mild and gentle in my words.
And brief, good mother; for I am in haste.
Art thou so hasty? I have stay'd for thee,
God knows, in torment and in agony.
And came I not at last to comfort you?
No, by the holy rood, thou know'st it well
Thou cam'st on earth to make the earth my hell.
A grievous burden was thy birth to me;
Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy;
Thy school-days frightful, desperate, wild, and furious;
Thy prime of manhood daring, bold, and venturous;
Thy age confirm'd, proud, subtle, sly, and bloody,
More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred:
What comfortable hour canst thou name
That ever grac'd me with thy company?
Faith, none but Humphrey Hour, that call'd your grace
To breakfast once forth of my company.
If I be so disgracious in your eye,
Let me march on and not offend you, madam.--
Strike up the drum.
I pr'ythee hear me speak.
You speak too bitterly.
Hear me a word;
For I shall never speak to thee again.
Either thou wilt die by God's just ordinance
Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror;
Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
And never more behold thy face again.
Therefore take with thee my most grievous curse;
Which in the day of battle tire thee more
Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
My prayers on the adverse party fight;
And there the little souls of Edward's children
Whisper the spirits of thine enemies,
And promise them success and victory.
Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end:
Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.
Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse
Abides in me; I say amen to her.
Stay, madam, I must talk a word with you.
I have no more sons of the royal blood
For thee to slaughter: for my daughters, Richard,--
They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens;
And therefore level not to hit their lives.
You have a daughter call'd Elizabeth.
Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.
And must she die for this? O, let her live,
And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty:
Slander myself as false to Edward's bed;
Throw over her the veil of infamy:
So she may live unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.
Wrong not her birth; she is of royal blood.
To save her life I'll say she is not so.
Her life is safest only in her birth.
And only in that safety died her brothers.
Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.
No, to their lives bad friends were contrary.
All unavoided is the doom of destiny.
True, when avoided grace makes destiny:
My babes were destined to a fairer death,
If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.
You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.
Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen'd
Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
Whose hand soever lanc'd their tender hearts,
Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:
No doubt the murderous knife was dull and blunt
Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
Till that my nails were anchor'd in thine eyes;
And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.
Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
And dangerous success of bloody wars,
As I intend more good to you and yours
Than ever you or yours by me were harm'd!
What good is cover'd with the face of heaven,
To be discover'd, that can do me good?
Advancement of your children, gentle lady.
Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads?
Unto the dignity and height of honour,
The high imperial type of this earth's glory.
Flatter my sorrows with report of it;
Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour,
Canst thou demise to any child of mine?
Even all I have; ay, and myself and all
Will I withal endow a child of thine;
So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs
Which thou supposest I have done to thee.
Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness
Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.
Then know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.
My daughter's mother thinks it with her soul.
What do you think?
That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul:
So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers;
And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.
Be not so hasty to confound my meaning:
I mean that with my soul I love thy daughter,
And do intend to make her Queen of England.
Well, then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?
Even he that makes her queen: who else should be?
I, even I: what think you of it, madam?
How canst thou woo her?
That would I learn of you,
As one being best acquainted with her humour.
And wilt thou learn of me?
Madam, with all my heart.
Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
A pair of bleeding hearts; thereon engrave
"Edward" and "York." Then haply will she weep:
Therefore present to her,--as sometimes Margaret
Did to thy father, steep'd in Rutland's blood,--
A handkerchief; which, say to her, did drain
The purple sap from her sweet brothers' bodies,
And bid her wipe her weeping eyes withal.
If this inducement move her not to love,
Send her a letter of thy noble deeds;
Tell her thou mad'st away her uncle Clarence,
Her uncle Rivers; ay, and for her sake
Mad'st quick conveyance with her good aunt Anne.
You mock me, madam; this is not the way
To win your daughter.
There is no other way;
Unless thou couldst put on some other shape,
And not be Richard that hath done all this.
Say that I did all this for love of her?
Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.
Look, what is done cannot be now amended:
Men shall deal unadvisedly sometimes,
Which after-hours gives leisure to repent.
If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
To make amends I'll give it to your daughter.
If I have kill'd the issue of your womb,
To quicken your increase I will beget
Mine issue of your blood upon your daughter.
A grandam's name is little less in love
Than is the doating title of a mother;
They are as children but one step below,
Even of your mettle, of your very blood;
Of all one pain,--save for a night of groans
Endur'd of her, for whom you bid like sorrow.
Your children were vexation to your youth;
But mine shall be a comfort to your age.
The loss you have is but a son being king,
And by that loss your daughter is made queen.
I cannot make you what amends I would,
Therefore accept such kindness as I can.
Dorset your son, that with a fearful soul
Leads discontented steps in foreign soil,
This fair alliance quickly shall call home
To high promotions and great dignity:
The king, that calls your beauteous daughter wife,
Familiarly shall call thy Dorset brother;
Again shall you be mother to a king,
And all the ruins of distressful times
Repair'd with double riches of content.
What! we have many goodly days to see:
The liquid drops of tears that you have shed
Shall come again, transform'd to orient pearl,
Advantaging their loan with interest
Of ten times double gain of happiness.
Go, then, my mother, to thy daughter go;
Make bold her bashful years with your experience;
Prepare her ears to hear a wooer's tale:
Put in her tender heart the aspiring flame
Of golden sovereignty; acquaint the princess
With the sweet silent hours of marriage joys:
And when this arm of mine hath chastised
The petty rebel, dull-brain'd Buckingham,
Bound with triumphant garlands will I come,
And lead thy daughter to a conqueror's bed;
To whom I will retail my conquest won,
And she shall be sole victoress, Caesar's Caesar.
What were I best to say? her father's brother
Would be her lord? or shall I say her uncle?
Or he that slew her brothers and her uncles?
Under what title shall I woo for thee,
That God, the law, my honour, and her love
Can make seem pleasing to her tender years?
Infer fair England's peace by this alliance.
Which she shall purchase with still-lasting war.
Tell her the king, that may command, entreats.
That at her hands which the king's King forbids.
Say she shall be a high and mighty queen.
To wail the title, as her mother doth.
Say I will love her everlastingly.
But how long shall that title, "ever," last?
Sweetly in force unto her fair life's end.
But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?
As long as heaven and nature lengthens it.
As long as hell and Richard likes of it.
Say I, her sovereign, am her subject low.
But she, your subject, loathes such sovereignty.
Be eloquent in my behalf to her.
An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.
Then plainly to her tell my loving tale.
Plain and not honest is too harsh a style.
Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.
O, no, my reasons are too deep and dead;--
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their graves.
Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.
Harp on it still shall I till heartstrings break.
Now, by my George, my garter, and my crown,--
Profan'd, dishonour'd, and the third usurp'd.
By nothing; for this is no oath:
Thy George, profan'd, hath lost his lordly honour;
Thy garter, blemish'd, pawn'd his knightly virtue;
Thy crown, usurp'd, disgrac'd his kingly glory.
If something thou wouldst swear to be believ'd,
Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.
Now, by the world,--
'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.
My father's death,--
Thy life hath that dishonour'd.
Then, by myself,--
Thy self is self-misus'd.
Why, then, by God,--
God's wrong is most of all.
If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
The unity the king thy brother made
Had not been broken, nor my brother slain:
If thou hadst fear'd to break an oath by Him,
The imperial metal, circling now thy head,
Had grac'd the tender temples of my child;
And both the princes had been breathing here,
Which now, two tender bedfellows for dust,
Thy broken faith hath made a prey for worms.
What canst thou swear by now?
The time to come.
That thou hast wronged in the time o'erpast;
For I myself have many tears to wash
Hereafter time, for time past wronged by thee.
The children live whose fathers thou hast slaughter'd,
Ungovern'd youth, to wail it in their age;
The parents live whose children thou hast butcher'd,
Old barren plants, to wail it with their age.
Swear not by time to come: for that thou hast
Misus'd ere used, by times ill-us'd o'erpast.
As I intend to prosper and repent!
So thrive I in my dangerous attempt
Of hostile arms! myself myself confound!
Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours!
Day, yield me not thy light; nor, night, thy rest!
Be opposite all planets of good luck
To my proceeding!--if, with pure heart's love,
Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter!
In her consists my happiness and thine;
Without her, follows to myself and thee,
Herself, the land, and many a Christian soul,
Death, desolation, ruin, and decay:
It cannot be avoided but by this;
It will not be avoided but by this.
Therefore, dear mother,--I must call you so,--
Be the attorney of my love to her:
Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
Not my deserts, but what I will deserve:
Urge the necessity and state of times,
And be not peevish found in great designs.
Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
Ay, if the devil tempt you to do good.
Shall I forget myself to be myself?
Ay, if your self's remembrance wrong yourself.
Yet thou didst kill my children.
But in your daughter's womb I bury them:
Where, in that nest of spicery, they shall breed
Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.
Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?
And be a happy mother by the deed.
I go.--Write to me very shortly,
And you shall understand from me her mind.
Bear her my true love's kiss; and so, farewell.
[Kissing her. Exit QUEEN ELIZABETH.]
Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!
[Enter RATCLIFF; CATESBY following.]
How now! what news?
Most mighty sovereign, on the western coast
Rideth a puissant navy; to the shore
Throng many doubtful hollow-hearted friends,
Unarm'd, and unresolv'd to beat them back:
'Tis thought that Richmond is their admiral;
And there they hull, expecting but the aid
Of Buckingham to welcome them ashore.
Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of Norfolk:--
Ratcliff, thyself,--or Catesby; where is he?
Here, my good lord.
Catesby, fly to the duke.
I will my lord, with all convenient haste.
Ratcliff, come hither: post to Salisbury:
When thou com'st thither,--
[To CATESBY.] Dull, unmindful villain,
Why stay'st thou here, and go'st not to the duke?
First, mighty liege, tell me your highness' pleasure,
What from your grace I shall deliver to him.
O, true, good Catesby:--bid him levy straight
The greatest strength and power that he can make,
And meet me suddenly at Salisbury.
What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?
Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go?
Your highness told me I should post before.
My mind is chang'd.--Stanley, what news with you?
None good, my liege, to please you with the hearing;
Nor none so bad but well may be reported.
Hoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
What need'st thou run so many miles about,
When thou mayest tell thy tale the nearest way?
Once more, what news?
Richmond is on the seas.
There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
White-liver'd runagate, what doth he there?
I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
Well, as you guess?
Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton,
He makes for England here, to claim the crown.
Is the chair empty? is the sword unsway'd?
Is the king dead? the empire unpossess'd?
What heir of York is there alive but we?
And who is England's king but great York's heir?
Then tell me, what makes he upon the seas?
Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.
No, mighty leige; therefore mistrust me not.
Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
Where be thy tenants and thy followers?
Are they not now upon the western shore,
Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?
No, my good lord, my friends are in the north.
Cold friends to me: what do they in the north,
When they should serve their sovereign in the west?
They have not been commanded, mighty king:
Pleaseth your majesty to give me leave,
I'll muster up my friends, and meet your grace
Where and what time your majesty shall please.
Ay, ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond;
But I'll not trust thee.
Most mighty sovereign,
You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful:
I never was nor never will be false.
Go, then, and muster men. But leave behind
Your son, George Stanley: look your heart be firm,
Or else his head's assurance is but frail.
So deal with him as I prove true to you.
[Enter a MESSENGER.]
My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
As I by friends am well advertised,
Sir Edward Courtney, and the haughty prelate,
Bishop of Exeter, his elder brother,
With many more confederates, are in arms.
[Enter a second MESSENGER.]
In Kent, my liege, the Guilfords are in arms;
And every hour more competitors
Flock to the rebels, and their power grows strong.
[Enter a third MESSENGER.]
My lord, the army of great Buckingham,--
Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of death?
[He strikes him.]
There, take thou that till thou bring better news.
The news I have to tell your majesty
Is, that by sudden floods and fall of waters,
Buckingham's army is dispers'd and scatter'd;
And he himself wander'd away alone,
No man knows whither.
I cry you mercy:
There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
Hath any well-advised friend proclaim'd
Reward to him that brings the traitor in?
Such proclamation hath been made, my liege.
[Enter a fourth MESSENGER.]
Sir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis Dorset,
'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
But this good comfort bring I to your highness,--
The Britagne navy is dispers'd by tempest:
Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat
Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks
If they were his assistants, yea or no;
Who answer'd him they came from Buckingham
Upon his party. He, mistrusting them,
Hois'd sail, and made his course again for Britagne.
March on, march on, since we are up in arms;
If not to fight with foreign enemies,
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.
My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken,--
That is the best news: that the Earl of Richmond
Is with a mighty power landed at Milford
Is colder tidings, yet they must be told.
Away towards Salisbury! while we reason here
A royal battle might be won and lost:--
Some one take order Buckingham be brought
To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.
SCENE V. A Room in LORD STANLEY'S house.
[Enter STANLEY and SIR CHRISTOPHER URSWICK.]
Sir Christopher, tell Richmond this from me:--
That in the sty of the most deadly boar
My son George Stanley is frank'd up in hold:
If I revolt, off goes young George's head;
The fear of that holds off my present aid.
So, get thee gone: commend me to thy lord;
Withal say that the queen hath heartily consented
He should espouse Elizabeth her daughter.
But tell me, where is princely Richmond now?
At Pembroke, or at Ha'rford-west in Wales.
What men of name resort to him?
Sir Walter Herbert, a renowned soldier;
Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir William Stanley;
Oxford, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt,
And Rice ap Thomas, with a valiant crew;
And many other of great name and worth:
And towards London do they bend their power,
If by the way they be not fought withal.
Well, hie thee to thy lord; I kiss his hand;
My letter will resolve him of my mind.
[Gives papers to SIR CHRISTOPHER. Exeunt.]