Richard III

Act V

SCENE I. Salisbury. An open place.

[Enter the Sheriff and Guard, with BUCKINGHAM, led to execution.]


Will not King Richard let me speak with him?


No, my good lord; therefore be patient.


Hastings, and Edward's children, Grey, and Rivers,

Holy King Henry, and thy fair son Edward,

Vaughan, and all that have miscarried

By underhand corrupted foul injustice,--

If that your moody discontented souls

Do through the clouds behold this present hour,

Even for revenge mock my destruction!--

This is All-Souls' day, fellow, is it not?


It is, my lord.


Why, then All-Souls' day is my body's doomsday.

This is the day which in King Edward's time

I wish'd might fall on me, when I was found

False to his children and his wife's allies;

This is the day wherein I wish'd to fall

By the false faith of him whom most I trusted;

This, this All-Souls' day to my fearful soul

Is the determin'd respite of my wrongs:

That high All-Seer which I dallied with

Hath turn'd my feigned prayer on my head

And given in earnest what I begg'd in jest.

Thus doth He force the swords of wicked men

To turn their own points in their masters' bosoms:

Thus Margaret's curse falls heavy on my neck,--

"When he," quoth she, "shall split thy heart with sorrow,

Remember Margaret was a prophetess."--

Come lead me, officers, to the block of shame;

Wrong hath but wrong, and blame the due of blame.


SCENE II. Plain near Tamworth.

[Enter with drum and colours, RICHMOND, OXFORD, SIR JAMES BLUNT,

SIR WALTER HERBERT, and others, with Forces, marching.]


Fellows in arms, and my most loving friends,

Bruis'd underneath the yoke of tyranny,

Thus far into the bowels of the land

Have we march'd on without impediment;

And here receive we from our father Stanley

Lines of fair comfort and encouragement.

The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar

That spoil'd your summer fields and fruitful vines,

Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough

In your embowell'd bosoms,--this foul swine

Lies now even in the centre of this isle,

Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn:

From Tamworth thither is but one day's march.

In God's name cheerly on, courageous friends,

To reap the harvest of perpetual peace

By this one bloody trial of sharp war.


Every man's conscience is a thousand swords,

To fight against that bloody homicide.


I doubt not but his friends will turn to us.


He hath no friends but what are friends for fear,

Which in his dearest need will fly from him.


All for our vantage. Then in God's name, march:

True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings;

Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.


SCENE III. Bosworth Field.

[Enter KING RICHARD and Forces; the DUKE OF NORFOLK, the EARL of

SURREY, and others.]


Here pitch our tents, even here in Bosworth field.--

My Lord of Surrey, why look you so sad?


My heart is ten times lighter than my looks.


My Lord of Norfolk,--


Here, most gracious liege.


Norfolk, we must have knocks; ha! must we not?


We must both give and take, my loving lord.


Up With my tent! Here will I lie to-night;

[Soldiers begin to set up the King's tent.]

But where to-morrow? Well, all's one for that.--

Who hath descried the number of the traitors?


Six or seven thousand is their utmost power.


Why, our battalia trebles that account:

Besides, the king's name is a tower of strength,

Which they upon the adverse faction want.--

Up with the tent!--Come, noble gentlemen,

Let us survey the vantage of the ground;--

Call for some men of sound direction:--

Let's lack no discipline, make no delay;

For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.


[Enter, on the other side of the field, RICHMOND, SIR WILLIAM

BRANDON, OXFORD, and other Lords. Some of the Soldiers pitch



The weary sun hath made a golden set,

And by the bright tract of his fiery car

Gives token of a goodly day to-morrow.

Sir William Brandon, you shall bear my standard.--

Give me some ink and paper in my tent:

I'll draw the form and model of our battle,

Limit each leader to his several charge,

And part in just proportion our small power.--

My Lord of Oxford,--you, Sir William Brandon,--

And you, Sir Walter Herbert,--stay with me.--

The Earl of Pembroke keeps his regiment:--

Good Captain Blunt, bear my good night to him,

And by the second hour in the morning

Desire the earl to see me in my tent:

Yet one thing more, good captain, do for me,--

Where is Lord Stanley quarter'd, do you know?


Unless I have mista'en his colours much,--

Which well I am assur'd I have not done,--

His regiment lies half a mile at least

South from the mighty power of the king.


If without peril it be possible,

Sweet Blunt, make some good means to speak with him

And give him from me this most needful note.


Upon my life, my lord, I'll undertake it;

And so, God give you quiet rest to-night!


Good night, good Captain Blunt.--Come, gentlemen,

Let us consult upon to-morrow's business:

In to my tent; the air is raw and cold.

[They withdraw into the tent.]

[Enter, to his tent, KING RICHARD, NORFOLK,



What is't o'clock?


It's supper-time, my lord; It's six o'clock.


I will not sup to-night.--

Give me some ink and paper.--

What, is my beaver easier than it was?

And all my armour laid into my tent?


It is, my liege; and all things are in readiness.


Good Norfolk, hie thee to thy charge;

Use careful watch, choose trusty sentinels.


I go, my lord.


Stir with the lark to-morrow, gentle Norfolk.


I warrant you, my lord.





My lord?


Send out a pursuivant-at-arms

To Stanley's regiment; bid him bring his power

Before sunrising, lest his son George fall

Into the blind cave of eternal night.--

Fill me a bowl of wine.--Give me a watch.--

Saddle white Surrey for the field to-morrow.--

Look that my staves be sound, and not too heavy.--



My lord?


Saw'st thou the melancholy Lord Northumberland?


Thomas the Earl of Surrey and himself,

Much about cock-shut time, from troop to troop

Went through the army, cheering up the soldiers.


So, I am satisfied.--Give me a bowl of wine:

I have not that alacrity of spirit

Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have.

Set it down.--Is ink and paper ready?


It is, my lord.


Bid my guard watch; leave me.

Ratcliff, about the mid of night come to my tent

And help to arm me. Leave me, I say.

[KING RICHARD retires into his tent. Exeunt RATCLIFF and


[RICHMOND's tent opens, and discovers him and his Officers, &c.]


Fortune and victory sit on thy helm!


All comfort that the dark night can afford

Be to thy person, noble father-in-law!

Tell me, how fares our loving mother?


I, by attorney, bless thee from thy mother,

Who prays continually for Richmond's good.

So much for that.--The silent hours steal on,

And flaky darkness breaks within the east.

In brief,--for so the season bids us be,--

Prepare thy battle early in the morning,

And put thy fortune to the arbitrement

Of bloody strokes and mortal-staring war.

I, as I may,--that which I would I cannot,--

With best advantage will deceive the time,

And aid thee in this doubtful stroke of arms:

But on thy side I may not be too forward,

Lest, being seen, thy brother, tender George,

Be executed in his father's sight.

Farewell: the leisure and the fearful time

Cuts off the ceremonious vows of love

And ample interchange of sweet discourse,

Which so-long-sunder'd friends should dwell upon:

God give us leisure for these rites of love!

Once more, adieu: be valiant, and speed well!


Good lords, conduct him to his regiment:

I'll strive with troubled thoughts to take a nap,

Lest leaden slumber peise me down to-morrow,

When I should mount with wings of victory:

Once more, good night, kind lords and gentlemen.

[Exeunt Lords, &c., with STANLEY.]

O Thou Whose captain I account myself,

Look on my forces with a gracious eye;

Put in their hands Thy bruising irons of wrath,

That they may crush down with a heavy fall

The usurping helmets of our adversaries!

Make us Thy ministers of chastisement,

That we may praise Thee in Thy victory!

To Thee I do commend my watchful soul

Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes:

Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still!


[The Ghost of PRINCE EDWARD, son to HENRY THE SIXTH, rises

between the two tents.]


[To KING RICHARD.] Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!

Think how thou stabb'dst me in my prime of youth

At Tewksbury: despair, therefore, and die!--

[To RICHMOND.] Be cheerful, Richmond; for the wronged souls

Of butcher'd princes fight in thy behalf:

King Henry's issue, Richmond, comforts thee.

[The Ghost of HENRY THE SIXTH rises.]


[To KING RICHARD.] When I was mortal, my anointed body

By thee was punched full of deadly holes:

Think on the Tower and me: despair, and die,--

Harry the Sixth bids thee despair and die.--

[To RICHMOND.] Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror!

Harry, that prophesied thou shouldst be king,

Doth comfort thee in thy sleep: live, and flourish!

[The Ghost of CLARENCE rises.]


[To KING RICHARD.] Let me sit heavy in thy soul to-morrow!

I that was wash'd to death with fulsome wine,

Poor Clarence, by thy guile betray'd to death!

To-morrow in the battle think on me,

And fall thy edgeless sword: despair, and die!--

[To RICHMOND.] Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster,

The wronged heirs of York do pray for thee:

Good angels guard thy battle! live, and flourish!

[The Ghosts of RIVERS, GREY, and VAUGHAN rise.]


[To KING RICHARD.] Let me sit heavy in thy soul to-morrow,

Rivers that died at Pomfret! despair and die!


[To KING RICHARD.] Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!


[To KING RICHARD.] Think upon Vaughan, and, with guilty fear,

Let fall thy lance: despair and die!--


[To RICHMOND.] Awake, and think our wrongs in Richard's bosom

Will conquer him!--awake, and win the day!

[The GHOST of HASTINGS rises.]


[To KING RICHARD.] Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake,

And in a bloody battle end thy days!

Think on Lord Hastings: despair and die!--

[To RICHMOND.] Quiet untroubled soul, awake, awake!

Arm, fight, and conquer, for fair England's sake!

[The Ghosts of the two young PRINCES rise.]


[To KING RICHARD.] Dream on thy cousins smothered in the Tower:

Let us be lead within thy bosom, Richard,

And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death!

Thy nephews' souls bid thee despair and die!--

[To RICHMOND.] Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace, and wake in joy;

Good angels guard thee from the boar's annoy!

Live, and beget a happy race of kings!

Edward's unhappy sons do bid thee flourish.

[The GHOST of QUEEN ANNE rises.]


[To KING RICHARD.] Richard, thy wife, that wretched Anne thy wife,

That never slept a quiet hour with thee,

Now fills thy sleep with perturbations:

To-morrow in the battle think on me,

And fall thy edgeless sword: despair and die!--

[To RICHMOND.] Thou quiet soul, sleep thou a quiet sleep;

Dream of success and happy victory:

Thy adversary's wife doth pray for thee.

[The Ghost of BUCKINGHAM rises.]


[To KING RICHARD.] The first was I that help'd thee to the crown;

The last was I that felt thy tyranny:

O, in the battle think on Buckingham,

And die in terror of thy guiltiness!

Dream on, dream on of bloody deeds and death:

Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath!--

[To RICHMOND.] I died for hope ere I could lend thee aid:

But cheer thy heart and be thou not dismay'd:

God and good angels fight on Richmond's side;

And Richard falls in height of all his pride.

[The GHOSTS vanish. KING RICHARD starts out of his dream.]


Give me another horse,--bind up my wounds,--

Have mercy, Jesu!--Soft! I did but dream.--

O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!--

The lights burn blue.--It is now dead midnight.

Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.

What, do I fear myself? there's none else by:

Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I.

Is there a murderer here? No;--yes, I am:

Then fly. What, from myself? Great reason why,--

Lest I revenge. What,--myself upon myself!

Alack, I love myself. Wherefore? for any good

That I myself have done unto myself?

O, no! alas, I rather hate myself

For hateful deeds committed by myself!

I am a villain: yet I lie, I am not.

Fool, of thyself speak well:--fool, do not flatter.

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,

And every tongue brings in a several tale,

And every tale condemns me for a villain.

Perjury, perjury, in the high'st degree;

Murder, stern murder, in the dir'st degree;

All several sins, all us'd in each degree,

Throng to the bar, crying all "Guilty! guilty!"

I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;

And if I die no soul will pity me:

And wherefore should they,--since that I myself

Find in myself no pity to myself?

Methought the souls of all that I had murder'd

Came to my tent; and every one did threat

To-morrow's vengeance on the head of Richard.



My lord,--


Who's there?


Ratcliff, my lord; 'tis I. The early village-cock

Hath twice done salutation to the morn;

Your friends are up, and buckle on their armour.


O Ratcliff, I have dream'd a fearful dream!--

What think'st thou,--will our friends prove all true?


No doubt, my lord.


O Ratcliff, I fear, I fear,--


Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.


By the apostle Paul, shadows to-night

Have stuck more terror to the soul of Richard

Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers

Armed in proof and led by shallow Richmond.

It is not yet near day. Come, go with me;

Under our tents I'll play the eaves-dropper,

To see if any mean to shrink from me.


[RICHMOND wakes. Enter OXFORD and others.]


Good morrow, Richmond!


Cry mercy, lords and watchful gentlemen,

That you have ta'en a tardy sluggard here.


How have you slept, my lord?


The sweetest sleep and fairest-boding dreams

That ever enter'd in a drowsy head

Have I since your departure had, my lords.

Methought their souls whose bodies Richard murder'd

Came to my tent and cried on victory:

I promise you, my heart is very jocund

In the remembrance of so fair a dream.

How far into the morning is it, lords?


Upon the stroke of four.


Why, then 'tis time to arm and give direction.--

[He advances to the Troops.]

More than I have said, loving countrymen,

The leisure and enforcement of the time

Forbids to dwell on: yet remember this,--

God and our good cause fight upon our side;

The prayers of holy saints and wronged souls,

Like high-rear'd bulwarks, stand before our faces;

Richard except, those whom we fight against

Had rather have us win than him they follow:

For what is he they follow? truly, gentlemen,

A bloody tyrant and a homicide;

One rais'd in blood, and one in blood establish'd;

One that made means to come by what he hath,

And slaughter'd those that were the means to help him;

A base foul stone, made precious by the foil

Of England's chair, where he is falsely set;

One that hath ever been God's enemy.

Then, if you fight against God's enemy,

God will, in justice, ward you as His soldiers;

If you do sweat to put a tyrant down,

You sleep in peace, the tyrant being slain;

If you do fight against your country's foes,

Your country's fat shall pay your pains the hire;

If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,

Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors;

If you do free your children from the sword,

Your children's children quit it in your age.

Then, in the name of God and all these rights,

Advance your standards, draw your willing swords.

For me, the ransom of my bold attempt

Shall be this cold corpse on the earth's cold face;

But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt

The least of you shall share his part thereof.

Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully;

God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!


[Re-enter KING RICHARD, RATCLIFF, Attendants, and Forces.]


What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?


That he was never trained up in arms.


He said the truth; and what said Surrey then?


He smil'd, and said, "the better for our purpose."


He was in the right; and so indeed it is.

[Clock strikes.]

Tell the clock there.--Give me a calendar.--

Who saw the sun to-day?


Not I, my lord.


Then he disdains to shine; for by the book

He should have brav'd the east an hour ago:

A black day will it be to somebody.--



My lord?


The sun will not be seen to-day;

The sky doth frown and lower upon our army.

I would these dewy tears were from the ground.

Not shine to-day! Why, what is that to me

More than to Richmond? for the selfsame heaven

That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.

[Enter NORFOLK.]


Arm, arm, my lord; the foe vaunts in the field.


Come, bustle, bustle; caparison my horse;--

Call up Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power:

I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain,

And thus my battle shall be ordered:--

My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,

Consisting equally of horse and foot;

Our archers shall be placed in the midst:

John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey,

Shall have the leading of this foot and horse.

They thus directed, we will follow

In the main battle; whose puissance on either side

Shall be well winged with our chiefest horse.

This, and Saint George to boot!--What think'st thou,



A good direction, warlike sovereign.--

This found I on my tent this morning.

[Giving a scroll.]


[Reads.] "Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,

For Dickon thy master is bought and sold."

A thing devised by the enemy.--

Go, gentlemen, every man unto his charge:

Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls;

Conscience is but a word that cowards use,

Devis'd at first to keep the strong in awe:

Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.

March on, join bravely, let us to't pell-mell;

If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell.--

What shall I say more than I have inferr'd?

Remember whom you are to cope withal;--

A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,

A scum of Britagnes, and base lackey peasants,

Whom their o'er-cloyed country vomits forth

To desperate adventures and assur'd destruction.

You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest;

You having lands, and bless'd with beauteous wives,

They would restrain the one, distain the other.

And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,

Long kept in Britagne at our mother's cost?

A milk-sop, one that never in his life

Felt so much cold as over shoes in snow?

Let's whip these stragglers o'er the seas again;

Lash hence these over-weening rags of France,

These famish'd beggars, weary of their lives;

Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,

For want of means, poor rats, had hang'd themselves:

If we be conquered, let men conquer us,

And not these bastard Britagnes, whom our fathers

Have in their own land beaten, bobb'd, and thump'd,

And, on record, left them the heirs of shame.

Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives,

Ravish our daughters?--Hark! I hear their drum.

[Drum afar off.]

Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yeomen!

Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!

Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood;

Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

What says Lord Stanley? will he bring his power?


My lord, he doth deny to come.


Off with his son George's head!


My lord, the enemy is pass'd the marsh:

After the battle let George Stanley die.


A thousand hearts are great within my bosom:

Advance our standards, set upon our foes;

Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,

Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!

Upon them! Victory sits on our helms.


SCENE IV. Another part of the Field.

[Alarum; excursions. Enter NORFOLK and forces; to him CATESBY.]


Rescue, my Lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!

The king enacts more wonders than a man,

Daring an opposite to every danger:

His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights,

Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death.

Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!

[Alarum. Enter KING RICHARD.]


A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!


Withdraw, my lord! I'll help you to a horse.


Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,

And I will stand the hazard of the die:

I think there be six Richmonds in the field:

Five have I slain to-day instead of him.--

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!


SCENE V. Another part of the Field.

[Alarums. Enter, from opposite sides, KING RICHARD and RICHMOND;

and exeunt fighting. Retreat and flourish. Then re-enter

RICHMOND, with STANLEY bearing the crown, and divers other Lords

and Forces.]


God and your arms be prais'd, victorious friends;

The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead.


Courageous Richmond, well hast thou acquit thee!

Lo, here, this long-usurped royalty

From the dead temples of this bloody wretch

Have I pluck'd off, to grace thy brows withal.

Wear it, enjoy it, and make much of it.


Great God of heaven, say Amen to all!--

But, tell me is young George Stanley living?


He is, my lord, and safe in Leicester town,

Whither, if it please you, we may now withdraw us.


What men of name are slain on either side?


John Duke of Norfolk, Walter Lord Ferrers,

Sir Robert Brakenbury, and Sir William Brandon.


Inter their bodies as becomes their births:

Proclaim a pardon to the soldiers fled

That in submission will return to us:

And then, as we have ta'en the sacrament,

We will unite the white rose and the red:--

Smile heaven upon this fair conjunction,

That long have frown'd upon their emnity!

What traitor hears me, and says not Amen?

England hath long been mad, and scarr'd herself;

The brother blindly shed the brother's blood,

The father rashly slaughter'd his own son,

The son, compell'd, been butcher to the sire:

All this divided York and Lancaster,

Divided in their dire division,--

O, now let Richmond and Elizabeth,

The true succeeders of each royal house,

By God's fair ordinance conjoin together!

And let their heirs,--God, if Thy will be so,--

Enrich the time to come with smooth'd-fac'd peace,

With smiling plenty, and fair prosperous days!

Abate the edge of traitors, gracious Lord,

That would reduce these bloody days again,

And make poor England weep in streams of blood!

Let them not live to taste this land's increase

That would with treason wound this fair land's peace!

Now civil wounds are stopp'd, peace lives again:

That she may long live here, God say Amen!