Act 3 Scene 7

  1. Enter RICHARD, DUKE OF GLOUCESTER and BUCKINGHAM, at different doors.

  2. Richard:

    How now, how now, what say the citizens?

  3. Buckingham:

    Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
    The citizens are mum, say not a word.

  4. Richard:

    Touched you the bastardy of Edward's children?

  5. Buckingham:

    I did, with his contract with Lady Lucy,
    And his contract by deputy in France.
    The insatiate greediness of his desire,
    And his enforcement of the city wives.
    His tyranny for trifles, his own bastardy,
    As being got, your father then in France,
    His resemblance, being not like the Duke.
    Withal, I did infer your lineaments,
    Being the right idea of your father,
    Both in your form and nobleness of mind.
    Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
    Your discipline in war, wisdom in peace,
    Your bounty, virtue, fair humility.
    Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose
    Untouched, or slightly handled in discourse.
    And when mine oratory grew toward end
    I bid them that did love their country's good
    Cry 'God save Richard, England's royal king!'

  6. Richard:

    And did they so?

  7. Buckingham:

    No, so God help me, they spake not a word;
    But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
    Gazed each on other, and looked deadly pale.
    Which when I saw, I reprehended them;
    And asked the Mayor what meant this wilful silence?
    His answer was, the people were not wont
    To be spoke to but by the Recorder.
    Then he was urged to tell my tale again.
    ‘Thus saith the duke, thus hath the duke inferred’,
    But nothing spoke in warrant from himself.
    When he had done, some followers of mine own,
    At the lower end of the hall, hurled up their caps,
    And some ten voices cried, ‘God save King Richard!’
    And thus I took the vantage of those few,
    ‘Thanks, gentle citizens and friends,’ quoth I,
    ‘This general applause and cheerful shout
    Argues your wisdom, and your love to Richard.’
    And even here brake off, and came away.

  8. Richard:

    What tongueless blocks were they! Would not they speak?
    Will not the mayor then and his brethren come?

  9. Buckingham:

    The mayor is here at hand. Intend some fear,
    Be not you spoke with, but by mighty suit,
    And look you get a prayer-book in your hand,
    And stand betwixt two churchmen, good my lord,
    For on that ground I’ll make a holy descant.
    And be not easily won to our requests,
    Play the maid's part, still answer nay, and take it. 

  10. Richard:

    I go, and if you plead as well for them
    As I can say nay to thee for myself,
    No doubt we bring it to a happy issue.

  11. Buckingham:

    Go, go, up to the leads; the lord mayor knocks

  12. Exit [RICHARD.] Enter the LORD MAYOR and Citizens.

  13. Buckingham:

    Welcome my lord, I dance attendance here.
    I think the Duke will not be spoke withal.

  14. Enter CATESBY.

  15. Buckingham:

    Now, Catesby, What says your lord to my request?

  16. Catesby:

    He doth entreat your grace, my noble lord,
    To visit him to-morrow or next day.
    He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
    Divinely bent to meditation,
    And no worldly suits would he be moved,
    To draw him from his holy exercise.

  17. Buckingham:

    Return, good Catesby, to the gracious Duke.
    Tell him, myself, the mayor and aldermen,
    In deep designs and matters of great moment,
    No less importing than our general good,
    Are come to have some conference with his grace.

  18. Catesby:

    I’ll signify so much unto him straight.


  19. Buckingham:

    Ah ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward.
    He is not lulling on a lewd love-bed,
    But on his knees at meditation.
    Not dallying with a brace of courtesans,
    But meditating with two deep divines.
    Not sleeping, to engross his idle body,
    But praying, to enrich his watchful soul.
    Happy were England, would this virtuous prince
    Take on grace the sovereignty thereof.
    But sure I fear we shall not win him to it.

  20. Lord Mayor:

    Marry, God forbid his grace should say us nay.

  21. Buckingham:

    I fear he will. Here Catesby comes again.

    Enter CATESBY.

    Now Catesby, what says his Grace?

  22. Catesby:

    He wonders to what end you have assembled
    Such troops of citizens to come to him,
    His grace not being warned thereof before.
    He fears, my lord, you mean no good to him.

  23. Buckingham:

    Sorry I am my noble cousin should
    Suspect me, that I mean no good to him.
    By heaven, we come to him in perfect love,
    And so once more return and tell his grace.

    Exit CATESBY.

    When holy and devout religious men
    Are at their beads, ‘tis much to draw them thence,
    So sweet is zealous contemplation.

    Enter RICHARD aloft, between two Bishops. [CATESBY returns.]

  24. Lord Mayor:

    See, where his grace stands, ‘tween two clergymen.

  25. Buckingham:

    Two props of virtue for a Christian prince,
    To stay him from the fall of vanity.
    And see, a book of prayer in his hand,
    True ornaments to know a holy man.
    [To Richard.] Famous Plantagenet, most gracious prince,
    Lend favourable ears to our requests,
    And pardon us the interruption
    Of thy devotion and right Christian zeal.

  26. Richard:

    My lord, there needs no such apology.
    I rather do beseech you pardon me,
    Who, earnest in the service of my God,
    Deffered the visitation of my friends.
    But, leaving this, what is your grace's pleasure?

  27. Buckingham:

    Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God above,
    And all good men of this ungoverned isle.

  28. Richard:

    I do suspect I have done some offence
    That seems disgracious in the City’s eye,
    And that you come to reprehend my ignorance.

  29. Buckingham:

    You have, my lord. Would it might please your grace,
    At our entreaties, to amend your fault,

  30. Richard:

    Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land?

  31. Buckingham:

    Know then, it is your fault that you resign
    The supreme seat, the throne majestical,
    The sceptered office of your ancestors,
    Your state of fortune, and your due of birth,
    The lineal glory of your royal house,
    To the corruption of a blemished stock.
    Whiles in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts,
    Which here we waken to our country’s good,
    This noble isle doth want her proper limbs.
    Her face defaced with scars of infamy,
    Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants,
    And almost shouldered in the swallowing gulf
    Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion.
    Which to recure, we heartily solicit
    Your gracious self to take on you the charge
    And kingly government of this your land,
    Not as protector, steward, substitute,
    Or lowly factor for another’s gain;
    But as successively, from blood to blood,
    Your right of birth, your empery, your own.
    For this, consorted with the citizens,
    Your very worshipful and loving friends,
    And by their vehement instigation,
    In this just cause come I to move your grace.

  32. Richard:

    I cannot tell if to depart in silence,
    Or bitterly to speak in your reproof.
    Best fitteth my degree or your condition.
    If not to answer, you might haply think
    Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
    To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
    Which fondly you would here impose on me.
    If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
    So seasoned with your faithful love to me,
    Then, on the other side, I checked my friends.
    Therefore to speak, and to avoid the first,
    And then, in speaking not to incur the last,
    Definitively thus I answer you.
    Your love deserves my thanks, but my desert
    Unmeritable, shuns your high request.
    First, if all obstacles were cut away,
    And that my path were even to the crown,
    As my ripe revenue and due by birth,
    Yet so much is my poverty of spirit,
    So mighty and so many my defects,
    As I had rather hide me from my greatness,
    Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,
    Than in my greatness covet to be hid,
    And in the vapour of my glory smothered.
    But, God be thanked, there's no need of me,
    And much I need to help you, were there need.
    The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
    Which, mellowed by the stealing hours of time,
    Will well become the seat of majesty,
    And make (no doubt) us happy by his reign.
    On him I lay, that you would lay on me,
    The right and fortune of his happy stars,
    Which God defend that I should wring from him.

  33. Buckingham:

    My lord, this argues conscience in your grace,
    But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
    All circumstances well consideréd.
    You say that Edward is your brother’s son.
    So say we too, but not by Edward’s wife.
    For first he was contract to Lady Lucy
    (Your mother lives a witness to his vow)
    And afterward by substitute betrothed
    To Bona, sister to the King of France.
    These both put off, a poor petitioner,
    A care-crazed mother to a many sons,
    A beauty-waning and distresséd widow,
    Even in the afternoon of her best days,
    Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
    Seduced the pitch and height of his degree
    To base declension and loathed bigamy.
    By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
    This Edward, whom our manners call the Prince.
    More bitterly could I expostulate,
    Save that, for reverence to some alive,
    I give a sparing limit to my tongue.
    Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
    This proffered benefit of dignity.
    If not to bless us and the land withal,
    Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
    From the corruption of abusing times,
    Unto a lineal true-derived course.

  34. Lord Mayor:

    Do, good my lord, your citizens entreat you.

  35. Buckingham:

    Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffered love.

  36. Catesby:

    O make them joyful, grant their lawful suit.

  37. Richard:

    Alas, why would you heap this care on me?
    I am unfit for state and majesty.
    I do beseech you, take it not amiss,
    I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you.

  38. Buckingham:

    If you refuse it, as, in love and zeal,
    Loath to depose the child, your brother’s son.
    As well we know your tenderness of heart
    And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
    Which we have noted in you to your kindred,
    And equally indeed to all estates.
    Yet know, whe’er you accept our suit or no,
    Your brother’s son shall never reign our king,
    But we will plant some other in the throne
    To the disgrace and downfall of your house.
    And in this resolution here we leave you.
    [To the citizens.] Come, citizens, we will entreat no more.

    [Exit BUCKINGHAM with some Citizens.]

  39. Catesby:

    Call him again, sweet prince, accept their suit. If you deny them, all the land will rue it.

  40. Richard:

    Will you enforce me to a world of cares?
    Call them again.

    [Exit Catesby.]

    I am not made of stone,
    But penetrable to your kind entreaties,
    Albeit against my conscience and my soul.

    Enter BUCKINGHAM and the rest.

    Cousin of Buckingham, and sage grave men,
    Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
    To bear her burthen, whe’er I will or no,
    I must have patience to endure the load.
    But if black scandal or foul-faced reproach
    Attend the sequel of your imposition,
    Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
    From all the impure blots and stains thereof.
    For God doth know, and you may partly see,
    How far I am from the desire of this.


  41. Lord Mayor:

    God bless your grace, we see it, and will say it.

  42. Richard:

    In saying so, you shall but say the truth.

  43. Buckingham:

    Then I salute you with this kingly title,
    Long live King Richard, England’s worthy king!

  44. All:


  45. Buckingham:

    Tomorrow may it please you to be crowned?

  46. Richard :

    Even when you please, for you will have it so.

  47. Buckingham:

    Tomorrow then we will attend your grace,
    And so most joyfully we take our leave.

  48. Richard:

    Come, let us to our holy work again.
    Farewell my cousins, farewell gentle friends.

    Exit all.