Document: All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Richard III > Act II, scene I
[Flourish. Enter KING EDWARD IV sick, QUEEN
ELIZABETH, DORSET, RIVERS, HASTINGS, BUCKINGHAM,
GREY, and others]
KING EDWARD IV: Why, so: now have I done a good day's work:
You peers, continue this united league:
I every day expect an embassage
From my Redeemer to redeem me hence;
And now in peace my soul shall part to heaven,
Since I have set my friends at peace on earth.
Rivers and Hastings, take each other's hand;
Dissemble not your hatred, swear your love.
RIVERS: By heaven, my heart is purged from grudging hate:
And with my hand I seal my true heart's love.
HASTINGS: So thrive I, as I truly swear the like!
KING EDWARD IV: Take heed you dally not before your king;
Lest he that is the supreme King of kings
Confound your hidden falsehood, and award
Either of you to be the other's end.
HASTINGS: So prosper I, as I swear perfect love!
RIVERS: And I, as I love Hastings with my heart!
KING EDWARD IV: Madam, yourself are not exempt in this,
Nor your son Dorset, Buckingham, nor you;
You have been factious one against the other,
Wife, love Lord Hastings, let him kiss your hand;
And what you do, do it unfeignedly.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: Here, Hastings; I will never more remember
Our former hatred, so thrive I and mine!
KING EDWARD IV: Dorset, embrace him; Hastings, love lord marquess.
DORSET: This interchange of love, I here protest,
Upon my part shall be unviolable.
HASTINGS: And so swear I, my lord
KING EDWARD IV: Now, princely Buckingham, seal thou this league
With thy embracements to my wife's allies,
And make me happy in your unity.
BUCKINGHAM: Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate
On you or yours,
[To the Queen]
but with all duteous love
Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me
With hate in those where I expect most love!
When I have most need to employ a friend,
And most assured that he is a friend
Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,
Be he unto me! this do I beg of God,
When I am cold in zeal to yours.
KING EDWARD IV: A pleasing cordial, princely Buckingham,
is this thy vow unto my sickly heart.
There wanteth now our brother Gloucester here,
To make the perfect period of this peace.
BUCKINGHAM: And, in good time, here comes the noble duke.
GLOUCESTER: Good morrow to my sovereign king and queen:
And, princely peers, a happy time of day!
KING EDWARD IV: Happy, indeed, as we have spent the day.
Brother, we done deeds of charity;
Made peace enmity, fair love of hate,
Between these swelling wrong-incensed peers.
GLOUCESTER: A blessed labour, my most sovereign liege:
Amongst this princely heap, if any here,
By false intelligence, or wrong surmise,
Hold me a foe;
If I unwittingly, or in my rage,
Have aught committed that is hardly borne
By any in this presence, I desire
To reconcile me to his friendly peace:
'Tis death to me to be at enmity;
I hate it, and desire all good men's love.
First, madam, I entreat true peace of you,
Which I will purchase with my duteous service;
Of you, my noble cousin Buckingham,
If ever any grudge were lodged between us;
Of you, Lord Rivers, and, Lord Grey, of you;
That without desert have frown'd on me;
Dukes, earls, lords, gentlemen; indeed, of all.
I do not know that Englishman alive
With whom my soul is any jot at odds
More than the infant that is born to-night
I thank my God for my humility.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: A holy day shall this be kept hereafter:
I would to God all strifes were well compounded.
My sovereign liege, I do beseech your majesty
To take our brother Clarence to your grace.
GLOUCESTER: Why, madam, have I offer'd love for this
To be so bouted in this royal presence?
Who knows not that the noble duke is dead?
[They all start]
You do him injury to scorn his corse.
RIVERS: Who knows not he is dead! who knows he is?
QUEEN ELIZABETH: All seeing heaven, what a world is this!
BUCKINGHAM: Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?
DORSET: Ay, my good lord; and no one in this presence
But his red colour hath forsook his cheeks.
KING EDWARD IV: Is Clarence dead? the order was reversed.
GLOUCESTER: But he, poor soul, by your first order died,
And that a winged Mercury did bear:
Some tardy cripple bore the countermand,
That came too lag to see him buried.
God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
Nearer in bloody thoughts, but not in blood,
Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
And yet go current from suspicion!
DORSET: A boon, my sovereign, for my service done!
KING EDWARD IV: I pray thee, peace: my soul is full of sorrow.
DORSET: I will not rise, unless your highness grant.
KING EDWARD IV: Then speak at once what is it thou demand'st.
DORSET: The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant's life;
Who slew to-day a righteous gentleman
Lately attendant on the Duke of Norfolk.
KING EDWARD IV: Have a tongue to doom my brother's death,
And shall the same give pardon to a slave?
My brother slew no man; his fault was thought,
And yet his punishment was cruel death.
Who sued to me for him? who, in my rage,
Kneel'd at my feet, and bade me be advised
Who spake of brotherhood? who spake of love?
Who told me how the poor soul did forsake
The mighty Warwick, and did fight for me?
Who told me, in the field by Tewksbury
When Oxford had me down, he rescued me,
And said, 'Dear brother, live, and be a king'?
Who told me, when we both lay in the field
Frozen almost to death, how he did lap me
Even in his own garments, and gave himself,
All thin and naked, to the numb cold night?
All this from my remembrance brutish wrath
Sinfully pluck'd, and not a man of you
Had so much grace to put it in my mind.
But when your carters or your waiting-vassals
Have done a drunken slaughter, and defaced
The precious image of our dear Redeemer,
You straight are on your knees for pardon, pardon;
And I unjustly too, must grant it you
But for my brother not a man would speak,
Nor I, ungracious, speak unto myself
For him, poor soul. The proudest of you all
Have been beholding to him in his life;
Yet none of you would once plead for his life.
O God, I fear thy justice will take hold
On me, and you, and mine, and yours for this!
Come, Hastings, help me to my closet.
Oh, poor Clarence!
[Exeunt some with KING EDWARD IV and QUEEN MARGARET]
GLOUCESTER: This is the fruit of rashness! Mark'd you not
How that the guilty kindred of the queen
Look'd pale when they did hear of Clarence' death?
O, they did urge it still unto the king!
God will revenge it. But come, let us in,
To comfort Edward with our company.
BUCKINGHAM: We wait upon your grace.
KING RICHARD III