Document: All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Richard III > Act II, scene IV
[Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, young YORK, QUEEN
ELIZABETH, and the DUCHESS OF YORK]
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK: Last night, I hear, they lay at Northampton;
At Stony-Stratford will they be to-night:
To-morrow, or next day, they will be here.
DUCHESS OF YORK: I long with all my heart to see the prince:
I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: But I hear, no; they say my son of York
Hath almost overta'en him in his growth.
YORK: Ay, mother; but I would not have it so.
DUCHESS OF YORK: Why, my young cousin, it is good to grow.
YORK: Grandam, one night, as we did sit at supper,
My uncle Rivers talk'd how I did grow
More than my brother: 'Ay,' quoth my uncle
'Small herbs have grace, great weeds do grow apace:'
And since, methinks, I would not grow so fast,
Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.
DUCHESS OF YORK: Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold
In him that did object the same to thee;
He was the wretched'st thing when he was young,
So long a-growing and so leisurely,
That, if this rule were true, he should be gracious.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK: Why, madam, so, no doubt, he is.
DUCHESS OF YORK: I hope he is; but yet let mothers doubt.
YORK: Now, by my troth, if I had been remember'd,
I could have given my uncle's grace a flout,
To touch his growth nearer than he touch'd mine.
DUCHESS OF YORK: How, my pretty York? I pray thee, let me hear it.
YORK: Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast
That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old
'Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth.
Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.
DUCHESS OF YORK: I pray thee, pretty York, who told thee this?
YORK: Grandam, his nurse.
DUCHESS OF YORK: His nurse! why, she was dead ere thou wert born.
YORK: If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: A parlous boy: go to, you are too shrewd.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK: Good madam, be not angry with the child.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: Pitchers have ears.
[Enter a Messenger]
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK: Here comes a messenger. What news?
Messenger: Such news, my lord, as grieves me to unfold.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: How fares the prince?
Messenger: Well, madam, and in health.
DUCHESS OF YORK: What is thy news then?
Messenger: Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
With them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.
DUCHESS OF YORK: Who hath committed them?
Messenger: The mighty dukes
Gloucester and Buckingham.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: For what offence?
Messenger: The sum of all I can, I have disclosed;
Why or for what these nobles were committed
Is all unknown to me, my gracious lady.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: Ay me, I see the downfall of our house!
The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind;
Insulting tyranny begins to jet
Upon the innocent and aweless throne:
Welcome, destruction, death, and massacre!
I see, as in a map, the end of all.
DUCHESS OF YORK: Accursed and unquiet wrangling days,
How many of you have mine eyes beheld!
My husband lost his life to get the crown;
And often up and down my sons were toss'd,
For me to joy and weep their gain and loss:
And being seated, and domestic broils
Clean over-blown, themselves, the conquerors.
Make war upon themselves; blood against blood,
Self against self: O, preposterous
And frantic outrage, end thy damned spleen;
Or let me die, to look on death no more!
QUEEN ELIZABETH: Come, come, my boy; we will to sanctuary.
DUCHESS OF YORK: I'll go along with you.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: You have no cause.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK: My gracious lady, go;
And thither bear your treasure and your goods.
For my part, I'll resign unto your grace
The seal I keep: and so betide to me
As well I tender you and all of yours!
Come, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary.
KING RICHARD III