KING EDWARD THE FOURTH
Sons to the king
EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES afterwards
KING EDWARD V
RICHARD, DUKE OF YORK
Brothers to the king
GEORGE, DUKE OF CLARENCE
RICHARD, DUKE OF GLOSTER, afterwards
KING RICHARD III
A YOUNG SON OF CLARENCE
HENRY, EARL OF RICHMOND, afterwards
KING HENRY VII
CARDINAL BOURCHIER, ARCHBISHOP OF
THOMAS ROTHERHAM, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
JOHN MORTON, BISHOP OF ELY
DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM
DUKE OF NORFOLK
EARL OF SURREY, his son
EARL RIVERS, brother to King
MARQUIS OF DORSET and LORD GREY, her
EARL OF OXFORD
SIR THOMAS VAUGHAN
SIR RICHARD RATCLIFF
SIR WILLIAM CATESBY
SIR JAMES TYRREL
SIR JAMES BLOUNT
SIR WALTER HERBERT
SIR ROBERT BRAKENBURY, Lieutenant of
CHRISTOPHER URSWICK, a priest
LORD MAYOR OF LONDON
SHERIFF OF WILTSHIRE
ELIZABETH, Queen to King Edward IV
MARGARET, widow to King Henry VI
DUCHESS OF YORK, mother to King
Edward IV, Clarence, and Gloster
LADY ANNE, widow to Edward, Prince
of Wales, son to King
Henry VI; afterwards married to the
Duke of Gloster
A YOUNG DAUGHTER OF CLARENCE
Lords, and other Attendants; two
Gentlemen, a Pursuivant, Scrivener, Citizens, Murderers, Messengers,
Ghosts, Soldiers, &c.
London. A street.
Enter GLOUCESTER, solus
Now is the winter of our
discontentMade glorious summer by this sun of York;And all
the clouds that lour'd upon our houseIn the deep bosom of the
ocean buried.Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;Our
bruised arms hung up for monuments;Our stern alarums changed to
merry meetings,Our dreadful marches to delightful
measures.Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;And
now, instead of mounting barded steedsTo fright the souls of
fearful adversaries,He capers nimbly in a lady's chamberTo
the lascivious pleasing of a lute.But I, that am not shaped for
sportive tricks,Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;I,
that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majestyTo strut before a
wanton ambling nymph;I, that am curtail'd of this fair
proportion,Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,Deformed,
unfinish'd, sent before my timeInto this breathing world, scarce
half made up,And that so lamely and unfashionableThat dogs
bark at me as I halt by them;Why, I, in this weak piping time of
peace,Have no delight to pass away the time,Unless to spy my
shadow in the sunAnd descant on mine own deformity:And
therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,To entertain these fair
well-spoken days,I am determined to prove a villainAnd hate
the idle pleasures of these days.Plots have I laid, inductions
dangerous,By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,To set my
brother Clarence and the kingIn deadly hate the one against the
other:And if King Edward be as true and justAs I am subtle,
false and treacherous,This day should Clarence closely be mew'd
up,About a prophecy, which says that 'G'Of Edward's heirs the
murderer shall be.Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: hereClarence
Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and
Brother, good day; what means this
armed guardThat waits upon your grace?
His majestyTendering my person's
safety, hath appointedThis conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Upon what cause?
Because my name is George.
Alack, my lord, that fault is none
of yours;He should, for that, commit your godfathers:O,
belike his majesty hath some intentThat you shall be
new-christen'd in the Tower.But what's the matter, Clarence? may
Yea, Richard, when I know; for I
protestAs yet I do not: but, as I can learn,He hearkens after
prophecies and dreams;And from the cross-row plucks the letter
G.And says a wizard told him that by GHis issue disinherited
should be;And, for my name of George begins with G,It follows
in his thought that I am he.These, as I learn, and such like toys
as theseHave moved his highness to commit me now.
Why, this it is, when men are ruled
by women:'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower:My
Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, 'tis sheThat tempers him to this
extremity.Was it not she and that good man of worship,Anthony
Woodville, her brother there,That made him send Lord Hastings to
the Tower,From whence this present day he is deliver'd?We are
not safe, Clarence; we are not safe.
By heaven, I think there's no man is
secureBut the queen's kindred and night-walking heraldsThat
trudge betwixt the king and Mistress Shore.Heard ye not what an
humble suppliantLord hastings was to her for his delivery?
Humbly complaining to her deityGot
my lord chamberlain his liberty.I'll tell you what; I think it is
our way,If we will keep in favour with the king,To be her men
and wear her livery:The jealous o'erworn widow and herself,Since
that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen.Are mighty gossips in
I beseech your graces both to pardon
me;His majesty hath straitly given in chargeThat no man shall
have private conference,Of what degree soever, with his brother.
Even so; an't please your worship,
Brakenbury,You may partake of any thing we say:We speak no
treason, man: we say the kingIs wise and virtuous, and his noble
queenWell struck in years, fair, and not jealous;We say that
Shore's wife hath a pretty foot,A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a
passing pleasing tongue;And that the queen's kindred are made
gentle-folks:How say you sir? Can you deny all this?
With this, my lord, myself have
nought to do.
Naught to do with mistress Shore! I
tell thee, fellow,He that doth naught with her, excepting
one,Were best he do it secretly, alone.
What one, my lord?
Her husband, knave: wouldst thou
I beseech your grace to pardon me,
and withalForbear your conference with the noble duke.
We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and
We are the queen's abjects, and must
obey.Brother, farewell: I will unto the king;And whatsoever
you will employ me in,Were it to call King Edward's widow
sister,I will perform it to enfranchise you.Meantime, this
deep disgrace in brotherhoodTouches me deeper than you can
I know it pleaseth neither of us
Well, your imprisonment shall not be
long;Meantime, have patience.
I must perforce. Farewell.
Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and
Go, tread the path that thou shalt
ne'er return.Simple, plain Clarence! I do love thee so,That I
will shortly send thy soul to heaven,If heaven will take the
present at our hands.But who comes here? the new-deliver'd
Good time of day unto my gracious
As much unto my good lord
chamberlain!Well are you welcome to the open air.How hath
your lordship brook'd imprisonment?
With patience, noble lord, as
prisoners must:But I shall live, my lord, to give them
thanksThat were the cause of my imprisonment.
No doubt, no doubt; and so shall
Clarence too;For they that were your enemies are his,And have
prevail'd as much on him as you.
More pity that the eagle should be
mew'd,While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
What news abroad?
No news so bad abroad as this at
home;The King is sickly, weak and melancholy,And his
physicians fear him mightily.
Now, by Saint Paul, this news is bad
indeed.O, he hath kept an evil diet long,And overmuch
consumed his royal person:'Tis very grievous to be thought
upon.What, is he in his bed?
Go you before, and I will follow
He cannot live, I hope; and must not
dieTill George be pack'd with post-horse up to heaven.I'll
in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence,With lies well steel'd
with weighty arguments;And, if I fall not in my deep
intent,Clarence hath not another day to live:Which done, God
take King Edward to his mercy,And leave the world for me to
bustle in!For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter.What
though I kill'd her husband and her father?The readiest way to
make the wench amendsIs to become her husband and her father:The
which will I; not all so much for loveAs for another secret close
intent,By marrying her which I must reach unto.But yet I run
before my horse to market:Clarence still breathes; Edward still
lives and reigns:When they are gone, then must I count my gains.
The same. Another street.
Enter the corpse of KING HENRY the
Sixth, Gentlemen with halberds to guard it; LADY ANNE being the
Set down, set down your honourable
load,If honour may be shrouded in a hearse,Whilst I awhile
obsequiously lamentThe untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.Poor
key-cold figure of a holy king!Pale ashes of the house of
Lancaster!Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood!Be it
lawful that I invocate thy ghost,To hear the lamentations of Poor
Anne,Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughter'd son,Stabb'd by
the selfsame hand that made these wounds!Lo, in these windows
that let forth thy life,I pour the helpless balm of my poor
eyes.Cursed be the hand that made these fatal holes!Cursed be
the heart that had the heart to do it!Cursed the blood that let
this blood from hence!More direful hap betide that hated
wretch,That makes us wretched by the death of thee,Than I can
wish to adders, spiders, toads,Or any creeping venom'd thing that
lives!If ever he have child, abortive be it,Prodigious, and
untimely brought to light,Whose ugly and unnatural aspectMay
fright the hopeful mother at the view;And that be heir to his
unhappiness!If ever he have wife, let her he madeA miserable
by the death of himAs I am made by my poor lord and thee!Come,
now towards Chertsey with your holy load,Taken from Paul's to be
interred there;And still, as you are weary of the weight,Rest
you, whiles I lament King Henry's corse.
Stay, you that bear the corse, and
set it down.
What black magician conjures up this
fiend,To stop devoted charitable deeds?
Villains, set down the corse; or, by
Saint Paul,I'll make a corse of him that disobeys.
My lord, stand back, and let the
Unmanner'd dog! stand thou, when I
command:Advance thy halbert higher than my breast,Or, by
Saint Paul, I'll strike thee to my foot,And spurn upon thee,
beggar, for thy boldness.
What, do you tremble? are you all
afraid?Alas, I blame you not; for you are mortal,And mortal
eyes cannot endure the devil.Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of
hell!Thou hadst but power over his mortal body,His soul thou
canst not have; therefore be gone.
Sweet saint, for charity, be not so
Foul devil, for God's sake, hence,
and trouble us not;For thou hast made the happy earth thy
hell,Fill'd it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.If thou
delight to view thy heinous deeds,Behold this pattern of thy
butcheries.O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's woundsOpen
their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh!Blush, Blush, thou lump
of foul deformity;For 'tis thy presence that exhales this
bloodFrom cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells;Thy
deed, inhuman and unnatural,Provokes this deluge most
unnatural.O God, which this blood madest, revenge his death!O
earth, which this blood drink'st revenge his death!Either heaven
with lightning strike themurderer dead,Or earth, gape open
wide and eat him quick,As thou dost swallow up this good king's
bloodWhich his hell-govern'd arm hath butchered!
Lady, you know no rules of
charity,Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.
Villain, thou know'st no law of God
nor man:No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.
But I know none, and therefore am no
O wonderful, when devils tell the
More wonderful, when angels are so
angry.Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman,Of these
supposed-evils, to give me leave,By circumstance, but to acquit
Vouchsafe, defused infection of a
man,For these known evils, but to give me leave,By
circumstance, to curse thy cursed self.
Fairer than tongue can name thee,
let me haveSome patient leisure to excuse myself.
Fouler than heart can think thee,
thou canst makeNo excuse current, but to hang thyself.
By such despair, I should accuse
And, by despairing, shouldst thou
stand excused;For doing worthy vengeance on thyself,Which
didst unworthy slaughter upon others.
Say that I slew them not?
Why, then they are not dead:But
dead they are, and devilish slave, by thee.
I did not kill your husband.
Why, then he is alive.
Nay, he is dead; and slain by
In thy foul throat thou liest: Queen
Margaret sawThy murderous falchion smoking in his blood;The
which thou once didst bend against her breast,But that thy
brothers beat aside the point.
I was provoked by her slanderous
tongue,which laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders.
Thou wast provoked by thy bloody
mind.Which never dreamt on aught but butcheries:Didst thou
not kill this king?
I grant ye.
Dost grant me, hedgehog? then, God
grant me tooThou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!O, he
was gentle, mild, and virtuous!
The fitter for the King of heaven,
that hath him.
He is in heaven, where thou shalt
Let him thank me, that holp to send
him thither;For he was fitter for that place than earth.
And thou unfit for any place but
Yes, one place else, if you will
hear me name it.
Ill rest betide the chamber where
So will it, madam till I lie with
I hope so.
I know so. But, gentle Lady Anne,To
leave this keen encounter of our wits,And fall somewhat into a
slower method,Is not the causer of the timeless deathsOf
these Plantagenets, Henry and Edward,As blameful as the
Thou art the cause, and most
Your beauty was the cause of that
effect;Your beauty: which did haunt me in my sleepTo
undertake the death of all the world,So I might live one hour in
your sweet bosom.
If I thought that, I tell thee,
homicide,These nails should rend that beauty from my cheeks.
These eyes could never endure sweet
beauty's wreck;You should not blemish it, if I stood by:As
all the world is cheered by the sun,So I by that; it is my day,
Black night o'ershade thy day, and
death thy life!
Curse not thyself, fair creature
thou art both.
I would I were, to be revenged on
It is a quarrel most unnatural,To
be revenged on him that loveth you.
It is a quarrel just and
reasonable,To be revenged on him that slew my husband.
He that bereft thee, lady, of thy
husband,Did it to help thee to a better husband.
His better doth not breathe upon the
He lives that loves thee better than
Why, that was he.
The selfsame name, but one of better
Where is he?
She spitteth at him
Why dost thou spit at me?
Would it were mortal poison, for thy
Never came poison from so sweet a
Never hung poison on a fouler
toad.Out of my sight! thou dost infect my eyes.
Thine eyes, sweet lady, have
Would they were basilisks, to strike
I would they were, that I might die
at once;For now they kill me with a living death.Those eyes
of thine from mine have drawn salt tears,Shamed their aspect with
store of childish drops:These eyes that never shed remorseful
tear,No, when my father York and Edward wept,To hear the
piteous moan that Rutland madeWhen black-faced Clifford shook his
sword at him;Nor when thy warlike father, like a child,Told
the sad story of my father's death,And twenty times made pause to
sob and weep,That all the standers-by had wet their cheeksLike
trees bedash'd with rain: in that sad timeMy manly eyes did scorn
an humble tear;And what these sorrows could not thence
exhale,Thy beauty hath, and made them blind with weeping.I
never sued to friend nor enemy;My tongue could never learn sweet
smoothing word;But now thy beauty is proposed my fee,My proud
heart sues, and prompts my tongue to speak.
She looks scornfully at him
Teach not thy lips such scorn, for
they were madeFor kissing, lady, not for such contempt.If thy
revengeful heart cannot forgive,Lo, here I lend thee this
sharp-pointed sword;Which if thou please to hide in this true
bosom.And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,I lay it naked
to the deadly stroke,And humbly beg the death upon my knee.
He lays his breast open: she offers
at it with his sword
Nay, do not pause; for I did kill
King Henry,But 'twas thy beauty that provoked me.Nay, now
dispatch; 'twas I that stabb'd young Edward,But 'twas thy
heavenly face that set me on.
Here she lets fall the sword
Take up the sword again, or take up
Arise, dissembler: though I wish thy
death,I will not be the executioner.
Then bid me kill myself, and I will
I have already.
Tush, that was in thy rage:Speak
it again, and, even with the word,That hand, which, for thy love,
did kill thy love,Shall, for thy love, kill a far truer love;