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SCENE III. The palace.
Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, RIVERS, and GREY.
Have patience, madam: there's no doubt his majesty GREY
Will soon recover his accustom'd health.
In that you brook it in, it makes him worse: QUEEN ELIZABETH
Therefore, for God's sake, entertain good comfort,
And cheer his grace with quick and merry words.
If he were dead, what would betide of me? RIVERS
No other harm but loss of such a lord. QUEEN ELIZABETH
The loss of such a lord includes all harm. GREY
The heavens have bless'd you with a goodly son, QUEEN ELIZABETH
To be your comforter when he is gone.
Oh, he is young and his minority RIVERS
Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,
A man that loves not me, nor none of you.
Is it concluded that he shall be protector? QUEEN ELIZABETH
It is determined, not concluded yet: GREY
But so it must be, if the king miscarry.
Enter BUCKINGHAM and DERBY.
Here come the lords of Buckingham and Derby. BUCKINGHAM
Good time of day unto your royal grace! DERBY
God make your majesty joyful as you have been! QUEEN ELIZABETH
The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Derby. DERBY
To your good prayers will scarcely say amen.
Yet, Derby, notwithstanding she's your wife,
And loves not me, be you, good lord, assured
I hate not you for her proud arrogance.
I do beseech you, either not believe RIVERS
The envious slanders of her false accusers;
Or, if she be accused in true report,
Bear with her weakness, which, I think proceeds
From wayward sickness, and no grounded malice.
Saw you the king to-day, my Lord of Derby? DERBY
But now the Duke of Buckingham and I QUEEN ELIZABETH
Are come from visiting his majesty.
What likelihood of his amendment, lords? BUCKINGHAM
Madam, good hope; his grace speaks cheerfully. QUEEN ELIZABETH
God grant him health! Did you confer with him? BUCKINGHAM
Madam, we did: he desires to make atonement QUEEN ELIZABETH
Betwixt the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers,
And betwixt them and my lord chamberlain;
And sent to warn them to his royal presence.
Would all were well! but that will never be GLOUCESTER
I fear our happiness is at the highest.
Enter GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and DORSET.
They do me wrong, and I will not endure it: RIVERS
Who are they that complain unto the king,
That I, forsooth, am stern, and love them not?
By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly
That fill his ears with such dissentious rumours.
Because I cannot flatter and speak fair,
Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive and cog,
Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
I must be held a rancorous enemy.
Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
But thus his simple truth must be abused
By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?
To whom in all this presence speaks your grace? GLOUCESTER
To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace. QUEEN ELIZABETH
When have I injured thee? when done thee wrong?
Or thee? or thee? or any of your faction?
A plague upon you all! His royal person,--
Whom God preserve better than you would wish!--
Cannot be quiet scarce a breathing-while,
But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.
Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the matter. GLOUCESTER
The king, of his own royal disposition,
And not provoked by any suitor else;
Aiming, belike, at your interior hatred,
Which in your outward actions shows itself
Against my kindred, brothers, and myself,
Makes him to send; that thereby he may gather
The ground of your ill-will, and so remove it.
I cannot tell: the world is grown so bad, QUEEN ELIZABETH
That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch:
Since every Jack became a gentleman
There's many a gentle person made a Jack.
Come, come, we know your meaning, brother GLOUCESTER
You envy my advancement and my friends':
God grant we never may have need of you!
Meantime, God grants that we have need of you: QUEEN ELIZABETH
Your brother is imprison'd by your means,
Myself disgraced, and the nobility
Held in contempt; whilst many fair promotions
Are daily given to ennoble those
That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.
By Him that raised me to this careful height GLOUCESTER
From that contented hap which I enjoy'd,
I never did incense his majesty
Against the Duke of Clarence, but have been
An earnest advocate to plead for him.
My lord, you do me shameful injury,
Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.
You may deny that you were not the cause RIVERS
Of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment.
She may, my lord, for-- GLOUCESTER
She may, Lord Rivers! why, who knows not so? RIVERS
She may do more, sir, than denying that:
She may help you to many fair preferments,
And then deny her aiding hand therein,
And lay those honours on your high deserts.
What may she not? She may, yea, marry, may she--
What, marry, may she? GLOUCESTER
What, marry, may she! marry with a king, QUEEN ELIZABETH
A bachelor, a handsome stripling too:
I wis your grandam had a worser match.
My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne QUEEN MARGARET
Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs:
By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
With those gross taunts I often have endured.
I had rather be a country servant-maid
Than a great queen, with this condition,
To be thus taunted, scorn'd, and baited at:
Enter QUEEN MARGARET, behind.
Small joy have I in being England's queen.
And lessen'd be that small, God, I beseech thee! GLOUCESTER
Thy honour, state and seat is due to me.
What! threat you me with telling of the king? QUEEN MARGARET
Tell him, and spare not: look, what I have said
I will avouch in presence of the king:
I dare adventure to be sent to the Tower.
'Tis time to speak; my pains are quite forgot.
Out, devil! I remember them too well: GLOUCESTER
Thou slewest my husband Henry in the Tower,
And Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.
Ere you were queen, yea, or your husband king, QUEEN MARGARET
I was a pack-horse in his great affairs;
A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,
A liberal rewarder of his friends:
To royalize his blood I spilt mine own.
Yea, and much better blood than his or thine. GLOUCESTER
In all which time you and your husband GREY
Were factious for the house of Lancaster; QUEEN MARGARET
And, Rivers, so were you. Was not your husband
In Margaret's battle at Saint Alban's slain?
Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
What you have been ere now, and what you are;
Withal, what I have been, and what I am.
A murderous villain, and so still thou art. GLOUCESTER
Poor Clarence did forsake his father, Warwick; QUEEN MARGARET
Yea, and forswore himself,--which Jesu pardon!--
Which God revenge! GLOUCESTER
To fight on Edward's party for the crown; QUEEN MARGARET
And for his meed, poor lord, he is mew'd up.
I would to God my heart were flint, like Edward's;
Or Edward's soft and pitiful, like mine
I am too childish-foolish for this world.
Hie thee to hell for shame, and leave the world, RIVERS
Thou cacodemon! there thy kingdom is.
My Lord of Gloucester, in those busy days GLOUCESTER
Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
We follow'd then our lord, our lawful king:
So should we you, if you should be our king.
If I should be! I had rather be a pedlar: QUEEN ELIZABETH
Far be it from my heart, the thought of it!
As little joy, my lord, as you suppose QUEEN MARGARET
You should enjoy, were you this country's king,
As little joy may you suppose in me.
That I enjoy, being the queen thereof.
A little joy enjoys the queen thereof; GLOUCESTER
For I am she, and altogether joyless.
I can no longer hold me patient.
Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
In sharing that which you have pill'd from me!
Which of you trembles not that looks on me?
If not, that, I being queen, you bow like subjects,
Yet that, by you deposed, you quake like rebels?
O gentle villain, do not turn away!
Foul wrinkled witch, what makest thou in my sight? QUEEN MARGARET
But repetition of what thou hast marr'd; GLOUCESTER
That will I make before I let thee go.
Wert thou not banished on pain of death? QUEEN MARGARET
I was; but I do find more pain in banishment GLOUCESTER
Than death can yield me here by my abode.
A husband and a son thou owest to me;
And thou a kingdom; all of you allegiance:
The sorrow that I have, by right is yours,
And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.
The curse my noble father laid on thee, QUEEN ELIZABETH
When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper
And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his eyes,
And then, to dry them, gavest the duke a clout
Steep'd in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland--
His curses, then from bitterness of soul
Denounced against thee, are all fall'n upon thee;
And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed.
So just is God, to right the innocent. HASTINGS
O, 'twas the foulest deed to slay that babe, RIVERS
And the most merciless that e'er was heard of!
Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported. DORSET
No man but prophesied revenge for it. BUCKINGHAM
Northumberland, then present, wept to see it. QUEEN MARGARET
What were you snarling all before I came, GLOUCESTER
Ready to catch each other by the throat,
And turn you all your hatred now on me?
Did York's dread curse prevail so much with heaven?
That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death,
Their kingdom's loss, my woeful banishment,
Could all but answer for that peevish brat?
Can curses pierce the clouds and enter heaven?
Why, then, give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses!
If not by war, by surfeit die your king,
As ours by murder, to make him a king!
Edward thy son, which now is Prince of Wales,
For Edward my son, which was Prince of Wales,
Die in his youth by like untimely violence!
Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen,
Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self!
Long mayst thou live to wail thy children's loss;
And see another, as I see thee now,
Deck'd in thy rights, as thou art stall'd in mine!
Long die thy happy days before thy death;
And, after many lengthen'd hours of grief,
Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen!
Rivers and Dorset, you were standers by,
And so wast thou, Lord Hastings, when my son
Was stabb'd with bloody daggers: God, I pray him,
That none of you may live your natural age,
But by some unlook'd accident cut off!
Have done thy charm, thou hateful wither'd hag! QUEEN MARGARET
And leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me. GLOUCESTER
If heaven have any grievous plague in store
Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe,
And then hurl down their indignation
On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace!
The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul!
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou livest,
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
Unless it be whilst some tormenting dream
Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils!
Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog!
Thou that wast seal'd in thy nativity
The slave of nature and the son of hell!
Thou slander of thy mother's heavy womb!
Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins!
Thou rag of honour! thou detested--
Margaret. QUEEN MARGARET
Ha! QUEEN MARGARET
I call thee not. GLOUCESTER
I cry thee mercy then, for I had thought QUEEN MARGARET
That thou hadst call'd me all these bitter names.
Why, so I did; but look'd for no reply. GLOUCESTER
O, let me make the period to my curse!
'Tis done by me, and ends in 'Margaret.' QUEEN ELIZABETH
Thus have you breathed your curse against yourself. QUEEN MARGARET
Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my fortune! HASTINGS
Why strew'st thou sugar on that bottled spider,
Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about?
Fool, fool! thou whet'st a knife to kill thyself.
The time will come when thou shalt wish for me
To help thee curse that poisonous bunchback'd toad.
False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse, QUEEN MARGARET
Lest to thy harm thou move our patience.
Foul shame upon you! you have all moved mine. RIVERS
Were you well served, you would be taught your duty. QUEEN MARGARET
To serve me well, you all should do me duty, DORSET
Teach me to be your queen, and you my subjects:
O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty!
Dispute not with her; she is lunatic. QUEEN MARGARET
Peace, master marquess, you are malapert: GLOUCESTER
Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current.
O, that your young nobility could judge
What 'twere to lose it, and be miserable!
They that stand high have many blasts to shake them;
And if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.
Good counsel, marry: learn it, learn it, marquess. DORSET
It toucheth you, my lord, as much as me. GLOUCESTER
Yea, and much more: but I was born so high, QUEEN MARGARET
Our aery buildeth in the cedar's top,
And dallies with the wind and scorns the sun.
And turns the sun to shade; alas! alas! BUCKINGHAM
Witness my son, now in the shade of death;
Whose bright out-shining beams thy cloudy wrath
Hath in eternal darkness folded up.
Your aery buildeth in our aery's nest.
O God, that seest it, do not suffer it!
As it was won with blood, lost be it so!
Have done! for shame, if not for charity. QUEEN MARGARET
Urge neither charity nor shame to me: BUCKINGHAM
Uncharitably with me have you dealt,
And shamefully by you my hopes are butcher'd.
My charity is outrage, life my shame
And in that shame still live my sorrow's rage.
Have done, have done. QUEEN MARGARET
O princely Buckingham I'll kiss thy hand, BUCKINGHAM
In sign of league and amity with thee:
Now fair befall thee and thy noble house!
Thy garments are not spotted with our blood,
Nor thou within the compass of my curse.
Nor no one here; for curses never pass QUEEN MARGARET
The lips of those that breathe them in the air.
I'll not believe but they ascend the sky, GLOUCESTER
And there awake God's gentle-sleeping peace.
O Buckingham, take heed of yonder dog!
Look, when he fawns, he bites; and when he bites,
His venom tooth will rankle to the death:
Have not to do with him, beware of him;
Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him,
And all their ministers attend on him.
What doth she say, my Lord of Buckingham? BUCKINGHAM
Nothing that I respect, my gracious lord. QUEEN MARGARET
What, dost thou scorn me for my gentle counsel? HASTINGS
And soothe the devil that I warn thee from?
O, but remember this another day,
When he shall split thy very heart with sorrow,
And say poor Margaret was a prophetess!
Live each of you the subjects to his hate,
And he to yours, and all of you to God's!
My hair doth stand on end to hear her curses. RIVERS
And so doth mine: I muse why she's at liberty. GLOUCESTER
I cannot blame her: by God's holy mother, QUEEN ELIZABETH
She hath had too much wrong; and I repent
My part thereof that I have done to her.
I never did her any, to my knowledge. GLOUCESTER
But you have all the vantage of her wrong. RIVERS
I was too hot to do somebody good,
That is too cold in thinking of it now.
Marry, as for Clarence, he is well repaid,
He is frank'd up to fatting for his pains
God pardon them that are the cause of it!
A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion, GLOUCESTER
To pray for them that have done scathe to us.
So do I ever: QUEEN ELIZABETH
For had I cursed now, I had cursed myself.
Madam, his majesty doth call for you,
And for your grace; and you, my noble lords.
Catesby, we come. Lords, will you go with us? RIVERS
Madam, we will attend your grace. GLOUCESTER
Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER.
I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl. FIRST MURDERER
The secret mischiefs that I set abroach
I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
Clarence, whom I, indeed, have laid in darkness,
I do beweep to many simple gulls
Namely, to Hastings, Derby, Buckingham;
And say it is the queen and her allies
That stir the king against the duke my brother.
Now, they believe it; and withal whet me
To be revenged on Rivers, Vaughan, Grey:
But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
Enter two MURDERERS.
But, soft! here come my executioners.
How now, my hardy, stout resolved mates!
Are you now going to dispatch this deed?
We are, my lord; and come to have the warrant GLOUCESTER
That we may be admitted where he is.
Well thought upon; I have it here about me. FIRST MURDERER
Gives the warrant.
When you have done, repair to Crosby Place.
But, sirs, be sudden in the execution,
Withal obdurate, do not hear him plead;
For Clarence is well-spoken, and perhaps
May move your hearts to pity if you mark him.
Fear not, my lord, we will not stand to prate;
Talkers are no good doers: be assured
We come to use our hands and not our tongues.
Your eyes drop millstones, when fools' eyes drop tears:
I like you, lads; about your business straight;
Go, go, dispatch.
We will, my noble lord.
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