ACT I
Scene 3.
 

London. The palace

Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, LORD RIVERS, and LORD GREY

RIVERS
Have patience, madam; there's no doubt his Majesty
Will soon recover his accustom'd health.

GREY
In that you brook it ill, it makes him worse;
Therefore, for God's sake, entertain good comfort,
And cheer his Grace with quick and merry eyes.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
If he were dead, what would betide on
me?

GREY
No other harm but loss of such a lord.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
The loss of such a lord includes all
harms.

GREY
The heavens have bless'd you with a goodly son
To be your comforter when he is gone.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Ah, he is young; and his minority
Is put unto the trust of Richard Gloucester,
A man that loves not me, nor none of you.

RIVER
Is it concluded he shall be Protector?

QUEEN ELIZABETH
It is determin'd, not concluded yet;
But so it must be, if the King miscarry.

Enter BUCKINGHAM and DERBY

GREY
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,
To your good prayer will scarcely say amen.
Yet, Derby, notwithstanding she's your wife
And loves not me, be you, good lord, assur'd
I hate not you for her proud arrogance.

DERBY
I do beseech you, either not believe
The envious slanders of her false accusers;
Or, if she be accus'd on true report,
Bear with her weakness, which I think proceeds
From wayward sickness and no grounded malice.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Saw you the King to-day, my Lord of
Derby?

DERBY
But now the Duke of Buckingham and I
Are come from visiting his Majesty.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
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
Ay, madam; he desires to make atonement
Between the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers,
And between them and my Lord Chamberlain;
And sent to warn them to his royal presence.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Would all were well! But that will
never be.
I fear our happiness is at the height.

Enter GLOUCESTER, HASTINGS, and DORSET

GLOUCESTER
They do me wrong, and I will not endure it.
Who is it that complains 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 look 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 abus'd
With silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?

GREY
To who in all this presence speaks your Grace?

GLOUCESTER
To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace.
When have I injur'd thee? when done thee wrong,
Or thee, or thee, or any of your faction?
A plague upon you all! His royal Grace-
Whom God preserve better than you would wish!-
Cannot be quiet searce a breathing while
But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the
matter.
The King, on his own royal disposition
And not provok'd by any suitor else-
Aiming, belike, at your interior hatred
That in your outward action shows itself
Against my children, brothers, and myself-
Makes him to send that he may learn the ground.

GLOUCESTER
I cannot tell; the world is grown so bad
That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.
Since every Jack became a gentleman,
There's many a gentle person made a Jack.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Come, come, we know your meaning,
brother Gloucester:
You envy my advancement and my friends';
God grant we never may have need of you!

GLOUCESTER
Meantime, God grants that I have need of you.
Our brother is imprison'd by your means,
Myself disgrac'd, and the nobility
Held in contempt; while great promotions
Are daily given to ennoble those
That scarce some two days since were worth a noble.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
By Him that rais'd me to this careful
height
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.

GLOUCESTER
You may deny that you were not the mean
Of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment.

RIVERS
She may, my lord; for-

GLOUCESTER
She may, Lord Rivers? Why, who knows
not so?
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 desert.
What may she not? She may-ay, marry, may she-

RIVERS
What, marry, may she?

GLOUCESTER
What, marry, may she? Marry with a king,
A bachelor, and a handsome stripling too.
Iwis your grandam had a worser match.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long
borne
Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs.
By heaven, I will acquaint his Majesty
Of those gross taunts that oft I have endur'd.
I had rather be a country servant-maid
Than a great queen with this condition-
To be so baited, scorn'd, and stormed at.

Enter old QUEEN MARGARET, behind

Small joy have I in being England's Queen.

QUEEN MARGARET
And less'ned be that small, God, I
beseech Him!
Thy honour, state, and seat, is due to me.

GLOUCESTER
What! Threat you me with telling of the
King?
Tell him and spare not. Look what I have said
I will avouch't in presence of the King.
I dare adventure to be sent to th' Tow'r.
'Tis time to speak-my pains are quite forgot.

QUEEN MARGARET
Out, devil! I do remember them to
well:
Thou kill'dst my husband Henry in the Tower,
And Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.

GLOUCESTER
Ere you were queen, ay, or your husband
King,
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 spent mine own.

QUEEN MARGARET
Ay, 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;
And, Rivers, so were you. Was not your husband
In Margaret's battle at Saint Albans slain?
Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
What you have been ere this, and what you are;
Withal, what I have been, and what I am.

QUEEN MARGARET
A murd'rous villain, and so still thou art.

GLOUCESTER
Poor Clarence did forsake his father, Warwick,
Ay, and forswore himself-which Jesu pardon!-

QUEEN MARGARET
Which God revenge!

GLOUCESTER
To fight on Edward's party for the crown;
And for his meed, poor lord, he is mewed 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.

QUEEN MARGARET
Hie thee to hell for shame and leave this
world,
Thou cacodemon; there thy kingdom is.

RIVERS
My Lord of Gloucester, in those busy days
Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
We follow'd then our lord, our sovereign king.
So should we you, if you should be our king.

GLOUCESTER
If I should be! I had rather be a pedlar.
Far be it from my heart, the thought thereof!

QUEEN ELIZABETH
As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
You should enjoy were you this country's king,
As little joy you may suppose in me
That I enjoy, being the Queen thereof.

QUEEN MARGARET
As little joy enjoys the Queen thereof;
For I am she, and altogether joyless.
I can no longer hold me patient. [Advancing]
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 am Queen, you bow like subjects,
Yet that, by you depos'd, you quake like rebels?
Ah, gentle villain, do not turn away!

GLOUCESTER
Foul wrinkled witch, what mak'st thou in my
sight?

QUEEN MARGARET
But repetition of what thou hast marr'd,
That will I make before I let thee go.

GLOUCESTER
Wert thou not banished on pain of death?

QUEEN MARGARET
I was; but I do find more pain in
banishment
Than death can yield me here by my abode.
A husband and a son thou ow'st to me;
And thou a kingdom; all of you allegiance.
This sorrow that I have by right is yours;
And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.

GLOUCESTER
The curse my noble father laid on thee,
When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper
And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his eyes,
And then to dry them gav'st the Duke a clout
Steep'd in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland-
His curses then from bitterness of soul
Denounc'd against thee are all fall'n upon thee;
And God, not we, hath plagu'd thy bloody deed.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
So just is God to right the innocent.

HASTINGS
O, 'twas the foulest deed to slay that babe,
And the most merciless that e'er was heard of!

RIVERS
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,
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,
Should 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!
Though not by war, by surfeit die your king,
As ours by murder, to make him a king!
Edward thy son, that now is Prince of Wales,
For Edward our son, that 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 mayest thou live to wail thy children's death,
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 length'ned 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 his natural age,
But by some unlook'd accident cut off!

GLOUCESTER
Have done thy charm, thou hateful wither'd
hag.

QUEEN MARGARET
And leave out thee? Stay, dog, for thou
shalt hear me.
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 be-gnaw thy soul!
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv'st,
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
Unless it be while 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 heavy mother's womb,
Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins,
Thou rag of honour, thou detested-

GLOUCESTER
Margaret!

QUEEN MARGARET
Richard!

GLOUCESTER
Ha?

QUEEN MARGARET
I call thee not.

GLOUCESTER
I cry thee mercy then, for I did think
That thou hadst call'd me all these bitter names.

QUEEN MARGARET
Why, so I did, but look'd for no reply.
O, let me make the period to my curse!

GLOUCESTER
'Tis done by me, and ends in-Margaret.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Thus have you breath'd your curse
against yourself.

QUEEN MARGARET
Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my
fortune!
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 day will come that thou shalt wish for me
To help thee curse this poisonous bunch-back'd toad.

HASTINGS
False-boding woman, end thy frantic curse,
Lest to thy harm thou move our patience.

QUEEN MARGARET
Foul shame upon you! you have all
mov'd mine.

RIVERS
Were you well serv'd, you would be taught your
duty.

QUEEN MARGARET
To serve me well you all should do me
duty,
Teach me to be your queen and you my subjects.
O, serve me well, and teach yourselves that duty!

DORSET
Dispute not with her; she is lunatic.

QUEEN MARGARET
Peace, Master Marquis, you are malapert;
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.

GLOUCESTER
Good counsel, marry; learn it, learn it, Marquis.

DORSET
It touches you, my lord, as much as me.

GLOUCESTER
Ay, and much more; but I was born so high,
Our aery buildeth in the cedar's top,
And dallies with the wind, and scorns the sun.

QUEEN MARGARET
And turns the sun to shade-alas! alas!
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 is won with blood, lost be it so!

BUCKINGHAM
Peace, peace, for shame, if not for charity!

QUEEN MARGARET
Urge neither charity nor shame to me.
Uncharitably with me have you dealt,
And shamefully my hopes by you are butcher'd.
My charity is outrage, life my shame;
And in that shame still live my sorrow's rage!

BUCKINGHAM
Have done, have done.

QUEEN MARGARET
O princely Buckingham, I'll kiss thy
hand
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.

BUCKINGHAM
Nor no one here; for curses never pass
The lips of those that breathe them in the air.

QUEEN MARGARET
I will not think but they ascend the sky
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.

GLOUCESTER
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,
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!

Exit

BUCKINGHAM
My hair doth stand an 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,
She hath had too much wrong; and I repent
My part thereof that I have done to her.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
I never did her any to my knowledge.

GLOUCESTER
Yet you have all the vantage of her wrong.
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 thereof!

RIVERS
A virtuous and a Christian-like conclusion,
To pray for them that have done scathe to us!

GLOUCESTER
So do I ever- [Aside] being well advis'd;
For had I curs'd now, I had curs'd myself.

Enter CATESBY

CATESBY
Madam, his Majesty doth can for you,
And for your Grace, and you, my gracious lords.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Catesby, I come. Lords, will you go
with me?

RIVERS
We wait upon your Grace.

Exeunt all but GLOUCESTER

GLOUCESTER
I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl.
The secret mischiefs that I set abroach
I lay unto the grievous charge of others.
Clarence, who I indeed have cast in darkness,
I do beweep to many simple gulls;
Namely, to Derby, Hastings, Buckingham;
And tell them 'tis the Queen and her allies
That stir the King against the Duke my brother.
Now they believe it, and withal whet me
To be reveng'd on Rivers, Dorset, 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 villainy
With odd old ends stol'n forth 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 thing?

FIRST MURDERER
We are, my lord, and come to have the
warrant,
That we may be admitted where he is.

GLOUCESTER
Well thought upon; I have it here about me.

[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.

FIRST MURDERER
Tut, tut, my lord, we will not stand to
prate;
Talkers are no good doers. Be assur'd
We go to use our hands and not our tongues.

GLOUCESTER
Your eyes drop millstones when fools' eyes fall
tears.
I like you, lads; about your business straight;
Go, go, dispatch.

FIRST MURDERER
We will, my noble lord.

Exeunt