Richard III By William Shakespeare Act I

SCENE III. London. A Room in 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 Gloster,
A man that loves not me, nor none of you.

RIVERS.
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 STANLEY.]

GREY.
Here come the Lords of Buckingham and Stanley.

BUCKINGHAM.
Good time of day unto your royal grace!

STANLEY.
God make your majesty joyful as you have been!

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
The Countess Richmond, good my Lord of Stanley,
To your good prayer will scarcely say amen.
Yet, Stanley, notwithstanding she's your wife,
And loves not me, be you, good lord, assur'd
I hate not you for her proud arrogance.

STANLEY.
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 Stanley?

STANLEY.
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 Gloster 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 GLOSTER, HASTINGS, and DORSET.]

GLOSTER.
They do me wrong, and I will not endure it: —
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 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?

GLOSTER.
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 scarce a breathing while,
But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Brother of Gloster, 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 thereby he may gather
The ground of your ill-will, and so remove it.

GLOSTER.
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 Gloster;
You envy my advancement, and my friends';
God grant we never may have need of you!

GLOSTER.
Meantime, God grants that we 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.

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