Richard III By William Shakespeare Act II

SCENE IV. London. A Room in the Palace.

[Enter the ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, the young DUKE OF YORK, QUEEN
ELIZABETH, and the DUCHESS OF YORK.]

ARCHBISHOP.
Last night, I hear, they at Northampton lay;
And at Stony-Stratford they do rest to-night:
To-morrow or next day they will be here.

DUCHESS.
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
Has almost overta'en him in his growth.

YORK.
Ay, mother; but I would not have it so.

DUCHESS.
Why, my good 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 Gloster,
"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.
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 his rule were true, he should be gracious.

ARCHBISHOP.
And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.

DUCHESS.
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.
How, my young York? I pr'ythee 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.
I pr'ythee, pretty York, who told thee this?

YORK.
Grandam, his nurse.

DUCHESS.
His nurse! why she was dead ere thou wast born.

YORK.
If 'twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
A parlous boy! — go to, you are too shrewd.

ARCHBISHOP.
Good madam, be not angry with the child.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Pitchers have ears.

ARCHBISHOP.
Here comes a messenger.

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

What news?

MESSENGER.
Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
How doth the prince?

MESSENGER.
Well, madam, and in health.

DUCHESS.
What is thy news?

MESSENGER.
Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,
With them Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.

DUCHESS.
Who hath committed them?

MESSENGER.
The mighty dukes, Gloster and Buckingham.

ARCHBISHOP.
For what offence?

MESSENGER.
The sum of all I can, I have disclos'd;
Why or for what the nobles were committed
Is all unknown to me, my gracious lady.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Ah me, I see the ruin of my house!
The tiger now hath seiz'd the gentle hind;
Insulting tyranny begins to jet
Upon the innocent and aweless throne: —
Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre!
I see, as in a map, the end of all.

DUCHESS.
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; brother to brother,
Blood to 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. —
Madam, farewell.

DUCHESS.
Stay, I will go with you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
You have no cause.

ARCHBISHOP.
[To the queen.]
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!
Go, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary.

[Exeunt.]

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

At the beginning of the play, who appears to be dominating King Edward IV?




Quiz