Richard III By William Shakespeare Act III

SCENE VII. London. Court of Baynard's Castle.

[Enter GLOSTER and BUCKINGHAM, meeting.]

How now, how now! what say the citizens?

Now, by the holy mother of our Lord,
The citizens are mum, say not a word.

Touch'd you the bastardy of Edward's children?

I did; with his contract with Lady Lucy,
And his contract by deputy in France;
The insatiate greediness of his desires,
And his enforcement of the city wives;
His tyranny for trifles; his own bastardy, —
As being got, your father then in France,
And his resemblance, being not like the duke:
Withal I did infer your lineaments, —
Being the right idea of your father,
Both in your form and nobleness of mind;
Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
Your discipline in war, wisdom in peace,
Your bounty, virtue, fair humility;
Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose
Untouch'd or slightly handled in discourse:
And when mine oratory drew toward end
I bid them that did love their country's good
Cry "God save Richard, England's royal king!"

And did they so?

No, so God help me, they spake not a word;
But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
Star'd each on other, and look'd deadly pale.
Which when I saw, I reprehended them;
And ask'd the mayor what meant this wilful silence:
His answer was — the people were not us'd
To be spoke to but by the recorder.
Then he was urg'd to tell my tale again, —
"Thus saith the duke, thus hath the duke inferr'd;"
But nothing spoke in warrant from himself.
When he had done, some followers of mine own,
At lower end of the hall hurl'd up their caps,
And some ten voices cried, "God save King Richard!"
And thus I took the vantage of those few, —
"Thanks, gentle citizens and friends," quoth I;
"This general applause and cheerful shout
Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard:"
And even here brake off and came away.

What, tongueless blocks were they! would they not speak?
Will not the mayor, then, and his brethren, come?

The mayor is here at hand. Intend some fear;
Be not you spoke with but by mighty suit:
And look you get a prayer-book in your hand,
And stand between two churchmen, good my lord;
For on that ground I'll make a holy descant:
And be not easily won to our requests;
Play the maid's part, — still answer nay, and take it.

I go; and if you plead as well for them
As I can say nay to thee for myself,
No doubt we bring it to a happy issue.

Go, go, up to the leads; the lord mayor knocks.


[Enter the LORD MAYOR, ALDERMEN, and Citizens.]

Welcome, my lord. I dance attendance here;
I think the duke will not be spoke withal.

[Enter, from the Castle, CATESBY.]

Now, Catesby, — what says your lord to my request?

He doth entreat your grace, my noble lord,
To visit him to-morrow or next day:
He is within, with two right reverend fathers,
Divinely bent to meditation:
And in no worldly suit would he be mov'd,
To draw him from his holy exercise.

Return, good Catesby, to the gracious duke;
Tell him, myself, the mayor and aldermen,
In deep designs, in matter of great moment,
No less importing than our general good,
Are come to have some conference with his grace.

I'll signify so much unto him straight.


Ah, ha, my lord, this prince is not an Edward!
He is not lolling on a lewd day-bed,
But on his knees at meditation;
Not dallying with a brace of courtezans,
But meditating with two deep divines;
Not sleeping, to engross his idle body,
But praying, to enrich his watchful soul:
Happy were England would this virtuous prince
Take on his grace the sovereignty thereof:
But, sure, I fear, we shall not win him to it.

Marry, God defend his grace should say us nay!

I fear he will. Here Catesby comes again.

[Re-enter CATESBY.]

Now, Catesby, what says his grace?

He wonders to what end you have assembled
Such troops of citizens to come to him:
His grace not being warn'd thereof before,
He fears, my lord, you mean no good to him.

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