Richard III By William Shakespeare Act III


[Enter a MESSENGER.]

My lord, my lord! — 

[Within.] Who knocks?

One from the Lord Stanley.

[Within.] What is't o'clock?

Upon the stroke of four.


Cannot my Lord Stanley sleep these tedious nights?

So it appears by that I have to say.
First, he commends him to your noble self.

What then?

Then certifies your lordship that this night
He dreamt the boar had razed off his helm:
Besides, he says there are two councils held;
And that may be determin'd at the one
Which may make you and him to rue at the other.
Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure, —
If you will presently take horse with him,
And with all speed post with him toward the north,
To shun the danger that his soul divines.

Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
Bid him not fear the separated councils:
His honour and myself are at the one,
And at the other is my good friend Catesby;
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
Tell him his fears are shallow, without instance:
And for his dreams, I wonder he's so simple
To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers:
To fly the boar before the boar pursues
Were to incense the boar to follow us,
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
Go, bid thy master rise and come to me;
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.

I'll go, my lord, and tell him what you say.


[Enter CATESBY.]

Many good morrows to my noble lord!

Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring:
What news, what news, in this our tottering state?

It is a reeling world indeed, my lord;
And I believe will never stand upright
Till Richard wear the garland of the realm.

How! wear the garland! dost thou mean the crown?

Ay, my good lord.

I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
Before I'll see the crown so foul misplac'd.
But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?

Ay, on my life; and hopes to find you forward
Upon his party for the gain thereof:
And thereupon he sends you this good news, —
That this same very day your enemies,
The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.

Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
Because they have been still my adversaries:
But that I'll give my voice on Richard's side
To bar my master's heirs in true descent,
God knows I will not do it to the death.

God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!

But I shall laugh at this a twelve month hence, —
That they which brought me in my master's hate,
I live to look upon their tragedy.
Well, Catesby, ere a fortnight make me older,
I'll send some packing that yet think not on't.

'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepar'd and look not for it.

O monstrous, monstrous! and so falls it out
With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill do
With some men else that think themselves as safe
As thou and I; who, as thou knowest, are dear
To princely Richard and to Buckingham.

The princes both make high account of you, —

For they account his head upon the bridge.

I know they do, and I have well deserv'd it.

[Enter STANLEY.]

Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?

My lord, good morrow; and good morrow, Catesby: —
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
I do not like these several councils, I.

My lord, I hold my life as dear as you do yours;
And never in my days, I do protest,
Was it so precious to me as 'tis now;
Think you, but that I know our state secure,
I would be so triumphant as I am?

The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
Were jocund and suppos'd their states were sure, —
And they, indeed, had no cause to mistrust;
But yet, you see, how soon the day o'ercast!
This sudden stab of rancour I misdoubt;
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward.
What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.

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