Richard III By William Shakespeare Act IV

KING RICHARD.
O, true, good Catesby: — bid him levy straight
The greatest strength and power that he can make,
And meet me suddenly at Salisbury.

CATESBY.
I go.

[Exit.]

RATCLIFF.
What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury?

KING RICHARD.
Why, what wouldst thou do there before I go?

RATCLIFF.
Your highness told me I should post before.

[Enter STANLEY.]

KING RICHARD.
My mind is chang'd. — Stanley, what news with you?

STANLEY.
None good, my liege, to please you with the hearing;
Nor none so bad but well may be reported.

KING RICHARD.
Hoyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
What need'st thou run so many miles about,
When thou mayest tell thy tale the nearest way?
Once more, what news?

STANLEY.
Richmond is on the seas.

KING RICHARD.
There let him sink, and be the seas on him!
White-liver'd runagate, what doth he there?

STANLEY.
I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.

KING RICHARD.
Well, as you guess?

STANLEY.
Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton,
He makes for England here, to claim the crown.

KING RICHARD.
Is the chair empty? is the sword unsway'd?
Is the king dead? the empire unpossess'd?
What heir of York is there alive but we?
And who is England's king but great York's heir?
Then tell me, what makes he upon the seas?

STANLEY.
Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.

KING RICHARD.
Unless for that he comes to be your liege,
You cannot guess wherefore the Welshman comes.
Thou wilt revolt and fly to him, I fear.

STANLEY.
No, mighty leige; therefore mistrust me not.

KING RICHARD.
Where is thy power, then, to beat him back?
Where be thy tenants and thy followers?
Are they not now upon the western shore,
Safe-conducting the rebels from their ships?

STANLEY.
No, my good lord, my friends are in the north.

KING RICHARD.
Cold friends to me: what do they in the north,
When they should serve their sovereign in the west?

STANLEY.
They have not been commanded, mighty king:
Pleaseth your majesty to give me leave,
I'll muster up my friends, and meet your grace
Where and what time your majesty shall please.

KING RICHARD.
Ay, ay, thou wouldst be gone to join with Richmond;
But I'll not trust thee.

STANLEY.
Most mighty sovereign,
You have no cause to hold my friendship doubtful:
I never was nor never will be false.

KING RICHARD.
Go, then, and muster men. But leave behind
Your son, George Stanley: look your heart be firm,
Or else his head's assurance is but frail.

STANLEY.
So deal with him as I prove true to you.

[Exit.]

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

MESSENGER.
My gracious sovereign, now in Devonshire,
As I by friends am well advertised,
Sir Edward Courtney, and the haughty prelate,
Bishop of Exeter, his elder brother,
With many more confederates, are in arms.

[Enter a second MESSENGER.]

SECOND MESSENGER.
In Kent, my liege, the Guilfords are in arms;
And every hour more competitors
Flock to the rebels, and their power grows strong.

[Enter a third MESSENGER.]

THIRD MESSENGER.
My lord, the army of great Buckingham, —

KING RICHARD.
Out on you, owls! Nothing but songs of death?

[He strikes him.]

There, take thou that till thou bring better news.

THIRD MESSENGER.
The news I have to tell your majesty
Is, that by sudden floods and fall of waters,
Buckingham's army is dispers'd and scatter'd;
And he himself wander'd away alone,
No man knows whither.

KING RICHARD.
I cry you mercy:
There is my purse to cure that blow of thine.
Hath any well-advised friend proclaim'd
Reward to him that brings the traitor in?

THIRD MESSENGER.
Such proclamation hath been made, my liege.

[Enter a fourth MESSENGER.]

FOURTH MESSENGER.
Sir Thomas Lovel and Lord Marquis Dorset,
'Tis said, my liege, in Yorkshire are in arms.
But this good comfort bring I to your highness, —
The Britagne navy is dispers'd by tempest:
Richmond, in Dorsetshire, sent out a boat
Unto the shore, to ask those on the banks
If they were his assistants, yea or no;
Who answer'd him they came from Buckingham
Upon his party. He, mistrusting them,
Hois'd sail, and made his course again for Britagne.

KING RICHARD.
March on, march on, since we are up in arms;
If not to fight with foreign enemies,
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home.

[Re-enter CATESBY.]

CATESBY.
My liege, the Duke of Buckingham is taken, —
That is the best news: that the Earl of Richmond
Is with a mighty power landed at Milford
Is colder tidings, yet they must be told.

KING RICHARD.
Away towards Salisbury! while we reason here
A royal battle might be won and lost: —
Some one take order Buckingham be brought
To Salisbury; the rest march on with me.

[Flourish. Exeunt.]

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