Richard III By William Shakespeare Act IV

DUCHESS.
Either thou wilt die by God's just ordinance
Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror;
Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish
And never more behold thy face again.
Therefore take with thee my most grievous curse;
Which in the day of battle tire thee more
Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
My prayers on the adverse party fight;
And there the little souls of Edward's children
Whisper the spirits of thine enemies,
And promise them success and victory.
Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end:
Shame serves thy life and doth thy death attend.

[Exit.]

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Though far more cause, yet much less spirit to curse
Abides in me; I say amen to her.

[Going.]

KING RICHARD.
Stay, madam, I must talk a word with you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
I have no more sons of the royal blood
For thee to slaughter: for my daughters, Richard, —
They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens;
And therefore level not to hit their lives.

KING RICHARD.
You have a daughter call'd Elizabeth.
Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
And must she die for this? O, let her live,
And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty:
Slander myself as false to Edward's bed;
Throw over her the veil of infamy:
So she may live unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.

KING RICHARD.
Wrong not her birth; she is of royal blood.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
To save her life I'll say she is not so.

KING RICHARD.
Her life is safest only in her birth.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
And only in that safety died her brothers.

KING RICHARD.
Lo, at their births good stars were opposite.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
No, to their lives bad friends were contrary.

KING RICHARD.
All unavoided is the doom of destiny.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
True, when avoided grace makes destiny:
My babes were destined to a fairer death,
If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life.

KING RICHARD.
You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle cozen'd
Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
Whose hand soever lanc'd their tender hearts,
Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction:
No doubt the murderous knife was dull and blunt
Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
Till that my nails were anchor'd in thine eyes;
And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.

KING RICHARD.
Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
And dangerous success of bloody wars,
As I intend more good to you and yours
Than ever you or yours by me were harm'd!

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
What good is cover'd with the face of heaven,
To be discover'd, that can do me good?

KING RICHARD.
Advancement of your children, gentle lady.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads?

KING RICHARD.
Unto the dignity and height of honour,
The high imperial type of this earth's glory.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Flatter my sorrows with report of it;
Tell me what state, what dignity, what honour,
Canst thou demise to any child of mine?

KING RICHARD.
Even all I have; ay, and myself and all
Will I withal endow a child of thine;
So in the Lethe of thy angry soul
Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs
Which thou supposest I have done to thee.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness
Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.

KING RICHARD.
Then know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
My daughter's mother thinks it with her soul.

KING RICHARD.
What do you think?

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul:
So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers;
And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.

KING RICHARD.
Be not so hasty to confound my meaning:
I mean that with my soul I love thy daughter,
And do intend to make her Queen of England.

QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Well, then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?

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