Richard III By William Shakespeare Act V

Why, then 'tis time to arm and give direction. —

[He advances to the Troops.]

More than I have said, loving countrymen,
The leisure and enforcement of the time
Forbids to dwell on: yet remember this, —
God and our good cause fight upon our side;
The prayers of holy saints and wronged souls,
Like high-rear'd bulwarks, stand before our faces;
Richard except, those whom we fight against
Had rather have us win than him they follow:
For what is he they follow? truly, gentlemen,
A bloody tyrant and a homicide;
One rais'd in blood, and one in blood establish'd;
One that made means to come by what he hath,
And slaughter'd those that were the means to help him;
A base foul stone, made precious by the foil
Of England's chair, where he is falsely set;
One that hath ever been God's enemy.
Then, if you fight against God's enemy,
God will, in justice, ward you as His soldiers;
If you do sweat to put a tyrant down,
You sleep in peace, the tyrant being slain;
If you do fight against your country's foes,
Your country's fat shall pay your pains the hire;
If you do fight in safeguard of your wives,
Your wives shall welcome home the conquerors;
If you do free your children from the sword,
Your children's children quit it in your age.
Then, in the name of God and all these rights,
Advance your standards, draw your willing swords.
For me, the ransom of my bold attempt
Shall be this cold corpse on the earth's cold face;
But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt
The least of you shall share his part thereof.
Sound drums and trumpets boldly and cheerfully;
God and Saint George! Richmond and victory!


[Re-enter KING RICHARD, RATCLIFF, Attendants, and Forces.]

What said Northumberland as touching Richmond?

That he was never trained up in arms.

He said the truth; and what said Surrey then?

He smil'd, and said, "the better for our purpose."

He was in the right; and so indeed it is.

[Clock strikes.]

Tell the clock there. — Give me a calendar. —
Who saw the sun to-day?

Not I, my lord.

Then he disdains to shine; for by the book
He should have brav'd the east an hour ago:
A black day will it be to somebody. —
Ratcliff, —

My lord?

The sun will not be seen to-day;
The sky doth frown and lower upon our army.
I would these dewy tears were from the ground.
Not shine to-day! Why, what is that to me
More than to Richmond? for the selfsame heaven
That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.

[Enter NORFOLK.]

Arm, arm, my lord; the foe vaunts in the field.

Come, bustle, bustle; caparison my horse; —
Call up Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power:
I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain,
And thus my battle shall be ordered: —
My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,
Consisting equally of horse and foot;
Our archers shall be placed in the midst:
John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey,
Shall have the leading of this foot and horse.
They thus directed, we will follow
In the main battle; whose puissance on either side
Shall be well winged with our chiefest horse.
This, and Saint George to boot! — What think'st thou,

A good direction, warlike sovereign. —
This found I on my tent this morning.

[Giving a scroll.]

[Reads.] "Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dickon thy master is bought and sold."
A thing devised by the enemy. —
Go, gentlemen, every man unto his charge:
Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls;
Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
Devis'd at first to keep the strong in awe:
Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.
March on, join bravely, let us to't pell-mell;
If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell. —
What shall I say more than I have inferr'd?
Remember whom you are to cope withal; —
A sort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways,
A scum of Britagnes, and base lackey peasants,
Whom their o'er-cloyed country vomits forth
To desperate adventures and assur'd destruction.
You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest;
You having lands, and bless'd with beauteous wives,
They would restrain the one, distain the other.
And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow,
Long kept in Britagne at our mother's cost?
A milk-sop, one that never in his life
Felt so much cold as over shoes in snow?
Let's whip these stragglers o'er the seas again;
Lash hence these over-weening rags of France,
These famish'd beggars, weary of their lives;
Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,
For want of means, poor rats, had hang'd themselves:
If we be conquered, let men conquer us,
And not these bastard Britagnes, whom our fathers
Have in their own land beaten, bobb'd, and thump'd,
And, on record, left them the heirs of shame.
Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives,
Ravish our daughters? — Hark! I hear their drum.
[Drum afar off.]
Fight, gentlemen of England! fight, bold yeomen!
Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head!
Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood;
Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!

[Enter a MESSENGER.]

What says Lord Stanley? will he bring his power?

My lord, he doth deny to come.

Off with his son George's head!

My lord, the enemy is pass'd the marsh:
After the battle let George Stanley die.

A thousand hearts are great within my bosom:
Advance our standards, set upon our foes;
Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George,
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!
Upon them! Victory sits on our helms.


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