Henry VI, Part iii Act III, Scene ii: First Folio

 

Henry 6, Part 3.         Act 3, Scene 2.             Richard of Gloucester

(This text is featured in our interview with Jim DeVita)

124    I, Edward will vse Women honourably:
125    Would he were wasted, Marrow, Bones, and all,
126    That from his Loynes no hopefull Branch may spring,
127    To crosse me from the Golden time I looke for:
128     And yet, betweene my Soules desire, and me,
129     The lustfull Edwards Title buryed,
120    Is Clarence, Henry, and his Sonne young Edward,
131    And all the vnlook’d-for Issue of their Bodies,
132    To take their Roomes, ere I can place my selfe:
133    A cold premeditation for my purpose.
134    Why then I doe but dreame on Soueraigntie,
135    Like one that stands vpon a Promontorie,
136    And spyes a farre-off shore, where hee would tread,
137    Wishing his foot were equall with his eye,
138    And chides the Sea, that sunders him from thence,
139    Saying, hee’le lade it dry, to haue his way:
140    So doe I wish the Crowne, being so farre off,
141    And so I chide the meanes that keepes me from it,
142    And so (I say) Ile cut the Causes off,
143    Flattering me with impossibilities:
144    My Eyes too quicke, my Heart o’re-weenes too much,
145    Vnlesse my Hand and Strength could equall them.
146    Well, say there is no Kingdome then for Richard:
147    What other Pleasure can the World affoord?
148    Ile make my Heauen in a Ladies Lappe,
149    And decke my Body in gay Ornaments,
150    And ‘witch sweet Ladies with my Words and Lookes.
151    Oh miserable Thought! and more vnlikely,
152    Then to accomplish twentie Golden Crownes.
153    Why Loue forswore me in my Mothers Wombe:
154    And for I should not deale in her soft Lawes,
155    Shee did corrupt frayle Nature with some Bribe,
156    To shrinke mine Arme vp like a wither’d Shrub,
157    To make an enuious Mountaine on my Back,
158    Where sits Deformitie to mocke my Body;
159    To shape my Legges of an vnequall size,
160    To dis-proportion me in euery part:
161    Like to a Chaos, or an vn-lick’d Beare-whelpe,
162    That carryes no impression like the Damme.
163    And am I then a man to be belou’d?
164    Oh monstrous fault, to harbour such a thought.
165    Then since this Earth affoords no Ioy to me,
166    But to command, to check, to o’re-beare such,
167    As are of better Person then my selfe:
168    Ile make my Heauen, to dreame vpon the Crowne,
169    And whiles I liue, t’account this World but Hell,
170    Vntill my mis-shap’d Trunke, that beares this Head,
171     Be round impaled with a glorious Crowne.
172    And yet I know not how to get the Crowne,
173    For many Liues stand betweene me and home:
174    And I, like one lost in a Thornie Wood,
175    That rents the Thornes, and is rent with the Thornes,
176    Seeking a way, and straying from the way,
177    Not knowing how to finde the open Ayre,
178    But toyling desperately to finde it out,
179    Torment my selfe, to catch the English Crowne:
180    And from that torment I will free my selfe,
181    Or hew my way out with a bloody Axe.
182    Why I can smile, and murther whiles I smile,
183    And cry, Content, to that which grieues my Heart,
184    And wet my Cheekes with artificiall Teares,
185    And frame my Face to all occasions.
186    Ile drowne more Saylers then the Mermaid shall,
187    Ile slay more gazers then the Basiliske,
188    Ile play the Orator as well as Nestor,
189    Deceiue more slyly then Vlisses could,
190    And like a Synon, take another Troy.
191    I can adde Colours to the Camelion,
192    Change shapes with Proteus, for aduantages,
193    And set the murtherous Macheuill to Schoole.
194    Can I doe this, and cannot get a Crowne?
195    Tut, were it farther off, Ile plucke it downe.

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