Henry VI, Part iii Act III, Scene ii


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

(This text is featured in our interviews with Jim DeVita, Hamilton Clancy  and Jeffrey Wilson)

140  Ay, Edward will use women honourably.
141  Would he were wasted, marrow, bones and all,
142  That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring,
143  To cross me from the golden time I look for!
144  And yet, between my soul’s desire and me–
145  The lustful Edward’s title buried–
146  Is Clarence, Henry, and his son young Edward,
147  And all the unlook’d for issue of their bodies,
148  To take their rooms, ere I can place myself:
149  A cold premeditation for my purpose!
150  Why, then, I do but dream on sovereignty;
151  Like one that stands upon a promontory,
152  And spies a far-off shore where he would tread,
153  Wishing his foot were equal with his eye,
154  And chides the sea that sunders him from thence,
155  Saying, he’ll lade it dry to have his way:
156  So do I wish the crown, being so far off;
157  And so I chide the means that keeps me from it;
158  And so I say, I’ll cut the causes off,
159  Flattering me with impossibilities.
160  My eye’s too quick, my heart o’erweens too much,
161  Unless my hand and strength could equal them.
162  Well, say there is no kingdom then for Richard;
163  What other pleasure can the world afford?
164  I’ll make my heaven in a lady’s lap,
165  And deck my body in gay ornaments,
166  And witch sweet ladies with my words and looks.
167  O miserable thought! and more unlikely
168  Than to accomplish twenty golden crowns!
169  Why, love forswore me in my mother’s womb:
170  And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
171  She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe,
172  To shrink mine arm up like a wither’d shrub;
173  To make an envious mountain on my back,
174  Where sits deformity to mock my body;
175  To shape my legs of an unequal size;
176  To disproportion me in every part,
177  Like to a chaos, or an unlick’d bear-whelp
178  That carries no impression like the dam.
179  And am I then a man to be beloved?
180  O monstrous fault, to harbour such a thought!
181  Then, since this earth affords no joy to me,
182  But to command, to cheque, to o’erbear such
183  As are of better person than myself,
184  I’ll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,
185  And, whiles I live, to account this world but hell,
186  Until my mis-shaped trunk that bears this head
187  Be round impaled with a glorious crown.
188  And yet I know not how to get the crown,
189  For many lives stand between me and home:
190  And I,–like one lost in a thorny wood,
191  That rends the thorns and is rent with the thorns,
192  Seeking a way and straying from the way;
193  Not knowing how to find the open air,
194  But toiling desperately to find it out,–
195  Torment myself to catch the English crown:
196  And from that torment I will free myself,
197  Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.
198  Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
199  And cry ‘Content’ to that which grieves my heart,
200  And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
201  And frame my face to all occasions.
202  I’ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
203  I’ll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
204  I’ll play the orator as well as Nestor,
205  Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
206  And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
207  I can add colours to the chameleon,
208  Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
209  And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
210  Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
211 Tut, were it farther off, I’ll pluck it down.

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