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