Richard III: Act I, Scene i Epic Theater Ensemble


Richard III.         Act 1, Scene 1.             Richard

(This text is featured in our interview with Jim Wallert and Ron Russell)

1  Now is the winter of our discontent
2  Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
3  And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
4  In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
5  Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
6  Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
7  Our stern alarums chang’d to merry meetings,
8  Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
9  Grim-visag’d war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
10  And now,–instead of mounting barbed steeds
11  To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,–
12  He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
13  To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
14  But I,–that am not shap’d for sportive tricks,
15  Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
16  I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
17  To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
18  I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
19  Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
20  Deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before my time
21  Into this breathing world scarce half made up,
22  And that so lamely and unfashionable
23  That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;–
24  Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
25  Have no delight to pass away the time,
26  Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
27  And descant on mine own deformity:
28  And therefore,–since I cannot prove a lover,
29  To entertain these fair well-spoken days,–
30  I am determined to prove a villain,
31  And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
32  Then, since this earth affords no joy to me,
33  I’ll make my heaven to dream upon the crown,
34  Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
35  And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
36  And frame my face to all occasions.

37  Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
38  By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
39  To set my brother Clarence and the king
40  In deadly hate the one against the other:
41  And if King Edward be as true and just
42  As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
43  This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,–
44  About a prophecy which says that G
45  Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
46  Dive, thoughts, down to my soul:–here Clarence comes.

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