Richard III; Act IV, scene iv.


Richard III

Act IV, Scene iv

This speech is used in our interview with Toby Malone and Aili Huber.

Struck through lines reflect lines cut for reading

Original scene: 89 lines

Cut scene: 51 lines

RICHARD III		Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
And dangerous success of bloody wars,
As I intend more good to you and yours,
Than ever you or yours were by me wrong'd!

ELIZABETH		Be brief, lest that be process of thy kindness
Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.

RICHARD III		Then know, that from my soul I love thy daughter.

ELIZABETH		My daughter's mother thinks it with her soul.

RICHARD III		What do you think?

ELIZABETH		That thou dost love my daughter from thy soul:
So from thy soul's love didst thou love her brothers;
And from my heart's love I do thank thee for it.

RICHARD III		Be not so hasty to confound my meaning:
I mean, that with my soul I love thy daughter,
And mean to make her queen of England.

ELIZABETH		Say then, who dost thou mean shall be her king?

RICHARD III		Even he that makes her queen who should be else?

ELIZABETH		What, thou?

RICHARD III		I, even I: what think you of it, madam?

ELIZABETH		How canst thou woo her?

RICHARD III		That would I learn of you,
As one that are best acquainted with her humor.

ELIZABETH		Send to her, by the man that slew her brothers,
A pair of bleeding-hearts; thereon engrave
Edward and York; then haply she will weep:

RICHARD III		Say that I did all this for love of her.

ELIZABETH		Nay, then indeed she cannot choose but hate thee,
Having bought love with such a bloody spoil.

RICHARD III		If I did take the kingdom from your sons,
To make amends, I'll give it to your daughter.
The loss you have is but a son being king,
And by that loss your daughter is made queen.
Go, then my mother, to thy daughter go
Prepare her ears to hear a wooer's tale…

ELIZABETH		What were I best to say? her father's brother
Would be her lord? or shall I say, her uncle?
Or, he that slew her brothers and her uncles?

RICHARD III		Say that the king, which may command, entreats.

ELIZABETH		That at her hands which the king's King forbids.

RICHARD III		Say, she shall be a high and mighty queen.

ELIZABETH		To wail the title, as her mother doth.

RICHARD III		Say, I will love her everlastingly.

ELIZABETH		But how long shall that title 'ever' last?

RICHARD III		Sweetly in force unto her fair life's end.

ELIZABETH		But how long fairly shall her sweet life last?

RICHARD III		So long as heaven and nature lengthens it.

ELIZABETH		So long as hell and Richard likes of it.

RICHARD III		Your reasons are too shallow and too quick.

ELIZABETH		O no, my reasons are too deep and dead;
Too deep and dead, poor infants, in their grave.

RICHARD III		Harp not on that string, madam; that is past.

ELIZABETH		Harp on it still shall I till heart-strings break.

RICHARD III		Now, by my George, my garter, and my crown,--

ELIZABETH		Profaned, dishonour'd, and the third usurp'd.
If something thou wilt swear to be believed,
Swear then by something that thou hast not wrong'd.

RICHARD III		Now, by the world--

ELIZABETH		'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.

RICHARD III		My father's death--

ELIZABETH		Thy life hath that dishonour'd.

RICHARD III		Then, by myself--

ELIZABETH		Thyself thyself misusest.

RICHARD III		Why then, by God--

ELIZABETH		God's wrong is most of all.
What canst thou swear by now?

RICHARD III		The time to come.

ELIZABETH		Swear not by time to come; for that thou hast
Misused ere used, by time misused o'erpast.

RICHARD III		In her consists my happiness and thine;
Without her, follows to this land and me,
To thee, herself, and many a Christian soul,
Death, desolation, ruin and decay:
It cannot be avoided but by this;
It will not be avoided but by this.
Therefore, good mother,--I must can you so--
Be the attorney of my love to her:

ELIZABETH		Shall I forget myself to be myself?

RICHARD III		Ay, if yourself's remembrance wrong yourself.

ELIZABETH		But thou didst kill my children.

RICHARD III		But in your daughter's womb I bury them:
Where in that nest of spicery they shall breed
Selves of themselves, to your recomforture.

ELIZABETH		Shall I go win my daughter to thy will?

RICHARD III		And be a happy mother by the deed.

ELIZABETH		I go. Write to me very shortly.
And you shall understand from me her mind.

RICHARD III		Bear her my true love's kiss; and so, farewell.


Relenting fool, and shallow, changing woman!