True Tragedy of Richard III-modern text version
THE TRUE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD THE THIRD
The true tragedie of Richard the third:
wherein is showne the death of Edward the
fourth, with the smothering of the two
yoong princes in the Tower:
with a lamentable ende of Shores wife, an example
for all wicked women.
And lastly, the coniunction and ioyning of the two noble
houses, Lancaster and Yorke.
As it was playd by the Queenes Maiesties Players.
Published: London : Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by
William Barley, at his shop in Newgate Market,
neare Christ Church doore, 1594.
Enter Truth and Poetry. To them the Ghost of George, Duke of Clarence.
|GHOST: Cresce cruor! Sanguis satietur sanguine!
Cresce, Quod spero citò. O citò, citò, vendicta! (Exit)
|(1. Cresce, cruor! etc. Increase, blood! Let blood be satiated by blood! Rise up that which I hope for, quickly! O quickly, quickly, revenge!)|
POETRY: Truth well met.
TRUTH: Thanks, Poetry; what makes thou upon a stage?
TRUTH: Then will I add bodies to the shadows. 
Therefore depart and give Truth leave
To show her pageant.
POETRY: Why, will Truth be a Player?
TRUTH: No, but Tragedia like for to present
A tragedy in England done but late,
That will revive the hearts of drooping minds.
|TRUTH: Marry thus.
Richard Plantagenet of the House of York,
Claiming the crown by wars, not by descent, 
Had, as the chronicles make manifest,
In the two and twentieth year of Henry the Sixth,
By Act of Parliament entailed to him
The crown and titles to that dignity,
And to his offspring lawfully begotten,
After the decease of that forenamed King,
Yet not contented for to stay the time,
Made wars upon King Henry then the Sixth,
And by outrage suppressed that virtuous King,
And won the crown of England to himself. 
But since at Wakefield, in a battle pitched,
Outrageous Richard breathed his latest breath,
Leaving behind three branches of that line,
Three sons: the first was Edward, now the King,
George of Clarence, and Richard, Gloucester’s Duke.
Then Henry, claiming after his decease
His style, his crown and former dignity,
Was quite suppressed, till this Edward the Fourth.
|(36. style: the ceremonial designation of a sovereign – OED 18)|
POETRY: But tell me Truth, of Henry what ensued?
TRUTH: Imprisoned he, in the Tower of London lies, 
By strict command, from Edward, England’s King,
Since cruelly murdered by Richard, Gloucester’s Duke.
POETRY: Whose Ghost was that did appear to us?
TRUTH: It was the ghost of George, the Duke of Clarence,
Who was attainted in King Edward’s reign,
Falsely of treason to his royalty,
Imprisoned in the Tower was most unnaturally,
By his own brother, shame to parents’ stock,
By Gloucester’s Duke drowned in a butt of wine.
POETRY: What shield was that he let fall? 
TRUTH: A shield containing this, in full effect,
Blood sprinkled, springs: blood spilt, craves due revenge:
Whereupon he writes, Cresce cruor,
Sanguis satietur sanguine. Cresce,
Quod spero citò. O citò, citò, vendicta.
POETRY: What manner of man was this Richard Duke of Gloucester?
TRUTH: A man ill shaped, crooked backed, lame armed, withal,
Valiantly minded, but tyrannous in authority.
So during the minority of the young Prince,
He is made Lord Protector over the realm. 
Gentles, suppose that Edward now hath reigned
Full two and twenty years, and now like to die,
Hath summoned all his nobles to the Court,
To swear allegiance with the Duke his brother,
For truth unto his son, the tender Prince,
Whose father’s soul is now near flight to God,
Leaving behind two sons of tender age,
Five daughters to comfort the hapless Queen,
All under the protection of the Duke of Gloucester:
Thus gentles, excuse the length by the matter, 
And here begins Truth’s Pageant. Poetry,
Wend with me. (Exeunt.)
Enter Edward IV, Lord Hastings, Lord Grey, Marquess of Dorset, and Elizabeth. To them, Richard.
HASTINGS: Long live my sovereign, in all happiness.
MARQUESS: An honourable age with Croesus’ wealth,
Hourly attend the person of the King:
KING: And welcome, you peers of England, unto your King:
HASTINGS: For unthankfulness the heavens hath thrown thee 
MARQUESS: I fear for our ingratitude; our angry God doth frown.
KING: Why nobles, he that lay me here,
Can raise me at his pleasure.
But my dear friends and kinsmen,
In what estate I now lie, it is seen to you all,
And I feel myself near the dreadful stroke of death,
And the cause that I have requested you in friendly wise
To meet together is this:
That where malice and envy sowing sedition in the hearts of men, 
So would I have that admonished and friendly favours,
Overcome in the heart of you Lord Marquess and Lord Hastings
Both; for how I have governed these two and twenty years,
I leave it to your discretions,
The malice hath still been an enemy to you both,
That in my life time I could never get any league of amity betwixt you.
Yet at my death let me entreat you to embrace each other,
That at my last departure you may send my soul
To the joys celestial,
For leaving behind me my young son, 
Your lawful King after my decease,
May be by your wise and grave counsel so governed,
Which no doubt may bring comfort
To his famous realm of England.
But what saith Lord Marquess and Lord Hastings?
What not one word? Nay then, I see it will not be,
For they are resolute in their ambition.
ELIZ: Ah yield, Lord Hastings,
And submit yourselves to each other.
And you, Lord Marquess, submit your self, 
See here the aged King, my father,
How he sues for peace betwixt you both.
Consider Lord Marquess, you are son to my mother the Queen,
And therefore, let me entreat you to mitigate your wrath,
And in friendly sort, embrace each other.
KING: Nay, cease thy speech Elizabeth,
It is but folly to speak to them.
For they are resolute in their ambitious minds.
Therefore Elizabeth, I feel myself at the last instant of death,
And now must die, being thus tormented in mind. 
HASTINGS: May it be that thou, Lord Marquess,
That neither by entreaty of the Prince,
Nor courteous words of Elizabeth his daughter,
May withdraw thy ambition from me?
MARQUESS: May it be, Lord Hastings,
Canst not perceive the mark his Grace aims at?
HASTINGS: No, I am resolute, except thou submit.
MARQUESS: If thou be resolute, give up the upshot,
And perhaps thy head may pay for the losses.
KING: Ah Gods, sith at my death you jar, 
What will you do to the young Prince after my decease?
For shame, I say, depart from my presence, and leave me to myself;
For these words strikes a second dying in my soul.
Ah my Lords, I thought I could have commanded
A greater thing than this at your hands.
But sith I cannot, I take my leave of you both,
And so depart and trouble me no more.
HASTINGS: With shame, and like your Majesty I submit therefore,
Craving humble pardon on my knees,
And would rather that my body shall be a prey to mine enemy, 
Rather than I will offend my Lord at the hour
And instance of his death.
KING: Ah, thanks, Lord Hastings.
ELIZ: Ah, yield, Lord Marquess, sith Lord Hastings
Is contented to be united.
KING: Ah yield, Lord Marquess, thou art too obstinate.
MARQUESS: My gracious Lord, I am content,
And humbly crave your Grace’s pardon on my knee,
For my foul offence,
And see, my Lord, my breast opened to mine adversary, 
That he may take revenge, than once it shall be said,
I will offend my gracious sovereign.
KING: Now let me see you friendly give one another your hands.
HASTINGS: With a good will and like your Grace,
Therefore, Lord Marquess, take here my hand,
Which once was vowed and sworn to be thy death,
But now through entreaty of my Prince,
I knit a league of amity forever.
MARQUESS: Well, Lord Hastings, not in show but in deed,
Take thou here my hand, which was once vowed 
To have shivered thy body in piecemeals,
That the fowls of the air should have fed
Their young withal,
But now, upon allegiance to my Prince, I vow perfect love,
And live friendship for ever.
KING: Now for confirming of it, here take your oaths.
HASTINGS: If I, Lord Hastings, falsify my league of friendship
Vowed to Lord Marquess, I crave confusion.
|MARQUESS: Like oath take I, and crave confusion.||(168-70 confusion: ruin, destruction)|
KING: Confusion. 
Now my Lords, for your young King, that lieth now at Ludlow,
Attended with Earl Rivers, Lord Grey, his two uncles,
And the rest of the Queen’s kindred,
I hope you will be unto him as you have been to me.
His years are but young, thirteen at the most,
Unto whose government, I commit to my brother the Protector.
But to thee Elizabeth, my daughter,
I leave thee in a world of trouble;
And commend me to thy mother, to all thy sisters,
And especially I give thee this in charge upon and at my death, 
Be loyal to thy brother during his authority.
As thyself art virtuous, let thy prayers be modest,
Still be bountiful in devotion.
And thus, leaving thee with a kiss, I take my last farewell,
For I am so sleepy that I must now make an end;
And here before you all, I commit my soul to almighty God,
My saviour, and sweet redeemer, my body to the earth,
My scepter and crown to the young Prince my son.
And now nobles, draw the curtains and depart.
He that made me, save me, 
Unto whose hands I commit my spirit.
The King dies in his bed. (Exit all)
Enter Shore’s wife, and Hursly her maid.
SHORE’S WIFE: O fortune, wherefore wert thou called fortune?
But that thou art fortunate?
Those whom thou favourest be famous,
Meriting mere mercy,
And fraught with mirrors of magnanimity,
And fortune, I would thou hadst never favoured me. 
HURSLY: Why Mistress, if you exclaim against fortune,
You condemn yourself,
For who hath advancéd you but fortune?
SHORE’S WIFE: Aye, as she hath advancéd me,
So may she throw me down.
But Hursly, dost not hear the King is sick?
HURSLY: Yes Mistress, but never heard that every sick man
SHORE’S WIFE: Ah Hursly, my mind presageth
Some great mishaps unto me. 
For last time I saw the King, me thought
Ghastly death approachéd in his face.
For thou knowest this, Hursly, I have been good to all,
And still ready to prefer my friends,
To what preferment I could.
For what was it his Grace would deny Shore’s wife?
Of anything, yea were it half his revenues,
I know his Grace would not see me want,
And if his Grace should die,
As heavens forfend it should be so, 
I have left me nothing now to comfort me withal,
And then those that are my foes will triumph at my fall.
But if the King escape, as I hope he will,
Then will I feather my nest,
That blow the stormy winter never so cold,
I will be thoroughly provided for one.
But here comes Lodowick, servant to Lord Hastings,
How now, Lodowick, what news?
LODOWICK: Mistress Shore, my Lord would request you 
To come and speak with him.
SHORE’S WIFE: I will Lodowick.
But tell me, what news? Is the King recovered?
LODOWICK: Aye, Mistress Shore, he hath recovered
That he long looked for.
SHORE’S WIFE: Lodowick, how long is it since
He began to mend?
LODOWICK: Even when the greatest of his torments had left him.
SHORE’S WIFE: But are the nobles agreed to the contentment of the
LODOWICK: The nobles and peers are agreed as the King would
SHORE’S WIFE: Lodowick, thou revivest me.
LODOWICK: Aye, but few thought that the agreement and his life
would have ended together.
SHORE’S WIFE: Why Lodowick, is he dead?
LODOWICK: In brief, Mistress Shore, he hath changed his life.
|SHORE’S WIFE: His life! Ah me, unhappy woman,
Now is misery at hand,
Now will my foes triumph at this my fall. 
Those whom I have done most good, will now forsake me.
Ah Hursly, when I entertained thee first,
I was far from change.So was I, Lodowick,
When I restored thee thy lands.
Ah, sweet Edward, farewell my gracious Lord and sovereign,
For now shall Shore’s wife be a mirror and a looking glass,
To all her enemies.
Thus shall I find Lodowick, and have cause to say,
That all men are unconstant.
(252. entertained: employed)
LODOWICK: Why Mistress Shore, for the loss of one friend, 
Will you abandon the rest that wish you well?
SHORE’S WIFE: Ah, Lodowick, I must; for when the tree decays
Whose fruitful branch have flourished many a year,
Then farewell those joyful days and offspring of my heart,
But say, Lodowick, who hath the King made Protector
During the minority of the young Prince?
LODOWICK: He hath made his brother Duke of Gloucester Protector.
SHORE’S WIFE: Ah me, then comes my ruin and decay,
For he could never abide me to the death,
No, he always hated me whom his brother loved so well, 
Thus must I lament and say, all the world is unconstant.
LODOWICK: But Mistress Shore, comfort yourself,
And think well of my Lord,
Who hath always been a helper unto you.
SHORE’S WIFE: Indeed, Lodowick, to condemn his honour I cannot,
For he hath always been my good Lord,
For as the world is fickle, so changeth the minds of men.
LODOWICK: Why Mistress Shore, rather than want should oppress
You, that little land which you beg’d for me of the King,
Shall be at your dispose. 
SHORE’S WIFE: Thanks, good Lodowick.
Enter a Citizen, and Morton, a serving man.
CITIZEN: O Master Morton, you are very welcome met,
I hope you think on me for my money.
MORTON: I pray sir bear with me, and you shall have it,
With thanks too.
CITIZEN: Nay, I pray sir let me have my money,
For I have had thanks and too much more than I looked for.
MORTON: In faith, sir you shall have it,
But you must bear with me a little, 
But sir, I marvel how you can be so greedy for your money,
When you see sir, we are so uncertain of our own.
CITIZEN: How so uncertain of mine own?
Why, dost thou know anybody will come to rob me?
MORTON: Why no.
CITIZEN: Wilt thou come in the night and cut my throat?
CITIZEN: Wilt thou and the rest of thy companions,
Come and set my house on fire?
MORTON: Why no, I tell thee. 
CITIZEN: Why how should I then be uncertain of mine own?
MORTON: Why sir, by reason the King is dead.
CITIZEN: O sir! Is the King dead?
I hope he hath given you no quittance for my debt.
MORTON: No sir, but I pray stay a while, and you shall have it
As soon as I can.
CITIZEN: Well I must be content, where nothing is to be had,
The King loseth his right they say,
But who is this?
MORTON: Marry sir, it is Mistress Shore, 
To whom I am more beholden to for my service,
Than the dearest friend that ever I had.
CITIZEN: And I for my son’s pardon.
MORTON: Now Mistress Shore, how fare you?
SHORE’S WIFE: Well Morton, but not so well as thou hast known me,
For I think I shall be driven to try my friends one day.
MORTON: God forfend, Mistress Shore,
And happy be that sun shall shine upon thee,
For preserving the life of my son.
SHORE’S WIFE: Gramercies, good father. 
But how doth thy son? Is he well?
CITIZEN: The better that thou lives, doth he.
SHORE’S WIFE: Thanks father, I am glad of it.
But come, Master Lodowick, shall we go?
And you Morton, you’ll bear us company?
LODOWICK: Aye Mistress Shore,
For my Lord thinks long for our coming.
|CITIZEN: There, there, huffer; but by your leave,
The King’s death is a maim to her credit. 
But they say there is my Lord Hastings in the Court;
He is as good as the ace of hearts at maw.
Well, even as they brew, so let them bake for me.
But I must about the streets, to see and I can meet
With such cold customers as they I met withal even now,
Mass, if I meet with no better,
I am like to keep a bad household of it. (Exit)
|(329. huffer: a boastful, swaggering, hectoring person)
(332. maw: an old game of cards)
Enter Richard, Sir William Catesby, Page of his
chamber, and his train
RICHARD: My friends, depart. 
The hour commands your absence.
Leave me, and every man look to his charge. (Exit train.)
CATESBY: Renowned and right worthy Protector,
Whose excellency far deserves the name of King than Protector,
Sir William Catesby wisheth my Lord,
That your Grace may so govern the young Prince,
That the crown of England may flourish in all happiness. (Exit Catesby)
RICHARD: Ah, “young Prince,” and why not I? 
Or who shall inherit Plantagenet’s but his son?
And who the King deceased, but the brother?
Shall law bridle nature, or authority hinder inheritance?
No! I say no! Principality brooks no equality,
Much less superiority,
And the title of a King is next under the degree of a God.
For if he be worthy to be called valiant,
That in his life wins honour, and by his sword wins riches,
Why now I with renown of a soldier, which is never sold but
By weight, nor changed but by loss of life, 
I reaped not the gain but the glory, and since it becometh
A son to maintain the honor of his deceased father,
Why should not I hazard his dignity by my brother’s sons?
To be baser than a King I disdain,
And to be more than Protector the law deny,
Why my father got the crown, my brother won the crown,
And I will wear the crown,
Or I’ll make them hop without their crowns that denies me.
Have I removed such logs out of my sight, as my brother Clarence
And King Henry the Sixth, to suffer a child to shadow me? 
Nay more, my nephew to disinherit me?
Yet most of all, to be released from the yoke of my brother,
As I term it, to become subject to his son?
No death nor hell shall not withhold me, but as I rule I will reign,
And so reign, that the proudest enemy shall not abide
The sharpest hour. Why, what are the babes but a puff of
Gunpowder? A mark for the soldiers, food for fishes,
Or lining for beds, devices enough to make them away,
Wherein I am resolute, and determining, needs no counsel.
Ho, whose within? 
Enter Page and Percival
PERCIVAL: May it please your Majesty.
RICHARD:. Ha, villain! Majesty!
PERCIVAL: I speak but upon that which shall be, my good Lord.
RICHARD: But what’s he with thee?
PAGE: A messenger with a letter from the right honourable
The Duke of Buckingham.
RICHARD: Sirrah, give place.
Ah, how this title of Majesty animates me to my purpose. 
Rise man, regard no fall; haply this letter brings good luck,
May it be, or is it possible?
Doth fortune so much favour my happiness,
That I no sooner devise, but she sets abroach?
Or doth she but to try me, that raising me aloft,
My fall may be the greater? Well laugh on, sweet change,
Be as be may, I will never fear colours nor regard ruth,
Valour brings fame, and fame conquers death.
PERCIVAL: My Lord. 
RICHARD: For so thy letter declares thy name,
Thy trust to thy Lord, is a sufficient warrant
That I utter my mind fully unto thee;
And seeing thy Lord and I have been long foes,
And have found now so fit opportunity to join league,
To allay the proud enemy, tell him thus as a friend:
I do accept of his Grace, and will be as ready to put in practice
To the uttermost of my power, what e’er he shall be to devise.
But whereas he hath writ that the removing of the young
Prince from the Queen’s friends might do well, 
Tell him thus: it is the only way to our purpose.
For he shall shortly come up to London to his coronation,
At which instant, we will be both present,
And where by the help of thy Lord, I will so play my part,
That I’ll be more than I am, and not much less than I look for,
No, nor a hair breadth from that I am,
Ajudge thou what it is, Percival.
PERCIVAL: God sent it, my Lord; but my Lord willed me to
satisfy you, and to tell you by word of mouth that he hath in
readiness a brave company of men. 
RICHARD: What power hath he?
PERCIVAL: A brave band of his own.
RICHARD: What number?
PERCIVAL: My Lord, to the number of five hundred footmen.
And horsemen aiders unto him, is my Lord Chamberlain, and
my Lord Hastings.
RICHARD: Zounds! Dares he trust the Lord Hastings?
PERCIVAL: Aye, my Lord, as his own life; he is secret I warrant you.
RICHARD: Well Percival, this matter is weighty and must not be
slipt; therefore, return this answer to thy Lord, that tomorrow 
I will meet him, for to day I cannot; for now the funeral is past
I must set a screen before the fire for fear of suspicion. Again, I
am now to strengthen myself by the controversy that is be-
twixt the kindred of the King deceased, and the Queen that’s
living. The young Prince is yet in hucksters handling, and they not
thoroughly friends; now must I so work that that water that
drives the mill may drown it. I climb, Percival. I regard more
the glory than the gain, for the very name of a King redouble
a man’s life with fame, when death hath done his worst. And so
commend me to thy Lord, and take thou this for thy pains. 
PERCIVAL: I thank your Grace; I humbly take my leave.
RICHARD: Why so, now fortune make me a King;
Fortune give me a kingdom. Let the world report
The Duke of Gloucester was a King,
Therefore fortune me a King:
If I be but King for a year, nay but half a year,
Nay a month, a week, three days, one day, or half a day,
Nay an hour; Zounds, half an hour.
Nay, sweet fortune, clap but the crown on my head, 
That the vassals may but once say,
God save King Richard’s life, it is enough.
Sirrah, who is there?
PAGE: My Lord.
RICHARD: What hearest thou about the Court?
PAGE: Joy, my Lord, of your Protectorship for the most part;
Some murmur, but my Lord they be of the baser sort.
RICHARD: A mighty arm will sway the baser sort; authority doth terrify.
But what other news hearest thou?
PAGE: This, my Lord: they say the young king is coming up
to his coronation, attended on by his two uncles, Earl Rivers and
Lord Grey, and the rest of the Queen’s kindred. 
RICHARD: A parlous bone to ground upon, and a rush stifly knit,
which if I could find a knot, I would give one half to the dogs
and set fire on the other.
PAGE: It is reported, my Lord, but I know not whether it be
true or no, that the Duke of Buckingham is up in the Marches
of Wales with a band of men, and as they say, he aims at the
RICHARD: Tush, a shadow without a substance, and a fear
without a cause; but yet if my neighbour’s house be on fire, let
me seek to save mine own. In trust is treason; time slippeth. It is 
ill jesting with edge tools, or dallying with Prince’s matters.
I’ll strike whilst the iron is hot, and I’ll trust never a Duke of
Buckingham, no never a Duke in the world, further than I see
him. And sirrah, so follow me. Exit Richard.
|PAGE: I see my Lord is fully resolved to climb, but how he
climbs I’ll leave that to your judgements; but what his fall will
be, that’s hard to say. But I marvel that the Duke of Buckingham
and he are now become such great friends, who had wont
to love one another so well as the spider doth the fly. But this I
have noted, since he hath had the charge of Protector, how 
many noble men hath fled the realm; first the Lord Marquess, son
to the Queen, the Earls of Westmoreland and Northumberland,
are secretly fled. How this gear will cotten I know not. But
what do I meddling in such matters, that should meddle with the
untying of my Lord’s points, faith do even as a great many do
beside, meddle with Princes matters so long, til they prove them-
selves beggars in the end. Therefore I, for fear I should be taken
napping with any words, I’ll set a lock on my lips, for fear my
tongue grow too wide for my mouth. 
(483. How this gear will cotten: How this business will turn out)
Enter the young Prince, his brother, Duke of York, Earl Rivers,
Lord [Thomas] Grey, Sir [Richard] Haute, Sir Thomas Vaughan.
KING: Right loving uncles, and the rest of this company, my
mother hath written, and thinks it convenient that we dismiss
our train, for fear the town of Northampton is not able to re-
ceive us. And again my uncle of Gloucester may rather think we
come of malice against him and his blood. Therefore my Lords,
let me hear your opinions, for my words and her letters are all
one. And besides, I myself give consent.
RIVERS: Then thus may it please your Grace, I will show my
opinion. First note the two houses of Lancaster and York, the 
league of friendship is yet but green betwixt them, and little
cause of variance may cause it break; and thereby I think it
not requisite to discharge the company because of this. The Duke
of Buckingham is up in the Marches of Wales with a great
power, and with him is joined the Protector, for what cause I
know not. Therefore my Lords, I have spoken my mind boldly,
but do as your honours shall think good.
VAUGHAN: Why my Lord Rivers, wherefore is he Protector but
for the Kings safety?
RIVERS: Aye, Sir Thomas Vaughan, and therefore a traitor, because 
he is Protector.
GREY: We have the Prince in charge, therefore we need not
RIVERS: We have the Prince, but they the authority.
GREY: Why take you not the Duke of Buckingham for the
RIVERS: Yes, and yet we may misdoubt the Duke of Gloucester as
GREY: Why then my Lord Rivers, I think it is convenient
that we leave you here behind us at Northampton, for conference 
with them; and if you hear their pretence be good towards the
King, you may in God’s name make return and come with them.
But if not, leave them and come to us with speed. For my sister
the Queen hath willed that we should dismiss our company,
and the King himself hath agreed to it, therefore we must needs
RIVERS: If it please your Grace, I am content, and humbly take
my leave of you all. (Exit.)
KING: Farewell good uncle. Ah gods, if I do live my father’s 
years, as God forbid I may, I will so root out this malice and
envy sown among the nobility, that I will make them weary
that were the first beginners of these mischiefs.
Grey. Worthily well-spoken of your princely Majesty,
Which no doubt showeth a king-like resolution.
VAUGHAN: A toward young Prince, and no doubt forward to
all virtue, whose reign God long prosper among us.
KING: But come uncle, let us forward of our journey towards
RIVERS: We will attend upon your Majesty. 
Enter an old Innkeeper, and Richard’s Page.
PAGE: Come on, mine host, what dost thou understand my
tale or no?
HOST: I’ faith my guest, you have amazed me already, and to
hear it again, it will mad me altogether, but because I may think
upon it the better, I pray you let me hear it once more.
PAGE: Why then, thus, I serve the right honourable the Lord
HOST: I, I know that too well. 
PAGE: Then this is his Grace’s pleasure, that this night he will be
lodged in thy house, thy fare must be sumptuous, thy lodgings
cleanly, his men used friendly and with great courtesy, and that
he may have his lodging prepared as near Lord Rivers as pos-
sible may be.
HOST: Why sir if this be all, this is done already.
PAGE: Nay more.
HOST: Nay sir, and you love me no more, here’s too much already.
PAGE: Nay, my Lord’s Grace’s pleasure is further, that when all
thy guests have ta’en their chambers, that thou convey into my 
Lord’s hands the keys of every several chamber; and what my
Lord’s pleasure is further, thou shalt know in the morning.
HOST: How lock in my guests like prisoners, why do you
hear my guests? Me thinks there should be little better than
treason in these words you have uttered.
PAGE: Treason, villain, how darest thou have a thought of
treason against my Lord? Therefore, you were best be brief, and
tell me whether you will do it or no.
HOST: Alas, what shall I do? Who were I best to offend? Shall
I betray that good old Earl that hath lain at my house this 
forty years? Why and I do, he will hang me. Nay, then on the
other side, if I should not do as my Lord Protector commands,
he will chop off my head. But is there no remedy?
PAGE: Come sir, be brief. There is no remedy; therefore be
brief and tell me straight.
HOST: Why then, sir, here’s my hand. Tell my Lord Protector
he shall have it; I will do as he commands me, but even against
my will. God is my witness.
PAGE: Why then, farewell mine host.
HOST: Farewell, even the worst guest that ever came to my 
house. Ah masters, masters, what a troublesome vocation am I
crept into. You think we that be innkeepers get all the world,
but I think I shall get a fair halter to my neck; but I must go
see all things done to my great grief.
Enter the Mother Queen [Elizabeth] , and her daughter [Elizabeth],
and her son [Richard, Duke of York], to sanctuary.
|Earl Rivers speaks out of his chamber:
Ho, mine host, Chamberlain, where’s my key?
(593. envy: hate)
Here enter Buckingham and Gloucester, and their train.
RICHARD: Thou wretched Earl, whose aged head imagines nought
Like Judas, thou admitted wast to sup with us last night, 
But heavens prevented thee our ills, and left thee in this plight.
Griev’st thou that I, the Gloucester Duke, should as Protector sway?
And were you he was left behind, to make us both away?
Wilt thou be ringleader to wrong, must you guide the realm?
Nay, overboard all such mates I hurl, whilst I do guide the helm.
I’ll weed you out by one and one, I’ll burn you up like chaff;
I’ll rend your stock up by the roots, that yet in triumphs laugh.
RIVERS: Alas, good Dukes, for ought I know, I never did offend,
Except unto my Prince, unloyal I have been,
Then show just cause, why you exclaim so rashly in this sort, 
So falsly thus me to condemn, upon some false report.
But am I here as prisoner kept, imprisoned here by you?
Then know, I am as true to my Prince, as the proudest in thy crew.
BUCK: Ah, bravely spoken good old Earl, who though his limbs be numb,
He hath his tongue as much at use, as though his years were young.
RICHARD: Speakest you the truth? How darst you speak, for justice to appeal?
When as thy packing with thy Prince, thy falsehood do reveal.
Ah Rivers, blush for shame to speak, like traitor as thou art.
|RIVERS: Upbraid you me a traitor to your Grace?
No, although a prisoner, I return defiance in thy face. 
The chronicles I record, talk of my fidelity, and of my progeny,
Where, as in a glass you maist behold thy ancestors and their treachery.
The wars in France, Irish conflicts, and Scotland knows my trust,
When thou hast kept thy skin unscarred, and let thine armor rust.
How thou unjustly here exclaim’st,
Yea, far from love or kin,
Was this the oath which at our Prince’s death,
With us thou didst combine?
But time permits now, to tell thee all my mind,
For well ’tis known that but for fear, you never would have climbed. 
Let Commons now have it in hand, the matter is begun,
Of whom I fear the lesser sort, upon thy part will run.
My Lords, I cannot breathe it out in words like to you, but this:
My honor I will set to sale, let any common man come in,
And say Earl Rivers’ faith unto his Prince did quail,
Then I will lose my lands and life, but if none so can do,
Then thou Protector injur’st me, and thy copartner too;
But since as judges here you are, and taking no remorse,
Spare me not, let me have law; in justice do your worst.BUCK: My Lord, lay down a cooling card, this game is gone too far. 
You have him fast, now cut him off, for fear of civil war.
Injurious Earl, I hardly brook this portion thou hast given,
Thus with my honor me to touch, but thy ruth shall begin.RICHARD: But as thou art, I leave thee here,
Unto the officers’ custody,
First bear him to Pomphret Castle,
Charge them to keep him secretly:
And as you hear from me so deal,
Let it be done immediately :
Take from our garrison one whole band, 
To guard him thither safely.
Rivers. And send’st thou me to common jail?
Nay then, I know thy mind;
God bless these young and tender babes,
That I do leave behind.
And God above protect them day and night,
Those are the marks thou aim’st at, to rid them from their right.
Farewell, sweet England, and my countrymen,
Earl Rivers leads the way:
Yet would my life might rid you from this thrall, 
But for my stock and kindred to the Queen, I greatly fear them all.
And thus disloyal Duke, farewell. Whenever this is known,
The shame and infamy thereof, be sure will be thine own. Exit.RICHARD: So now my Lord of Buckingham, let us hoist up sail
while the wind serves, this hot beginning must have a quick
dispatch, therefore I charge and command straightly, that every
highway be laid close, that none may be suffered to carry this
news before we ourselves come, for if word come before us,
then is our pretence bewraid, and all we have done to no effect. 
If any ask the cause why they may not pass, use my authority,
and if he resist shoot him through. Now my Lord of Bucking-
ham, let us take post horse to Stony Stratford, where happily I’ll
say such grace to the Prince’s dinner, that I will make the devou-
test of them forget what meat they eat, and yet all for the best I
(629. permits now: an apparent misprint for “permits not”)
(640. a cooling card: from an unknown game; something that cools passion or enthusiasm.)
(646. Pomfret Castle: Pontefract Castle, in Yorkshire.)
(667. straightly: strictly)
Enter the young Prince [King Edward V], Lord Grey,
Sir Thomas Vaughan, Sir Richard Haute and their train.
HAUTE: Lord Grey, you do discomfort the King by reason of
your heaviness. 
GREY: Alas, Sir Richard, how can I be merry when we have
so great a charge of his Grace? And again, this makes me to grieve
the more, because we cannot hear from Earl Rivers, which
makes me think the Protector and he have been at some words.
KING: Why good uncle, comfort yourself; no doubt my un-
cle Earl Rivers is well, and is coming no doubt with my uncle
of Gloucester to meet us. Else we should have heard to the contrary.
If any have cause to fear, it is my self; therefore, good uncle
comfort yourself and be not sad.
GREY: The sweet juice of such a grape would comfort a man 
were he half dead, and the sweet words of such a Prince would
make men careless of mishaps, how dangerous soever.
HAUTE: Lord Grey, we hear now by all likelihoods the Protec-
tor not to be far; therefore, we are to entertain him and the
Duke of Buckingham with courtesy, both for the Prince’s behalf
and for our own.
GREY: Sir Richard Haute, I shall hardly show the Protector or
the Duke of Buckingham any merry countenance, considering
how hardly I have been used by them both; but yet for love to
my prince I will bridle my affection; but in good time they come. 
Enter Richard [and] Duke of Buckingham, and their train.
RICHARD: Long live my Princely nephew in all happiness.
KING: Thanks, uncle of Gloucester for your courtesy, yet you
have made haste, for we looked not for you as yet.
RICHARD: Therein I show my humble duty to your Grace, whose
life I wish to redouble your deceased father’s days.
KING: Thanks, good uncle.
BUCK: . Long live my gracious Prince.
KING: Thanks, Buckingham; but uncle you will bear us
company towards London? 
RICHARD: For that cause we came.
|BUCK: Gentlemen, on afore keep your rooms. How now, Lord
Grey, do you jostle in the presence of the King? This is more
|(712. Gentlemen on afore keep your roomes: keep to your proper places till time afford the law to take place.)|
GREY: . My Lord, I scarce touched you. I hope it be no offence.
RICHARD: Sir, no great offence, but inward envy will burst out.
No Lord Grey, you cannot hide your malice to us of the King’s
KING: Why, good uncle, let me know the cause of your sud-
den quarrel? 
RICHARD: Marry thus, noble Nephew, the old wound of envy,
being rubbed by Lord Grey’s venomous rashness, is grown to
such a venomous sore that it is incurable, without remove of
Buck. Lord Grey, I do so much dislike thy abuse, that were it
not in presence of the Prince, I would bid thee combat; but
thus, and it shall like your Grace, I arrest and attach this Lord Grey,
Sir Thomas Vaughan, and Richard Haute, of high treason to
your Grace. And that Lord Grey hath conveyed money out of
the Tower to relieve our enemies the Scots, and now by curry- 
ing favour with your Majesty, he thinks it to be hid.
RICHARD: Only this I add: you govern the Prince without my
authority, allowing me no more than the bare name of Protector,
which I will have in the dispite of you; and therefore, as your
competitor Earl Rivers is already imprisoned, so shall you be,
GREY: But, whereas we are attached as traitors to his Grace, and
govern him without your authority, why we have authority
from the Mother Queen. And for the delivery of the money to
the Scots, it was done by a general consent of you all, and that I 
have your hands to show for my discharge. Therefore, your arrest and
attachment is not lawful; and yet, as lawful as your quarrel is right.
RICHARD: Thy presumption condemns thee, Lord Grey; thy arrest
is lawful. Therefore, see them speedily and secretly imprisoned:
and after the coronation they shall answer it by law. Mean-
while, officers look to your charge.
|KING: Ah gods, and is it justice without my consent? Am I a
King and bear no authority? My loving kindred committed
to prison as traitors in my presence, and I stand to give aim at
them? Ah Edward, would thou laist by thy father’s side, or else he 
had lived till thou hadst been better able to rule. If my near kindred
be committed to prison, what remains for me? A crown? Ah,
but how? So beset with sorrows that the care and grief will kill me
ere I shall enjoy my kingdom? Well, since I cannot command, I
will entreat. Good uncle of Gloucester, for all I can say little, but for
my uncle Lord Grey, what need he be a thief or convey money
out of the Tower, when he hath sufficient of his own? But good
uncle, let me bail them all. If not, I will bail my uncle Lord
Grey, if I may.
(749. I stand to give aim at them: stand near butts to inform archers how near their arrows fell.)
RICHARD: Your Grace undertakes you know not what; the mat- 
ters are perilous, especially against the Lord Grey.
KING: What perilous matters, considering he is a friend to us?
RICHARD: He may be a friend to win favour, and so climb to pro-
motion in respect of his equals. His equals, nay his betters.
KING: I know my uncle will conceal no treason or dange-
rous secrecy from us.
RICHARD: Yes, secrets that are too subtle for babes. Alas, my Lord,
you are a child, and they use you as a child; but they consult and
conclude of such matters, as were we not careful, would prove
prejudicial to your Majesty’s person. Therefore, let not your 
Grace fear anything by our determination, for as my authority
is only under your Grace, so shall my loyalty deserve hereafter
the just recompense of a true subject. Therefore, I having charge
from my brother your father, and our late deceased king, during the
minority of your Grace, I will use my authority as I see good.
KING: Aye me, unhappy king.
GREY: Nay, let not your Grace be dismayed for our imprisonment;
but I would we could warrant your Grace from harm. And so we
humbly take our leaves of your Grace, hoping that ere long we
shall answer by law to the shame and disgrace of you all. Exit. 
RICHARD: Go, you shall answer it by law.
KING: But come, uncle; shall we to London to our untimely coronation?
RICHARD: What else? And, please your majesty, where by the way I
will appoint trusty officers about you.
BUCK: Sound trumpet in this parley. God save the King:
Enter the Mother Queen, and her young son, the Scene ix
Duke of York, and Elizabeth.
YORK: May it please your Grace to show to your children the
cause of your heaviness that we, knowing it, may be copartners 
of your sorrows?
QUEEN: Aye me, poor husbandless Queen, and you poor fatherless princes.
ELIZ: Good mother, expect the living, and forget the dead.
What though our father be dead, yet behold his children, the image
QUEEN: Ah poor Princes, my mourning is for you and for
your brother, who is gone up to an untimely coronation.
ELIZ: Why mother he is a Prince, and in hands of our two
uncles, Earl Rivers, and Lord Grey, who will no doubt be care-
ful of his estate. 
QUEEN: I know they will; but kings have mortal enemies, as
well as friends that esteem and regard them. Ah sweet children,
when I am at rest my nightly dreams are dreadful. Methinks as
I lie in my bed, I see the league broken which was sworn at the
death of your kingly father. ‘Tis this, my children, and many other
causes of like importance, that makes your aged mother to la-
ment as she doth.
YORK: May it please your Grace.
QUEEN: Ah my son, no more grace, for I am so sore disgraced,
that without God’s grace, I fall into dispair with my self, but 
who is this?
Enter a Messenger.
YORK: What art thou that with thy ghastly looks presseth in-
to sanctuary, to affright our mother Queen.
MESSENGER: Ah sweet Princes, doth my countenance bewray me?
My news is doubtful and heavy.
ELIZ: Then utter it to us, that our mother may not hear it.
QUEEN: Ah yes, my friend, speak whate’er it be.
MESSENGER: Then thus may it please your Grace. The young prince
coming up to his coronation, attended on by his two uncles, 
Earl Rivers and Lord Grey, and the rest of your kindred, was
by the Duke of Buckingham and the Protector met at Stony
Stratford, where on a sudden grew malice between the Duke
of Buckingham and the Lord Grey; but in the end, the Duke
of Buckingham’s malice grew so great that he arrested and atta-
ched all those of your kindred of high treason; whereupon the
Protector, being too rash in judgement, hath committed them
all to Pomphret Castle.
QUEEN: . Where I fear he will butcher them all. But where
is the Prince, my son? 
MESSENGER: He remains at London in the Bishop’s palace, in the
hands of the Protector.
QUEEN: Ah traitors, will they lay hands on their Prince, and
imprison his peers, which no doubt means well towards him?
But tell me, art not thou servant to the Archbishop of York?
Mess. Yes, and it please your Grace, for himself is here at
hand with letters from the Council; and here he comes.
QUEEN: . But here my friend, grief had almost made me for-
get thy reward. 
Ah come, my Lord, thou bringest the heavy news, come shoot
thine arrow, and hit this heart that is almost dead with grief al-
CARDINAL: Whate’er my news be, have patience. The Duke of Gloster
greets your Grace.
QUEEN: Draw home, my Lord, for now you hit the mark.
CARDINAL: The Prince, your son, doth greet your Grace.
QUEEN: A happy gale that blew that arrow by. Ah, let me see
the letter that he sent. Perhaps it may prolong my life a while.
YORK: How doth my brother? Is he in health my Lord? 
CARDINAL: In health, sweet Prince, but longs to have thy
YORK: I am content, if my mother will let me go.
CARDINAL: Content or not, sweet Prince it must be so.
QUEEN: Hold! And have they persuaded thee my son to
have thy brother too away from me? Nay, first I will know what
shall become of thee, before I send my other son to them.
CARDINAL: Look on this letter and advise yourself; for thus the
Council hath determined.
QUEEN: And have they chosen thee among the rest, for to 
persuade me to this enterprise? No my Lord, and thus persuade
yourself, I will not send him to be butchered.
CARDINAL: Your Grace misdoubts the worst; they send for him
only to have him bedfellow to the King, and there to stay and keep
him company. And if your son miscarry, then let his blood be
laid unto my charge. I know their drifts and what they do pretend,
for they shall both this night sleep in the Tower, and tomorrow
they shall come forth to his happy coronation. Upon my honour,
this is the full effect, for see the ambushed nobles are
at hand to take the Prince away from you by force, if you will 
not by fair means let him go.
QUEEN: Why my Lord, will you break sanctuary, and bring
in rebels to affright us thus? No, you shall rather take away my
life before you get my boy away from me.
CARDINAL: Why Madam, have you taken sanctuary?
QUEEN: Aye, my Lord, and high time too, I trow.
CARDINAL: A heavy case when Princes fly for aid, where cut-
throats, rebels, and bankrupts should be. But Madam, what
answer do you return? If I could persuade you, ’twere best to
let him go. 
QUEEN: But for I see you counsel for the best, I am content
that you shall have my son, in hope that you will send him safe
to me. Here I deliver him into your hands.
Farewell my boy, commend me to thy brother.
YORK: Mother farewell, and farewell sister too; I will but see
my brother and return to you.
QUEEN: Tears stops my speech. Come let us in my Lord.
CARDINAL: I will attend upon your Grace. Hold take the Prince, the
Queen and I have done. I’ll take my leave, and after you I’ll come. 
YORK: How now, my friend, shall I go to my brother?
CATESBY: What else, sweet Prince? And for that cause we are
come, to bear you company. (Exit omnes.)
Enter four watchmen.
Enter Richard’s Page.
PAGE: Why thus by keeping company, am I become like unto
those with whom I keep company. As my Lord hopes to
wear the crown, so I hope by that means to have preferment.
But instead of the crown, the blood of the headless light upon
his head. He hath made but a wrong match, for blood is a threat- 
ener and will have revenge. He makes havoc of all to bring his
purpose to pass. All those of the Queen’s kindred that were
committed to Pomphret Castle, he hath caused them to be secretly
put to death without judgement. The like was never seen in
England. He spares none. Whom he but mistrusteth to be a hinderer
to his proceedings, he is straight chopped up in prison. The valiant
Earl of Oxford, being but mistrusted, is kept close prisoner in
Hammes Castle. Again, how well Doctor Shaw hath pleased my
Lord, that preached at Paul’s Cross yesterday, that proved the
two Princes to be bastards. Whereupon in the afternoon came 
down my Lord Mayor and the Aldermen to Baynard’s Castle,
and offered my Lord the whole estate upon him, and offered to
make him King, which he refused so faintly that if it had been
offered once more, I know he would have taken it. The Duke of
Buckingham is gone about it, and is now in the Guild Hall making
his oration. But here comes my Lord.
Enter Richard and Catesby.
RICHARD: Catesby, content thee. I have warned the Lord Hastings
to this Court, and since he is so hard to be won, ’tis better to
cut him off than suffer him. He hath been all this while partaker 
to our secrets, and if he should but by some mislike utter it, then
were we all cast away.
CATESBY: Nay, my Lord do as you will; yet I have spoken what I
can in my friend’s cause.
RICHARD: Go to no more ado, Catesby. They say I have been a long
sleeper today, but I’ll be awake anon to some of their costs. But
sirrah, are those men in readiness that I appointed you to get?
PAGE: Aye, my Lord, give diligent attendance upon your Grace.
RICHARD: Go to, look to it then, Catesby; get thee thy weapons
ready, for I will enter the Court. 
CATESBY: I will, my Lord. (Exit Richard and Catesby)
PAGE: Doth my Lord say he hath been a long sleeper to day?
There are those of the Court that are of another opinion–that
thinks his Grace lieth never long enough abed. Now there is Court
held today by diverse of the Council, which I fear me will cost
the Lord Hastings and the Lord Stanley their best caps; for
my Lord hath willed me to get half a dozen ruffians in readi-
ness, and when he knocks with his fist upon the board, they to
rush in, and to cry, “treason,” “treason,” and to lay hands upon the
Lord Hastings, and the Lord Stanley, which for fear I should 
let slip, I will give my diligent attendance.
Enter Richard, Catesby, and others, pulling Lord Hastings.
RICHARD: Come, bring him away; let this suffice. Thou and that
accursed sorceress the mother Queen hath bewitched me, with
assistance of that famous strumpet of my brother’s, Shore’s wife.
My withered arm is a sufficient testimony. Deny it if thou canst;
lay not Shore’s wife with thee last night?
HASTINGS: That she was in my house, my Lord, I cannot deny, but
not for any such matter. If . . .
RICHARD: If, villain? Feedest thou me with ifs and ands? Go fetch me 
a Priest; make a short shrift, and dispatch him quickly. For by
the blessed Saint Paul, I swear I will not dine till I see the
traitor’s head. Away, Sir Thomas! Suffer him not to speak. See him
executed straight, and let his copartner the Lord Stanley be car-
ried to prison also; tis not his broke head I have given him shall
Exit Hastings and his captors.
Catesby, go you and see it presently proclaimed throughout
the City of London by a Herald of Arms that the cause of his
death, and the rest, were for conspiring by witchcraft the death 
of me and the Duke of Buckingham, that so they might govern
the King and rule the realm. I think the proclamation be al-
CATESBY: Aye, my good Lord, and finished too.
RICHARD: Well then, about it. But hearest thou, Catesby; mean-
while I will listen after success of the Duke of Buckingham,
who is labouring all this while with the citizens of London to
make me King, which I hope shall be shortly. For thou seest our
foes now are fewer, and we nearer the mark than before; and
when I have it, look thou for the place of thy friend the Lord 
HASTINGS: Meanwhile, about thy business.
CATESBY: I thank your Grace.
RICHARD: Now sirrah, to thee. There is one thing more undone,
which grieves me more than all the rest; and to say the truth, it is
of more importance than all the rest.
PAGE: Ah that my Lord would utter it to his page, then should
I count myself a happy man, if I could ease my Lord of that
RICHARD: I commend thy willingness, but it is too mighty and 
reacheth the stars.
PAGE: The more weighty it is, the sooner shall I, by doing it,
increase your honour’s good liking toward me.
RICHARD: Be assured of that; but the matter is of weight and great
importance, and doth concern the state.
PAGE: Why, my Lord, I will choke them with gifts that shall
perform it. Therefore, good my Lord, trust me in this cause.
RICHARD: Indeed, thy trust I know to be so true, that I care not to
utter it unto thee. Come hither — and yet the matter is too weigh-
ty for so mean a man. 
PAGE: Yet good my Lord, utter it.
RICHARD: Why thus it is: I would have my two nephews, the
young Prince and his brother, secretly murdered. Zounds, vil-
lain, ’tis out! Wilt thou do it? Or wilt thou betray me?
|PAGE: My Lord, you shall see my forwardness herein. I am
acquainted with one James Tyrell, that lodgeth hard by your
honor’s chamber. With him, my Lord, will I so work, that soon
at night you shall speak with him.
RICHARD: Of what reputation or calling is that Tyrell? May we
trust him with that which, once known, were the utter confu- 
sion of me and my friends for ever?
PAGE: For his trust, my Lord, I dare be bound; only this: a
poor gentleman he is, hoping for preferment by your Grace;
and upon my credit, my Lord, he will see it done.
RICHARD: Well, in this be very circumspect and sure with thy di-
ligence. Be liberal, and look for a day to make thee bless thy
self, wherin thou servedst so good a Lord. And now that Shore’s
wife’s goods be confiscate, go from me to the Bishop of London,
and see that she receive her open penance. Let her be turned
out of prison, but so bare as a wretch that worthily hath deserved 
that plague; and let there be straight proclamation made,
by my Lord the Mayor, that none shall relieve her nor pity
her; and privy spies set in every corner of the city, that they
may take notice of them that relieves her. For as her beginning
was most famous above all, so will I have her end most infamous
above all. Have care now, my boy, and win thy master’s heart
for ever. (Exit Richard and Page)
Enter Shore’s wife.
|SHORE’S WIFE: Ah, unfortunate Shore’s wife, dishonour to the King,
a shame to thy country, and the only blot of defame to all thy 
kindred. Aye, why was I made fair that a King should favour
me? But my friends should have preferred discipline before affec-
tion, for they know of my folly. Yea, my own husband knew
of my breach of disloyalty, and yet suffered me, by reason he
knew it bootless to kick against the prick. Ah, sweet King
Edward, little didst thou think Shore’s wife should have been so
hardly used. Thy unnaturall brother, not content with my goods
which are yet confiscate in his custody, but yet more to add to
my present misery, hath proclaimed upon great penalty, that
none whatsoever, shall either aid or succour me, but here being 
comfortless to die in the streets with hunger. I am constrained
to beg, but I fear tis in vain, for none will pity me. Yet
here come one to whom I have done good, in restoring his lands
that were lost; now will I try him to see if he will give me any
LODOWICK: Ah time, how thou suffrest fortune to alter estates, and
changest the minds of the good for the worst. How many headless
peers sleep in their graves, whose places are furnish with their
inferiors? Such as are neither nobly born, nor virtuously minded. 
My heart hardly bewails the loss of the young King by
the outrage of the Protector, who hath proclaimed himself
King, by the name of Richard the Third. The Commons mur-
mur at it greatly, that the young King and his brother should
be imprisoned, but to what end tis hard to say; but many thinks
they shall never come forth again. But God do all for the best,
and that the right heirs may not be utterly overthrown.
SHORE’S WIFE: Ah Gods, what a grief is it for me to ask, where I have
LODOWICK: Ah, my good Lord Hastings, how innocently thou didst 
the heavens bear witness.
SHORE’S WIFE: Good sir, take pity upon me, and relieve
LODOWICK: Indeed, ’tis pity to see so fair a face to ask for alms.
But tell me, hast thou no friends?
SHORE’S WIFE: Yes sir, I had many friends, but when my chiefest friend
of all died, the rest then forsook me.
LODOWICK: Belike then thy fact was notorious, that thy friends leav-
ing thee would let thee go as a spoil for villains. But hear’st
thou, I prithee tell me the truth, and as I am a gentleman, I will 
SHORE’S WIFE: Ah Lodowick, tell thee the truth, why have this entrea-
tie served thee, when thy lands had been clean gone had it not been for
Shore’s wife? And dost thou make me so long to beg
for a little?
LODOWICK: Indeed, my lands I had restored me by Mistress Shore,
but may this be she?
SHORE’S WIFE: Aye, Lodowick, I am she that begged thy lands of King
Edward the Fourth. Therefore, I pray thee bestow something on
LODOWICK: Ah Gods, what is this world, and how uncertain are
riches? Is this she that was in such credit with the King? Nay more,
that could command a King indeed? I cannot deny but my lands
she restored me, but shall I by relieving of her hurt myself? No,
for straight proclamation is made that none shall succour her.
Therefore, for fear I should be seen talk with her, I will shun
her company and get me to my chamber, and there set down
in heroical verse, the shameful end of a King’s concubine, which
is no doubt as wonderful as the defoliation of a kingdom.
Exit Lodowick 
SHORE’S WIFE: Ah Lodowick, if thou wilt give me nothing, yet stay
and talk with me. Ah no, he shuns my company. All my friends
now forsake me. In prosperity I had many, but in adversity
none. Ah Gods, have I this for my good I have done, for when I
was in my chiefest pomp, I thought that day well spent wherein
I might pleasure my friend by suits to the King; for if I had
spoken, he would not have said nay. For though he was King, yet
Shore’s wife swayed the sword. I where need was; there was I
bountiful, and mindful I was still upon the poor to relieve
them; and now none will know me nor succour me. Therefore, 
here shall I die for want of sustenance. Yet here comes another
whom I have done good unto in saving the life of his son. Well,
I will try him, to see if he will give me anything.
Enter a Citizen and another.
CITIZEN: No men, no laws, no Princes, no orders; all’s hushed, neigh-
bour, now he’s King. But before he was King, how was the Thames
thwacked with ruffians? What frays had we in the streets? Now
he hath proclaimed peace between Scotland and England for
six years, to what end I know not; usurpers had need to be
SHORE’S WIFE: Ah good sir, relieve me, and bestow something upon
CITIZEN: Ah neighbour, hedges have eyes, and highways have
ears, but who is a beggar-woman? The streets are full of them,
i’ faith. But here’s thou, hast thou no friends that thou goest a
SHORE’S WIFE: Yes sir, I had friends, but they are all dead as you are.
CITIZEN: Why am I dead, neighbour? Why, thou arrant quean,
what meanst thou by that?
SHORE’S WIFE: I mean they are dead in charity. But I pray, sir, had 
not you the life of your son saved in the time of King Edward
the Fourth by one Shore’s wife?
CITIZEN: Yes, marry had I; but art thou a sprig of the same bough?
I promise you, neighbor, I thought so, that so idle a houswife could
not be without the acquaintance of so noble a strumpet. Well,
for her sake I’ll give thee somewhat.
SHORE’S WIFE: Nay, then know that I am she that saved the life of
thy condemned son.
CITIZEN: Who art thou? Shore’s wife? Lie still purse. Neighbour, I
would not for twenty pounds have given her one farthing, the 
proclamation is so hard by King Richard. Why minion, are you
she that was the dishonour to the King? The shame to her hus-
band? The discredit to the City? Hear you, lay your fingers to
work, and get thereby somewhat to maintain you. O neighbour,
I grow very choleric. (To Shore) And thou didst save the life of my
son. Why if thou hadst not, another would; and for my part,
I would he had been hanged seven years ago. It had saved me a
great deal of money then. But come, let us go in and let the quean
alone. (Exit Citizen)
SHORE’S WIFE: Alas, thus am I become an open shame to the world; 
here shall I die in the streets for want of sustenance. Alas, is my
fact so heinous that none will pity me? Yet here come another
to whom I have done good, who is least able to pleasure
me; yet I will try him, to see if he will give me any thing.
Enter Morton, a serving man.
MORTON: Now sir, who but King Richard bears sway, and hath
proclaimed John, Earl of Lincoln, heir apparent to the crown.
The young Princes, they are in the Tower, nay some says more,
they are murdered. But this makes me to muse: the Duke of
Buckingham and the King is at such variance, that did all in all 
to help him to the crown. But the Duke of Buckingham is
rid down to Brecknock Castle in Wales, and there he means
to raise up a power to pull down the usurper. But let them agree
as they will, for the next fair wind I’ll over seas.
SHORE’S WIFE: Ah Shore’s wife, so near driven, to beg of a servingman.
Aye, necessity hath no law, I must needs. Good sir, relieve me, and
give me something.
MORTON: Why, what art thou?
SHORE’S WIFE: In brief, Morton, I am Shore’s wife, that have done
good to all. 
MORTON: A fool, and ever thy own enemy. In truth, Mistress
Shore, my store is but small, yet as it is, we’ll part stakes; but soft,
I cannot do what I would; I am watched.
SHORE’S WIFE: Good Morton, relieve me.
MORTON: What? Should I relieve my King’s enemy?
SHORE’S WIFE: Why, thou promised thou wouldst.
MORTON: I tell thee I will not, and so be answered. Sownes I would
with all my heart, but for yonder villain. A plague on him.
Exit Morton 
PAGE: An honest fellow I warrant him. How now, Shore’s
wife, will none relieve thee?
SHORE’S WIFE: No, none will relieve her, that hath been good to all.
PAGE: Why ’twere pity to do thee good, but me thinks she
is fulsome and stinks.
SHORE’S WIFE: If I be fulsome, shun my company, for none but thy
Lord sought my misery and he hath undone me.
PAGE: Why hath he undone thee? Nay, thy wicked and
naughty life hath undone thee; but if thou wantest maintenance, why
dost thou not fall to thy old trade again? 
SHORE’S WIFE: Nay, villain, I have done open penance, and am sorry
for my sins that are past.
PAGE: Zounds! Is Shore’s wife become an holy whore?
Nay then, we shall never have done.
SHORE’S WIFE: Why hang thee, if thy faults were so written in thy
forehead as mine is, it would be as wrong with thee. But I pri-
thee leave me, and get thee from me.
PAGE: And cannot you keep the City, but you must run
gadding to the Court? And you stay here a little longer, I’ll make
you be set away; and for my part, would all whores were so 1180
served, then there would be fewer in England than there be.
And so farewell, good Mistress Shore: (Exit Page)
SHORE’S WIFE: And all such usurping kings, as thy Lord is, may come
to a shameful end, which no doubt I may live yet to see.
Therefore, sweet God, forgive all my foul offence.
And though I have done wickedly in this world,
Into hell fire, let not my soul be hurled. 
Exit Shore’s Wife