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To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable,
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them ;
Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time;
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,-
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence, and the king,
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And, if king Edward be as true and just,
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up;
About a prophecy, which says--that G
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence
Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY. Brother, good day: What means this armed guard, That waits upon your grace?
Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Glo. Upon what cause?
Because my name is-George.
Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers:-
O, belike, his majesty hath some intent,
shall be new christen'd in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence ? may I know?
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know; for, I protest,
As yet I do not: But, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
And says-a wizard told him, that by G
His issue disinherited should be;
And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought, that I am he:
These, as I learn, and such like toys as these,
Have mov'd his highness to commit me now.
Glo. Why, this it is, when men are rul'd by wo
'Tis not the king, that sends you to the Tower;
My lady Grey his wife, Clarence, 'tis she,
That tempers him to this extremity.
Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
Antony Woodeville, her brother there,
That made him send lord Hastings to the Tower
From whence this present day he is deliver'd?
We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.
Clar. By heaven, I think, there is no man secure,
But the queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and mistress Shore.
Heard you not, what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
Glo. Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I'll tell you what,—I think, it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men, and wear her livery:
The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself,
Since that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.
Brak. I beseech your graces both to pardon me ;
His majesty hath straitly given in charge,
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with his brother.
Glo. Even so an please your worship, Braken-
You may partake of any thing we say:
We speak no treason, man ;- -We say, the king
Is wise, and virtuous; and his noble queen
Well struck in years; fair, and not jealous :-
We say, that Shore's wife hath a pretty foot,
A cherry lip,
A bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
And the queen's kindred are made gentlefolks:
How say you, sir? can you deny all this?
Brak. With this, my lord, myself have nought to
Glo. Naught to do with mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best to do it secretly, alone.
Brak. What one, my lord?
Glo. Her husband, knave:-Would'st thou betray me?
Brak. I beseech your grace to pardon me; and, withal,
your conference with the noble duke. Clar. We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.
Glo. We are the queen's abjects, and must obey.
Brother, farewell: I will unto the king;
And whatsoe'er you will employ me in,—
Were it, to call king Edward's widow-sister,-
I will perform it, to enfranchise you.
Mean time, this deep disgrace in brotherhood,
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.
Clar. I know, it pleaseth neither of us well.
Glo. Well, your imprisonment shall not be long; I will deliver you, or else lie for you:
Mean time, have patience.
I must perforce; farewell. [Exeunt Clarence, Brakenbury, and Guard. Glo. Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return, Simple, plain Clarence !-I do love thee so, That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven, If heaven will take the present at our hands. But who comes here? the new-deliver'd Hastings?
Hast. Good time of day unto my gracious lord!
Glo. As much unto my good lord chamberlain !
Well are you welcome to this open air.
How hath your lordship brook'd imprisonment?
Hast. With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must:
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks,
That were the cause of my imprisonment.
Glo. No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence
For they, that were your enemies, are his,
And have prevail'd as much on him, as you.
Hast. More pity, that the eagle should be mew'd, While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
Glo. What news abroad?
Hast. No news so bad abroad, as this at home ;-
The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.
Glo. Now, by saint Paul, this news is bad indeed. O, he hath kept an evil diet long,
And over-much consum'd his royal person; 'Tis very grievous to be thought upon. What, is he in his bed?
Glo. Go you before, and I will follow you.
He cannot live, I hope; and must not die,
Till George be pack'd with posthorse up to heaven.
I'll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence,