Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

My damned son, that thy two sweet sons smother'd.

[Drum within. I hear his drum,- be copious in exclaims.

Enter King RICHARD, and his Train, marching. K. Rich. Who intercepts me in my expedition?

Duch. O, she, that might have intercepted thee, By strangling thee in her accursed womb, From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done. Q. Eliz. Hid'st thou that forehead with a golden

crown, Where should be branded, if that right were right, The slaughter of the prince that ow'd that crown, And the dire death of my poor sons, and brothers ? Tell me, thou villain-slave, where are my children? Duch. Thou toad, thou toad, where is thy brother

Clarence ? And little Ned Plantagenet, his son? Q. Eliz. Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan,

Grey ? Duch. Where is kind Hastings ? K. Rich. A flourish, trumpets !--strike alarum,

drums! Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women Rail on the Lord's anointed : Strike, I say.

[Flourish. Alarums. Either be patient, and entreat me fair, Or with the clamorous report of war Thus will I drown your exclamations.

Duch. Art thou my son?

K. Rich. Ay; I thank God, my father, and your

self.
Duch. Then patiently hear my impatience.

K. Rich. Madam, I have a touch of your condition, That cannot brook the accent of reproof.

Duch. O, let me speak.
K. Rich.

Do, then ; but I'll not hear.
Duch. I will be mild and gentle in my words.
K. Rich. And brief, good mother; for I am in

haste. Duch. Art thou so hasty ? I have staid for thee, God knows, in torment and in agony.

K. Rich. And came I not at last to comfort you?

Duch. No, by the holy rood, thou know'st it well, Thou cam’st on earth to make the earth my hell. A grievous burden was thy birth to me; Tetchy and wayward was thy infancy; Thy school-days, frightful, desperate, wild, and furi

ous ;
Thy prime of manhood, daring, bold, and venturous;
Thy age confirm'd, proud, subtle, sly, and bloody,
More mild, but yet more harmful, kind in hatred :
What comfortable hour canst thou name,
That ever grac'd me in thy company ?
K. Rich. 'Faith, none, but Humphrey Hours, that

call'd your grace
To breakfast once, forth of my company.
If I be so disgracious in your sight,
Let me march on, and not offend you, madam.-
Strike up the drum.

Duch.

I pr'ythee, hear me speak.
K. Rich. You speak too bitterly.
Duch.

Hear me a word ; For I shall never speak to thee again.

K. Rich. So.
Duch. Either thou wilt die, by God's just ordin-

ance,
Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror ;
Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish,
And never look upon thy face again.
Therefore, take with thee my most heavy curse;
Which, in the day of battle, tire thee more,
Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
My prayers on the adverse party fight;
And there the little souls of Edward's children
Whisper the spirits of thine enemies,
And promise them success and victory.
Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end;
Shame serves thy life, and doth thy death attend.

[Erit. Q. Eliz. Though far more cause, yet much less

spirit to curse Abides in me; I say amen to her.

[Going K. Rich. Stay, madam, I must speak a word with

you.
Q. Eliz. I have no more sons of the royal blood,
For thee to murder : for my daughters, Richard, -
They shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens;
And therefore level nod to hit their lives.

K. Rich. You have a daughter call’d-Elizabeth, Virtuous and fair, royal and gracious.

Q. Eliz. And must she die for this? O, let her live,
And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty ;
Slander myself, as false to Edward's bed;
Throw over her the veil of infamy :
So she may live unscarr'd of bleeding slaughter,
I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.

K. Rich. Wrong not her birth, she is of royal blood.
Q. Eliz. To save her life, I'll say-she is not so.
K. Rich. Her life is safest only in her birth.
Q. Eliz. And only in that safety died her brothers.
K. Rich. Lo, at their births good stars were op-

posite. Q. Eliz. No, to their lives bad friends were con

trary. K. Rich. All unavoided is the doom of destiny.

Q. Eliz. True, when avoided grace makes destiny: My babes were destin'd to a fairer death, If grace had bless'd thee with a fairer life. K. Rich. You speak, as if that I had slain my

cousins. Q. Eliz. Cousins, indeed; and by their uncle

cozen'd Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life. Whose hands soever lanc'd their tender hearts, Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction : No doubt the murderous knife was dull and blunt, Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart24,

To revel in the entrails of

my

lambs.
But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys,
Till that my nails were anchor’d in thine eyes ;
And I, in such a desperate bay of death,
Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft,
Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.

K. Rich. Madam, so thrive I in my enterprize,
And dangerous success of bloody wars,
As I intend more good to you

and

yours, Than ever you or yours by me were harm’d! Q. Eliz. What good is cover'd with the face of

heaven, To be discover'd, that can do me good ? K. Rich. The advancement of your children, gentle

lady. Q. Eliz. Up to some scaffold, there to lose their

heads? K. Rich. No, to the dignity and height of fortune, The high imperial type of this earth's glory.

Q. Eliz. Flatter my sorrows with report of it; Tell me, what state, what dignity, what honour, Canst thou demise to any child of mine ?

K. Rich. Even all I have; ay, and myself and all, Will I withal endow a child of thine; So in the Lethe of thy angry soul Thou drown the sad remembrance of those wrongs, Which, thou supposest, I have done to thee.

Q. Eliz. Be brief, lest that the process of thy kindness Last longer telling than thy kindness' date.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »