Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Enter RICHMOND, OXFORD, BLUNT, HERBERT, and others, with drum and colors
RICHMOND, OXFORD, BLUNT, HERBERT, and others enter with drummers and flag bearers.
Fellows in arms, and my most loving friends,
Bruised underneath the yoke of tyranny,
Have we marched on without impediment,
Thus far into the bowels of the land
5And here receive we from our father Stanley
Lines of fair comfort and encouragement.
The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
That spoiled your summer fields and fruitful vines,
Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
10In your embowelled bosoms—this foul swine
Is now even in the center of this isle,
Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn.
From Tamworth thither is but one day’s march.
In God’s name, cheerly on, courageous friends,
15To reap the harvest of perpetual peace
By this one bloody trial of sharp war.
Fellow soldiers and my loyal friends suffering under that tyrant Richard, we have marched all the way to the center of England without encountering any opposition. And now we receive encouraging news from my stepfather Stanley: Richard—that violent, greedy boar who roots through your summer fields and ripening vines, guzzles your warm blood, and makes his trough in your disemboweled bellies—is now near the town of Leicester, only one day’s march from us here in


Tamworth is in central England.

. In God’s name, let’s continue on in high spirits, my courageous friends. Our aim is to achieve everlasting peace from this one violent war.
Every man’s conscience is a thousand men,
To fight against this guilty homicide.
Every man’s conscience is a thousand swords against this murderer.
I doubt not but his friends will turn to us.
I suspect his friends will join us.
20He hath no friends but who are friends for fear.
Which in his dearest need will fly from him.
He has no friends except those who are too afraid to defy him. In his greatest need, even they will desert him.
All for our vantage. Then, in God’s name, march.
True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings.
Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.
All to our advantage. So, in God’s name, let’s march. Hope with good cause is swift; it flies as fast as a swallow. It turns kings into gods and men of lower rank into kings.
They all exit.