Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

KING EDWARD IV

Who knows not he is dead! Who knows he is?

KING EDWARD IV

Who doesn’t know he’s dead? Who says he is?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

All-seeing heaven, what a world is this!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Oh my God, what a terrible world this is!

BUCKINGHAM

Look I so pale, Lord Dorset, as the rest?

BUCKINGHAM

Do I look as pale as everyone else does, Lord Dorset?

DORSET

Ay, my good lord, and no one in the presence
90But his red color hath forsook his cheeks.

DORSET

You do, my good lord. Everyone here has turned white.

KING EDWARD IV

Is Clarence dead? The order was reversed.

KING EDWARD IV

Is Clarence dead? But I reversed the death sentence.

RICHARD

But he, poor man, by your first order died,
And that a wingèd Mercury did bear.
Some tardy cripple bear the countermand,
95That came too lag to see him burièd.
God grant that some, less noble and less loyal,
Nearer in bloody thoughts, and not in blood,
Deserve not worse than wretched Clarence did,
And yet go current from suspicion.

RICHARD

Well, the poor man died by your first order, which was carried by a winged messenger. Some tardy cripple must have taken the counter-order, who came after Clarence was already buried. It’s clear that someone less noble, less loyal, more bloody-minded than Clarence but not a blood relation, deserves as bad an end as my brother, but he goes free.
Enter Lord STANLEY, Earl of Derby
Lord STANLEY, Earl of Derby, enters.

STANLEY

100 (kneeling) A boon, my sovereign, for my service done.

STANLEY

(kneeling) I ask a favor of you in return for the service I’ve done, my king.

KING EDWARD IV

I prithee, peace. My soul is full of sorrow.

KING EDWARD IV

Please be quiet. My soul is full of sorrow.

STANLEY

I will not rise unless your Highness hear me.

STANLEY

I will not rise until your Highness hears me.

KING EDWARD IV

Then say at once what is it thou requests.

KING EDWARD IV

Then hurry up and tell me what you want.

STANLEY

The forfeit, sovereign, of my servant’s life,
105Who slew today a riotous gentleman
Lately attendant on the duke of Norfolk.

STANLEY

That you lift the death sentence on my servant, who killed a rowdy and belligerent former servant of the duke of Norfolk.