Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

BOY
20Grandam, we can, for my good uncle Gloucester
Told me the king, provoked to it by the queen,
Devised impeachments to imprison him;
And when my uncle told me so, he wept,
And pitied me, and kindly kissed my cheek,
25Bade me rely on him as on my father,
And he would love me dearly as a child.
BOY
Yes we do, grandmother, because my good uncle Richard told me. He said the king was forced by the queen to make up charges against my father that would send him to prison. When my uncle explained this to me, he wept and hugged and kissed me. He told me I could rely on him as if he were my father, and he said he would love me as if I were his child.
DUCHESS
Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shape,
And with a virtuous visor hide deep vice.
He is my son, ay, and therein my shame,
30Yet from my dugs he drew not this deceit.
DUCHESS
Ah, it’s a shame that a liar can seem so nice, hiding his wicked intentions under a mask of goodness. He is my son, yes, and I’m ashamed of him. But he didn’t get his deceitfulness from my breast.
BOY
Think you my uncle did dissemble, grandam?
BOY
You think my uncle was lying, grandmother?
DUCHESS
Ay, boy.
DUCHESS
Yes, boy.
BOY
I cannot think it. Hark, what noise is this?
BOY
I can’t believe that. Wait! What’s that noise?
Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH, with her hair about her ears, RIVERS, and DORSET after her
QUEEN ELIZABETH enters with her hair undone. RIVERS, and DORSETfollow.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
Ah, who shall hinder me to wail and weep,
35To chide my fortune and torment myself?
I’ll join with black despair against my soul
And to myself become an enemy.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
No one can stop me now from wailing and weeping about my terrible luck. I don’t care if it kills me. I plan to fall into the blackest despair.
DUCHESS
What means this scene of rude impatience?
DUCHESS
Why are you making such a scene?
QUEEN ELIZABETH
To make an act of tragic violence.
40Edward, my lord, thy son, our king, is dead.
Why grow the branches when the root is gone?
Why wither not the leaves that want their sap?
QUEEN ELIZABETH
I’m simply performing the violent tragedy that is my life: Edward—my husband, your son, our king—is dead. Why should we live now that our leader is dead? Why are the branches still living when the root is gone? Why aren’t the leaves withering now that the sap is all dried up?