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If you will live, lament. If die, be brief,
That our swift-wingèd souls may catch the king’s,
45Or, like obedient subjects, follow him
To his new kingdom of ne'er-changing night.
If you do intend to live, then mourn. If you’re going to die, be quick about it so you can catch the king’s departing soul or follow him, like obedient subjects, to his new kingdom of endless night.

DUCHESS

Ah, so much interest have I in thy sorrow
As I had title in thy noble husband.
I have bewept a worthy husband’s death
50And lived with looking on his images;
But now two mirrors of his princely semblance
Are cracked in pieces by malignant death,
And I, for comfort, have but one false glass
That grieves me when I see my shame in him.
55Thou art a widow, yet thou art a mother,
And hast the comfort of thy children left,
But death hath snatched my husband from mine arms
And plucked two crutches from my feeble hands,
Clarence and Edward. O, what cause have I,
60Thine being but a moiety of my moan,
To overgo thy woes and drown thy cries!

DUCHESS

As the king’s mother, I have a large share in your grief. I have wept at my own good husband’s death and only kept myself alive by looking at his sons, the mirror images of him. But now these two mirrors of their princely father have cracked to pieces: my sons are dead. And my only comfort is Richard, who is nothing like his father and only causes me shame. You may be a widow, but you’re also a mother. You have your children as comfort. But death has snatched my husband from my arms and plucked my two crutches, Edward and Clarence, from my feeble hands. Since your woes are only a portion of mine, I have every reason to surpass your lamentations and drown out your cries with my own.

BOY

(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) Ah, aunt, you wept not for our
   father’s death.
How can we aid you with our kindred tears?

BOY

(to QUEEN ELIZABETH) Ah, Aunt, you didn’t weep at our father’s death. How can we help you by crying for your sorrow?

GIRL

Our fatherless distress was left unmoaned.
65Your widow-dolor likewise be unwept!

GIRL

You didn’t sympathize with us when we became orphans; we won’t cry for you!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Give me no help in lamentation.
I am not barren to bring forth complaints.
All springs reduce their currents to mine eyes,
That I, being governed by the watery moon,
70May send forth plenteous tears to drown the world.
Ah, for my husband, for my dear lord Edward!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

I don’t need your help in grieving. I have my own sources of misery. In fact, all the world’s springs and oceans flow from my weeping eyes. I could drown the world. My poor husband, my dear Edward!