Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 7

Original Text

Modern Text

He cannot live, I hope, and must not die
Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
I’ll in to urge his hatred more to Clarence
With lies well steeled with weighty arguments,
150And, if I fail not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live;
Which done, God take King Edward to His mercy,
And leave the world for me to bustle in.
For then I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter.
155What though I killed her husband and her father?
The readiest way to make the wench amends
Is to become her husband and her father;
The which will I, not all so much for love
As for another secret close intent
160By marrying her which I must reach unto.
But yet I run before my horse to market.
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns.
When they are gone, then must I count my gains.
The king won’t live, I hope. But he’d better not die till Clarence is sent packing to heaven. I’ll go see the king and, with carefully argued lies, get him to hate Clarence even more than he already does. If my plan succeeds, Clarence doesn’t have another day to live. Then God’s free to send King Edward to heaven, too, and leave me the world to run around in! I’ll marry the earl of Warwick’s youngest daughter, Lady Anne. So what if I killed her husband and her father? The best way to make up for the girl’s losses is to become what she’s lost: a husband and a father. So that’s what I’ll do, not because I love her but because I’ll get something out of it. But I’m running ahead of myself. Clarence is still alive; Edward is not only alive, he’s king. Only when they’re dead can I start to count my gains.
Exit
He exits.