Original Text

Modern Text

BUCKINGHAM

No. So God help me, they spake not a word
25But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
Stared each on other and looked deadly pale;
Which when I saw, I reprehended them
And asked the mayor what meant this willful silence.
His answer was, the people were not used
30To be spoke to but by the recorder.
Then he was urged to tell my tale again:
“Thus saith the duke. Thus hath the duke inferred”—
But nothing spoke in warrant from himself.
When he had done, some followers of mine own,
35At the lower end of the hall, hurled up their caps,
And some ten voices cried “God save King Richard!”
And thus I took the vantage of those few.
“Thanks, gentle citizens and friends,” quoth I.
"This general applause and cheerful shout
40Argues your wisdoms and your love to Richard"—
And even here brake off, and came away.

BUCKINGHAM

No, God help me, they didn’t say a word. Like silent statues or stones that breathed, they just gazed at each other and turned as pale as the dead. When I saw this, I scolded them and asked the mayor what this stubborn silence meant. He said that the people weren’t used to being spoken to except by the

Recorder

Recorder=a legal official

Recorder
. So I urged the Recorder to repeat my tale—you know, “The duke of Buckingham said this, Buckingham meant that,” but nothing on his own authority. When he was done, a few followers of my own at the far end of the hall hurled their caps in the air. Some ten voices cried, “God save King Richard!” I jumped on this slender opportunity and said, “Thank you, noble citizens and friends. This widespread applause and enthusiastic shouts make clear you stand behind Richard.” And then I broke off and quickly came away.

RICHARD

What tongueless blocks were they! Would not they speak?
Will not the mayor then and his brethren come?

RICHARD

What blocks of wood! They wouldn’t say anything? Aren’t the mayor and his fellow citizens coming?

BUCKINGHAM

The mayor is here at hand. Intend some fear;
45Be not you spoke with but by mighty suit.
And look you get a prayer book in your hand
And stand between two churchmen, good my lord,
For on that ground I’ll make a holy descant.
And be not easily won to our requests.
50Play the maid’s part: still answer “nay,” and take it.

BUCKINGHAM

The mayor is here at hand. Pretend you’re afraid, my lord, and don’t speak until you’re pleaded with. And make sure to carry a prayer book in your hand and to stand between two priests, okay? Then I’ll have the grounds to build a holy sermon about why you should be king. But don’t be easily won over. Act like a virgin, always answering “No,” but taking it in the end.

RICHARD

I go. An if you plead as well for them
As I can say “nay” to thee for myself,
No doubt we bring it to a happy issue.

RICHARD

I’m going now. If you’re as good at pleading to them as I am at saying no to you, this will definitely come to a happy end.
Knocking within
A sound of knocking from offstage.