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QUEEN ELIZABETH

220True, when avoided grace makes destiny.
My babes were destined to a fairer death
If grace had blessed thee with a fairer life.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

True, when a king who defies God is choosing that destiny. My children would have enjoyed a better death if God had blessed you with a purer life.

RICHARD

You speak as if that I had slain my cousins.

RICHARD

You speak as if I had killed my nephews.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Cousins, indeed, and by their uncle cozened
225Of comfort, kingdom, kindred, freedom, life.
Whose hand soever launched their tender hearts,
Thy head, all indirectly, gave direction.
No doubt the murd'rous knife was dull and blunt
Till it was whetted on thy stone-hard heart,
230To revel in the entrails of my lambs.
But that still use of grief makes wild grief tame,
My tongue should to thy ears not name my boys
Till that my nails were anchored in thine eyes,
And I, in such a desp'rate bay of death,
235Like a poor bark of sails and tackling reft,
Rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Nephews, indeed, cheated by their uncle of comfort, kingdom, relatives, freedom, and life. Whichever hand literally stabbed their tender hearts, you’re the one who gave the order. No doubt the murderous knife was blunt till it was sharpened on your stony heart—you reveled in my lambs' bloody guts. But constant expression of wild grief will only make it tame, so I’m not going to say any more about my boys until I’ve gouged your eyes out with my bare hands. Like a sailboat that has lost its sails, I will throw myself on your rocky bosom—and get torn to pieces.

RICHARD

Madam, so thrive I in my enterprise
And dangerous success of bloody wars
As I intend more good to you and yours
240Than ever you or yours were by me harmed!

RICHARD

Madam, if I do as well as I think I’m going to do in these dangerous, violent wars, you and your relatives will have more good at my hands than you’ve ever had bad!

QUEEN ELIZABETH

What good is covered with the face of heaven,
To be discovered, that can do me good?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

What good does heaven have in store that can do me any good now?

RICHARD

The advancement of your children, gentle lady.

RICHARD

The advancement of your children, noble lady.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Up to some scaffold, there to lose their heads.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Advancement to some scaffold, to lose their heads.

RICHARD

245Unto the dignity and height of fortune,
The high imperial type of this earth’s glory.

RICHARD

No, advancement to the dignity and height of honor, to a high, imperial kind of glory.