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RICHARD

I swear—

RICHARD

I swear—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

     By nothing, for this is no oath.
Thy George, profaned, hath lost his lordly honor;
Thy garter, blemished, pawned his knightly virtue;
Thy crown, usurped, disgraced his kingly glory.
375If something thou wouldst swear to be believed,
Swear then by something that thou hast not wronged.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

By nothing, because this is no oath. St. George loses his holiness once you have sworn by him; you’ve ruined the emblem of the knighthood, and the crown lost its kingly glory once you stole it. If you want me to believe something you’ll swear to, then swear by something you haven’t wronged.

RICHARD

Then, by myself—

RICHARD

Then, by myself—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

     Thyself is self-misused.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

You’ve misused yourself.

RICHARD

Now, by the world—

RICHARD

Now, by the world—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

     'Tis full of thy foul wrongs.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

It’s full of your ugly wrongdoings.

RICHARD

My father’s death—

RICHARD

By my father’s death—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

     Thy life hath it dishonored.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Your life has dishonored his death.

RICHARD

380Why then, by God.

RICHARD

Why then, by God—

QUEEN ELIZABETH

     God’s wrong is most of all.
If thou didst fear to break an oath by Him,
The unity the king my husband made
Thou hadst not broken, nor my brothers died.
If thou hadst feared to break an oath by Him,
385Th' imperial metal circling now thy head
Had graced the tender temples of my child,
And both the princes had been breathing here,
Which now, two tender bedfellows for dust,
Thy broken faith hath made the prey for worms.
390What canst thou swear by now?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

You wrong God most of all. If you had been afraid to break an oath with him, you wouldn’t have ruined the united front the king, my husband, created before he died, and you wouldn’t have killed my brothers. If you had been afraid to break an oath with him, the crown you are currently wearing would have graced the head of my child, and both princes would still be alive, not preyed on by worms. What can you swear by now?