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RICHARD

     The time to come.

RICHARD

By the future.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

That thou hast wrongèd in the time o'erpast;
For I myself have many tears to wash
Hereafter time, for time past wronged by thee.
The children live whose fathers thou hast slaughtered,
395Ungoverned youth, to wail it in their age;
The parents live whose children thou hast butchered,
Old barren plants, to wail it with their age.
Swear not by time to come, for that thou hast
Misused ere used, by times ill-used o'erpast.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

You’ve already wronged that by what you did in the past. I myself have many tears to cry in the time to come, because of what you’ve done. There are children living whose fathers you have slaughtered. When they are grown, they will wail about a childhood in which no one watched out for them. There are parents living whose children you have butchered; they are now old withered plants who will moan over their losses as they grow old. Don’t swear by the future, because you’ve ruined it before it has even arrived.

RICHARD

400As I intend to prosper and repent,
So thrive I in my dangerous affairs
Of hostile arms! Myself myself confound,
Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours,
Day, yield me not thy light, nor night thy rest,
405Be opposite all planets of good luck
To my proceedings if, with dear heart’s love,
Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter.
In her consists my happiness and thine.
410Without her follows to myself and thee,
Herself, the land, and many a Christian soul,
Death, desolation, ruin and decay.
It cannot be avoided but by this;
It will not be avoided but by this.
415Therefore, dear mother—I must call you so—
Be the attorney of my love to her:
Plead what I will be, not what I have been;
Not my deserts, but what I will deserve.
Urge the necessity and state of times,
420And be not peevish found in great designs.

RICHARD

May I only do well in these dangerous battles if my intention to repent and prosper is sincere! Let me destroy myself, let heaven and destiny deprive me of happy hours, let day remain dark and night sleepless, and let me have nothing but terrible luck if I do not love with a pure heart, clean devotion, and holy thoughts your beautiful royal daughter. My happiness and yours lie in her. If I do not win her, death, desolation, and decay will descend on this land and on me, you, herself, and many a Christian soul. Ruin cannot be avoided unless I marry her. It will not be avoided unless I marry her. Therefore, good mother—I must call you that—advocate for me. Plead with your daughter about what I will be, not what I have been. Don’t talk about my just desserts but about what I will deserve. Tell her how necessary this marriage is at this time, and don’t be small-minded about such important plans.