Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 1

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Enter BUCKINGHAM with SHERIFF and halberds, led to execution
BUCKINGHAM enters with SHERIFF and guards leading him to his execution.

BUCKINGHAM

Will not King Richard let me speak with him?

BUCKINGHAM

Won’t King Richard let me speak with him?

SHERIFF

No, my good lord. Therefore be patient.

SHERIFF

No, my good lord. So be calm.

BUCKINGHAM

Hastings and Edward’s children, Grey and Rivers,
Holy King Henry and thy fair son Edward,
5Vaughan, and all that have miscarrièd
By underhand, corrupted, foul injustice,
If that your moody, discontented souls
Do through the clouds behold this present hour,
Even for revenge mock my destruction.—
10This is All Souls' Day, fellow, is it not?

BUCKINGHAM

Hastings and Edward’s children, Rivers and Grey, holy King Henry and your fine son Edward, Vaughan, and all who have died from underhanded, corrupt, fiendish injustice, if your angry souls are witnessing this moment through the clouds, enjoy the revenge—laugh at my ruin! This is

All-Souls’

A Catholic day of prayer for souls stuck in between Heaven and Hell

All-Souls’
day, fellows, isn’t it?

SHERIFF

It is.

SHERIFF

It is, my lord.

BUCKINGHAM

Why, then All Souls' Day is my body’s doomsday.
This is the day which, in King Edward’s time,
I wished might fall on me when I was found
15False to his children and his wife’s allies.
This is the day wherein I wished to fall
By the false faith of him who most I trusted.
This, this All Souls' Day to my fearful soul
Is the determined respite of my wrongs.
20That high All-seer which I dallied with
Hath turned my feignèd prayer on my head
And given in earnest what I begged in jest.

BUCKINGHAM

Why, then, it’s my body’s doomsday. Today I’m going to get what I said I wished would happen to me if I was ever false to King Edward’s children or his wife’s allies. This is the day I’m going to get what I wished for when I wished that the person I most trusted would betray me. This, this All-Souls' day, is my just desserts. I tried to play games with God, and he turned my fake prayer on my head, giving me for real what I’d asked for as a joke.