Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 3

page Act 5 Scene 3 Page 10

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205My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain.
Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree;
Murder, stern murder, in the direst degree;
210All several sins, all used in each degree,
Throng to the bar, crying all, “Guilty! guilty!”
I shall despair. There is no creature loves me,
And if I die no soul will pity me.
And wherefore should they, since that I myself
215Find in myself no pity to myself?
Methought the souls of all that I had murdered
Came to my tent, and every one did threat
Tomorrow’s vengeance on the head of Richard.
Give me another horse! Bandage my wounds! Have mercy, Jesus!—Wait, I was only dreaming. Oh cowardly conscience, how you’re torturing me! The candles burn blue—that means it’s the dead of night. I’m sweating and trembling with fear. But what am I afraid of? Myself? There’s no one else here. Richard loves Richard, that is, there’s just me and myself here. Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am. Then run away. What, from myself? Yes, to avoid taking revenge on myself. Unfortunately, I love myself. Why? Did I do anything good to myself? Oh, no. Alas, I hate myself instead, because of the hateful deeds I’ve committed. I am a villain. But I’m lying; I’m not a villain. Fool, speak well of yourself. Fool, do not flatter yourself.
Enter RATCLIFFE
RATCLIFFE enters.

RATCLIFFE

My lord.

RATCLIFFE

My lord.

RICHARD

220Zounds, who is there?

RICHARD

Damn it, who’s there?

RATCLIFFE

Ratcliffe, my lord, ’tis I. The early village cock
Hath twice done salutation to the morn.
Your friends are up and buckle on their armor.

RATCLIFFE

Ratcliffe, my lord, it’s me. The rooster has already crowed twice. Your friends are up and buckling on their armor.

RICHARD

O Ratcliffe, I have dreamed a fearful dream!
225What think’st thou, will our friends prove all true?

RICHARD

Oh Ratcliffe, I had a terrifying dream! What do you think, will my friends prove loyal?

RATCLIFFE

No doubt, my lord.

RATCLIFFE

No doubt, my lord.

RICHARD

O Ratcliffe, I fear, I fear.

RICHARD

Oh Ratcliffe, I’m afraid, I’m afraid—

RATCLIFFE

Nay, good my lord, be not afraid of shadows.

RATCLIFFE

No, my good lord, don’t be afraid of dreams.