Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 3

page Act 5 Scene 3 Page 14

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Enter NORFOLK
NORFOLK enters.

NORFOLK

Arm, arm, my lord. The foe vaunts in the field.

NORFOLK

Get ready, my lord. The enemy is making its appearance on the battlefield.

RICHARD

305Come, bustle, bustle. Caparison my horse.—
Call up Lord Stanley; bid him bring his power.—
I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain,
And thus my battle shall be orderèd:
My foreward shall be drawn out all in length,
310Consisting equally of horse and foot;
Our archers shall be placèd in the midst.
John Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Earl of Surrey,
Shall have the leading of this foot and horse.
They thus directed, we will follow
315In the main battle, whose puissance on either side
Shall be well wingèd with our chiefest horse.
This, and Saint George to boot—What think’st thou,
Norfolk?

RICHARD

Hurry, hurry—prepare my horse. Tell Lord Stanley to bring his army. I will lead my soldiers to the field and the battle formation will be like this: the vanguard will extend in a line that is equal parts horsemen and foot soldiers. The archers will stay in the middle. John Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Earl of Surrey will lead the horsemen and foot soldiers. I’ll follow in the center of the troop formation, which I’ll defend with my best horse, and with Saint George on my side, as well! What do you think, Norfolk?

NORFOLK

A good direction, warlike sovereign.

NORFOLK

A good plan, warrior king. I found this pinned to my tent this morning.
He sheweth him a paper
He shows RICHARD a piece of paper.
320This found I on my tent this morning.

RICHARD

(reads)
Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold.
For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.
A thing devisèd by the enemy.—
325Go, gentlemen, every man unto his charge.
Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls.
Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
Devised at first to keep the strong in awe.
Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.

RICHARD

(reads) “Jackie of Norfolk, don’t be too bold, for Dick your master has been betrayed.” Something the enemy devised. Go, gentleman, every man to his command. Don’t let babbling dreams frighten us—conscience is just a word that cowards use to intimidate the strong. The strong fight we put on will be our conscience, our swords will be our law.