Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 3

page Act 1 Scene 3 Page 4

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QUEEN ELIZABETH

Brother of Gloucester, you mistake the matter.
The king, on his own royal disposition,
65And not provoked by any suitor else,
Aiming belike at your interior hatred
That in your outward actions shows itself
Against my children, brothers, and myself,
Makes him to send, that he may learn the ground.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Brother, you’ve made a mistake. The king himself noticed your hatred toward my children, my brothers, and myself. No one had to point it out to him—it’s obvious. He asked people to visit him. He wanted to find out the reason for your ill will, so he could do something about it.

RICHARD

70I cannot tell. The world is grown so bad
That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.
Since every jack became a gentleman,
There’s many a gentle person made a jack.

RICHARD

I can’t tell what’s going on. The world has become so bad that now little wrens have settled where eagles used to roost. Since every peasant has been made into a nobleman, many noblemen have been dragged down to the level of peasants.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Come, come, we know your meaning, brother Gloucester.
75You envy my advancement, and my friends'.
God grant we never may have need of you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Come, come, I know what you’re referring to, Richard. You resent my friends' rise in society, and my own. Let’s hope we never need your help for anything.

RICHARD

Meantime God grants that we have need of you.
Our brother is imprisoned by your means,
Myself disgraced, and the nobility
80Held in contempt, while great promotions
Are daily given to ennoble those
That scarce some two days since were worth a noble.

RICHARD

Meanwhile, we’re the ones who need you. My brother is imprisoned because of you, I am disgraced, and the nobility are held in contempt while those who two days ago weren’t worth a dime have suddenly been promoted.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

By Him that raised me to this careful height
From that contented hap which I enjoyed,
85I never did incense his majesty
Against the duke of Clarence, but have been
An earnest advocate to plead for him.
My lord, you do me shameful injury
Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

By the Lord who raised me to this weighty post from the happy and carefree life I used to enjoy, I promise you I never did anything to get the king to turn against the duke of Clarence. In fact, I’ve always been on his side and have pleaded for him. My lord, you’re doing me a huge injustice to suggest otherwise.