Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

CLARENCE and the KEEPER enter.
Why looks your grace so heavily today?
Why do you look so depressed today, your Grace?
O, I have passed a miserable night,
So full of ugly dreams, of ugly sights,
That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
5I would not spend another such a night
Though ’twere to buy a world of happy days,
So full of dismal terror was the time.
Oh, I had a miserable night. I had such dark and terrifying dreams that I swear I wouldn’t spend another night like that if it guaranteed me a whole lifetime of happy days.
What was your dream, my lord? I pray you tell me.
What was your dream? Tell me.
Methoughts that I had broken from the Tower
10And was embarked to cross to Burgundy,
And in my company my brother Gloucester,
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches. Thence we looked toward England
And cited up a thousand fearful times,
15During the wars of York and Lancaster
That had befall'n us. As we paced along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought that Gloucester stumbled, and in falling
Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard
20Into the tumbling billows of the main.
O Lord, methought what pain it was to drown,
What dreadful noise of waters in my ears,
What sights of ugly death within my eyes.
Methoughts I saw a thousand fearful wracks,
25A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon,
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scattered in the bottom of the sea.
I thought I had escaped from the Tower and was on a ship to France with my brother Richard, who persuaded me to leave my cabin and walk on deck with him. Looking toward England, we reminisced about the countless frightening experiences we’d had in the wars between the Yorks and the Lancasters. As we were pacing the deck, which was tipping heavily, Richard seemed to stumble, and as I tried to grab hold of him and keep him from falling, he knocked me overboard into the crashing waves. Lord, how painful it was to drown. The sound of the rushing water was terrible, and so were the sights. I saw a thousand shipwrecks, a thousand men whom fish had gnawed to the bone, huge anchors, chunks of gold, heaps of pearls, and precious jewels—all scattered on the bottom of the sea.