Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

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CLARENCE

55“Clarence is come—false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,
That stabbed me in the field by Tewkesbury.
Seize on him, furies. Take him unto torment.”
With that, methoughts, a legion of foul fiends
Environed me and howlèd in mine ears
60Such hideous cries that with the very noise
I trembling waked, and for a season after
Could not believe but that I was in hell,
Such terrible impression made my dream.

CLARENCE

“Clarence has arrived—lying, cowardly

Clarence

The ghost in Clarence’s dream was Prince Edward, Queen Margaret’s and King Henry VI’s son. Clarence helped kill Prince Edward.

Clarence
, who stabbed me at Tewksbury. Grab him, avenging spirits, and torment him.” With that, a legion of ugly demons surrounded me and howled so loudly in my ears that I woke up trembling and for a long time thought I was still in hell.

KEEPER

No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you.
65I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.

KEEPER

I’m not surprised it scared you, my lord. It scares me just to hear you talk about it.

CLARENCE

Ah keeper, keeper, I have done those things,
That now give evidence against my soul,
For Edward’s sake, and see how he requites me.—
O God, if my deep prayers cannot appease thee,
70But thou wilt be avenged on my misdeeds,
Yet execute thy wrath in me alone!
O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children!—
Keeper, I prithee sit by me awhile.
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.

CLARENCE

Oh, keeper, keeper, the bad things I’ve done are finally taking their toll. I did them for Edward’s sake—and look how he rewards me.—Oh God, if my prayers don’t satisfy you, and you have to avenge the wrongs I’ve done, at least punish me alone! Please spare my innocent wife and children!—Kind warden, please stay with me for a while. I’m feeling very low, and I need to sleep.

KEEPER

75I will, my lord. God give your Grace good rest.

KEEPER

I’ll stay, my lord. May God bring you sleep!
CLARENCE sleeps
CLARENCE sleeps
Enter BRAKENBURY the lieutenant
BRAKENBURY the lieutenant enters.

BRAKENBURY

Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,
Makes the night morning, and the noontide night.
Princes have but their titles for their glories,
An outward honor for an inward toil,

BRAKENBURY

Sorrow interrupts all hours and seasons. It turns everything around—the night into morning and noon into night. The only glory princes have are their titles.