Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

BRAKENBURY
I beseech your Graces both to pardon me.
85His majesty hath straitly given in charge
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever, with his brother.
BRAKENBURY
I beg your pardon, my lords, but the king gave me orders that no one, however high in rank, should speak privately to Clarence.
RICHARD
Even so. An please your Worship, Brakenbury,
You may partake of anything we say.
90We speak no treason, man. We say the king
Is wise and virtuous, and his noble queen
Well struck in years, fair, and not jealous.
We say that Shore’s wife hath a pretty foot,
A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue,
95And that the queen’s kindred are made gentlefolks.
How say you, sir? Can you deny all this?
RICHARD
All right. If you like, Brakenbury, you can listen to anything we say. We’re not saying anything treasonous, man. We say the king is wise and good, and his noble queen is getting old, pretty, and not jealous. And that Mr. Shore’s wife has nice feet, cherry lips, pretty eyes, and a very pleasant way of expressing herself. And, finally, that the queen’s relatives have all been elevated in rank. What do you think? Is there anything inaccurate in that?
BRAKENBURY
With this, my lord, myself have naught to do.
BRAKENBURY
I have nothing to do with what you’re talking about, my lord.
RICHARD
Naught to do with Mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
100Were best he do it secretly, alone.
RICHARD
“Nothing to do” with Mrs. Shore! I tell you, mister, there’s only one man who gets to do

“nothing,”

To do “nothing,” or “naught,” meant to have sex. Richard is playing off Brakenbury’s innocent, frightened remark.

“nothing,”
with her and not be punished for it. Everyone else had better keep their “nothings” to themselves.
BRAKENBURY
What one, my lord?
BRAKENBURY
Who is that, my lord?
RICHARD
Her husband, knave. Wouldst thou betray me?
RICHARD
Her husband, you rascal. Are you going to get me in trouble?
BRAKENBURY
I do beseech your Grace to pardon me, and withal
Forbear your conference with the noble duke.
BRAKENBURY