Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 4

page Act 1 Scene 4 Page 5

Original Text

Modern Text

Exit BRAKENBURY and KEEPER
BRAKENBURY and the KEEPER exit.

SECOND MURDERER

What, shall I stab him as he sleeps?

SECOND MURDERER

What, should I stab him while he sleeps?

FIRST MURDERER

100No. He’ll say ’twas done cowardly, when he wakes.

FIRST MURDERER

No. When he wakes up, he’ll say we killed him like cowards.

SECOND MURDERER

Why, he shall never wake until the great Judgment Day.

SECOND MURDERER

When he wakes up! Why, he won’t wake up till Judgment Day.

FIRST MURDERER

Why, then he’ll say we stabbed him sleeping.

FIRST MURDERER

Okay, so that’s when he’ll say we stabbed him in his sleep.

SECOND MURDERER

The urging of that word “judgment” hath bred a kind of remorse in me.

SECOND MURDERER

That word “judgment” makes me feel a bit guilty.

FIRST MURDERER

105What, art thou afraid?

FIRST MURDERER

What, are you afraid?

SECOND MURDERER

Not to kill him, having a warrant, but to be damned for killing him, from the which no warrant can defend me.

SECOND MURDERER

Not of killing him, because I have a warrant for it, but of being damned for killing him, which no warrant can protect me from.

FIRST MURDERER

I thought thou hadst been resolute.

FIRST MURDERER

I thought you were resolved to do this.

SECOND MURDERER

So I am—to let him live.

SECOND MURDERER

I am resolved—to let him live.

FIRST MURDERER

110I’ll back to the duke of Gloucester and tell him so.

FIRST MURDERER

I’ll go back to the duke of Gloucester and tell him so.

SECOND MURDERER

Nay, I prithee stay a little. I hope this passionate humor of mine will change. It was wont to hold me but while one tells twenty.

SECOND MURDERER

Please, just wait a minute. I’m hoping my holy mood will pass. It usually only lasts about twenty seconds.

FIRST MURDERER

How dost thou feel thyself now?

FIRST MURDERER

How are you feeling now?

SECOND MURDERER

115Faith, some certain dregs of conscience are yet within me.

SECOND MURDERER

Actually, I’m still feeling some pangs of conscience.