Richard III

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 4

page Act 1 Scene 4 Page 6

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FIRST MURDERER

Remember our reward when the deed’s done.

FIRST MURDERER

Remember the reward we’re getting when the deed’s done.

SECOND MURDERER

Zounds, he dies! I had forgot the reward.

SECOND MURDERER

Jesus, let’s kill him! I forgot about the reward.

FIRST MURDERER

Where’s thy conscience now?

FIRST MURDERER

Where’s your conscience now?

SECOND MURDERER

O, in the duke of Gloucester’s purse.

SECOND MURDERER

Oh, in the duke of Gloucester’s wallet.

FIRST MURDERER

120So when he opens his purse to give us our reward, thy conscience flies out.

FIRST MURDERER

When he opens his wallet to give us our pay, your conscience will fly out?

SECOND MURDERER

'Tis no matter. Let it go. There’s few or none will entertain it.

SECOND MURDERER

It won’t matter. Let it fly out. No one will listen to it.

FIRST MURDERER

What if it come to thee again?

FIRST MURDERER

And what will you do if it returns to you?

SECOND MURDERER

I’ll not meddle with it. It makes a man a coward: a man cannot steal but it accuseth him; a man cannot swear but it checks him; a man cannot lie with his neighbor’s wife but it detects him. 'Tis a blushing, shamefaced spirit that mutinies in a man’s bosom. It fills a man full of obstacles. It made me once restore a purse of gold that by chance I found. It beggars any man that keeps it. It is turned out of towns and cities for a dangerous thing, and every man that means to live well endeavors to trust to himself and live without it.

SECOND MURDERER

I won’t bother with it. Conscience makes a man a coward. If he steals, it accuses him. If he wants to swear, it restrains him. If he sleeps with his neighbor’s wife, it exposes him. It blushes, is easily embarrassed, and stages regular uprisings in a man’s heart. It’s just too much trouble. It once made me return a purse full of money that I found—it turns anyone who treats it decently into a beggar. It has been thrown out of all sorts of towns and cities it visits, and anyone who wants to live well should learn to trust only himself and live without it.

FIRST MURDERER

Zounds, ’tis even now at my elbow, persuading me not to kill the duke.

FIRST MURDERER

My God, now the thing is at my elbow, persuading me not to kill the duke.

SECOND MURDERER

Take the devil in thy mind, and believe him not. He would insinuate with thee but to make thee sigh.

SECOND MURDERER

Stop your conscience and don’t listen to him. He wants to take over your thoughts and make you sad.

FIRST MURDERER

I am strong-framed. He cannot prevail with me.

FIRST MURDERER

I’m strong-willed. He won’t get the better of me.