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Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable,
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them ;-
Why, I, in this weak, piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time;
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
And descant on mine own deformity;
And, therefore,-since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair, well-spoken days,-
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence, and the king,
In deadly hate the one against the other ;
And, if king Edward be as true and just,
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mewed up,
About a prophecy, which says—that G
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence comes
Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY. Brother, good day. What means this armed guard, That waits upon your grace ? Clar.
Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Glo. Upon what cause ?
Because my name is—George.
Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours ;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers.
O, belike, his majesty hath some intent,
That you shall be new christened in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence ? may I know?
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know ; for, I protest,
As yet I do not. But, as I can learn,
He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
And says—a wizard told him, that by G
His issue disinherited should be ;
And, for my name of George begins with G,
It follows in his thought that I am he.
These, as I learn, and such like toys as these,
Have moved his highness to commit me now.
Glo. Why, this it is, when men are ruled by
'Tis not the king that sends you to the Tower;
My lady Grey, his wife, Clarence, 'tis she,
That tempers him to this extremity.
Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
Antony Woodeville, her brother there,
That made him send lord Hastings to the Tower;
From whence this present day he is delivered ?
We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.
Clar. By Heaven, I think there is no man secure,
But the queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and mistress Shore.
Heard you not what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
Glo. Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I'll tell you what,-I think it is our way,
If we will keep in favor with the king,
To be her men, and wear her livery.
The jealous, o'er-worn widow, and herself,
Since that our brother dubbed them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.
Brak. Í beseech your graces both to pardon me;
His majesty hath straitly given in charge,
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree soever with his brother.
Glo. Even so ? An please your worship, Brakenbury, You may partake of any thing we say.
We 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;
And that the queen's kindred are made gentlefolks.
How say you, sir ? can you deny all this?
Brak. With this, my lord, myself have nought to do.
Glo. Naught to do with mistress Shore? I tell thee,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best to do it secretly, alone.
Brak. What one, my lord ?
Glo. Her husband, knave.—Wouldst thou betray me?
Brak. I beseech your grace to pardon me; and withal,
Forbear your conference with the noble duke.
Clar. We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will
obey. Glo. We are the queen's abjects,' and must obey. Brother, farewell. I will unto the king ; And whatsoever you will employ me in,Were it to call king Edward's widow—sister, I will perform it to enfranchise you. Mean time, this deep disgrace in brotherhood, Touches me deeper than you can imagine.
Clar. I know it pleaseth neither of us well.
Glo. Well, your imprisonment shall not be long, I will deliver you, or else lie for you.” Mean time, have patience. Clar.
I must perforce; farewell. [Exeunt CLARENCE, BRAKENBURY, and
Guard. Glo. Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne’er return, Simple, plain Clarence !—I do love thee so, That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
But who comes here ? the new-delivered Hastings?
Hast. Good time of day unto my gracious lord !
Glo. As much unto my good lord chamberlain !
Well are you welcome to this open air.
How hath your lordship brooked imprisonment?
Hast. With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must ;
But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks,
That were the cause of my imprisonment.
Glo. No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too; For they, that were your enemies, are his, And have prevailed as much on him, as you.
Hast. More pity that the eagle should be mewed, While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
Glo. What news abroad?
Hast. No news so bad abroad as this at home;
The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.
Glo. Now, by saint Paul, this news is bad indeed. 0, he hath kept an evil diet long, And over-much consumed his royal person; 'Tis very grievous to be thought upon. What, is he in his bed ? Hast.
Glo. Go you before, and I will follow you.
He cannot live, I hope ; and must not die
Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.
I'll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence,
With lies well steeled with weighty arguments;
And, if I fail not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live ;
Which done, God take king Edward to his mercy,
And leave the world for me to bustle in!
For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter."
1 Lady Anne, the betrothed widow of Edward prince of Wales. See King Henry VI. Part III.
What though I killed her husband and her father ?
The readiest way to make the wench amends,
Is—to become her husband, and her father;
The which will I; not all so much for love,
As for another secret, close intent,
By marrying her, which I must reach unto.
But yet I run before my horse to market;
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives and reigns;
When they are gone, then must I count my gains.
Enter the corpse of King HENRY THE Sixth, borne in
an open coffin, Gentlemen bearing halberds, to guard it; and LADY ANNE as mourner.
Anne. Set down, set down your honorable load, If honor may be shrouded in a hearse, Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament The untimely fall of virtuous LancasterPoor key-cold' figure of a holy king ! Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster ! Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood ! Be it lawful that 'I invocate thy ghost, To hear the lamentations of poor Anne, Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughtered son, Stabbed by the self-same hand that made these
Lo, in these windows, that let forth thy life,
the helpless balm of my poor eyes.-
O, cursed be the hand that made these holes !
Cursed the heart, that had the heart to do it!
Cursed the blood, that let this blood from hence !
More direful hap betide that hated wretch,
That makes us wretched by the death of thee,
Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads,