Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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pg 5481.1Sc. 1

Editor’s NoteEnter Richard Duke of Gloucester, solus
Editor’s Note Link 1

richard duke of gloucester Now is the winter of our discontent

Editor’s Note2Made glorious summer by this son of York,

Editor’s Note3And all the clouds that loured upon our house

4In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

5Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,

Editor’s Note6Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,

Editor’s Note7Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,

Editor’s Note8Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.

Editor’s Note9Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front,

Editor’s Note10And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds

Editor’s Note11To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,

Editor’s Note12He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber

Editor’s Note13To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

Editor’s Note14But I that am not shaped for sportive tricks,

Editor’s Note15Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass,

Editor’s Note16I that am rudely stamped, and want love's majesty

Editor’s Note17To strut before a wanton-ambling nymph;

Editor’s Note18I that am cùrtailed of this fair proportion,

Editor’s Note19Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,

Editor’s Note20Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time

Editor’s Note21Into this breathing world scarce half made up,

Editor’s Note22And that so lamely and unfashionable

Editor’s Note23That dogs bark at me as I halt by them—

Editor’s Note24Why, I in this weak-piping time of peace

25Have no delight to pass away the time,

26Unless to see my shadow in the sun

Editor’s Note27And descant on mine own deformity.

Editor’s Note28And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover

29To entertain these fair well-spoken days,

Editor’s Note30I am determinèd to prove a villain,

Editor’s Note31And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

pg 549Editor’s Note32Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,

Editor’s Note33By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams

Editor’s Note34To set my brother Clarence and the King

35In deadly hate the one against the other.

36And if King Edward be as true and just

37As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,

Editor’s Note38This day should Clarence closely be mewed up

Editor’s Note39About a prophecy, which says that 'G'

40Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.

Editor’s Note41Dive thoughts down to my soul; here Clarence comes.

Editor’s NoteEnter Clarence, guarded, and Brackenbury

42Brother, good day. What means this armèd guard

Editor’s Note43That waits upon your grace?

clarence His majesty,

Editor’s Note44Tend'ring my person's safety, hath appointed

Editor’s Note45This conduct to convey me to th' Tower.


richard duke of gloucester Upon what cause?

clarence Because my name is George.


richard duke of gloucester Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours.

48He should for that commit your godfathers.

Editor’s Note49O, belike his majesty hath some intent

Editor’s Note50That you should be new-christened in the Tower!

51But what's the matter, Clarence, may I know?


clarence Yea, Richard, when I know; but I protest

53As yet I do not. But, as I can learn,

Editor’s Note54He hearkens after prophecies and dreams,

Editor’s Note55And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,

56And says a wizard told him, that by 'G'

Editor’s Note57His issue disinherited should be;

Editor’s Note58And for my name of George begins with G,

59It follows in his thought that I am he.

Editor’s Note60These, as I learn, and suchlike toys as these,

61Hath moved his highness to commit me now.


richard duke of gloucester Why, this it is when men are ruled by women.

63'Tis not the King that sends you to the Tower.

Editor’s Note64My Lady Grey, his wife, Clarence, 'tis she

65That tempts him to this harsh extremity.

pg 550Editor’s Note66Was it not she, and that goodman of worship

67Anthony Woodville her brother there,

68That made him send Lord Hastings to the Tower,

69From whence this present day he is delivered?

70We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.

Editor’s Note71

clarence By heaven, I think there is no man secure

Editor’s Note72But the Queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds

Editor’s Note73That trudge betwixt the King and Mistress Shore.

74Heard you not what an humble suppliant

75Lord Hastings was for his delivery?

Editor’s Note76

richard duke of gloucester Humbly complaining to her deity

Editor’s Note77Got my Lord Chamberlain his liberty.

78I'll tell you what: I think it is our way,

79If we will keep in favour with the King,

Editor’s Note80To be her men and wear her livery.

Editor’s Note81The jealous o'erworn widow and herself,

Editor’s Note82Since that our brother dubbed them gentlewomen,

83Are mighty gossips in our monarchy.


brackenbury I beseech your graces both to pardon me.

Editor’s Note85His majesty hath straitly given in charge

86That no man shall have private conference

Editor’s Note87Of what degree soever with your brother.

Editor’s Note Link 88

richard duke of gloucester Even so. An't please your worship Brackenbury,

89You may partake of anything we say.

90We speak no treason, man. We say the King

91Is wise and virtuous, and his noble Queen

Editor’s Note92Well struck in years, fair, and not jealïous.

Editor’s Note93We say that Shore's wife hath a pretty foot,

94A cherry lip, a bonny eye, a passing-pleasing tongue,

95And that the Queen's kind kindred are made gentlefolks.

96How say you, sir, can you deny all this?

Editor’s Note97

brackenbury With this, my lord, myself have naught to do.

Editor’s Note98

richard duke of gloucester Naught to do with Mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,

99He that doth naught with her—excepting one—

100Were best to do it secretly alone.

Editor’s Note101

brackenbury What one, my lord?

richard duke of gloucester Her husband, knave. Would'st thou betray me?

pg 551 102

brackenbury I do beseech your grace to pardon me, and withal

103Forbear your conference with the noble Duke.


clarence We know thy charge, Brackenbury, and will obey.

Editor’s Note105

richard duke of gloucester We are the Queen's abjects, and must obey.

106Brother, farewell. I will unto the King;

107And whatsoe'er you will employ me in,

108Were it to call King Edward's widow 'sister',

Editor’s Note109I will perform it to enfranchise you.

110Meantime, this deep disgrace in brotherhood

Editor’s Note111Touches me deeper than you can imagine.


clarence I know it pleaseth neither of us well.


richard duke of gloucester Well, your imprisonment shall not be long.

Editor’s Note114I will deliver you or lie for you.

115Meantime, have patience.

clarence I must perforce. Farewell.

Exit Clarence, [guarded, and Brackenbury]

richard duke of gloucester Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return.

117Simple plain Clarence, I do love thee so

118That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,

119If heaven will take the present at our hands.

120But who comes here? The new-delivered Hastings?

Editor’s NoteEnter Lord Hastings

hastings Good time of day unto my gracious lord.


richard duke of gloucester As much unto my good Lord Chamberlain.

123Well are you welcome to the open air.

124How hath your lordship brooked imprisonment?


hastings With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must.

126But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks

127That were the cause of my imprisonment.


richard duke of gloucester No doubt, no doubt. And so shall Clarence too,

129For they that were your enemies are his,

130And have prevailed as much on him as you.


hastings More pity that the eagles should be mewed

132Whiles kites and buzzards play at liberty.

Editor’s Note133

richard duke of gloucester What news abroad?


hastings No news so bad abroad as this at home:

135The King is sickly, weak, and melancholy,

Editor’s Note136And his physicians fear him mightily.


richard duke of gloucester Now by Saint John, that news is bad indeed.

138O, he hath kept an evil diet long,

139And overmuch consumed his royal person.

pg 552140'Tis very grievous to be thought upon.

141Where is he, in his bed?

hastings He is.


richard duke of gloucester Go you before, and I will follow you.

Exit Hastings

143He cannot live, I hope—and must not die

144Till George be packed with post-horse up to heaven.

145I'll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence

146With lies well-steeled with weighty arguments;

Editor’s Note147And, if I fail not in my deep intent,

148Clarence hath not another day to live;

149Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy,

150And leave the world for me to bustle in.

Editor’s Note151For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter.

Editor’s Note152What though I killed her husband and her father?

Editor’s Note153The readiest way to make the wench amends

154Is to become her husband and her father;

155The which will I—not all so much for love

Editor’s Note156As for another secret close intent,

157By marrying her, which I must reach unto.

Editor’s Note158But yet I run before my horse to market.

159Clarence still breathes, Edward still lives and reigns.

160When they are gone, then must I count my gains.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1.1.0 solus alone, i.e. unattended (unusual for an aristocrat in public; perhaps suggests Richard has withdrawn from court or is on private business)
Editor’s Note
1.1.0 Richard He has a physical disability that may be pronounced or slight, and is variously represented as his having a hunched back, a limp, a withered arm, need to use crutches, etc. In some productions, offstage music and revelry indicate that he has withdrawn from a victory celebration, but the action from 1.1.42 suggests an outdoor location near the Tower.
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1.1.1–2 Now … York The house of York has triumphed over the house of Lancaster at the Battle of Tewkesbury, and Edward IV is king in place of the Lancastrian Henry VI.
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1.1.2 son of York Edward IV, son of Richard Duke of York; the Yorkist emblem, a sun in splendour
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1.1.3 house family, dynastic line
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1.1.6 arms weapons, armour
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1.1.6 for monuments as memorials
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1.1.7 alarums summons to battle by drums and trumpets; sudden attacks
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1.1.7 merry meetings (in contrast with meetings in battle)
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1.1.8 measures stately dances; melodies
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1.1.9 wrinkled front frowning forehead
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1.1.10 barbèd Horses wore armour on breast and flanks which could be studded or spiked.
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1.1.11 fearful terrifying
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1.1.12 capers Court dances often included capers, or showy leaps, among the men's steps. Capers and chamber have a sexual connotation.
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1.1.13 lascivious pleasing pleasingly lascivious sounds
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1.1.14 sportive tricks Both words have sexual connotation.
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1.1.15 court an amorous looking-glass make love to a mirror
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1.1.16 rudely stamped roughly and imperfectly shaped (conception being thought of as the stamping of a coin with an image)
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1.1.16 want lack
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1.1.17 wanton-ambling sexily sauntering
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1.1.17 nymph beautiful young woman (an affected term)
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1.1.18 curtailed docked (as of a horse's or dog's tail); deprived
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1.1.19 feature (pleasing) bodily shape
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1.1.19 dissembling deceitful
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1.1.20 sent before my time born prematurely
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1.1.21 breathing living; lively
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1.1.22 unfashionable badly shaped
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1.1.23 halt limp
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1.1.24 weak-piping Suggests music of peaceful pastoral pipes (and also the chattering of women or children).
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1.1.27 descant sing or play extempore variations on a musical theme; hence discourse
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1.1.28 prove show myself to be
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1.1.30 determinèd resolved; preordained
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1.1.30 prove turn out, prove (to be)
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1.1.31 idle unemployed; frivolous
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1.1.32 inductions preparations; dramatic prologues (punning on plots)
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1.1.33 drunken i.e. provoked by alcohol, not inspiration
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1.1.34 Clarence Richard, Clarence, and Edward IV were brothers; Clarence being older than Richard, would become king if Edward and his heirs died.
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1.1.38 mewed cooped (like a bird)
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1.1.39 G (which Edward interprets as 'George'; but which could—and does—stand for 'Gloucester')
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1.1.41 Dive … soul (retrospectively describing the soliloquy as a 'surfacing' of Richard's true nature)
Editor’s Note guarded The guards are probably armed with halberds.
Editor’s Note Brackenbury He may be identified as 'keeper' (1.4.66) or Lieutenant of the Tower by a set of keys.
Editor’s Note
1.1.43 waits attends (ironic)
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1.1.44 Tend'ring caring about
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1.1.45 conduct escort
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1.1.45 convey transport
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1.1.45 Tower the Tower of London, used to house noble prisoners
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1.1.49 belike probably
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1.1.50 new-christened given a new name (but also ironically relevant to his 'baptism' in the malmsey-butt: see 1.4)
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1.1.54 hearkens after listens to
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1.1.55 cross-row alphabet
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1.1.57 issue children
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1.1.58 for because
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1.1.60 toys trifles, whims
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1.1.64 My Lady Grey Elizabeth Grey, the Queen. The rivalry for influence between her family and Edward's motivates much of the play's action.
Editor’s Note
1.1.66 goodman man of substance but not a gentleman; also, ironically, 'good man'
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1.1.66 worship good repute (phrasing appropriate to a worthy citizen)
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1.1.71 secure safe
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1.1.72 night-walking heralds clandestine go-betweens (heralds usually being reserved for more elevated tasks)
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1.1.73 Mistress (the title, = 'Mrs', but also = sexual partner)
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1.1.73 Shore Jane Shore, whose liaison with Edward was notorious, and several times dramatized; see 3.1.183–4 for her possible intercession again on Hastings's behalf.
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1.1.76 her deity i.e. Jane Shore (ironically, by analogy with 'her majesty')
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1.1.77 Lord Chamberlain i.e. Hastings
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1.1.80 men servants
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1.1.80 wear her livery (as servants would)
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1.1.81 o'erworn worn out (like a garment, but also sexually)
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1.1.81 widow i.e. the Queen, a widow before she married Edward IV
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1.1.81 herself i.e. Jane Shore
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1.1.82 dubbed invested them with the status of. Richard grossly exaggerates the lowly status of the Queen's family.
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1.1.85 straitly strictly
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1.1.85 given in charge charged, ordered
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1.1.87 degree social rank (referring back to 'man', 1.1.86)
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1.1.88 An't please if it please
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1.1.92 Well struck in years presumably 'well preserved but getting on in age'
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1.1.93 foot (perhaps punning on foutre, 'fuck')
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1.1.97 naught nothing
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1.1.98 Naught wickedness; here, specifically, the sexual act
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1.1.101 betray me i.e. trick me into accusing the King
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1.1.105 abjects abject possessions
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1.1.109 enfranchise free
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1.1.111 Touches wounds; concerns, implicates
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1.1.111 Touches … imagine Richard probably embraces Clarence, weeping (see 1.4.226–8).
Editor’s Note
1.1.114 lie for you lie in prison: in place of you; as punishment for helping you. The quibbling sense 'tell lies on your behalf' is ironic in that he is lying to Clarence.
Editor’s Note Enter … Hastings Hastings may well enter at the same door by which Clarence left, indicating the direction of the Tower.
Editor’s Note
1.1.133 abroad at large, around. Hastings jokingly understands 'from other countries'.
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1.1.136 fear him fear for him
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1.1.147 deep cunning, hidden
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1.1.151 Warwick's youngest daughter i.e. Lady Anne
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1.1.152 husband Edward, Prince of Wales
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1.1.152 father father-in-law (Henry VI)
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1.1.153 wench (inappropriate as reference to an aristocratic lady)
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1.1.156 intent What this is we never discover.
Editor’s Note
1.1.158 run … market (proverbial: 'count my chickens before they've hatched')
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