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King Richard III

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SCENE  I.  London.  Before the Tower

[Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS of YORK, and MARQUIS of DORSET; on the other, ANNE DUCHESS of GLOSTER, leading LADY MARGARET PLANTAGENET, CLARENCE's young daughter.]

DUCHESSWho meets us here?—my niece Plantagenet,Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloster?Now, for my life, she's wandering to the Tower,On pure heart's love, to greet the tender princes.—Daughter, well met.ANNE                               God give your graces bothA happy and a joyful time of day!QUEEN ELIZABETHAs much to you, good sister! Whither away?ANNENo farther than the Tower; and, as I guess,Upon the like devotion as yourselves,To gratulate the gentle princes there.QUEEN ELIZABETHKind sister, thanks; we'll enter all together:—And in good time, here the lieutenant comes.


Master Lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,How doth the prince, and my young son of York?BRAKENBURYRight well, dear madam. By your patience,I may not suffer you to visit them.The king hath strictly charg'd the contrary.QUEEN ELIZABETHThe king! who's that?BRAKENBURY                                 I mean the lord protector.QUEEN ELIZABETHThe Lord protect him from that kingly title!Hath he set bounds between their love and me?I am their mother; who shall bar me from them?DUCHESSI am their father's mother; I will see them.ANNETheir aunt I am in law, in love their mother:Then bring me to their sights; I'll bear thy blame,And take thy office from thee on my peril.BRAKENBURYNo, madam, no,—I may not leave it so:I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me.

[Exit.] [Enter STANLEY.]

STANLEYLet me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence,And I'll salute your grace of York as motherAnd reverend looker-on of two fair queens.—


Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,There to be crownèd Richard's royal queen.QUEEN ELIZABETHAh, cut my lace asunder,That my pent heart may have some scope to beat,Or else I swoon with this dead-killing news!ANNEDespiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!DORSETBe of good cheer: mother, how fares your grace?QUEEN ELIZABETHO Dorset, speak not to me, get thee gone!Death and destruction dog thee at thy heels;Thy mother's name is ominous to children.If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell:Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughter-house,Lest thou increase the number of the dead;And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.STANLEYFull of wise care is this your counsel, madam.—Take all the swift advantage of the hours;You shall have letters from me to my sonIn your behalf, to meet you on the way:Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.DUCHESSO ill-dispersing wind of misery!—O my accursèd womb, the bed of death!A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world,Whose unavoided eye is murderous....