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Between the duke of Gloster and your brothers,
And between them and my lord chamberlain ;
And sent to warn them to his royal presence.
Q. Eliz. 'Would all were well !—but that will never be.
I fear our happiness is at the height.
Enter GLOSTER, HASTINGS, and DORSET.
Glo. They do me wrong, and I will not endure it:
Who are they that complain unto the king,
That I, forsooth, am stern and love them not?
By holy Paul, they love his grace but lightly
That fiil his ears with such dissentious rumours.
Because I cannot flatter, and look fair,
Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive, and cog,
Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
I must be held a rancorous enemy.
Cannot a plain man live, and think no harm,
But thus his simple truth must be abus'd
By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?
Grey. To whom in all this presence speaks your grace?
Glo. To thee, that hast nor honesty nor grace.
When have I injur'd thee? when done thee wrong?-
Or thee?-or thee?-or any of your faction ?
A plague upon you all! His royal grace,
Whom God preserve better than you would wish!-
Cannot be quiet scarce a breathing-while,
But you must trouble him with lewd complaints.
Q. Eliz. Brother of Gloster, you mistake the matter:
The king, of his own royal disposition,
And not provok'd by any suitor else;
Aiming, belike, at your interior hatred,
That in your outward action shows itself
Against my children, brothers, and myself,
Makes him to send ; that thereby he may gather
The ground of your ill-will, and so remove it.
Glo. I cannot tell :—The world is grown so bad
That wrens may prey where eagles dare not perch:
Since every Jack became a gentleman,
There's many a gentle person made a Jack.
Q. Eliz. Come, come, we know your meaning, brother Gloster; You envy my advancement, and
friends'; God grant we never may have need of you.
Glo. Meantime, God grants that we have need of you;
Our brother is imprison'd by your means,
Myself disgrac'd, and the nobility
Held in contempt; while great promotions
Are daily given, to ennoble those
That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.
Q. Eliz. By Him that rais'd me to this careful ? height
From that contented hap which I enjoy'd,
I never did incense his majesty
Against the duke of Clarence, but have been
An earnest advocate to plead for him.
My lord, you do me shameful injury
Falsely to draw me in these vile suspects.
Glo. You may deny that you were not the mean
Of my lord Hastings' late imprisonment.
Riv. She may, my lord; for
Glo. She may, lord Rivers ?-why, who knows not so ? She
may do more, sir, than denying that: She may help you to many fair preferments; And then deny her aiding hand therein, And lay those honours on your high desert. What may
she not? She may-ay, marry, may she, Riv. What, marry, may she ?
Glo. What, marry, may she? marry with a king,
A bachelor, and a handsome stripling too:
I wis your grandam had a worser match.
Q. Eliz. My lord of Gloster, I have too long borne,
Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs :
By Heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
Of those gross taunts that oft I have endur'd.
I had rather be a country servant maid
Than a great queen, with this condition,
To be so baited, scorn'd, and storm'd at:
Small joy have I in being England's queen.
Enter QUEEN MARGARET, behind.
Q. Mar. And lessen'd be that small, God, I beseech Thee!
Thy honour, state, and seat, is due to me.
Glo. What! threat you me with telling of the king ?
Tell him, and spare not: look, what I have said
I will avouch in presence of the king:
I dare adventure to be sent to the Tower.
: "Tis time to speak, my painsare quite forgot.
Q. Mar. Out, devil! I do remember them too well:
Thou kill’dst my husband Henry in the Tower,
And Edward, my poor son, at Tewksbury.
Glo. Ere you were queen, ay, or your husband king,
I was a packhorse in his great affairs ;
A weeder-out of his proud adversaries,
A liberal rewarder of his friends;
To royalize his blood I spilt mine own.
Q. Mar. Ay, and much better blood than his or thine.
Glo. In all which time, you, and your husband Grey,
Were factious for the house of Lancaster;
And, Rivers, so were you :-Was not your husband
In Margaret's battle at Saint Alban's slain?
Let me put in your minds, if you forget,
have been, ere this, and what you are; Withal, what I have been, and what I am.
Q. Mar. A murtherous villain, and so still thou art.
Glo. Poor Clarence did forsake his father Warwick,
Ay, and forswore himself, --which Heaven pardon!
Q. Mar. Which Heaven revenge!
Glo. To fight on Edward's party, for the crown;
And, for his meed, poor lord, he is mew'd up:
I would to God my heart were flint like Edward's,
Or Edward's soft and pitiful like mine;
I am too childish-foolish for this world.
Q. Mar. Hie tbee to hell for shame, and leave this world, Thou cacodæmon! there thy kingdom is.
Riv. My lord of Gloster, in those busy days,
Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
We follow'd then our lord, our sovereign king;
So should we you, if you should be our king.
Glo. If I should be ?-I had rather be a pedlar;
Far be it from my heart, the thought thereof!
Q. Eliz. As little joy, my lord, as you suppose
You should enjoy, were you this country's king ;
As little joy you may suppose in me
That I enjoy, being the queen
Q. Mar. A little joy enjoys the queen thereof;
For I am she, and altogether joyless.
I can no longer hold me patient.-.
Hear me, you wrangling pirates, that fall out
In sharing that which you have pill'd from me:
Which of you trembles not that looks on me?
If not, that I being queen you bow like subjects,
Yet that by you depos'd you quake like rebels ?-
Ah, gentle villain, do not turn away!
(1) In Margaret's battle ; i. e. on queen Margaret's side.
(2) gentle villain. Gentle, here, does not mean tender or courteous, but high-born.
Glo. Foul wrinkled witch, what mak'st thou in my sight? Q. Mar. But repetition of what thou hast marr'd; That will I make, before I let thee go.
Glo. Wert thou not banished on pain of death?
Q. Mar. I was; but I do find more pain in banishment
Than death can yield me here by my abode.
A husband, and a son, thou ow'st to me,
And thou, a kingdom;-all of you, allegiance :
This sorrow that I have, by right is yours;
And all the pleasures you usurp are mine.
Glo. The curse my noble father laid on thee,
When thou didst crown his warlike brows with paper,?
And with thy scorns drew'st rivers from his eyes,
And then, to dry them, gav'st the duke a clout,
Steep'd in the faultless blood of pretty Rutland ;-
His curses, then from bitterness of soul
Denounc'd against thee, are all fallen upon thee;
And God, not we, hath plagued thy bloody deed.
Q. Eliz. So just is God, to right the innocent.
Hast. O, 'twas the foulest deed, to slay that babe,
And the most merciless, that e'er was heard of.
Riv. Tyrants themselves wept when it was reported.
Dor. No man but prophesied revenge for it.
Buck. Northumberland, then present, wept to see it.
Q. Mar. What! were you snarling all, before I came,
Ready to catch each other by the throat,
And turn you all your hatred now on me?
Did York's dread curse prevail so much with Heaven
That Henry's death, my lovely Edward's death,
Their kingdom's loss, my woeful banishment,
Should all but answer for that peevish brat?
Can curses pierce the clouds, and enter heaven ?-
Wby, then give way, dull clouds, to my quick curses !
Though not by war, by surfeit die your king,
As ours by murther, to make him a king!
Edward, thy son, that now is prince of Wales,
For Edward, our son, that was prince of Wales,
Die in his youth by like untimely violence!
Thyself a queen, for me that was a queen,
Outlive thy glory, like my wretched self!
Long may'st thou live, to wail thy children's death,
And see another, as I see thee now,
Deck'd in thy rights, as thou art stall'd in mine!
Long die thy happy days before thy death ;
And, after many lengthen'd hours of grief,
Die neither mother, wife, nor England's queen ;
Rivers, and Dorset, you were standers by,-
And so wast thou, lord Hastings,—when my son
Was stabb’d with bloody daggers : God, I pray him,
That none of you may live your natural age,
But by some unlook'd accident cut off!
Glo. Have done thy charm, thou hateful wither'd hag.
Q. Mar. And leave out thee? stay, dog, for thou shalt hear
If Heaven have any grievous plague in store,
Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
0, let them keep it, till thy sins be ripe,
And then hurl down their indignation
On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace !
The worm of conscience still be-gnaw thy soul !
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv'st.
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends!
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
Unless it be while some tormenting dream
Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils !
Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog !!
Thou that wast seal'd thy nativity
The slave of nature, and the son of hell !
Thou rag of honour! thou detested
Q. Mar, Richard !
I call thee not. Glo. I cry thee mercy then; for I did think That thou hadst call'd me all these bitter names.
Q. Mar. Why, so I did; but look'd for no reply. O, let me make the period to my curse. Glo. "Tis done by me; and ends in-Margaret. Q. Eliz. Thus have you breath'd your curse against your
self. Q. Mar. Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my fortune! Why strew'st thou sugar on that bottled spider, Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about? Fool, fool! thou whett'st a knife to kill thyself. The day will come that thou shalt wish for me To help thee curse this pois'nous hunch-back'd toad.
(1) Rooting hog. Richard was called "the hog” from his bearing that animal as his armorial ensign. Perhaps allusion is here made to it.