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Glo. My lord, there needs no such apology; I rather do beseech you pardon me, Who, earnest in the service of my God, Neglect the visitation of my friends. But, leaving this, what is your grace's pleasure? Buck. Even that, I hope, which pleaseth God
above, And all good men of this ungovern'd isle.
Glo. I do suspect, I have done some offence, That seems disgracious in the city's eye; And that you come to reprehend my ignorance. Buck. You have, my lord; Would it might please
your grace, On our entreaties to amend your fault!
Glo. Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian land? Buck. Know, then, it is your fault, that you re
sign The supreme seat, the throne majestical The scepter'd office of your ancestors, Your state of fortune, and your due of birth, The lineal glory of your royal house, To the corruption of a blemish'd stock: Whilst, in the mildness of your sleepy thoughts, (Which here we waken to our country's good,) The noble isle doth want her proper limbs; Her face defac'd with scars of infamy, Her royal stock graft with ignoble plants, And almost shoulder'd in the swallowing gulfo Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion. Which to recure, we heartily solicit Your gracious self to take on you the charge And kingly government of this your land: Not as protector, steward, substitute, Or lowly factor for another's gain:
* And almost shoulder'd in the swallowing gulph -] Shoulder'd has the same meaning as rudely thrust into.
7 Which to recure,] To recure is to recover. VOL. VII.
But as successively, from blood to blood,
Your right of birth, your empery, your own.
For this, consorted with the citizens,
Your very worshipful and loving friends,
And by their vehement instigation,
In this just suit come I to move your grace.
Glo. I cannot tell, if to depart in silence,
Or bitterly to speak in your reproof,
Best fitteth my degree, or your condition:
If, not to answer, you might haply think,
Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty,
Which fondly you would here impose on me;
If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
So season'd with your faithful love to me,
Then, on the other side, I check'd my friends.
Therefore,—to speak, and to avoid the first;
And then, in speaking, not to incur the last,
Definitively thus I answer you.
Your love deserves my thanks; but my desert
Unmeritable, shuns your high request.
First, if all obstacles were cut away,
And that my path were even to the crown,
As the ripe revenue and due of birth;
Yet so much is my poverty of spirit,
So mighty, and so many, my defects,
That I would rather hide me from my greatness,
Being a bark to brook no mighty sea,-
Than in my greatness covet to be hid,
And in the vapour of my glory smother'd.
But, God be thank'd, there is no need of me;
(And much I need to help you, if need were;)
The royal tree hath left us royal fruit,
Which, mellow'd by the stealing hours of time,
Will well become the seat of majesty,
And make, no doubt, us happy by his reign.
On him I lay what you would lay on me,
The right and fortune of his happy stars,
Which, God defend, that I should wring from him!
Buck. My lord, this argues conscience in your
But the respects thereof are nice and trivial,
All circumstances well considered.
You say, that Edward is your brother's son;
So say we too, but not by Edward's wife:
For first he was contract to lady Lucy,
Your mother lives a witness to his vow;
And afterwards by substitute betroth'd
To Bona, sister to the king of France.
These both put by, a poor petitioner,
A care-craz'd mother to a many sons,
A beauty-waning and distressed widow,
Even in the afternoon of her best days,
Made prize and purchase of his wanton eye,
Seduc'd the pitch and height of all his thoughts
To base declension and loath'd bigamy:'
By her, in his unlawful bed, he got
This Edward, whom our manners call—the prince.
More bitterly could I expostulate,
Save that, for reverence to some alive,
I give a sparing limit to my tongue.
Then, good my lord, take to your royal self
This proffer'd benefit of dignity:
If not to bless us and the land withal,
Yet to draw forth your noble ancestry
' — are nice and trivial,] Nice is generally used by Shakspeare in the sense of minute, trifling, of petty import.
- loath'd bigamy:] Bigamy, by a canon of the council of Lyons, A. D. 1274, (adopted in England by a statute in 4 Edw. I.) was made unlawful and infamous. It differed from polygamy, or having two wives at once : as it consisted in either marrying two virgins successively, or once marrying a widow.
From the corruption of abusing time,
Unto a lineal true-derived course.
May. Do, good my lord; your citizens entreat you.
Buck. Refuse not, mighty lord, this proffer'd love.
Cate. O, make them joyful, grant their lawful suit.
Glo. Alas, why would you heap those cares on me?
I am unfit for state and majesty:-
I do beseech you, take it not amiss;
I cannot, nor I will not, yield to you.
Buck. If you refuse it, -as in love and zeal,
Loath to depose the child, your brother's son;
As well we know your tenderness of heart,
And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse,
Which we have noted in you to your kindred,
And equally, indeed, to all estates,
Yet know, whe'r you accept our suit or no,
Your brother's son shall never reign our king;
But we will plant some other in your throne,
To the disgrace and downfal of your house.
And, in this resolution, here we leave you;-
Come, citizens, we will entreat no more.
[Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and Citizens. Cate. Call them again, sweet prince, accept their
suit; If you deny them, all the land will rue it.
Glo. Will you enforce me to a world of cares? Well, call them again; I am not made of stone, But penetrable to your kind entreaties,
[Exit CATESBY. Albeit against my conscience and my soul.
Re-enter BUCKINGHAM, and the Rest.
Cousin of Buckingham,—and sage, grave men,
Since you will buckle fortune on my back,
To bear her burden, whe'r I will, or no,
I must have patience to endure the load:
But if black scandal, or foul-fac'd reproach,
Attend the sequel of your imposition,
Your mere enforcement shall acquittance me
From all the impure blots and stains thereof;
For God he knows, and you may partly see,
How far I am from the desire of this.
May. God bless your grace! we see it, and will
Glo. In saying so, you shall but say the truth.
Buck. Then I salute you with this royal title,Long live king Richard, England's worthy king!
Longi. Amenorrow Dou please
Buck. To-morrow may it please you to be crown'd? Glo. Even when you please, since you will have
it so. Buck. To-morrow then we will attend your grace; And so, most joyfully, we take our leave. Glo. Come, let us to our holy work again :
[To the Bishops. Farewell, good cousin ;~farewell, gentle friends.
SCENE I. 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 MAR-
GARET PLANTAGENET, Clarence's young Daugh-
Duch. Who meets us here?-my niece Planta-
Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloster?