Hast. If they haue done this deed, my Noble Lord

Rich. If? thou Protector of this damned Strumpet, Talk'st thou to me of Ifs: thou art a Traytor, Off with his Head; now by Saint Paul I sweare, I will not dine, vntill I see the same. Louell and Ratcliffe, looke that it be done:


The rest that loue me, rise, and follow me.

Manet Louell and Ratcliffe, with the Lord Hastings.

Hast. Woe, woe for England, not a whit for me, For I, too fond, might haue preuented this: Stanley did dreame, the Bore did rowse our Helmes, And I did scorne it, and disdaine to flye: Three times to day my Foot-Cloth-Horse did stumble, And started, when he look'd vpon the Tower, As loth to beare me to the slaughter-house. O now I need the Priest, that spake to me: I now repent I told the Pursuiuant, As too triumphing, how mine Enemies To day at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd, And I my selfe secure, in grace and fauour. Oh Margaret, Margaret, now thy heauie Curse Is lighted on poore Hastings wretched Head

Ra. Come, come, dispatch, the Duke would be at dinner: Make a short Shrift, he longs to see your Head

Hast. O momentarie grace of mortall men, Which we more hunt for, then the grace of God! Who builds his hope in ayre of your good Lookes, Liues like a drunken Sayler on a Mast, Readie with euery Nod to tumble downe, Into the fatall Bowels of the Deepe

Lou. Come, come, dispatch, 'tis bootlesse to exclaime

Hast. O bloody Richard: miserable England, I prophecie the fearefull'st time to thee, That euer wretched Age hath look'd vpon. Come, lead me to the Block, beare him my Head, They smile at me, who shortly shall be dead.


Enter Richard, and Buckingham, in rotten Armour, maruellous ill-fauoured.

Richard. Come Cousin, Canst thou quake, and change thy colour, Murther thy breath in middle of a word, And then againe begin, and stop againe, As if thou were distraught, and mad with terror? Buck. Tut, I can counterfeit the deepe Tragedian, Speake, and looke backe, and prie on euery side, Tremble and start at wagging of a Straw: Intending deepe suspition, gastly Lookes Are at my seruice, like enforced Smiles; And both are readie in their Offices, At any time to grace my Stratagemes. But what, is Catesby gone? Rich. He is, and see he brings the Maior along. Enter the Maior, and Catesby.

Buck. Lord Maior

Rich. Looke to the Draw-Bridge there

Buck. Hearke, a Drumme

Rich. Catesby, o're-looke the Walls

Buck. Lord Maior, the reason we haue sent

Rich. Looke back, defend thee, here are Enemies

Buck. God and our Innocencie defend, and guard vs. Enter Louell and Ratcliffe, with Hastings Head.

Rich. Be patient, they are friends: Ratcliffe, and Louell

Louell. Here is the Head of that ignoble Traytor, The dangerous and vnsuspected Hastings

Rich. So deare I lou'd the man, that I must weepe: I tooke him for the plainest harmelesse Creature, That breath'd vpon the Earth, a Christian. Made him my Booke, wherein my Soule recorded The Historie of all her secret thoughts. So smooth he dawb'd his Vice with shew of Vertue, That his apparant open Guilt omitted, I meane, his Conuersation with Shores Wife, He liu'd from all attainder of suspects

Buck. Well, well, he was the couertst sheltred Traytor That euer liu'd. Would you imagine, or almost beleeue, Wert not, that by great preseruation We liue to tell it, that the subtill Traytor This day had plotted, in the Councell-House, To murther me, and my good Lord of Gloster

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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