Maior. Marry God defend his Grace should say vs nay

Buck. I feare he will: here Catesby comes againe. Enter Catesby.

Now Catesby, what sayes his Grace? Catesby. He wonders to what end you haue assembled Such troopes of Citizens, to come to him, His Grace not being warn'd thereof before: He feares, my Lord, you meane no good to him

Buck. Sorry I am, my Noble Cousin should Suspect me, that I meane no good to him: By Heauen, we come to him in perfit loue, And so once more returne, and tell his Grace. Enter.

When holy and deuout Religious men Are at their Beades, 'tis much to draw them thence, So sweet is zealous Contemplation. Enter Richard aloft, betweene two Bishops

Maior. See where his Grace stands, tweene two Clergie men

Buck. Two Props of Vertue, for a Christian Prince, To stay him from the fall of Vanitie: And see a Booke of Prayer in his hand, True Ornaments to know a holy man. Famous Plantagenet, most gracious Prince, Lend fauourable eare to our requests, And pardon vs the interruption Of thy Deuotion, and right Christian Zeale

Rich. My Lord, there needes no such Apologie: I doe beseech your Grace to pardon me, Who earnest in the seruice of my God, Deferr'd the visitation of my friends. But leauing this, what is your Graces pleasure? Buck. Euen that (I hope) which pleaseth God aboue, And all good men, of this vngouern'd Ile

Rich. I doe suspect I haue done some offence, That seemes disgracious in the Cities eye, And that you come to reprehend my ignorance

Buck. You haue, my Lord: Would it might please your Grace, On our entreaties, to amend your fault

Rich. Else wherefore breathe I in a Christian Land

Buck. Know then, it is your fault, that you resigne The Supreme Seat, the Throne Maiesticall, The Sceptred Office of your Ancestors, Your State of Fortune, and your Deaw of Birth, The Lineall Glory of your Royall House, To the corruption of a blemisht Stock; Whiles in the mildnesse of your sleepie thoughts, Which here we waken to our Countries good, The Noble Ile doth want his proper Limmes: His Face defac'd with skarres of Infamie, His Royall Stock grafft with ignoble Plants, And almost shouldred in the swallowing Gulfe Of darke Forgetfulnesse, and deepe Obliuion. Which to recure, we heartily solicite Your gracious selfe to take on you the charge And Kingly Gouernment of this your Land: Not as Protector, Steward, Substitute, Or lowly Factor, for anothers gaine; But as successiuely, from Blood to Blood, Your Right of Birth, your Empyrie, your owne. For this, consorted with the Citizens, Your very Worshipfull and louing friends, And by their vehement instigation, In this iust Cause come I to moue your Grace

Rich. I cannot tell, if to depart in silence, Or bitterly to speake in your reproofe, Best fitteth my Degree, or your Condition. If not to answer, you might haply thinke, Tongue-ty'd Ambition, not replying, yeelded To beare the Golden Yoake of Soueraigntie, Which fondly you would here impose on me. If to reproue you for this suit of yours, So season'd with your faithfull loue to me, Then on the other side I check'd my friends. Therefore to speake, and to auoid the first, And then in speaking, not to incurre the last, Definitiuely thus I answer you. Your loue deserues my thankes, but my desert Vnmeritable, shunnes your high request. First, if all Obstacles were cut away, And that my Path were euen to the Crowne, As the ripe Reuenue, and due of Birth: Yet so much is my pouertie of spirit, So mightie, and so manie my defects, That I would rather hide me from my Greatnesse, Being a Barke to brooke no mightie Sea; Then in my Greatnesse couet 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 helpe you, were there need: The Royall Tree hath left vs Royall Fruit, Which mellow'd by the stealing howres of time, Will well become the Seat of Maiestie, And make (no doubt) vs happy by his Reigne. On him I lay that, you would lay on me, The Right and Fortune of his happie Starres, Which God defend that I should wring from him

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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