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His honour, and myself, are at the one;
stirring : What news, what news, in this our tottering state?
Cate. It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord; And, I believe, will never stand upright, Till Richard wear the garland of the realm. Hast. How! wear the garland ? dost thou mean
the crown? Cate. Ay, my good lord. Hast. I'll have this crown of mine cut from my
shoulders, Before I'll see the crown so foul misplac'd. But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it? 3 This was the usual address to noblemen in Shakspeare's it was indifferently used with your lordship. See any
old letter or dedication of that age. 4 Instance is here put for motive, cause. Thus in Hamlet:
• The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.' 5 Weak, silly.
Cate. Ay, on my life; and hopes to find you for
Hast. Indeed, I am no mourner for that news, Because they have been still my
adversaries : But, that I'll give my voice on Richard's side, To bar my master's heirs in true descent, God knows, I will not do it, to the death. Cate. God keep your lordship in that gracious
mind! Hast. But I shall laugh at this a twelvemonth
Cate. 'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord, When men are unprepar'd, and look not for it.
Hast. O monstrous, monstrous ! and so falls it out With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill do With some men else, who think themselves as safe As thou, and I; who, as thou know’st, are dear To princely Richard, and to Buckingham.
Cate. The princes both make high account of you, For they account his head upon the bridge. [Aside. Hast. I know, they do; and I have well de
Enter STANLEY. Come on, come ol', where is your boar-spear, man? Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided ? Stan. My lord, good morrow; and good morrow,
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
life as dear as you do yours; And never, in my life, I do protest, Was it more precious to me than 'tis now: Think you, but that I know our state secure, I would be so triumphant as I am? Stan. The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from
London, Were jocund, and suppos’d their states were sure, And they, indeed, had no cause to mistrust; But yet, you see, how soon the day o'ercast. This sudden stab of rancour I misdoubt?; Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward! What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent. Hast. Come, come, have with you.—Wat 8 you
lord? To-day, the lords you talk of are beheaded. Stan. They, for their truth, might better wear
their heads, Than some, that have accus'd them, wear their hats. But come, my lord, let's
Enter a Pursuivant. Hast. Go on before, I'll talk with this good fellow. [Exeunt STAN. and CATESBY.
sirrah? how goes the world with thee? Purs. The better, that your lordship please to ask.
Hast. I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now, Than when thou met’st me last where now we meet : Then I was going prisoner to the Tower,
By the suggestion of the queen’s allies;
[Throwing him his purse. Purs. I thank your honour. •[Exit Pursuivant.
Enter a Priest.
honour. Hast. I thank thee, good Sir John 10, with all my
heart. I am in
last exercise 11 ; Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.
Enter BUCKINGHAM 12, Buck. What, talking with a priest, lord chamber
lain ? Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest; Your honour hath no shriving 13 work in hand.
Hast. 'Good faith, and when I met this holy man, The men you talk of came into my mind. What, go you toward the Tower?
9 That is continue it. 10 See note 1 on the first scene of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
11 Exercise probably means religious exhortation or lecture. Thus in Othello :
• Much castigation exercise devout.' 12 From the continuation of Harding's Chronicle, 1543, where the account given originally by Sir Thomas More is transcribed with some additions, it appears that the person who held this conversation with Hastings was Sir Thomas Howard, who is introduced in the last act of this play as earl of Surrey.
Buck. I do, my lord; but long I cannot stay there: I shall return before your lordship thence.
Hast. Nay, like enough, for I stay dinner there. Buck. And supper too, although thou know'st it pot.
[Aside. Come, will you go? Hast. I'll wait upon your lordship.
SCENE III. Pomfret. Before the Castle. Enter RATCLIFF, with a guard, conducting RIVERS,
GREY', and VAUGHAN, to Execution. Rat. Come, bring forth the prisoners.
Riv. Sir Richard Ratcliff, let me tell thee this, To-day, shalt thou behold a subject die, For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.
Grey. God keep the prince from all the pack of you! A knot you are of damned blood-suckers. Vaugh. You live, that shall cry woe for this here
after. Rat. Despatch; the limit of your lives is out.
Riv. O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison, Fatal and ominous to noble peers! Within the guilty closure of thy walls, Richard the Second here was hack'd to death: And, for more slander to thy dismal seat, We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.
Queen Elizabeth Grey is deservedly pitied for the loss of her two sons; but the royalty of their birth has so engrossed the attention of historians, that they never reckon into the number of her misfortunes the murder of this her second son, Sir Richard Grey. It is remarkable how slightly the death of Earl Rivers is always mentioned, though a man invested with such high offices of trust and dignity; and how much we dwell on the execution of the lord chamberlain Hastings, a man in every light his inferior. In truth, the generality draw their ideas of English story from the tragic rather than the historic authors.--Walpole.
2 The limit for the limited time.