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SCENE I

Before the Tower.
Enter, on one side, QUEEN ELIZABETH, DUCHESS OF YORK, and MARQUESS OF DORSET; on the other, ANNE, DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER, leading LADY MARGARET PLANTAGENET, CLARENCE'S young Daughter.

Duch.
Who meets us here? my niece Plantagenet

Led in the hand of her kind aunt of Gloucester?

Now, for my life, she's wandering to the Tower,

On pure heart's love to greet the tender princes.

Daughter, well met.

Anne.
God give your graces both

A happy and a joyful time of day!

Q. Eliz.
As much to you, good sister! Whither away?

Anne.
No farther than the Tower: and, as I guess,

Upon the like devotion as yourselves, (10)

To gratulate the gentle princes there.

Q. Eliz.
Kind sister, thanks: we'll enter all together. Enter BRAKENBURY.


And, in good time, here the lieutenant comes.

Master lieutenant, pray you, by your leave,

How doth the prince, and my young son of York?

Brak.
Right well, dear madam. By your patience,

I may not suffer you to visit them;

The king hath straitly charged the contrary.

Q. Eliz.
The king! why, who's that?

Brak.
I cry you mercy: I mean the lord protector. (20)

Q. Eliz.
The Lord protect him from that kingly title!

Hath he set bounds betwixt their love and me?

I am their mother; who should keep me from them?

Duch.
I am their father's mother; I will see them.

Anne.
Their aunt I am in law, in love their mother:

Then bring me to their sights; I'll bear thy blame

And take thy office from thee, on my peril.

Brak.
No, madam, no; I may not leave it so:

I am bound by oath, and therefore pardon me. [Exit.
Enter LORD STANLEY.


Stan.
Let me but meet you, ladies, one hour hence.

And I'll salute your grace of York as mother, (31)

And reverend looker on, of two fair queens.

[To Anne]
Come, madam, you must straight to Westminster,

There to be crowned Richard's royal queen.

Q. Eliz.
O, cut my lace in sunder, that my pent heart

May have some scope to beat, or else I swoon

With this dead-killing news!

Anne.
Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!

Dor.
Be of good cheer: mother, how fares your grace?

Q. Eliz.
O Dorset, speak not to me, get thee hence! (40)

Death and destruction dog thee at the heels;

Thy mother's name is ominous to children.

If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,

And live with Richmond, from the reach of hell:

Go, hie thee, hie thee from this slaughterhouse,

Lest thou increase the number of the dead;

And make me die the thrall of Margaret's curse,

Nor mother, wife, nor England's counted queen.

Stan.
Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam.

Take all the swift advantage of the hours; (50)

You shall have letters from me to my son

To meet you on the way, and welcome you.

Be not ta'en tardy by unwise delay.

Duch.
O ill-dispersing wind of misery!

O my accursed womb, the bed of death!

A cockatrice hast thou hatch'd to the world,

Whose unavoided eye is murderous.

Stan.
Come, madam, come; I in all haste was sent.

Anne.
And I in all unwillingness will go.

I would to God that the inclusive verge (60)

Of golden metal that must round my brow

Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain!

Anointed let me be with deadly venom,

And die, ere men can say, God save the queen!

Q. Eliz.
Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory;

To feed my humor, wish thyself no harm.

Anne.
No! why? When he that is my husband now

Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse,

When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his hands

Which issued from my other angel husband (70)

And that dead saint which then I weeping follow'd;

O, when, I say, I look'd on Richard's face,

This was my wish: 'Be thou,' quoth I, 'accursed,

For making me, so young, so old a widow!

And, when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed;

And be thy wife--if any be so mad--

As miserable by the life of thee

As thou hast made me by my dear lord's death!'

Lo, ere I can repeat this curse again,

Even in so short a space, my woman's heart (80)

Grossly grew captive to his honey words

And proved the subject of my own soul's curse,

Which ever since hath kept my eyes from rest;

For never yet one hour in his bed

Have I enjoy'd the golden dew of sleep,

But have been waked by his timorous dreams.

Besides, he hates me for my father Warwick;

And will, no doubt, shortly be rid of me.

Q. Eliz.
Poor heart, adieu! I pity thy complaining.

Anne.
No more than from my soul I mourn for yours. (90)

Q. Eliz.
Farewell, thou woful welcomer of glory!

Anne.
Adieu, poor soul, that takest thy leave of it!

Duch.
[To Dorset]
Go thou to Richmond, and good fortune guide thee!

[To Anne]
Go thou to Richard, and good angels guard thee!

[To Queen Eliz.]
Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee!

I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me!

Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen,

And each hour's joy wreck'd with a week of teen.

Q. Eliz.
Stay, yet look back with me unto the Tower.

Pity, you ancient stones, these tender babes

Whom envy hath immured within your walls! (101)

Rough cradle for such little pretty ones!

Rude ragged nurse, old sullen playfellow

For tender princes, use my babies well!

So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewell. [Exeunt.

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