The Life and Death of Richard the Third

SCENE II. Before Lord Hastings' house.

Enter a Messenger
Messenger
What, ho! my lord!
HASTINGS
[Within] Who knocks at the door?
Messenger
A messenger from the Lord Stanley.

Enter HASTINGS

HASTINGS
What is't o'clock?
Messenger
Upon the stroke of four.
HASTINGS
Cannot thy master sleep these tedious nights?
Messenger
So it should seem by that I have to say.
First, he commends him to your noble lordship.
HASTINGS
And then?
Messenger
And then he sends you word
He dreamt to-night the boar had razed his helm:
Besides, he says there are two councils held;
And that may be determined at the one
which may make you and him to rue at the other.
Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,
If presently you will take horse with him,
And with all speed post with him toward the north,
To shun the danger that his soul divines.
HASTINGS
Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord;
Bid him not fear the separated councils
His honour and myself are at the one,
And at the other is my servant Catesby
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
Tell him his fears are shallow, wanting instance:
And for his dreams, I wonder he is so fond
To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers
To fly the boar before the boar pursues,
Were to incense the boar to follow us
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
Go, bid thy master rise and come to me
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.
Messenger
My gracious lord, I'll tell him what you say.

Exit

Enter CATESBY

CATESBY
Many good morrows to my noble lord!
HASTINGS
Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring
What news, what news, in this our tottering state?
CATESBY
It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord;
And I believe twill never stand upright
Tim Richard wear the garland of the realm.
HASTINGS
How! wear the garland! dost thou mean the crown?
CATESBY
Ay, my good lord.
HASTINGS
I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
Ere I will see the crown so foul misplaced.
But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
CATESBY
Ay, on my life; and hopes to find forward
Upon his party for the gain thereof:
And thereupon he sends you this good news,
That this same very day your enemies,
The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.
HASTINGS
Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
Because they have been still mine enemies:
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.
CATESBY
God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!
HASTINGS
But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,
That they who brought me in my master's hate
I live to look upon their tragedy.
I tell thee, Catesby--
CATESBY
What, my lord?
HASTINGS
Ere a fortnight make me elder,
I'll send some packing that yet think not on it.
CATESBY
'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepared and look not for it.
HASTINGS
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.
CATESBY
The princes both make high account of you;

Aside

For they account his head upon the bridge.
HASTINGS
I know they do; and I have well deserved it.

Enter STANLEY

Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided?
STANLEY
My lord, good morrow; good morrow, Catesby:
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
I do not like these several councils, I.
HASTINGS
My lord,
I hold my 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?
STANLEY
The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
Were jocund, and supposed their state was sure,
And they indeed had no cause to mistrust;
But yet, you see how soon the day o'ercast.
This sudden stag of rancour I misdoubt:
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!
What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.
HASTINGS
Come, come, have with you. Wot you what, my lord?
To-day the lords you talk of are beheaded.
LORD STANLEY
They, for their truth, might better wear their heads
Than some that have accused them wear their hats.
But come, my lord, let us away.

Enter a Pursuivant

HASTINGS
Go on before; I'll talk with this good fellow.

Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY

How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee?
Pursuivant
The better that your lordship please to ask.
HASTINGS
I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now
Than when I met thee last where now we meet:
Then was I going prisoner to the Tower,
By the suggestion of the queen's allies;
But now, I tell thee--keep it to thyself--
This day those enemies are put to death,
And I in better state than e'er I was.
Pursuivant
God hold it, to your honour's good content!
HASTINGS
Gramercy, fellow: there, drink that for me.

Throws him his purse

Pursuivant
God save your lordship!

Exit

Enter a Priest

Priest
Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.
HASTINGS
I thank thee, good Sir John, with all my heart.
I am in your debt for your last exercise;
Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.

He whispers in his ear

Enter BUCKINGHAM

BUCKINGHAM
What, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain?
Your friends at Pomfret, they do need the priest;
Your honour hath no shriving work in hand.
HASTINGS
Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
Those men you talk of came into my mind.
What, go you toward the Tower?
BUCKINGHAM
I do, my lord; but long I shall not stay
I shall return before your lordship thence.
HASTINGS
'Tis like enough, for I stay dinner there.
BUCKINGHAM
[Aside] And supper too, although thou know'st it not.
Come, will you go?
HASTINGS
I'll wait upon your lordship.

Exeunt