Richard III

by William Shakespeare

Act II, Scene III

London. A street.

Enter two Citizens meeting
First Citizen
Neighbour, well met: whither away so fast?
Second Citizen
I promise you, I scarcely know myself:
Hear you the news abroad?
First Citizen
Ay, that the king is dead.
Second Citizen
Bad news, by'r lady; seldom comes the better:
I fear, I fear 'twill prove a troublous world.

Enter another Citizen

Third Citizen
Neighbours, God speed!
First Citizen
Give you good morrow, sir.
Third Citizen
Doth this news hold of good King Edward's death?
Second Citizen
Ay, sir, it is too true; God help the while!
Third Citizen
Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.
First Citizen
No, no; by God's good grace his son shall reign.
Third Citizen
Woe to the land that's govern'd by a child!
Second Citizen
In him there is a hope of government,
That in his nonage council under him,
And in his full and ripen'd years himself,
No doubt, shall then and till then govern well.
First Citizen
So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
Was crown'd in Paris but at nine months old.
Third Citizen
Stood the state so? No, no, good friends, God wot;
For then this land was famously enrich'd
With politic grave counsel; then the king
Had virtuous uncles to protect his grace.
First Citizen
Why, so hath this, both by the father and mother.
Third Citizen
Better it were they all came by the father,
Or by the father there were none at all;
For emulation now, who shall be nearest,
Will touch us all too near, if God prevent not.
O, full of danger is the Duke of Gloucester!
And the queen's sons and brothers haught and proud:
And were they to be ruled, and not to rule,
This sickly land might solace as before.
First Citizen
Come, come, we fear the worst; all shall be well.
Third Citizen
When clouds appear, wise men put on their cloaks;
When great leaves fall, the winter is at hand;
When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
Untimely storms make men expect a dearth.
All may be well; but, if God sort it so,
'Tis more than we deserve, or I expect.
Second Citizen
Truly, the souls of men are full of dread:
Ye cannot reason almost with a man
That looks not heavily and full of fear.
Third Citizen
Before the times of change, still is it so:
By a divine instinct men's minds mistrust
Ensuing dangers; as by proof, we see
The waters swell before a boisterous storm.
But leave it all to God. Whither away?
Second Citizen
Marry, we were sent for to the justices.
Third Citizen
And so was I: I'll bear you company.


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