This page contains the original text of Richard III, Act 2, Scene 3. Shakespeare’s original Richard III text is long, so we’ve split the text into one Scene per page. All Acts and Scenes are listed on the original Richard III text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
ACT 2, SCENE 3. London. A street.
Enter two Citizens meeting
Neighbour, well met: whither away so fast?
I promise you, I scarcely know myself:
Hear you the news abroad?
Ay, that the king is dead.
Bad news, by’r lady; seldom comes the better:
I fear, I fear ’twill prove a troublous world.
Enter another Citizen
Neighbours, God speed!
Give you good morrow, sir.
Doth this news hold of good King Edward’s death?
Ay, sir, it is too true; God help the while!
Then, masters, look to see a troublous world.
No, no; by God’s good grace his son shall reign.
Woe to the land that’s govern’d by a child!
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.
So stood the state when Henry the Sixth
Was crown’d in Paris but at nine months old.
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.
Why, so hath this, both by the father and mother.
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.
Come, come, we fear the worst; all shall be well.
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.
Truly, the souls of men are full of dread:
Ye cannot reason almost with a man
That looks not heavily and full of fear.
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?
Marry, we were sent for to the justices.
And so was I: I’ll bear you company.
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