A monologue from Act I, Scene i
by: William Shakespeare
|NOTE: Richard III was originally published in 1597. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.
- RICHARD: Now is the winter of our discontent
- Made glorious summer by this son of York;
- And all the clouds that lowered upon our house
- In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
- Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths,
- Our bruisèd arms hung up for monuments,
- Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
- Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
- Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinklèd front,
- And now, instead of mounting barbèd steeds
- To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
- He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
- To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
- But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks
- Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
- I, that am rudely stamped, and want love's majesty
- To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
- I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
- Cheated of feature by dissembling Nature,
- Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
- Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
- And that so lamely and unfashionable
- That dogs bark at me as I halt by them--
- Why I, in this weak piping time of peace,
- Have no delight to pass away the time,
- Unless to see my shadow in the sun
- And descant  on mine own deformity.
- And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
- To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
- I am determined to prove a villain
- And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
- Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
- By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
- To set my brother Clarence and the king
- In deadly hate the one against the other;
- And if King Edward be as true and just
- As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
- This day should Clarence closely be mewed up 
- About a prophecy which says that G
- Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
- Dive, thoughts, down into my soul -- here Clarence comes!
1 Compose variations on a simple theme.
2 Trapped; Imprisoned.