A monologue from Act III, Scene ii
by: William Shakespeare
|NOTE: Richard III was originally published in 1597. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.
- KING: No matter where. Of comfort no man speak!
- Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs,
- Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
- Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.
- Let's choose executors and talk of wills.
- And yet not so -- for what can we bequeath,
- Save our deposèd bodies to the ground?
- Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke's,
- And nothing can we call our own but death
- And that small model of the barren earth
- Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
- For God's sake let us sit upon the ground
- And tell sad stories of the death of kings!
- How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
- Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,
- Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed --
- All murdered; for within the hollow crown
- That rounds the mortal temples of a king
- Keeps Death his court; and there the antic sits,
- Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp;
- Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
- To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks;
- Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
- As if this flesh which walls about our life
- Were brass impregnable; and humored thus,
- Comes at the last, and with a little pin
- Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
- Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
- With solemn reverence. Throw away respect,
- Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty;
- For you have but mistook me all this while.
- I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief,
- Need friends. Subjected thus,
- How can you say to me I am a king?