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Richard III

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90
RICHARD
You may deny that you were not the mean
Of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment.
RICHARD
Oh, and I’ll bet you’ll also deny you were responsible for Lord Hastings’s recent stay in prison.

RIVERS
She may, my lord, for—
RIVERS
She may deny that, my lord, because—



95


RICHARD
She may, Lord Rivers. Why, who knows not so?
She may do more, sir, than denying that.
She may help you to many fair preferments
And then deny her aiding hand therein,
And lay those honors on your high desert.
What may she not? She may, ay, marry, may she—
RICHARD
She may, Lord Rivers? Everybody knows she may. She may do a lot more than that, sir. She may help you to get many nice promotions, and then deny she helped you, claiming you won them on your own merits. What can’t she do? She could even—

RIVERS
What, marry, may she?
RIVERS
She could even what?

100

RICHARD
What, marry, may she? Marry with a king,
A bachelor, a handsome stripling too.
I wis, your grandam had a worser match.
RICHARD
She could even what? She could marry a king, a bachelor, a handsome young lad. Certainly, your grandmother had a worse match.



105



QUEEN ELIZABETH
My Lord of Gloucester, I have too long borne
Your blunt upbraidings and your bitter scoffs.
By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
With those gross taunts that oft I have endured.
I had rather be a country servant-maid
Than a great queen with this condition,
To be so baited, scorned, and stormèd at.
QUEEN ELIZABETH
My lord of Gloucester, I have suffered your blunt upbraidings and your bitterness toward me for too long. By God, I will tell the king about these taunts. I would rather be a country serving maid than a great queen if it meant I could escape your scorn and constant harassment.
Enter old QUEEN MARGARET, apart from others
Old QUEEN MARGARET enters without being seen.
110
Small joy have I in being England’s queen.
I’ve had very little joy as England’s queen.


QUEEN MARGARET
(aside) And lessened be that small, God I beseech Him!
Thy honor, state, and seat is due to me.
QUEEN MARGARET
(speaking so no one else can hear) God, give her even less joy, I beg you! Elizabeth, your honor, your high rank, and your position as

queen

Queen Margaret is the widow of King Henry VI, who was deposed and murdered by the Yorkists.

queen
are all owed to me.