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Richard III

Act 4, Scene 4
Read by Allison Epperson

I called thee then, vain flourish of my fortune;
I called thee then, poor shadow, painted queen,
The presentation of but what I was,
The flattering index of a direful pageant,
One heaved a-high to be hurled down below,
A mother only mocked with two fair babes,
A dream of what thou wast, a garish flag
To be the aim of every dangerous shot,
A sign of Dignity, a breath, a bubble,
A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.
Where is thy Husband now?  Where be thy Brothers?
Where be thy two Sons?  Wherein dost thou Joy?
Who sues, and kneels, and says, ‘God save the Queen’?
Where be the bending peers that flattered thee?
Where be the thronging troops that followed thee?
Decline all this, and see what now thou art.
For happy Wife, a most distressèd widow;
For joyful Mother, one that wails the name;
For one being sued to, one that humbly sues;
For Queen, a very caitiff, crowned with care;
For she that scorned at me, now scorned of me;
For she being feared of all, now fearing one;
For she commanding all, obeyed of none.
Thus hath the course of justice whirled about
And left thee but a very prey to time,
Having no more but thought of what thou wast
To torture thee the more, being what thou art.
Thou didst usurp my place, and dost thou not
Usurp the just proportion of my sorrow?
Now thy proud neck bears half my burdened yoke,
From which even here I slip my (weary) head
And leave the burden of it all on thee.
Farewell, York’s wife, and Queen of sad mischance,
These English woes, shall make me smile in France.