Richard III

Set down, set down your honourable load,

Lady Anne

Richard III

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Basics

Character
Gender
Age Range
Style
Scene
Act One, Scene Two
Time & Place
London, England, 1480s
Length
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Lady Anne Neville is following the corpse of King Henry VI--her

Monologue Text

Set down, set down your honourable load,

If honour may be shrouded in a hearse,

Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament

The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.

Poor key-cold figure of a holy king!

Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster!

Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood!

Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost,

To hear the lamentations of Poor Anne,

Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughter'd son,

Stabb'd by the selfsame hand that made these wounds!

Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life,

I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.

Cursed be the hand that made these fatal holes!

Cursed be the heart that had the heart to do it!

Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!

More direful hap betide that hated wretch,

That makes us wretched by the death of thee,

Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads,

Or any creeping venom'd thing that lives!

If ever he have child, abortive be it,

Prodigious, and untimely brought to light,

Whose ugly and unnatural aspect

May fright the hopeful mother at the view;

And that be heir to his unhappiness!

If ever he have wife, let her he made

A miserable by the death of him

As I am made by my poor lord and thee!

Come, now towards Chertsey with your holy load,

Taken from Paul's to be interred there;

And still, as you are weary of the weight,

Rest you, whiles I lament King Henry's corse.

Shakespeare, William. Richard III. http://shakespeare.mit.edu/richardiii/richardiii.1.2.html.