Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
King Richard’s Soliloquy
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
(See full text.)

  Richard III.—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;        5
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 wrinkled front;
And now,—instead of mounting barbèd steeds,        10
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;        15
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        20
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;        25
Unless to spy 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,        30
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:        35
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.        40
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here Clarence comes.

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