Recording of Henry Irving reciting the opening speech of Richard III – Act I Scene 1
There are one or two minor divergences from the accepted text.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds, that lower’d upon our house,
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums chang’d to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visag’d war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds,
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 formed* for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph:
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before my time
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,……….
AT THIS POINT THE CYLINDER RUNS OUT…….
* Should be ‘shaped’