Here is a play the summer waited for
and feted, full of pride and expectation.
Here’s a man, crippled and hurt
beneath his cloak, whom all of London loves
and hangs upon. And here we wait, agog
to see him limp into our midst, so close
that we could kiss or spit upon his feet.
And on he creeps, a quiet would-be king
who pockets us with his first scaly speech.
His heart is stone, and yet it seems
only like crumbling lime or granite chips;
and though his mind is quick and hard
as running water, still he veers and trips
and brings all down with him.
He is a man, mis-reasoning and undecided
as the rest, and yet he holds us rapt, enthralled
with every grievous word and act;
and though he was not born to pleasure
he was moulded kindly by the playwright’s pen,
and where his words fall they are dark
and beautiful as raven song.
Richard III runs at the Globe until 13 October