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SCENE XXI.

Enter the Captain of the Guard, and three Murderers.

Cap. Come on, sirs. What, are you resolutely bent, Hating the life and honour of the Guise? What, will you not fear, when you see him come?

First Murd. Fear him, said you? tush, were he here, we would kill him presently.

Sec. Murd. O that his heart were leaping in my hand! Third Murd. But when will he come, that we may

murder him? Cap. Well, then, I see you are resolute. First Murd. Let us alone; I warrant you. Cap. Then, sirs, take your standings within this

chamber;
For anon the Guise will come.

All three Murderers. You will give us our money?
Cap. I, I, fear not : stand close : so; be resolute.

[Exeunt Murderers.
Now falls the star whose influence governs France,
Whose light was deadly to the Protestants :
Now must he fall, and perish in his height.

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Enter KING HENRY and EPERNOUN.

Henry. Now, captain of my guard, are these murderers

ready? Cap. They be, my good lord.

1 Scene: a room in the royal palace at Blois,

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Henry. But are they resolute, and armed to kill,
Hating the life and honour of the Guise ?
Cap. I warrant ye, my lord.

[Exit. Henry. Then come, proud Guise, and here disgorge

thy breast,
Surcharged with surfeit of ambitious thoughts ;
Breathe out that life wherein my death was hid,
And end thy endless treasons with thy death.

(Knocking within. Guise (within). Hold, varlet, !—Epernoun, where is

the king ? Eper. Mounted 1 his royal cabinet. Guise (within). I prithee, tell him that the Guise is here. Eper. An please your grace, the Duke of Guise doth

crave

Access unto your highness.

Henry. Let him come in. —
Come, Guise, and see thy traitorous guile outreach'd,
And perish in the pit thou mad'st for me.

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Enter GUISE. Guise. Good morrow to your majesty.

Henry. Good morrow to my loving cousin of Guise : How fares it this morning with your excellence ?

Guise. I heard your majesty was scarcely pleased, That in the court I bear so great a train.

Henry. They were to blame that said I was displeased ;

1 Cf. 2 Tamburlaine iv. 3:-"Moun:ed his shining chariot " (for “ mounted in "').

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And you, good cousin, to imagine it.
'Twere hard with me, if I should doubt my kin,
Or be suspicious of my dearest friends,
Cousin, assure you I am resolute,
Whatsoever any whisper in mine ears,
Not to suspect disloyalty in thee :
And so, sweet coz, farewell. [Exit with EPERNOUN.

Guise. So;
Now sues the king for favour to the Guise,
And all his minions stoop when I command :
Why, this 'tis to have an army in the field.
Now, by the holy sacrament, I swear,

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As ancient Romans o'er their captive lords,
So will I triumph o'er this wanton king;
And he shall follow my proud chariot's wheels.
Now do I but begin to look about,
And all my former time was spent in vain.
Hold, sword,
For in thee is the Duke of Guise's hope.

Re-enter Third Murderer.
Villain, why dost thou look so ghastly? speak.

Third Murd. O, pardon me, my Lord of Guise !
Guise. Pardon thee! why, what hast thou done? 60

Third Murd. O my lord, I am one of them that is set to murder you!

Guise. To murder me, villain !

Third Murd. I, my lord : the rest have ta’en their standings in the next room; therefore, good my lord, go not forth.

Guise. Yet Cæsar shall go forth.
Let mean conceits and baser men fear death :
Tut, they are peasants; I am Duke of Guise ;
And princes with their looks engender fear.

70 First Murd. [within) Stand close; he is coming ; I

know him by his voice. Guise. As pale as ashes !! nay, then, it is time To look about.

Enter First and Second Murderers.

First and Sec. Murderers. Down with him, down with him !

[They stab GUISE. Guise. O, I have my death's wound ! give me leave to

speak. Sec. Murd. Then pray to God, and ask forgiveness of the king.

Guise. Trouble me not; I ne'er offended him,
Nor will I ask forgiveness of the king.
O, that I have not power to stay my life,
Nor immortality to be revenged !

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To die by peasants, what a grief is this !
Ah, Sixtus, be reveng'd upon the king !
Philip and Parma, I am slain for you !
Pope, excommunicate, Philip, depose
The wicked branch of curs'd Valois his line !
Vive la messe ! perish Huguenots !
Thus Cæsar did go forth, and thus he died. [Dies.
Enter the Captain of the Guard.
Cap. What, have you done?"
Then stay a while, and I'll go call the king.
But see, where he comes.

1 Dyce conjectures that Guise must have seen himself in a mirror as he uttered these words.

90

Enter KING HENRY, EPERNOUN, and Attendants. My lord, see, where the Guise is slain.

Henry. Ah, this sweet sight is physic to my soul ! Go fetch his son for to behold his death.

[Exit an Attendant. Surcharg'd with guilt of thousand massacres, Monsieur of Lorraine, sink away to hell! And, in remembrance of those bloody broils, To which thou didst allure me, being alive, And here, in presence of you all, I swear, I ne'er was king of France until this hour. This is the traitor that hath spent my gold In making foreign wars and civil broils. Did he not draw a sort of English priests From Douay to the seminary at Rheims, To hatch forth treason 'gainst their natural queen? Did he not cause the king of Spain's huge fleet To threaten England, and to menace me? Did he not injure Monsieur that's deceas'd ? Hath he not made me, in the Pope's defence, To spend the treasure, that should strength my land, In civil broils between Navarre and me?

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