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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?
Now falls the star whose influence governs France,
Now must he fall, and perish in his height.
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.
Henry. But are they resolute, and armed to kill, Hating the life and honour of the Guise?
Cap. I warrant ye, my lord.
Henry. Then come, proud Guise, and here disgorge
Surcharged with surfeit of ambitious thoughts;
And end thy endless treasons with thy death.
[Knocking within. Guise [within]. Hold, varlet, hé !-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
Access unto your highness.
Henry. Let him come in.
Come, Guise, and see thy traitorous guile outreach'd,
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:—"Mounted his shining chariot" (for "mounted in ").
And you, good cousin, to imagine it.
'Twere hard with me, if I should doubt my kin,
Or be suspicious of my dearest friends,
Not to suspect disloyalty in thee:
[Exit with EPERNOUN.
Now sues the king for favour to the Guise,
And all my former time was spent in vain.
For in thee is the Duke of Guise's hope.
Re-enter Third Murderer.
Villain, why dost thou look so ghastly? speak.
Guise. Pardon thee! why, what hast thou done?
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:
First Murd. [within] Stand close; he is coming; I know him by his voice.
Guise. As pale as ashes!1 nay, then, it is time To look about.
Enter First and Second Murderers.
First and Sec. Murderers. Down with him, down with
[They stab GUISE.
Guise. O, I have my death's wound! give me leave to
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,
Thus Cæsar did go forth, and thus he died.
1 Dyce conjectures that Guise must have seen himself in a mirror as
he uttered these words.
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.
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,
To hatch forth treason 'gainst their natural queen?
To spend the treasure, that should strength my land,