by Christopher Marlowe
Charles IX, King of France
Duke of Anjou, his brother, later King Henry III
Duke of Guise
Brothers to the Duke of Guise:
Cardinal of Lorraine
Duke of Dumaine
Son to the Duke of Guise
Followers of the Duke of Guise:
King of Navarre, later King Henry IV
Prince of Condé
Lord High Admiral
The Admiral's Man
Friends of Navarre:
Cossin, Captain of the Guard
Victims in the Massacre:
Taleus, friend to Ramus
Catherine, Queen-Mother of France
Joan, Old Queen of Navarre, Mother to Navarre
Margaret, Queen of Navarre, daughter to Catherine, wife to Navarre
Duchess of Guise
Wife to Seroune
Maid to the Duchess of Guise
Two Lords of Poland
The English Agent
Protestants, Schoolmasters, Soldiers, Attendants, Messengers.
Enter Charles, the French King, the Queen-Mother,
the King of Navarre, the Prince of Condé, the Lord
High Admiral and the Queen of Navarre, with others.
CHARLES. Prince of Navarre, my honourable brother,
Prince Condé, and my good Lord Admiral,
I wish this union and religious league,
Knit in these hands, thus joined in nuptial rites,
May not dissolve till death dissolve our lives;
And that the native sparks of princely love,
That kindled first this motion in our hearts,
May still be fueled in our progeny.
NAVARRE. The many favours which your grace hath shown
From time to time, but specially in this,
Shall bind me ever to your highness' will
In what Queen Mother or your grace commands.
CATHERINE. Thanks, son Navarre. You see we love you well,
That link you in marriage with our daughter here;
And, as you know, our difference in religion
Might be a means to cross you in your love.
CHARLES. Well, madam, let that rest:
And now, my lords, the marriage rites performed,
We think it good to go and consummate
The rest with hearing of a holy mass.
Sister, I think yourself will bear us company.
MARGARET. I will, my good lord.
CHARLES. The rest that will not go (my lords) may stay.
Let us go to honour this solemnity.
CATHERINE. Which I'll dissolve with blood and cruelty.
Exit the King, Queen Mother, and the Queen of
Navarre, and manet Navarre, the Prince of
Condé, and the Lord High Admiral.
NAVARRE. Prince Condé, and my good Lord Admiral,
Now Guise may storm, but do us little hurt,
Having the King, Queen Mother on our sides,
To stop the malice of his envious heart,
That seeks to murder all the Protestants.
Have you not heard of how late he decreed
If that the King had given consent thereto
That all the Protestants that are in Paris
Should have been murdered the other night?
ADMIRAL. My lord, I marvel that th' aspiring Guise
Dares once adventure, without the King's consent,
To meddle or attempt such dangerous things.
CONDÉ. My lord, you need not marvel at the Guise,
For what he doth, the Pope will ratify,
In murder, mischief, or in tyranny.
NAVARRE. But he that sits and rules above the clouds
Doth hear and see the prayers of the just,
And will revenge the blood of innocents,
That Guise hath slain by treason of his heart,
And brought by murder to their timeless ends.
ADMIRAL. My lord, but did you mark the Cardinal,
The Guise's brother, and the Duke Dumaine,
How they did storm at these your nuptial rites,
Because the house of Bourbon now comes in,
And joins your lineage to the crown of France?
NAVARRE. And that's the cause that Guise so frowns at us,
And beats his brains to catch us in his trap,
Which he hath pitched within his deadly toil.
Come, my lords, let's go to the church, and pray
That God may still defend the right of France,
And make his gospel flourish in this land. Exeunt.
Enter the Duke of Guise
GUISE. If ever Hymen low'red at marriage rites,
And had his altars decked with dusky lights;
If ever sun stained heaven with bloody clouds,
And made it look with terror on the world;
If ever day were turned to ugly night,
And night made semblance of the hue of hell;
This day, this hour, this fatal night,
Shall fully show the fury of them all.
Enter the Apothecary.
APOTHECARY. My Lord?
GUISE. Now shall I prove and guerdon to the full
The love thou bear'st unto the house of Guise.
Where are those perfumed gloves which I sent
To be poisoned? hast thou done them? speak!
Will every savour breed a pang of death?
APOTHECARY. See where they be, my good lord,
And he that smells but to them, dies.
GUISE. Then thou remainest resolute?
APOTHECARY. I am, my lord, in what your grace commands,
GUISE. Thanks, my good friend; I will requite thy love.
Go, then, present them to the Queen Navarre,
For she is that huge blemish in our eye
That makes these upstart heresies in France.
Be gone, my friend, present them to her straight.
Enter a Soldier.
SOLDIER. My lord?
GUISE. Now come thou forth, and play thy tragic part,
Stand in some window, opening near the street,
And when thou seest the Admiral ride by,
Discharge thy musket, and perform his death;
And then I'll guerdon thee with store of crowns.
SOLDIER. I will, my lord.
GUISE. Now, Guise, begin those deep engendered thoughts
To burst abroad those never dying flames
Which cannot be extinguished but by blood.
Oft have I levell'd and at last have learned
That peril is the chiefest way to happiness,
And resolution honour's fairest aim.
What glory is there in a common good,
That hangs for every peasant to achieve?
That like I best that flies beyond my reach.
Set me to scale the high Pyramides,
And thereon set the diadem of France.
I'll either rend it with my nails to nought,
Or mount the top with my aspiring wings,
Although my downfall be the deepest hell.
For this I wake, when others think I sleep;
For this I wait, that scorns attendance else;
For this, my quenchless thirst, whereon I build,
Hath often pleaded kindred to the King.
For this, this head, this heart, this hand, and sword,
Contrives, imagines, and fully executes,
Matters of import aimed at by many,
Yet understood by none.
For this hath heaven engendered me of earth;
For this, this earth sustains my body's weight,
And with this weight I'll counterpoise a crown,
Or with seditions weary all the world.
For this, from Spain the stately Catholics
Send Indian gold to coin me French ecues;
For this have I a largess from the Pope,
A pension, and a dispensation too;
And by that privilege to work upon,
My policy hath framed religion.
Religion: O diabole!
Fie, I am ashamed, how ever that I seem,
To think a word of such a simple sound,
Of so great matter should be made the ground!
The gentle king, whose pleasure uncontrolled
Weakeneth his body, and will waste his realm,
If I repair not what he ruinates,
Him, as a child, I daily win with words,
So that for proof he barely bears the name;
I execute, and he sustains the blame.
The Mother Queen works wonders for my sake,
And in my love entombs the hope of France,
Rifling the bowels of her treasury,
To supply my wants and necessity.
Paris hath full five hundred colleges,
As monasteries, priories, abbeys, and halls,
Wherein are thirty thousand able men,
Besides a thousand sturdy student Catholics;
And more, - of my knowledge, in one cloister keeps
Five hundred fat Franciscan friars and priests:
All this, and more, if more may be comprised,
To bring the will of our desires to end.
Since thou hast all the cards within thy hands,
To shuffle or cut, take this as surest thing,
That, right or wrong, thou deal thyself a king. -
Ay but, Navarre, Navarre. 'Tis but a nook of France,
Sufficient yet for such a petty king,
That, with a rabblement of his heretics,
Blinds Europe's eyes, and troubleth our estate.
Him will we... (pointing to his sword)
But first let's follow those in France,
That hinder our possession to the crown.
As Caesar to his soldiers, so say I,
Those that hate me will I learn to loathe.
Give me a look, that, when I bend the brows,
Pale death may walk in furrows of my face;
A hand, that with a grasp may gripe the world;
An ear to hear what my detractors say;
A royal seat, a sceptre, and a crown,
That those which do behold, they may become
As men that stand and gaze against the sun.
The plot is laid, and things shall come to pass
Where resolution strives for victory.
Enter the King of Navarre and Queen (Margaret), and
His Mother Queen (Joan), the Prince of Condé, the
Admiral, and the Apothecary with the gloves,
And gives them to the old queen.
APOTHECARY. Madam, I beseech your grace to accept this simple gift.
JOAN. Thanks my good friend, hold, take thou this reward.
APOTHECARY. I humbly thank your majesty.
JOAN. Methinks the gloves have a very strong perfume,
The scent whereof doth make my head to ache.
NAVARRE. Doth not your grace know the man that gave them you?
JOAN. Not well; but do remember such a man.
ADMIRAL. Your grace was ill-advised to take them, then,
Considering of these dangerous times.
JOAN. Help, son Navarre! I am poisoned!
MARGARET. The heavens forbid your highness such mishap!
NAVARRE. The late suspicion of the Duke of Guise
Might well have moved your highness to beware
How you did meddle with such dangerous gifts.
MARGARET. Too late, it is, my lord, if that be true,
To blame her highness; but I hope it be
Only some natural passion makes her sick.
JOAN. O, no, sweet Margaret, the fatal poison
Works within my head; my brainpan breaks;
My heart doth faint; I die!
NAVARRE. My mother poisoned here before my face!
O gracious God, what times are these?
O, grant, sweet God, my days may end with hers,
That I with her may die and live again!
MARGARET. Let not this heavy chance, my dearest lord,
(For whose effects my soul is massacred),
Infect thy gracious breast with fresh supply
To aggravate our sudden misery.
ADMIRAL. Come, my lords, let us bear her body hence,
And see it honoured with just solemnity.
As they are going, the Soldier dischargeth
his musket at the Lord Admiral.
CONDÉ. What, are you hurt, my Lord High Admiral?
ADMIRAL. Ay, my good lord, shot through the arm.
NAVARRE. We are betrayed! Come, my lords,
And let us go tell the King of this.
ADMIRAL. These are the cursed Guisians, that do seek our death.
Oh, fatal was this marriage to us all.
They bear away the Queen and go out.
Enter the King, Queen Mother, Duke of Guise,
Duke Anjou, Duke Dumaine.
CATHERINE. My noble son, and princely Duke of Guise,
Now have we got the fatal, straggling deer
Within the compass of a deadly toil,
And, as we late decreed, we may perform.
CHARLES. Madam, it will be noted through the world
An action bloody and tyrannical;
Chiefly, since under safety of our word
They justly challenge their protection:
Besides, my heart relents that noble men,
Only corrupted in religion,
Ladies of honour, knights, and gentlemen,
Should, for their conscience, taste such ruthless ends.
ANJOU. Though gentle minds should pity others' pains,
Yet will the wisest note their proper griefs,
And rather seek to scourge their enemies
Than be themselves base subjects to the whip.
GUISE. Methinks, my lord, Anjou hath well advised
Your highness to consider of the thing,
And rather choose to seek your country's good
Than pity or relieve these upstart heretics.
CATHERINE. I hope these reasons may serve my princely son
To have some care for fear of enemies.
CHARLES. Well, madam, I refer it to your majesty,
And to my nephew here, the Duke of Guise:
What you determine, I will ratify.
CATHERINE. Thanks to my princely son. - then tell me, Guise,
What order will you set down for the massacre?
GUISE. Thus, madam.
They that shall be actors in this massacre
Shall wear white crosses on their burgonets,
And tie white linen scarves about their arms;
He that wants these, and is suspect of heresy,
Shall die, be he king or emperor. Then I'll have
A peal of ordnance shot from the tower, at which
They all shall issue out, and set the streets.
And then the watchword being given, a bell shall ring
Which when they hear, they shall begin to kill,
And never cease until that bell shall cease;
Then breathe a while.
Enter the Admiral's man.
CHARLES. How now, fellow, what news?
MAN. And it please your grace, the Lord High Admiral,
Riding the streets, was traitorously shot,
And most humbly entreats your majesty
To visit him, sick in his bed.
CHARLES. Messenger, tell him I will see him straight.
What shall we do now with the Admiral?
CATHERINE. Your majesty were best go visit him,
And make a show as if all were well.
CHARLES. Content; I will go visit the Admiral.
GUISE. And I will go take order for his death.
Enter the Admiral in his bed.
CHARLES. How fares it with my Lord High Admiral?
Hath he been hurt with villains in the street?
I vow and swear as I am King of France,
To find and to repay the man with death,
With death delayed and torments never used,
That durst presume, for hope of any gain,
To hurt the noble man his sovereign loves.
ADMIRAL. Ah, my good lord, these are the guisians,
That seek to massacre our guiltless lives!
CHARLES. Assure yourself, my good Lord Admiral,
I deeply sorrow for your treacherous wrong;
And that I am not more secure myself
Than I am careful you should be preserved.
Cossin, take twenty of our strongest guard,
And under your direction see they keep
All treacherous violence from our noble friend,
Repaying all attempts with present death
Upon the cursed breakers of our peace. -
And so be patient, good Lord Admiral,
And every hour I will visit you.
ADMIRAL. I humbly thank your royal majesty.
Enter Guise, Anjou, Dumaine, Gonzago, Retes,
Montsorrell, and Soldiers to the massacre.
GUISE. Anjou, Dumaine, Gonzago, Retes, swear
By the argent crosses in your burgonets,
To kill all that you suspect of heresy.
DUMAINE. I swear by this, to be unmerciful.
ANJOU. I am disguised, and none knows who I am,
And therefore mean to murder all I meet.
GONZAGO. And so will I.
RETES. And I.
GUISE. Away, then! break into the Admiral's house.
RETES. Ay, let the Admiral be first dispatched.
GUISE. The Admiral,
Chief standard bearer to the Lutherans,
Shall in the entrance of this massacre
Be murdered in his bed. Gonzago
Conduct them thither, and then
Beset his house, that not a man may live.
ANJOU. That charge is mine. - Switzers, keep you the streets,
And at each corner shall the King's guard stand.
GONZAGO. Come, sirs, follow me.
Exit Gonzago and others with him.
ANJOU. Cossin, the captain of the Admiral's guard,
Placed by my brother, will betray his lord:
Now, Guise, shall Catholics flourish once again;
The head being off, the members cannot stand.
RETES. But look, my lord, there's some in the Admiral's house.
Enter into the Admiral's house, and he in his bed.
ANJOU. In lucky time! Come, let us keep this lane,
And slay his servants that shall issue out.
GONZAGO. Where is the Admiral?
ADMIRAL. O, let me pray before I die!
GONZAGO. Then pray unto our lady; kiss this cross.
ADMIRAL. O God, forgive my sins!
GUISE. Gonzago, what, is he dead?
GONZAGO. Ay, my lord.
GUISE. Then throw him down.
ANJOU. Now, cousin, view him well:
It may be it is some other, and he escaped.
GUISE. Cousin, 'tis he; I know him by his look.
See where my soldier shot him through the arm.
He missed him near, but we have struck him now.
Ah, base Chatillon and degenerate,
Chief standard bearer to the Lutherans,
Thus, in despite of thy religion,
The Duke of Guise stamps on thy lifeless bulk!
ANJOU. Away with him! cut off his head and hands,
And send them for a present to the Pope;
And, when this just revenge is finished,
Unto Mount Faucon will we drag his corpse;
And he, that living hated so the cross,
Shall, being dead, be hanged thereon in chains.
GUISE. Anjou, Gonzago, Retes, if that you three
Will be as resolute as I and Dumaine,
There shall not be a Huguenot breathe in France.
ANJOU. I swear by this cross, we'll not be partial,
But slay as many as we can come near.
GUISE. Montsorrell, go shoot the ordnance off,
That they, which have already set the street,
May know their watchword; then toll the bell,
And so let's forward to the massacre.
MONTSORRELL. I will, my lord.
GUISE. And now, my lords, let's closely to our business.
ANJOU. Anjou will follow thee.
DUMAINE. And so will Dumaine.
The ordnance being shot off, the bell tolls.
GUISE. Come, then, let's away.
The Guise enters again, with all the rest,
with their swords drawn, chasing the Protestants.
GUISE. Tuez, tuez, tuez!
Let none escape, murder the Huguenots!
ANJOU. Kill them, kill them!
Exeunt. Enter Loreine, running; the Guise and
the rest pursuing him.
GUISE. Loreine, Loreine, follow Loreine! - sirrah,
Are you a preacher of these heresies?
LOREINE. I am a preacher of the word of God;
And thou a traitor to thy soul and him.
GUISE. "Dearly beloved brother," - thus 'tis written.
He stabs him.
ANJOU. Stay, my lord, let me begin the psalm.
GUISE. Come, drag him away and throw him in a ditch.
Enter Montsorrell and knocks at Seroune's door.
SEROUNE'S WIFE. Who is that which knocks there?
MONTSORRELL. Montsorrell, from the Duke of Guise.
SEROUNE'S WIFE. Husband, come down; here's one would speak
with you from the Duke of Guise.
SEROUNE. To speak with me, from such a man as he?
MONTSORRELL. Ay, ay, for this, Seroune; and thou shalt hav't.
Showing his dagger.
SEROUNE. O, let me pray, before I take my death!
MONTSORRELL. Dispatch, then, quickly.
SEROUNE. O Christ, my Saviour!
MONTSORRELL. Christ, villain?
Why dar'st thou to presume to call on Christ,
Without the intercession of some saint?
Sanctus Jacobus, he's my saint; pray to him.
SEROUNE. O, let me pray unto my God!
Mount. Then take this with you.
Stabs him. Exit.
Enter Ramus in his study.
RAMUS. What fearful cries come from the river Seine,
That fright poor Ramus sitting at his book?
I fear the Guisians have passed the bridge,
And mean once more to menace me.
TALEUS. Fly, Ramus, fly, if thou wilt save thy life!
RAMUS. Tell me, Taleus, wherefore should I fly?
TALEUS. The Guisians are
Hard at thy door, and mean to murder us:
Hark, hark, they come, I'll leap out at the window.
RAMUS. Sweet Taleus, stay.
Enter Gonzago and Retes.
GONZAGO. Who goes there?
RETES. 'Tis Taleus, Ramus' bedfellow.
GONZAGO. What art thou?
TALEUS. I am, as Ramus is, a Christian.
RETES. O, let him go; he is a Catholic.
Exit Taleus. Enter Ramus.
GONZAGO. Come, Ramus, more gold, or thou shalt have the stab.
I am a scholar, how should I have gold?
All that I have is but my stipend from the King,
Which is no sooner received but it is spent.
Enter the Guise and Anjou.
ANJOU. Who have you there?
RETES. 'Tis Ramus, the King's Professor of Logic.
GUISE. Stab him!
RAMUS. O, good my lord,
Wherein hath Ramus been so offensious?
GUISE. Marry, sir, in having a smack in all
And yet didst never sound anything to the depth.
Was it not thou that scoffed'st the Organon,
And said it was a heap of vanities?
He that will be a flat dichotomist,
And seen in nothing but epitomes,
Is in your judgment thought a learned man.
And he, forsooth, must go and preach in Germany,
Excepting against doctors' axioms,
And ipse dixi [ I have spoken] with this quiddity,
Argumentum testimonii est inartificiale.
[argument by authority is not of its own nature conclusive]
To contradict which, I say, Ramus shall die.
How answer you that? your nego argumentum [I deny the argument]
Cannot serve. Sirrah, kill him!
RAMUS. O, good my lord, let me but speak a word!
ANJOU. Well, say on.
RAMUS. Not for my life do I desire this pause;
But in my latter hour to purge myself,
In that I know the things that I have wrote,
Which, as I hear, one Scheckius takes it ill,
Because my places, being but three, contain all his.
I knew the Organon to be confused,
And I reduced it into better form.
And this for Aristotle will I say,
That he that despiseth him can ne'er
Be good in logic or philosophy.
And that's because the blockish Sorbonnists
Attribute as much unto their works
As to the service of the eternal God.
GUISE. Why suffer you that peasant to declaim?
Stab him, I say, and send him to his friends in hell.
ANJOU. Ne'er was there collier's son so full of pride.
GUISE. My lord of Anjou, there are a hundred Protestants,
Which we have chased into the river Seine,
That swim about, and so preserve their lives.
How may we do? I fear me they will live.
DUMAINE. Go place some men upon the bridge,
With bows and darts, to shoot at them they see,
And sink them in the river as they swim.
GUISE. 'Tis well-advised, Dumaine; go see it straight
And in the meantime, my lord, could we devise
To get those pedants from the King Navarre,
That are tutors to him and the prince of Condé.
ANJOU. For that, let me alone. Cousin, stay you here,
And when you see me in, then follow hard.
He knocketh and enter the King of Navarre
and Prince of Condé, with their Schoolmasters.
How now, my lords, how fare you?
NAVARRE. My lord, they say
That all the Protestants are massacred.
ANJOU. Ay, so they are; but yet, what remedy?
I have done what I could to stay this broil.
NAVARRE. But yet, my lord, the report doth run,
That you were one that made this massacre.
ANJOU. Who I? You are deceived; I rose but now.
Guise, with Gonzago, Retes, Mountsorrell, and Soldiers
GUISE. Murder the Huguenots, take those pedants hence!
NAVARRE. Thou traitor, Guise, lay off thy bloody hands!
CONDÉ. Come, let us go tell the King
GUISE. Come sirs,
I'll whip you to death with my poniard's point.
He kills them.
ANJOU. Away with them both!
Exit Anjou (with Soldiers carrying bodies).
GUISE. And now, sirs, for this night let our fury stay.
Yet will we not that the massacre shall end.
Gonzago, post you to Orleans, Retes to Dieppe,
Montsorrell unto Rouen, and spare not one
That you suspect of heresy. And now stay
That bell, that to the devil's matins rings.
Now every man put off his burgonet,
And so convey him closely to his bed.
Enter Anjou, with two lords of Poland.
ANJOU. My lords of Poland, I must needs confess,
The offer of your Prince Electors far
Beyond the reach of my deserts;
For Poland is, as I have been informed,
A martial people, worthy such a king
As hath sufficient counsel in himself
To lighten doubts, and frustrate subtle foes;
And such a king, whom practice long hath taught
To please himself with manage of the wars,
The greatest wars within our Christian bounds, -
I mean our wars against the Muscovites,
And on the other side against the Turk.
Rich princes both, and mighty emperors.
Yet, by my brother Charles, our King of France,
And by his grace's council, it is thought
That, if I undertake to wear the crown
Of Poland, it may prejudice their hope
Of my inheritance to the crown of France;
For, if th' Almighty take my brother hence,
By due descent the regal seat is mine.
With Poland, therefore, must I covenant thus,
That if, by death of Charles, the diadem
Of France be cast on me, then, with your leaves,
I may retire me to my native home.
If your commission serve to warrant this,
I thankfully shall undertake the charge
Of you and yours, and carefully maintain
The wealth and safety of your kingdom's right.
FIRST LORD. All this, and more, your highness shall command
For Poland's crown and kingly diadem.
ANJOU. Then, come, my lords, let's go.
Enter two with the Admiral's body.
FIRST MAN. Now, sirrah, what shall we do with the Admiral?
SECOND MAN. Why, let us burn him for an heretic.
FIRST MAN. O, no, his body will infect the fire, and the fire the air,
and so we shall be poisoned with him.
SECOND MAN. What shall we do, then?
FIRST MAN. Let's throw him into the river.
SECOND MAN. O, 'twill corrupt the water, and the water the
fish, and by the fish ourselves, when we eat them.
FIRST MAN. Then throw him into the ditch.
SECOND MAN. No, no. To decide all doubts, be ruled by me:
Let's hang him here upon this tree.
FIRST MAN. Agreed.
They hang him and exeunt.
Enter the Duke of Guise, and Queen Mother,
and the Cardinal.
GUISE. Now, madam, how like you our lusty Admiral?
CATHERINE. Believe me, Guise, he becomes the place so well
As I could long ere this have wished him there.
But come let's walk aside, th' air's not very sweet.
GUISE. No, by my faith, madam.
Sirs, take him away, and throw him in some ditch.
Attendants carry away the dead body.
And now, madam, as I understand,
There are a hundred Huguenots and more,
Which in the woods do hold their synagogue,
And daily meet about this time of day;
And thither will I, to put them to the sword.
CATHERINE. Do so, sweet Guise; let us delay no time;
For, if these stragglers gather head again,
And disperse themselves throughout the realm of France,
It will be hard for us to work their deaths.
Be gone; delay no time, sweet Guise.
I go as whirlwinds rage before a storm.
CATHERINE. My lord of Lorraine, have you marked of late
How Charles our son begins for to lament
For the late night's work which my lord of Guise
Did make in Paris amongst the Huguenots?
CARDINAL. Madam, I have heard him solemnly vow,
With the rebellious King of Navarre,
For to revenge their deaths upon us all.
CATHERINE. Ay, but, my lord, let me alone for that;
For Catherine must have her will in France:
As I do live, so surely shall he die,
And Henry then shall wear the diadem.
And, if he grudge or cross his mother's will,
I'll disinherit him and all the rest;
For I'll rule France, but they shall wear the crown,
And, if they storm, I then may pull them down.
Come, my lord, let us go.
Enter five or six Protestants with books,
and kneel together.
Enter also the Guise (and others).
GUISE. Down with the Huguenots, Murder them!
FIRST PROTESTANT. O Monsieur de Guise, hear me but speak!
GUISE. No, villain; that tongue of thine,
That hath blasphemed the holy Church of Rome,
Shall drive no plaints into the Guise's ears,
To make the justice of my heart relent:
Tuez, tuez, tuez, let none escape.
So, drag them away.
Enter the King of France, Navarre and Epernoun
staying him. Enter Queen Mother, and the Cardinal.
CHARLES. O, let me stay, and rest me here a while,
A griping pain hath seized upon my heart,
A sudden pang, the messenger of death.
CATHERINE. O, say not so, thou kill'st thy mother's heart.
CHARLES. I must say so; pain forceth me complain.
NAVARRE. Comfort yourself, my lord, and have no doubt
But God will sure restore you to your health.
CHARLES. O, no, my loving brother of Navarre!
I have deserved a scourge, I must confess;
Yet is there patience of another sort
Than to misdo the welfare of their king:
God grant my nearest friends may prove no worse!
O, hold me up, my sight begins to fail,
My sinews shrink, my brains turn upside down;
My heart doth break: I faint and die.
CATHERINE. What, art thou dead, sweet son? Speak to thy mother!
O, no, his soul is fled from out his breast,
And he nor hears nor sees us what we do:
My lords, what resteth there now for to be done?
But that we presently dispatch ambassadors
To Poland, to call Henry back again,
To wear his brother's crown and dignity.
Epernoun, go see it presently be done,
And bid him come without delay to us.
EPERNOUN. Madam, I will.
CATHERINE. And now, my lords, after these funerals be done,
We will, with all the speed we can, provide
For Henry's coronation from Polony.
Come, let us take his body hence.
All go out, but Navarre and Pleshé.
NAVARRE. And now, Pleshé, whilst that these broils do last,
My opportunity may serve me fit
To steal from France, and hie me to my home.
For here's no safety in the realm for me.
And now that Henry is called from Poland,
It is my due, by just succession;
And therefore, as speedily as I can perform,
I'll muster up an army secretly,
For fear that Guise, joined with the King of Spain,
Might seek to cross me in some enterprise.
But God, that always doth defend the right,
Will show his mercy, and preserve us still.
PLESHÉ. The virtues of our true religion
Cannot but march, with many graces more,
Whose army shall discomfort all your foes,
And, at the length, in Pampelonia crown
In spite of Spain, and all the popish power,
That holds it from your highness wrongfully:
Your majesty her rightful lord and sovereign.
NAVARRE. Truth, Pleshé; and God so prosper me in all,
As I intend to labour for the truth,
And true profession of his holy word.
Come, Pleshé, let's away whilst time doth serve.
Sound trumpets within, and then all cry
"vive le roi" two or three times.
Enter Henry crowned, Queen, Cardinal, Duke
of Guise, Mugeroun, the King's minions,
with others, and the Cutpurse.
ALL. Vive le roi, vive le roi!
CATHERINE. Welcome from Poland, Henry, once again,
Welcome to France, thy father's royal seat.
Here hast thou a country void of fears,
A warlike people to maintain thy right,
A watchful senate for ordaining laws,
A loving mother to preserve thy state,
And all things that a king may wish besides;
All this, and more, hath Henry with his crown.
CARDINAL. And long may Henry enjoy all this, and more!
ALL. Vive le roi, vive le roi!
HENRY. Thanks to you all. The guider of all crowns
Grant that our deeds may well deserve your loves:
And so they shall, if fortune speed my will,
And yield your thoughts to height of my deserts.
What say our minions? Think they Henry's heart
Will not both harbour love and majesty?
Put off that fear, they are already joined:
No person, place, or time, or circumstance,
Shall slack my love's affection from his bent.
As now you are, so shall you still persist,
Removeless from the favors of your king.
MUGEROUN. We know that noble minds change not their thoughts
For wearing of a crown, in that your grace
Hath worn the Poland diadem, before
You were invested in the crown of France.
HENRY. I tell thee, Mugeroun, we will be friends,
And fellows too, whatever storms arise.
MUGEROUN. Then may it please your majesty to give me leave
To punish those that do profane this holy feast.
He cuts off the cutpurse's ear, for cutting of
the gold buttons off his cloak.
HENRY. How mean'st thou that?
CUTPURSE. O lord, mine ear!
MUGEROUN. Come, sir, give me my buttons, and here's your ear.
GUISE. Sirrah, take him away.
HENRY. Hands off, good fellow; I will be his bail
For this offense. Go, sirrah, work no more
Till this our coronation day be past.
Our solemn rites of coronation done,
What now remains but for a while to feast,
And spend some days in barriers, tourney, tilt,
And like disports, such as do fit the court?
Let's go, my lords; our dinner stays for us.
Go out all, but the Queen Mother and the Cardinal.
CATHERINE. My Lord Cardinal of Lorraine, tell me,
How likes your grace my son's pleasantness?
His mind, you see, runs on his minions,
And all his heaven is to delight himself;
And, whilst he sleeps securely thus in ease,
Thy brother Guise and we may now provide
To plant ourselves with such authority
As not a man may live without our leaves.
Then shall the Catholic faith of Rome
Flourish in France, and none deny the same.
CARDINAL. Madam, as in secrecy I was told,
My brother Guise hath gathered a power of men,
Which are, he saith, to kill the Puritans;
But 'tis the house of Bourbon that he means.
Now, madam, must you insinuate with the King,
And tell him that 'tis for his country's good,
And common profit of religion.
CATHERINE. Tush, man, let me alone with him,
To work the way to bring this thing to pass;
And, if he do deny what I do say,
I'll dispatch him with his brother presently,
And then shall Monsieur wear the diadem.
Tush, all shall die unless I have my will;
For, while she lives, Catherine will be queen.
Come, my lord, let us go seek the Guise,
And then determine of this enterprise.
Enter the Duchess of Guise and her Maid.
DUCHESS. Go fetch me pen and ink...
MAID. I will, madam.
DUCHESS. That I may write unto my dearest lord.
Sweet Mugeroun, 'tis he that hath my heart,
And Guise usurps it 'cause I am his wife.
Fain would I find some means to speak with him,
But cannot, and therefore am enforced to write,
That he may come and meet me in some place,
Where we may one enjoy the other's sight.
Enter the Maid with ink and paper.
So, set it down, and leave me to myself.
O, would to God, this quill that here doth write,
Had late been plucked from out fair Cupid's wing,
That it might print these lines within his heart!
Enter the Guise.
GUISE. What, all alone, my love? And writing too?
I prithee, say to whom thou writ'st?
DUCHESS. To such a one my lord, as when she reads my lines,
Will laugh, I fear me, at their good array.
GUISE. I pray thee, let me see.
DUCHESS. O, no my lord; a woman only must
Partake the secrets of my heart.
GUISE. But, madam, I must see.
He takes it.
Are these your secrets that no man must know?
DUCHESS. O, pardon me, my lord!
GUISE. Thou trothless and unjust, what lines are these?
Am I grown old, or is thy lust grown young,
Or hath my love been so obscured in thee,
That others need to comment on my text?
Is all my love forgot, which held thee dear?
Ay, dearer than the apple of mine eye?
Is Guise's glory but a cloudy mist,
In sight and judgment of thy lustful eye?
Mort dieu! were not the fruit within thy womb,
Of whose increase I set some longing hope,
This wrathful hand should strike thee to the heart.
Hence, strumpet, hide thy head for shame;
And fly my presence, if thou look to live!
O wicked sex, perjured and unjust,
Now do I see that from the very first
Her eyes and looks sowed seeds of perjury,
But villain, he, to whom these lines should go,
Shall buy her love even with his dearest blood.
Enter the King of Navarre, Pleshé and Bartus,
And their train, with drums and trumpets.
NAVARRE. My lords, sith in a quarrel just and right
We undertake to manage these our wars
Against the proud disturbers of the faith,
I mean the Guise, the Pope, and King of Spain,
Who set themselves to tread us under foot,
And rent our true religion from this land;
But for you know our quarrel is no more
But to defend their strange inventions,
Which they will put us to with sword and fire,
We must with resolute minds resolve to fight,
In honour of our God, and country's good.
Spain is the council chamber of the Pope,
Spain is the place where he makes peace and war;
And Guise for Spain hath now incensed the King
To send his power to meet us in the field.
BARTUS. Then in this bloody brunt they may behold
The sole endeavour of your princely care,
To plant the true succession of the faith,
In spite of Spain and all his heresies.
NAVARRE. The power of vengeance now encamps itself
Upon the haughty mountains of my breast;
Plays with her gory colours of revenge,
Whom I respect as leaves of boasting green,
That change their colour when the winter comes,
When I shall vaunt as victor in revenge.
Enter a Messenger.
How now, sirrah! what news?
MESSENGER. My lord, as by our scouts we understand,
A mighty army comes from France with speed;
Which are already mustered in the land,
And means to meet your highness in the field.
NAVARRE. In God's name, let them come!
This is the Guise that hath incensed the king
To levy arms, and make these civil broils.
But canst thou tell who is their general?
MESSENGER. Not yet, my lord, for thereon do they stay;
But, as report doth go, the Duke of Joyeux
Hath made great suit unto the King therefore.
NAVARRE. It will not countervail his pains, I hope.
I would the Guise in his stead might have come,
But he doth lurk within his drowsy couch,
And makes his footstool on security:
So he be safe, he cares not what becomes
Of king or country; no, not for them both.
But come, my lords, let us away with speed,
And place ourselves in order for the fight.
Enter the King of France, Duke of Guise,
Epernoun and Duke Joyeux.
HENRY. My sweet Joyeux, I make thee general
Of all my army, now in readiness
To march against the rebellious king Navarre.
At thy request I am content thou go,
Although my love to thee can hardly suffer it,
Regarding still the danger of thy life.
JOYEUX. Thanks to your majesty: and, so I take my leave.
Farewell to my lord of Guise and Epernoun.
GUISE. Health and hearty farewell to my lord Joyeux.
HENRY. So kindly, cousin of Guise, you and your wife
Do both salute our lovely minions.
He makes horns at the Guise.
Remember you the letter, gentle sir,
Which your wife writ
To my dear minion, and her chosen friend?
GUISE. How now, my lord! Faith, this is more than need.
Am I thus to be jested at and scorned?
'Tis more than kingly or imperious.
And, sure, if all the proudest kings
In Christendom should bear me such derision,
They should know how I scorned them and their mocks.
I love your minions? Dote on them yourself;
I know none else but holds them in disgrace,
And here, by all the saints in heaven, I swear,
That villain for whom I bear this deep disgrace,
Even for your words that have incensed me so,
Shall buy that strumpet's favour with his blood,
Whether he have dishonoured me or no,
Par la mort de Dieu, il mourra!
HENRY. Believe me, this jest bites sore.
EPERNOUN. My lord, 'twere good to make them friends,
For his oaths are seldom spent in vain.
HENRY. How now, Mugeroun, met'st thou not the Guise at the door?
MUGEROUN. Not I, my lord; what if I had?
HENRY. Marry, if thou hadst, thou mightst have had the stab.
For he hath solemnly sworn thy death.
MUGEROUN. I may be stabbed, and live till he be dead:
But wherefore bears he me such deadly hate?
HENRY. Because his wife bears thee such kindly love.
MUGEROUN. If that be all, the next time that I meet her,
I'll make her shake off love with her heels.
But which way is he gone? I'll go make a walk
On purpose from the court to meet with him.
HENRY. I like not this. Come, Epernoun,
Let us go seek the Duke, and make them friends.
Alarms within. The Duke of Joyeux slain.
Enter the King of Navarre and his train.
NAVARRE. The Duke is slain, and all his power dispersed,
And we are graced with wreaths of victory.
Thus God, we see, doth ever guide the right,
To make his glory great upon the earth.
BARTUS. The terror of this happy victory,
I hope, will make the King surcease his hate,
And either never manage army more,
Or else employ them in some better cause.
NAVARRE. How many noblemen have lost their lives
In prosecution of these cruel arms,
Is ruth, and almost death, to call to mind:
But God we know will always put them down
That lift themselves against the perfect truth;
Which I'll maintain so long as life doth last,
And with the Queen of England join my force
To beat the papal monarch from our lands
And keep those relics from our country's coasts.
Come, my lords; now that this storm is overpast,
Let us away with triumph to our tents.
Enter a Soldier.
SOLDIER. Now, sir, to you that dares make a Duke a cuck-
Cold, and use a counterfeit key to his privy chamber:
Though you take out none but your own treasure, yet
You put in that displeases him, and fill up his room
That he should occupy. Herein, sir, you forestall the
Market, and set up your standing where you should not.
But you will say you leave him room enough besides.
That's no answer: he's to have the choice of his own
Free land -- if it be not too free, there's the
Question. Now for where he is your landlord, you
Take upon you to be his, and will needs enter by
Default. What though you were once in possession, yet
Coming upon you once unawares, he frayed you out a-
Gain; therefore your entry is mere intrusion. This is
Against the law, sir. And though I come not to keep
Possession, as I would I might, yet I come to keep you
What, are ye come so soon? have at ye, sir!
He shoots at him and kills him.
MUGEROUN. Traitorous Guise! Ah, thou hast murdered me.
Enter the Guise.
GUISE. Hold thee, tall soldier, take thee this and fly.
Thus fall, imperfect exhalation,
Which our great son of France could not effect;
A fiery meteor in the firmament.
Lie there, the King's delight and Guise's scorn!
Revenge it, Henry, if thou list or dar'st;
I did it only in despite of thee.
Fondly hast thou incensed the Guise's soul
That of itself was hot enough to work
Thy just digestion with extremest shame.
The army I have gathered now shall aim
Now, at thy end, thine extirpation;
And when thou think'st I have forgotten this,
And that thou most reposest on my faith,
Then will I wake thee from thy foolish dream
And let thee see thyself my prisoner.
Takes him away.
Enter the King and Epernoun.
HENRY. My Lord of Guise, we understand
That you have gathered a power of men.
What your intent is yet we cannot learn,
But we presume it is not for our good.
GUISE. Why, I am no traitor to the crown of France.
What I have done, 'tis for the gospel's sake.
EPERNOUN. Nay, for the Pope's sake, and thine own benefit.
What peer in France, but thou (aspiring Guise)
Durst be in arms, without the King's consent?
I challenge thee for treason in the cause.
GUISE. Ah, base Epernoun! Were not his highness here,
Thou shouldst perceive the Duke of Guise is moved.
HENRY. Be patient, Guise, and threat not Epernoun,
Lest thou perceive the King of France be moved.
GUISE. Why, I am a prince of the Valois's line,
Therefore an enemy to the Bourbonites.
I am a juror in the Holy League,
And therefore hated of the Protestants.
What should I do but stand upon my guard?
And, being able, I'll keep an host in pay.
EPERNOUN. Thou able to maintain an host in pay,
That liv'st by foreign exhibition!
The Pope and King of Spain are thy good friends;
Else all France knows how poor a duke thou art.
HENRY. Ay, those are they that feed him with their gold,
To countermand our will, and check our friends.
GUISE. My lord, to speak more plainly, thus it is:
Being animated by religious zeal,
I mean to muster all the power I can,
To overthrow those sectious Puritans:
And know, the Pope will sell his triple crown,
Ay, and the Catholic Philip, King of Spain,
Ere I shall want, will cause his Indians
To rip the golden bowels of America.
Navarre, that cloaks them underneath his wings,
Shall feel the house of Lorraine is his foe.
Your highness needs not fear mine army's force;
'Tis for your safety, and your enemies' wrack.
HENRY. Guise, wear our crown, and be thou king of France
And, as dictator, make or war or peace,
Whilst I cry placet, like a senator!
I cannot brook thy haughty insolence:
Dismiss thy camp, or else by our edict
Be thou proclaimed a traitor throughout France.
GUISE. (aside)The choice is hard; I must dissemble.
My lord, in token of my true humility,
And simple meaning to your majesty,
I kiss your grace's hand, and take my leave,
Intending to dislodge my camp with speed.
HENRY. Then farewell, Guise, the King and thou are friends.
EPERNOUN. But trust him not, my lord; for had your highness
seen with what a pomp he entered Paris
and how the citizens with gifts and shows
did entertain him,
And promised to be at his command -
Nay, they feared not to speak in the streets
That the Guise durst stand in arms against the King,
For not effecting of his holiness' will.
HENRY. Did they of Paris entertain him so?
Then means he present treason to our state.
Well, let me alone. - who's within there?
Enter one with pen and ink.
Make a discharge of all my council straight,
And I'll subscribe my name, and seal it straight.
My head shall be my council; they are false;
And, Epernoun, I will be ruled by thee.
EPERNOUN. My lord,
I think, for safety of your royal person,
It would be good the Guise were made away,
And so to quite your grace of all suspect.
HENRY. First let us set our hand and seal to this,
And then I'll tell thee what I mean to do.
So, convey this to the council presently.
And, Epernoun, though I seem mild and calm,
Think not but I am tragical within.
I'll secretly convey me unto Blois;
For, now that Paris takes the Guise's part,
Here is no staying for the King of France,
Unless he mean to be betrayed and die:
But, as I live, so sure the Guise shall die.
Enter the King of Navarre, reading of a letter,
NAVARRE. My lord, I am advertised from France
That the Guise hath taken arms against the King,
And that Paris is revolted from his grace.
BARTUS. Then hath your grace fit opportunity
To show your love unto the King of France,
Offering him aid against his enemies,
Which cannot but be thankfully received.
NAVARRE. Bartus, it shall be so. Post, then, to France,
And there salute his highness in our name;
Assure him all the aid we can provide
Against the Guisians and their complices.
Bartus, be gone: commend me to his grace,
And tell him, ere it be long, I'll visit him.
BARTUS. I will, my lord.
NAVARRE. Pleshé, go muster up our men with speed,
And let them march away to France amain,
For we must aid the King against the Guise.
Be gone, I say; 'tis time that we were there.
PLESHÉ. I go, my lord.
NAVARRE. That wicked Guise, I fear me much will be
The ruin of that famous realm of France;
For his aspiring thoughts aim at the crown,
And takes his vantage on religion,
To plant the Pope and popelings in the realm,
And bind it wholly to the See of Rome;
But, if that God do prosper mine attempts,
And send us safely to arrive in France,
We'll beat him back, and drive him to his death,
That basely seeks the ruin of his realm.
Enter the captain of the guard [Cossin], and
COSSIN. 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 MURDERER. Fear him, said you? tush, were he here, we
would kill him presently.
SECOND MURDERER. O, that his heart were leaping in my hand!
THIRD MURDERER. But when will he come, that we may murder him?
COSSIN. Well, then, I see that you are resolute.
FIRST MURDERER. Let us alone; I warrant you.
COSSIN. Then, sirs, take your standings within this
chamber for anon the Guise will come.
ALL. You will give us our money?
COSSIN. Ay, ay, fear not. Stand close, so, be resolute.
The Murderers conceal themselves.
Now falls the star whose influence governs France,
Whose light was deadly to the Protestants;
Now must he fall and perish in his height.
Enter King Henry and Epernoun.
HENRY. Now, captain of my guard, are these murderers ready?
COSSIN. They be, my good lord.
HENRY. But are they resolute, and armed to kill,
Hating the life and honour of the Guise?
COSSIN. I warrant ye, my lord.
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.
Enter the Guise and knocketh.
GUISE. Holla, varlet, hey! Epernoun, where is the King?
EPERNOUN. Mounted his royal cabinet.
GUISE. I prithee, tell him that the Guise is here.
EPERNOUN. And 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 outreached,
And perish in the pit thou mad'st for me.
The Guise comes to the King.
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 bare so great a train.
HENRY. They were to blame that said I was displeased;
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 King [with Epernoun and Captain.
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,
As ancient Romans over their captive lords,
So will I triumph over 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.
For in thee is the Duke of Guise's hope.
Third Murderer appears.
Villain, why dost thou look so ghastly? Speak.
THIRD MURDERER. O, pardon me, my lord of Guise!
GUISE. Pardon thee, why, what hast thou done?
THIRD MURDERER. O my lord, I am one of them that is set to murder you.
GUISE. To murder me, villain?
THIRD MURDERER. Ay, my lord: the rest have ta'en their
standings in the next room. Therefore, good my lord,
go not forth.
GUISE. Yet Caesar shall go forth.
Let mean conceits and baser men fear death!
But, they are peasants; I am Duke of Guise;
And princes with their looks engender fear.
FIRST MURDERER. Stand close; he is coming; I know him by his voice.
GUISE. As pale as ashes, nay, then 'tis time to look about.
First and Second Murderers appear.
ALL. Down with him, down with him!
They stab him.
GUISE. Oh, I have my death's wound, give me leave to speak.
SECOND MURDERER. 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.
Oh, that I have not power to stay my life,
Nor immortality to be revenged:
To die by peasants, what a grief is this!
Ah, Sixtus, be revenged upon the King,
Philip and Parma, I am slain for you:
Pope, excommunicate, Philip, depose
The wicked branch of cursed Valois his line!
Vive la messe! Perish Huguenots!
Thus Caesar did go forth, and thus he died.
He dies. Enter Captain of the Guard.
COSSIN. 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.
Surcharged 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 Douai 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 deceased?
Hath he not made me, in the Pope's defense,
To spend the treasure, that should strength my land,
In civil broils between Navarre and me?
Tush, to be short, he meant to make me monk,
Or else to murder me, and so be king.
Let Christian princes, that shall hear of this,
(as all the world shall know our Guise is dead),
Rest satisfied with this, that here I swear,
Ne'er was there king of France so yoked as I.
EPERNOUN. My lord, here is his son.
Enter the Guise's son.
HENRY. Boy, look, where your father lies.
GUISE'S SON. My father slain, who hath done this deed?
HENRY. Sirrah, 'twas I that slew him; and will slay
Thee too, and thou prove such a traitor.
GUISE'S SON. Art thou king, and hast done this bloody deed?
I'll be revenged.
He offereth to throw his dagger .
HENRY. Away to prison with him! I'll clip his wings
Or e'er he pass my hands: away with him.
Exit Boy [under guard].
But what availeth that this traitor's dead,
When Duke Dumaine, his brother, is alive,
And that young Cardinal that is grown so proud?
Go to the governor of Orleans,
And will him, in my name, to kill the Duke.
Get you away, and strangle the Cardinal.
Exeunt Captain of the Guard and Murderers.
These two will make one entire Duke of Guise,
Especially with our old mother's help.
EPERNOUN. My lord, see, where she comes, as if she drooped
To hear these news.
HENRY. And let her droop; my heart is light enough.
Enter Queen Mother.
Mother, how like you this device of mine?
I slew the Guise, because I would be king.
CATHERINE. King, why, so thou wert before.
Pray God thou be a king now this is done!
HENRY. Nay, he was king, and countermanded me;
But now I will be king, and rule myself,
And make the Guisians stoop that are alive.
CATHERINE. I cannot speak for grief: - when thou wast born,
I would that I had murdered thee, my son!
My son? Thou art a changeling, not my son.
I curse thee, and exclaim thee miscreant,
Traitor to God and to the realm of France!
HENRY. Cry out, exclaim, howl till thy throat be hoarse,
The Guise is slain, and I rejoice therefore.
And now will I to arms. Come, Epernoun,
And let her grieve her heart out, if she will.
Exit the King and Epernoun.
CATHERINE. Away, leave me alone to meditate.
Sweet Guise, would he had died, so thou wert here.
To whom shall I bewray my secrets now,
Or who will help to build religion?
The Protestants will glory and insult;
Wicked Navarre will get the crown of France:
The Popedom cannot stand; all goes to wrack;
And all for thee, my Guise, what may I do?
But sorrow seize upon my toiling soul,
For, since the Guise is dead, I will not live.
Enter two Murderers dragging in the Cardinal.
CARDINAL. Murder me not; I am a cardinal.
FIRST MURDERER. Wert thou the Pope, thou mightst not 'scape from us.
CARDINAL. What, will you 'file your hands with churchmen's blood?
SECOND MURDERER. Shed your blood? O lord, no, for we intend
to strangle you.
CARDINAL. Then there is no remedy but I must die.
FIRST MURDERER. No remedy; therefore prepare yourself.
CARDINAL. Yet lives
My brother Duke Dumaine, and many moe,
To revenge our deaths upon that cursed king,
Upon whose heart may all the Furies gripe,
And with their paws drench his black soul in hell!
FIRST MURDERER. Yours, my Lord Cardinal, you should have said.
Now they strangle him.
So, pluck amain:
He is hardhearted; therefore pull with violence.
Come, take him away.
Enter Duke Dumaine, reading of a letter,
DUMAINE. My noble brother murdered by the King!
Oh, what may I do for to revenge thy death?
The king's alone, it cannot satisfy.
Sweet Duke of Guise, our prop to lean upon,
Now thou art dead, here is no stay for us.
I am thy brother, and I'll revenge thy death,
And root Valois his line from forth of France;
And beat proud Bourbon to his native home,
That basely seeks to join with such a king,
Whose murderous thoughts will be his overthrow.
He willed the governor of Orleans, in his name,
That I with speed should have been put to death.
But that's prevented, for to end his life,
And all those traitors to the Church of Rome
That durst attempt to murder noble Guise.
Enter the Friar.
FRIAR. My lord, I come to bring you news that your brother
the Cardinal of Lorraine, by the King's consent, is
lately strangled unto death.
DUMAINE. My brother cardinal slain, and I alive?
O words of power to kill a thousand men!
Come, let us away, and levy men.
'Tis war that must assuage this tyrant's pride.
FRIAR. My lord, hear me but speak,
I am a friar of the order of the Jacobins,
That for my conscience' sake will kill the King.
DUMAINE. But what doth move thee, above the rest, to do the deed?
FRIAR. O, my lord, I have been a great sinner in my days,
and the deed is meritorious.
DUMAINE. But how wilt thou get opportunity?
FRIAR. Tush, my lord, let me alone for that.
DUMAINE. Friar, come with me;
We will go talk more of this within.
Sound drums and trumpets and enter the Kings
of France and Navarre, Epernoun, Bartus,
Pleshé, Soldiers and Attendants.
HENRY. Brother of Navarre, I sorrow much
That ever I was proved your enemy,
And that the sweet and princely mind you bear
Was ever troubled with injurious wars:
I vow, as I am lawful King of France,
To recompense your reconciled love
With all the honours and affections
That ever I vouchsafed my dearest friends.
NAVARRE. It is enough if that Navarre may be
Esteemed faithful to the King of France,
Whose service he may still command till death.
HENRY. Thanks to my kingly brother of Navarre.
Then here we'll lie before Lutetia walls,
Girting this strumpet city with our siege,
Till, surfeiting with our afflicting arms,
She cast her hateful stomach to the earth.
Enter a Messenger.
MESSENGER. And it please your majesty, here is a friar of the
order of the Jacobins, sent from the President of
Paris, that craves access unto your grace.
HENRY. Let him come in.
Enter Friar, with a letter.
EPERNOUN. I like not this friar's look:
'Twere not amiss, my lord, if he were searched.
HENRY. Sweet Epernoun, our friars are holy men,
And will not offer violence to their king,
For all the wealth and treasure of the world. -
Friar, thou dost acknowledge me thy king?
FRIAR. Ay, my good lord, and will die therein.
HENRY. Then come thou near, and tell what news thou bring'st.
FRIAR. My lord,
The president of Paris greets your grace
And sends his duty by these speedy lines,
Humbly craving your gracious reply.
HENRY. I'll read them, friar, and then I'll answer thee.
FRIAR. Sancte Jacobus, now have mercy upon me!
He stabs the King with a knife, as he readeth
the letter, and then the King getteth the knife,
and kills him.
EPERNOUN. O, my lord, let him live a while!
HENRY. No, let the villain die, and feel in hell
Just torments for his treachery.
NAVARRE. What, is your highness hurt?
HENRY. Yes, Navarre; but not to death, I hope.
NAVARRE. God shield your grace from such a sudden death!
Go call a surgeon hither straight.
HENRY. What irreligious pagans' parts be these,
Of such as hold them of the holy church?
Take hence that damned villain from my sight.
Attendants take out Friar's body.
EPERNOUN. Ah, had your highness let him live,
We might have punished him to his deserts.
HENRY. Sweet Epernoun, all rebels under heaven
Shall take example by his punishment,
How they bear arms against their sovereign. -
Go call the English agent hither straight:
Exit an Attendant.
I'll send my sister England news of this,
And give her warning of her treacherous foes.
Enter a Surgeon.
NAVARRE. Pleaseth your grace to let the surgeon search your
HENRY. The wound, I warrant ye, is deep, my lord,
Search, surgeon, and resolve me what thou seest.
The Surgeon searcheth. Enter the English Agent.
Agent for England, send thy mistress word
What this detested Jacobin hath done.
Tell her, for all this, that I hope to live;
Which if I do, the papal monarch goes
To wrack, and antichristian kingdom falls.
These bloody hands shall tear his triple crown,
And fire accursed Rome about his ears.
I'll fire his crazed buildings, and enforce
The papal towers to kiss the lowly earth. -
Navarre, give me thy hand. I here do swear
To ruinate that wicked church of Rome,
That hatcheth up such bloody practices,
And here protest eternal love to thee,
And to the Queen of England specially,
Whom God hath blest for hating papistry.
NAVARRE. These words revive my thoughts, and comfort me,
To see your highness in this virtuous mind.
HENRY. Tell me, surgeon, shall I live?
SURGEON. Alas, my lord, the wound is dangerous,
For you are stricken with a poisoned knife!
HENRY. A poisoned knife! what, shall the French king die,
Wounded and poisoned both at once?
EPERNOUN. O, that that damned villain were alive again,
That we might torture him with some new found death.
BARTUS. He died a death too good:
The devil of hell torture his wicked soul!
HENRY. Ah, curse him not, sith he is dead.
O, the fatal poison works within my breast,
Tell me, surgeon, and flatter not - may I live?
SURGEON. Alas, my lord, your highness cannot live.
NAVARRE. Surgeon, why say'st thou so? The King may live.
HENRY. Oh no, Navarre, thou must be King of France!
NAVARRE. Long may you live, and still be King of France.
EPERNOUN. Or else, die Epernoun!
HENRY. Sweet Epernoun, thy king must die. My lords,
Fight in the quarrel of this valiant prince,
For he is your lawful king, and my next heir;
Valois's line ends in my tragedy.
Now let the house of Bourbon wear the crown;
And may it never end in blood, as mine hath done.
Weep not, sweet Navarre, but revenge my death. -
Ah, Epernoun, is this thy love to me?
Henry, thy king, wipes off these childish tears,
And bids thee whet thy sword on Sixtus' bones,
That it may keenly slice the Catholics.
He loves me not the most that sheds most tears,
But he that makes most lavish of his blood.
Fire Paris, where these treacherous rebels lurk. -
I die, Navarre; come bear me to my sepulchre.
Salute the Queen of England in my name,
And tell her, Henry dies her faithful friend.
NAVARRE. Come, lords, take up the body of the King,
That we may see it honourably interred:
And then I vow so to revenge his death
As Rome, and all those popish prelates there,
Shall curse the time that e'er Navarre was king,
And ruled in France by Henry's fatal death.
They march out, with the body of king Henry
lying on four men's shoulders, with
a dead march, drawing weapons
on the ground
© This edition and HTML version, Peter Farey, 2001-2
Based upon an e-text from:
The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe. Fredson Bowers, ed.
Cambridge, England: The University Press, 1973
Welcome corrections to my original attempt supplied by Michael Blanc.
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