London. A street.
A scrivener reflects on the hypocrisy of what is going on, having written out Hastings’s indictment hours before he was arrested. He comments that it is perfectly obvious that a coup is going on, but that nobody has the courage to say so. (14 lines)
Enter a Scrivener with a paper in his hand.
Here is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings,
Which in a set hand fairly is engross’d
That it may be today read o’er in Paul’s.
And mark how well the sequel hangs together:
Eleven hours I have spent to write it over,
For yesternight by Catesby was it sent me;
The precedent was full as long a-doing,
And yet within these five hours Hastings liv’d,
Untainted, unexamin’d, free, at liberty.
Here’s a good world the while! Who is so gross
That cannot see this palpable device?
Yet who’s so bold but says he sees it not?
Bad is the world, and all will come to nought,
When such ill dealing must be seen in thought.