2 I


They go on to the place of execution, two women
accompanying the QUEEN. MARY BEATON and
BARBARA MOWBRAY remain in the gallery.
Mary Beaton. Why, from the gallery here at

hand your eyes
May go with her along the hall beneath
Even to the scaffold : and I fain would hear
What fain I would not look on. Pray you, then,
If you may bear to see it as those below,
Do me that sad good service of your eyes
For mine to look upon it, and declare
All that till all be done I will not see;
I pray you of your pity.

Though mine heart
Break, it shall not for fear forsake the sight
That may be faithful yet in following her,
Nor yet for grief refuse your prayer, being fain
To give your love such bitter comfort, who
So long have never left her.
Mary Beaton.

Till she die
I have ever known I shall not till she die.
See you yet aught ? if I hear spoken words,
My heart can better bear these pulses, else 35
Unbearable, that rend it.

Yea, I see
Stand in mid hall the scaffold, black as death,
And black the block upon it: all around,
Against the throng a guard of halberdiers;
And the axe against the scaffold-rail reclined,
And two men masked on either hand beyond :
And hard behind the block a cushion set,
Black, as the chair behind it.




All those faces change; She comes more royally than ever yet Fell foot of man triumphant on this earth, Imperial more than empire made her, born Enthroned as queen sat never. Not a line

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Stirs of her sovereign feature : like a bride Brought home she mounts the scaffold; and her

eyes Sweep regal round the cirque beneath, and rest, Subsiding with a smile. She sits, and they, The doomsmen earls, beside her; at her left The sheriff, and the clerk at hand on high, 55 To read the warrant.


Now speaks Lord Shrewsbury but a word or twain,
And brieflier yet she answers, and stands up
As though to kneel, and pray.
Mary Beaton.

I too have prayed -
God hear at last her prayers not less than mine, 61
Which failed not, sure, of hearing.

Now draws nigh That heretic priest, and bows himself, and thrice Strives, as a man that sleeps in pain, to speak, 65 Stammering: she waves him by, as

one whose prayers She knows may nought avail her: now she kneels, And the earls rebuke her, and she answers not, Kneeling O Christ, whose likeness there engraved She strikes against her bosom, hear her! Now 70 That priest lifts up his voice against her prayer, Praying: and a voice all round goes up with his : But hers is lift up higher than climbs their cry, In the great psalms of penitence: and now She prays aloud in English; for the Pope Our father, and his church ; and for her son, And for the queen her murderess; and that God May turn from England yet his wrath away; And so forgives her enemies; and implores High intercesssion of the Saints with Christ, Whom crucified she kisses on his cross, And crossing now her breast-Ah, heard you not?



54. doomsmen] her judges.


Even as thine arms were spread upon the cross,
So make thy grace, O Jesus, wide for me,
Receive me to thy mercy so, and so
Forgive my sins.

Mary Beaton. So be it, if so God please.
Is she not risen up yet?

Yea, but mine eyes
Darken: because those deadly twain close masked
Draw nigh as men that crave forgiveness, which gi
Gently she grants : for now, she said, I hope
You shall end all my troubles. Now meseems
They would put hand upon her as to help,
And disarray her raiment: but she smiles
Heard you not that ? can you nor hear nor speak,
Poor heart, for pain ? Truly, she said, my lords,
I never had such chamber-grooms before
As these to wait on me.
Mary Beaton.

An end, an end. Barbara Now those twain upon the


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scaffold up


Whom she preferred before us: and she lays
Her crucifix down, which now the headsman takes
Into his cursed hand, but being rebuked
Puts back for shame that sacred spoil of hers. 105
And now they lift her veil up from her head
Softly, and softly draw the black robe off,
And all in red as of a funeral flame
She stands up statelier yet before them, tall
And clothed as if with sunset : and she takes
From Elspeth's hand the crimson sleeves, and draws
Their covering on her arms : and now those twain
Burst out aloud in weeping: and she speaks-
Weep not; I promised for you. Now she kneels;
And Jane binds round a kerchief on her eyes : 115
And smiling last her heavenliest smile on earth,
She waves a blind hand toward them, with Farewell,
Farewell, to meet again: and they come down
And leave her praying aloud, In thee, O Lord,
I put my trust, and now that psalm being through

I 21


She lays between the block and her soft neck
Her long white peerless hands up tenderly,
Which now the headsman draws again away,
But softly too: now stir her lips again-
Into thine hands, O Lord, into thine hands,
Lord, I commend my spirit: and now-but now,
Look you, not I, the last upon her.
Mary Beaton.

He strikes awry: she stirs not. Nay, but now
He strikes aright, and ends it.

Hark, a cry.
Voice below. So perish all found enemies of the

Another voice. Amen.
Mary Beaton.

I heard that very cry go up Far off long since to God, who answers here. 135


A. C. SWINBURNE (from Mary Stuart).

1. Melville. Gentleman of the Bed-chamber to Mary ; he was afterwards employed by James VI, and wrote some interesting memoirs of the times.

64. that heretic priest. Dr. Fletcher, afterwards Bishop of London.





who list to hear our noble England's praise; I tell of the thrice-famous deeds she wrought in ancient

days, When that great fleet invincible against her bore in

vain The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest hearts of



It was about the lovely close of a warm summer

day, There came a gallant merchant-ship full sail to

Plymouth Bay ; Her crew had seen Castile's black fleet, beyond

Aurigny's Isle, At earliest twilight, on the waves lie heaving many

a mile. At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial

grace: And the tall Pinta, till the noon, had held her close

in chase. Forthwith a guard at every gun was placed along

the wall; The beacon blazed upon the roof of Edgecumbe's

lofty hall; Many a light fishing bark put out to pry along the

coast, And with loose rein and bloody spur rode inland

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many a post.

7. Aurigny] Alderney.

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