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They go on to the place of execution, two women
hand your eyes
Though mine heart
Till she die
Yea, I see
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
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,
I too have prayed -
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,
Mary Beaton. So be it, if so God please.
Yea, but mine eyes
An end, an end. Barbara Now those twain upon the
Whom she preferred before us: and she lays
She lays between the block and her soft neck
Hark, a cry.
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
many a post.
7. Aurigny] Alderney.