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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
If you may bear to see it as those below,
Till she die-
Yea, I see
Stand in mid hall the scaffold, black as death,
All those faces change;
She comes more royally than ever yet
Stirs of her sovereign feature: like a bride Brought home she mounts the scaffold; and her
Sweep regal round the cirque beneath, and rest,
Now speaks Lord Shrewsbury but a word or twain, And brieflier yet she answers, and stands up
As though to kneel, and pray.
I too have prayed—
God hear at last her prayers not less than mine, 61 Which failed not, sure, of hearing.
Barbara. 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
She knows may nought avail her: now she kneels,
54. doomsmen] her judges.
Even as thine arms were spread upon the cross,
Forgive my sins.
Mary Beaton. So be it, if so God please. Is she not risen up yet?
Barbara. Yea, but mine eyes Darken: because those deadly twain close masked Draw nigh as men that crave forgiveness, which 91 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.
An end, an end. Barbara. Now come those twain upon the scaffold up
Whom she preferred before us: and she lays
Puts back for shame that sacred spoil of hers.
She lays between the block and her soft neck
Nay, but now
Hark, a cry.
Voice below. So perish all found enemies of the
Another voice. Amen.
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
ATTEND, all ye who list to hear our noble England's praise;
I tell of the thrice-famous deeds she wrought in ancient
When that great fleet invincible against her bore in
The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest hearts of
It was about the lovely close of a warm summer
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
And the tall Pinta, till the noon, had held her close
Forthwith a guard at every gun was placed along
The beacon blazed upon the roof of Edgecumbe's lofty hall;
Many a light fishing bark put out to pry along the
And with loose rein and bloody spur rode inland many a post.
7. Aurigny] Alderney.