Page images
PDF
EPUB

In that one woman, I have lost forever.
No sun shall ever usher forth mine honors,
Or gild again the noble troops that waited
Upon my smiles. Go, get thee from me, Cromwell ;
I am a poor, fallen man, unworthy now
To be thy lord and master. Seek the king;
That
sun, I

pray, may never set! I have told him What, and how true thou art; he will advance thee ; Some little memory of me will stir him (I know his noble nature) not to let Thy hopeful service perish too. Good Cromwell, Neglect him not; make use now, and provide For thine own future safety.

Crom. O my lord,
Must I then leave you? Must I needs forego
So good, so noble, and so true a master ?
Bear witness, all that have not hearts of iron,
With what a sorrow Cromwell leaves his lord.
'The king shall have my service; but my prayers
Forever, and forever, shall be yours.

Wol. Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.
Let's dry our eyes ; and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
And, — when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull, cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of, — say, I taught thee;
Say, Wolsey — that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in ;
A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition !
By that sin fell the angels : how can man, then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by't?
Love thyself last ; cherish those hearts that hate thee
Corruption wins not more than honesty;

Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not.
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's; then, if thou fall'st, O Cromwell,
Thou fall'st a blesséd martyr! Serve the king ;
And Prithee, lead me in:
There take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny; 'tis the king's; my robe,
And my integrity to Heaven, is all
I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.

Crom. Good sir, have patience.
Wol. So I have. Farewell
The hopes of court! my hopes in heaven do dwell.

LXXXIX.- EXECUTION OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS,

LINGARD.

(JOHN LINGARD was born in Winchester, England, February 5, 1771, and died July 13, 1851. He was a clergyman of the Roman Catholic faith. The chief literary labor of his life was his History of England, from the earliest period down to the revolution of 1688; the latest edition of which is in ten volumes, ootavo. This work has taken a high and permanent rank in the historical literature of his conintry. The style is simplo, correct, and manly, without being remarkable for beauty or eloquence. The chief value of the work consists in its thorough and patient research into the original sources of English history. How far it is impartial, when treating upon controverted points, is a question which neither Catholics nor Protestants are exactly in a position to answer. Dr. Lingard was a sincere and conscientious Catholic, but his temperament was calm and judicial; and if he betrays any bias in favor of his own faith, it is, perhaps, no more than that unconscious bias which always attends genuine conviction. His History, at all events, should be carefully read by every one who is not content with the cheap task of deciding before he hears.

Dr. Lingard also wrote The History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, and some manuals of religious teaching.

Mary of Scotland, after the total defeat of her party at the battle of Langside, in 1568, fied to England, and threw herself upon the protection of Elizabeth, queen of England, by whom, however, she was kept a prisoner for nineteen years. She was then tried by a commission, for engaging in a conspiracy against the life of Elizabeth, and con demned to death. She was beheaded, February 8, 1587, at Fotheringay Castle, in Northamptonshire; and the following is a description of her execution.]

In the midst of the great hall of the castle had been raised a scaffold, covered with black serge, and surrounded with a low railing About seven, the doors were thrown open; the gentlemen of the county entered with their attendants; an: Paulet's * guard augmented the number to between one hundred and fifty and two hundred spectators. Before eight, a message was sent to the queen, who replied that she would be ready in half an hour. At that time, Andrews, the sheriff, entered the oratory, and Mary arose, taking the crucifix from the altar in her right, and carrying her prayer book in her left hand. Her servants were forbidden to follow; they insisted; but the queen bade them to be content, and turning, gave them her blessing. They received it on their knees, some kissing her hands, others her mantle. The door closed; and the burst of lamentation from those within resounded through the hall.

Mary was now joined by the earl and her keepers, and descending the staircase, found at the foot Melville, the steward of her household, who, for several weeks, had been excluded from her presence. This old and faithful servant threw himself on his knees, and wringing his hands exclaimed, “Ah, madam, unhappy me! was ever a man on earth the bearer of such sorrow as I shall be, when I report that my good and gracious queen and mistress was beheaded in England ! Here his grief impeded his utterance; and Mary replied, “ Good Melville, cease to lament; thou hast rather cause to joy than mourn; for thou shalt see the end of Mary Stuart's troubles. Know that this world is but vanity, subject to more sorrow than an ocean of tears can bewail. But I pray thee, report that I die a true woman to my religion, to Scotland, and to France. May God forgive them that have long thirsted for my od, as the hart doth for the brooks of water.

O God, thou art the author of truth, and truth itself. Thou knowest the inward chambers of my thoughts, and that I always wished

Sir Amias Paulet was the person who had the custody of Mary's person

the union of England and Scotland. Commend me to my son, and tell him that I have done nothing prejudicial to the dignity or independence of his crown, or favorable to the pretended superiority of our enemies.” Then bursting into tears, she said, “ Good Melville, farewell;" and kissing him, " once again, good Melville, farewell, and pray for thy mistress and thy queen." It was remarked as something extraordinary, that this was the first time in her life that she had ever been known to address a person with the pronoun “thou.”

Drying up her tears, she turned from Melville and made her last request, that her servants might be present at her death. But the Earl of Kent objected that they would be troublesome by their grief and lamentations, might practise some superstitious trumpery, perhaps might dip their handkerchiefs in her grace's blood. “My lords,” said Mary, “I will give my word for them. They shall deserve no blame. Certainly your mistress, being a maiden queen, will vouchsafe, in regard of womanhood, that I have some of my own women about me at my death.” Receiving no answer, she continued, “ You might, I think, grant me a far greater courtesy were I a woman of lesser calling than the Queen of Scots.” Still they were silent; when she asked with vehemence, “ Am I not the cousin to your queen, a descendant of the blood royal of Henry VII., and the anointed Queen of Scotland ?” At these words the fanaticism of the Earl of Kent began to yield; and it was resolved to admit four of her men and two of her women servants. She selected her steward, physician, apothecary, and surgeon, with her maids Kennedy and Curle.

The procession now set forward. It was headed by the sheriff and his officers ; next followed Paulet and Drury, and the Earls of Shrewsbury and Kent; and lastly came the Scottish queen, with Melville bearing her train. She wore the richest of her dresses that which was appropriate to the rank of a queen dowager. Her step was firm, and her countenance cheerful. She bore without shrinking the gaze of the spectators, and the sight of the scaffold, the block, and the execu

tioner, and advanced into the hall with that grace and majesty which she had so often displayed in her happier days, and in the palace of her fathers. To aid her as she mounted the scaffold, Paulet offered his arm. “I thank you, sir,” said Mary; “it is the last trouble I shall give you, and the most acceptable service you have ever rendered me.” The

queen seated herself on a stool which was prepared for her. On her right stood the two earls ; on the left the sheriff and Beal, the clerk of the council; in front, the executioner from the Tower, in a suit of black velvet, with his assistant, also clad in black. The warrant was read, and Mary, in an audible voice, addressed the assembly. She would have them recollect also, that she was a sovereign princess, not subject to the parliament of England, but brought there to suffer by injustice and violence. She, however, thanked her God that he had given her this opportunity of publicly professing her religion, and of declaring, as she had often before declared, that she had never imagined, nor compassed, nor consented to, the death of the English queen, nor ever sought the least harm to her person. After her death, many things, which were then buried in darkness, would come to light. But she pardoned from her heart all her enemies, nor should her tongue utter that which might turn to their prejudice. Here she was interrupted by Dr. Fletcher, dean of Peterborough, who, having caught her eye, began to preach, and under the cover, perhaps through motives, of zeal, contrived to insult the feelings of the unfortunate sufferer. Mary repeatedly desired him not to trouble himself and her. He persisted; she turned aside. He made the circuit of the scaffold, and again addressed her in front. An ec:1 was put to this extraordinary scene by the Earl of Shrewsbury, who ordered him to pray. His prayer was the echo of his sermon; but Mary heard him not. employed at the time in her devotions, repeating with a loud voice, and in the Latin language, passages from the book of Psalms; and after the dean was reduced to silence, a prayer in French, in which she begged of God to pardon her sins

She was

« PreviousContinue »