The queen and the four Maries.
Why will you break my heart with praying
You Seyton, you Carmichael, you have wits,
You are not all run to tears; you do not
It is my wrath or will that whets this
Against his neck?
Nay, these three weeks agone
I said the queen’s wrath was not
To shear a neck.
Sweet, and you did me right,
And look you, what my mercy bears to fruit,
Danger and deadly speech and a fresh fault
Before the first was cool in people’s
A goodly mercy: and I wash hands
Speak you, there; have you ever found
You weep and whisper with sloped necks
Like two sick birds; do you think shame
Nay, I thank God none can think shame
But am I bitter, think you, to men’s
I think I am too merciful, too meek:
Why if I could I would yet save this man;
’T is just boy’s madness;
a soft stripe or two
Would do to scourge the fault in his French
I would fain let him go. You, Hamilton,
You have a heart thewed harder than my
When mine would threat it sighs, and wrath
Has a bird’s flight and station,
It can well feed or fly; my pulse of wrath
Sounds tender as the running down of tears.
You are the hardest woman I have known,
Your blood has frost and cruel gall in
You hold men off with bitter lips and
Such maidens should serve England; now,
I doubt you would have got him slain at
Come, would you not? come, would you let
Yes-I think yes; I cannot tell; maybe
I would have seen him punished.
Look you now,
There’s maiden mercy; I would have
For all my wifehood maybe I weep too;
Here’s a mere maiden falls to slaying
Small shrift for her; God keep us from
I am a queen too that would have him live,
But one that has no wrong and is no queen,
She would-What are you saying there, you
I said a queen’s face and so fair
Would lose no grace for giving grace away;
That gift comes back upon the mouth it
And makes it sweeter, and set fresh red
This comes of sonnets when the dance draws
These talking times will make a dearth
But you-what ails you that your lips are
Weep, if you will; here are four friends
To weep as fast for pity of your tears.
Do you desire him dead? nay, but men say
He was your friend, he fought them on
He made you songs-God knows what songs
Speak you for him a little: will
Madam, I have no words.
No words? no pity
Have you no mercies for such men?
It seems I am the meekest heart on earth
Yea, the one tender woman left alive,
And knew it not. I will not let
For all my pity of him.
Nay, but, madam,
For God’s love look a little to
If you do slay him you are but shamed
All men will cry upon you, women weep,
Turning your sweet name bitter with their
Red shame grow up out of your memory
And burn his face that would speak well
You shall have no good word nor pity,
Till some such end be fallen upon you:
I am but cold, I knew I had no words,
I will keep silence.
Yea now, as I live,
I wist not of it: troth, he shall
See you, I am pitiful, compassionate,
I would not have men slain for my love’s
But if he live to do me three times wrong,
Why then my shame would grow up green
Like any flower. I am not whole
In faith, I wot not what such things should
I doubt it is but dangerous; he must die.
Yea, but you will not slay him.
Swear me that,
I’ll say he shall not die for your
What will you do for grief when he is
Nothing for grief, but hold my peace and
Why, for your sweet sake one might let
But the first fault was a green seed of
And now the flower, and deadly fruit will
With apple-time in autumn. By my
I would they had slain him there in Edinburgh;
But I reprieve him; lo the thank I get,
To set the base folk muttering like smoked
Of shame and love, and how love comes
And the queen loves shame that comes of
Yet I say nought and go about my ways,
And this mad fellow that I respited
Being forth and free, lo now the second
Ye take him by my bed in wait. Now
If I can get good-will to pardon him;
With what a face may I crave leave of
To respite him, being young and a good
And mad for perfect love? shall I go say,
Dear lords, because ye took him shamefully,
Let him not die; because his fault is
Let him not die; because if he do live
I shall be held a harlot of all men,
I pray you, sweet sirs, that he may not
Madam, for me I would not have him live;
Mine own heart’s life was ended
with my fame,
And my life’s breath will shortly
So that I care not much; for you wot well
I have lost love and shame and fame and
To no good end; nor while he had his life
Have I got good of him that was my love,
Save that for courtesy (which may God
He kissed me once as one might kiss for
Out of great pity for me; saving this,
He never did me grace in all his life.
And when you have slain him, madam, it
I shall get grace of him in some new way
In a new place, if God have care of us.
Bid you my brother to me presently.
And yet the thing is pitiful; I would
There were some way. To send him
Out past the long firths to the cold keen
Where the sharp sound is that one hears
Or hold him in strong prison till he died
He would die shortly or to
set him free
And use him softly till his brains were
There is no way. Now never while
Shall we twain love together any more
Nor sit at rhyme as we were used to do,
Nor each kiss other only with the eyes
A great way off ere hand or lip could
There is no way.
O, you are welcome, sir;
You know what need I have; but I praise
Having such need, I have such help of
I do believe no queen God ever made
Was better holpen than I look to be.
What, if two brethren love not heartily,
Who shall be good to either one of them?
Madam, I have great joy of your good will.
I pray you, brother, use no courtesies:
I have some fear you will not suffer me
When I shall speak. Fear is a fool,
Yet hath he wit enow to fool my wits,
Being but a woman’s. Do not
Till you shall know; yet if you have a
I shall be fain to heart it; but I think
There is no word to help me; no man’s
There be two things yet that should do
A speeding arm and a great heart.
I am soft-spirited as women are,
And ye wot well I have no harder heart:
Yea, with all my will I would not slay
But all should live right sweetly if I
So that man’s blood-spilling lies
hard on me.
I have a work yet for mine honor’s
A thing to do, God wot I know not how,
Nor how to crave it of you: nay,
I will not shame myself to show it you:
I have not heart.
Why, if it may be done
With any honor, or with good men’s
I shall well do it.
I would I wist that well.
Sir, do you love me?
Yea, you know I do.
In faith, you should well love me, for
The least man in your following for your
With a whole sister’s heart.
Speak simply, madam;
I must obey you, being your bounden man.
Sir, so it is you know what things have
Even to the endangering of mine innocent
And by no fault, but by men’s evil
If Chastelard have trial openly,
I am but shamed.
This were a wound indeed,
If your good name should lie upon his
I will the judges put him not to plead,
For my fame’s sake; he shall not
What, think you he will speak against
I know not; men might feign belief of
For hate of me; it may be he will speak;
In brief, I will not have him held to
Well, if this be, what good is to be done?
Is there no way but he must speak to them,
Being had to trial plainly?
I think, none.
Now mark, my lord; I swear he will not
It were the best if you could make that
There is one way. Look, sir, he
shall not do it:
Shall not, or will not, either is one
I speak as I would have you understand.
Let me not guess at you; speak certainly.
You will not mind me: let him be
Take means to get me surety; there be
So, in your mind, I have to slay the man?
Is there a mean for me to save the man?
Truly I see no mean except your love.
What love is that, my lord? what think
Talking of love and of love’s mean
And of your guesses and of slaying him?
Why, I say nought, have nought to say:
God help me!
I bid you but take surety of the man,
Get him removed.
Come, come, be clear with me;
You bid me to despatch him privily.
God send me sufferance! I bid you,
Nay, do not go; what matter if I did?
Nathless I never bade you; no, by God.
Be not so wroth; you are my brother born;
Why do you dwell upon me with such eyes?
For love of God you should not bear me
What, are you made of flesh?
O, now I see
You had rather lose your wits to do me
Than keep sound wits to help me.
It is right strange;
The worst man living hath some fear, some
Holds somewhat dear a little for life’s
Keeps fast to some compassion; you have
You know of nothing that remembrance knows
To make you tender. I must slay
Nay, I will do it.
Do, if you be not mad.
I am sorry for him; and he must needs
I would I were assured you hate me not:
I have no heart to slay him by my will.
I pray you think not bitterly of me.
Is it your pleasure such a thing were
Yea, by God’s body is it, certainly.
Nay, for your love then, and for honor’s
This thing must be.
Yea, should I set you on?
Even for my love then, I beseech you,
To seek him out, and lest he prate of
To put your knife into him ere he come
Meseems this were not such wild work to
I’ll have him in the prison taken
I am bounden to you, even for my name’s
When that is done.
I pray you fear me not.
Farewell. I would such things were
not to do,
Or not for me; yea, not for any man.
Alas, what honor have I to give thanks?
I would he had denied me: I had
held my peace
Thenceforth forever; but he wrung out
Caught it before my lip, was fain of it
It was his fault to put it in my mind,
Yea, and to feign a loathing of his fault.
Now is he about devising my love’s
And nothing loth. Nay, since he
must needs die,
Would he were dead and come alive again
And I might keep him safe. He doth
And I may do what love I will to him;
But by to-morrow he will be stark dead,
Stark slain and dead; and for no sort
Will he so much as kiss me half a kiss.
Were this to do I would not do it again.
What, have you taken order? is it done?
It were impossible to do so soon.
Nay, answer me.
Madam, I will not do it.
How did you say? I pray, sir, speak
I know not what you said.
I say I will not;
I have thought thereof, and have made
up my heart
To have no part in this: look you
O, for God’s sake! you will not
have me shamed?
I will not dip my hand into your sin.
It were a good deed to deliver me;
I am but a woman, of one blood with you,
A feeble woman; put me not to shame;
I pray you of your pity do me right.
Yea, and no fleck of blood shall cleave
For a just deed.
I know not; I will none.
O, you will never let him speak to them
To put me in such shame? why, I should
Out of pure shame and mine own burning
Yea, my face feels the shame lay hold
I am half burnt already in my thought;
Take pity of me. Think how shame
slays a man;
How shall I live then? would you have
I pray you for our dead dear father’s
Let not men mock at me. Nay, if
I shall be sung in mine own towns.
What, will you let men stone me in the
Madam, I shall take pains the best I may
To save your honor, and what thing lieth
That will I do, but no close manslayings.
I will not have God’s judgment gripe
When I am dead, to hale me into hell
For a man’s sake slain on this wise.
See you to that.
One of you maidens there
Bid my lord hither. Now by Mary’s
He shall not die and bring me into shame.
There’s treason in you like a fever,
My holy-natured brother, cheek and eye;
You look red through with it: sick,
Specked with the blain of treason, leper-like
A scrupulous fair traitor with clean lips
If one should sue to hell to do him good
He were as brotherly holpen as I am.
This man must live and say no harm of
I may reprieve and cast him forth; yea,
This were the best; or if he die midway
Yea, anything, so that he die not here.
[To the Maries within.]
Fetch hither Darnley. Nay, ye gape
What, doth he sleep, or feeds, or plays
Why, I would see him; I am weary for his
Bid my lord in.-Nathless he will but chide;
Nay, fleer and laugh: what should
one say to him?
There were some word if one could hit
Some way to close with him: I wot
Please it your love I have a suit to you.
What sort of suit?
Nay, if you be not friends
I have no suit towards mine enemies.
Eh, do I look now like your enemy?
You have a way of peering under brow
I do not like. If you see anything
In me that irks you I will painfully
Labor to lose it: do but show me
And as I am your faithful humble wife
This foolishness shall be removed in me.
Why do you laugh and mock me with stretched
Faith, I see no such thing.
That is well seen.
Come, I will take my heart between my
Use it not hardly. Sir, my suit
That you would please to make me that
(In sooth I think I am) mistress and queen
Of mine own people.
Why, this is no suit;
This is a simple matter, and your own.
It was, before God made you king of me.
No king, by God’s grace; were I
such a king
I’d sell my kingdom for six roods
You are too sharp upon my words; I would
Have leave of you to free a man condemned.
What man is that, sweet?
Such a mad poor man
As God desires us use not cruelly.
Is there no name a man may call him by?
Nay, my fair master, what fair game is
Why, you do know him, it is Chastelard.
Ay, is it soothly?
By my life, it is;
Sweet, as you tender me, so pardon him.
As he doth tender you, so pardon me;
For if it were the mean to save my life
He should not live a day.
Nay, shall not he?
Look what an evil wit old Fortune hath:
Why, I came here to get his time cut off.
This second fault is meat for lewd men’s
You were best have him slain at once:
Give me the warrant, and sit down, my
Why, I will sign it; what, I understand
How this must be. Should not my
name stand here?
Yea, there, and here the seal.
Ay, so you say.
Shall I say too what I am thinking of?
Do, if you will.
I do not like your suit.
’Tis of no Frenchman fashion.
No, God wot;
’Tis nowise great men’s fashion
in French land
To clap a headsman’s taberd on their
No; I never wist of that.
Is it a month gone I did call you lord?
I chose you by no straying stroke of sight,
But with my heart to love you heartily.
Did I wrong then? did mine eye draw my
I know not; sir, it may be I did wrong:
And yet to love you; and would choose
Against to choose you.
There, I love you too;
Take that for sooth, and let me take this
O, do you think I hold you off with words?
Why, take it then; there is my handwriting,
And here the hand that you shall slay
’Tis a fair hand, a maiden-colored
I doubt yet it has never slain a man.
You never fought yet save for game, I
Nay, thank me not, but have it from my
Go and make haste for fear he be got forth:
It may be such a man is dangerous;
Who knows what friends he hath? and by
I doubt he hath seen some fighting, I
He hath fought and shed men’s blood;
ye are wise men
That will not leave such dangerous things
’T were well he died the sooner
for your sakes.
Pray you make haste; it is not fit he
What, will you let him die so easily?
Why, God have mercy! what way should one
To please such people? there’s some
Something I miss, out of my simple soul.
What, must one say “Beseech you
do no harm,”
Or “for my love, sweet cousins,
be not hard,”
Or “let him live but till the vane
Will such things please you? well then,
have your way;
Sir, I desire you, kneeling down with
With sighs and tears, fair sir, require
Considering of my love I bear this man,
Just for my love’s sake let him
not be hanged
Before the sundown; do thus much for me,
To have a queen’s prayers follow
I know no need for you to gibe at me.
Alack, what heart then shall I have to
There is no woman jests in such a wise
For the shame’s sake I pray you
hang him not,
Seeing how I love him, save indeed in
Sweet twisted silk of my sad handiwork.
Nay, and you will not do so much for me;
You vex your lip, biting the blood and
Were this so hard, and you compassionate?
I am in sore case then, and will weep
What do you mean to cast such gibes at
Woe’s me, and will you turn my tears
Nay, set your eyes a little in my face;
See, do I weep? what will you make of
Will you not swear I love this prisoner?
Ye are wise, and ye will have it; yet
I wist not of it. We are but feeble
And love may catch us when we lie asleep
And yet God knows we know not this a whit.
Come, look on me, swear you believe it
It may be I will take your word for that.
Do you not love him? nay, but verily?
Now then, make answer to me verily,
Which of us twain is wiser? for my part
I will not swear I love not, if you will;
Ye be wise men and many men, my lords,
And ye will have me love him, ye will
That I do love him; who shall say ye lie?
Look on your paper; maybe I have wept:
Doubtless I love your hanged man in my
What, is the writing smutched or gone
Or blurred-ay, surely so much-with one
One little sharp tear strayed on it by
Come, come, the man is deadly dangerous;
Let him die presently.
You do not love him;
Well, yet he need not die; it were right
To hang the fool because you love him
You have keen wits and thereto courtesy
To catch me with. No, let this man
It were no such perpetual praise to you
To be his doomsman and in doglike wise
Bite his brief life in twain.
Truly it were not.
Then for your honor and my love of you
(Oh, I do love you! but you know not,
You shall see how much), think you for
He may go free?
How, freely forth of us?
But yet he loves you, and being mad with
Makes matter for base mouths to chew upon:
’T were best he live not yet.
Will you say that?
Why should he live to breed you bad reports?
Let him die first.
Sweet, for your sake, not so.
Fret not yourself to pity; let him die.
Come, let him live a little; it shall
A grace to us.
By God he dies at once.
Now, by God’s mother, if I respite
Though you were all the race of you in
And had more tongues than hairs to cry
He should not lose a hair.
This is mere mercy
But you thank God you love him not a whit?
It shall be what it please; and if I please
It shall be anything. Give me the
Nay, for your sake and love of you, not
To make it dangerous.
O, God’ pity, sir!
You are tender of me; will you serve me
Against mine own will, show me so much
Do me good service that I loath being
Out of pure pity?
Nay, your word shall stand.
What makes you gape so beastlike after
Were you not bred up on some hangman’s
And dicted with fleshmeats at his hand
And fed into a fool? Give me that
Now for that word I will not.
Nay, sweet love,
For your own sake be just a little wise;
Come, I beseech you.
Pluck not at my hands.
No, that I will not: I am brain-broken,
Pity my madness for sweet marriage-sake
And my great love’s; I love you
to say this;
I would not have you cross me, out of
But for true love should I not chafe indeed?
And now I do not.
Yea, and late you chid,
You chafed and jested and blew soft and
No, for that “fool” you shall
not fool me so.
You are no churl, sweet, will you see
Look, I weep now; be friends with my poor
Think each of them beseeches you of love
And hath some tongue to cry on you for
And speak soft things; for that which
loves not you
Is none of mine, not though they grow
And grief of you; be not too hard with
You would not of your own heart slay a
Nay, if you will, in God’s name
make me weep,
I will not hate you; but at heart, sweet
Be not at heart my sweet heart’s
If I had many mighty men to friend
I would not plead too lovingly with you
To have your love.
Why, yet you have my love.
Alas, what shall mine enemies do to me
If he be used so hardly of my friends?
Come, sir, you hate me; yet for all your
You cannot have such heart.
What sort of heart?
I have no heart to be used shamefully
If you mean that.
Would God I loved you not;
You are too hard to be used lovingly.
You are moved too much for such a little
As you bear me.
God knows you do me wrong;
God knows the heart, sweet, that I love
Hark you, fair sir, I’d have all
well with you;
Do you not fear at sick men’s time
What end may come? are you so sure of
Is not your spirit surprisable in sleep?
Have you no evil dreams? Nay, look
I will not be flung off you heart and
I am no snake: but tell me for your
Have you no fancies how these things will
In the pit’s mouth? how all life-deeds
At the grave’s edge that lets
men into hell?
For my part, who am weak and woman-eyed,
It turns my soul tears: I doubt
Fallen on our faces when we twain are
Will scar and burn them: yea, for
heaven is sweet,
And loves sweet deeds that smell not of
Let us not kill: God that made mercy
Pities the pitiful for their deed’s
Get you some painting; with a cheek like
You’ll find no faith in listeners.
How, fair lord?
I say that looking with this face of yours
None shall believe you holy; what, you
Take mercy in your mouth, eat holiness,
Put God under your tongue and feed on
With fear and faith and-faith, I know
And look as though you stood and saw men
To make you game and laughter; nay, your
Threaten as unto blood. What will
To make men take your sweet word? pitiful
You are pitiful as he that’s hired
And loves the slaying yet better than
You are wise that live to threat and tell
Do you love life too much?
O, now you are sweet,
Right tender now: you love not blood
You are too tender.
Yea, too weak, too soft:
Sweet, do not mock me, for my love’s
How soft a thing I am. Will you
The heart you have, has it no sort of
Take off your hand and let me go my way
And do the deed, and when the doing is
I will come home and teach you tender
Out of my love till you forget my wrath.
I will be angry when I see good need,
And will grow gentle after, fear not that:
You shall get no wrong of my wrongdoing.
So I take leave.
Take what you will; take all;
You have taken half my heart away with
Take all I have, and take no leave; I
No leave to give: yea, shortly shall
I think, to live; but I crave none of
I would have none: yet for the love
If I get ever a man to show it you,
I pray God put you some day in my hand
That you may take that too.
Well, as he please;
God keep you in such love; and so farewell.
So fare I as your lover, but not well.
Ah sweet, if God be ever good to me
To put you in my hand! I am come
Let me think now, and let my wits not
God, for dear mercy, let me not forget
Why I should be so angry; the dull blood
Beats at my face and blinds me-I am chafted
And I am shamed; I shall go mad and die.
Truly I think I did kneel down, did pray,
Yea, weep (who knows?) it may be-all for
Yea, if I wept not, this was blood brake
And burnt mine eyelids; I will have blood
And wash them cool in the hottest of his
Or I will slay myself: I cannot
I have given gold for brass, and lo the
Cleaves to my fingers: there’s
no way to mend
Not while life stays: would God
that it were gone!
The fool will feed upon my fame and laugh;
Till one seal up his tongue and lips with
He carries half my honor and good name
Between his teeth. Lord God, mine
head will fail!
When have I done thus since I was alive?
And these ill times will deal but ill
My old love slain, and never a new to
And my wits gone, and my blithe use of
And all the grace was with me. Love-perchance
If I save love I shall well save myself.
I could find heart to bid him take such
And kill them to my hand. I was
To sue to these and shame myself:
I was a queen born, I will hold their
Here in my hands for this. Which
of you waits?
[Enter Mary Beaton and Mary Carmichael.]
No maiden of them?-what, no more than
Madam, the lady Seyton is gone forth;
She is ill at heart with watching.
Ay, at heart
All girls must have such tender sides
to the heart
They break for one night’s watching,
ache to death
For an hour’s pity, for a half-hour’s
Wear out before the watches, die by dawn,
And ride at noon to burial. God’s
Where’s Hamilton? doth she ail too?
I warrant her at heart.
I know not, madam.
What, sick or dead? I am well holpen
Come hither to me. What pale blood
Is it for fear you turn such cheeks to
Why, if I were so loving, by my hand,
I would have set my head upon the chance,
And loosed him though I died. What
will you do?
Have you no way?
None but your mercy.
Why then the thing is piteous. Think,
for God’s sake
Is there no loving way to fetch him forth?
Nay, what a white thin-blooded thing is
To help no more than this doth!
Were I in love,
I would unbar the ways to-night and then
Laugh death to death to-morrow, mock him
I think you love well with one half your
And let fear keep the other. Hark
You said there was some friend durst break
Some Scotch name faith, as
if I wist of it!
Ye have such heavy wits to help one with
Some man that had some mean to save him
Tush, I must be at pains for you!
It were no boot; he will not be let forth.
I say, the name. O, Robert Erskine-yea,
A fellow of some heart: what saith
The thing was sound all through, yea,
all went well,
But for all prayers that we could make
He would not fly: we cannot get
Great God! that men should have such wits
I have a mind to let him die for that;
And yet I wot not. Said he, he loathed
He says your grace given would scathe
And little grace for such a grace as that
Be with the little of his life he kept
To cast off some time more unworthily.
God help me! what should wise folk do
These men be weaker-witted than mere fools
When they fall mad once; yet by Mary’s
I am sorrier for him than for men right
God wot a fool that were more wise than
Would love me something worse than Chastelard,
Ay, and his own soul better. Do
(There’s no such other sort of fool
That he may live?
Yea, by God’s mercy, madam,
To your great praise and honor from all
If you should keep him living.
By God’s light,
I have good will to do it. Are you
If I would pack him with a pardon hence,
He would speak well of me-not hint and
Smile and look back, sigh and say love
But times have been-with some loose laugh
Bit off at lip-eh?
No, by heaven he would not.
You know how quickly one may be belied
Faith, you should know it-I never thought
One may touch love and come with clean
But you should know it. What, he
will not fly
Not though I wink myself asleep, turn
Which that I will I say not?
Nay, not he;
We had good hope to bring him well aboard,
Let him slip safe down by the firths to
Out under Leith by night-setting, and
Take ship for France and serve there out
In the new wars.
Ay, in the new French wars
You wist thereof too, madam, with good
A goodly bait to catch mine honor with
And let me wake up with my name bit through.
I had been much bounden to you twain,
But for my knight’s sake and his
love’s; by God,
He shall not die in God’s despite
Call in our chief lords; bid one see to
Ay, and make haste.
[Exeunt Mary Beaton and Mary Carmichael.]
Now shall I try their teeth:
I have done with fear; now nothing but
And power and pity shall have part in
I will not throw them such a spirit in
To make their prey on. Though he
be mad indeed,
It is the goodliest madness ever smote
Upon man’s heart. A kingly
Meseems my face can yet make faith in
And break their brains with beauty:
for a word,
An eyelid’s twitch, an eye’s
turn, tie them fast
And make their souls cleave to me.
God be thanked,
This air has not yet curdled all the blood
That went to make me fair. An hour
I thought I had been forgotten of men’s
More than dead women’s faces are
Of after lovers. All men are not
For all the frost of fools and this cold
There be some yet catch fever of my face
And burning for mine eyes’ sake.
I did think
My time was gone when men would dance
As to a music, and lie laughing down
In the grave and take their funerals for
To get one kiss of me. I have some
Though I lack power on men that lack men’s
Yea, and God wot I will be merciful;
For all the foolish hardness round my
That tender women miss of to their praise,
They shall not say but I had grace to
Even for love’s sake. Why,
let them take their way:
What ails it them though I be soft or
Soft hearts would weep and weep and let
For very mercy and sweet-heartedness;
I that weep little for my pity’s
I have the grace to save men. Let
I care not much what shall become of fame,
So I save love and do mine own soul right;
I’ll have my mercy help me to revenge
On all the crew of them. How will
Having my pardon! I shall have sweet
And love of good men for my mercy’s
Yea, and be quit of these I hate to death,
With one good deed.
[Enter the Maries.]
Madam, the lords are here.
Stand you about me, I will speak to them.
I would the whole world stood up in my
And heard what I shall say. Bid
them come in.
[Enter Murray, Randolph,
Morton, Lindsay, and other lords.]
Hear you, fair lords, I have a word to
There is one thing I would fain understand
If I be queen or no; for by my life
Methinks I am growing unqueenly.
No man speak?
Pray you take note, sweet lord ambassador,
I am no queen: I never was born
Alack, that one should fool us in this
Take up my crown, sir, I will none of
Till it hath bells on as a fool’s
Nay, who will have it? no man take it
Was there none worthy to be shamed but
Here are enow good faces, good to crown;
Will you be king, fair brother? or you,
Give me a spinner’s curch, a wisp
Any mean thing; but, God’s love,
no more gold,
And no more shame: let boys throw
dice for it,
Or cast it to the grooms for tennis-play,
For I will none.
What would your highness have?
Yea, yea, I said I was no majesty;
I shall be shortly fallen out of grace.
What would I have? I would have
leave to live;
Perchance I shall not shortly: nay,
That have no leave to respite other lives
To keep mine own life were small praise
Your majesty hath power to respite men,
As we well wot; no man saith otherwise.
What, is this true? ’t is a thing
So great I cannot be well sure of it.
Strange that a queen should find such
grace as this
At such lords’ hands as ye be, such
I pray you let me get assured again,
Lest I take jest for truth and shame myself
And make you mirth: to make your
mirth of me,
God wot it were small pains to you, my
But much less honor. I may send
With your sweet leaves I may?
Lo, now, what grace is this I have of
I had a will to respite Chastelard,
And would not do it for very fear of you:
Look you, I wist not ye were merciful.
My lord, you have a word to me?
Doth it displease you such a man should
’T were a mad mercy in your majesty
To lay no hand upon his second fault
And let him thrice offend you.
Ay, my lord?
It were well done to muffle lewd men’s
By casting of his head into their laps:
It were much best.
Yea, truly were it so?
But if I will not, yet I will not, sir,
For all the mouths in Scotland.
Now, by heaven,
As I am pleased he shall not die but live,
So shall ye be. There is no man
Except it please me; and no man shall
Except it please me, if I do ill or well.
Which of you now will set his will to
Not you, nor you I think, nor none of
Nor no man living that loves living well.
Let one stand forth and smite me with
Wring my crown off and cast it underfoot,
And he shall get my respite back of me,
And no man else: he shall bid live
And no man else; and he shall be my lord,
And no man else. What, will not
one be king?
Will not one here lay hold upon my state?
I am queen of you for all things come
Nay, my chief lady, and no meaner one,
The chiefest of my maidens, shall bear
And give it to my prisoner for a grace;
Who shall deny me? who shall do me wrong?
Bear greeting to the lord of Chastelard,
And this withal for respite of his life,
For by my head he shall die no such way:
Nay, sweet, no words, but hence and back
[Exit Mary Beaton.]
Farewell, dear lords; ye have shown grace
And some time I will thank you as I may;
Till when think well of me and what is