Friedrich Schiller.

The works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) online

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Is forc'd ; — thy papers, — and thy only treasure,
Which with such pains we had secur'd, the last
Poor remnant of thy bridal ornaments
From France, is in his hands : — nought now remains
Of royal state — thou art indeed bereft !

Mary. Compose yourself, my Hannah ! and believe me,
Tis not these baubles which can make a queen ; —
Basely indeed they may behave to us,
But they cannot debase us. I have leamt
To use myself to many a change in England ;

1 can support tliis too. Sir, you have ta'en
By force, what I this very day designed

To have deliver'd to you. There's a letter
Amongst these papers, for my royal sister
Of England — Pledge me, Sir, your word of honour.
To give it to her majesty's own hands.
And not to the deceitful care of Burleigh
Paul. . I shall consider wliat is best to do.

P i



yr2 MABY STUAKT. [aCT I,

Mart. Sir, you shall know its import. In this letter
I beg a favour, a great favour of her, —
That she herself will give me audience, — she!
Whom I have never seen. I have been summon'd
Before a court of men, whom I can ne'er
Acknowledge as my peers — of men to whom
My heart denies its confidence. The Queen
Is of my family, my rank, my sex ;
To her alone — a sister, queen, and woman —
Can I unfold my heart.

Paulet. Too oft, my Lady,

Have you entrusted both your fate and honour
To men less worthy your esteem than these.

Mary. I, in the letter, beg another favour,
And surely nought but inhumanity
Can here reject my prayer. These many years
Have I, in prison, miss'd the church's comfort,
The blessing of the sacraments : — and she
Who robs me of my freedom and my crown,
Who seeks my very life, can never "svish
To shut the gates of heaven upon my soul.

Paul. . Whene'er you wish, the Dean shall wait upon you

Mary {interrupting him sharply).

Talk to me not of Deans. I ask the aid
Of one of my own church — a Catholic priest.

Paul. . Q That is against the publish'd laws of England.

Mary. The laws of England are no rule for me.
I am not England's subject ; I have ne'er
Consented to its laws, and will not bow
Before their cruel and despotic sway.
If "tis your will, to the unheard-of rigour
Which I have borne, to add this new oppression,
I must submit to what your power ordains ; —
Yet will I raise my voice in loud complaints.]
I also \vish a public notary.
And secretaries, to prepare my will —
My sorrows, and my prison's wretchedness
Prey on my life— my days, I fear, are number d —
I feel that I am near the gates of death.

Paul . These j^erious contemplations well become you.

Mabi And kno^' I then, that some too ready hand



6C. II.] MARY STT7ART. 2 13



May not abridge this tedious -work of sorrow ?
I -would indite my ■will, and make disposal
Of what belongs to me.

Pahl, . This liberty

May be allow'd to you, for England's Queen
Will not enrich herself by plundering you.

Mart I have been pai'ted from my faithful women,

And from my servants ; — tell me, where are they ?
What is their fate ? I can indeed dispense
At present with their service, but my heart
Will feel rejoiced to know these faithful ones
Are not exposed to suffring and to want !

Paul. Your sen'ants have been cared for ; [[ and again
You shall behold whateer is taken from you :
And all shall be restored in proper season. 3 [Going

Mary And will you leave my presence thus again,
And not relieve my fearful anxious heart
From the fell torments of uncertainty ?
Thanks to the vigilance of your hateful spies,
I am divided from the world ; — no voice
Can reach me through these prison-walls ; — my fkte
Lies in the hands of those who wish my ruin.
A month of dread suspense is pass'd already,
Since when the fortv high commissioners
Sui-prised me in this castle, and erected.
With most unseemly haste, their dread tribunal ;
They forced me, stunn'd, amaz'd, and unprepar'd,
Without an advocate, from memory,
Before their miexamplea court, to answer
Their weighty charges artfully arranged.
— They came like ghosts —like ghosts they disappeared,
And since that day all mouths are clos'd to me.
In vain I seek to construe from your looks
Which hath prevail'd — my cause's innocence
And my friends' zeal — or my foes' cursed counsel.
! break this silence — let me know the worst —
What I have still to fear, and what to hope.

P/UL. . Close your accounts with heaven.

Mary. From heaven I hope

For mercy, Sir; — and from my earthly judges
I hope, and still expect, the strictest justice.



214



MART STUART



[act l



Paul. Justice, depend upon it, will be done you.

Mart Is the suit ended. Sir ?

Paulet. I cannot tell

Mart. Am I condemn 'd ?

Paul. . I cannot answer, Lady.

Mart. [^ Sir, a good work fears not the light of day.

Paul. . The day will shine upon it, doubt it not.]

Mart. Despatch is here the fashion Is it meant

The murderer shall surprise me, like the judges?

Paul. . Still entertain that thought, and he will find you
Better prepared to meet your fate than they did.

Mart {after a jxiuse).

"Sir, nothing can surprise me, which a court,
Inspired by Burleigh's hate and Hattons zeal,
Howe er unjust, may venture to pronounce : —
But I have yet to learn, how far the Queen
Will dare in execution of the sentence.

Paul. The sovereigt^s of England have no fear

But for their conscience, and their parliament.
What justice hath decreed, her fearless hand
Will execute before th' assembled world.



The Queen r
Paulet, who



u



Scene III.

The same. Mortimer enters, and without paying attention to

the Queen, addresses Paulet

MoRT.. Uncle, you 're sought for

[He retires in the same manner,
marks it, arid turns towards
about to follow him.

Mart. Sir, one favour more : — ■

If yaii have aught to say to me— from you
I can bear much — I rev'rence your grey hairs —
But cannot bear that young man s insolence ; —
Spare me in future his unmanner'd rudeness.

Paul. . I prize him most for that which makes you hate him ;• —
He is not, truly, one of those poor fools
Who melt before a woman's treacherous tears.
He has seen much — has been to PJieims and Paris,
And brings us back his true old English heart-
Lady, your cmining arts are lost on him [Erit.



SC. IV.] MAK? STUART. 215

Scene IV
Mary, Kennedy

Ken. And dares the ruffian venture to your face

Such language! — 0, 'tis hard — 'tis past endurauocj.

Mary (lost in reflection).

In the fair moments of our former splendour
We lent to flatt'rers a too -willing ear ; —
It is but just, good Hannah, we should now
Be forced to hear the bitter voice of censure.

Ken. So downcast, so depressed, my dearest Lady !
You, who before so gay, so full of hope,
Were used to comfort me in my distress ?
More gracious were the task to check your mirth
Than chide your heavy sadness.

Mary Well I know him—

It is the bleeding Damley's royal shade,
Rismg in anger from his darksome grave :
And never will he make his peace with me
Until the measure of my woes be full.

Ken. What thoughts are these —

Mary Thou may'st forget it, Hannah;

But I've a faithful mem'ry — "tis this day
Another wretched anniversary
Of that regretted, that unhappy deed —
Which I must celebrate with fast and penance

Ken. Dismiss at length in peace this evil spirit.

The penitence of many a heavy year, •

Of many a suffering, has atoned the deed :
The church, which holds the key of absolution.
Pardons the crime, and heavn itself 's appeas'd.

Mary This long atoned crime arises fresh

And bleeding fi-om its lightly cover 'd grave —
My husband's restless spirit seeks revenge —
No sacred bell can exorcise, no host
In priestly hands dismiss it to his tomb.

Ken» You did not murder him — 'twas done by others

Mary But it was known to me ; — I suffer'd it,

And lured him with my smiles to death's embrace.

Ken. Your youth extenuates your guilt. You were
Of tender years.



S16 MARY STUART. [ACT I.

VIary So tender, yet I drew

This heavy guilt upon my youthful head.

Ken You were provok'd by direst injuries,

And by the rude presumption of the man,

Whom out of darkness, like the hand of heav'n.

Your love drew forth, and raised above all others •

Whom through your bridal chamber you conducted

Up to your throne, and with your lovely self.

And your hereditary crown, distinguish 'd : —

^ Your work was his existence, and your gra<;e

Bedew'd him like the gentle rains of heav'n, 3

Could he forget, that his so splendid lot

Was the creation of your gen'rous love?

Yet did he, worthless as he was, forget it.

With base suspicions, and with brutal manners,

He wearied your affections, and became

An object to you of deserv'd disgust : —

Th' illusion, which till now had overcast

Your judgment, vanish'd; angrily you fled

His foul embrace, and gave him up to scorn.

And did he seek again to win your love?

Your favour ? Did he e'er implore your pardon ?

Or fall in deep repentance at your feet?

No ; the base wretch defied you : — he, who was

Your bounty's creature, wish'd to play your king,

Q And strove, through fear, to force your inclinatioB J

Before your eyes he had your fav'rite singer,

Poor Eizzio, murder'd : you did but avenge

With blood, the bloody deed

Mary ' And bloodily,

I fear, too soon 'twill be aveng'd on me : —
You seek to comfort me, and you condemn me.

Ken. You were, when you consented to this deed.
No more yourself — belong'd not to yourself —
The madness of a frantic love possess 'd you,
And bound you to a terrible seducer.
The wretched Bothwell. That despotic man
Rul'd you \vith shameful, overbearing will.
And with his philters and his hellish arts
Inflamed your passions.

Mabt. All the arts he used

Were man's superior strength, and woman's weakness



SC. I V.J MARY STUART. 217

Ken. . No, no, I say. The most pernicious spirits
Of hell he must have summoned to his aid,
To east this mist before your waking senses.
Your ear no more was open to the voice
Of friendly warning, and your eyes were shut
To decency ; soft female bashfulness
Deserted you ; those cheeks, which were before
The seat of virtuous blushing modesty.
Glow'd with the flames of unrestrain'd desire •
You cast away the veil of secrecy,
And the flagitious daring of the man
O'ercame your natural coyness : you expos'd
Your shame, unblushingly, to public gaze :
You let the murdrer, whom the people folio w'd
With curses, through the streets of Edinburgh,
Before you bear the royal sword of Scotland °
In triumph. Y^ou begirt your parliament
With armed bands ; and by this shameless farce.
There, in the very temple of great Justice,
You forc'd the judges of the land to clear
The murderer of his guilt. You went still farther—

God!

Mary. Conclude— nay, pause not — say for this

1 gave my hand in marriage at the altar
Ken. let an everlasting silence veil

That dreadful deed : the heart revolts at it.

A crime to stain the darkest criminal !

Yet you are no such lost one, that I know.

I nurs'd your youth myself— your heart is fraui'd

For tender softness : 'tis alive to shame.

And all your fault is thoughtless levity.

Yes, I repeat it, there are evil spirits,

Who sudden fix in man's unguarded breast

Their fatal residence, and there delight

To act their dev'lish deeds ; then hurry back

Unto their native hell, and leave behind

Remorse and horror in the poison'd bosom.

Since this misdeed, which blackens thus your life.

You have done nothing ill; your conduct'has

Been pure ; myself can witness your amendment.

Take courage, then ; with your own heart make peaco



218 MARY STCART. [aOT L

Whatever cause you have foi* penitence,
You are not guilty here. Nor England's Queen,
Nor England's parliament can be your judge
. Here might oppresses you : you may present
Yourself before this self-created court
With all the fortitude of innocence.

Mary. I hear a step.

Kennedv. It is the nephew — In.

Scene V.
The same. Enter Mortimer, approaching cautiously,
Mortimer [to Kennedy).

Step to the door, and keep a careful watch,
I have important business with the Queen.
Mary [with dignity).

I charge thee, Hannah, go not hence — remain.
Mort. Eear not, my gracious Lady — learn to know me.

[He gives her a card
Mary. [She examines it, and starts back astonished

Heav'ns ! What is this ?
Mortimer {to Kent;edy). Retire, good Kennedy;

See that my uncle comes not unawares.
Mary (to Kennedy, who hesitates, and looks at the Queen

inqniringly).
Go in ; do as he bids you.

[Kennedy retires with signs of wonder

Scene VI
Mary, Mortimer.
Mary From my uncle

In France — the worthy Cardnal of Lorraiu?

[She reads
" Confide in Mortimer, who brings you this ;
You have no truer, firmer friend in England."

[Looking at him icith astonishment
Can I believe it? Is there no delusion
To cheat my senses ? Do I find a friend
So near, when I conceiv'd myself abandou'd
By the whole world '? And find that friend in you.
The nephew of my gaoler, whom I thought
My most invet'rate enemy ?
MoBT'.MER [kneeling). jDardon,



sc.



TL]



MABY SIMAKT.



219



MORT



Mary.

MoRT.

Mart.

MORT



My gracious Liege, for the detested mask.
Which it has cost me pain enough to wear ;
Yet through such means alone have I the po^'r
To see you, and to bring you help and rescue
Mabv. Arise, Sir; you astonish me ; I cannot
So suddenly emerge from the abyss
Of wretchedness to hope : let me conceive
This happiness, that I may credit it.
Our time is brief : each moment I expect
My uncle, whom a hated man attends :
Hear, then, before his terrible commission
Sm-prises you, how Heav'n prepares youi rescue
You come, in token of its wondrous pow'r.
Allow me of myself to speak.

Say on.
I scarce, my Liege, had cumbered twenty years,
Train "d in the path of strictest discipline,
And nurs'd in deadliest hate to Papacy,
When led by irresistible desire
For foreign travel, I resolv'd to leave
My country and its puritanic faith
Far, far behind me : soon with rapid speed
I flew through France, and bent my eager course
On to the plains of far-famed Italy.
'Twas then the time of the great Jubilee : —
And crowds of palmers fill'd the public roads ;
Each image was adom'd with garlands ; 'twas
As if all human-kind were wand'ring forth
In pilgrimage towards the heavnly kingdom
The tide of the believing multitude
Bore me too onward with resistless force.
Into the streets of Rome. What was my wonder,
As the magnificence of stately columns
Rushd on my sight! the vast triumphal arches,
The Colosseum's grandeur, ^\ith amazement
Struck my admiring senses ; the sublime
Creative spirit held my soul a prisoner
In the fair world of wonders it had fram'd.
I ne'er had felt the power of art till now.
The Church that rear'd me hates the charms of sense;



220 MARY 8TUABT. [aCT 1.

It tolerates no image, it adores

But the unseen, the incoi^poreal word.

What were my feelings, then, as I approach'd

The threshold of the churches, and within,

Heard heav'nly music floating m the air :

While from the walls and high-wrought roofs there

stream'd
Crowds of celestial forms in endless train —
When the Most High, Most Glorious, pervaded
My captivated sense in real presence !
And when I saw the great and godlike visions.
The Salutation, the Nativity,
The Holy Mother, and the Trinity's
Descent, the luminous Transfiguration :
And last the holy Pontiff, clad in all
The glory ol his office, hless the people !
! what is all the pomp of gold and jewels
With which the kings of earth adorn themselves
He is alone surrounded by the Godhead;
His mansion is in truth an heav'nly kingdom,
For not of earthly moulding are these forms !

Maiiy. spare me. Sir ! Ko further. Spread no more
Life's verdant carpet out before my eyes.
Remember I am wretched, and a prisoner.

MoRT I was a prisoner too, my Queen ; but s^vift
My prison-gates flew open, when at once
My spirit felt its liberty, and hail'd
The smiling dawn of life. I learn 'd to burst
Each narrow prejudice of education.
To crown my brows with never-fading wreaths^
And mix my joy with the rejoicing crowd.
Full many noble Scots, who saw my zeal,
Encoui'ag'd me, and with the gallant French
They kindly led me to your princely uncle,
The Cardinal of Guise. what a man !
How fii-m, how clear, how manly, and how great *
Bom to control the human mind at will !
The very model of a royal priest ;
A ruler of the Church without an equal !

Mab"e You've seen him then, — the much lov'd , honour'd mau,



SC. VI.] MARY STtTART. 221

Who was the guardian of my tender years i

speak of him ! Does he remember me ?
Does fortune favour him ? And prospers still
His life? And does he still majestic stand,
A very rock and pillar of the Church ?

MoRT. The holy man descended from his height,

And deign 'd to teach me the important creed
Of the true Church, and dissipate my doubts.
He show'd me, how the glimm nug light of reason
Serves but to leaa us to eternal error :
That what the heart is call'd on to believe,
The eye must see : that he who rules the Church
Must needs be visible ; and that the Spirit
Of truth inspir'd the Councils of the Fathers.
How vanish'd, then,, the fond imaginings
And weak conceptions of my childish soul
Before his conquering judgment, and the soft
Persuasion of his tongue ! So I retum'd
Back to the bosom of the holy Chui'ch,
And at his feet abjur'd my heresies.

Mary. Then of those happy thousands, you are one,
Whom he, with his celestial eloquence,
Like the immortal preacher of the mount.
Has tum'd, and led to everlasting joy !

McB.T. The duties of his office call'd him soon

To France, and I was sent by him to Rheims,
Where, by the Jesuits' anxious labour, priests
Ai'e train'd to preach our holy faith in England.
There, 'mongst the Scots, I found the noble Morgau
And your time Lesley, Ross's learned bishop,
Who pass in France their joj'less days of exile

1 join'd with heartfelt zeal these worthy men.
And fortified my faith. As I one day

Roam'd through the Bishop's dwelling, I was struck
With a fair female portrait ; it was full
Of touching, woud'rous charms; with magic might
It mov'd my inmost soul, and there I stood
Speechless, and overmaster'd by my feelings.
"Well," cried the Bishop, " may you linger tlius
In deep emotion near this lovely face !
For the most beautiful of womankind,



22*i MARY STUAET. [aCT I.

Is aJso matcliless in calamity.

She is a prisoner for our holy faith,

And in your native land, alas ! she suffers."

[Mary is in great agitation. — He pauses

Mary Excellent man ! All is not lost, indeed.

While such a friend remains in my misfortunes I

MoRT. Then he began, with moving eloquence,

To paint the suff rings of }T»ur martyrdom ;
He showed me, then, your lofty pedigree,
And your descent from Tudor's royal House.
He prov'd to me that you alone have right
To reign in England, not this upstart Queen,
The base-born fruit of an adult'rous bed,
Whom Henry's self rejected as a bastard.
[_ He from my eyes remov'd delusion's mist,
And taught me to lament you as a victim,
To honour you as my true Queen, whom I,
Deceiv'd, like thousands of my noble fellows,
Had ever hated as my country's foe.j]
I would not trust his evidence alone ;
I question'd learned doctors ; I consulted
The most authentic books of heraldiy ;
And every man of knowledge, whom I ask'd,
Confirm 'd to me your claim's validity.
And now I loiow that your undoubted right
To England's throne has been your only wrong.
This realm is justly yours by heritage,
In which you innocently pine as pris'ner.

Maby this unhappy right ! — 'tis this alone

Which is the source of all my sufferings.

MoBT. Just at this time the tidings reached my ears,
Of your removal from old Talbot's charge.
And your committal to my uncle's care.
It seem'd to me that this disposal mark'd
The wondrous, outstretch'd hand of fav'ring Heaven :
It seem'd to be a loud decree of fate,
That it had chosen me to rescue you.
My friends concur with me ; the Cardinal
Bestows on me his counsel and his blessin;?.
And tutors me in the hard task of feigning.
The plan in haste digested, I commenced



VI ■ MARY STUART. 223

My journey homewards, and ten days ago

On England's shores I landed. — Oh, my Queen,

[He ptoises.
1 saw then, not your picture, but yourself —
Oh what a treasure do these walls enclose !
No prison this, but the abode of gods,
More splendid far than England's royal Court.
Happy, thrice happy he, whose envied lot
Permits to breathe the selfsame air with you !
It is a prudent policy in her
To bury you so deep ! All England's youth
Would rise at once in general mutiny,
And not a sword lie quiet in its sheath :
Rebellion would uprear its giant head,
Through all this peaceful isle, if Britons once
Beheld their captive Queen.

RY 'Twere well with her

If ev'ry Briton saw her with your eyes !

RT. "Were each, like me, a witness of your wrongs,
Your meekness, and the noble fortitude
With which you suffer these indignities —
Would you not then emerge from all these trials
Like a time Queen ? Your prison's infamy.
Hath it despoil 'd your beauty of its chai-ms ?
You are depriv'd of all that graces life,
Yet round you life and light eternal beam.
Ne'er on this threshold can I set my foot,
That my poor heart with anguish is not torn.
Not ravish 'd with delight at gazing on you.
Yet fearfully the fatal time draws near,
And danger hourly growing presses on.
I can delay no longer — can no more
Conceal the dreadful news. —

RY. My sentence then !

Is it pronounc'd ? bpeak freely — I can bear it.

RT. It is pronounc'd ! The two-and-forty judges

Have giv'n the verdict, " guilty;" and tlie Houses
Of Lords and Commons, with the citizens
Of London, eagerly and urgently
Demand the execution of the sentence : —
The Queen alone still craftily delays.



224 MAUY STUAET. [ACT [.

That she may be constrain'd to yield, but aot
From feelings of humanity or mercy.

Mart {collected).

Sir, I am not surpris'd, nor terrified

I have been long prepar'd for such a message.

Too well I know my judges. After all

Their cruel treatment I can well conceive

They dare not now restore my liberty.

I know their aim : they mean to keep me here

In everlasting bondage, and to bury,

In the sepulchral darkness of my prison.

My vengeance with me, and my rightful claims

MoRT. I no, my gracious Queen ; — they stop not there
Oppression will not be content to do
Its work by halves : — as long as e'er you live,
Distrust and fear will haunt the English Queeu
No dungeon can inter you deep enough ;
Your death alone can make her throne secure

Marv Will she then dare, regardless of the shame,
Lay my crown'd head upon the fatal block ?

Mort. She will most surely dare it, doubt it not.

Mary And can she thus roll in the very dust.
Her own, and ev'ry monarch's majesty ?

Mort. She thinks on nothing now but present danger.
Nor looks to that which is so far removed.

I\Iary. And fears she not the dread revenge of France ?

Mort. With France she makes an everlasting peace;

And gives to Anjou's Duke her throne and hand

Mary. Will not the Iving of Spain rise up in arms?

Mort. She fears not a collected world in arms,
If with her people she remain at peace.

Mary. Were this a spectacle for British eyes?

Mort. This land, my Queen, has, in these latter days,
Seen maiiy a royal woman from the throne
Descend, and mount the scaffold : — her own mothei
And Cath'rine Howard trod this fatal path •
And was not Lady Grey a crowned head ?

Mary (after a pause).

No, Mortimer, vain fears have blinded jon ;
'Tis but the honest care of your true heart.
Which conjures up these empty appi'ehensions.



SC. VI.] MARY STUART. 225

It is not, Sir, the scaffold that I fear :
There are so many still and secret means,
By which her Majesty of England may
■ Set all my clauns to rest. 0, trust me, ere
An executioner is found for me,
Assassins will be hir'd to do their work.
"Tig that which makes me tremble, Mortimer ;
I never lift the goblet to my lips
Without an inward shudd'ring, lest the draught
May have been mingled by my sister's love.

Mori No : — neither open nor disguised murder

Shall e'er prevail against you : — fear no more ;
All is prepar'd ; — twelve nobles of the land
Are my confed'rates, and have pledg'd to-day,
Upon the Sacrament, their faith to free you,
With dauntless arm, from this captivity.
Count Aubespine, the French Ambassador,
Knows of our plot, and offers his assistance :



Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 13 of 37)