Friedrich Schiller.

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• A naked, polish'd axe : — the hall was full

Of cruel people, crowding round the scaffold ;

"Ulio, with a horrid thirst for human blood,

Seem'd waiting for the victim !
The Women. Gracious Heav'n

Protect our Queen !
Melvil. Be calm ; the Queen approaches

Scene VI.

Enter Mary in white and sumptuously arrayed, as for a
festival: she wears hanging from her veck, on a row of small
beads an Agnus Dei ; a. rosary hangs from her girdle; she
bears a crucifix in her hand, and a diadem of precious stoites
binds her hair; her large black veil is thrown back. On
her entrance, all present fall back on both sides irith the most
violent expressions of anguish. Melvil/cZ?^ invclmitarUy
upon his knees



312 MART STUART. [aCT V

Mabt {with quiet majesty, looking round the whole circle).

Why these complaints ? Why weep ye ? Ye should

rather
Rejoice with me, that now at length the end
Of my long wo approaches ; that my shackles
Fall off, my prison opens, and my soul
Delighted mounts on seraph's wings, and seeks
The land of everlasting liberty.
When I was offer'd up to the oppression
Of my proud enemy, was forcd to suffer
Ignoble taunts, and insults most unfitting
A free and sov 'reign Queen, then was the tiino
To weep for me ; but, as an earnest friend,
Beneficent and healing Death approaches.
All the indignities which I have suffer'd
On earth, are cover'd by his sable wings.
The most degraded criminal 's ennobled
By his last suff'rings, by his final exit ;
I feel again the crown upon my brows.
And dignity possess my swelling soul !

[AdvanciiKj a fenv steps
How! Melvil here! My worthy Sir, not so ;
Arise ; you rather come in time to see
The triumph of your mistress, than her death
One comfort, which I never had expected,
Is granted me , that, after death, my name
Will not be quite abandon 'd to my foes ;
One friend at least, one partner of my faith,
Will be my witness in the hour of death.
Say, honest JNIelvil, how you far'd the while
In this inhospitable, hostile land ?
For since the time they tore you from my side,
My fears for you have oft depress'd my soul.

Mel. . No other evil gall'd me, but my grief

For thee, and that I wanted pow'r to serve thoo

Mar^ . How fares my chamberlain, old Didier?

But sure the faithful servant long has slept
The sleep of death, for he was full of years.

Mei.. . God hath not granted him as yet this grace;

He lives to see the grave o'erwhelm thy youth.

Mary. . ! Could I but havo felt before my death.



gC. VI. I MARY STUART. 31o

Tlio happiness of pressing one descendant

Of the dear blood of Stuart to my bosom.

But I must suffer m a foreign land,

None but my servants to bewail my fate !

Sir ; to your loyal bosom I commit

My latest wishes. Bear then, Sir, my blessing

To the most Christian king, my royal brother,

And the whole royal family of France.

I bless the cardinal, my honour 'd uncle,

And also Henry Guise, my noble cousin.

I bless the holy Father, the vicegerent

Of Christ on earth, who will, I trust, bless me.

I bless the King of Spain, who nobly offer'd

Himself as my delivrer, my avenger.

They are remember'd in my will : I hope

That tliey will not despise, how poor soe er

They be, the presents of a heart which loves them

[Turni7ig to her servarJi
I have bequeath 'd yoa to my royal brother
Of France ; he will protect you, he will give you
Another country, and a better home ;
And if my last desire have any weight,
Stay not in England ; let no haughty Briton
Glut his proud heart with your calamities.
Nor see those in the dust, who once were mine.
Swear by this image of our suffring Lord,
To leave this fatal land, when I'm no more.

Melvil {touching the crucifix).

I swear obedience, in the name of all.

Makf. . What I, though poor and plunder'd, still possess.
Of which I am allow'd to make disposal.
Shall be amongst you shar'd ; for I have hope
In this at least, my will may be fulfill'd.
And what I wear upon the way to death.
Is yours — nor envy me on this occasion,
The pomp of earth upon the road to heav 'n.

[To the ladies of her chambet
To you, my Alice, Gertrude, Rosamund,
I leave my pearls, my garments : you are young.
And ornament may still delight your hearts.
You, Margaret, possess the nearest claims,
To you I should be gcnVous: for I leave you



3K MART STUART, [aCT V

The most unhappy woman of them all.

That I have not aveng'd your husband's fault

On you, I hope my legacy will prove.

The worth of gold, my Hannah, charms not thee ;

Nor the magnificence of precious stones :

My memory, I know will be to thee

The dearest jewel; take this handkerchief,

I work'd it for thee, in the hours of sorrow,

With my own hands, and my hot scalding tears

Are woven in the texture : — you will bind

My eyes with this, when it is time : this last

Sad service I would wish but from my Hannah.

Ken. . O Melvil ! I cannot support it.

Mary. Come,

Come all, and now receive my last farewell.

[She stretches forth her hands ; the Women vio-
lently weeping, fall successively at her feet, and
kiss her outstretched hand.
Marg'ret fiirewell — my Alice, fare thee well ;
Thanks Burgoyn, for thy honest faithful service —
Thy lips are hot, my Gertrude: — I have been
Much hated, yet have been as much belov'd.
May a deserving husband bless my Gertrude,
For this warm glowing heart is form'd for love.
Bertha, thy choice is better, thou hadst rather
Become the chaste and pious bride of heav'n ; —

! haste thee to fulfil thy vows ; — the goods
Of earth are all deceitful ; — thou may'st learn
This lesson from thy Queen. No more ; farewell,
Farewell, farewell, my friends, farewell for ever.

[She turns suddenly from them: all but MiSLVll
retire at different sides.

Scene VII.
Mary, Melvil.

Mary [after the others are all gone).

1 have arrang'd all temporal concerns,

And hope to leave the world in debt to none ;
Melvil, one thought alone there is, which hiuds
Mv troubled soul, nor suffers it to fly
Delighted, and at liberty, to heav u



SC. VII. J MA.Ri' STUARt 315

Mel. . Disclose it to me ; ease your bosom, trust

Your doubts, your sorrows to your faithful frioind

Mary. . I see eternity's abyss before me ; —

Soon must I stand before the highest judge

And have not yet appeas'd the Holy One.

A priest of my religion is denied me.

And I disdain to take the sacrament,

Tlie holy, heav'nly nourishment, from priests

Of a false fiith ; I die in the belief

Of my own church, for that alone can save.

Mel. . Compose your heart ; the fervent pious wish

Is prizVl in heaven as high as the performance.
The might of tyrants can but bind the hands.
The heart's devotion rises free to God,
The word is dead — 'tis faith which brings to lifo

Mary The heart is not sufl&cient of itself;

Our faith must have some earthly pledge to groifid
Its claims to the high bliss of heav'n. For this
Our God became incarnate, and inclos'd
Mysteriously his unseen heav'nly grace
"Within the outward figure of a body.
The church it is, the holy one, the high one.
Which rears for us the ladder up to hfjav'n :—
'Tis call'd the Catholic — apostolic church,—
For 'tis but gen'ral faith can strengthen faith ;
Where thousands worship and adore, the heat
Breaks out in flame, and borne on eagle wings,
The soul mounts upwards to the heav'n of heav'ns
Ah ! happy they, who for the glad communion
Of pious pray'r, meet in the house of God !
The altar is adom'd, the tapers blaze.
The bell invites, the incense soars on high.
The bishop stands enrob'd, he takes the cup,
And blessing it declares the solemn mystery,
The transformation of the elements ;
And the believing people fall delighted
To worship and adoi'e the present Godhead.
Alas ! I only am debarr'd from this ,
The heav'nly benediction pierces not
My prison walls : its comfort is denied me
Mei. . Yes ! it can pierce them — put thy trust ui Him
Who is almighty — in the hand of faith,



816 MART 8TDART. [aCT V.

The witlierVJ staff can send forth verdant branches ;
And he who from the rock call'd living water.
He can prepare an altar in this prison,
Can change —

[Seizing the cup, wliich stands upon the tabU
The earthly contents of this cup
Into a substance of celestial grace.

Mary. . Melvil ! yes, I understand you, Melvil !
Here is no priest, no church, no sacrament ;
But the Redeemer says, " When two or three
Are in my name assembled, I am with them."
What consecrates the priest? Say, what ordains him
To be the Lord's interpreter? — a heai:t
Devoid of guile, and a reproachless conduct.
Well, then, though unordain'd, be you my priest;
To you will I confide my last confession,
And take my absolution from your lips.

Met>. , If then thy heart be with such zeal inflam'd,
I tell thee, that for thine especial comfort,
The Lord may work a miracle. Thou say'st
Here is no priest, no church, no sacrament —
Thou err"st — here is a priest — here is a God ;
A god descends to thee in real presence.

[At these words he uncovers his head, and shoic$
a host in a golden vessel
I am a priest — to hear thy last confession.
And to announce to thee the peace of God
Upon thy way to death. I have receiv'd
Upon my head the seven consecrations.
I bring thee, from his Holiness, this host.
Which, for thy use, himself has deign'd to bless.

Mart . Is then a heav'nly happiness prepar'd

To cheer me on the very verge of death ?
As an immortal one on golden clouds
Descends, as once the angel fi'om on high,
Deliver'd the Apostle from his fetters : —
He scorns all bars, he scorns the soldier's sword,
He steps undaunted through the bolted portals,
And fills the dungeon with his native glory,
Thus here ttie messenger of Heav'n appears.
When ev'ry earthly champion had deceiv'd me.
Aud you, my servant once, are now the servamt



eC. VTT. I



MARY BTUART.



317



Of the oMost High, and his immortal Word 1
As hefore vie 3'our knees ^vere -wont to bend.
Before you humbled, now I kiss the dust.

[She sinks before him on her Imees.

Met.vtl (mailing over her the sirpi of the cross).

Hear, Mary Queen of Scotland : — in the name
Of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Hast thou examin'd carefully thy heart.
Swear 'st thou, art thou prepar'd in thy confession
To speak the truth before the God of truth ?

Mart. . Before my God and thee, my heart lies open.

Mel. . What calls thee to the presence of the Highest ?

Mary. . I humbly do acknowledge to have err'd
Most grievously, 1 tremble to approach,
Sullied AHth sin, the God of purity.

Mel. . Declare the sin which weighs so heavily

Upon thy conscience, since thy last confession.

Mart. . My heart was fill'd with thoughts of envious hate,
And vengeance took possession of my bosom.
I hope forgiveness of my sins from God,
Yet could I not forgive my enemy.

Mel. . Repentst thou of the sin ? Art thou, in sooth,
Resolv'd to leave this world at peace with all ?

Mart. . As surely as I wish the joys of heav'n.

Mel. . What other sin hath arm'd thy heart against thee?

Mary. . Ah ! not alone through hate ; through lawless love
Have I still more abus'd the sov'reign good.
My heart was vainly tura'd towards the man,
Who left me in misfortune, who deceiv'd me.

Mel. Eepent'st thou of the sin ? And hast thou tum'd
Thy heart, from this idolatry, to God?

Mart . It was the hardest trial I have pass'd ;

This last of eai'thly bonds is torn asunder

Mel . What other sin disturbs thy guilty conscience?

Mart. . A bloody crime, indeed of ancient date,

And long ago confess'd ; yet with new terroi'S
It now attacks me, black and grisly steps
Across my path, and shuts the gates of heav'n ;
By my connivance fell the king, my husband —
I gave my hand and heart to a seducer —
By rigid penance I have made atonement;
Yet in mv soul the worm is finawiuc still.



318 MART STUART. [ACT V.

Mel . Has then thy heart no other accusation.

Which hath not heen confess 'd and wash'd away ?

Mary. . All you have neard, with which my heart is charg'd.

Mel. . Think on the presence of Omniscience ;

Think on the punishments, with w'hich the church
Threatens imperfect, and reserv'd confession !
This is the sin to everlasting death.
For this is sinning 'gainst his Holy Spirit.

Mart. . So may eternal grace with victory

Crown my last contest, as I wittingly
Have not] ling hid —

Melvil. How ? AVilt thou then conceal

The crime from God, for which thou art condemn 'c.
Thou tell'st me nothing of the share thou hadst
In Babington, and Parry's bloody treason :
Thou diest for this a temporal death ; for this
Wilt thou too die the everlasting death ?

Mart. . I am prepar'd to meet eternity ;

Within the narrow limits of an hour,
I shall appear before ray judge's throne ;
But, I repeat it, my confession's ended.

Mel. . Consider well — the heart is a deceiver.

Thou hast perhaps, with sly equivocation.
The word avoided, which would make thee guilt>
Although thy will was party to the crime.
Remember, that no juggler's tricks can blind
The eye of fire which darts through ev'iy breast

Mart . 'Tis true, that I have call'd upon all princes
To free me from unworthy chains ; yet 'tis
As true, that neither by intent or deed.
Have I attempted my oppressor's life.

Mel. - Your secretaries then have witness'd falsely.

Mart. . It is, as I have said ; — what they have witness'd
The Lord \nX\ judge.

Melvil. Thou mount'st then, satisfieJ

Of thy owTi innocence, the fatal scaffold ?

Mart. . God suffers me in mercy to atone,

By undeserved death, my youth's transgressions.

Mrlvfl {making over her the sign oj the cross).

Go, then, and expiate them all by death;

Sink a devoted victim on the altar.

Thus shall thy blood atone the blood thou 'st spilt



PO. VIIJ.J MARY STUART. filtf

From female frailty were deriv'd thy faults.
Free from the weakness of mortality,
The spotless spirit seeks the blest abodes.
Now then, by the authority which God
Hath unto me committed, I absolve thee
From all thy sins — be as thy faith thy welfiire!

[He gives her the host.
Receive the body which for thee was off'er'd —

[He takes the cup which stands upon the table, con-
secrates it with silent prayer, then presents it to
her ; she liesilates to take it, and makes si/jns to
him to withdraw it.
Receive the blood, which for thy sins was shed —
Receive it — 'tis allow"d thee by the Pope,
To exercise in death the highest office
Of kings, the holy office of the priesthood.

[She takes the cup
And as thou now in this his earthly body
Hast held with God mysterious communion,
So may'st thou henceforth, in his realm of joy,
Where sin no more exists, nor tears of woe,
A fair transfigur'd spirit, join thyself
For ever with the Godhead, and* for ever.

[He sets down the cup ; hearinij a noise, he covers
his head, and goes to the dour ; Mary remains ifi
silent devotion, on her knees.
Melvil (returning). A painful conflict is in store for thee ;
Feelst thou within thee strength enough to smother
Each impulse of malignity and hate?
Mary. I fear not a relapse. 1 have to God

Devoted both my hatred, and my love.
Mel. . Well, then, prepare thee to receive my Lords
Of Leicester and of Burleigh. They are here.

Scene VIII.
Enter Burleigh, Leicester, and Paulet

[Leicester remains in the back-ground, n-ithoui
raising his eyes; Burleigh, who remarks his
confusion, steps betiveen him and the Queen.
Bdr. I come, my Lady Stuart, to receive

Your last commands and wishes.
M^st. Thanks, my Lord



d'M MAll\ STUARl. I^ACT V.

Bur. . It is the pleasure of my royal mistress.
That nothing reasonable be denied you.

Maby. . My will, my Lord, declares my last desires ;
TVe plac'd it in the hand of Sir Amias,
And humbly beg, that it may be fulfill'd.

Paul. You may rely on this.

Mary. I beg that all

My serrants unmolested may return
To France, or Scotland, as their wishes lead

Bur. . It shall be as you wish.

Mary. And since my body

Is not to I'est in consecrated ground,
I pray you suffer this my faithful servant
To bear my heart to France, to my relations —
Alas ! 'twas ever there.

Burleigh. It shall be done

What ^^•i3hes else ?

Mary. Unto her Majesty

Of England bear a sister's salutation ;
Tell her, that from the bottom of my heart
I pardon her my death : most humbly too
I crave her to forgive me for the passion
With which I spoke to her. May God preserve her
And bless her \\ith a long and prosp'rous reigu !

BuK. . Say, do you still adhere to your resolve.

And still refuse assistance from the Dean?

Mary. . My Lord, I've made my peace with God.

[To Paulet. Good Sir,
I have unwittingly caused you much sorrow, —
Bereft you of your age's only stay.
Oh, let me hope you do not hate my name.

Paulet {giving her his hand).

The Lord be with you ! go your way in peace.

Scene IX.
FIannah Kexxedy, and the other ivomen of the Queen croud
into the room, with marJis of horror. The QB.KmFF foil om
them, a uhite staff in his hand; behind are seen, through tin
open doors, men under arms.
Mary. . What ails thee, Hannah? — Yes — my hour is come —
The Sheriif comes to lead me to my fate.
And ^lart we must — farewell 1 —



SC. IX.] MAUY STDART. 3'21

Kennedy and Curl. We \^"ill not leave thee

We will not part from thee.
MARY(fo Melvil). You, worthy Sir,

And my dear faithful Hannah, shall attend me,
In my last moments. I am sure, my Lord
Will not refuse my heart this consolation.
Bur. . For this I have no waiTant.
Mart. How, my Lord;

Can you deny me then this small petition ?
Respect my sex ; who shall attend me else,
And peld me the last service ? — surre it never
Can be my sister's pleasure, that in me
My sex should be insulted ; that these men
With their rude hands, should touch my royal person.
Bur. . Tis order'd that no woman shall ascend

The scaflfold steps with you — their tears and moans-—
Mart. . She shall not weep, my Lord, she shall not moan ;
I answer for my Hannah's resolution,
Be merciful ; divide me not so soon
From my true foster-mother, from my friend.
She bore me on her arms into this life,
Let her then gently lead me to my death.
Paulet {to Burleigh).

Yield to her wishes.
Burleigh. Be it so.

Mary I now

Have nothing in this world to wish for more.

[She takes the crucifix, and kisses it.
My God ! My Comforter ! My blest Redeemer !
As once thy arms were stretch'd upon the cross.
Let them be now extended to receive me !

[She turns round to go, at the same moment her
eyes fall upon Leicester, who, ou her going,
starts involuntarily and turns his eyes towards
her : at this sight Mary trembles, her knees fail
her, she is about to fall, when Leicester catches
at her, and receives her in his arms ; she regards
him for some time earnestly, and in silence ; he
cannot support lier looks ; at length she speaks.
You keep your word, my Lord of Leicester : for
You promised me your arm to lead me forth
From prison, and you lend it to me now.



322 MABT STUAET [acT V.

At lengtli the wisli'd for day is come, and -what
Was oft the object of my fondest dreams
Is now accomplish 'd : and the Earl of Leicester,
The long expected, the long wish'd for friend,
Appears at length in Fotheringay Castle.
I see him standing in my prison ; all
Is ready for the journey ; all the gates
Stand open, and at length I cross the threshol
Conducted by his hand ; and now I leave
These dismal walls behind me, and for ever.
All is fulfiird, and you have sav'd your honour
[He stcincls as if annihilated ; she continues, xcith a
gentle voice.
Yes, Leicester ; not for liberty alone
I wish'd to be indebted to your hands.
You should have made me bless that liberty.
Led by your hand, and happy in your love,
I hop'd once more to taste the joys of life.
Y'^es ; now that I'm prepar'd from all the world
To part, and to become a happy spirit,
Whom earthly inclinations tempt no more.
Now, lieicester, I may venture to confess
Without a blush, the frailty I have conquer'd —
Farewell, my lord ; and, if you can, be happy !
To woo two Queens has been rour daring aim ;
You have disdain'd a tender, h 'ving heart ;
Betray 'd it, in the hope to win a proud one :
Kneel at the feet of Queen Elizabeth !
May your reward not prove your punishment.
Farew^l ; I now have nothing more on earth

[She goes, preceded by the Sheriff, at her side

MEL%aL and her Nurse, Bcrleigh and Paulet

follow, the others icailing, follow her with their

eyes till she disappears ; they then retire through

the other two doors.

Scene X.

Letcesteb [remaining alone).

Do I live still? Can I still bear to live?

Will not this roof fall down and bury me s?

Yawns no abyss, to swallow in its gulph

The veriest wretch on earth? What have I lost?



6C. X.] MARY STUAKT. 323

Oh, -what a pearl liave I not cast away ?

What bliss celestial madly dash'd aside !

She's gone, a spirit purged from earthly staiu,

And the despair of hell remains for me !

Where is the purpose now with which I came,

To stifle my heart's voice in callous scorn ?

To see her head descend upon the block

With unaverted and indifferent eyes ?

How doth her presence wake my slumbVing shame?

Must she in death surround me with Love's toils ?

Lost, wretched man ! No more it suits thee now

To melt away, in womanly compassion :

Love's golden bliss lies not upon thy path

Then arm thy breait in panoply of steel,

And henceforth be thy brows of adamant !

Wouldst thou not lose the guerdon of thy guilt.

Thou must uphold, complete it daringly !

Pity be dumb ; mine eyes be petrified !

I'll see — I will be witness of her fall.

[He advances with resolute steps towards the dear,

through which Mary passed ; but stops suddenly

half way.
No ! No ! The terrors of all Hell possess me.
I cannot look upon the dreadful deed ;
I cannot see her die ! — Hark ! "V^Tiat was that ?
They are already there. Beneath my feet
The bloody business is preparing. Hark !
I hear their voices — Hence ! — Away — Away —
From this abode of misery and death !

[He attempts to escape hy another door; finds it
locked, and returns.
How ! Does some demon chain me to this spot ?
To hear, what I would shudder to behold?
That voice — it is the Dean's, exhorting her ;
She interrupts him. Hai'k — she prays aloud —
Her voice is firm — now all is still, quite still !
And sobs and women's moans are all I hear.
Now, they undress her — they remove the stool —
She kneels upon the cushion — lays her head- —
[Having spoken these last words, and paused awhile,

he is seen with a convulsive motion suddenly to

shrink, and faint away: a confused hum of



32-3 MARY STUART. [ACT V.

voices IS heard at the same moment from helotB,
and continues for some time.

Scb;ne XI.
The second Chamber in the Fourth Act
V.Liz&.Bis.Tn {entering from a side door; her gait and action
expressive of the most violent uneasiness).
No message yet arrived ! What ! no one here !
Will evening never come I Stands the sun still
In its ethereal course? I can no more
Remain upon the rack of expectation !
Is it accomplish'd ? — Is it not?— I shudder
At both events, and do not dare to ask.
My Lord of Leicester comes not, — Burleigh too,
Whom I appointed to fulfil the sentence.
If they have quitted London, then 'tis done,
The bolt has left its rest — it cuts the air —
It strikes ; — has struck already : — -were my realm
At stake, I could not now arrest its course.
Who's there?

Scene XII.

Enter a Page.

Elizabeth. Retui-n'd alone ? Where are the Lords ?

Page. . My Lord High Treasurer, and the Earl of Leicester —

Eliz. . Wliere are they?

Page. They are not in London.

Eliz. " No !

V^Tiere are they then ?

Page. That no one could infonn me;

Before the dawn, mysteriously, in haste,
They quitted London.

Elizabeth (exidtingly). I am Queen of England I

[Walking up and down in the greatest agitation
Go — call me — no, remain, boy! She is dead —
Now have I room upon the earth at last.
Why do I shake? Whence comes this agueish dread \
My fears are cover'd by the grave ; who dares
To say I did it? — I have tears enough
In store to weep her fall. — Are you still here ?

[To the Page
Command my secretary Da^-isou



so. Iin.] MART STUAET 325

To come to me this instant. Let the Earl
Of Shrewsbury be summon 'd. Here he cornea.

[Exit Page
Scene XIII.
Enter Shrewsbury.
Eliz . "Welcome, my noble Lord. What tidings — say
It cannot be a trifle which hath led
Your footsteps hither at so late an hour.
Bhrew My Liege, the doubts that hung upon my heart



Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 20 of 37)