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Bite. ) You give this counsel ? You ?

Leicester. Howe'er it wound

My feelings to be forc'd to this extreme.
Yet now I see most clearly, now I feel
That the Queen's welfare asks this bloody victim.
'Tis my proposal, therefore, that the writ
Be drawn at once, to fix the execution.

BuELEiGH (to the Queen).

Since then his Lordship shows such earnest zeal.
Such loyalty, 'twere well, were he appointed
To see the execution of the sentence.

Leio. Who ? I?_

Bueleigh!' """ Yes, you; you surely ne'er could find
A better means to shake off the suspicion
Which rests upon you still, than to command
Her, whom 'tis said you love, to be beheaded.

Elizabeth (looking steadfastly at Leicester).
My Lord advises well. So be it then !

Leic. It were but fit that my exalted rank

Should free me from so mournful a commission.
Which would indeed, in ev'ry sense, become
A Burleigh better than the Earl of Leicester.
The man who stands so near the royal person

300 MARY STUART. [act IV.

Should have no knowledge of such fatal scenes :
But yet, to prove my zeal, to satisfy
My Queen, I waive my charge's privilege.
And take upon myself this hateful duty.
Eliz. Xiord Burleigh shall partake this duty with you,

[To Burleigh.
So be the warrant instantly prepar'd.

[BuELEiGH tviihdraws ; a tumult heard without.

Scene VII.
The Queen, the Earl op Kent.

Eliz. How now, my Lord of Kent? What uproar's this,
I hear without P

Kent. My Queen, it is thy people.

Who, round the palace rang'd, impatiently
Demand to see their sov'reign.

Elizabeth. What's their wish r

Kent. A panic terror has already spread

Through London, that thy life has been attempted ;

That murderers commission'd from the Pope

Beset thee ; that the Catholics have sworn

To rescue from her prison Mary Stuart,

And to proclaim her Queen. T'hy loyal people

Believe it, and are mad — her head alone

Can quiet them — this day must be her last.

Eliz. How ! Will they force me then ?

Kent. They are resolv'd —

Scene VIII.
Enter Burleigh and Davison, with a paper.
Eliz. Well, Davison ?
Dav. . {approaches earnestly).

Tour orders are obey'd,
My Queen—
Elizabeth. What orders, Sir ?

\_As she is about to take the paper, she shudders,
and starts hack.

Burleigh. Obey

fThy people's voice ; it is the voice of God.
Elizabeth (irresolute, as if in contest with herself).
O my good Tjord, who will assure me now


That what I hear is my whole people's voice,
[The voice of all the world ! Ah ! much I fear,
SThat, if I now should listen to the wish
pf the wild multitude, a difi'rent voice
flVlight soon he heard ; — and that the veiy men,
Who now by force oblige me to this step,
May, when 'tis taken, heavily condemn me !

Scene IX.

Enter the Eakl op Shkewsbukt (wTio enters with great
Hold fast, my Queen, they wish to hurry thee ;

[Seeing Davison with the paper.
Be firm — Or is it then decided ? — is it
Indeed decided ? 1 behold a paper
Of ominous appearance in his hand ;
Let it not at this moment meet thy eyes,
-'Queen ! —

Elizabe'^h. Good Shrewsbury ! I am constrain' d —

Skeew. AVho can constrain thee? Thou art Queen of Eng-
/Here must thy Majesty assert its rights : [land,
I Command those savage voices to be silent.
Who take upon themselves to put constraint
Upon thy royal will, to rule thy judgment.
Ji'ear only, bUnd conjecture, moves thy people ;
Thou art thyself beside thyself ; thy wrath
Is grievoully' provok'd : thou art but mortal,
And canst not thus ascend the judgment seat.

BuE. . Judgment has long been past. It is not now
The time to speak, but execute the sentence.

Kent (who, on Sheewsbtjkt's entry, had retired, comes back).
The tumult gains apace ; there are no means
To moderate the people.

Elizabeth (to Sheewsbitet). See, my Lord,

How they press on.

Sheewsbitet. I onlj^ ask a respite ;

A single word trac'd by thy hand decides
The peace, the happiness of all thy life !
Thou hast for years consider'd, let not then
'A moment rul'd by passion hurry thee —
But a short respite — recollect thyself !
Wait for a moment of tranquillity.


Burleigh (violently).

Wait for it — pause — delay — till flames of fire
Consume the realm ; until the fifth attempt
Of murder be successful ! God, indeed.
Hath thrice deliver'd thee ; thy late escape
Was marvellous, and to expect again
A miracle, wotild be to temjst thy God !

Shkew. That God, whose potent hand hath thrice preserv'd
Who lent my aged feeble arm the strength
To overcome the madman : — he deserves
Thy confidence. I wiU not raise the voice
Of justice now, for now is not the time ;
Thou canst not hear it in this storm of passion.
Yet listen but to this ! Thou tremblest now
Before this living Mary — tremble rather
Before the murder'd, the beheaded Mary.
She will arise, and quit her grave, will range
A fiend of discord, an avenging ghost
Around thy realm, and turn thy people's hearts
From their allegiance. For as yet the Britons
Hate her, because they fearher ; but most surely
Will they avenge her, when she is no more.
They will no more behold the enemy
Of their belief, they will but see in her
The much-lamented issue of their kings
A sacrifice to jealousy and hate.
'' Then quickly shalt thou see the sudden change
When thou hast done the bloody deed ; then go
Through London, seek thy people, which till now
^' Around thee swarm'd delighted ; thou shalt see
/ Another England, and another people ;

For then no more the godlike dignity

/ Of justice, which subdued thy subjects' Hearts,

.' Will beam around thee. Fear, the dread ally

'Of tyranny, will shudd'ring march before thee.

And make a wilderness in ev'ry street —

The last, extremest crime thou has committed.

\ I What^headis" s^afeTif the anointed-falLS-

Eliz.V Ah! ShrcwsbuTy^-yotrsav'd myiife, you tui-n'd
The murd'rous steel aside ; why let you not


The dagger take its course ? then all these broils
Would have been ended ; then, releas'd from doubt,
And free from blame, I should be now at rest
pn my still peaceful grave. In very sooth,
/I'm weary of my life, and of my crown.
If Heav'n decree that one of us two Queens
Must perish, to secure the other's life —
And sure it must be so — Why should not I
Be she who 3delds ? My people must decide ;
I give them back the Sovereignty they gave.
Grod is my witness, that I have not liv'd
For my own sake, but for my people's weKare.
If they expect from this false, fawning Stuart,
The younger sovereign, more happy days,
I will descend with pleasure from the throne.
Again repair to Woodstock's quiet bowers,
^_Where once I spent my unambitious youth ;
j Where far remov'd from all the vanities
I Of earthly power, I found within myseK
I True Majesty. I am not made to rule — .^

\ A ruler should be made of sterner stuff :
p My heart is soft and tender. I have govern'd
These many years, this kingdom happily,
But then I only needed to make hapjjy :
Now, comes my first important regal duty,
I And now I feel how weak a thing I am.
Btjr. . Now by mine honour, when I hear my Queen,
My royal liege, speak such unroyal words,
I should betray my office, should betray
pMy country, were I longer to be silent.
You say you love your people 'bove yourself, \

Now prove it. Choose not peace for your own heart.
And leave your kingdom to the storms of discord.
Think on the church. Shall, with this Papist Queen,
The ancient superstition be renew'd ?
The monk resume his sway, the fioman legate
In pomp march hither ; lock our churches up,
Dethrone our monarchs ? I demand of you
The souls of aU your subjects — as you now
Shall act, they all are sav'd, or all are lost !
Here is no time for mercy ; — to promote
Tour people's welfare is your highest duty.


If Shrewsbury has sav'd your life, then I
Will save both you, and England — that is more !
Eliz. I would be left alone. No consolation.

No counsel, can be drawn from human aid
In this conjecture : — I will lay my doubts
Before the Judge of all : — I am resolv'd
To act as He shall teach. Withdraw, my Lords.

[To Davidson, who lays the jxijJer on the table.
You, Sir, remain ia waiting— close at hand.

[The Lords withdraw ; Shrewsbuet alone stands
for a few vioments before the Queen, regards
her significantly, then withdraws slowly, and
with an expression of the deepest anguish.

Scene X.
^ Elizabeth alone.

I ! servitude of popularity !
/ Disgraceful slavery ! How weary am I
I Of flattering this idol, which my soul
\ Despises in its inmost depth ! ! when
I Shall I once more be free upon this throne ?
', I must respect the people's voice, and strive
\ To win the favour of the multitude,
\ And please the fancies of a mob, whom nought
\put jugglers' tricts delight. O call not him
' A king, who needs must please the world : 'tis he
( Alone, who in his actions does not heed
\_ The fickle approbation of mankind.
Have I then practis'd justice, all my life
Shunn'd each despotic deed; have I done this.
Only to bmd niy hands against this first,
(This necessary act of violence ?
'My own example now condemns myself !
Had I but been a tyrant, like my sister,
My predecessor, I could fearless then
Have shed this royal blood: — but am I now
Just by my own free choice? No — I was forc'd
, By stem necessity to use this virtue ;
^J I Necessity, which binds e'en monarch's wills.
, Surrounded by my foes, my people's love
Alone supports me on my envied throne.
^ AU Europe's pow'rs confederate to destroy me ;


The Pope's inveterate decree declares me

Accurst and excommunicated. Prance u

Betrays me with a kiss, and Spain prepares

At sea a fierce exterminating war ;

Thus stand I, in contention with the world,

A poor defenceless woman : I must seek

To veO. the spot in my imperial birth,

By which my father cast disgrace upon me :

In vain with princely virtues would I hide it ;

The envious hatred of my enemies

Uncovers it, and places Mary Stuart

A threat'ning fiend before me evermore !

[Walhincj up and down, with quick and agitated steps.

no ! this fear must end. Her head must fall !

1 loill have peace. She is the very fury GrcY
Of my existence ; a tormenting demon, "^ ik^.
Which destiny has fasten'd on my soul. O-^it
Wherever I had planted me a comfort, C-
A flatt'ring hope, my way was ever cross'd
By this infernal viper ! She has torn
My fav'rite, and my destined bridegroom from me. ,

' The hated name of ev'ry ill I feel <^

Is Mary Stuart — were but she no more
On earth, I should be free as mountain air. ^

[Standing still. '
With what disdain did she look down on me, „

As if her eye should blast me like the lightning !
Poor feeble wretch ! I bear far other arms, '^

Their touch is mortal, and thou art no more.

[Advancing to the table hastily, and talcing the pen.
I am a bastard am I ? Hapless wretch,
I am but so the while thou Uv'st and breath' st.
[Thy death wiU make my birth legitimate.}-
The moment I destroy thee, is the doubt /- '"^

Destroy'd, which hangs o'er my imperial right. / w.
As soon as England has no other choice, ( -NjIk'"^

My mother's honour and my birthright triumphsT"^
[She signs with resolution ; lets her pen then fall,
and steps back with an expression of terror. —
After a pause she rings.


Scene XI.
Elizabeth, Davison.

Eli2. Where are their Lordships ?

Davison. They are gone to quell

The tumult of the people. The alarm
Was instantly appeas'd, when they beheld
The Earl of Shrewsbury. That's he ! exclaim'd
A hundred voices — that's the man — he sav'd
The Queen; hear Mm — the bravest man in England !
And now began the gallant Talbot, blam'd
In gentle words the people's violence.
And used such strong, persuasive eloquence.
That all were pacified, and silently
They slunk away.

Elizabeth. The fickle multitude !

J Which turns with ev'ry wind. Unhappy he
iWho leans upon this reed! 'Tis well, Sir WUliam;
You may retire agaia —

[As he is going tvwards the door.
And, Sir, this paper.
Receive it back ; I place it in your hands.

Davison {casts a look upon the pg,per, and starts hack).

My gracious Queen — thy name ! — 'tis then decided.

Eliz. I had but to subscribe it — I have done so —
A paper sure cannot decide — a name
Kills not —

Davison. Thy name, my Queen, beneath this paper.

Is most decisive — kills — -'tis like the lightning,
Which blasteth as it flies ! This fatal scroll
Commands the Sheriff and Commissioners
To take departure straight for Fotheringay,
And to the Queen of Scots announce her death.
Which must at dawn be put in execution.
There is no respite, no discretion, here —
As soon as I have parted with this writ.
Her race is run —

Elizabeth. Yes, Sir, the Lord has plac'd

This weighty bus'ness in your feeble hands ;
Seek him in pray'r, to light you with his wisdom ;
I go — and leave you. Sir, to do your duty \_Goinc


iDav. No ; leave me not, my (Jueen, till I have heard
Your vfill. The only wisdom that I need
Is, word for v/ord, to follow your commands.
Say, have you plac'd this warrant in my hands,
To see that it be speedily enforced P

Eliz. That you must do, as your own prudence dictates.

, Davison (interrupting her quicldy, and alarmed).

I Not mine — O God forbid ! Obedience is

My only prudence here. No point must now
Be left to be decided by your servant.
A small mistake would here be regicide,
A monstrous crime, from which my soul recoils !
Permit me, in this weighty act, to be
Your passive instrument, without a will ; —
Tell me in plain undoubted terms your pleasure,
What with the bloody mandate I should do.

Eliz. Its name declares its meaning.

Davison. Do you, then,

My Liege, command its instant execution ?

Eliz. I said not that ; I tremble but to think it.

'Dat. Shall I retain it, then, 'till further orders ?

■Eliz. At your own risk ; you answer the event.

-Dav. I !— gracious Heavens ! — O speak, my Queen, your
pleasure !

Eliz. My pleasure is, that this unhappy bus'ness
Be no more mention'd to me ; that at last
I may be freed? from it, and that for ever.

Dav. It costs you but a word — determine then ;

What shall I do with this mysterious scroll ?

Eliz. I have declar'd it, plague me. Sir, no longer.

Dav. You have declar'd it ? say you ? 0, my Queen,

You have said nothing. Please my gracious mistress
But to remember —

Elizabeth (stamps on the ground).

Insupportable !

Dav. O, be indulgent to me ! I have enter'd
Unwittingly, not many months ago,
Ul5on this office ; I know not the language
Of courts and kings. I ever have been rear'd
In simple, open wise, a plain blunt man.

, ! Be patient with me ; nor deny your servant


A light to lead him flearly to his duty.

[ife approaches her in a supplicating posture ; she
turns her hack on him; he stands in despair;
then speaks with a tone of resolution.
Take, take again this paper — take it back !
Within my hands, it is a glo-wing fire.
Select not me, my Queen ; select not me
To serve you, in this terrible conjuncture.
Eliz. Go, Sir ; — fulfil the duty of your oifice ! {Exit.

Scene XII.
Davison, then Bueleigh.

Dav. She goes ! She leaves me doubting, and perplex'd
With this dread paper ! How to act I know not ;
Should I retain it, should I forward it ?

[To BuKLEiGH, who entcTS.
Oh ! I am glad that you are come, my Lord,
'Tis you who have preferr'd me to this charge ;
Now free me from it, for I undertook it,
Unknowing how responsible it made me.
Let me then seek again th' obscurity
In which you found me ; this is not my place.

BuE. Hownow? Take courage. Sir! Where is the warrant?
The Queen was with you.

Davison. She has quitted me

In bitter anger. advise me, help me.
Save me from this fell agony of doubt !
My Lord, here is the warrant : it is sign'd !

BuE. Indeed ? O give it, give it me !

Davison. I may not.

BtTB. How !

Dav. She has not yet explain'd her final will

Bub. Explain'd ! She has subscrib'd it ; — give it me.

Dav. I am to execute it, and I am not.

Great Heavens ! I know not what I am to do !

Bueleigh {urging -more violently).

It mi; st be now, this moment, executed —
The warrant, Sir. You're lost if you delay.

Dav. So am I also, if I act too rashly.

Sue. What strange infatuation. Give it me. i

I Snatches the paper from him, and exit loith ii>.

ACT v., SC. I.] MARY STUART. 309


Dav. . . What would you ? Hold ! You will be my de-
struction !

' ACT V.

Scene I.
The Scene the same as in the First Act.

I Hannah Kennedy in deep mourning, her eyes still red from
weeping in great hut quiet anguish, is employed in sealing
letters and parcels. Her sorrow often interrupts her occu-
pation, and she is seen at such intervals to pray in silence.
Paulet and Detjet, also in mourning, enter, followed by
many servants, who hear golden and silver vessels, mirrors,
pairitings, and other valuables, and fill the back part of the
stage with them : Paulet delivers to the Nurse a box of
jewels and a paper, and seems to inform her by signs, tJmt it
contains the inventory of the effects the Queen had brought
with her. At the sight of these riches, the anguish of the
Nurse is renewed ; she sinks into a deep, gloomy melancholy,
during which Dbttkt, Paulet, and the Servants, silently

Melvil enters.
Kennedy {screams aloud, as soon as she observes hiin).
; Melvil ! Is't you ? Betold I you again ?

Mel. . Tes, faithful Kennedy, we meet once more.
Ken. . After this Icftig, long, jiainful separation !
MfiL. A most unhappy, bitter meeting, this !
Ken. . You come —
' Melvil. To take an everlasting leave

Of my dear Queen — to bid a last farewell !
Ken. . And now at length, now on the fatal mom

Which brings her death, they grant our royal Lady
The presence of her friends. 0, worthy Sir,
I will not question you, how you have far'd,
Nor tell you all the suff'rings we've endured,
Since you were torn away from us : — alas !
There will be time enough for that hereafter.
O, Melvil, Melvil, why was it our fate
To see the dawn of this unhappy day !
Mel. . Let us not melt each other with our grief.

Throughout my whole remaining life, as long
'' ks ever it may be, I'll sit and weep ;

310 MARY STUA.RT. [acT V.


A smile stall never more light up these cheeks,
Ne'er will I lay this sable garb aside,
But lead henceforth a life of endless mourning.
Yet on this last sad day, I will be firm ;
Pledge me your word to moderate your grief ;
And when the rest, of comfort all bereft.
Abandon' d to despair, wail round her, we '

Will lead her with heroic resolution.
And be her staff upon the road to death !

Ken. Melvil ! You are deceiv'd, if you suppose
The Queen has need of our support to meet
Her death with firmness. She it is, my friend,
Who will exhibit the undaunted heart.
O ! trust me, Mary Stuart will expire
As best becomes a Heroine and Queen !

Mel. Keceiv'd she firmly, then, the sad decree

Of death ? — -'tis said, that she was not prepar'd.

Ken. She was not ; yet they were far other terrors

Which made our Lady shudder : 'twas not death.
But her deliverer, which made her tremble.
Freedom was promis'd us ; this very night
Had Mortimer engag'd to bear us hence :
And thus the Queen, perplex'd 'twixt hope and fear.
And doubting still if she should trust her honour
And royal person to th' advent'rous youth,
Sat waiting for the morning. On a sudden
We hear a boist'rous tumult in the castle ;
Our ears are startled by repeated blows
Of many hammers, and we think we hear '

The approach of our deliv'rers : — hope salutes us,
And suddenly and unresisted, wakes
The sweet desire of life. And now at once
The portals are thrown open — it is ParJet,
Who comes to tell us — that — the carpenters
Erect beneath our feet the murd'rous scaffold !
[^8he turns aside, overpowered by excessive anguish.

Mel. O Grod in Heav'n ! O tell me then, how bore
The Queen this terrible vicissitude ?

Kennedy (after a pause, in which she has somewhat collected
Not by degrees can we relinquish life ;

SC. II.] MARY STtlART. 31]

' Quiet, sudden, in the twinkling of an eye

The separation must be made, the change
From temporal, to eternal life ; — and God
Imparted to our mistress at this moment
His grace, to cast away each earthly hope,
And firm and full of faith to mount the skies.
» No sign of pallid fear dishonour'd her ;

', No word of mourning, 'till she heard the tidings

Of Leicester's shameful treach'ry, the sad fate
Of the deserving youth, who sacrificed
> Himself for her : the deep, the bitter anguish

Of that old knight, who lost, through her, his last.
His only hope ; till then she shed no tear, —
'Twas then her tears began to flow, 'twas not
Her own, but others' wo which wrung them from her.

Mel. . Where is she now ? Can you not lead me to her ?

Ken, . She spent the last remainder of the night

In pray'r, and from her dearest friends she took
Her last farewell in writing : — then she wrote
Her will ' with her own hand. She now enjoys
A moment of repose, the latest slumber
Eefreshes her weak spirits.

Melvil. Who attends her ?

Ken. . None but her women and physician Burgoyn :
' You seem to look around you with surprise ;

Tour eyes ajg)ear to ask me what should mean
This show of splendour in the house of death.
O, Sir, while yet we lived we suffer'd want ;
But at our death plenty returns to us.

1 Scene II.

'Enter Mabgabet Ctjel.
' Ken. . How, Madam, fares the Queen? Is she awake?
Cttbl. (drying Jier tears).

She is already dressed — she asks for you.
Ken. . I go ; —

\To Melvil, who seems to wish to accompany her.
But follow not, until the Queen
Has been prepar'd to see you. [Exit.

CuEL. Melvil, sure.

The ancient steward ?
' The document is now in the British Musema.

312 MARY STUART. [act V.

Melvil. Yes, the same. '

Ctol. 0, Sir,

This is a house which needs no steward now I

Melvil, you come from London ; can you give

No tidings of my husband ?
Melvil. " It is said

He will be set at liberty, as soon — ,

Cttel. As soon as our dear Queen shall be no more.

0, the unworthy, the disgraceful traitor !

He is our Lady's murderer — 'tis said

It was his testimony which condemn'd her.
Mel. . 'Tis true.
CuEL. O, curse upon him ! — be his soul

Condemn'd for ever ! — he has borne false witness —
Mel. . Think, Madam, what you say.
Curl. I will maintain it,

With ev'ry sacred oath, before the court,

I will repeat it in his very face ;

The world shall hear of nothing else. I say

That she dies innocent !
Melvil. ' G-od grant it true !

Scene III.
Enter Hannah Kennedy.
Kennedy (to Ctjel).

Go, Madam, and require a cup of wine —
'Tis for our Lady.
Melvil. Is the Queen then sick ?

Ken. . She thinks that she is strong ; she is deceiv'd
By her heroic courage ; she believes
She has no need of nourishment ; yet still
A hard and painful task 's allotted her.
Her enemies shall not enjoy the triumph ;
They shall not say that fear hath blanch'd her cheeks,
Whenherfatigues have conquer'd human weakness.
Mel. . May I approach her ?

Kenne_dy. She will come herself.

Scene IV.
Enter Bttegoyn ; two women of the chamber follow him
weeping, and in deep mourning.
Btteg. 0, Melvil !


■^ELViL. 0, Burgoyn ! [They enibrace silently.

First Woman {to the Nubsb). She chose to be
Alone : — she wishes, at this awful moment,
For the last time, to commune with her God.

Scene V.

Enter Maegaeet Cuei,, hearing a golden cup of wine ; she
places it hastily upon the table, and leans, pale and trem-
bling, against a chair.

Mel. How, Madam ! What has frighten' d you ?

Kennedy. God !

BuEG. Speak, Madam.

CuEL. What, alas ! have I beheld !

Mel. Come to yourself, and say what you have seen !

CuEL. As I went clown the staircase which conducts
To the great hall below, a door stood open ;
I look'd into the chamber, and I saw —
O Heav'n !

Melvil. Wliat saw you ?

CuEL. All the walls were hung

With black ; a spacious scaffold too o'erspread
With sable cloth, was rais'd above the floor,
xlnd in the middle of the scaffold stood
A dreadful sable block ! upon it lay
A naked, polish'd axe : — the hall was full
Of cruel people, crowding round the scaifold ;
Who, with auiorrid thirst for human blood,
Seem'd waiting for the i ictim !

The Women. GVacious Heav'n

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