Friedrich Schiller.

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

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'Tis in his palace that we hold our meetings

M.iR\. You make me tremble, Sir, but not for joy;
An evil boding penetrates my heart.
Know you. then, what you risk ? Are you not scar'd
By Babington and Tichburn's bloody heads.
Set up as warnings upon London's bridge ?
Nor by the ruin of those many victims
Who have, in such attempts, found certain death.
And only made my chains the heavier?
Fly hence, deluded, most unhappy youth !
Fly, if there yet be time for you, before
That crafty sj)y. Lord Bui'leigh, track your schemes,
And mix his traitors in your secret plots.
Fly hence : — as yet, success hath never smil d
On Mary Stuart's champions.

MoiiTuiER. I'm not scar'd

By Babington and Tichburn's bloody heads.
Set up as warnings upon London's bridge ;
Nor by the ruin of those many victims
Who have, in such attempts, found certain deatli :
They also found therein immortal honour.
And death, in rescuing you. is dearest bliss.



MARy, It is in vain : nor force nor guile can save me : —
My enemies are watchful, and the pow'r
Is in their hands. It is not Paulot only
-And his dependent host ; all England guards
My prison gates ; Elizabeth's free will
Alone can open them.

Mortimer. Expect not that

Mary. One man alone on earth can open them.

MoRT. ! let me know his name !

Mary. Lord Leicester.

Mortimer. He !

[Starts back in uonder.
The Earl of Leiceste r ! Your most bloody foe,
The fav'rite of Elizabeth ! — through him —

Mary. If I am to be sav'd at all, 'twill be

Through him, and liim alone. Go to him, Sir ;

Freely confide in him : and, as a proof

You come from me, present this paper to him.

[She takes a paj)er from her bosom ; MoRTiMEa
draivs back, and hesitates to take it.
It doth contain my portrait : — take it, Sir ;
I've borne it long about me : but your uncle's
Close watchfulness has out me off from all
Communication with him ; — you were sent
By my good angel. [He takes it

Mortimer. 0, my Queen ! explain

This mystery.

Mary. Lord Leicester will resolve it .

Confide in him, and hell confide in you
Who comes ?

Kennedy {entering hastily).

'Tis Paulet ; and he brings with him
A nobleman from court.

Mortimer. It is Lord Burleigh.

Collect yourself, my Queen, and strive to hear
The news he brings, with equanimity -

[He retires through a side door, and Kennedt
follows him.


Scene VII

Enter Lord Burleigh, and Paulkt.

Paulet {to Mary).

You wish'd to-day, assurance of your fate ;

My Lord of Burleigh brings it to you now •

Hear it with resignation, as beseems you.
Mary I hope with dignity, as it becomes

My innocence, and my exalted station.
Bur. I come deputed from the court of justice.
Mart. liord Burleigh lends that court his willing tongue,

Which was already guided by his spirit.
Paul. You speak as if no stranger to the sentence.
Mary. Lord Burleigh brings it ; therefore do I know it
Paul \_ It would become you better, Lady Stuart,

To listen less to hatred.
Mary. I but name

My enemy : I said not that I hate him.]

But to the matter. Sir.
Burleigh. You have acknowledg'd

The jurisdiction of the two-and-forty.
Mary My Lord, excuse me, if I am oblig'd

So soon to interrupt you. I acknowledg'd,

Say -you, the competence of the commission ?

I never have acknowledg"d it, my Lord ;

How could I so ? 1 could not give away

My own prerogative, th' intrusted rights

Of my own people, the inheritance

Of my own son, and ev'ry monarch's honour

\_ The very laws of England say I could not.]

It is enacted by the English laws,

That ev'ry one who stands arraign'd of crime

Shall .plead before a jury of his equals:

Who is my equal in this high commission ?

Kings only are my peers.
Burleigh. But yet you heard.

The points of accusation, answer'd them

Before the court

Mart. 'Tis true, 1 was deceiv'd

By Hatton's crafty counsel : — he advis'd me.

For my owu honour, and in confidence

828 MAur STu^iET. [act. I.

In my good cause, and my most strong defence.
To listen to the points of accusation,
And prove their falsehood. This, my Lord, I did
From personal respect for the lords' names,
Not their usurped charge, which I disclaim.
Bui Acknowledge you the court, or not, that is
Only a point of mere formality.
Which cannot here arrest the course of justice
You breathe the air of England ; you enjoy
The law's protection, and its benefits ;
You therefore are its subject.
Mary. Sir, I breathe

The air within an English prison walls : —
Is that to live in England ; to enjoy
Protection from its laws ? I scarcely know
And never have I pledg'd my faith to keep them.
I am no member of this realm ; I am
An independent, and a foreign Queen.
BcR. . And do you think that the mere name of Queen
Can serve you as a charter to foment
In other countries, with impunity,
This bloody discord '? Where would be thestaies
Security, if the stern sword of justice
Could not as freely smite the guilty brow
Of the imperial stranger, as the beggar's?
Mary. I do not wish to be exempt from judgment,

It is the judges only I disclaim.
B^TR. . The judges? How now. Madam ! Are they then
Base wretches, snatch'd at hazard from the crowd ?
Vile wranglers, that make sale of tiiith and justice;
Oppression's willing hirelings, and its tools ?
Ai'e they not all the foremost of this land.
Too independent to be else than honest.
And too exalted not to soar above
The fear of Kings, or base servility ?
Are they not those, who iiile a genrous people
In liberty and justice ; men, whose names
.1 need but mention, to dispel each doubt,
Each mean suspicion which is rais'd against them ("
Stands not the rev'rend Primate at their head,
The pious shepht rd of his faithful people.


The learned Talbot, Keeper of the Seals,

And Howard, Avho commands our conqu'ring fleets ?

Say, then, could England's sovereign do more

Than, out of all the monarchy, elect

The very noblest, and appoint them judges

In this greaf ■'uit ? And were it probable

That party hatred could corrupt one heart ;

Can forty chosen men unite to speak

A sentence just as passion gives command?

Mart {after a short pause).

I am struck dumlj by that tongue's eloquence,

Which ever was so ominous to me.

And how shall I, a weak, untutor'd woman.

Cope with so subtle, leani'd an orator ?

Yes truly; were these lords as you describe them,

I must be mute ; my cause were lost indeed,

Beyond all hope, if they pronounc'd me guilty.

But, Sir, these names, which you are pleas 'd to praise

These veiy men, whose weight you think will crush me,

I see perfoiTQing in the history

Of these dominions, very different parts :

I see this high nobility of England,

This grave majestic senate of the realm,

Like to an eastern monarch's vilest slaves,

Flatter my uncle Heniy's sultan fancies :

I see this noble rev'rend House of Lords,

Venal alike wdth the corrupted Commons,

Make statutes and annul tlaem, ratify

A marriage and dissolve it, as the voice

Of power commands : to-day it dishiherits,

And brands the royal daughters of the realm

With the vile name of bastards, and to-morrow

Crowns them as queens, and leads them to the throne.

I see them in four reigns, with pliant conscience,

Four timeb abjure their faith ; renounce the Pope

With Henry, yet retain the old belief;

Reform themselves with Edward ; hear the mass

Again with Mary ; with Elizabeth,

Who governs now, reform themselves again.

Bur. . You say you are not vers'd in England's laws.

You seem wsll read, methinks, in her disasters.


Maky And these men are my judges ':

[^s Lord Burleigh seems, to wish to speak

My Lord Treas'rer.
Tow'rds you I will be just, be you but just
To me. — Tis said, that you consult with zeal
The good of England, and of England's Queen ;
Are honest, watchful, indefatigable :
I will believe it. Not your private ends.
Your Sovereign and your country's weal alone,
Inspire j'our counsels and direct youi' deeds.
Therefore, my noble Lord, you should the more
Distrust your heart ; should see that you mistake not
The welfare of the government, for justice.
I do not doubt, besides yourself, there are
Among my judges many upright men :
But they are Protestants, are eager all
For England's quiet, and they sit in judgment
On me, the Queen of Scotland, and the Papist.
It is an ancient sa^-ing, that the Scots
And English to each other are mijust ;
And hence the rightful custom, that a Scot
Against an Englishman, or Englishman
Against a Scot, cannot be heard in judgment.
Necessity prescrib'd this cautious law ;
Deep policy oft lies in ancient customs :
My Lord, we must respect them. Nature cast
Into the ocean these two fiery nations
Upon this plank, and she divided it
Unequally, and bade them fight for it.
The naiTow bed of Tweed alone divides
These daring spirits ; often hath the blood
Of the contending parties dyed its waves.
Threat 'ning, and sword in hand, the-e thousand years,
From both its banks they watch their rival's motions,
Most vigilant and true confederates,
With ev'ry en'my of the neighbour state.
No foe oppresses England, but the Scot
Becomes his firm ally ; no civil war
Inflames the to^\^ls of Scotland, but the English
Add fuel to the fire : this raging hate
Will never be extinguish'd till, at last.


One parliament in concord shall unite tliem,
One common sceptre rule throughout the isle.
Bob. And from a Stuart, then, should England hopo

This happiness ?
Mary ! why should I deny it ?

Yes, I confess, I cherish d the fond hope,
I thought myself the happy instrument
To join in freedom, 'neath the olive "s shade,
Two gen'rous realms in lasting happiness !
I little thought I should become the victim
Of their old hate, their long-liv'd jealousy,
And the sad flames of that unhappy strife,
I hop'd at last to smother, and for ever :
And, as my ancestor, great Kichmoud, join'd
The rival roses after bloody contest.
To join in peace the Scotch and English crowns.
Bub. . An e-s-il way you took to this good end.

To set the realm on fire, and through the flames
Of civil war to strive to mount the throne.
Mary I wish'd not that : — I wish'd it not, by Heaven !

When did I strive at that? — Where are your proofs ?
Bub. - I came not hither to dispute ; your cause
Is no more subject to a war of words.
The great majority of forty voices
Hath found that you have contraven'd the law
Last year enacted, and have now incurr'd
Its penalty {Producing the verdict

Maby Upon this statute, then,

My Lord, is built the verdict of my judges?
BuBLEiGH {reading).

Last year it was enacted, " If a plot

Henceforth should rise in England, in the name

Or for the benefit of any claimant

To England's crown, that justice should be done

On such pretender, and the guilty party

Be prosecuted unto death." Now, since

It has been prov'd

Mart Lord Burleigh, I can well

Imagine that a law expressly aim'd
At me, and fram'd to compass my destruction.
May to my prejudice be used ! woe


To the unhappy victim, when the tongue,
That frames the law, shall execute the sentence.
Can you deny it, Sir, that this same statute
Was made for luy destruction, and nought else ?
Bur. - It should have acted as a warning to you :
By your imprudence it became a snare.
You saw the precipice which yawnYl before you ;
Yet, truly warn'd, you plung'd into the deep.
With Babington, the traitor, and his bands
Of murderous companions, were you leagued.
Y"ou knew of all, and from your prison led
Their ti-easonous plottings with a deep-laid plan
Mary. When did 1 that, my Lord "? Let them produce

The documents.
Burleigh. You have already seen them :

They were, before the court, presented to you.
Mary. Mere copies written by another hand ;

Show me the proof that they were dictated
By me, that they proceeded from my lips,
Aiid in those very terms in which you read them
Bur. . Before his execution, Babington

Confess'd they were the same which he receiv'd
Mart. Why was he in his lifetime not produc'd

Before my face ? Why was he then despatch'd
So quickly, that he could not be confronted
With her whom he accus'd ?
Burleigh. Besides, my Ladv;

Your secretaries, Curl and Nau, declare
On oath, they are the very selfsame letters
Which, from your lips, they faithfully transcrib'd
Mary. Anu on my menials' testimony, then,

I am condemn 'd ; upon the word of those .
Who have betray 'd me, me, their rightful Queen .
Who in that very moment, when they came
As witnesses against me, broke their faith !
Bur . You said yourself, you held your countryman

To be an upright conscientious man.
Mar.y I thought him such ; but 'tis the hour of danger
Alone, which tries the virtue of a man
[He ever was an honest man, but weak
In understanding ; and his subtle comrade,

BO. VXl,] ilAKY STUART. "233

Whose faith, observe. I never answer'd for,

Mi^ht easilv seduce him to write dowTi

More than he sliould ;] the rack may have compelld hita

To say and to confess more than lie knew.

He hop'd to save himself by this false witness.

And thought it could not injure me — a Queen.

Bur. The oath he swore was free and unconstraiu'd.

3IABT. But not before my face ! How now, my Lord,
The witnesses you name are still alive.
Let them appear against me, face to face !
And there repeat what they have testified !
Why am I then denied that privilege,
That right, which e'en the murderer enjoys ?
I know from Talbot's mouth, my fonner keeper.
That in this reign a statute has been pass'd,
Which orders that the plaintiff be confronted
With the defendant; is it so. good Paulet?
I e'er have known you as an honest man.
Now prove it to me ; tell me, on your conscience.
If such a law exist, or not, in England ?

Paul. . Madam, there does : that is the law in England.
I must declare the trath.

Mary. Well then, my Lord,

Tf I am treated by the law of England
So hardly, when that law oppresses me.
Say, why avoid this selfsame country's law,
When 'tis for my advantage ? Answ^er me ;
Why was not Babington confronted \nth me ?
Why not my servants, who are both alive ?

Bur. Be not so hasty, Lady ; 'tis not only
Your plot with Babington

Mary 'Tis that alone

Which arms the law against me ; that alone
From which I'm call'd upon to clear myself
Stick to the point, my Lord; evade it not.

BcR It has been prov'd that you have corresponded
With the Ambassador of Spain, Mendoza

Mary. Stick to the point, my Lord.

Burleigh. That you have formd

Conspiracies to overturn the fix'd
Religion of the realm ; that jou have call'd


Into this kingdom foreign pow rs, and rous'd
All kings in Europe to a war with England.

Mary. And were it so, my Lord — though I deny it —
But e'en suppose it were so : I am kept
Imprison 'd here against all laws of nations.
I came not into England sword in hand ;
I came a suppliant; and at the hands
Of my imperial kinswoman, I claim'd
The sacred rights of hospitality.
When power seized upon me, and prepared
To rivet fetters, where I hop'd protection.
Say, is my conscience bound, then, to this realm ?
What are the duties that I owe to England ?
I should but exercise a sacred right,
Deriv'd from sad necessity, if I
Warr'd with these bonds, encounter'd might with

Roused and incited ev'ry state m Europe,
For my protection, to imite in arms
Whatever in a rightful war is just
And loyal, 'tis my right to exercise :
Mui'der alone, the secret bloody deed.
My conscience and my pride alike forbid.
Murder would stain me, would dishonour me :
Dishonour me, my Lord ! — but not condemn me ,
Nor subject me to England's courts of law :
For 'tis not justice, but mere violence,
Which is the question 'tween myself and England

IJuRLEiGH {significantly).

Talk not, my Lady, of the dreadful right
Of pow'r: 'tis seldom on the pris'ner's side

Mary I am the weak ; she is the mighty one :

'Tis well, my Lord ; let her then use her pow'r ;
Let her destroy me : let me bleed, that she
May live secure : but let her then confess
That she hath exercised her pow'r alone.
And not contaminate the name of justice.
T^et her not borrow, from the laws, the sword
To rid her of her hated enemy :
Let her not clothe, in this religious garb,
The bloody daring of licentious might :


Let not these juggling tricks deceive the world. —

\Returning the sentence
Though she may murder me, she cannot judge me : —
Let her no longer strive to join the fruits
Of vice vrith virtue's fair and angel show ;
But let her dare to seem the thing she is. [Eunt

Scene VIII.
Burleigh, Paulet

£ivR. She scorns us, she defies us ! will defy us,

Ev'n at the scaffold's foot. This haughty heart

Is not to be subdued. Say, did the sentence

Sui-prise her ? Did you see her shed one tear.

Or even change her colour ? She disdains

To make appeal to our compassion. Well

She knows tlie wav'ring mind of England's Queen.

Our apprehensions make her bold.

Paulet. My Lord,

Take the pretext away which buoys it up,
And you shall see this proud defiance fail
That very moment. I must say, my Lordt,
Irregularities have been allowed
In these proceedings ; Babington and Ballard
Should have been brought, with her two secretaries,
Before her, face to face.

Burleigh. No, Paulet, no!

That was not to be risk'd ; her influence
Upon the human heart is too supreme ;
Too strong the female empii'e of her tears.
Her secretary, Cui'l, if brought before her,
And call'd upon to speak the weighty word
On which her life depends, would straight shrink back.
And fearfully revoke his own confession.

Paul. . Then England's enemies will fill the world
With evil rumours ; and the formal pomp
Of these proceedings, to the minds jf all.
Will only signalize an act of outrage.

BtjR. . That is the greatest torment of our Queen,

[_ That she can never 'scape the blame. God ! *]


Had but this lovely mischiei died before
She set her faithless foot on English ground

ir'AUL. . Amen, say I !

BuRr,Ei(JH. Had sickness but consum'd her!

Paul. . England had been secur'd from much misfortune.

Bur. . And yet, if she had died in nature's course.

The world would still have call'd us murderers

Paul. 'Tis true, the world will think, despite of us,
Whate'er it list.

Burleigh. Yet could it not be prov'd ?

And it would make less noise.

Paulet. Why let it make

What noise it may. It is rjot clam'rous blame,
'Tis righteous censure only, which can wound.

Bur We know that holy justice cannot 'scape
The voice of censure ; and the public cry
Is ever on the side of the unhappy :
Envy jjursues the laurell'd conqueror ;
The sword of justice, which adorns the man,
Is hateful in a woman's hand; the world
Will give no credit to a woman's justice,
If woman be the victim. Vain that we,
The judges, spoke what conscience dictated ;
She has the royal privilege of mercy ;
She viust exert it : 'twere not to be borne,
Should she let justice take its full career.

Paul. . And therefore

Burleigh. Therefore should she live ? O ! i]

She must not live ; it must not be. 'Tis this,
Ev'n this, my friend, wliich so disturbs the Queeu,
And scares all slumber from her couch ; I read
Her soul's distracting contest in her eyes ;
She fears to speak her wishes, yet her looks,
Her silent looks, significantly ask,
" Is there not one amongst my many servan
To save me from this sad alternative ?
Either to tremble in eternal fear
Upon my throne, or else to sacrifice
A Queen of my own kindred on the block?"

Paul 'Tis even so ; nor can it be avoided —


Bdr. . Well might it be avoided, thinks the Queen,
Tf she liad only more attentive servants.

Paul. . How more attentive?

Burleigh. Such as could intei-pret

A silent mandate.

Paulet. TMiat ? A silent mandate !

Bur. . Who, when a pois'nous adder is deliver'd

Into their hands, would keep the treach'rous chargo
As if it were a sacred, precious jewel?

Paul. A precious jewel is the Queen's good name,
And spotless leputation : good, my Lord,
One cannot guard it with sufficient care.

Bur. When, out of Shrewsb'ry's hand, the Queen of Scots
Was trusted to Sir Amias Paulet's care.
The meaning was

Paulet. I hope to God, my Lord,

The meaning was, to give the weightiest charge
Into the purest hands : my Lord, my Lord !
By Heav n, I had disdain'd this bailiff's office.
Had I not thought the service claim'd the care
Of the best man that England's realm can boast.
Let me not think I am indebted for it
To any thing but my unblemish'd name.

Bgr. Spread the report, she wastes ; grows sicker still,
And sicker ; and expires at last in peace ;
Thus will she perish in the world's rememb'rance.
And your good name is pure.

Paulet But not my conscience.

Bur. Though you refuse us, Sir, your own assistance.

You will not, sure, prevent another's hand.
Paul. No murd'rer's foot shall e'er approach her threshold,
Whilst she's protected by my household gods.
Her life's a sacred trust ; to me the head
Of Queen Elizabeth is not more sacred.
Ye are the judges ; judge, and break the staff;
And when 'tis time, then let the carpenter.
With axe and saw appear to build the scaffold
My castle's portals shall be open to him.
The sheriff and the executioners :
Till then, she is intrusted to my care ;
And, be assur'd, I will fulfil mv trust.
She shall nor dc, nor suffer what's unjust. [ExiuiU.



Scene I.

London , a Hall in the Palace of Westminster

The Eael of KJENT and Sik William Davison, meeting

Dav Is that my Lord of Kent ? So soon return 'd ?
Is then the tourney, the carousal over ?

Kent. How now ? Were you not present at the tilt ?

Dav. My office kept me here

Kent Believe me, Sir,

You've lost the fairest show which ever taste

Devis'd, or graceful dignity perform "d :

For 'beauty's virgin fortress was presented,

As by Desire invested ; the Earl Marshal,

The Lord High Admiral, and ten other knights,

Belonging to the Queen, defended it.

And France's Cavaliers led the attack.

A herald march'd before the gallant troop.

And summon'd, in a madrigal, the fortress ;

And from the walls the Chancellor replied ;

And then th' artillery was play'd, and nosegays,

Breathing delicious fragrance, were discharg'd

From neat field-pieces ; but in vain, the storm

Was valiantly resisted, and Desire

Was fore'd, unwillingly, to raise the siege

Dav . A sign of evil boding, good, my Lord,
For the French suitors.

Kent Why, you know that this

Was but in sport ; when the attack's in earnest,
The fortress will, no doubt, capitulate.

Dav . Ha I think you so ? I never can believe it

Kent The hardest article of all is now

Adjusted, and acceded to by France :
The Duke of Anjou is content to hold
His holy worship in a private chapel ,
And openly he promises to honour
And to protect the realm's establish 'd faith.
Had you but heard the people's joyful shouts
Whfre'er the tidings spread, for it has been


The country's constant fear the Queen might die.

Without immediate issue of her body ;

And England bear again the Romish chains.

If Mary Stuart should ascend the throne.
Dav. This fear appears superfluous ; sh.e goes

Into the bridal chamber ; Mary Stuart

Enters the gates of death.
Kent. The Queen approaches

Scene II

Enter Elizabeth, led in by Leicester, Count Aubespine,
Bellievre, Lords Shrewsbury a7id Burleigh, with other
French and English Gentlemen.

Elizabeth (to Aubespine).

Count, I am sorry for these noblemen,

Whose gallant zeal hath brought them over sea

To visit these our shores, that they, with us.

Must miss the splendour of St. Germain's court.

Such pompous festivals of godlike state

I cannot furnish, as the royal court

Of France. A sober and contented people.

Which crowd around me with a thousand blessings,

Whene'er in public I present myself:

This is the spectacle which I can show,

And not without some pride, to foreign eyes.

The splendour of the noble dames who bloom

In Cath'rine's beauteous garden would, I know

Eclipse myself, and my more modest merits.

Aub. . The court of England has one lady only,
To show the wond'ring foreigner; but all
That charms our hearts in the aecomplish'd sex,
Is seen united in her single person.

Bel . Great Majesty of England, suffer us

To take our leave, and to our royal master.

The Duke of Anjou, bring the happy news.

Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 14 of 37)