MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS:
Quod tibi vitae sors detraxit,
Fama adjiciet posthuma laudi;
Nostris longum tu dolor et honor.
1 THE balmy Zephyrs o'er the woodland stray,
2 And gently stir the bosom of the lake:
3 The fawns that panting in the covert lay,
4 Now thro' the bloomy park their revels take.
5 Pale rise the rugged hills that skirt the North,
6 The wood glows yellow by the evening rays,
7 Silent and beauteous flows the silver Forth,
8 And Aman murmuring thro' the willows strays.
9 But ah! what means this silence in the grove,
10 Where oft the wild-notes sooth'd the love-sick boy?
11 Why cease in Mary's bower the songs of Love,
12 The songs of Love, of Innocence, and Joy?
13 When bright the lake reflects the setting ray,
14 The sportive virgins tread the flowery green;
15 And by the moon, full oft in chearful May,
16 The merry bride-maids at the dance are seen.
17 But who these Nymphs that thro' the copse appear
18 In robes of white adorn'd with violet blue?
19 Fondly with purple flowers they deck yon bier,
20 And wave in solemn pomp the boughs of yew.
21 Supreme in grief, her eye confus'd with woe,
22 Appears the Lady of th' aërial train,
23 Tall as the sylvan Goddess of the bow,
24 And fair as she who wept Adonis slain.
25 Such was the pomp when Gilead's virgin band,
26 Wandering by Judah's flowery mountains, wept,
27 And with fair Iphis by the hallowed strand
28 Of Siloe's brook a mournful sabbath kept.
29 By the resplendent cross with thistles twin'd,
30 'Tis Mary's Guardian Genius lost in woe:
31 "Ah say, what deepest wrongs have thus combin'd
32 " To heave with restless sighs thy breast of snow!
33 "Oh stay, ye Dryads, nor unfinish'd fly
34 " Your solemn rites; here comes no foot profane:
35 "The Muses' son, and hallowed is his eye,
36 " Implores your stay, implores to join the strain.
37 "See, from her cheek the glowing life-blush flies;
38 " Alas, what faultering sounds of woe be these!
39 "Ye Nymphs, who fondly watch her languid eyes,
40 " Oh say, what music will her soul appease! "
41 "Resound the solemn dirge, the Nymphs reply,
42 " And let the turtles moan in Mary's bower,
43 "Let Grief indulge her grand sublimity,
44 " And Melancholy wake her melting power:
45 "For Art has triumph'd; Art, that never stood
46 " On Honour's side, or generous transport knew,
47 "Has dy'd its haggard hands in Mary's blood,
48 " And o'er her fame has breath'd its blighting dew.
49 "But come, ye Nymphs, ye woodland Spirits, come,
50 " And with funereal flowers your tresses braid,
51 "While in this hallowed grove we raise the tomb,
52 " And consecrate the song to Mary's shade.
53 "O sing what smiles her youthful morning wore,
54 " Her's every charm, and every liveliest grace;
55 "When Nature's happiest touch could add no more,
56 " Heaven lent an angel's beauty to her face.
57 "O! whether by the moss grown bushy dell,
58 " Where from the oak depends the misletoe,
59 "Where creeping ivy shades the Druid's cell,
60 " Where from the rock the gurgling waters flow;
61 "Or whether sportive o'er the cowslip beds,
62 " You thro' the haunted dales of Mona glide,
63 "Or brush the upland lea, when Cynthia sheds
64 " Her silvery light on Snowdon's hoary side:
65 "Hither, ye gentle Guardians of the Fair,
66 " By Virtue's tears, by weeping Beauty, come;
67 "Unbind the festive robes, unbind the hair,
68 " And wave the cypress bough at Mary's tomb.
69 "And come, ye fleet Magicians of the air,
70 " The mournful Lady of the chorus cry'd,
71 "Your airy tints of baleful hue prepare,
72 " And thro' this grove bid Mary's fortunes glide:
73 "And let the song with solemn harping join'd,
74 " And wailing notes unfold the tale of woe. "
75 She spoke, and waking thro' the breathing wind
76 From lyres unseen the solemn harpings flow.
77 The song began: "How bright her early morn!
78 " What lasting joys her smiling fate portends!
79 "To wield the awful British scepters born,
80 " And Gaul's young heir her bridal-bed ascends.
81 "See, round her bed, light-floating on the air
82 " The little Loves their purple wings display
83 "When sudden, shrieking at the dismal glare
84 " Of funeral torches, far they speed away.
85 "Far with the Loves each blissful omen speeds,
86 " Her eighteenth April hears her widow'd moan;
87 "The bridal bed the sable hearse succeeds,
88 " And struggling Factions shake her native throne.
89 "No more a Goddess in the swimming dance
90 " Mayst thou, O Queen, thy lovely form display;
91 "No more thy beauty reign the charm of France,
92 " Nor in Versailles' proud bowers outshine the day.
93 "A nation stern and stubborn to command,
94 " And now convuls'd with Faction's fiercest rage,
95 "Commits its scepter to thy gentle hand,
96 " And asks a bridle from thy tender age.
97 "Domestic bliss, that dear, that sovereign joy,
98 " Far from her hearth was seen to speed away;
99 "Strait dark-brow'd Factions entering in destroy
100 " The seeds of peace, and mark her for their prey.
101 "No more by moon-shine to the nuptial bower
102 " Her Francis comes, by Love's soft fetters led;
103 "Far other spouse now wakes her midnight hour,
104 " Enrag'd, and reeking from the harlot's bed.
105 "Ah! draw the veil," shrill trembles thro' the air:
106 The veil was drawn, but darker scenes arose,
107 Another nuptial couch the Fates prepare,
108 The baleful teeming source of deeper woes.
109 The bridal torch her Evil Angel wav'd,
110 Far from the couch offended Prudence fled;
111 Of deepest crimes deceitful Faction rav'd,
112 And rous'd her trembling from the fatal bed.
113 The hinds are seen in arms, and glittering spears
114 Instead of crooks the Grampian shepherds wield;
115 Fanatic rage the plowman's visage wears,
116 And red with slaughter lies the harvest-field.
117 From Borthwick field, deserted and forlorn,
118 The beauteous Queen all tears is seen to fly;
119 Now thro' the streets a weeping captive borne,
120 Her woes the triumph of the vulgar eye.
121 Again the vision shifts the fatal scene;
122 Again forlorn from rebel arms she flies,
123 And unsuspecting on a sister Queen
124 The lovely injur'd fugitive relies.
125 When Wisdom baffled owns th' attempt in vain,
126 Heaven oft delights to set the virtuous free:
127 Some friend appears, and breaks Affliction's chain,
128 But ah, no generous friend appears for thee!
129 A prison's ghastly walls and grated cells
130 Deform'd the airy scenery as it past;
131 The haunt where listless Melancholy dwells,
132 Where every genial feeling shrinks aghast.
133 No female eye her sickly bed to tenda
a A fact.!
134 "Ah cease to tell it in the female ear!
135 A woman's stern command! a proffer'd friend!
136 " Oh generous passion, peace, forbear, forbear!
137 "And could, oh Tudor, could thy breast retain
138 " No softening thought of what thy woes had been,
139 "When thou, the heir of England's crown, in vain
140 " Didst sue the mercy of a tyrant Queen?
141 "And could no pang from tender memory wake,
142 " And feel those woes that once had been thine own;
143 "No pleading tear to drop for Mary's sake,
144 " For Mary's sake, the heir of England's throne?
145 "Alas! no pleading pang thy memory knew,
146 " Dry'd were the tears which for thyself had flow'd;
147 "Dark politics alone engag'd thy view;
148 " With female jealousy thy bosom glow'd.
149 "And say, did Wisdom own thy stern command?
150 " Did Honour wave his banner o'er the deed?
151 "No; — Mary's fate thy name shall ever brand,
152 " And ever o'er her woes shall Pity bleed.
153 "The babe that prattled on his nurse's knee,
154 " When first thy woeful captive hours began,
155 "Ere heaven, oh hapless Mary, set thee free,
156 " That babe to battle march'd in arms a man. "
157 An awful pause ensues — With speaking eyes,
158 And hands half rais'd, the guardian Wood Nymphs wait,
159 While slow and sad the airy scenes arise,
160 Stain'd with the last deep woes of Mary's fate.
161 With dreary black hung round the hall appears,
162 The thirsty saw-dust strews the marble floor,
163 Blue gleams the ax, the block its shoulders rears,
164 And pikes and halberts guard the iron door.
165 The clouded moon her dreary glimpses shed,
166 And Mary's maids, a mournful train, pass by;
167 Languid they walk, and listless hang the head,
168 And silent tears pace down from every eye.
169 Serene and nobly mild appears the Queen,
170 She smiles on heaven, and bows the injur'd head:
171 The ax is lifted — from the deathful scene
172 The Guardians turn'd, and all the picture fled:
173 It fled: the Wood Nymphs o'er the distant lawn,
174 As rapt in vision, dart their earnest eyes;
175 So when the huntsman hears the rustling sawn,
176 He stands impatient of the starting prize.
177 The sovereign Dame her awful eye-balls roll'd,
178 As Cuma's maid when by the God inspir'd;
179 "The depths of ages to my sight unfold,"
180 She cries, "and Mary's meed my breast has fir'd.
181 "On Tudor's throne her Sons shall ever reign,
182 " Age after age shall see their flag unfurl'd,
183 "With sovereign pride, where-ever roars the main,
184 " Stream to the wind, and awe the trembling world.
185 "Nor in their Britain shall they reign alone,
186 " Age after age through lengthening time shall see
187 "Her branching race on Europe's every throne,
188 " And Goths and Vandals bend to them the knee.
189 "But Tudor as a fruitless gourd shall die;
190 " I see her death-scene — On the lowly flore
191 "Dreary she sits, cold Grief has glass'd her eye,
192 " And Anguish gnaws her till she breathes no more.
193 But hark — loud howling thro' the midnight gloom,
194 Faction is rous'd, and sends her baleful yell!
195 Oh save, ye generous few, your Mary's tomb,
196 Oh save her ashes from the blasting spell:
197 "And see where Time with brighten'd face serene,
198 " Points to yon far, but gloricus opening sky;
199 "See Truth walk forth, majestic awful Queen,
200 " And Party's blackening mists before her fly.
201 "Falshood unmask'd withdraws her ugly train,
202 " And Mary's virtues all illustrious shine —
203 "Yes, thou hast friends, the godlike and humane
204 " Of latest ages, injur'd Queen, are thine. "
205 The milky splendors of the dawning ray
206 Now thro' the grove a trembling radiance shed,
207 With sprightly note the wood-lark hail'd the day,
208 And with the moonshine all the vision fledb
b The Author of this little Poem to the memory of an unhappy Princess is unwilling to enter into the controversy respecting her guilt or her innocence. Suffice it only to observe, that the following facts may be proved to demonstration: The Letters, which have been always esteemed as the principal proof of Queen Mary's guilt, are forged: Buchanan, on whose authority Thuanus and other historians have condemned her, has falsified several circumstances of her history, and has cited against her public records which never existed: And, to add no more; The treatment she received from her illustrious Cousin was dictated by a policy truly Machiavelian, which trampled on the obligations of Honour, of Humanity, and Morality. From whence it may be inferred, That, to express the indignation at the cruel treatment of Mary which History must ever inspire, and to drop a tear on her sufferings, is not unworthy of a writer who would appear in the cause of Virtue..