Queen Mary

Act II

Scene II

Alfred Tennyson



I trust the Queen comes hither with her guards.

Ay, all in arms.

[Several of the citizens move hastily out of the hall.
Why do they hurry out there?

My Lord, cut out the rotten from your apple,
Your apple eats the better. Let them go.
They go like those old Pharisees in John
Convicted by their conscience, arrant cowards,
Or tamperers with that treason out of Kent.
When will her Grace be here?

                        In some few minutes.
She will address your guilds and companies.
I have striven in vain to raise a man for her.
But help her in this exigency, make
Your city loyal, and be the mightiest man
This day in England.

                        I am Thomas White.
Few things have fail’d to which I set my will.
I do my most and best.

                        You know that after
The Captain Brett, who went with your train bands
To fight with Wyatt, had gone over to him
With all his men, the Queen in that distress
Sent Cornwallis and Hastings to the traitor,
Feigning to treat with him about her marriage—
Know too what Wyatt said.

                        He’d sooner be,
While this same marriage question was being argued,
Trusted than trust—the scoundrel—and demanded
Possession of her person and the Tower.

And four of her poor Council too, my Lord,
As hostages.

                I know it. What do and say
Your Council at this hour?

                                I will trust you.
We fling ourselves on you, my Lord. The Council,
The Parliament as well, are troubled waters;
And yet like waters of the fen they know not
Which way to flow. All hangs on her address,
And upon you, Lord Mayor.

                        How look’d the city
When now you past it? Quiet?

                                Like our Council,
Your city is divided. As we past,
Some hail’d, some hiss’d us. There were citizens
Stood each before his shut-up booth, and look’d
As grim and grave as from a funeral.
And here a knot of ruffians all in rags,
With execrating execrable eyes,
Glared at the citizen. Here was a young mother,
Her face on flame, her red hair all blown back,
She shrilling ‘Wyatt,’ while the boy she held
Mimick’d and piped her ‘Wyatt,’ as red as she
In hair and cheek; and almost elbowing her,
So close they stood, another, mute as death,
And white as her own milk; her babe in arms
Had felt the faltering of his mother’s heart,
And look’d as bloodless. Here a pious Catholic,
Mumbling and mixing up in his scared prayers
Heaven and earth’s Maries; over his bow’d shoulder
Scowl’d that world-hated and world-hating beast,
A haggard Anabaptist. Many such groups.
The names of Wyatt, Elizabeth, Courtenay,
Nay the Queen’s right to reign—’fore God, the rogues—
Were freely buzzed among them. So I say
Your city is divided, and I fear
One scruple, this or that way, of success
Would turn it thither. Wherefore now the Queen
In this low pulse and palsy of the state,
Bad me to tell you that she counts on you
And on myself as her two hands; on you,
In your own city, as her right, my Lord,
For you are loyal.

                        Am I Thomas White?
One word before she comes. Elizabeth—
Her name is much abused among these traitors.
Where is she? She is loved by all of us.
I scarce have heart to mingle in this matter,
If she should be mishandled.

                                No; she shall not.
The Queen had written her word to come to court:
Methought I smelt out Renard in the letter,
And fearing for her, sent a secret missive,
Which told her to be sick. Happily or not,
It found her sick indeed.

                        God send her well;
Here comes her Royal Grace.

SIR THOMAS WHITE leads her to a raised seat on the dais.

I, the Lord Mayor, and these our companies
And guilds of London, gathered here, beseech
Your Highness to accept our lowliest thanks
For your most princely presence; and we pray
That we, your true and loyal citizens,
From your own royal lips, at once may know
The wherefore of this coming, and so learn
Your royal will, and do it.—I, Lord Mayor
Of London, and our guilds and companies.

In mine own person am I come to you,
To tell you what indeed ye see and know,
How traitorously these rebels out of Kent
Have made strong head against ourselves and you.
They would not have me wed the Prince of Spain:
That was their pretext—so they spake at first—
But we sent divers of our Council to them,
And by their answers to the question ask’d,
It doth appear this marriage is the least
Of all their quarrel.
They have betrayed the treason of their hearts:
Seek to possess our person, hold our Tower,
Place and displace our councillors, and use
Both us and them according as they will.
Now what I am ye know right well—your Queen;
To whom, when I was wedded to the realm
And the realm’s laws (the spousal ring whereof,
Not ever to be laid aside, I wear
Upon this finger), ye did promise full
Allegiance and obedience to the death.
Ye know my father was the rightful heir
Of England, and his right came down to me
Corroborate by your acts of Parliament:
And as ye were most loving unto him,
So doubtless will ye show yourselves to me.
Wherefore, ye will not brook that anyone
Should seize our person, occupy our state,
More specially a traitor so presumptuous
As this same Wyatt, who hath tamper’d with
A public ignorance, and, under colour
Of such a cause as hath no colour, seeks
To bend the laws to his own will, and yield
Full scope to persons rascal and forlorn,
To make free spoil and havock of your goods.
Now as your Prince, I say,
I, that was never mother, cannot tell
How mothers love their children; yet, methinks,
A prince as naturally may love his people
As these their children; and be sure your Queen
So loves you, and so loving, needs must deem
This love by you return’d as heartily;
And thro’ this common knot and bond of love,
Doubt not they will be speedily overthrown.
As to this marriage, ye shall understand
We made thereto no treaty of ourselves,
And set no foot theretoward unadvised
Of all our Privy Council; furthermore,
This marriage had the assent of those to whom
The king, my father, did commit his trust;
Who not alone esteem’d it honourable,
But for the wealth and glory of our realm,
And all our loving subjects, most expedient.
As to myself,
I am not so set on wedlock as to choose
But where I list, nor yet so amorous
That I must needs be husbanded; I thank God,
I have lived a virgin, and I noway doubt
But that with God’s grace, I can live so still.
Yet if it might please God that I should leave
Some fruit of mine own body after me,
To be your king, ye would rejoice thereat,
And it would be your comfort, as I trust;
And truly, if I either thought or knew
This marriage should bring loss or danger to you,
My subjects, or impair in any way
This royal state of England, I would never
Consent thereto, nor marry while I live;
Moreover, if this marriage should not seem,
Before our own High Court of Parliament,
To be of rich advantage to our realm,
We will refrain, and not alone from this,
Likewise from any other, out of which
Looms the least chance of peril to our realm.
Wherefore be bold, and with your lawful Prince
Stand fast against our enemies and yours,
And fear them not. I fear them not. My Lord,
I leave Lord William Howard in your city,
To guard and keep you whole and safe from all
The spoil and sackage aim’d at by these rebels,
Who mouth and foam against the Prince of Spain.

Long live Queen Mary!
                  Down with Wyatt!
                                      The Queen!

Three voices from our guilds and companies!
You are shy and proud like Englishmen, my masters,
And will not trust your voices. Understand:
Your lawful Prince hath come to cast herself
On loyal hearts and bosoms, hoped to fall
Into the wide-spread arms of fealty,
And finds you statues. Speak at once—and all!
For whom?
Our sovereign Lady by King Harry’s will;
The Queen of England—or the Kentish Squire?
I know you loyal. Speak! in the name of God!
The Queen of England or the rabble of Kent?
The reeking dungfork master of the mace!
Your havings wasted by the scythe and spade—
Your rights and charters hobnail’d into slush—
Your houses fired—your gutters bubbling blood—

No! No! The Queen! the Queen!

                                        Your Highness hears
This burst and bass of loyal harmony,
And how we each and all of us abhor
The venomous, bestial, devilish revolt
Of Thomas Wyatt. Hear us now make oath
To raise your Highness thirty thousand men,
And arm and strike as with one hand, and brush
This Wyatt from our shoulders, like a flea
That might have leapt upon us unawares.
Swear with me, noble fellow-citizens, all,
With all your trades, and guilds, and companies.

We swear!

We thank your Lordship and your loyal city.

[Exit MARY attended.

I trust this day, thro’ God, I have saved the crown.

Ay, so my Lord of Pembroke in command
Of all her force be safe; but there are doubts.

I hear that Gardiner, coming with the Queen,
And meeting Pembroke, bent to his saddle-bow,
As if to win the man by flattering him.
Is he so safe to fight upon her side?

If not, there’s no man safe.

                                       Yes, Thomas White.
I am safe enough; no man need flatter me.

Nay, no man need; but did you mark our Queen?
The colour freely play’d into her face,
And the half sight which makes her look so stern,
Seem’d thro’ that dim dilated world of hers,
To read our faces; I have never seen her
So queenly or so goodly.

                                        Courage, sir,
That makes or man or woman look their goodliest.
Die like the torn fox dumb, but never whine
Like that poor heart, Northumberland, at the block.

The man had children, and he whined for those.
Methinks most men are but poor-hearted, else
Should we so doat on courage, were it commoner?
The Queen stands up, and speaks for her own self;
And all men cry, She is queenly, she is goodly.
Yet she’s no goodlier; tho’ my Lord Mayor here,
By his own rule, he hath been so bold to-day,
Should look more goodly than the rest of us.

Goodly? I feel most goodly heart and hand,
And strong to throw ten Wyatts and all Kent.
Ha! ha! sir; but you jest; I love it: a jest
In time of danger shows the pulses even.
Be merry! yet, Sir Ralph, you look but sad.
I dare avouch you’d stand up for yourself,
Tho’ all the world should bay like winter wolves.

Who knows? the man is proven by the hour.

The man should make the hour, not this the man;
And Thomas White will prove this Thomas Wyatt,
And he will prove an Iden to this Cade,
And he will play the Walworth to this Wat;
Come, sirs, we prate; hence all—gather your men—
Myself must bustle. Wyatt comes to Southwark;
I’ll have the drawbridge hewn into the Thames,
And see the citizens arm’d. Good day; good day.

[Exit White.

One of much outdoor bluster.

                                For all that,
Most honest, brave, and skilful; and his wealth
A fountain of perennial alms—his fault
So thoroughly to believe in his own self.

Yet thoroughly to believe in one’s own self,
So one’s own self be thorough, were to do
Great things, my Lord.

                        It may be.

                            I have heard
One of your Council fleer and jeer at him.

The nursery-cocker’d child will jeer at aught
That may seem strange beyond his nursery.
The statesman that shall jeer and fleer at men,
Makes enemies for himself and for his king;
And if he jeer not seeing the true man
Behind his folly, he is thrice the fool;
And if he see the man and still will jeer,
He is child and fool, and traitor to the State.
Who is he? let me shun him.

                        Nay, my Lord,
He is damn’d enough already.

                        I must set
The guard at Ludgate. Fare you well, Sir Ralph.

‘Who knows?’ I am for England. But who knows,
That knows the Queen, the Spaniard, and the Pope,
Whether I be for Wyatt, or the Queen?


Queen Mary - Contents     |     Act II - Scene III

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