Queen Mary


Scene I

Alfred Tennyson

The Conduit in Gracechurch, painted with the Nine Worthies, among them King Henry VIII. holding a book, on it inscribed ‘Verbum Dei’.


A hundred here and hundreds hang’d in Kent.
The tigress had unsheath’d her nails at last,
And Renard and the Chancellor sharpen’d them.
In every London street a gibbet stood.
They are down to-day. Here by this house was one;
The traitor husband dangled at the door,
And when the traitor wife came out for bread
To still the petty treason therewithin,
Her cap would brush his heels.

                                It is Sir Ralph,
And muttering to himself as heretofore.
Sir, see you aught up yonder?

                                I miss something.
The tree that only bears dead fruit is gone.

What tree, sir?

                        Well, the tree in Virgil, sir,
That bears not its own apples.

                                What! the gallows?

Sir, this dead fruit was ripening overmuch,
And had to be removed lest living Spain
Should sicken at dead England.

                                Not so dead,
But that a shock may rouse her.

                                I believe
Sir Thomas Stafford?

                        I am ill disguised.

Well, are you not in peril here?

                                        I think so.
I came to feel the pulse of England, whether
It beats hard at this marriage. Did you see it?

Stafford, I am a sad man and a serious.
Far liefer had I in my country hall
Been reading some old book, with mine old hound
Couch’d at my hearth, and mine old flask of wine
Beside me, than have seen it: yet I saw it.

Good, was it splendid?

                                Ay, if Dukes, and Earls,
And Counts, and sixty Spanish cavaliers,
Some six or seven Bishops, diamonds, pearls,
That royal commonplace too, cloth of gold, Could make it so.

                        And what was Mary’s dress?

Good faith, I was too sorry for the woman
To mark the dress. She wore red shoes!

                                        Red shoes!

Scarlet, as if her feet were wash’d in blood,
As if she had waded in it.

                                Were your eyes
So bashful that you look’d no higher?

                                        A diamond,
And Philip’s gift, as proof of Philip’s love,
Who hath not any for any,—tho’ a true one,
Blazed false upon her heart.

                                But this proud Prince—

Nay, he is King, you know, the King of Naples.
The father ceded Naples, that the son
Being a King, might wed a Queen—O he
Flamed in brocade—white satin his trunk-hose,
Inwrought with silver,—on his neck a collar,
Gold, thick with diamonds; hanging down from this
The Golden Fleece—and round his knee, misplaced,
Our English Garter, studded with great emeralds,
Rubies, I know not what. Have you had enough
Of all this gear?

Ay, since you hate the telling it.
How look’d the Queen?

                        No fairer for her jewels.
And I could see that as the new-made couple
Came from the Minster, moving side by side
Beneath one canopy, ever and anon
She cast on him a vassal smile of love,
Which Philip with a glance of some distaste,
Or so methought, return’d. I may be wrong, sir.
This marriage will not hold.

                                I think with you.
The King of France will help to break it.

We have once had half of France, and hurl’d our battles
Into the heart of Spain; but England now
Is but a ball chuck’d between France and Spain,
His in whose hand she drops; Harry of Bolingbroke
Had holpen Richard’s tottering throne to stand,
Could Harry have foreseen that all our nobles
Would perish on the civil slaughter-field,
And leave the people naked to the crown,
And the crown naked to the people; the crown
Female, too! Sir, no woman’s regimen
Can save us. We are fallen, and as I think,
Never to rise again.

                        You are too black-blooded.
I’d make a move myself to hinder that:
I know some lusty fellows there in France.

You would but make us weaker, Thomas Stafford.
Wyatt was a good soldier, yet he fail’d,
And strengthen’d Philip.

                        Did not his last breath
Clear Courtenay and the Princess from the charge
Of being his co-rebels?

                        Ay, but then
What such a one as Wyatt says is nothing:
We have no men among us. The new Lords
Are quieted with their sop of Abbeylands,
And ev’n before the Queen’s face Gardiner buys them
With Philip’s gold. All greed, no faith, no courage!
Why, ev’n the haughty prince, Northumberland,
The leader of our Reformation, knelt
And blubber’d like a lad, and on the scaffold
Recanted, and resold himself to Rome.

I swear you do your country wrong, Sir Ralph.
I know a set of exiles over there,
Dare-devils, that would eat fire and spit it out
At Philip’s beard: they pillage Spain already.
The French King winks at it. An hour will come
When they will sweep her from the seas. No men?
Did not Lord Suffolk die like a true man?
Is not Lord William Howard a true man?
Yea, you yourself, altho’ you are black-blooded:
And I, by God, believe myself a man.
Ay, even in the church there is a man—
Fly would he not, when all men bad him fly.
And what a letter he wrote against the Pope!
There’s a brave man, if any.

                                Ay; if it hold.

    CROWD (coming on).
God save their Graces!

                        Bagenhall, I see
The Tudor green and white. (Trumpets.) They are coming now.
And here’s a crowd as thick as herring-shoals.

Be limpets to this pillar, or we are torn
Down the strong wave of brawlers.

God save their Graces!

[Procession of Trumpeters, Javelin-men, etc.; then
Spanish and Flemish Nobles intermingled

Worth seeing, Bagenhall! These black dog-Dons
Garb themselves bravely. Who’s the long-face there,
Looks very Spain of very Spain?

                                The Duke
Of Alva, an iron soldier.

                                And the Dutchman,
Now laughing at some jest?

                                William of Orange,
William the Silent.

                        Why do they call him so?

He keeps, they say, some secret that may cost
Philip his life.

                But then he looks so merry.

I cannot tell you why they call him so.

[The KING and QUEEN pass, attended by Peers of
the Realm, Officers of State, etc. Cannon shot off

Philip and Mary, Philip and Mary!
Long live the King and Queen, Philip and Mary!

They smile as if content with one another.

A smile abroad is oft a scowl at home.

[KING and QUEEN pass on. Procession.

I thought this Philip had been one of those black devils of Spain, but he hath a yellow beard.

Not red like Iscariot’s.

Like a carrot’s, as thou say’st, and English carrot’s better than Spanish licorice; but I thought he was a beast.

Certain I had heard that every Spaniard carries a tail like a devil under his trunk-hose.

Ay, but see what trunk-hoses! Lord! they be fine; I never stitch’d none such. They make amends for the tails.

Tut! every Spanish priest will tell you that all English heretics have tails.

Death and the Devil—if he find I have one—

Lo! thou hast call’d them up! here they come—a pale horse for Death and Gardiner for the Devil.

Enter GARDINER (turning back from the procession).

Knave, wilt thou wear thy cap before the Queen?

My Lord, I stand so squeezed among the crowd I cannot lift my hands unto my head.

Knock off his cap there, some of you about him!
See there be others that can use their hands.
Thou art one of Wyatt’s men?

                                No, my Lord, no.

Thy name, thou knave?

                                I am nobody, my Lord.

    GARDINER (shouting).
God’s passion! knave, thy name?

                                        I have ears to hear.

Ay, rascal, if I leave thee ears to hear.
Find out his name and bring it me (to ATTENDANT).

                                Ay, my Lord.

Knave, thou shalt lose thine ears and find thy tongue,
And shalt be thankful if I leave thee that.

[Coming before the Conduit.
The conduit painted—the nine worthies—ay!
But then what’s here? King Harry with a scroll.
Ha—Verbum Dei—verbum—word of God!
God’s passion! do you know the knave that painted it?

I do, my Lord.

                        Tell him to paint it out,
And put some fresh device in lieu of it—
A pair of gloves, a pair of gloves, sir; ha?
There is no heresy there.

                        I will, my Lord;
The man shall paint a pair of gloves. I am sure
(Knowing the man) he wrought it ignorantly,
And not from any malice.

                        Word of God
In English! over this the brainless loons
That cannot spell Esaias from St. Paul,
Make themselves drunk and mad, fly out and flare
Into rebellions. I’ll have their bibles burnt.
The bible is the priest’s. Ay! fellow, what!
Stand staring at me! shout, you gaping rogue!

I have, my Lord, shouted till I am hoarse.

What hast thou shouted, knave?

                                                Long live Queen Mary!

Knave, there be two. There be both King and Queen,
Philip and Mary. Shout!

                                Nay, but, my Lord,
The Queen comes first, Mary and Philip.

                                                Shout, then,
Mary and Philip!

                        Mary and Philip!

Thou hast shouted for thy pleasure, shout for mine!
Philip and Mary!

                        Must it be so, my Lord?

Ay, knave.

                        Philip and Mary!

                                I distrust thee.
Thine is a half voice and a lean assent.
What is thy name?


                                What else?


Where dost thou live?

                                        In Cornhill.

                                                Where, knave, where?

Sign of the Talbot.

                        Come to me to-morrow.—
Rascal!—this land is like a hill of fire,
One crater opens when another shuts.
But so I get the laws against the heretic,
Spite of Lord Paget and Lord William Howard,
And others of our Parliament, revived,
I will show fire on my side—stake and fire—
Sharp work and short. The knaves are easily cow’d.
Follow their Majesties.

[Exit. The crowd following.

                        As proud as Becket.

You would not have him murder’d as Becket was?

No—murder fathers murder: but I say
There is no man—there was one woman with us—
It was a sin to love her married, dead
I cannot choose but love her.

                                Lady Jane?

    CROWD (going off).
God save their Graces!

                        Did you see her die?

No, no; her innocent blood had blinded me.
You call me too black-blooded—true enough
Her dark dead blood is in my heart with mine.
If ever I cry out against the Pope
Her dark dead blood that ever moves with mine
Will stir the living tongue and make the cry.

Yet doubtless you can tell me how she died?

Seventeen—and knew eight languages—in music
Peerless—her needle perfect, and her learning
Beyond the churchmen; yet so meek, so modest,
So wife-like humble to the trivial boy
Mismatch’d with her for policy! I have heard
She would not take a last farewell of him,
She fear’d it might unman him for his end.
She could not be unmann’d—no, nor outwoman’d—
Seventeen—a rose of grace!
Girl never breathed to rival such a rose;
Rose never blew that equall’d such a bud.

                                        Pray you go on.

She came upon the scaffold,
And said she was condemn’d to die for treason;
She had but follow’d the device of those
Her nearest kin: she thought they knew the laws.
But for herself, she knew but little law,
And nothing of the titles to the crown;
She had no desire for that, and wrung her hands,
And trusted God would save her thro’ the blood
Of Jesus Christ alone.

                        Pray you go on.

Then knelt and said the Misere Mei—
But all in English, mark you; rose again,
And, when the headsman pray’d to be forgiven,
Said, ‘You will give me my true crown at last,
But do it quickly;’ then all wept but she,
Who changed not colour when she saw the block,
But ask’d him, childlike: ‘Will you take it off
Before I lay me down?’ ‘No, madam,’ he said,
Gasping; and when her innocent eyes were bound,
She, with her poor blind hands feeling—‘where is it?
Where is it?’—You must fancy that which follow’d,
If you have heart to do it!

    CROWD (in the distance).
                                God save their Graces!

Their Graces, our disgraces! God confound them!
Why, she’s grown bloodier! when I last was here,
This was against her conscience—would be murder!

The ‘Thou shall do no murder,’ which God’s hand
Wrote on her conscience, Mary rubb’d out pale—
She could not make it white—and over that,
Traced in the blackest text of Hell—‘Thou shall!’
And sign’d it—Mary!

                        Philip and the Pope
Must have sign’d too. I hear this Legate’s coming
To bring us absolution from the Pope.
The Lords and Commons will bow down before him—
You are of the house? what will you do, Sir Ralph?

And why should I be bolder than the rest,
Or honester than all?

                        But, sir, if I—
And oversea they say this state of yours
Hath no more mortice than a tower of cards;
And that a puff would do it—then if I
And others made that move I touch’d upon,
Back’d by the power of France, and landing here,
Came with a sudden splendour, shout, and show,
And dazzled men and deafen’d by some bright
Loud venture, and the people so unquiet—
And I the race of murder’d Buckingham—
Not for myself, but for the kingdom—Sir,
I trust that you would fight along with us.

No; you would fling your lives into the gulf.

But if this Philip, as he’s like to do,
Left Mary a wife-widow here alone,
Set up a viceroy, sent his myriads hither
To seize upon the forts and fleet, and make us
A Spanish province; would you not fight then?

I think I should fight then.

                                I am sure of it.
Hist! there’s the face coming on here of one
Who knows me. I must leave you. Fare you well,
You’ll hear of me again.

                        Upon the scaffold.


Queen Mary - Contents     |     Act III - Scene II

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