Queen Mary


Scene III

Alfred Tennyson

Great Hall in Whitehall

At the far end a dais. On this three chairs, two under one canopy
MARY and PHILIP, another on the right of these for POLE.
Under the dais on POLE’S side, ranged along the wall, sit all the
Spiritual Peers, and along the wall opposite, all the Temporal. The
Commons on cross benches in front, a line of approach to the dais
between them. In the foreground
Members of the Commons

St. Andrew’s day; sit close, sit close, we are friends.
Is reconciled the word? the Pope again?
It must be thus; and yet, cocksbody! how strange
That Gardiner, once so one with all of us
Against this foreign marriage, should have yielded
So utterly!—strange! but stranger still that he,
So fierce against the Headship of the Pope,
Should play the second actor in this pageant
That brings him in; such a cameleon he!

This Gardiner turn’d his coat in Henry’s time;
The serpent that hath slough’d will slough again.

Tut, then we all are serpents.

Speak for yourself.

Ay, and for Gardiner! being English citizen,
How should he bear a bridegroom out of Spain?
The Queen would have him! being English churchman
How should he bear the headship of the Pope?
The Queen would have it! Statesmen that are wise
Shape a necessity, as a sculptor clay,
To their own model.

Statesmen that are wise
Take truth herself for model. What say you?


We talk and talk.

Ay, and what use to talk?
Philip’s no sudden alien—the Queen’s husband,
He’s here, and king, or will be—yet cocksbody!
So hated here! I watch’d a hive of late;
My seven-years’ friend was with me, my young boy;
Out crept a wasp, with half the swarm behind.
‘Philip!’ says he. I had to cuff the rogue
For infant treason.

                But they say that bees,
If any creeping life invade their hive
Too gross to be thrust out, will build him round,
And bind him in from harming of their combs.
And Philip by these articles is bound
From stirring hand or foot to wrong the realm.

By bonds of beeswax, like your creeping thing;
But your wise bees had stung him first to death.

Hush, hush!
You wrong the Chancellor: the clauses added
To that same treaty which the emperor sent us
Were mainly Gardiner’s: that no foreigner
Hold office in the household, fleet, forts, army;
That if the Queen should die without a child,
The bond between the kingdoms be dissolved;
That Philip should not mix us any way
With his French wars—

Ay, ay, but what security,
Good sir, for this, if Philip——

Peace—the Queen, Philip, and Pole.

[All rise, and stand.


[GARDINER conducts them to the three chairs of state.
PHILIP sits on the QUEEN’S left, POLE on her right.

Our short-lived sun, before his winter plunge,
Laughs at the last red leaf, and Andrew’s Day.

Should not this day be held in after years
More solemn than of old?

                        Madam, my wish
Echoes your Majesty’s.

                        It shall be so.

Mine echoes both your Graces’; (aside) but the Pope—
Can we not have the Catholic church as well
Without as with the Italian? if we cannot,
Why then the Pope.
                        My lords of the upper house,
And ye, my masters, of the lower house,
Do ye stand fast by that which ye resolved?

We do.

And be you all one mind to supplicate
The Legate here for pardon, and acknowledge
The primacy of the Pope?

We are all one mind.

Then must I play the vassal to this Pole.        [Aside.

[He draws a paper from under his robes and
presents it to the
KING and QUEEN, who look
through it and return it to him; then ascends
a tribune, and reads

We, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal,
And Commons here in Parliament assembled,
Presenting the whole body of this realm
Of England, and dominions of the same,
Do make most humble suit unto your Majesties,
In our own name and that of all the state,
That by your gracious means and intercession
Our supplication be exhibited
To the Lord Cardinal Pole, sent here as Legate
From our most Holy Father Julius, Pope,
And from the Apostolic see of Rome;
And do declare our penitence and grief
For our long schism and disobedience,
Either in making laws and ordinances
Against the Holy Father’s primacy,
Or else by doing or by speaking aught
Which might impugn or prejudice the same;
By this our supplication promising,
As well for our own selves as all the realm,
That now we be and ever shall be quick,
Under and with your Majesties’ authorities,
To do to the utmost all that in us lies
Towards the abrogation and repeal
Of all such laws and ordinances made;
Whereon we humbly pray your Majesties,
As persons undefiled with our offence,
So to set forth this humble suit of ours
That we the rather by your intercession
May from the Apostolic see obtain,
Thro’ this most reverend Father, absolution,
And full release from danger of all censures
Of Holy Church that we be fall’n into,
So that we may, as children penitent,
Be once again received into the bosom
And unity of Universal Church;
And that this noble realm thro’ after years
May in this unity and obedience
Unto the holy see and reigning Pope
Serve God and both your Majesties.


[All sit.

[He again presents the petition to the KING and
QUEEN, who hand it reverentially to POLE.

    POLE (sitting).
This is the loveliest day that ever smiled
On England. All her breath should, incenselike,
Rise to the heavens in grateful praise of Him
Who now recalls her to His ancient fold.
Lo! once again God to this realm hath given
A token of His more especial Grace;
For as this people were the first of all
The islands call’d into the dawning church
Out of the dead, deep night of heathendom,
So now are these the first whom God hath given
Grace to repent and sorrow for their schism;
And if your penitence be not mockery,
Oh how the blessed angels who rejoice
Over one saved do triumph at this hour
In the reborn salvation of a land
So noble.        [A pause.
                For ourselves we do protest
That our commission is to heal, not harm;
We come not to condemn, but reconcile;
We come not to compel, but call again;
We come not to destroy, but edify;
Nor yet to question things already done;
These are forgiven—matters of the past—
And range with jetsam and with offal thrown
Into the blind sea of forgetfulness.        [A pause.
Ye have reversed the attainder laid on us
By him who sack’d the house of God; and we,
Amplier than any field on our poor earth
Can render thanks in fruit for being sown,
Do here and now repay you sixty-fold,
A hundred, yea, a thousand thousand-fold,
With heaven for earth.

[Rising and stretching forth his hands. All kneel but
SIR RALPH BAGENHALL, who rises and remains standing.
                        The Lord who hath redeem’d us
With His own blood, and wash’d us from our sins,
To purchase for Himself a stainless bride;
He, whom the Father hath appointed Head
Of all his church, He by His mercy absolve you!        [A pause.
And we by that authority Apostolic,
Given unto us, his Legate, by the Pope,
Our Lord and Holy Father, Julius,
God’s Vicar and Vicegerent upon earth,
Do here absolve you and deliver you
And every one of you, and all the realm
And its dominions from all heresy,
All schism, and from all and every censure,
Judgment, and pain accruing thereupon;
And also we restore you to the bosom
And unity of Universal Church.
[Turning to GARDINER.
Our letters of commission will declare this plainlier.

[QUEEN heard sobbing. Cries of Amen! Amen! Some of the
Members embrace one another. All but
pass out into the neighboring chapel, whence is heard
the Te Deum

We strove against the papacy from the first,
In William’s time, in our first Edward’s time,
And in my master Henry’s time; but now,
The unity of Universal Church,
Mary would have it; and this Gardiner follows;
The unity of Universal Hell,
Philip would have it; and this Gardiner follows!
A Parliament of imitative apes!
Sheep at the gap which Gardiner takes, who not
Believes the Pope, nor any of them believe—
These spaniel-Spaniard English of the time,
Who rub their fawning noses in the dust,
For that is Philip’s gold-dust, and adore
This Vicar of their Vicar. Would I had been
Born Spaniard! I had held my head up then.
I am ashamed that I am Bagenhall,


Sir Ralph Bagenhall!

                        What of that?

You were the one sole man in either house
Who stood upright when both the houses fell.

The houses fell!

                        I mean the houses knelt
Before the Legate.

                Do not scrimp your phrase,
But stretch it wider; say when England fell.

I say you were the one sole man who stood.

I am the one sole man in either house,
Perchance in England, loves her like a son.

Well, you one man, because you stood upright,
Her Grace the Queen commands you to the Tower.

As traitor, or as heretic, or for what?

If any man in any way would be
The one man, he shall be so to his cost.

What! will she have my head?

                                        A round fine likelier.
Your pardon. [Calling to ATTENDANT.
                        By the river to the Tower.


Queen Mary - Contents     |     Act III - Scene IV

Back    |    Words Home    |    Tennyson Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback