Queen Mary

Act V

Scene I

Alfred Tennyson

London. Hall in the Palace.


I do assure you, that it must be look’d to:
Calais is but ill-garrison’d, in Guisnes
Are scarce two hundred men, and the French fleet
Rule in the narrow seas. It must be look’d to,
If war should fall between yourself and France;
Or you will lose your Calais.

                                It shall be look’d to;
I wish you a good morning, good Sir Nicholas:
Here is the King.

[Exit Heath.


                        Sir Nicholas tells you true,
And you must look to Calais when I go.

Go? must you go, indeed—again—so soon?
Why, nature’s licensed vagabond, the swallow,
That might live always in the sun’s warm heart,
Stays longer here in our poor north than you:—
Knows where he nested—ever comes again.

And, Madam, so shall I.

                                        O, will you? will you?
I am faint with fear that you will come no more.

Ay, ay; but many voices call me hence.

Voices—I hear unhappy rumours—nay,
I say not, I believe. What voices call you
Dearer than mine that should be dearest to you?
Alas, my Lord! what voices and how many?

The voices of Castille and Aragon,
Granada, Naples, Sicily, and Milan,—
The voices of Franche-Comte, and the Netherlands,
The voices of Peru and Mexico,
Tunis, and Oran, and the Philippines,
And all the fair spice-islands of the East.

    MARY (admiringly).
You are the mightiest monarch upon earth,
I but a little Queen: and, so indeed,
Need you the more.

                        A little Queen! but when
I came to wed your majesty, Lord Howard,
Sending an insolent shot that dash’d the seas
Upon us, made us lower our kingly flag
To yours of England.

                        Howard is all English!
There is no king, not were he ten times king,
Ten times our husband, but must lower his flag
To that of England in the seas of England.

Is that your answer?

                                Being Queen of England,
I have none other.


                                But wherefore not
Helm the huge vessel of your state, my liege,
Here by the side of her who loves you most?

No, Madam, no! a candle in the sun
Is all but smoke—a star beside the moon
Is all but lost; your people will not crown me—
Your people are as cheerless as your clime;
Hate me and mine: witness the brawls, the gibbets.
Here swings a Spaniard—there an Englishman;
The peoples are unlike as their complexion;
Yet will I be your swallow and return—
But now I cannot bide.

                        Not to help me?
They hate me also for my love to you,
My Philip; and these judgments on the land—
Harvestless autumns, horrible agues, plague—

The blood and sweat of heretics at the stake
Is God’s best dew upon the barren field.
Burn more!

                I will, I will; and you will stay?

Have I not said? Madam, I came to sue
Your Council and yourself to declare war.

Sir, there are many English in your ranks
To help your battle.

                        So far, good. I say
I came to sue your Council and yourself
To declare war against the King of France.

Not to see me?

                        Ay, Madam, to see you.
Unalterably and pesteringly fond!        [Aside.
But, soon or late you must have war with France;
King Henry warms your traitors at his hearth.
Carew is there, and Thomas Stafford there.
Courtenay, belike—

                        A fool and featherhead!

Ay, but they use his name. In brief, this Henry
Stirs up your land against you to the intent
That you may lose your English heritage.
And then, your Scottish namesake marrying
The Dauphin, he would weld France, England, Scotland,
Into one sword to hack at Spain and me.

And yet the Pope is now colleagued with France;
You make your wars upon him down in Italy:—
Philip, can that be well?

                        Content you, Madam;
You must abide my judgment, and my father’s,
Who deems it a most just and holy war.
The Pope would cast the Spaniard out of Naples:
He calls us worse than Jews, Moors, Saracens.
The Pope has pushed his horns beyond his mitre—
Beyond his province. Now,
Duke Alva will but touch him on the horns,
And he withdraws; and of his holy head—
For Alva is true son of the true church—
No hair is harm’d. Will you not help me here?

Alas! the Council will not hear of war.
They say your wars are not the wars of England.
They will not lay more taxes on a land
So hunger-nipt and wretched; and you know
The crown is poor. We have given the church-lands back:
The nobles would not; nay, they clapt their hands
Upon their swords when ask’d; and therefore God
Is hard upon the people. What’s to be done?
Sir, I will move them in your cause again,
And we will raise us loans and subsidies
Among the merchants; and Sir Thomas Gresham
Will aid us. There is Antwerp and the Jews.

Madam, my thanks.

                        And you will stay your going?

And further to discourage and lay lame
The plots of France, altho’ you love her not,
You must proclaim Elizabeth your heir.
She stands between you and the Queen of Scots.

The Queen of Scots at least is Catholic.

Ay, Madam, Catholic; but I will not have
The King of France the King of England too.

But she’s a heretic, and, when I am gone,
Brings the new learning back.

                                It must be done.
You must proclaim Elizabeth your heir.

Then it is done; but you will stay your going
Somewhat beyond your settled purpose?


What, not one day?

                                You beat upon the rock.

And I am broken there.

                                    Is this a place
To wail in, Madam? what! a public hall.
Go in, I pray you.

                        Do not seem so changed.
Say go; but only say it lovingly.

You do mistake. I am not one to change.
I never loved you more.

                        Sire, I obey you.
Come quickly.


[Exit Mary.


    FERIA (aside).
The Queen in tears!

Hast thou not mark’d—come closer to mine ear—
How doubly aged this Queen of ours hath grown
Since she lost hope of bearing us a child?

Sire, if your Grace hath mark’d it, so have I.

Hast thou not likewise mark’d Elizabeth,
How fair and royal—like a Queen, indeed?

Allow me the same answer as before—
That if your Grace hath mark’d her, so have I.

Good, now; methinks my Queen is like enough
To leave me by and by.

                        To leave you, sire?

I mean not like to live. Elizabeth—
To Philibert of Savoy, as you know,
We meant to wed her; but I am not sure
She will not serve me better—so my Queen
Would leave me—as—my wife.

                                Sire, even so.

She will not have Prince Philibert of Savoy.

No, sire.

                I have to pray you, some odd time,
To sound the Princess carelessly on this;
Not as from me, but as your phantasy;
And tell me how she takes it.

                                Sire, I will.

I am not certain but that Philibert
Shall be the man; and I shall urge his suit
Upon the Queen, because I am not certain:
You understand, Feria.

                        Sire, I do.

And if you be not secret in this matter,
You understand me there, too?

                                Sire, I do.

You must be sweet and supple, like a Frenchman.
She is none of those who loathe the honeycomb.

[Exit Feria.


My liege, I bring you goodly tidings.


There will be war with France, at last, my liege;
Sir Thomas Stafford, a bull-headed ass,
Sailing from France, with thirty Englishmen,
Hath taken Scarboro’ Castle, north of York;
Proclaims himself protector, and affirms
The Queen has forfeited her right to reign
By marriage with an alien—other things
As idle; a weak Wyatt! Little doubt
This buzz will soon be silenced; but the Council
(I have talk’d with some already) are for war.
This the fifth conspiracy hatch’d in France;
They show their teeth upon it; and your Grace,
So you will take advice of mine, should stay
Yet for awhile, to shape and guide the event.

Good! Renard, I will stay then.

                                        Also, sire,
Might I not say—to please your wife, the Queen?

Ay, Renard, if you care to put it so.


Queen Mary - Contents     |     Act V - Scene II

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