Queen Mary

Act V

Scene IV

Alfred Tennyson

London. Before the Palace.

A light burning within. VOICES of the night passing.

Is not yon light in the Queen’s chamber?

They say she’s dying.

                        So is Cardinal Pole.
May the great angels join their wings, and make
Down for their heads to heaven!

                            Amen. Come on.



There’s the Queen’s light. I hear she cannot live.

God curse her and her Legate! Gardiner burns
Already; but to pay them full in kind,
The hottest hold in all the devil’s den
Were but a sort of winter; sir, in Guernsey,
I watch’d a woman burn; and in her agony
The mother came upon her—a child was born—
And, sir, they hurl’d it back into the fire,
That, being but baptized in fire, the babe
Might be in fire for ever. Ah, good neighbour,
There should be something fierier than fire
To yield them their deserts.

                                Amen to all
Your wish, and further.

Deserts! Amen to what? Whose deserts? Yours? You have a gold ring on your finger, and soft raiment about your body; and is not the woman up yonder sleeping after all she has done, in peace and quietness, on a soft bed, in a closed room, with light, fire, physic, tendance; and I have seen the true men of Christ lying famine-dead by scores, and under no ceiling but the cloud that wept on them, not for them.

Friend, tho’ so late, it is not safe to preach.
You had best go home. What are you?

What am I? One who cries continually with sweat and tears to the Lord God that it would please Him out of His infinite love to break down all kingship and queenship, all priesthood and prelacy; to cancel and abolish all bonds of human allegiance, all the magistracy, all the nobles, and all the wealthy; and to send us again, according to His promise, the one King, the Christ, and all things in common, as in the day of the first church, when Christ Jesus was King.

If ever I heard a madman,—let’s away!
Why, you long-winded—Sir, you go beyond me.
I pride myself on being moderate.
Good night! Go home. Besides, you curse so loud,
The watch will hear you. Get you home at once.


Queen Mary - Contents     |     Act V - Scene V

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