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The homage of a thousand hearts—the fond, deep love of
oneThe hopes that dance around a life whose charms are but
begun!They lighten up her chestnut eye, they mantle o’er her
cheek, They sparkle on her open brow, and high-souled joy
bespeak : Ah ! who shall blame, if scarce that day, through all its
brilliant hours, She thought of that quiet convent's calm, its sunshine
and its flowers ?
The scene was changed. It was a bark' that slowly held
its way, And o’er its lee 2 the coast of France in the light of
evening lay; And on its deck a lady sat, who gazed with tearful eyes Upon the fast-receding hills, that dim and distant rise. No marvel that the lady wept, there was no land on earth She loved like that dear land, although she owed it not
her birth; It was her mother's land, the land of childhood and of
friendsIt was the land where she had found for all her griefs
amendsThe land where her dead husband slept-the land where
she had known The tranquil convent's hushed repose, and the splendours
of a throne : No marvel that the lady wept--it was the land of FranceThe chosen home of chivalry 4—the garden of romance ! The past was bright, like those dear hills so far behind
her bark ; The future, like the gathering night, was ominous and
1 Bark, a ship. Mary, after the death of her husband, Francis II., King of France, returned to Scotland in 1561.
2 Lee, the sheltered side of a ship.
3 Her mother's land. Mary's mother was Mary Guise, a French princess. 4 The home of Chivalry, the home of knights.
One gaze again-one long, last gaze—“Adieu, fair France,
to thee !" The breeze comes forth-she is alone on the unconscious
The scene was changed. It was an eve of raw and surly
mood, And in a turret-chamber high of ancient Holyrood' Sat Mary, listening to the rain, and sighing with the winds, That seeined to suit the stormy state of men's uncertain
minds. The touch of care had blanched her cheek-her smile was
The weight of royalty had pressed too heavy on her brow; And traitors to her councils came, and rebels to the field; The Stuart sceptre well she swayed, but the sword she
could not wield. She thought of all her blighted hopes—the dreams of
youth's brief day, And summoned Rizzio ? with his lute, and bade the min
strel play The songs she loved in early years—the songs of
gay Navarre,3 The songs perchance that erst* were sung by gallant
Chatelar: 5 They half beguiled her of her cares, they soothed her
into smiles, They won her thoughts from bigot zeal and fierce do
mestic broils :But hark! the tramp of armed men ! the Douglas' battleThey come—they come—and lo! the scowl of Ruthven's7
hollow eye! 1 Holyrood, the residence of the Scottish sovereigns in Edinburgh. 2 Rizzio, an Italian musician, whom Mary made her secretary. He was murdered in the presence of Mary by a band of conspirators, at the head of whom was Darnley, Mary's second husband.
3 Navarre, a province (formerly a kingdom) in the north-east of Spain. 4 Erst, formerly. "5 Chatelar, a French poet, Rizzio's predecessor in Mary's favour.
6 Douglas, James Douglas, Earl of Morton, for a time Regent of Scotland. Beheaded in 1581 for being implicated in the murder of Darnley.
7 Ruthven, one of the Scottish nobles who conveyed Mary as a prisoner to Lochleven Castle (1567).
And swords are drawn, and daggers gleam, and tears and
words are vain, The ruffian steel is in his heart—the faithful Rizzio's slain! Then Mary Stuart brushed aside the tears that trickling
fell : “Now for my father's arm !” she said ; “my woman's
heart, farewell ! ”
The scene was changed. It was a lake,' with one small,
lonely isle, And there, within the prison-walls of its baronial pile, Stern men stood menacing their queen, till she should
stoop to sign The traitorous scroll 2 that snatched the crown from her
ancestral line :“ My lords, my lords !” the captive said, “ were I but once
more free, With ten good knights on yonder shore, to aid my cause
and me, That parchment would I scatter wide to every breeze that
blows, And once more reign a Stuart queen o'er my remorseless
foes !" A red spot burned upon her cheek-streamed her rich
tresses down, She wrote the words—she stood erect-a queen without a
The scene was changed. A royal host 3 a royal banner
bore, And the faithful of the land stood round their smiling
queen once more ;
1 A lake, Loch Leven in Kinross-shire.
2 The traitorous scroll. The Scottish nobles compelled Mary to sign a document by which she abdicated in favour of her son James, afterwards James I. of England.
3 A royal host. Mary had escaped from Loch Leven, and had collected a small army. She was totally defeated in the battle of Langside, after which she fled to England, and was detained as a prisoner for more than eighteen years, and then beheaded (1587).
She staid her steed upon a hill-she saw them marching
byShe heard their shouts—she read success in every flashing
eye ; The tumult of the strife begins-it roars,-it dies away ! And Mary's troops and banners now, and courtiers
where are they? Scattered and strewn, and flying far, defenceless and un
doneO God ! to see what she has lost, and think what guilt
has won ! Away ! away! thy gallant steed must act no laggard's
part; Yet vain his speed, for thou dost bear the arrow in thy
heart. The scene was changed. Beside the block a sullen heads
man stood, And gleamed the broad axe in his hand, that soon must
drip with blood. With slow and steady step there came a lady through the
hall, And breathless silence chained the lips, and touched the
hearts of all ; I knew that queenly form again, though blighted was its
bloom; I saw that grief had decked it out-an offering for the
tomb! I knew the eye, though faint its light, that once so brightly
shone ; I knew the voice, though feeble now, that thrilled with
every tone ; I knew the ringlets, almost grey, once threads of living
gold ! I knew that bounding grace of step-that symmetry of
mould !! Ev'n now I see her far away, in that calm convent isle, I hear her chant her vesper hymn, I mark her holy
smile, Ev'n now I see her bursting forth upon the bridal morn, A new star in the firmament, to light and glory born!
1 Symmetry of mould, harmony or beauty of shape.
Alas! the change !—she placed her foot upon a triple
throne, And on the scaffold now she stands-beside the block
The little dog that licks her hand, the last of all the crowd Who sunned themselves beneath her glance and round
her footsteps bowed !-Her neck is bared—the blow is struck-the soul is passed The bright, the beautiful, is now-a bleeding piece of
clay ! The dog is moaning piteously; and, as it gurgles o’er, Laps the warm blood that trickling runs unheeded to the
floor! The blood of beauty, wealth, and power-the heart-blood
of a Queen, The noblest of the Stuart race—the fairest earth hath
seen, Lapped by a dog! Go think of it, in silence and alone ; Then weigh against a grain of sand the glories of a
HYMN ON THE SEASONS OF THE YEAR. These, as they change, Almighty Father, these Are but the varied God. The rolling year Is full of Thee. Forth, in the pleasing Spring, Thy beauty walks, Thy tenderness and love. Wide fusha the fields; the softening air is balm ; Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles ; And every sense, and every heart is joy. Then comes Thy glory in the Summer months, With light and heat refulgent 3: then Thy sun Shoots full perfection through the swelling year : And oft Thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks ; And oft, at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
1 Triple throne. Mary's father-in-law, Henry II. of France, had proclaimed her Queen of Scotland and of England, and on his death she became Queen of France.
2 Flush, to abound with beauty. 3 Refulgent, shining.