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It flows as pure a stream as in your own.
O! for God's pity, stand not so estranged and inaccessible.
ELIZ. What would you say to me, my Lady Stuart ?
You wished to speak with me, and I, forgetting
The queen, and all the wrongs I have sustained,
Fulfil the pious duty of the sister,
And grant the boon you wished for, of my presence.
Yet I, in yielding to the generous feelings
Of magnanimity, expose myself to rightful censure,
That I stoop so low. For well you know
You would have had me murdered !
Mary. O! how shall I begin? O! how shall I find words
That they may touch yet not offend your heart ?
I am a queen, like you, yet you have held me
Confined in prison. As a suppliant
I come to you, yet you in me insulted
The pious use of hospitality.
Slighting in me the holy law of nations,
Immured me in a dungeon, tore from me
My friends and servants; to unseemly want
I was exposed and hurried to the bar
Of a disgraceful, insolent tribunal.
No more of this; in everlasting silence
Be buried all the cruelties I suffered !
See, I will lay the blame of all on fate;
'Twas not your fault, no more than it was mine;
An evil spirit rose from the abyss,
To kindle in our hearts the flames of hate,
By which our tender youth had been divided.
It grew with us, and bad, designing men
Fanned with their ready breath the fatal fire.
Now stand we face to face. Now, sister, speak;
Name but my crime, I'll fully satisfy you.
Alas! had you vouchsafed to hear me then,
When I so earnest sought to meet your eye,
It never would have come to this, nor would,
Here in this mournful place, have happened now
This so distressful, this so mournful meeting.
ELIZ. My better stars preserved me. I was warned,
And laid not to my breast the poisonous adder!
Accuse not fate ! Your own deceitful heart
It was, the wild ambition of your house.
But God is with me, and the haughty foe
Has not maintained the field. The blow was aimed
Full at my head, but yours it is which falls !
MARY. I'm in the hand of Heaven. You never will Exert so cruelly the power it gives you ?
Eliz. Who should prevent me? Say, did your uncle Set all the kings of Europe the example, How to conclude a peace with those they hate ? Force is my only surety; no alliance Can be concluded with a race of vipers.
Mary. O this is but your wretched, dark suspicion !
For you have constantly regarded me
But as a stranger and an enemy.
Had you declared me heir to your dominions,
As is my right, then gratitude and love
In me had fixed for you a faithful friend
ELIZ. Your friendship is abroad.
Name you my successor ! The treacherous snare;
That in my life you might seduce my people;
And, like a sly Armida, in your net
Entangle all our noble English youth,
That all might turn to the new rising sun,
MARY. O sister, rule your realm in peace;
I give up every claim to these domains.
Alas! the pinions of my soul are lamed;
Greatness entices me no more; your point
Is gained. I am but Mary's shadow now;
My noble spirit is at last broke down
By long captivity. You've done your worst
On me: you have destroyed me in my bloom !
Now end your work, my sister; speak at length
The word, which to pronounce has brought you hither;
For I will ne'er believe that you are come
To mock unfeelingly your hapless victim.
Pronounce this word; say, “ Mary, you are free;
You have already felt my power; learn now
To honor, too, my generosity."
Say this, and I will take my life, will take
My freedom, as a present from your hands.
One word makes all undone ; I wait for it.
O let it not be needlessly delayed !
end not with this word !
For should you not, like some divinity
Dispensing noble blessings, quit me now,
Then, sister, not for all this island's wealth,
For all the realms encircled by the deep,
Would I exchange my present lot for yours.
Eliz. And you confess at last that you are conquered ?
Are all your schemes run out? No more assassins
Now on the road? Will no adventurer
Attempt again, for you, the sad achievement ?
Yes, Madam, it is over. You'll seduce
No mortal more.
The world has other cares ;
None is ambitious of the dangerous honor
Of being your fourth husband-you destroy
Your wooers like your husbands !
Grant me forbearance, all ye powers of Heaven !
ELIZ. Those, then, my Lord of Leicester, are the charms
Which no man with impunity can view,
Near which no woman dare attempt to stand !
In sooth, this honor has been cheaply gained.
Mary. This is too much!
You show us now, indeed,
Your real face; till now 'twas but the mask.
Mary. My sins were human, and the faults of youth; I have never sought to hide them. I despised All false appearance as became a queen. The worst of me is known, and I can say That I am better than the fame I bear. Woe to you, when, in time to come, the world Shall draw the robe of honor from
Virtue was not your portion from your mother;
Well know we what it was which brought the head
Of Anne Boleyn to the fatal block.
SHREWS. (stepping between them).
O Heaven! Alas, and must it come to this?
Is this the moderation, the submission,
My Lady, that you promised ?
Mary. Moderation! I've supported
What human nature can support! Farewell,
Lamb-hearted resignation! Passive patience,
Fly to thy native Heaven ! Burst at length
Thy bonds, come forward from thy dreary cave,
In all thy fury, long-suppressèd rancor!
And thou, who to the angered basilisk
Impart'st the murderous glance, O arm my tongue
With poisoned darts !
SHREWS. She is beside herself!
LEIC. Attend not to her rage! Away, away,
From this disastrous place!
A bastard soils,
Profanes the English throne! The generous Britons
Are cheated by a juggler, whose whole figure
Is false and painted, heart as well as face.
You now would in the dust, if right prevailed,
Before me lie, for I'm your rightful monarch !
[ELIZABETH hastily quits the stage; the LORDS follow in conster
nation.] KENNEDY. What have you done? She has gone hence in wrath ? • All hope is over now !
MARY. Gone hence in wrath !
She carries death within her heart! I know it.
[Falls on KENNEDY's bosom.]
Now I am happy, Hannah! At last,
After whole years of sorrow and abasement,
One moment of victorious revenge!
A weight falls off my heart, a weight of mountains ;
I plunged the steel in my oppressor's breast !
KEN. Unhappy Lady, frenzy overcomes you:
Yes, you have wounded your invetrate foe;
'Tis she who wields the lightning, she is Queen!
You have insulted her before her minion.
MARY. I have abased her before Leicester's eyes;
He saw it, he was witness of my triumph!
Yes, I did hurl her from her haughty height!
He saw it and his presence strengthened me!
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE.
“NEPER have I seen the market and streets so empty
Still as the grave is the town! All are running, racing, To see the sad train of poor fellows driven to exile. Wife, you did well to bid our son go meet them, Taking with him linen and something to eat and drink, The rich are bound to befriend the poor. Hermann, I trust, will find them, and give them Clothing and refreshment; I grieve to see such sorrow.”