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Chastelard

was

a

to Scotland.

He be

he was beheaded on

in 1563.

of Rizzio.

In 1572

The songs she loved in early years—the songs
of gay Navarre ;

Navarre, a country
The songs perchance that erst

were sung by lying to the south

east of Biscay in gallant Chatelar;

Spain.
They half beguiled her of her cares, they Erst, ere now.
soothed her into smiles,

Chatelar, Pierre de 70 They won her thoughts from bigot zeal and French nobleman fierce domestic broils :

who followed Mary But hark! the tramp of armed men! the came deeply in love Douglas * battle-cry !

with her, and acted

so indiscreetly that They come !-they come !—and lo! the scowl of Ruthven's * hollow eye!

a charge of treason And swords are drawn, and daggers gleam, and

Douglas, James Dougtears and words are vain

las, Earl of Morton, The ruffian steel is in his heart—the faithful was a ieading accomRizzio's slain !

plice in the murder 75 Then Mary Stuart dashed aside the tears that he became Regent, trickling fell :

and was beheaded in

1581, as being found “Now for my father's arm !” she said ; “my accessory to the murwoman's heart farewell !”

der of Darnley. Ruthven (Riven), a Scotch lord, who,

with Lord Lindsay, The scene was changed. It was a lake with

conveyed Mary to one small lonely isle ;

Lochleven Castle in And there, within the prison-walls of its baro- 1567.

nial pile, Stern men stood menacing * their queen, till Menacing, threatenshe should stoop to sign .

ing. 80 The traitorous scroll* that snatched the crown Traitorous scroll, the from her ancestral line.

nobles required Mary,

on pain of death, to “My lords !-my lords !" the captive said, sign a document' rewere I but once more free,

signing the crown in With ten good knights on yonder shore to aid favour of her son,

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 !"

Remorseless, pitiless. 85 A red spot burned upon her cheek—streamed

her rich tresses down,
She wrote the words—she stood erect-a Queen
without a crown !

A royal host, Mary
The scene was changed. A royal host * a royal having escaped

from banner bore, And the faithful of the land stood round their She was totally de

feated at Langside, smiling Queen once more.

near Glasgow.

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round her 6000 men,

She stayed her steed upon a hill-she saw

them marching byShe heard their shouts—she read success in 90

every flashing eye. Tumult

, uproar, great The tumult * of the strife begins-it roars-it

noise.

dies away ;

from

the field to

who

loiters.

in

beth. She was beheaded at Fotherin

And Mary's troops and banners now, and

courtiers—where are they ?
Scattered and strewn, and flying far, defence-

less and undone ;-
Alas ! to think what she has lost, and all that

guilt has won !Away. With a few Away !* away ! thy gallant steed must act no 95 followers Mary filed

Taggard's * part; Dundrennan Abbey, Yet vain his speed—for thou dost bear the sixty miles off, where

arrow in thy heart ! she spent her last night in Scotland. Laggard, one

The scene was changed. Beside the block * a

sullen headsman stood, Beside the block, Mary was kept prisoner for And gleamed the broad axe in his hand, that eighteen years

soon must drip with blood. England by Eliza

With slow and steady step there came a Lady

through the hall, gay Castle, Northamp. And breathless silence chained the lips and 100 tonshire,7th February

touched the hearts of all. 1587

I knew that queenly form again, though
Blighted, withered.

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 gray, once threads 105

of living gold !

I knew that bounding grace of step-that Symmetry, regulasymmetry * of mould !

[vent isle,
rity, beautiful
pearance.

Even now I see her far away, in that calm con-
I hear her chant her vesper hymn, I mark her

holy smile,

Even now I see her bursting forth upon the Firmament, the

[born! triple throne. A new star in the firmament,* to light and glory 110 her Queen of Scotland Alas ! the change !-she placed her foot upon and England, and on a triple throne, * his death she became And on the scaffold now she stands—beside Queen of France as

ap

bridal morn,

the block-alone !

heavens. A

well,

The little dog that licks her hand, the last of.

all the crowd
Who sunned themselves beneath her glance

and round her footsteps bowed !
115 Her neck is bared—the blow is struck-the

soul is passed away!
The bright, the beautiful, is now-a bleeding

piece of clay!
The dog is moaning piteously ; * and, as it Piteously, sadly,

mournfully. gurgles o'er, Laps * the warm blood that trickling runs un- Laps, drinks or licks heeded to the floor !

up with the tongue. The blood of beauty, wealth, and power—the

heart-blood of a Queen,
120 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 throne !

5

THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUL.Pope.
VITAL * spark of heavenly flame !

Vital, that which
Quit, oh, quit this mortal frame !

gives life.
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying ;
Oh, the pain, the bliss * of dying !

Bliss, happiness,
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife, *

pleasure. And let me languish into life !

Sirife, struggling for

victory.
Hark! they whisper-angels say,
“Sister spirit, come away !”
What is this absorbs * me quite;

Absorbs,
Steals my senses, shuts my sight;
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath ?
Tell me, my soul, can this be-death ?

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takes up one's entire attention,

Recedes, fades from sight, retires.

15

The world recedes ! * it disappears !
Heaven opens to my eyes !-my ears

With sounds seraphic * ring !
Lend, lend your wings ! I mount! I fly !
O Grave ! where is thy victory?

O Death! where is thy sting ?

Seraphic, angelic, pure, sublime.

*

THE SONG OF THE SHIRT.* -T. Hoodo THOMAS Hoon (1798-1845) was born in London. He was a great humourist and poet. Apprenticed to an engraver in his youth, he soon left business for literature, and delighted the world for many years with his wonderful humour and wit. He was buried at Kensal Green, with the epitaph chosen by himself, “He sang the Song of the Shirt.”—Other works : Whims and Oddities, The Bridge of Sighs, The Dream of Eugene Aram, &c.

WITH fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red, Unwomanly, not Et A woman sat, in unwomanly* rags, for a woman.

Plying * hér needle and thread
Plying, working
busily.
Stitch-stitch-stitch !

5 In poverty, hunger, and dirt, Dolorous pitch, sor- And still with a voice of dolorous pitch rowful tone.

She
Sang

the “Song of the Shirt !”

" Work! work ! work!
Aloof, at a distance. While the cock is crowing aloof ! *

IO
And work-work-work,
Till the stars shine through the roof!

It's oh to be a slave Turk, an inhabitant Along with the barbarous Turk,* of Turkey, where the Where woman has never a soul to save, 15 badly

If this is Christian work ! treated.

“ Work-work-work
Till the brain begins to swim ;

Work-work-work

Till the eye Gusset, an angular

are heavy and dim !

20 piece of cloth insert- Seam, and gusset,* and band, ed in a garment to Band, and gusset, and seam, strengthen some part of it.

Till over the buttons I fall asleep, And sew, &c. Her

And sew * them on in a dream ! mind is so much engaged with her busi

“O Men, with Sisters dear! ness, that even in her

25 sleep she fancies she

O Men, with Mothers and Wives ! is still at work.

It is not linen you're wearing out,
But human creatures' lives!

Stitch-stitch-stitch,
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,

30 Shroud, a winding

Sewing at once, with a double thread, sheet for dead bodies.

A Shroud * as well as a Shirt.

women

are

*The Song of the Shirt. This beautiful poem appeared first in the Christmas number of Punch for 1843 ; it ran like wildfire, and caused a great sensation throughout the country. It served to draw attention to the needlewomen, and it made Hood famous.

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Phantom, ghost, apparition.

35

40

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Never flags, never stops.

45

Blank, bare, empty.

50

Chime to chime, from one hour to another.

55

* But why do I talk of Death ?

That phantom * of grisly bone,
I hardly fear his terrible shape,

It seems so like my own
It seems so like my own,

Because of the fasts I keep;
O God ! that bread should be so dear,

And flesh and blood so cheap !
6 Work-work-work!

My labour never flags;
And what are its wages ? A bed of straw,

A crust of bread—and rags.
That shattered roof,—and this naked floor,-

A table,-a broken chair,-
And a wall so blank,* my shadow I thank

For sometimes falling there !

“Work—work-work!
From weary chime to chime,*

Work-work-work-
As
prisoners work for crime !
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Till the heart is sick and the brain be-

numbed, *
As well as the weary

hand.
“ Work-work—work,
In the dull December light,

And work—work—work,
When the weather is warm and bright-
While underneath the eaves

The brooding swallows cling,
As if to show me their sunny backs

And twit * me with the Spring.

" Oh but to breathe the breath
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet-

With the sky above my head,
And the grass beneath my feet,
For only one short hour

To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want

And the walk that costs a meal!
66 Oh but for one short hour !

A respite * however brief !
No blessèd leisure * for Love or Hope,

But only time for Grief !

Benumbed, stupified.

60

*

Eaves, the parts of
the roof which jut
beyond the side-walls
of the house,
Twit, mock.

65

70

75

A respite, &c., & rest
from labour but for a
short time.
Leisure, spare time.

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