« AnteriorContinuar »
Et que fus bas etant assez punie,
J'aie ma part en la joie infinie. The original manuscript copy of these verses is still extant. They are written on a sheet of paper, by Mary herself, in a large rambling hand.
Note 12, page 81.
The last scene of Mary Queen of Scots is thus described by Udal: “ The fatal day beginning to breake, (viz. the VI. Ides of February,) she apparelled her selfe neatlier and finer, as she used to be on festivall daies, and calling her servants together, read over her will, and requested them to take in good part the legacies shee gave, since that her ability was not to bestow any more; and then setting her mind all upon God, with all humility, in her chapell, besought him to give her his grace and favour with sighs, teares, and praiers, untill the time that Thomas Andrewes, sheriffe of the shire, told her that she was to come forth. Shee came forth majestically, in stature, beautie, and shew, with a cheereful countenance, matronlike apparell, and very modest, her head being covered with a linnen veile, and the same hanging very low, her beads hanging downe at her girdle, and carrying a crucifix of ivory in her hands. In
the gallery the earles (of Kent and Shrewsbury) and other gentlemen received her, where Melvin, her servant, on his knees, and with tears in his
lamented his fortune, that he should carrie this heavie and sad newes of the wofull death of his lady into Scotland. Shee comforting him, said, Doe not lament, but rather be glad, thou shalt straight-waies see Mary Stuart delivered and freed from all cares. When she had said thus, and turned away, she was permitted to have those of her servants present whom shee would name. She nominated Melvin, Burgoine, her physitian, the apothecarie and chirurgeon, and two maids and others, of the which Melvin bore up her traine. So, the gentlemen, two earles, and the sheriffe of the shire going before her, she came to the scaffold, which was set up in the upper end of the hall, in the which was a chaire, a cushion, a blocke, and all covered with blacke cloth. As soone as she sate downe, Beale read the commission, and she heard attentively, as if it had beene another matter. Then Fletcher, Deane of Peterburgh, began a tedious speech unto her of the condition of her life formerly past, and the present, and that to come. Once or twice shee interrupted his speech, and desired him not to trouble her, and protested that she was settled in the ancient Catholike religion, and was ready to end her life in the same. After the deane had ended his
prayers, shee in the English tongue commended unto God the Church, her sonne, and Queene Elizabeth, and besought him to avert his indignation from this isle. Then shee forgave the executioners, who asked pardon. And when her maids had taken off her upper garments, shee hastening them, they cried out amaine, shee kissing them and signing them with the crosse, and smiling bade them farewell. Her face being covered with a linnen cloth, lying on the blocke, shee said the Psalme, In te Domine confido, ne confundar in æternum. Then as shee stretched out her body, and oftentimes repeated, In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, her head was cut off at two blowes. The deane saying aloud, “ So let the enemies of Queene Elizabeth perish,' the Earle of Kent saying the same, and the multitude sighing and grieving thereat. Her body was embawmed, and was after buried like a prince in the cathedrall church of Peterburgh.” Thus, on the 7th of February, 1587, died Mary Queen of Scots, after a life of fortyfour years and two months, almost nineteen of which she passed in captivity. No man, says Brantome, ever beheld her person without admiration and love, or will read her history without sorrow.