Chastelard, a Tragedy
by Algernon Charles Swinburne
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Chastelard, a tragedy.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Boston: E.P. Dutton, 1866.

(author's edition)



Guards, Burgesses, a Preacher, Citizens, &c.

Another Yle is there toward the Northe, in the See Occean, where that ben fulle cruele and ful evele Wommen of Nature: and thei han precious Stones in hire Eyen; and their ben of that kynde, that zif they beholden ony man, thei slen him anon with the beholdynge, as dothe the Basilisk.

MAUNDEVILE'S Voiage and Travaile, Ch. xxviii.




SCENE I.—The Upper Chamber in Holyrood.

The four MARIES.

MARY BEATON (sings):—

1. Le navire Est a l'eau; Entends rire Ce gros flot Que fait luire Et bruire Le vieux sire Aquilo.

2. Dans l'espace Du grand air Le vent passe Comme un fer; Siffle et sonne, Tombe et tonne, Prend et donne A la mer.

3. Vois, la brise Tourne au nord, Et la bise Souffle et mord Sur ta pure Chevelure Qui murmure Et se tord.

MARY HAMILTON. You never sing now but it makes you sad; Why do you sing?

MARY BEATON. I hardly know well why; It makes me sad to sing, and very sad To hold my peace.

MARY CARMICHAEL. I know what saddens you.

MARY BEATON. Prithee, what? what?

MARY CARMICHAEL. Why, since we came from France, You have no lover to make stuff for songs.

MARY BEATON. You are wise; for there my pain begins indeed, Because I have no lovers out of France.

MARY SEYTON. I mind me of one Olivier de Pesme, (You knew him, sweet,) a pale man with short hair, Wore tied at sleeve the Beaton color.

MARY CARMICHAEL. Blue— I know, blue scarfs. I never liked that knight.

MARY HAMILTON. Me? I know him? I hardly knew his name. Black, was his hair? no, brown.

MARY SEYTON. Light pleases you: I have seen the time brown served you well enough.

MARY CARMICHAEL. Lord Darnley's is a mere maid's yellow.

MARY HAMILTON. No, A man's, good color.

MARY SEYTON. Ah, does that burn your blood? Why, what a bitter color is this read That fills your face! if you be not in love, I am no maiden.

MARY HAMILTON. Nay, God help true hearts! I must be stabbed with love then, to the bone, Yea to the spirit, past cure.

MARY SEYTON. What were you saying? I see some jest run up and down your lips.

MARY CARMICHAEL. Finish your song; I know you have more of it; Good sweet, I pray you do.

MARY BEATON. I am too sad.

MARY CARMICHAEL. This will not sadden you to sing; your song Tastes sharp of sea and the sea's bitterness, But small pain sticks on it.

MARY BEATON. Nay, it is sad; For either sorrow with the beaten lips Sings not at all, or if it does get breath Sings quick and sharp like a hard sort of mirth: And so this song does; or I would it did, That it might please me better than it does.

MARY SEYTON. Well, as you choose then. What a sort of men Crowd all about the squares!

MARY CARMICHAEL. Ay, hateful men; For look how many talking mouths be there, So many angers show their teeth at us. Which one is that, stooped somewhat in the neck, That walks so with his chin against the wind, Lips sideways shut? a keen-faced man—lo there, He that walks midmost.

MARY SEYTON. That is Master Knox. He carries all these folk within his skin, Bound up as 't were between the brows of him Like a bad thought; their hearts beat inside his; They gather at his lips like flies in the sun, Thrust sides to catch his face.

MARY CARMICHAEL. Look forth; so—push The window—further—see you anything?

MARY HAMILTON. They are well gone; but pull the lattice in, The wind is like a blade aslant. Would God I could get back one day I think upon: The day we four and some six after us Sat in that Louvre garden and plucked fruits To cast love-lots with in the gathered grapes; This way: you shut your eyes and reach and pluck, And catch a lover for each grape you get. I got but one, a green one, and it broke Between my fingers and it ran down through them.

MARY SEYTON. Ay, and the queen fell in a little wrath Because she got so many, and tore off Some of them she had plucked unwittingly— She said, against her will. What fell to you?

MARY BEATON. Me? nothing but the stalk of a stripped bunch With clammy grape-juice leavings at the tip.

MARY CARMICHAEL. Ay, true, the queen came first and she won all; It was her bunch we took to cheat you with. What, will you weep for that now? for you seem As one that means to weep. God pardon me! I think your throat is choking up with tears. You are not well, sweet, for a lying jest To shake you thus much.

MARY BEATON. I am well enough: Give not your pity trouble for my sake.

MARY SEYTON. If you be well sing out your song and laugh, Though it were but to fret the fellows there.— Now shall we catch her secret washed and wet In the middle of her song; for she must weep If she sing through.

MARY HAMILTON. I told you it was love; I watched her eyes all through the masquing time Feed on his face by morsels; she must weep.


4. Le navire Passe et luit, Puis chavire A grand bruit; Et sur l'onde La plus blonde Tete au monde Flotte et fuit.

5. Moi, je rame, Et l'amour, C'est ma flamme, Mon grand jour, Ma chandelle Blanche et belle, Ma chapelle

De sejour.

6. Toi, mon ame Et ma foi, Sois, ma dame; Et ma loi; Sois ma mie, Sois Marie, Sois ma vie, Toute a moi!

MARY SEYTON. I know the song; a song of Chastelard's, He made in coming over with the queen. How hard it rained! he played that over twice Sitting before her, singing each word soft, As if he loved the least she listened to.

MARY HAMILTON. No marvel if he loved it for her sake; She is the choice of women in the world; Is she not, sweet?

MARY BEATON. I have seen no fairer one.

MARY SEYTON. And the most loving: did you note last night How long she held him with her hands and eyes, Looking a little sadly, and at last Kissed him below the chin and parted so As the dance ended?

MARY HAMILTON. This was courtesy; So might I kiss my singing-bird's red bill After some song, till he bit short my lip.

MARY SEYTON. But if a lady hold her bird anights To sing to her between her fingers-ha? I have seen such birds.

MARY CARMICHAEL. O, you talk emptily; She is full of grace; and marriage in good time Will wash the fool called scandal off men's lips.

MARY HAMILTON. I know not that; I know how folk would gibe If one of us pushed courtesy so far. She has always loved love's fashions well; you wot, The marshal, head friend of this Chastelard's, She used to talk with ere he brought her here And sow their talk with little kisses thick As roses in rose-harvest. For myself, I cannot see which side of her that lurks, Which snares in such wise all the sense of men; What special beauty, subtle as man's eye And tender as the inside of the eyelid is, There grows about her.

MARY CARMICHAEL. I think her cunning speech— The soft and rapid shudder of her breath In talking—the rare tender little laugh— The pitiful sweet sound like a bird's sigh When her voice breaks; her talking does it all.

MARY SEYTON. I say, her eyes with those clear perfect brows: It is the playing of those eyelashes, The lure of amorous looks as sad as love, Plucks all souls toward her like a net.

MARY HAMILTON. What, what! You praise her in too lover-like a wise For women that praise women; such report Is like robes worn the rough side next the skin, Frets where it warms.

MARY SEYTON. You think too much in French.


Here comes your thorn; what glove against it now?

MARY HAMILTON. O, God's good pity! this a thorn of mine? It has not run deep in yet.

MARY CARMICHAEL. I am not sure: The red runs over to your face's edge.

DARNLEY. Give me one word; nay, lady, for love's sake; Here, come this way; I will not keep you; no. —O my sweet soul, why do you wrong me thus?

MARY HAMILTON. Why will you give me for men's eyes to burn?

DARNLEY. What, sweet, I love you as mine own soul loves me; They shall divide when we do.

MARY HAMILTON. I cannot say.

DARNLEY. Why, look you, I am broken with the queen; This is the rancor and the bitter heart That grows in you; by God it is nought else. Why, this last night she held me for a fool— Ay, God wot, for a thing of stripe and bell. I bade her make me marshal in her masque— I had the dress here painted, gold and gray (That is, not gray but a blue-green like this)— She tells me she had chosen her marshal, she, The best o' the world for cunning and sweet wit; And what sweet fool but her sweet knight, God help! To serve her with that three-inch wit of his? She is all fool and fiddling now; for me, I am well-pleased; God knows, if I might choose I would not be more troubled with her love. Her love is like a briar that rasps the flesh, And yours is soft like flowers. Come this way, love; So, further in this window; hark you here.


MARY BEATON. Good morrow, sir.

CHASTELARD. Good morrow, noble lady.

MARY CARMICHAEL. You have heard no news? what news?

CHASTELARD. Nay, I have none. That maiden-tongued male-faced Elizabeth Hath eyes unlike our queen's, hair not so soft, And lips no kiss of love's could bring to flower In such red wise as our queen's; save this news, I know none English.

MARY SEYTON. Come, no news of her; For God's love talk still rather of our queen.

MARY BEATON. God give us grace then to speak well of her. You did right joyfully in our masque last night' I saw you when the queen lost breath (her head Bent back, her chin and lips catching the air— A goodly thing to see her) how you smiled Across her head, between your lips-no doubt You had great joy, sir. Did you not take note Once how one lock fell? that was good to see.

CHASTELARD. Yea, good enough to live for.

MARY BEATON. Nay, but sweet Enough to die. When she broke off the dance, Turning round short and soft-I never saw Such supple ways of walking as she has.

CHASTLELARD. Why do you praise her gracious looks to me?

MARY BEATON. Sir, for mere sport: but tell me even for love How much you love her.

CHASTELARD. I know not: it may be If I had set mine eyes to find that out, I should not know it. She hath fair eyes: may be I love her for sweet eyes or brows or hair, For the smooth temples, where God touching her Made blue with sweeter veins the flower-sweet white Or for the tender turning of her wrist, Or marriage of the eyelid with the cheek; I cannot tell; or flush of lifting throat, I know not if the color get a name This side of heaven-no man knows; or her mouth, A flower's lip with a snake's lip, stinging sweet, And sweet to sting with: face that one would see And then fall blind and die with sight of it Held fast between the eyelids-oh, all these And all her body and the soul to that, The speech and shape and hand and foot and heart That I would die of-yea, her name that turns My face to fire being written-I know no whit How much I love them.

MARY BEATON. Nor how she loves you back?

CHASTELARD. I know her ways of loving, all of them: A sweet soft way the first is; afterward It burns and bites like fire; the end of that, Charred dust, and eyelids bitten through with smoke.

MARY BEATON. What has she done for you to gird at her?

CHASTELARD. Nothing. You do not greatly love her, you, Who do not-gird, you call it. I am bound to France; Shall I take word from you to any one? So it be harmless, not a gird, I will.

MARY BEATON. I doubt you will not go hence with your life.

CHASTELARD. Why, who should slay me? No man northwards born, In my poor mind; my sword's lip is no maid's To fear the iron biting of their own, Though they kiss hard for hate's sake.

MARY BEATON. Lo you, sir, How sharp he whispers, what close breath and eyes— And here are fast upon him, do you see?

CHASTELARD. Well, which of these must take my life in hand? Pray God it be the better: nay, which hand?

MARY BEATON. I think, none such. The man is goodly made; She is tender-hearted toward his courtesies, And would not have them fall too low to find. Look, they slip forth.


MARY SEYTON. For love's sake, after them, And soft as love can.


CHASTELARD. True, a goodly man. What shapeliness and state he hath, what eyes, Brave brow and lordly lip! Were it not fit Great queens should love him?

MARY BEATON. See how now, fair lord, I have but scant breath's time to help myself, And I must cast my heart out on a chance; So bear with me. That we twain have loved well, I have no heart nor wit to say; God wot We had never made good lovers, you and I. Look you, I would not have you love me, sir, For all the love's sake in the world. I say, You love the queen, and loving burns you up, And mars the grace and joyous wit you had, Turning your speech to sad, your face to strange, Your mirth to nothing: and I am piteous, I, Even as the queen is, and such women are; And if I helped you to your love-longing, Meseems some grain of love might fall my way And love's god help me when I came to love; I have read tales of men that won their loves On some such wise.

CHASTELARD. If you mean mercifully, I am bound to you past thought and thank; if worse I will but thank your lips and not your heart.

MARY BEATON. Nay, let love wait and praise me, in God's name, Some day when he shall find me; yet, God wot, My lips are of one color with my heart. Withdraw now from me, and about midnight In some close chamber without light or noise It may be I shall get you speech of her: She loves you well: it may be she will speak, I wot not what; she loves you at her heart. Let her not see that I have given you word, Lest she take shame and hate her love. Till night Let her not see it.

CHASTLELARD. I will not thank you now, And then I'll die what sort of death you will. Farewell.


MARY BEATON. And by God's mercy and my love's I will find ways to earn such thank of you.


ACT I. SCENE II. A Hall in the same.


QUEEN. Hath no man seen my lord of Chastelard? Nay, no great matter. Keep you on that side: Begin the purpose.

MARY CARMICHAEL. Madam, he is here.

QUEEN. Begin a measure now that other side. I will not dance; let them play soft a little. Fair sir, we had a dance to tread to-night, To teach our north folk all sweet ways of France, But at this time we have no heart to it. Sit, sir, and talk. Look, this breast-clasp is new, The French king sent it me.

CHASTELARD. A goodly thing: But what device? the word is ill to catch.

QUEEN. A Venus crowned, that eats the hearts of men: Below her flies a love with a bat's wings, And strings the hair of paramours to bind Live birds' feet with. Lo what small subtle work: The smith's name, Gian Grisostomo da—what? Can you read that? The sea froths underfoot; She stands upon the sea and it curls up In soft loose curls that run to one in the wind. But her hair is not shaken, there 's a fault; It lies straight down in close-cut points and tongues, Not like blown hair. The legend is writ small: Still one makes out this—*Cave*—if you look.

CHASTELARD. I see the Venus well enough, God wot, But nothing of the legend.

QUEEN. Come, fair lord, Shall we dance now? My heart is good again.

[They dance a measure.]

DARNLEY. I do not like this manner of a dance, This game of two by two; it were much better To meet between the changes and to mix Than still to keep apart and whispering Each lady out of earshot with her friend.

MARY BEATON. That 's as the lady serves her knight, I think: We are broken up too much.

DARNLEY. Nay, no such thing; Be not wroth, lady, I wot it was the queen Pricked each his friend out. Look you now—your ear— If love had gone by choosing—how they laugh, Lean lips together, and wring hands underhand! What, you look white too, sick of heart, ashamed, No marvel—for men call it—hark you though—

[They pass.]

MURRAY. Was the queen found no merrier in France?

MARY HAMILTON. Why, have you seen her sorrowful to-night?

MURRAY. I say not so much; blithe she seems at whiles, Gentle and goodly doubtless in all ways, But hardly with such lightness and quick heart As it was said.

MARY HAMILTON. 'Tis your great care of her Makes you misdoubt; nought else.

MURRAY. Yea, may be so; She has no cause I know to sadden her.

[They pass.]

QUEEN. I am tired too soon; I could have danced down hours Two years gone hence and felt no wearier. One grows much older northwards, my fair lord; I wonder men die south; meseems all France Smells sweet with living, and bright breath of days That keep men far from dying. Peace; pray you now, No dancing more. Sing, sweet, and make us mirth; We have done with dancing measures: sing that song You call the song of love at ebb.



1. Between the sunset and the sea My love laid hands and lips on me; Of sweet came sour, of day came night, Of long desire came brief delight: Ah love, and what thing came of thee Between the sea-downs and the sea?

2. Between the sea-mark and the sea Joy grew to grief, grief grew to me; Love turned to tears, and tears to fire, And dead delight to new desire; Love's talk, love's touch there seemed to be Between the sea-sand and the sea.

3. Between the sundown and the sea Love watched one hour of love with me; Then down the all-golden water-ways His feet flew after yesterday's; I saw them come and saw them flee Between the sea-foam and the sea.

4. Between the sea-strand and the sea Love fell on sleep, sleep fell on me; The first star saw twain turn to one Between the moonrise and the sun; The next, that saw not love, saw me Between the sea-banks and the sea.

QUEEN. Lo, sirs, What mirth is here! Some song of yours, fair lord; You know glad ways of rhyming—no such tunes As go to tears.

CHASTELARD. I made this yesterday; For its love's sake I pray you let it live.

1. Apres tant de jours, apres tant de pleurs, Soyez secourable a mon ame en peine. Voyez comme Avril fait l'amour aux fleurs; Dame d'amour, dame aux belles couleurs, Dieu vous a fait belle, Amour vous fait reine.

2. Rions, je t'en prie; aimons, je le veux. Le temps fuit et rit et ne revient guere Pour baiser le bout de tes blonds cheveux, Pour baiser tes cils, ta bouche et tes yeux; L'amour n'a qu'un jour aupres de sa mere.

QUEEN. 'T is a true song; love shall not pluck time back Nor time lie down with love. For me, I am old; Have you no hair changed since you changed to Scot? I look each day to see my face drawn up About the eyes, as if they sucked the cheeks. I think this air and face of things here north Puts snow at flower-time in the blood, and tears Between the sad eyes and the merry mouth In their youth-days.

CHASTELARD. It is a bitter air.

QUEEN. Faith, if I might be gone, sir, would I stay? I think, for no man's love's sake.

CHASTELARD. I think not.

QUEEN. Do you yet mind at landing how the quay Looked like a blind wet face in waste of wind And washing of wan waves? how the hard mist Made the hills ache? your songs lied loud, my knight, They said my face would burn off cloud and rain Seen once, and fill the crannied land with fire, Kindle the capes in their blind black-gray hoods— I know not what. You praise me past all loves; And these men love me little; 't is some fault, I think, to love me: even a fool's sweet fault. I have your verse still beating in my head Of how the swallow got a wing broken In the spring time, and lay upon his side Watching the rest fly off i' the red leaf-time, And broke his heart with grieving at himself Before the snow came. Do you know that lord With sharp-set eyes? and him with huge thewed throat? Good friends to me; I had need love them well. Why do you look one way? I will not have you Keep your eyes here: 't is no great wit in me To care much now for old French friends of mine.— Come, a fresh measure; come, play well for me, Fair sirs, your playing puts life in foot and heart.—

DARNLEY. Lo you again, sirs, how she laughs and leans, Holding him fast—the supple way she hath! Your queen hath none such; better as she is For all her measures, a grave English maid, Than queen of snakes and Scots.

RANDOLPH. She is over fair To be so sweet and hurt not. A good knight; Goodly to look on.

MURRAY. Yea, a good sword too, And of good kin; too light of loving though; These jangling song-smiths are keen love-mongers, They snap at all meats.

DARNLEY. What! by God I think, For all his soft French face and bright boy's sword, There be folks fairer: and for knightliness, These hot-lipped brawls of Paris breed sweet knights— Mere stabbers for a laugh across the wine.—

QUEEN. There, I have danced you down for once, fair lord; You look pale now. Nay then for courtesy I must needs help you; do not bow your head, I am tall enough to reach close under it.

[Kisses him.]

Now come, we'll sit and see this passage through.—

DARNLEY. A courtesy, God help us! courtesy— Pray God it wound not where it should heal wounds. Why, there was here last year some lord of France (Priest on the wrong side as some folk are prince) Told tales of Paris ladies—nay, by God, No jest for queen's lips to catch laughter of That would keep clean; I wot he made good mirth, But she laughed over sweetly, and in such wise— But she laughed over sweetly, and in such wise— Nay, I laughed too, but lothly.—

QUEEN. How they look! The least thing courteous galls them to the bone. What would one say now I were thinking of?

CHASTELARD. It seems, some sweet thing.

QUEEN. True, a sweet one, sir— That madrigal you made Alys de Saulx Of the three ways of love: the first kiss honor, The second pity, and the last kiss love. Which think you now was that I kissed you with?

CHASTELARD. It should be pity, if you be pitiful; For I am past all honoring that keep Outside the eye of battle, where my kin Fallen overseas have found this many a day No helm of mine between them; and for love, I think of that as dead men of good days Ere the wrong side of death was theirs, when God Was friends with them.

QUEEN. Good; call it pity then. You have a subtle riddling skill at love Which is not like a lover. For my part, I am resolved to be well done with love, Though I were fairer-faced than all the world; As there be fairer. Think you, fair my knight, Love shall live after life in any man? I have given you stuff for riddles.

CHASTELARD. Most sweet queen, They say men dying remember, with sharp joy And rapid reluctation of desire, Some old thin, some swift breath of wind, some word, Some sword-stroke or dead lute-strain, some lost sight, Some sea-blossom stripped to the sun and burned At naked ebb—some river-flower that breathes Against the stream like a swooned swimmer's mouth— Some tear or laugh ere lip and eye were man's— Sweet stings that struck the blood in riding—nay, Some garment or sky-color or spice-smell, And die with heart and face shut fast on it, And know not why, and weep not; it may be Men shall hold love fast always in such wise In new fair lives where all are new things else, And know not why, and weep not.

QUEEN. A right rhyme, And right a thyme's worth: nay, a sweet song, though. What, shall my cousin hold fast that love of his, Her face and talk, when life ends? as God grant His life end late and sweet; I love him well. She is fair enough, his lover; a fair-faced maid, With gray sweet eyes and tender touch of talk; And that, God wot, I wist not. See you, sir, Men say I needs must get wed hastily; Do none point lips at him?

CHASTELARD. Yea, guessingly.

QUEEN. God help such lips! and get me leave to laugh! What should I do but paint and put him up Like a gilt god, a saintship in a shrine, For all fools' feast? God's mercy on men's wits! Tall as a housetop and as bare of brain— I'll have no staffs with fool-faced carven heads To hang my life on. Nay, for love, no more, For fear I laugh and set their eyes on edge To find out why I laugh. Good-night, fair lords; Bid them cease playing. Give me your hand; good-night.

SCENE III.—MARY BEATON'S chamber: night.


CHASTELARD. I am not certain yet she will not come; For I can feel her hand's heat still in mine, Past doubting of, and see her brows half draw, And half a light in the eyes. If she come not, I am no worse than he that dies to-night. This two years' patience gets an end at least, Whichever way I am well done with it. How hard the thin sweet moon is, split and laced And latticed over, just a stray of it Catching and clinging at a strip of wall, Hardly a hand's breadth. Did she turn indeed In going out? not to catch up her gown The page let slip, but to keep sight of me? There was a soft small stir beneath her eyes Hard to put on, a quivering of her blood That knew of the old nights watched out wakefully. Those measures of her dancing too were changed— More swift and with more eager stops at whiles And rapid pauses where breath failed her lips.


O, she is come: if you be she indeed Let me but hold your hand; what, no word yet? You turn and kiss me without word; O sweet, If you will slay me be not over quick, Kill me with some slow heavy kiss that plucks The heart out at the lips. Alas! Sweet love, Give me some old sweet word to kiss away. Is it a jest? for I can feel your hair Touch me—I may embrace your body too? I know you well enough without sweet words. How should one make you speak? This is not she. Come in the light; nay, let me see your eyes. Ah, you it is? what have I done to you? And do you look now to be slain for this That you twist back and shudder like one stabbed?

MARY BEATON. Yea, kill me now and do not look at me: God knows I meant to die. Sir, for God's love, Kill me now quick ere I go mad with shame.

CHASTELARD. Cling not upon my wrists: let go the hilt: Nay, you will bruise your hand with it: stand up: You shall not have my sword forth.

MARY BEATON. Kill me now, I will not rise: there, I am patient, see, I will not strive, but kill me for God's sake.

CHASTELARD. Pray you rise up and be not shaken so: Forgive me my rash words, my heart was gone After the thing you were: be not ashamed; Give me the shame, you have no part in it; Can I not say a word shall do you good? Forgive that too.

MARY BEATON. I shall run crazed with shame; But when I felt your lips catch hold on mine It stopped my breath: I would have told you all; Let me go out: you see I lied to you, Am I am shamed; I pray you loose me, sir, Let me go out.

CHASTELARD. Think no base things of me: I were most base to let you go ashamed. Think my heart's love and honor go with you: Yea, while I live, for your love's noble sake, I am your servant in what wise may be, To love and serve you with right thankful heart.

MARY BEATON. I have given men leave to mock me, and must bear What shame they please: you have good cause to mock. Let me pass now.

CHASTELARD. You know I mock you not. If ever I leave off to honor you, God give me shame! I were the worst churl born.

MARY BEATON. No marvel though the queen should love you too, Being such a knight. I pray you for her love, Lord Chastelard, of your great courtesy, Think now no scorn to give me my last kiss That I shall have of man before I die. Even the same lips you kissed and knew not of Will you kiss now, knowing the shame of them, And say no one word to me afterwards, That I may see I have loved the best lover And man most courteous of all men alive?



Here, fetch the light: nay, this way; enter all.

MARY BEATON. I am twice undone. Fly, get some hiding, sir; They have spied upon me somehow.

CHASTELARD. Nay, fear not; Stand by my side.


MARY HAMILTON. Give me that light: this way.

CHASTELARD. What jest is here, fair ladies? it walks late, Something too late for laughing.

MARY SEYTON. Nay, fair sir, What jest is this of yours? Look to your lady: She is nigh swooned. The queen shall know all this.

MARY HAMILTON. A grievous shame it is we are fallen upon; Hold forth the light. Is this your care of us? Nay, come, look up: this is no game, God wot.

CHASTELARD. Shame shall befall them that speak shamefully: I swear this lady is as pure and good As any maiden, and who believes me not Shall keep the shame for his part and the lie. To them that come in honor and not in hate I will make answer. Lady, have good heart. Give me the light there: I will see you forth.




SCENE I.—The great Chamber in Holyrood.


QUEEN. But will you swear it?

MARY SEYTON. Swear it, madam?

QUEEN. Ay— Swear it.

MARY SEYTON. Madam, I am not friends with them.

QUEEN. Swear then against them if you are not friends.

MARY SEYTON. Indeed I saw them kiss.

QUEEN. So lovers use— What, their mouths close? a goodly way of love! Or but the hands? or on her throat? Prithee— You have sworn that.

MARY SEYTON. I say what I saw done.

QUEEN. Ay, you did see her cheeks (God smite them red!) Kissed either side? what, they must eat strange food Those singing lips of his?

MARY SEYTON. Sweet meat enough— They started at my coming five yards off, But there they were.

QUEEN. A maid may have kissed cheeks And no shame in them—yet one would not swear. You have sworn that. Pray God he be not mad: A sickness in his eyes. The left side love (I was told that) and the right courtesy. 'T is good fools' fashion. What, no more but this? For me, God knows I am no whit wroth; not I; But, for your fame's sake that her shame will sting, I cannot see a way to pardon her— For your fame's sake, lest that be prated of.

MARY SEYTON. Nay, if she were not chaste—I have not said She was not chaste.

QUEEN. I know you are tender of her; And your sweet word will hardly turn her sweet.

MARY SEYTON. Indeed I would fain do her any good. Shall I not take some gracious word to her?

QUEEN. Bid her not come or wait on me to-day.

MARY SEYTON. Will you see him?

QUEEN. See—O, this Chastelard? He doth not well to sing maids into shame; And folk are sharp here; yet for sweet friends' sake Assuredly I 'll see him. I am not wroth. A goodly man, and a good sword thereto— It may be he shall wed her. I am not wroth.

MARY SEYTON. Nay, though she bore with him, she hath no great love, I doubt me, that way.

QUEEN. God mend all, I pray— And keep us from all wrongdoing and wild words. I think there is no fault men fall upon But I could pardon. Look you, I would swear She were no paramour for any man, So well I love her.

MARY SEYTON. Am I to bid him in?

QUEEN. As you will, sweet. But if you held me hard You did me grievous wrong. Doth he wait there? Men call me over tender; I had rather so, Than too ungracious. Father, what with you?


FATHER BLACK. God's peace and health of soul be with the queen! And pardon be with me though I speak truth. As I was going on peaceable men's wise Through your good town, desiring no man harm, A kind of shameful woman with thief's lips Spake somewhat to me over a thrust-out chin, Soliciting as I deemed an alms; which alms (Remembering what was writ of Magdalen) I gave no grudging but with pure good heart, When lo some scurril children that lurked near, Set there by Satan for my stumbling-stone, Fell hooting with necks thwart and eyes asquint, Screeched and made horns and shot out tongues at me, As at my Lord the Jews shot out their tongues And made their heads wag; I considering this Took up my cross in patience and passed forth: Nevertheless one ran between my feet And made me totter, using speech and signs I smart with shame to think of: then my blood Kindled, and I was moved to smite the knave, And the knave howled; whereat the lewd whole herd Brake forth upon me and cast mire and stones So that I ran sore risk of bruise or gash If they had touched; likewise I heard men say, (Their foul speech missed not mine ear) they cried, "This devil's mass-priest hankers for new flesh Like a dry hound; let him seek such at home, Snuff and smoke out the queen's French—"

QUEEN. They said that?

FATHER BLACK. "—French paramours that breed more shames than sons All her court through;" forgive me.

QUEEN. With my heart. Father, you see the hatefulness of these— They loathe us for our love. I am not moved: What should I do being angry? By this hand (Which is not big enough to bruise their lips), I marvel what thing should be done with me To make me wroth. We must have patience with us When we seek thank of men.

FATHER BLACK. Madam, farewell; I pray God keep you in such patient heart.


QUEEN. Let him come now.

MARY SEYTON. Madam, he is at hand.



QUEEN. Give me that broidery frame; how, gone so soon? No maid about? Reach me some skein of silk. What, are you come, fair lord? Now by my life That lives here idle, I am right glad of you; I have slept so well and sweet since yesternight It seems our dancing put me in glad heart. Did you sleep well?

CHASTELARD. Yea, as a man may sleep.

QUEEN. You smile as if I jested; do not men Sleep as we do? Had you fair dreams in the night? For me—but I should fret you with my dreams— I dreamed sweet things. You are good at soothsaying: Make me a sonnet of my dream.

CHASTELARD. I will, When I shall know it.

QUEEN. I thought I was asleep In Paris, lying by my lord, and knew In somewise he was well awake, and yet I could not wake too; and I seemed to know He hated me, and the least breath I made Would turn somehow to slay or stifle me. Then in brief time he rose and went away, Saying, Let her dream, but when her dream is out I will come back and kill her as she wakes. And I lay sick and trembling with sore fear, And still I knew that I was deep asleep; And thinking I must dream now, or I die, God send me some good dream lest I be slain, Fell fancying one had bound my feet with cords And bade me dance, and the first measure made I fell upon my face and wept for pain: And my cords broke, and I began the dance To a bitter tune; and he that danced with me Was clothed in black with long red lines and bars And masked down to the lips, but by the chin I knew you though your lips were sewn up close With scarlet thread all dabbled wet in blood. And then I knew the dream was not for good. And striving with sore travail to reach up And kiss you (you were taller in my dream) I missed your lips and woke.

CHASTELARD. Sweet dreams, you said? An evil dream I hold it for, sweet love.

QUEEN. You call love sweet; yea, what is bitter, then? There's nothing broken sleep could hit upon So bitter as the breaking down of love. You call me sweet; I am not sweet to you, Nor you-O, I would say not sweet to me, And if I said so I should hardly lie. But there have been those things between us, sir, That men call sweet.

CHASTELARD. I know not how There is Turns to There hath been; 't is a heavier change Than change of flesh to dust. Yet though years change And good things end and evil things grow great, The old love that was, or that was dreamed about, That sang and kissed and wept upon itself, Laughed and ran mad with love of its own face, That was a sweet thing.

QUEEN. Nay, I know not well. 'T is when the man is held fast underground They say for sooth what manner of heart he had. We are alive, and cannot be well sure If we loved much or little: think you not It were convenient one of us should die?

CHASTELARD. Madam, your speech is harsh to understand.

QUEEN. Why, there could come no change then; one of us Would never need to fear our love might turn To the sad thing that it may grow to be. I would sometimes all things were dead asleep That I have loved, all buried in soft beds And sealed with dreams and visions, and each dawn Sung to by sorrows, and all night assuaged By short sweet kissed and by sweet long loves For old life's sake, lest weeping overmuch Should wake them in a strange new time, and arm Memory's blind hand to kill forgetfulness.

CHASTELARD. Look, you dream still, and sadly.

QUEEN. Sooth, a dream; For such things died or lied in sweet love's face, And I forget them not, God help my wit! I would the whole world were made up of sleep And life not fashioned out of lies and loves. We foolish women have such times, you know, When we are weary or afraid or sick For perfect nothing.

CHASTELARD. [Aside.] Now would one be fain To know what bitter or what dangerous thing She thinks of, softly chafing her soft lip. She must mean evil.

QUEEN. Are you sad too, sir, That you say nothing?

CHASTELARD. I? not sad a jot— Though this your talk might make a blithe man sad.

QUEEN. O me! I must not let stray sorrows out; They are ill to fledge, and if they feel blithe air They wail and chirp untunefully. Would God I had been a man! when I was born, men say, My father turned his face and wept to think I was no man.

CHASTELARD. Will you weep too?

QUEEN. In sooth, If I were a man I should be no base man; I could have fought; yea, I could fight now too If men would show me; I would I were the king! I should be all ways better than I am.

CHASTELARD. Nay, would you have more honor, having this— Men's hearts and loves and the sweet spoil of souls Given you like simple gold to bind your hair? Say you were king of thews, not queen of souls, An iron headpiece hammered to a head, You might fall too.

QUEEN. No, then I would not fall, Or God should make me woman back again. To be King James-you hear men say King James, The word sounds like a piece of gold thrown down, Rings with a round and royal note in it— A name to write good record of; this king Fought here and there, was beaten such a day, And came at last to a good end, his life Being all lived out, and for the main part well And like a king's life; then to have men say (As now they say of Flodden, here they broke And there they held up to the end) years back They saw you-yea, I saw the king's face helmed Red in the hot lit foreground of some fight Hold the whole war as it were by the bit, a horse Fit for his knees' grip-the great rearing war That frothed with lips flung up, and shook men's lives Off either flank of it like snow; I saw (You could not hear as his sword rang), saw him Shout, laugh, smite straight, and flaw the riven ranks, Move as the wind moves, and his horse's feet Stripe their long flags with dust. Why, if one died, To die so in the heart and heat of war Were a much goodlier thing than living soft And speaking sweet for fear of men. Woe's me, Is there no way to pluck this body off? Then I should never fear a man again, Even in my dreams I should not; no, by heaven.

CHASTELARD. I never thought you did fear anything.

QUEEN. God knows I do; I could be sick with wrath To think what grievous fear I have 'twixt whiles Of mine own self and of base men: last night If certain lords were glancing where I was Under the eyelid, with sharp lip and brow, I tell you, for pure shame and fear of them, I could have gone and slain them.

CHASTELARD. Verily, You are changed since those good days that fell in France; But yet I think you are not so changed at heart As to fear man.

QUEEN. I would I had no need. Lend me your sword a little; a fair sword; I see the fingers that I hold it with Clear in the blade, bright pink, the shell-color, Brighter than flesh is really, curved all round. Now men would mock if I should wear it here, Bound under bosom with a girdle, here, And yet I have heart enough to wear it well. Speak to me like a woman, let me see If I can play at man.

CHASTELARD. God save King James!

QUEEN. Would you could change now! Fie, this will not do; Unclasp your sword; nay, the hilt hurts my side; It sticks fast here. Unbind this knot for me: Stoop, and you'll see it closer; thank you: there. Now I can breathe, sir. Ah! it hurts me, though: This was fool's play.

CHASTELARD. Yea, you are better so, Without the sword; your eyes are stronger things, Whether to save or slay.

QUEEN. Alas, my side! It hurts right sorely. Is it not pitiful Our souls should be so bound about with flesh Even when they leap and smite with wings and feet, The least pain plucks them back, puts out their eyes, Turns them to tears and words? Ah my sweet knight, You have the better of us that weave and weep While the blithe battle blows upon your eyes Like rain and wind; yet I remember too When this last year the fight at Corrichie Reddened the rushes with stained fen-water, I rode with my good men and took delight, Feeling the sweet clear wind upon my eyes And rainy soft smells blown upon my face In riding: then the great fight jarred and joined, And the sound stung me right through heart and all; For I was here, see, gazing off the hills, In the wet air; our housings were all wet, And not a plume stood stiffly past the ear But flapped between the bridle and the neck; And under us we saw the battle go Like running water; I could see by fits Some helm the rain fell shining off, some flag Snap from the staff, shorn through or broken short In the man's falling: yea, one seemed to catch The very grasp of tumbled men at men, Teeth clenched in throats, hands riveted in hair, Tearing the life out with no help of swords. And all the clamor seemed to shine, the light Seemed to shout as a man doth; twice I laughed— I tell you, twice my heart swelled out with thirst To be into the battle; see, fair lord, I swear it seemed I might have made a knight, And yet the simple bracing of a belt Makes me cry out; this is too pitiful, This dusty half of us made up with fears.— Have you been ever quite so glad to fight As I have thought men must? pray you, speak truth.

CHASTELARD. Yea, when the time came, there caught hold of me Such pleasure in the head and hands and blood As may be kindled under loving lips: Crossing the ferry once to the Clerks' Field, I mind how the plashing noise of Seine Put fire into my face for joy, and how My blood kept measure with the swinging boat Till we touched land, all for the sake of that Which should be soon.

QUEEN. Her name, for God's love, sir; You slew your friend for love's sake? nay, the name.

CHASTELARD. Faith, I forget.

QUEEN. Now by the faith I have You have no faith to swear by.

CHASTELARD. A good sword: We left him quiet after a thrust or twain.

QUEEN. I would I had been at hand and marked them off As the maids did when we played singing games: You outwent me at rhyming; but for faith, We fight best there. I would I had seen you fight.

CHASTELARD. I would you had; his play was worth an eye; He made some gallant way before that pass Which made me way through him.

QUEEN. Would I saw that— How did you slay him?

CHASTELARD. A clean pass—this way; Right in the side here, where the blood has root. His wrist went round in pushing, see you, thus, Or he had pierced me.

QUEEN. Yea, I see, sweet knight. I have a mind to love you for his sake; Would I had seen.

CHASTELARD. Hugues de Marsillac— I have the name now; 't was a goodly one Before he changed it for a dusty name.

QUEEN. Talk not of death; I would hear living talk Of good live swords and good strokes struck withal, Brave battles and the mirth of mingling men, Not of cold names you greet a dead man with. You are yet young for fighting; but in fight Have you never caught a wound?

CHASTELARD. Yea, twice or so: The first time in a little outlying field (My first field) at the sleepy gray of dawn, They found us drowsy, fumbling at our girths, And rode us down by heaps; I took a hurt Here in the shoulder.

QUEEN. Ah, I mind well now; Did you not ride a day's space afterward, Having two wounds? yea, Dandelot it was, That Dandelot took word of it. I know, Sitting at meat when the news came to us I had nigh swooned but for those Florence eyes Slanting my way with sleek lids drawn up close— Yea, and she said, the Italian brokeress, She said such men were good for great queens' love. I would you might die, when you come to die, Like a knight slain. Pray God we make good ends. For love too, love dies hard or easily, But some way dies on some day, ere we die.

CHASTELARD. You made a song once of old flowers and loves, Will you not sing that rather? 't is long gone Since you sang last.

QUEEN. I had rather sigh than sing And sleep than sigh; 't is long since verily, But I will once more sing; ay, thus it was.


1. J'ai vu faner bien des choses, Mainte feuille aller au vent. En songeant aux vieilles roses, J'ai pleure souvent.

2. Vois-tu dans les roses mortes Amour qui sourit cache? O mon amant, a nos portes L'as-tu vu couche?

3. As-tu vu jamais au monde Venus chasser et courir? Fille de l'onde, avec l'onde Doit-elle mourir?

4. Aux jours de neige et de givre L'amour s'effeuille et s'endort; Avec mai doit-il revivre, Ou bien est-il mort?

5. Qui sait ou s'en vont les roses? Qui sai ou s'en va le vent? En songeant a telles choses, J'ai pleure souvent.

I never heard yet but love made good knights, But for pure faith, by Mary's holiness, I think she lies about men's lips asleep, And if one kiss or pluck her by the hand To wake her, why God help your woman's wit, Faith is but dead; dig her grave deep at heart, And hide her face with cerecloths; farewell faith. Would I could tell why I talk idly. Look, Here come my riddle-readers. Welcome all;


Sirs, be right welcome. Stand you by my side, Fair cousin, I must lean on love or fall; You are a goodly staff, sir; tall enough, And fair enough to serve. My gentle lords, I am full glad of God that in great grace He hath given me such a lordly stay as this; There is no better friended queen alive. For the repealing of those banished men That stand in peril yet of last year's fault, It is our will; you have our seal to that. Brother, we hear harsh bruits of bad report Blown up and down about our almoner; See you to this: let him be sought into: They say lewd folk make ballads of their spleen, Strew miry ways of words with talk of him; If they have cause let him be spoken with.

LINDSAY. Madam, they charge him with so rank a life Were it not well this fellow were plucked out— Seeing this is not an eye that doth offend, But a blurred glass it were no harm to break; Yea rather it were gracious to be done?

QUEEN. Let him be weighed, and use him as he is; I am of my nature pitiful, ye know, And cannot turn my love unto a thorn In so brief space. Ye are all most virtuous; Yea, there is goodness grafted on this land; But yet compassion is some part of God. There is much heavier business held on hand Than one man's goodness: yea, as things fare here, A matter worth more weighing. All you wot I am choose a help to my weak feet, A lamp before my face, a lord and friend To walk with me in weary ways, high up Between the wind and rain and the hot sun. Now I have chosen a helper to myself, I wot the best a woman ever won; A man that loves me, and a royal man, A goodly love and lord for any queen. But for the peril and despite of men I have sometime tarried and withheld myself, Not fearful of his worthiness nor you, But with some lady's loathing to let out My whole heart's love; for truly this is hard, Not like a woman's fashion, shamefacedness And noble grave reluctance of herself To be the tongue and cry of her own heart. Nathless plain speech is better than much wit, So ye shall bear with me; albeit I think Ye have caught the mark whereat my heart is bent. I have kept close counsel and shut up men's lips, But lightly shall a woman's will slip out, The foolish little winged will of her, Through cheek or eye when tongue is charmed asleep. For that good lord I have good will to wed, I wot he knew long since which way it flew, Even till it lit on his right wrist and sang. Lo, here I take him by the hand: fair lords, This is my kinsman, made of mine own blood, I take to halve the state and services That bow down to me, and to be my head, My chief, my master, my sweet lord and king. Now shall I never say "sweet cousin" more To my dear head and husband; here, fair sir, I give you all the heart of love in me To gather off my lips. Did it like you, The taste of it? sir, it was whole and true. God save our king!

DARNLEY. Nay, nay, sweet love, no lord; No king of yours though I were lord of these.

QUEEN. Let word be sent to all good friends of ours To help us to be glad; England and France Shall bear great part of our rejoicings up. Give me your hand, dear lord; for from this time I must not walk alone. Lords, have good cheer: For you shall have a better face than mine To set upon your kingly gold and show For Scotland's forehead in the van of things. Go with us now, and see this news set out.


[As CHASTELARD is going out, enter MARY BEATON.]

MARY BEATON. Have you yet heard? You knew of this?

CHASTELARD. I know. I was just thinking how such things were made And were so fair as this is. Do you know She held me here and talked—the most sweet talk Men ever heard of?

MARY BEATON. You hate me to the heart. What will you do?

CHASTELARD. I know not: die some day, But live as long and lightly as I can. Will you now love me? faith, but if you do, It were much better you were dead and hearsed. Will you do one thing for me?

MARY BEATON. Yea, all things.

CHASTELARD. Speak truth a little, for God's sake: indeed It were no harm to do. Come, will you, sweet? Though it be but to please God.

MARY BEATON. What will you do?

CHASTELARD. Ay, true, I must do somewhat. Let me see: To get between and tread upon his face— Catch both her hands and bid men look at them, How pure they were—I would do none of these, Though they got wedded all the days in the year. We may do well yet when all's come and gone. I pray you on this wedding-night of theirs Do but one thing that I shall ask of you, And Darnley will not hunger as I shall For that good time. Sweet, will you swear me this?

MARY BEATON. Yea; though to do it were mortal to my soul As the chief sin.

CHASTELARD. I thank you: let us go.




SCENE I.—The Queen's Chamber. Night. Lights burning In front of the bed.


MARY BEATON. Be tender of your feet.

CHASTELARD. I shall not fail: These ways have light enough to help a man That walks with such stirred blood in him as mine.

MARY BEATON. I would yet plead with you to save your head: Nay, let this be then: sir, I chide you not. Nay, let all come. Do not abide her yet.

CHASTELARD. Have you read never in French books the song Called the Duke's Song, some boy made ages back, A song of drag-nets hauled across thwart seas And plucked up with rent sides, and caught therein A strange-haired woman with sad singing lips, Cold in the cheek like any stray of sea, And sweet to touch? so that men seeing her face, And how she sighed out little Ahs of pain And soft cries sobbing sideways from her mouth, Fell in hot love, and having lain with her Died soon? one time I could have told it through: Now I have kissed the sea-witch on her eyes And my lips ache with it; but I shall sleep Full soon, and a good space of sleep.


CHASTELARD. What makes you sigh though I be found a fool? You have no blame: and for my death, sweet friend, I never could have lived long either way. Why, as I live, the joy I have of this Would make men mad that were not mad with love; I hear my blood sing, and my lifted heart Is like a springing water blown of wind For pleasure of this deed. Now, in God's name, I swear if there be danger in delight I must die now: if joys have deadly teeth, I'll have them bite my soul to death, and end In the old asp's way, Egyptian-wise; be killed In a royal purple fashion. Look, my love Would kill me if my body were past hurt Of any man's hand; and to die thereof, I say, is sweeter than all sorts of life. I would not have her love me now, for then I should die meanlier some time. I am safe, Sure of her face, my life's end in her sight, My blood shed out about her feet—by God, My heart feels drunken when I think of it. See you, she will not rid herself of me, Not though she slay me: her sweet lips and life Will smell of my spilt blood.

MARY BEATON. Give me good-night.

CHASTELARD. Yea, and good thanks.


Here is the very place: Here has her body bowed the pillows in And here her head thrust under made the sheet Smell sort of her mixed hair and spice: even here Her arms pushed back the coverlet, pulled here The golden silken curtain halfway in It may be, and made room to lean out loose, Fair tender fallen arms. Now, if God would, Doubtless he might take pity on my soul To give me three clear hours, and then red hell Snare me forever: this were merciful: If I were God now I should do thus much. I must die next, and this were not so hard For him to let me eat sweet fruit and die With my lips sweet from it. For one shall have This fare for common days'-bread, which to me Should be a touch kept always on my sense To make hell soft, yea, the keen pain of hell Soft as the loosening of wound arms in sleep. Ah, love is good, and the worst part of it More than all things but death. She will be here In some small while, and see me face to face That am to give up life for her and go Where a man lies with all his loves put out And his lips full of earth. I think on her, And the old pleasure stings and makes half-tears Under mine eyelids. Prithee, love, come fast, That I may die soon: yea, some kisses through, I shall die joyfully enough, so God Keep me alive till then. I feel her feet Coming far off; now must I hold my heart, Steadying my blood to see her patiently.

[Hides himself by the bed.]

[Enter the QUEEN and DARNLEY.]

QUEEN. Nay, now go back: I have sent off my folk, Maries and all. Pray you, let be my hair; I cannot twist the gold thread out of it That you wound in so close. Look, here it clings: Ah! now you mar my hair unwinding it. Do me no hurt, sir.

DARNLEY. I would do you ease; Let me stay here.

QUEEN. Nay, will you go, my lord?

DARNLEY. Eh? would you use me as a girl does fruit, Touched with her mouth and pulled away for game To look thereon ere her lips feed? but see, By God, I fare the worse for you.

QUEEN. Fair sir, Give me this hour to watch with and say prayers; You have not faith-it needs me to say prayers, That with commending of this deed to God I may get grace for it.

DARNLEY. Why, lacks it grace? Is not all wedlock gracious of itself?

QUEEN. Nay, that I know not of. Come, sweet, be hence.

DARNLEY. You have a sort of jewel in your neck That's like mine here.

QUEEN. Keep off your hands and go: You have no courtesy to be a king.

DARNLEY. Well, I will go: nay, but I thwart you not. Do as you will, and get you grace; farewell, And for my part, grace keep this watch with me! For I need grace to bear with you so much.


QUEEN. So, he is forth. Let me behold myself; I am too pale to be so hot; I marvel So little color should be bold in the face When the blood is not quieted. I have But a brief space to cool my thoughts upon. If one should wear the hair thus heaped and curled Would it look best? or this way in the neck? Could one ungirdle in such wise one's heart

[Taking off her girdle.]

And ease it inwards as the waist is eased By slackening of the slid clasp on it! How soft the silk is-gracious color too; Violet shadows like new veins thrown up Each arm, and gold to fleck the faint sweet green Where the wrist lies thus eased. I am right glad I have no maids about to hasten me— So I will rest and see my hair shed down On either silk side of my woven sleeves, Get some new way to bind it back with-yea, Fair mirror-glass, I am well ware of you, Yea, I know that, I am quite beautiful. How my hair shines!-Fair face, be friends with me And I will sing to you; look in my face Now, and your mouth must help the song in mine.

Alys la chatelaine Voit venir de par Seine Thiebault le capitaine Qui parle ainsi!

Was that the wind in the casement? nay, no more But the comb drawn through half my hissing hair Laid on my arms-yet my flesh moved at it.

Dans ma camaille Plus de clou qui vaille, Dans ma cotte-maille Plus de fer aussi.

Ah, but I wrong the ballad-verse: what's good In such frayed fringes of old rhymes, to make Their broken burden lag with us? meseems I could be sad now if I fell to think The least sad thing; aye, that sweet lady's fool, Fool sorrow, would make merry with mine eyes For a small thing. Nay, but I will keep glad, Nor shall old sorrow be false friends with me. But my first wedding was not like to this— Fair faces then and laughter and sweet game, And a pale little mouth that clung on mine When I had kissed him by the faded eyes And either thin cheek beating with faint blood. Well, he was sure to die soon; I do think He would have given his body to be slain, Having embraced my body. Now, God knows, I have no man to do as much for me As give me but a little of his blood To fill my beauty from, though I go down Pale to my grave for want—I think not. Pale— I am too pale purely—Ah!

[See him in the glass, coming forward.]

CHASTELARD. Be not afraid.

QUEEN. Saint Mary! what a shaken wit have I! Nay, is it you? who let you through the doors? Where be my maidens? which way got you in? Nay, but stand up, kiss not my hands so hard; By God's fair body, if you but breathe on them You are just dead and slain at once. What adder Has bit you mirthful mad? for by this light A man to have his head laughed off for mirth Is no great jest. Lay not your eyes on me; What, would you not be slain?

CHASTELARD. I pray you, madam, Bear with me a brief space and let me speak. I will not touch your garments even, nor speak But in soft wise, and look some other way, If that it like you; for I came not here For pleasure of the eyes; yet, if you will, Let me look on you.

QUEEN. As you will, fair sir. Give me that coif to gather in my hair— I thank you—and my girdle-nay, that side. Speak, if you will; yet if you will be gone, Why, you shall go, because I hate you not. You know that I might slay you with my lips, With calling out? but I will hold my peace.

CHASTELARD. Yea, do some while. I had a thing to say; I know not wholly what thing. O my sweet, I am come here to take farewell of love That I have served, and life that I have lived Made up of love, here in the sight of you That all my life's time I loved more than God, Who quits me thus with bitter death for it. For you well know that I must shortly die, My life being wound about you as it is, Who love me not; yet do not hate me, sweet, But tell me wherein I came short of love; For doubtless I came short of a just love, And fell in some fool's fault that angered you. Now that I talk men dig my grave for me Out in the rain, and in a little while I shall be thrust in some sad space of earth Out of your eyes; and you, O you my love, A newly-wedded lady full of mirth And a queen girt with all good people's love, You shall be fair and merry in all your days. Is this so much for me to have of you? Do but speak, sweet: I know these are no words A man should say though he were now to die, But I am as a child for love, and have No strength at heart; yea, I am afraid to die, For the harsh dust will lie upon my face Too thick to see you past. Look how I love you; I did so love you always, that your face Seen through my sleep has wrung mine eyes to tears For pure delight in you. Why do you thus? You answer not, but your lips curl in twain And your face moves; there, I shall make you weep And be a coward too; it were much best I should be slain.

QUEEN. Yea, best such folk were slain; Why should they live to cozen fools with lies? You would swear now you have used me faithfully; Shall I not make you swear? I am ware of you: You will not do it; nay, for the fear of God You will not swear. Come, I am merciful; God made a foolish woman, making me, And I have loved your mistress with whole heart; Say you do love her, you shall marry her And she give thanks: yet I could wish your love Had not so lightly chosen forth a face; For your fair sake, because I hate you not.

CHASTELARD. What is to say? why, you do surely know That since my days were counted for a man's I have loved you; yea, how past all help and sense, Whatever thing was bitter to my love, I have loved you; how when I rode in war Your face went floated in among men's helms, Your voice went through the shriek of slipping swords; Yea, and I never have loved women well, Seeing always in my sight I had your lips Curled over, red and sweet; and the soft space Of carven brows, and splendor of great throat Swayed lily-wise; what pleasure should one have To wind his arms about a lesser love? I have seen you; why, this were joy enough For God's eyes up in heaven, only to see And to come never nearer than I am. Why, it was in my flesh, my bone and blood, Bound in my brain, to love you; yea, and writ All my heart over: if I would lie to you I doubt I could not lie. Ah, you see now, You know now well enough; yea, there, sweet love, Let me kiss there.

QUEEN. I love you best of them. Clasp me quite round till your lips cleave on mine, False mine, that did you wrong. Forgive them dearly As you are sweet to them; for by love's love I am not that evil woman in my heart That laughs at a rent faith. O Chastelard, Since this was broken to me of your new love I have not seen the face of a sweet hour. Nay, if there be no pardon in a man, What shall a woman have for loving him? Pardon me, sweet.

CHASTELARD. Yea, so I pardon you, And this side now; the first way. Would God please To slay me so! who knows how he might please? Now I am thinking, if you know it not, How I might kill you, kiss your breath clean out, And take your soul to bring mine through to God, That our two souls might close and be one twain Or a twain one, and God himself want skill To set us either severally apart. O, you must overlive me many years. And many years my soul be in waste hell; But when some time God can no more refrain To lay death like a kiss across your lips, And great lords bear you clothed with funeral things, And your crown girded over deadly brows, Then after you shall touch me with your eyes, Remembering love was fellow with my flesh Here in sweet earth, and make me well of love And heal my many years with piteousness.

QUEEN. You talk too sadly and too feignedly.

CHASTELARD. Too sad, but not too feigned; I am sad That I shall die here without feigning thus; And without feigning I were fain to live.

QUEEN. Alas, you will be taken presently And then you are but dead. Pray you get hence.

CHASTELARD. I will not.

QUEEN. Nay, for God's love be away; You will be slain and I get shame. God's mercy! You were stark mad to come here; kiss me, sweet. Oh, I do love you more than all men! yea, Take my lips to you, close mine eyes up fast, So you leave hold a little; there, for pity, Abide now, and to-morrow come to me. Nay, lest one see red kisses in my throat— Dear God! what shall I give you to be gone?

CHASTELARD. I will not go. Look, here's full night grown up; Why should I seek to sleep away from here? The place is soft and the lights burn for sleep; Be not you moved; I shall lie well enough.

QUEEN. You are utterly undone. Sweet, by my life, You shall be saved with taking ship at once. For if you stay this foolish love's hour out There is not ten days' likely life in you. This is no choice.

CHASTELARD. Nay, for I will not go.

QUEEN. O me! this is that Bayard's blood of yours That makes you mad; yea, and you shall not stay. I do not understand. Mind, you must die. Alas, poor lord, you have no sense of me; I shall be deadly to you.

CHASTELARD. Yea, I saw that; But I saw not that when my death's day came You could be quite so sweet to me.

QUEEN. My love! If I could kiss my heart's root out on you You would taste love hid at the core of me.

CHASTELARD. Kiss me twice more. This beautiful bowed head That has such hair with kissing ripples in And shivering soft eyelashes and brows With fluttered blood! but laugh a little, sweetly, That I may see your sad mouth's laughing look I have used sweet hours in seeing. O, will you weep? I pray you do not weep.

QUEEN. Nay, dear, I have No tears in me; I never shall weep much, I think, in all my life; I have wept for wrath Sometimes and for mere pain, but for love's pity I cannot weep at all. I would to God You loved me less; I give you all I can For all this love of yours, and yet I am sure I shall live out the sorrow of your death And be glad afterwards. You know I am sorry. I should weep now; forgive me for your part, God made me hard, I think. Alas, you see I had fain been other than I am.

CHASTELARD. Yea, love. Comfort your heart. What way am I do die?

QUEEN. Ah, will you go yet, sweet?

CHASTELARD. No, by God's body. You will not see? how shall I make you see? Look, it may be love was a sort of curse Made for my plague and mixed up with my days Somewise in their beginning; or indeed A bitter birth begotten of sad stars At mine own body's birth, that heaven might make My life taste sharp where other men drank sweet; But whether in heavy body or broken soul, I know it must go on to be my death. There was the matter of my fate in me When I was fashioned first, and given such life As goes with a sad end; no fault but God's. Yea, and for all this I am not penitent: You see I am perfect in these sins of mine, I have my sins writ in a book to read; Now I shall die and be well done with this. But I am sure you cannot see such things, God knows I blame you not.

QUEEN. What shall be said? You know most well that I am sorrowful. But you should chide me. Sweet, you have seen fair wars, Have seen men slain and ridden red in them; Why will you die a chamberer's death like this? What, shall no praise be written of my knight, For my fame's sake?

CHASTELARD. Nay, no great praise, I think; I will no more; what should I do with death, Though I died goodly out of sight of you? I have gone once: here am I set now, sweet, Till the end come. That is your husband, hark, He knocks at the outer door. Kiss me just once. You know now all you have to say. Nay, love, Let him come quickly.

[Enter DARNLEY, and afterwards the MARIES.]

DARNLEY. Yea, what thing is here? Ay, this was what the doors shut fast upon— Ay, trust you to be fast at prayer, my sweet? By God I have a mind—

CHASTELARD. What mind then, sir? A liar's lewd mind, to coin sins for jest, Because you take me in such wise as this? Look you, I have to die soon, and I swear, That am no liar but a free knight and lord, I shall die clear of any sin to you, Save that I came for no good will of mine; I am no carle, I play fair games with faith, And by mine honor for my sake I swear I say but truth; for no man's sake save mine, Lest I die shamed. Madam, I pray you say I am no liar; you know me what I am, A sinful man and shortly to be slain, That in a simple insolence of love Have stained with a fool's eyes your holy hours And with a fool's words put your pity out; Nathless you know if I be liar or no, Wherefore for God's sake give me grace to swear (Yea, for mine too) how past all praise you are And stainless of all shame; and how all men Lie, saying you are not most good and innocent, Yea, the one thing good as God.

DARNLEY. O sir, we know You can swear well, being taken; you fair French Dare swallow God's name for a lewd love-sake As it were water. Nay, we know, we know; Save your sweet breath now lest you lack it soon: We are simple, we; we have not heard of you. Madam, by God you are well shamed in him: Ay, trust you to be fingering in one's face, Play with one's neck-chain? ah, your maiden's man, A relic of your people's!

CHASTELARD. Hold your peace, Or I will set an edge on your own lie Shall scar yourself. Madam, have out your guard; 'T is time I were got hence.

QUEEN. Sweet Hamilton, Hold you my hand and help me to sit down. O Henry, I am beaten from my wits— Let me have time and live; call out my people— Bring forth some armed guard to lay hold on him: But see no man be slain. Sirs, hide your swords; I will not have men slain.

DARNLEY. What, is this true? Call the queen's people—help the queen there, you— Ho, sirs, come in.

[Enter some with the Guard.]

QUEEN. Lay hold upon that man; Bear him away, but see he have no hurt.

CHASTELARD. Into your hands I render up myself With a free heart; deal with me how you list, But courteously, I pray you. Take my sword. Farewell, great queen; the sweetness in your look Makes life look bitter on me. Farewell, sirs.

[He is taken out.]

DARNLEY. Yea, pluck him forth, and have him hanged by dawn; He shall find bed enow to sleep. God's love! That such a knave should be a knight like this!

QUEEN. Sir, peace awhile; this shall be as I please; Take patience to you. Lords, I pray you see All be done goodly; look they wrong him not. Carmichael, you shall sleep with me to-night; I am sorely shaken, even to the heart. Fair lords, I thank you for your care. Sweet, stay by me.




SCENE I.-The Queen's Lodging at St. Andrew's.

The QUEEN and the four MARIES.

QUEEN. Why will you break my heart with praying to me? You Seyton, you Carmichael, you have wits, You are not all run to tears; you do not think It is my wrath or will that whets this axe Against his neck?

MARY SEYTON. Nay, these three weeks agone I said the queen's wrath was not sharp enough To shear a neck.

QUEEN. Sweet, and you did me right, And look you, what my mercy bears to fruit, Danger and deadly speech and a fresh fault Before the first was cool in people's lips; A goodly mercy: and I wash hands of it.— Speak you, there; have you ever found me sharp? You weep and whisper with sloped necks and heads Like two sick birds; do you think shame of me? Nay, I thank God none can think shame of me; But am I bitter, think you, to men's faults? I think I am too merciful, too meek: Why if I could I would yet save this man; 'T is just boy's madness; a soft stripe or two Would do to scourge the fault in his French blood. I would fain let him go. You, Hamilton, You have a heart thewed harder than my heart; When mine would threat it sighs, and wrath in it Has a bird's flight and station, starves before It can well feed or fly; my pulse of wrath Sounds tender as the running down of tears. You are the hardest woman I have known, Your blood has frost and cruel gall in it, You hold men off with bitter lips and eyes— Such maidens should serve England; now, perfay, I doubt you would have got him slain at once. Come, would you not? come, would you let him live?

MARY HAMILTON. Yes-I think yes; I cannot tell; maybe I would have seen him punished.

QUEEN. Look you now, There's maiden mercy; I would have him live— For all my wifehood maybe I weep too; Here's a mere maiden falls to slaying at once, Small shrift for her; God keep us from such hearts! I am a queen too that would have him live, But one that has no wrong and is no queen, She would-What are you saying there, you twain?

MARY CARMICHAEL. I said a queen's face and so fair an one's Would lose no grace for giving grace away; That gift comes back upon the mouth it left And makes it sweeter, and set fresh red on it.

QUEEN. This comes of sonnets when the dance draws breath; These talking times will make a dearth of grace. But you-what ails you that your lips are shut? Weep, if you will; here are four friends of yours To weep as fast for pity of your tears. Do you desire him dead? nay, but men say He was your friend, he fought them on your side, He made you songs-God knows what songs he made! Speak you for him a little: will you not?

MARY BEATON. Madam, I have no words.

QUEEN. No words? no pity— Have you no mercies for such men? God help! It seems I am the meekest heart on earth— Yea, the one tender woman left alive, And knew it not. I will not let him live, For all my pity of him.

MARY BEATON. Nay, but, madam, For God's love look a little to this thing. If you do slay him you are but shamed to death; All men will cry upon you, women weep, Turning your sweet name bitter with their tears; Red shame grow up out of your memory And burn his face that would speak well of you: You shall have no good word nor pity, none, Till some such end be fallen upon you: nay, I am but cold, I knew I had no words, I will keep silence.

QUEEN. Yea now, as I live, I wist not of it: troth, he shall not die. See you, I am pitiful, compassionate, I would not have men slain for my love's sake, But if he live to do me three times wrong, Why then my shame would grow up green and red Like any flower. I am not whole at heart; In faith, I wot not what such things should be; I doubt it is but dangerous; he must die.

MARY BEATON. Yea, but you will not slay him.

QUEEN. Swear me that, I'll say he shall not die for your oath's sake. What will you do for grief when he is dead?

MARY BEATON. Nothing for grief, but hold my peace and die.

QUEEN. Why, for your sweet sake one might let him live; But the first fault was a green seed of shame, And now the flower, and deadly fruit will come With apple-time in autumn. By my life, I would they had slain him there in Edinburgh; But I reprieve him; lo the thank I get, To set the base folk muttering like smoked bees Of shame and love, and how love comes to shame, And the queen loves shame that comes of love; Yet I say nought and go about my ways, And this mad fellow that I respited Being forth and free, lo now the second time Ye take him by my bed in wait. Now see If I can get good-will to pardon him; With what a face may I crave leave of men To respite him, being young and a good knight And mad for perfect love? shall I go say, Dear lords, because ye took him shamefully, Let him not die; because his fault is foul, Let him not die; because if he do live I shall be held a harlot of all men, I pray you, sweet sirs, that he may not die?

MARY BEATON. Madam, for me I would not have him live; Mine own heart's life was ended with my fame, And my life's breath will shortly follow them; So that I care not much; for you wot well I have lost love and shame and fame and all To no good end; nor while he had his life Have I got good of him that was my love, Save that for courtesy (which may God quit) He kissed me once as one might kiss for love Out of great pity for me; saving this, He never did me grace in all his life. And when you have slain him, madam, it may be I shall get grace of him in some new way In a new place, if God have care of us.

QUEEN. Bid you my brother to me presently.

[Exeunt MARIES.]

And yet the thing is pitiful; I would There were some way. To send him overseas, Out past the long firths to the cold keen sea Where the sharp sound is that one hears up here— Or hold him in strong prison till he died— He would die shortly—or to set him free And use him softly till his brains were healed— There is no way. Now never while I live Shall we twain love together any more Nor sit at rhyme as we were used to do, Nor each kiss other only with the eyes A great way off ere hand or lip could reach; There is no way.

[Enter MURRAY.]

O, you are welcome, sir; You know what need I have; but I praise heaven, Having such need, I have such help of you. I do believe no queen God ever made Was better holpen than I look to be. What, if two brethren love not heartily, Who shall be good to either one of them?

MURRAY. Madam, I have great joy of your good will.

QUEEN. I pray you, brother, use no courtesies: I have some fear you will not suffer me When I shall speak. Fear is a fool, I think, Yet hath he wit enow to fool my wits, Being but a woman's. Do not answer me Till you shall know; yet if you have a word I shall be fain to heart it; but I think There is no word to help me; no man's word: There be two things yet that should do me good, A speeding arm and a great heart. My lord, I am soft-spirited as women are, And ye wot well I have no harder heart: Yea, with all my will I would not slay a thing, But all should live right sweetly if I might; So that man's blood-spilling lies hard on me. I have a work yet for mine honor's sake, A thing to do, God wot I know not how, Nor how to crave it of you: nay, by heaven, I will not shame myself to show it you: I have not heart.

MURRAY. Why, if it may be done With any honor, or with good men's excuse, I shall well do it.

QUEEN. I would I wist that well. Sir, do you love me?

MURRAY. Yea, you know I do.

QUEEN. In faith, you should well love me, for I love The least man in your following for your sake With a whole sister's heart.

MURRAY. Speak simply, madam; I must obey you, being your bounden man.

QUEEN. Sir, so it is you know what things have been, Even to the endangering of mine innocent name, And by no fault, but by men's evil will; If Chastelard have trial openly, I am but shamed.

MURRAY. This were a wound indeed, If your good name should lie upon his lip.

QUEEN. I will the judges put him not to plead, For my fame's sake; he shall not answer them.

MURRAY. What, think you he will speak against your fame?

QUEEN. I know not; men might feign belief of him For hate of me; it may be he will speak; In brief, I will not have him held to proof.

MURRAY. Well, if this be, what good is to be done?

QUEEN. Is there no way but he must speak to them, Being had to trial plainly?

MURRAY. I think, none.

QUEEN. Now mark, my lord; I swear he will not speak.

MURRAY. It were the best if you could make that sure.

QUEEN. There is one way. Look, sir, he shall not do it: Shall not, or will not, either is one way; I speak as I would have you understand.

MURRAY. Let me not guess at you; speak certainly.

QUEEN. You will not mind me: let him be removed; Take means to get me surety; there be means.

MURRAY. So, in your mind, I have to slay the man?

QUEEN. Is there a mean for me to save the man?

MURRAY. Truly I see no mean except your love.

QUEEN. What love is that, my lord? what think you of, Talking of love and of love's mean in me And of your guesses and of slaying him? Why, I say nought, have nought to say: God help me! I bid you but take surety of the man, Get him removed.

MURRAY. Come, come, be clear with me; You bid me to despatch him privily.

QUEEN. God send me sufferance! I bid you, sir? Nay, do not go; what matter if I did? Nathless I never bade you; no, by God. Be not so wroth; you are my brother born; Why do you dwell upon me with such eyes? For love of God you should not bear me hard.

MURRAY. What, are you made of flesh?

QUEEN. O, now I see You had rather lose your wits to do me harm Than keep sound wits to help me.

MURRAY. It is right strange; The worst man living hath some fear, some love, Holds somewhat dear a little for life's sake, Keeps fast to some compassion; you have none; You know of nothing that remembrance knows To make you tender. I must slay the man? Nay, I will do it.

QUEEN. Do, if you be not mad. I am sorry for him; and he must needs die. I would I were assured you hate me not: I have no heart to slay him by my will. I pray you think not bitterly of me.

MURRAY. Is it your pleasure such a thing were done?

QUEEN. Yea, by God's body is it, certainly.

MURRAY. Nay, for your love then, and for honor's sake, This thing must be.

QUEEN. Yea, should I set you on? Even for my love then, I beseech you, sir, To seek him out, and lest he prate of me To put your knife into him ere he come forth: Meseems this were not such wild work to do.

MURRAY. I'll have him in the prison taken off.

QUEEN. I am bounden to you, even for my name's sake, When that is done.

MURRAY. I pray you fear me not. Farewell. I would such things were not to do, Or not for me; yea, not for any man.


QUEEN. Alas, what honor have I to give thanks? I would he had denied me: I had held my peace Thenceforth forever; but he wrung out the word, Caught it before my lip, was fain of it— It was his fault to put it in my mind, Yea, and to feign a loathing of his fault. Now is he about devising my love's death, And nothing loth. Nay, since he must needs die, Would he were dead and come alive again And I might keep him safe. He doth live now And I may do what love I will to him; But by to-morrow he will be stark dead, Stark slain and dead; and for no sort of love Will he so much as kiss me half a kiss. Were this to do I would not do it again.

[Reenter MURRAY.]

What, have you taken order? is it done? It were impossible to do so soon. Nay, answer me.

MURRAY. Madam, I will not do it.

QUEEN. How did you say? I pray, sir, speak again: I know not what you said.

MURRAY. I say I will not; I have thought thereof, and have made up my heart To have no part in this: look you to it.

QUEEN. O, for God's sake! you will not have me shamed?

MURRAY. I will not dip my hand into your sin.

QUEEN. It were a good deed to deliver me; I am but a woman, of one blood with you, A feeble woman; put me not to shame; I pray you of your pity do me right. Yea, and no fleck of blood shall cleave to you For a just deed.

MURRAY. I know not; I will none.

QUEEN. O, you will never let him speak to them To put me in such shame? why, I should die Out of pure shame and mine own burning blood; Yea, my face feels the shame lay hold on it, I am half burnt already in my thought; Take pity of me. Think how shame slays a man; How shall I live then? would you have me dead? I pray you for our dead dear father's sake, Let not men mock at me. Nay, if he speak, I shall be sung in mine own towns. Have pity. What, will you let men stone me in the ways?

MURRAY. Madam, I shall take pains the best I may To save your honor, and what thing lieth in me That will I do, but no close manslayings. I will not have God's judgment gripe my throat When I am dead, to hale me into hell For a man's sake slain on this wise. Take heed. See you to that.


QUEEN. One of you maidens there Bid my lord hither. Now by Mary's soul, He shall not die and bring me into shame. There's treason in you like a fever, hot, My holy-natured brother, cheek and eye; You look red through with it: sick, honor-sick, Specked with the blain of treason, leper-like— A scrupulous fair traitor with clean lips— If one should sue to hell to do him good He were as brotherly holpen as I am. This man must live and say no harm of me; I may reprieve and cast him forth; yea, so— This were the best; or if he die midway— Yea, anything, so that he die not here.

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