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The queen that was my mother and her son

My brother-king that in my husband's seat

Sits lineal in succession. Say too this,

That without help I may not hold mine own,

And therefore shall he stand the more my friend

And do the kindlier the more haste he makes

With all good speed to raise and to despatch

A levy of a thousand harquebusmen

To fill the want up of my ranks, that yet

Look leaner than mine enemies'. This for France;

And this to the English queen delivering say,

I look being free now for that help of hers

That in my last year's bonds not once or twice

I had by word of promise, and not doubt

This year to have indeed : which if I may,

When from her hand I take my crown again,

I shall thenceforth look for no other friend

And try no further faith. This private word

In London to the ambassador of Spain

Fail not to bear, that being set round with spies

I may not write; but he shall tell his king

The charges that men cast on me are false,

And theirs the guilt that held me in their bonds

Who stand in spirit firm to one faith with him

From whom I look for counsel. I well think

My sister's love shall but desire to hold

A mean betwixt our parties, and pronounce

On each side judgment, as by right and might

'Twixt mine and me the imperial mediatress,

Commanding peace, controlling war, that must

Determine this dark time and make alone

An end of doubt and danger; which perchance

May come before her answer. Haste, and thrive.

[Exit Beaton. Now, what say you? shall fortune stand our friend But long enough to seem worth hope or fear, Or fall too soon from us for hope to help Or fear to hurt more than an hour of chance Might make and unmake? This were now my day To try the soothsaying of men's second sight Who read beyond the writing of the hour And utter things unborn; now would I know, And yet I would not, how my life shall move And toward what end for ever; which to know Should help me not to suffer, nor undo One jot that must be done or borne of me, Nor take one grain away. I would not know it; For one thing haply might that knowledge do, Or one thing undo—to bring down the heart Wherewith I now expect it. We shall know, When we shall suffer, what God's hour will bring; If filled with wrath full from his heavy hand, Or gently laid upon us. I do think, If he were wroth with aught once done of me, That anger should be now fulfilled, and this His hour of comfort; for he should not stand, For his wrath's sake with me, mine enemies' friend. Who are more than mine his enemies. Never yet Did I desire to know of God or man What was designed me of them; nor will now

For fear desire the knowledge. What I may,

That will I foil of all men's enmities,

And what I may of hope and good success

Take, and praise God. Yet thus much would I know,

If in your sight, who have seen my whole life run

One stream with yours since either had its spring,

My chance to come look foul or fair again

By this day's light and likelihood.

Mary Beaton. In>sooth,

No soothsayer am I, yet so far a seer,
That I can see but this of you and me,
We shall not part alive.

Queen. Dost thou mean well?

Thou hast been constant ever at my hand
And closest when the worst part of my fate
Came closest to me ; firm as faith or love
Hast thou stood by my peril and my pain,
And still where I found these there found I thee,
And where I found thee these were not far off.
When I was proud and blithe (men said) of heart,
And life looked smooth and loving in mine eyes,
Thou wouldst be sad and cold as autumn winds,
Thy face discomfortable, and strange thy speech,
Thy service joyless; but when times grew hard,
And there was wind and fire in the clear heaven,
Then wast thou near; thy service and thy speech
Were glad and ready ; in thine eyes thy soul
Seemed to sit fixed at watch as one that waits
And knows and is content with what shall be.

Nor can I tell now if thy sight should put
More faith in me or fear, to trust or doubt
The chance forefigured in thee; for thou art
As 'twere my fortune, faithful as man's fate,
Inevitable; I cannot read the roll
That I might deem were hidden in thy hand
Writ with my days to be, nor from thine eyes
Take light to know; for fortune too is blind
As man that knows not of her, and thyself,
That art as 'twere a type to me and sign
Incognizable, art no more wise than I
To say what I should hope or fear to learn,
Or why from thee.

Mary Beaton. This one thing I know well
That hope nor fear need think to feed upon,
That I should part from you alive, or you
Take from me living mine assurance yet
To look upon you while you live, and trace
To the grave's edge your printed feet with mine.

Queen. Wilt thou die too?

Mary Beaton. Should I so far so long

Follow my queen's face to forsake at last
And lose my name for constancy? or you
Whose eyes alive have slain so many men
Want when death shuts them one to die of you
Dying, who had so many loving lives
To go before you living?

Queen. Thou dost laugh

Always, to speak of death; and at this time
God wot it should beseem us best to smile

If we must think upon him. I and thou

Have so much in us of a single heart

That we can smile to hear of that or see

Which sickens and makes bleed faint hearts for fear;

And well now shall it stand us both in stead

To make ours hard against all chance, and walk

Between our friends and foes indifferently

As who may think to see them one day shift

From hate to love and love again to hate

As time with peaceable or warlike hand

Shall carve and shape them; and to go thus forth

And make an end shall neither at my need

Deject me nor uplift in spirit, who pass

Not gladly nor yet lothly to the field

That these my present friends have in my name

Set for the trial of my death or life.

Thou knowest long since God gave me cause to say

I saw the world was not that joyous thing

Which men would make it, nor the happiest they

That lived the longest in it; so I thought

That year the mightiest of my kinsmen fell

Slain by strong treason; and these five years gone

Have lightened not so much my life to me

That I should love it more or more should loathe

That end which love or loathing, faith or fear,

Can put not back nor forward by a day. [Exeunt.

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