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OF THE DUINGES OF MARIE
QUENE OF SCOTTES, TOUCHAND THE MURDER OF HIR
HUSBAND, AND OF HIR CONSPIRACIE, ADULTERIE,
AND PRETENDED MARRIAGE WITH THE ERLE BOTHEWELL.
AND ANE DEFENCE OF THE TREW LORDIS,
MAINTEINERIS OF THE KINGIS GRACES ACTIOUN
UHAIRAS of thynges iudicially determinit within any dominioun, to haif accompte demandit by strangeris is, to sic as be not subiect to foraine iurisdictioun, baith strange, and also for the strangenesse displeasant, to vs aboue all other it ought to be most greuous, quhare driuen to this streight of necessitie, that quhase fautes we desire to couer, thair liues we are enforced to accuse, vnlesse we will our selues be accompted the most wicked persons that lyue. But a great part of this greef is releued by your equitie (most excellent Quene) quaha take it no lesse displeasantly to see your kinswoman, than we to see our Quene thus in speche of all men to be dishonorably reported, quha alswa are for your part no lesse desirous to vnderstand the truth, than we for ours to auoide slaunder. Thairfoir we will knit vp the mater as breefly as possibly may be, and declare it with sic shortnesse, as we may rather seme to haue lightly runne ouer the cheef pointes than to haue largly expressed tham, begynnyng at the Quenes first inconstancie. For as in making of her mariage her lightnes was very hedlang and rash, so sodanely followed either inwart repentance, or at least outwart tokens of change in her affection without any causes appearing. For quhair before time the king was not onely neglected but also not honorably vsed, at length began open hatred to breake out against him, specially in that winter quhen he went to Peble with small traine euen too meane for the degree of a priuate man, not being sent thether a hawking, but as commandit away into a corner far from counsell and knawledge of publike affaires. Nouther is it necessarie to put in writing those thinges, quhilk as thay were than as a spectacle noted of all mens eyes, sa now as a fresh image thay remane imprintit in all mens hartes. And though this were the beginning of all the euills that followed, yet at the first the practises were secrit, sa as not onely the commoun pepill, but alswa sic as were right familiar and present at the doing of many matters, could not vnderstand throughly what thing the Quene than cheefly intended.
2. At the last about the moneth of Aprill in the yeare 1566, quhan the Quene was returned from Dunbarre to Edinburgh, and was lodged in the castell, she kept her thare till the time of her trauaile of childe. After her deliuerance immediately the secret counsels of the intendit mischeif began to breake out, quhairof the effect was this, to dispatch away the king by one way or other howsoeuer, and to mary with Bothwell. And that her selfe should not be touchit with suspicion of the murder, she began secritly by littil and littil to sow sedes of dessentioun betweene the king and the Lordes that were than in Court, and by mair and mair inflaming tham, to bring the matter to deadly feude. And if at any time she espied the suspicions of the one against the other to languish, by and by with new reportes to baith partes she whetted tham on againe to fresch displeasuris, persuading the Nobilitie against the king, and the king against the Nobilitie, that either intendit others destruction. And she thought nothing so long as to see the mater come to strokes, for douting whether of tham she had rather to haif the victorie, she accounted the losse on either side for her auantage, as hoping thairby to auance forward one degree neirer to that quhilk she intendit. Finally in short time she so filled all thair hartes with mutuall ialousies one against another, that thare was not a man of any reputatioun in the Court, but he was driuen to this necessitie, either with dishonour to yeld to rumors fained against him, or to enter into combate with the reporters, or to withdraw him home. And though we shall passe ouer the rest for d esire to hast to the cheif point of the matter, yet this one notable sclanderous practise at that time is not to be omitted. For on a time quhen the king had ben in talke with the Quene till it was farre in the night, the summe in a maner of all her communication was that almost all the nobilitie had conspirit his death, and wer deuising how to dispatch him. After the kinges departure from her, she sent forthwith for the Erle of Murray hir bother, wha after was Regent, with this message, that the matter was hainous, and necessarily requiring his presence without delay. He being awaked out of sound sleepe, in great feare, cast a night gowne ouer his shirt, and as he was halfe naked ranne to her in hast. To him than she vsed euin the like talke as she had before to the king, informing him that the king boyled in such deadly hatrit against him, and tooke it so displeasantly that he stood so hyely in her grace, that he was fully determinit, so soone as any possible opportunitie serued, to murder him. So, as mekle as in her lay, she left no meane vnassayit to set tham together by the eares, and without all dout had done it in deid, if it had not ben Gods gode pleasure to deliuer the innocent persons from so perilous treasons, and to disclose her wicked trechery.
3. Quhen this attempt failed her, she assayit the yong and vnexperienced gentleman with ane new suttil practise. She earnestly labored him, that quhile she was great with childe, he should choose him some yong gentlewoman, quhairof thare was great store, quhose companie he might vse in the meane time. She promised him her assent and furtherance, with pardon and leaue to commit the offence. She named to him the Erle of Murrayes wife, not for that she estemed that most Lady most apt for sic a villanie, but because she throught by that way to be reuenged of three enemies at once, the king, the Erle, and his wife, and therwithall to winne a colour and cause of diuorce to make empty bedroome for Bothwell. After that she was deliuered of childe, though she courteously enterteined all other, yet as oft as word was brought her that the king was come to see her, baith she and her company so framed thair speche and countenance, as if thay semed to feare nothing mair than that the king should perceaue that thay lothed him, and that his comming and presence was displeasant to tham all. On the other side Bothwell alone was all in all, he alone was gouernor of all her counsels and all her affaires. And so desirous was the Quene to haue her hartie affection towart him vnderstood of all men, that if any sute were to be made to her, thare was no way of speding for any man but by Bothwell to obteine it.
4. Not lang after her deliuerance, on a day very early, accompanied with very few that wer priuie of her counsail, sche went downe to the water side at the place called the New hauen, and while all maruelled whether she went in sic hast, she sodenly entred into a ship there prepared for her; quhilk ship was prouided by William Blacater, Edmond Blacater, Leonard Robertson, and Thomas Dicson, Bothwelles seruantes and famous robbers and pyrates. With this trayne of thiefes, all honest men wonderyng at it, sche betooke her selfe to sea, takyng nat ane other with her, na nat of her gentlemen nor necessarie attendantes for common honestie. In Aloe castell, where the shyp arryued, how she behaued her selfe, I had rather euery man should with hym selfe imagine it, than heare me declare it. This ane thyng I dare affirme, that in all hir wordes and doynges sche neuer kept any regard, I will nat say of Quenelike maiestie, but nat of matronelike modestie. The king, quhen he heard of this sodeine departure of the Quene, followed after with all the hast that he possibly cauld by land, and there ouertuke hir, in purpose and hopying there to be her company and to enjoy the mutuall louying fellowshyp of mariage. But how louingly he was receiued of her, haith all they that wer present, and sic as haue heard tham report it, can well remember. For being scarcely suffered to tarry there a few houres, while hys men and and horses bayted, he was enforced to get hym away in hast agayne an peine of further perill. As for hir self, sche pastimed there certayne dayes, if nat in princely magnificence, yet in mair than princely or rather imprincely licentiousnesse. There went sche a huntying, ones at the riuer of Magat, an other time at the forest of Glenartue. There how coylye, yea how loftily and disdaynfully she behaued her selfe to the kyng, quhat nede it be rehearsed, for the thing was openly done in all mens sight, and continueth emprintit in all mens memorie.
5. Quhen sche was returned to Edenburgh, sche tuke nat her ladgying in her owne palace, but in a priuate house next adioyning to Jhon Balfoures. Thense sche remoued into an other house quhair the yerely courte quhilk they call the Exchequer was then kept: for this house was larger, and had pleasant gardens to it, and next to the garden altogether a solitarie vacant roome. But there was an other mater quhilk, mair than al these things, specially allured her thether. There dwelt hardby one Dauid Chambers, Bothwels seruant, whoes backdore adioynit to the garden of the Quenis lodging. The rest, wha gesseth nat? For the Quene hir selfe confessed the mater baith to many other and also namely to the Regent and hys mother. But sche layed all the blame vpon my ladie Rerese, a woman of maist vile vnchastitie, wha had sometime been one of Bothwels harlots, and than was one of the chefe of the Queenes priuie chamber. By this woman, wha now in her age had from the gayne of horedome betaken hir selfe to the craft of bawderie, was the Quene, as her selfe sayd, betrayed. For Bothwel was through the garden brought into the Quenis chamber, and there forced hir agaynst hir will forsothe. But how much agaynst her will Dame Rerese betrayed her, tyme the mother of truth hath disclosed. For within few dayes after, the Quene intending (as I suppose) to reaquite force with force and to rauish hym agayne, sent Dama Rerese (who had her selfe also before assayit the mans strength) to bring hym captiue vnto her hyghnes. The Quene with Margaret Carwod, a woman priuie of all her secretes, dyd let her downe by a stryng ouer an auld wall into the next garden. But in sic weirlike affaires all thynges can not euer be so well forseen, but that some vncommodious chaunce may ouerthwartly happen. Behald, the strying sodenly brake, and downe with a great noyse fell Dame Rerese, a woman very heauy baith by vnweldy age and massy substance. But sche an auld beaten soldiar nothying dismayed with the darkenes of the night, the heighth of the wall, nor with the sadennesse of the fall, vp sche getteth, and winneth into Bothwels chamber; she gyt the dore open, and out of his bed, euen out of his wiues armes, halfe a slepe, halfe naked, sche forceably bringes the man to the Quene. This maner and circumstances of the ded, not onely the maist pairt of tham that then wer with the Quene haue confessed, but also George Daglish, Bothwelles chamberlane, a litle before he was executed playnly declared the same, quhilk hys confessioun yet remayneth of recorde.
6. In the meane tyme, the kyng commanded out of sight, and with iniuries and miseries banisched from her, kept hym selfe close, with a few of hys seruantes at Sterline. For alas quhat should he els do? He could nat creepe into any pece of grace with the quene, nor could get so much as to mainteine his dayly necessarie expenses to finde his few seruantes and his horses: and finally with brawlynges lightly rising for euery small trifle, and querels vsually piked, he was chaced out of her presence. Yet his hart, obstinately fired in louing hir, cauld not be restrained, but he must neidis come backe to Edenburgh of purpose with all kinde of seruiceable humblenesse to get some entrie into hir former fauour, and to recouer the kinde societie of mariage. Quho ones againe with maist dishonourable disdaine excludit, anes again returneth from quehense he came, thare as in solitarie desert to bewaile his woefull miseries. Within few dayes after, quhen the king determined to goe to Jedworth to the assises thare to be halden, about the beginning of October, Bothwell maiketh his iorney into Liddesdale. Thare behauing himself nouther according to the place quhairto he was called, nor according to his nobilitie of race and estimation, he was waunded by a poore theefe that was him selfe ready to dye, and caryed into the castell called the Heremitage, with great vncertaintie of his recouerie. Quhan newes hereof was brought to Borthwik to the the Quene, she flingeth away in hast like a mad woman, by great iourneyes in poste, in the sharpe time of winter, first to Melrose and than to Jedworth. Thare though she heard sure newes of his life, yet hir affectioun impatient of delay cauld not temper it self, but nedis she must bewray hir outragious lust, and in an vnconuenient time of the yere, despising all discommodities of the way and wether, and all dangers of theiffs, she betooke hir self hedlong to hir iourney with sic a company as na man of any honest degree waid haif aduentured his life and his gudes amang tham. Thense she returneth again to Jedworth, and with maist earnest care and diligence prouideth and prepareth all thinges to remoue Bothwel thether. Quhen he was ones brought thether, thair company and familiar haunt togither was sic as was smally agreing with baith thair honours. Thare, whether it were by reason of thair nightly and daily trauailes, dishonourable to tham selfis and infamous amang the pepill, or by some secrit prouidence of God, the Quene fell into sic a sore and dangerous sickenesse, that scarcely thare remained any hoip of hir life.
7. Quhan the king heard thairof, he hasted in post to Jedworth, to visit the Quene, to comfort hir in hir weakenesse, and by all the gentill seruices that he possibly cauld to declare hys affectioun and harty desire to do hir pleasure. So far was it of that his lodging and thynges necessary was prouidit for him agaynst his comming (quhilk is wont to be done euin for meane persons) that he found nat any ane token toward him of a freindly minde. But this was a point of maist barbarous inhumanitie vsed against him, that the Nobilitie and all the officers of the Court that were present were specially forbidden not anes to do him reuerence at his comming, nor to yeld him thair lodging, nor to harber him so mekle as for ane night. And quhairas the Quene suspected that the Erle of Murray, quhilk afterward was Regent, wald shew him curtesie, she practised with his wife to goe home in hast and faine hir selfe sicke, and kepe hir bed, that at least by thys colour, vnder pretense of hir sicknesse, the king might be shut out of doores. Being thus denied all duties of ciuile kindnesse, the next day with great greef of hart he returned to his auld solitarie corner. In the meane time quhile the king in that want of all thinges, and forsaken of all freindes, scant with begging findeth roome in a cotage, Bothwell out of the house quhaire he was lodged befoir, as it were in triumph ouer the king, was gloriously remoued in sight of the pepill into the Quenis awin lodging, and thare layed in a lower parlor directly vnder the chamber quhaire the Quene hir self lay sicke. Thare quhile thay baith were yet feebill and vnhealed, she of hir disease, and he of his wound, the Quene, being very weake of hir body, yet visited him daily. And quhan thay were baith a littill recouered, and thair strengthes not yet fully settled, thay returned to thair auld pastime againe, and that so openly as thay semed to feare nathing mair than least their wickednes should be vnknawen.
8. About the v. day of Nouember, being remoued from Jedworth to a towne called Caldo, thare she receaued letters from the king. Quhilk quhan she had red in presence of the Regent, the Erle of Huntley, and the Secretary ., she cast a pitious luik, and miserably tormented hir selfe as if she wald haif byandby fallen down againe into her former sicknes, and she plainly and expresly protested, that vnlesse she mought by some meane or other be dispatched of the king, she should neuer haife ane gude day. And if by no other way she cauld atteine it, rather than she wald abide to liue in sic sorrow, she wald slay hir selfe. Within few dayes after, quhile in hir returne through the Marcheland she lay at Coldingham, Dame Rerese passed through the watch and was knawen and let goe. Quhat company she had, and whether she went at that time of night, it is nat vnbeknawen to the Quene. Fron thense about the end of Nouember she came to Cragmillar, a castell about twa miles from Edenburgh. Thare in presence of the Erle of Murray (quhilk afterward was Regent, and now is him selfe also slaine) and of the Erles of Huntley and Argyle, and the Secretarie, she fell into hir sayd former discourse, and also added the mais commondious way, as she thought, how it might be broiught to passe, that is, to sue a diuorce against the king. And she douted not but it might easily be obteined, forasmuch as thay were the one to the other in sic degree of consanguinitie, as by the Popes law might not marry together, specially (quihilk was easie for her to do) the Bull being conueyed away quhairby the same law was dispensed with. Here quhen ane had cast a doubt, that if she should goe that way to worke, thair sonne should be made a bastard, being borne out of lawfull wedlocke, specially sith neither of hys parentes were ignorant of the causes quhairby the mariage should be voide: this answer quhen sche had a quhile tossed in her minde, and knew that he sayd trouth, and that sche durst nat as yit disclose her purpose to make away hir sonne, sche gaue ouer that deuise of diuorce, and yet from that day forward she neuer cessed to pursue hir intentioun of murdering the king, as may easily be perceiuit by that quhilke followid.
9. The king being returnid from Stereline to Cragmillar, quhen he hoipid to find her mair gentill towart him, and hir displeasure by processe of tyme somequhat appeasid, he so found na token of change of hir affectioun, that he was nat allowed any thyng for his dayly sustenance, vnlesse he kept him still at Stereline. Quhilk thing exceedingly encreased the pepils suspicioun, otherwise of it selfe alredy enough inclined to that iudgement, of the vsuall companying of the Quene with Bothwell. About the beginning of December, quhen there wer Embassadours come out of France and England to the Christening of the king that now is, that Bothwell might be gorgiously beseene amang the Nobilitie, sche hir selfe layed out the money to bye hym apparrell, and sum sche baught hir selfe of the marchantes for him, and she sa applied hir selfe with sic diligence in ouerseing the making therof, as if she had bene, I will nat say his wife, but euen his seruaunt. In the meane time hir lawfull husband, at the Christening of his awn childe, nat onely wanted all hir maintenance for his necessary expensis, but also was commaundid not ones to cum in the Embassadours sight, his ordinarie seruantis were remouid from him, the nobilitie weir enioynid nat ones to attend on him, nor to do him honor, nor in a maner to know him; the foren Ambassadouris wer warnid nat to talke wyth him, quhen yet the maist pairt of the day thay were all int he same Castel quhere he was. The young gentleman, thus contemptuously and vnkindly vsed, fell in sic despeire, that he departed from Stereline and went to Glascow to his father. At his departure the Quene still pursued him with hir wonted haitred. All his siluer plate quherewith he was serued from hys mariage tyll that day, sche tooke it away euery whit, and appointed pewter in the steede thereof. But let this serue onely to proue hir contempt of him: the rest that followed are euident arguements of outragious crueltie and vnappeasable haitrid. Ere he was passid a mile from Stereline, all the pairtes of his bodie wer taken with sic a sore ache, as it might easily appeare that the same proceded not of the force of any sickenesse, but by playne trecherie. The tokens of quhilke trecherie, certayne blacke pimples sa soone as he was cum to Glascow, brake out ouer all his hole bodie, with sa great ache and sic peine throughout all his limmes, that he lingred out his life with very small hope of escape: and yet all this quhile the Quene wald not suffer sa much as any Phisitioun anes to cum at him.
10. Efter the Ceremonies of the Christening ended, sche practisid with hir brother the Erle of Murray, that quhen he should go to conduct the Erle of Bedford, the Quene of Inglandis Ambassador to S. Andrewes, he should require Bothwell also to beare him companie. Quho in deide frankly promised sa to do, howbeit baith he and the Quene, the deuiser of that dissimulatiun, thoght nathing lesse, as the successe schewed. For sa soone as the king was gone to Glascow, and the rest towart S. Andrewes, she with hir Bothwell got hir to Drumen, and from thence to Tylebarne. In quhilke housis they sa passid the time about viij dayes in euery corner, and in familiar haunting together, as all (sauing themselues alone that had throwen away all schame) wer hiely offended with their contempt and vile regard of publike fame, seing them now nat ones to seeke to couer thair filthy wickednesse.
11. Quhen about the beginning of January thay were returned to Stereline, sche began to finde fault with the house quherein hir sonne was nursed, as incommodious becaus it stoode in a colde and moyst place, dangerous for bringing the childe to a rewme. But it shall easily appeare that this was done for other purpose, for as much as all these faultes that sche pretended batth weir nat in that house, and also wer in deid in the other house to quhilke the childe was remeuid, beyng set in a low place and a very marshie. The childe being scarcely aboue vj. monethes olde, in the deepe of a sharpe winter, was conueyed to Edenburgh. There, because the first attempt preuailed nat, and the force of the poyson was ouercome by strength of nature, that at length yet sche might bring furth that quherwith sche had sa lang trauailed, sche entreth into new deuises for the murder of the king. Hir self goeth to Glascow, sche pretendeth the cause of hir jorney to be to see the king aliue, quhoes deith sche had continually gapid for the whole moneth befoir. But quhat was in deid the trew caus of that iorney, ech man may plainely perceiue by hir letters to Bothwell. Being now out of care of hir sonne, quhom sche had in hir awne warde, bending hir selfe to the slaughter of hir husband, to Glascow sche goeth, accompanied with the Hameltons and other the kings naturall enemies. Bothwell, as it was betwene tham before accordid, prouideth all thyngis redy that were nedefull to accomplishe the haynous act, first of all a house nat commodious for a sick man, nor comely for a king, for it was bath torne and ruinous, and had stand empty without any dwaller for diuerse yeares befoir,in a place of small resort, betwene the auld fallen wallis of two Kirkes, neare a few almes houses for poore beggers. And that no commodious meane for committing that mischiefe might be wanting, there is a posterne dore in the towne wall hard by the house, quhereby thay might easily passe away into the fieldes. In chusing of the place sche walde needes haif it thoght that thay had respect to the holesomnes. And to auoyde suspicioun that this was a fayned pretence, her selfe the two nightes next befoir the day of the murder lay there in a lower roome vnder the kingis chamber. And as sche did curiously put of the shewes of suspicioun from her selfe, sa the executioun of the slaughter sche was content to haue committed to other.
12. About thre deyes before that the King was slaine, she practisit to set hir brother Robart and him at deadly feude, making reckening that it schould be gayne ta hir, quhilk sa euer of tham haith had perishit. For mater to ground thayr dissentioun, sche made rehersail of the speach that the King had had with hir concerning her brother. And whan thay baith sa grew in talke, as the one seemed to charge the other with the lye, at last thay were in a maner come from wordes to bloes. But while thay were baith laying thayr handes on thayr weapons, the Quene fayning as thogh sche had be perilously affrayit of that quhilk sche earnestly desirit, callith the Erle of Murray her other brother to the parting to this intent, that sche might eyther presently bring him in danger to be slayne him self, or in time to come to bear the blaime of sic mischiefe as than might haif happenit. Whan this way the successe fell nat out as sche desirit, sche deuisit a new way to transferre the suspicion from her self. While the Erle of Murray dyd willinglye keipe himself from the Court, and had reasonable excuse for hys absence, for that his wife lying neir her time, was beside that alwa very sicke, at the same time thare was an Embassador come from the Duike of Sauoy. This the Quene tuke for a conuenient colour to sende for her brother: but the trew cause of hyr sendying for hym was, that sche had a desire to throw the suspycioun of the Kyngis murder vpon hym, and vpon the Erle Moreton, and therwythall alswa at ones to procure the distructioun of those twa, being men acceptable to the pepill and likely aduersaries to her practise, quha entendyt to set vp a tyranicall regiment. But Gods gude clemency that oft befoir had deliuerit the Erle of Murray fra many tresons of his enemeis dyd than alswa manifestly succour him: for vpon the sonday quhilk was the ix. day of Februarie, quhen he was going to the Kirk to ane sermon, a letter was brought him that hys wief as deliuerit afoir hyr time, and in veray small hoip of lief. Quhen he being dismayit with these sodden newes, prayd leaue of the Quene to depart, she aunswerit, that gif the caas were sa, it were a superfluous iourney for hym to go to hyr, beying not abill to do hyr any gude in hyr sicknesse. But quhen he was styll mair importunate, she prayit him, that he wauld yit tary but that one night, and take hys iourney the next day to his wyfe. But the clemencie of God, as at many other times, baith deliuerit the innocent gentleman fram present peril, and alswa tuke away the occasioun of slaunder agaynst hym in time to com. Hobeit for al this though there were no cause of suspitioun, yet he eschaped nat free from sclander: for Huntley and Bothwell, though thay could nat iustly charge hym, yet laboured by infamous libelles quhilk thay spread abroad, to disteyne hym wyth the maist foule spotte of that schamfull act. And quhairas the murder was committed after midnight, they had befoyr daylight caused by speciall forapointid messengers rumors to be spred in Ingland, that the Earles of Marre and Moreton were doers of that sclaughter. But that rumour, so sonne as the light of the truth ones brake forth, sodenly vanished away, as other falshodes are commonly wont to do.
13. Quhen all things were redy preparit for perfourming this cruell fact, and yit all occasiouns cut of to diuert the blame thayrof, the partenaris of the conspyracie fearying lest lang delay shauld eyther bryng some impediment to thair purpose, or disclose thayr counselles, determynit to dispatch it in hast. The Quene theairfoir, for manners sake after supper, goeth vp to the Kingis lodging. Thare, being determinit to shew him all the tokens of reconciled gude will, sche spent certaine houres in his company, with counteance and talke mikle mair familiar than she had vsed in sixe or seuen monethis befoyr. At the comming in of Paris sche brake of hir talk, and prepared to depart. This Paris was a yong man borne in France, and had liued certayne yeires in the houses of Bothwell and Seton, and efterwart with the Quene. Quhairas the other kayis of that lodging wair in custody of the Kingis seruants, Paris by fayning certayne fond and sclender causis, had in keipping the keyis quhilk Bothwell kept backe, of the back gate and to the posterne. He was in specyall trust with Bothwell and the Quene, touchand thayr secret affayres. His comming (as it was befoyr agreit emang them) was a waitchword that all was ready for the matter. As sone as the quene saw hym, sche rose vp immediatly, and feyning an other cause to depart, sche sayid, “Alas I haif mikle offendit towart Sebastian this day that I come not in a maske at hys marriage.” This Sebastian was an Aruernois, a man in greit fauour with the quene for his cunning in musike and his mery iesting, and was maryit the same dey. The king thus left in maner alone in a desolate place, the quene departith accompanyit wyth the Erles of Argile, Huntley, and Cassilis, that attendit upon hyr. Efter that sche was come into her chamber after midnicht, sche was in lang talke with Bothwell, none byeng present but the capitayne of her gard. And quhen he alswa withdrew him selfe, Bothwell was thare left alone without other company, and schortly efter retyred into hys awin chamber. He chainged hys apparell, because he wald be unknawin of sic as met hym, and put on ane lose cloke, sic as the Swartrytters weare, and sa went forwart thorow the watch to execute hys intendit trayterous fact. The whole order of the duying thayrof may be easely understude by thayr confessions, quhilk were put to deith for it.
14. Bothwell efter the ded was ended that he went for, returned, and as if he had ben ignorant of al that was don, he got him to bed. The Quene in the meane time in greit expectation of the success, how finely sche played hir part (as sche thought) it is maruell to tell. For she nat anes stirred at the noise of the fall of the house, quhilk shooke the hale towne, nor at the fearfull outcryis that followit, and confused cries of the pepill (for I thinke there happenit hir nat any new thyng unlukit for) till Bothwell, fayning hymselfe afrayde, rose agayn out of his bed and came to hir with the Erles of Argile, Huntley, and Athole, and with the wyues of the Erles of Athole and Murray, and with the Secretarie. There quhile the monstrous chaunce was in tellying, quhile euery one wondered at the thyng, that the kyngis ladging was euin from the very foundation blown up into the ayre, and the kyng him selfe slayne: in this amasednesse and confusit feare of all sortes of persons, onely that same heroicall hart of the Quene maintenit it selfe so far from castying hir selfe downe into base lamentations and teares unbesemying the Royall name, blud, and estate, that she matched or rather farre surmounted all credit of the constancie of any in former tymes. This also proceded of the same nobilitie of courage, that she sent out the mair part of tham that wer them about hir, to enquire out the maner of the doyng, and commandit the soldiars that watchit to follow, and she hir selfe settlit hir selfe to rest with a countenance sa quyet, and mynde sa untroublit, that she sweetely slept till the next day at noone. But least she should appere voide of all naturalnesse at the death of her husband, by litil and litill at length she kept hir close, and proclamed a mournyng nat lang to endure. The commoun pepill, nat certainly knawyuing whether she laughed or lamented, wer diuided into sondry imaginations, sith it was perilous dealing with the disguising of the court, either in knawying it to seme to mock it, or in nat cunnyngly dissemblyng to seme to knaw it. Quhile some talked of one sorte, some of an other, in the meane tyme of any inquirie to be had of the murder, there was na mention made at all. At length, the day followying, at efternoone, quhen bath shame and feare constrainit them thereto, Bothwell the principall doer of the vyle act, with certaine other that wer priuie to the same, assemblit together with the Erle of Argyle for that he is by inheritance the Justice to deale with crimes punishable by death. First as though thay had bene utterly ignorant of all that euer was done, thay begynne to wonder at the strangenesse of the mater, sic as neuer was heard of, and incredible. Then thay begyn to be busie a litill about their inquirie, thay sent for a few poore silly women that dwelt there about. But ilk poore saules standing in dout whether it were better for tham to tell or hald thair peace, though thay deintily tempered thair spech, yet quehen thay had blabbed out somwhat mair then the iudges luked for, thay were dimissed againe as fooles that had but undiscretly prated. For thair testimonies, though thay touched some folkes shrewdly, yet thay were sic as thay might easily set lyght by. Then were called and examined the kyngis seruantes that were of hys houshold, sic as wer left vndestroyit with the cruell chaunce. Thay denyed that thay had the keyes in kepying. Being examined qoho had tham, thay sayd the quene. So the enquirie for maners sake was adiornit, but in dede suppressit, for feare least if thay proceded further, the secretes of the court might hap to be disclosed.
15. Yet least the mater should seme nat to be regarded, out goeth a proclamatoun with rewardes promised to hym that could geue informatioun of it. But quho durst accuse the quene? Or (quhilk was in maner mair perilous) quo durst detect Bothwell of sic a horrible offence, specially quhen he hym selfe was baith doer, iudge, inquirer, and examiner? Yet this feare, quhilk stoppit the mouthes of euery man in particular, could not restraine the hale multitude in generall. For baith by bukes set out, and by pictures, and by cries in the darke night, it was sa handelit, that the doers of the micheuous fact might easily vnderstand that those secrets of thairs wer come abrode. And quhen euery man was now out of doubt quho dyd the murder, and quho gaue furetherance vnto it, the mair that thay labored to kepe thair own names undisclosit, so much the peoples grudge restraynit brake out mair openly. Though thay tuke upon tham as if thay regardit nat these thynges, yet sometyme the rumors sa nerely pricket them to the quick, that thay could by no meanes hyde thair anger. Thairfoir, discontinuying thair searchyng for the kynges death, they begyn a new enquirie, farre mair earnest, agains the authors of bukes, and the sclanderers of Bothwell, as thay tham selues termed tham. These examinations wer so rigorously put in executioun, as nouther money, nor labor of men nor horses was spared about it. All the paynters were callit togither, all that earned thair liuing by writyng wer assembled, to iudge of the pictures and bukes that had ben set out. And if ane painter had nat of hys awn accord confessit, that it was he of quhoes worke thay inquirit, an other that was not gilty therof, but touchit a litill with a slight suspicioun, had suffred for it. There was published a proclamatioun agreable with the maner of the Inquisition, quhairin it was made death, nat onely to set out any sic mater, but also to rede it beyng set out by ane other. But these persones that with thretenyng of death practised to stoppe the speche of the pepill yet nat satisfiit with maist cruell murder of the king, cessit nat thair hatrit agaisnt him quhen he was dead. All hys gudes, armure, horses, apparell, and oither furniture of his house, the quene diuidit, some to tham that slew hym, and some to hys fathers auncient deadly foes, as if thay had vpon atteinder come to hir by forfaiture, and hys fathers tenantes, as though thay had ben alswa part of hir conquerit booty, she saw scraped till she brought tham in a maner to extreme beggerie.
16. But this was a strange example of crueltie and sic as neuer was heard of befoir, that as she had satisfied her heart with hys slaughter, sa she wold nedes fede hir eyes with the sight of hys bodie slayne. For she lang beheld, nat onely without grefe, but alswa with gredy eyes, his dead corps, the gudlyest corps of any gentleman that euer liued in this age. And than sodenly, without any funerall honor, in the night tyme by commoun carriers of dead bodies, vpon a vile boere, she causit hym to be buryed hard by David Rizo. Quhen these doynges were knawin abrode, and that the indignatioun of the pepill had ouercome the threatnynges of penalties, and the franknesse of solrow surmounted feare, by litill and litill she beganne to set hir face, and with counterfaiting of mournyng she labored to appease the hartes of the grudgyng pepill. For quhair the auncient maner hath ben for quenis, efter the death of thair husbandes, by the space of fortye dayes, not onely to forbeare the companie of man, but alswa from lukying on the open light, she attemptit a disguisit maner of mournyng. But the myrth of heart far passing the fayned sorrow, she shut the dores in dede but she set open the windowes, and within fower dayes she threw away hir wayling weede, and gane to behald baith sunne and open skye agayne. But this ane thyng fell very overthwartly. For quhen Henry Killegrae was come from the quene of Ingland to comfort her, as the maner is, this gentleman strangeris hap was to marre the play and vnuisor all the disguising. For quhen he was, by the quenis commaundement, come to the Court, though he beyng an auld courtier and a gud discrete gentleman, did nathyng hastily, yet he came in sa vnseasonably ere the stage wer prepared and furnished, that he found the windowes open, the candeles nat yet lighted, and all the prouision for the play out of order. Quhen of the forty dayes that are apoyntit for the mournyng, scarce twelue were yet fully past, and the counterfaityng wald not frame half handsomely, and to disclose hir true affectons so soone she was somewhat ashamit, at length takyng hart of grace vnto hr, and neglectyng sic trifles, she commeth to her own byace, and openly sheweth hir owne naturall conditions. She posteth to Setons house, with a very few and those not all of the saddest company. There Bothwell, though it semed that for the great fauor he than had in court, and for the nobilitie of hys byrth, and other respectes of honor, she should haue ben, next efter the quene, most honorably receiued, yet was ludged in a chamber hard by the kitchin. Howbeit the same was a place not altogether vnfit to asswage thair sorrowes, for it was directly vnder the quenis chamber, and if any sodein qualme of grefe should haue hapned to come ouer hir hart, there was a paire of stayres though somewhat narrow, yet wyde enough for Botrhwell to get vp comfort hir.
17. In the meane tyme, efter the rumor hereof was spred into France, Monsieur de Croc, quho had often befoir ben Embassadour in Scotland, came in sodenly upon tham, God wote full unseasonably. By hys advise she returned to Edenburth, out of that denne quhilk euen as far as France was infamous. But in Setons house were sa many commodious opportunities for hir purpose, that how soeuer hir gud name were therby appeyred, nedes she must ga thether agayne. There were conselles holden of the great affaires of the realme. The end of the consultatoun was, that Bothwell shold be attainit of the murder, and acquitit by iudges thereto chosen for the nones and constrainit. It was concludit, that the meaner sorte of the iudges might with fauor and fayre promises be ledde, and the rest of the greater and grauer sort (whom for fashions sake thay were driuen to call to the mater) might be drawen with feare to acquite hym. For beside libelles therof commonly throwen abrode, the kyngis father the Erle of Lennox did openly accuse hym for principall author of the murder. The assemblie of the states in parlament was at hand, quhilk was to be halden the xiij. of Aprill, befoir quhilk day thay wald nedes haue the arrainement dispatchit. That great hast was the cause, quhy in that preceding and triall nathyng hes ben done according to the forme of law, nathing in order, nathing after the auncient vsage. There aught to haue bene publike summons of the accusers, the next of the kine, the wife, the father, and the sonne, eyteher to be present thamselfis, or to send thair proctors. The law also gaue tham tyme of forty dayes. But hair the father was commaundit to cum within xiij. dayes, and that wythout any assembly of his frendis, wyth hys alone housholde retinue anely, quhilk by reason of his great pouertie was now brought to a few, quhile in the meane tyme Bothwell with great bandes of men dayly mustered about the towne. And bycause he verely beleuit that in sa assurit perill na man would take vpon hym to be hys accuser, he grew to sic an negligence, and sic contempt of law and iudiciall procedyng, that the dictay was framit of ane murder supposit to be done the ix. day of February, quhen in dede the kyng was slayne the x. day. In choosing and refusing of the Iudges, the lyke seueritie was vsed, for the murderers tham selfis made the choise of the Iudges, quhen there was na man to take exception against tham.
18. The Erle of Cassiles, willing neither to pay hys ambroement, as the maner is, than to be a Iudge in the matter, quhen he had staide in it a quhile and wald not appeare at the Quenis request and menacyng, yea though sche sent hir ring for credit baith of hir earnest prayer and threatning, at length constranit with feare of exile and punitioun, he yelded. There sate the Iudges, nat chosin to iudge, put piked out to acquite, the cause procedit wythout any aduersarie, a triall in a matter of life and deith, quehen there was neuer ane accuser but suborned by the partie accused, so as a man might well thinke it not the triall of a cause in a court but the playing of an enterlude upon a stage. In all this recklesnesse of all thinges, yet behald I pray you of quhat force is the testimony of conscience on either side. Sodenly, vnluked for, there starteth vp a youngman of the Erle of Lennox house, in quhame the respect of dutie vanquishit the feare of danger. This youngman made ane open protestatioun that the same assembly of Iudges was nat lawfull, bycause in thair proceding there was nathing done according to law nor order. At thys saying the Iudges were all striken in sic a feare, that thay all by and by with one mouth made protestation, with promise that it should nat hereafter be preiudiciall to tham, in that thay acquited a prisoner quhame na man accused, and that thay had acquitit him of a murder allegit to be commitit the ix. day of February quhen the kyng was slayne the x. day. This is that saim nobill triall and iudgement, quhairby Bothwell was, not cleansed of the crime, but as it weir washed with sowters blacking, and sa mair comely prepared to goe a wooing to wed the Quene, and sa to become a husband to hir greater schame than he was befoir an adulterer. To make vp yet the full perfectioun and encrease of this iolly acquitall, there was set vp a writing in the most notorious place of the court, that though Bothwell had by iust triall and iudgement bene lawfully cleansed and acquitit of the murder quhairof he had ben falsely accusit, yet for mair manifest declaratioun of his innocencie to the hale world, he was redy to trie it in combat, if any man of gude fame and a gentilman borne would charge him with the murder of the king. The next day after, there was ane that set up a bull in open place, and offred to accept the combat, sa that there might for the battell be sic a place appointed, quhairin the partie mought safely without feare disclose his name.
19. Quhile maters and mens affections were in this styrre, the parlament assembled. There after they had for viij dayes together in maner done nathing but treaeted of reuersing the iudgement, quhairby the Erle Huntleyes father had ben attaintit of treason, and for restorying the sonne to hys fathers possessions and honors, there were alswa certaine pausible thynges grauntit to please the pepill, and specially for the Kirke, namely the repellyng of certain lawes of popish tyrannie made for punishing of sic as durst ones mutter agaynst the decrees of the see of Rome. Though these thingis were acceptable among the communalitie, yet there remainit ane thyng quhilk na lesse vered the quene then offended the pepil, that is to say, hir companieng with Bothwel, not altogether sa openly as she wald faine haue had it, and yet not sa secretly but that the pepill perceiuit it, for that all mens eyes were gazyng upon tham. For quhairas Bothwell had a wife of his owne, and to tarry for a diuorce was thoght an ouerlang delay, and in the meane time the quene could nouther openly auow to haue him, nor secretly enioy hym, and yit in no wise could be without hym, some shift, though nat an honest ane, yet a shift forsothe, must be deuised. And quhen thay could nat thinke vpon a better, it semit tham a maruelous fine inuentioun, God wote, that Bothwell should rauishe and take away the Quene by force, and sa saue her honour. Sa within a few daies after, as the quene was returning from Stereline, Bothwell forceably toke her by the way and cariit hir to Dunbarre, whether with hir will, or agaynst hir will, euery man may easily perceiue by hir awin letters that sche wrote to him by the way as sche was in hir iourney. But howsoeuer it weir, that the wrong of the rauishment might be defaced with honest colour of mariage, Bothwels wife was compelled in twa courtis to sue a diuorce against her husband.
20. Befoir Iudges delegate appointit by the quenis authoritie to haif iurisdictioun in sic causis, the wife accuseth the husband of adulterie, quhilke with tham was a iust cause of diuorce. Befoire Popishe Iudges quho in deed by law weir forbidden, yet by speciall dispensatioun of the Bischop of S. Andrew, weir for the hearing of this cause anely permitted, Bothwell was accusit, that befoir his mariage with hys wife, he had committit fornicatioun with his wiues near kinswoman, howbeit all this quhile thay kept close the Popis Bull by quilk the same offence was dispensit with. The diuorce was posted forwart without any slacknes either in the witnesses or in the Iudges. Within the space of x. dayes, the matter was taken in hand, began, and intented, ioynit unto, tryit and iudged befoir baith the companies of Iudges. Quhen the sentence of diuorce was geuen and sent to Dunbar, Bothwell by and by assembleth together from all pairtes all his friendis, his seruantis, and reteiners, to conuey to Edenburgh the quene, quho wauld then nedes take vpon hir to be a prisoner. Quhen thay weir thus gatherid together, the maist pairt of tham in armour, by the way as thay weir conducting the quene, many of tham weir sodenly stricken in some feare, least in time to cum they might be chargit for halding the quene as prisoner, and that though there were none other euidence, yet this ane thing would be profe enough against tham, that in time of peace thay were found armid about hir. Quhile thay were in thys doubt, in the middest of thair iorney, thay all threw away thair launces, and in mair peasabill array, at least in schew, thay conueyed hir to the castell of Edenburgh, quhilke castell was also the same tyme at Bothwelles commaundement. There sche taried with Bothwell, quhile the banes weir publishing. Then sche came downe out of the Castell into the towne, to the commoun assembly of the Iudges, and there pronouncit hir selfe to be free and at hir awne libertie. And sa at length within viij. dayes sche finished that unmatrimoniall matrimonie, all gude men sa farre detesting or at least grudgingly foreiudging the vnlucky end thereof, that Monsieur de Croc the French kinges Embassadour, a man very well affectionit to the quene, ane of the factioun of the house of Guise, and soiourning very neare to the place, though he were earnestly required, yet thought he could nat wyth his honor be present at the feast. These thyngis wer done about the iv. of May, in the yere 1567. The iv. day of Iune followying, Bothwell beying either dismayed with gilty conscience of the vile fact, or sent away by the quene, she came her selfe to the Lordes of the realme, quho earnestly requirit the publike kyngmurderer to be brought forth to due executioun.
21. Quhat hath sins ben done, perteineth nat much to this present mater. And though my spech haue perhappes ben langer than you luked for, yet I playnly perceiue in my selfe, that quhile I seke to make end of my tale, many thyngis I haue omittit, and many thyngis for hast I haue but lightly touchit, and nathing haue I according to the haynousnesse of the offense fully expressit.