Tessera caerulea — commentariolum. Tessera rubicunda — nota textualis. Tessera viridis—translatio.

perpetrated in England
Acted by the young men of Marchiennes College during the Feast of St. Remy



DUDLEY Earl of Leicester
BUCKHURST a courtier
BEALE a Secretary
Shrewsbury, KENT, DERBY &c.
spacerspacerspacerEarls entrusted with the execution
AMYAS, DRURY Governors of Fotheringhay Castle
BORUMGUS A heresiarch
MARY STUART Queen of Scots
MELVIN Suart’s chamberlain
CHORUS OF CAPTIVES, of whom two handmaids
spacerspeak individually



spacerWhat shade of the deep Inferno compels me to visit the upper word and transports me to this greater evil? Father, has it now been decided which realm I must fear the more, and which shall have the greater hatred for my person? Boleyn lives there, these places I am beholding belong to Elizabeth, the home of a woman who is both my daughter and my granddaughter. This is the august home of my ancestors at London, from here it has been customary to govern the realm with royal auspices. Here was the place for the court, over there my seat of judgment. Here was the marriage-bed which made me at once a father, a husband and a grandfather, that produced at once a daughter and a grand-daughter. Let me go back. Is it not better to swim in those pools of the dead, to be a second Henry blue at those pools where loiter Vortigern, the murderer of Constans, and Donwald, the killer of Duff, blue and anybody of olden age who could imitate Herod, blue who appropriated his brother’s wife, and shameless Ammon? blue But my share of incest is so great that the old man who drunkenly slept with his daughters, and Oedipus, his grandfather’s son-in law who was his own father’s rival, the brother of his sons and the father of his brothers, the marriage-partner of his mother, and all those whom the baleful ruler of the Underworld has compelled to confess their sins where Lucifer presides over never-ending punishments, if they are to be compared to me, I transcend them all — I who, being the father of a legitimate child, impregnated my adulterous daughter and requited my Aragon with a divorce. I am criminal, incestuous, accursed. Nor have I acted in vain in overturning nature itself, our ancient faith and first religion: Elizabeth was born of her mother - sister to take the lead in supporting this doctrine to which she is akin, since it was born along with herself, by means of the lash, the stake, the gallows, the sword and the wheel. How worthy she is of my scepter, whether she is wantonly imitating her father and claims to be the sole head of the Church of England, or whether she is meting out various punishments to good men! Nor does she shrink from condemning the mighty of this world to bondage or death. She has already killed Norfolk, and blue more immediately she is oppressing the Stuart with prolonged imprisonment and woes. Thus may she surpass her family, make me seem innocent, and dare the undarable. Thus, thus may she outdo her father. My hands were not so stained with blood, although I consigned More and Father Rochesterblue to the fire, and, being her father and likewise her husband, gave over that woman, call her Boleyn or Tudor, to public execution. Go on, oh noble daughter, begin to prove by your deeds that I am your father, surpass my glory and praise, do something which will make your father refuse to go on existing. Such you will do, I know, and such was your birthright: such great nobility cannot commit light and common crime. Thanks to it, you strive to follow the example of my crimes, not that you may imitate them, but so that you might work a greater wrong. You queen who govern the English people, you are destined to govern Scotland, now willingly like yourself, if you continue to disembowel your enemies and your guests, torment their broken necks, burn them with fire and seethe their dismembered limbs in boiling water. For why should the axe rest idle from noblemen’s lofty necks? Why do you hold your hand? Does it not yet fall fearfully on the heads of great sovereigns? Defeat your father and by your enterprises bid mine be piety. Although you commit as many crimes as you please, who would deny that they occurred by my doing? For you possess none of my sins, yet whatever you contrive is by my doing, for you are mine. Here I perceive more evils, which I in my guilt have created, than exist in the dark halls of infernal Dis.


ACT I, SCENE ii blue

spacerELIZ. Oh dark of night, horrible visions in dreams, and the silence of my people! Oh peace of the world and the changeable moon! Oh my nation, to whom so many barbaric races have given their spoils, for whom Arthur long ago created a noble company of knights! Oh mistress of the islands, ruler of the sea, whose sea is burdened by countless ships along all its shores, to whom Delos and Crete, noble for its hundred cities, should defer, although the one is more favored by Apollo and the other was the nurse of Jove! Who begrudges you, my land? Who is taking you away from me, my paternal heritage, bequeathed to their successors by such a line of forefathers, personages of the Church and of the State, both of whom I have strengthened by my innovations? Has this general quiet and peaceful slumber given me release, fearful and guilty of great evil? Why do you shun the gift of night and slumber, my unquiet mind, and set no limit on your dread? Is it she, she, the Stuart, that source of my terror and bane upon my kingdom, always a devotee of a different sect: is she harboring no counsel, none at all, against my glory? Did she not seek a secret marriage to Norfolk and make foreign sovereigns hostile to our shores by writing round-robin letters to leading exiles, who always hate our national faith together with our national soil? So in her pride will this plague always make herself an object of fear to me? Will she always preen herself on her ancient English lineage, affecting the title of mistress over my subjects? Oh, her great, enduring pride! Will she in her hostility nullify the reforms which my father Henry introduced by divine inspiration, although she is a wife dripping with the gore of her husband, always seeking to make her way by crime? I am sluggish, idle, weak, and (which I think a ruler’s worst fault in matters of state) unavenged after so many wrongs, after so many fears. I nurse my vain anger, my groans suppressed. For nineteen years I have held this guilty woman in bondage, although I have wanted her to die. Am I the person who has filled both hemispheres, both halves of the world with the name of Elizabeth? I could immediately removed her from this earth by commanding her death, at the first opportunity I could immediately have destroyed this refugee from her homeland, this exile, this helpless woman. I spared her, she lives. Oh my sluggish resentment! Oh my idle wrath! Then will the prayers of my subjects and my nobility not obtain my vengeance? Was she convicted of a crime by her own subjects and yet enjoys impunity? Alas, what divinity is restraining my cowardly resentments? Alas, her hatred, hidden under the guise of her wicked piety! Who have I had to fear so far? The Guises? That unworthy King of France? The mighty leader of the Spanish nation? I care for none of them. Rather, ah rather let them learn that their league for the destruction of my island is broaken, my island which seething Nereus encircles with his water and puts beyond their reach. But why are you behindhand, casting about for more counsels? Why are you sluggish, my helpless mind? It is thus my doing that she shall die at length who could have died at once. She assaulted you, and you scarcely permit yourself to bridle her and abate? Let her die. Do this at long last, do this. For once I hear that this abominable subject has yielded up her ghost to the axe, then I shall think I have finally shored up my scepter for all the days to come. [Dudley, entering and overhearing her]
spacerDUD. Our country’s mother, why not let her die by the doing of your lords, without your intervention? Let no blot of severity mark your name in the eyes of foreign rulers, but rather let the responsibility rest on the normal course of public justice, so that she might make a bad impression on our cities and those abroad, and be better recognized for what she is by the sovereigns of the world.
spacerELIZ. Should I fear them, when I don’t even acknowledge the Saints?
spacerDUD. And in a dream God Himself bade her be spared.
spacerELIZ. Whatever hateful fear troubles one’s mind is recalled by some hidden sense when he sleeps.
spacerDUD. Men think it is a gift of God that the Christian ocean obeys you. Your proud sense of honor should not make you grow forgetful of yourself and discard your gentle disposition; rather, you should decide to refrain from savage killing, be slow in indulging your wrath, and spare the afflicted.
spacerELIZ. Indeed, I am a woman who should prevent the commission of crime and agree not to shed dear blood, a teacher of the law, whose chief virtue is to consider the welfare of my nation, granting tranquility to my subject world and peace to our times.
spacerDUD. It is the responsibility of a sovereign to protect free men, their lives and goods.
spacerELIZ. Is it any less praiseworthy for sovereigns to destroy an enemy? What manner of mercy is it to spare Mary, whom I know to be an enemy, arrogant because of her lineage? It should unanimously be decreed that this suspect woman should die.
spacer DUD. I would prefer her to keep on living, but in such a way that your subjects will have no further cause for fear, because you are sufficiently cautious.
spacerELIZ. In the past this care could suffice for the realm but since she’s gone too far amidst her good fortune, there’s no rest for the weary. Distant exile has not broken Morgan and Paget, bluewhose stubborn fury encourages agents of crime to murder me. Since in their absence they still enjoy great popularity in my city, which encourages the exiles, let this unloving wife perish. Let her follow her beloved Norfolk. Let whatever is lofty suffer fall, before it can establish itself and renew its strength. Let her be attacked, lest she attack me at my peace. Let her die so she won’t destroy. Victory belongs to that one of us who strikes first.
spacerDUD. Popular opinion sometimes deters sovereigns.
spacerELIZ. My greatest good is that my people are accustomed both to tolerate and praise their mistress’ action. Indeed, she would have suffered a deserved death, had I chosen to grant the prayers of Christians dwelling not only in England, but also those harbored by France, Germany, and Flanders. Are you unaware that a Calvinist blue once came to England offering a petition that she be executed?
spacerDUD. Nothing should be done rashly against those who share your father’s blood and are your kin.
spacerELIZ. I should spare this kinswoman, though she did not spare her husband? Should I not prefer my nation to my kinsmen?
spacer DUD. You should think it wrong to harm even evil kin.
spacerELIZ. It is right to do to her what would otherwise be a wrong. For what has she left untouched by crime, or where has she spared wrongdoing? She removed her husband by murder. By stealth she usurps my kingdom and the ancient emblem of my rule, and she is deceitfully corrupting my subjects, and to my destruction I am to allow a way by which this Scottish bane may hasten forward, greedy for my realm?
spacerDUD. So you will concede nothing to the King of France, although you granted his ambassador an audience twice or thrice? Will he thus permit his brother’s consort to die?
spacerELIZ. See whether this is his desire, and if Bellievre blue is perhaps colluding with him. Those men who have a greater care for my realm and my life, for our common faith and our security, men whom I rule in my sacred capacity as mother of our nation, are asking that I quickly remove this monster, worse than the surging flood of the sea. This land entrusts its inhabitants to my care, and my anxious Privy Council foresees something, its heart quaking out of fear of crime. The evil of this menace draws ever nearer, as long as the Stuart, a woman of evil character and an artist of misdeeds, drags out her wicked life, and this enemy of mankind and heaven continues to see the light, burning with hatred of me and gathering strength for evils, so she might dare threaten my government over the sacred sphere, by her deceits redoubling her evildoing and her long series of crimes, murders, and treacheries, her love of power and her dire thirst for blood.
spacerDUD. Now let loose your hand against this harmful woman, cut short her wicked hopes, as she seeks to gain the scepter by any means, ranging through all degrees of crime. No further do I dissuade you.
spacerELIZ. You who despoiled your husband of his life and conspires that this household be befouled by my blood, after such evildoing what hope for safety remains for you, what hope for me? Therefore proclaim that this treacherous woman at last must die. {Enter Beale.]



spacerELIZ. And you must travel, taking my final commands to Shrewsbury. Let the accused be put to death, now that I and my judges have passed our sentence, and afterwards I want this sentence posted in public places throughout the cities of England.
spacerBEALE I do your bidding. s blue
spacerELIZ. Let this woman not go on living, along with whom survive old superstition, mad stubbornness and spirit, a mind of unreasonable hope.
spacerDUD. If his mother’s heir were with you here at court, dripping with the blood of Morton and the others who have given their good support for these things, these realms would well be worth such a price.
spacerELIZ. I swear by Pluto, by the avenging goddesses and whoever binds her hair with snakes there, I have left nothing untried, and up to to this very day I brood within my mind how I might destroy them both by a well-deserved death: the son, albeit a kinsman, and the mother, although a sister. Their impiety obliges me to make no account of family considerations. Nobody is ever safe in showing favor to his kinsmen while they work worse harm by stealth. As God is my witness, if any god hears these words, witness whatever remains of my good conscience, witness my hidden faith and my dead sense of shame, kill me if Mary does not thus die. I would prefer that the Almighty Himself, thundering on high, employ His fire to reduce to me to ash, the same as Tullus, blue I who with my government rule the glory of England and the brilliance of her islands, the equal of the stars, I who exercise widespread power over the Peerage, rather than that Mary might delay in appeasing my long-deserved wrath — a wrath often over-patient against the guilty, while neither Catholic blood has quenched the fires they have kindled against us, nor does whatever land has tolerated the followers of the Pope runs red with horrific killing. That corrupt crew is ungrateful in not accepting my clemency, nor can it suffer peace. Rather it is restlessly borne headlong in one direction by its rashness, in another by its audacity. Although the guilt of these miscreants demands yet greater, it satisfies me if they slake my anger with their blood, and if, like that woman whose madness is all-transcending, if they be tamed by their sufferings so that they do not dare lift up their eyes to my throne, and if, thanks to their fear of punishment, they learn to obey their sovereign’s will.



spacerspacerIt behooves us to celebrate public rites freely throughout our great cities, to sound our brass trumpets with their blare, and to kindle fires. Everywhere you lads and lasses, you maidens and matrons, you old men and young, join in a display of your new joy. All of you show signs of your favorable minds, rejoice, raise up the flames and fires of a solemn bonfire, let its fire and the heat send up sparks to heaven, while around it a throng sings happy songs, a long line of beloved young brides and their mothers. Now we must sing, now we must stamp the earth with a free foot, now the honor of our sovereign Elizabeth is to be sounded to the stars. Through London’s houses let drums and trumpets mix their sounds with bells. Profound peace has been born. Oh, long may it be friendly and provide celebrations for England’s cities! In safety the cattle graze the green meadows, Ceres and goodly Prosperity adorn our fields and our sailors sail peaceful waters. Who needs to dread the Frenchman, the evils of Belgium and the offspring produced by unfriendly Germany, as long as our sovereign is safe? Who fears the king of savage Spain? The condemned Scotswoman awaits the axe, I have seen the judges’ sentence posted on doors and published in journals. Henceforth we shall have no fear. Let her not claim the scepter of England’s government or overthrow the foundations of our grandfathers’ religion, no more worshipping Papist altars in her household. Long live the ancient name of Albion!

Go to Act II