LAMENT FOR MARY STEWART, QUEEN OF SCOTS
I weep thee Mary Stewart – hapless Queen!
Hard is the heart that could not weep for thee
Thy breathing beauty, they commanding mien,
Thy ‘trancing voice, thine eyes’ bright witchery
Thy mirth, thy song, thy ready repartee;
Thy sorrow and thy long review of tears!
Thy very faults alike are dear to me!
For passion’s course repented of, endears,
And thon wert young and fair and cursed with evil peers.
Thy beauty, as the magnet draws the steel,
Drew many to they knee, O why not all!
Thy very life was love! Sad to reveal
That love, alas! should also be thy fall!
How strange that honey’s still so near to gall!
That hell itself is oft so close to heaven!
Needless the names that joy’d thee to recall;
Fatal thou wert to each! of all the seven,
I mourn the most for George, sad Douglas of Loch leven.
I weep thee Mary! would that this right arm
Had borne a sword by thee when those rude lords,
Whose callous hearts thy beauty failed to warm
Denied the courtesy the boor affords;
And backed their black request with blacker words
Nor hardly sought to veil the sullen threat;
Another sword had joined those useless swords
That cut indeed the meshes of thy net,
But failed, alas! again thee on the throne to set!
O Scotland! hang, hang low, thy haughty head,
Blush with deep shame that e’er thy boasted earth,
That weeps the honoured and illustrious dead,
In every dew-drop morning bathes in mirth
From the broad Solway to the Pentland firth,
From farthest Hebride to the German Sea,
Blush, that thou didst in open day give birth,
To dastards such as tore thy queen from thee,
To languish helpless years in long captivity.
O! May thy sons – thy proud sons of to-day
Nursed in the peaceful lap of gentler years;
Ne’er write in future history that they
Proved foe to all that chivalry reveres;
Or raised a hand against a woman’s tears
Except to wipe the tears away; or gave
A ready credence to unworthy fears,
Or let accursed ambition dig a grave;
For all true manhood spares and youth should die to save.
I weep thee Mary – weep thy young eclipse;
O! had you lived in larger-hearted times,
When thy full heart, thy faith, thy woman’s slips
Would not have been accounted damning crimes;
This pitying heart had not begot these rhymes;
A loftier scroll had spoke for thee to-day
A woman known and honoured in all climes,
Loved in her own with passion’s warmer ray
A long and happy reign where feeling tempered sway.
S.F.G, Cullybackey November 1866