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Maria Stuart

Friedrich Schiller

Maria Stuart

Act Five

Texte intégral

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, late 1580s. Attributed to the Workshop of Marcus Gheeraerts, the Younger. Wikimedia, public domain,​wiki/​File:William_Cecil_Lord_Burghley_Gheeraerts_Workshop.jpg

  • 66 The action has come full circle.

1The scene is that of Act One.66

Scene One

2Hanna Kennedy, dressed in deep mourning, her eyes red with weeping, is tying up packets and sealing letters. Her work is often broken by grief and pauses for prayer. Paulet and Drury, also in black, enter, followed by servants carrying gold and silver vessels, mirrors, paintings, and other treasures, which then fill the background. Paulet delivers a jewelry case to Hanna and a list of its contents, as he indicates by gestures. The sight renews the Nurse’s pain. The others withdraw. Melvil enters.

3KENNEDY (cries out as she sees him).

4Melvil! It’s you! I see you once again!

5[2180] MELVIL. Dear Kennedy, yes. We meet here again.

6KENNEDY. After a long, long painful separation!

7MELVIL. A sorrowful and painful meeting again!

8KENNEDY. Oh, God! You’ve come—

9MELVIL. To take last leave of my Queen.

10KENNEDY. Now at last, on the morning of her death,

11It’s granted her to see her people again.

12Oh, I’ll not ask how you have fared meanwhile,

13Nor will I tell how we have suffered since

14The long-ago day you were torn from our side.

15There will be time for that yet. Oh, Melvil, that we

16[2190] Should have to see the dawn of this day!

17MELVIL. Let us

18Not weaken one another. I shall weep

19As long as I live, no smile brighten these cheeks,

20Nor shall I lay aside black mourning. Always

21Shall I mourn. But today I would stand firm.

22Promise me you will master your grief and,

23When others give way to despair, let us go

24Before her, her staff on the way to her death!

25KENNEDY. Melvil, you are mistaken if you believe

26The Queen needs our support to go to her death. She

27[2200] Sets an example for us. Never fear!

28For Mary Stuart dies a heroine and a queen.

29MELVIL. And how did she receive the news of her death?

30I heard it said she had not been prepared.

31KENNEDY. She had not. Wholly different fears disturbed her,

32Not death but rescue. Mortimer had promised

33To free her last night, and between hope and fear—

34Whether she trust him with her honor and person—

35The Queen awaited him and looked for the morning.

36A sudden thud of footsteps, hammering and knocking.

37[2210] We think we hear our rescuers come at last.

38Hope beckons, will to live assails us— The door

39Opens, Sir Paulet comes to say carpenters

40Are setting up a scaffold down below us.

41(She turns away, overcome by grief.)

42MELVIL. Dear God in heaven! How did Mary respond?

43KENNEDY (after a pause in which she steadies herself).

44One does not lay life aside slowly. All

45At once, swift, in an instant must come the change

46From Time to the Eternal. And God granted

47My Lady in this moment strength to cast off

48All earthly hope with a firm spirit and

49[2220] Attach herself to Heaven full of faith.

50No sign of fear, no complaint tarnished her honor.

51Only on learning of Lord Leicester’s bad faith,

52Of the fate of that boy who gave his life

53For her, on seeing the old knight’s distress,

54Whose last hope had died for her cause and for her,

55Did she shed tears. She passed the rest of the night

56In prayer, wrote to her dearest friends, and made

57Her will with her own hand. She’s resting now, her

58Last sleep.

59MELVIL. Who’s with her?

60KENNEDY. Her physician, her women.

61Scene Two

62As above. Margaret Curle enters.

63[2230] KENNEDY. Mistress, what news? The Lady is awake?

64CURLE (drying her eyes).

65Already dressed. And asking for you.

66KENNEDY. I’m coming.

67(To Melvil, who is about to follow)

68Not yet. Wait till I have prepared the Lady. (She goes off.)

69CURLE. It’s Melvil, our old steward!

70MELVIL. Yes, it’s me.

71CURLE. Oh, this house needs no steward anymore!

72You come from London? Have you news of my husband?

73MELVIL. He’s to be freed when—

74CURLE. When the Queen is no more!

75And it’s his witness that condemned her?

76MELVIL. Just so.

77CURLE. He gave false witness—

78MELVIL. But consider, Mistress—

79CURLE. I’ll swear to it in court, swear to his face.

80[2240] She dies without guilt.

81MELVIL. God grant it be so!

Scene Three

82As above. Burgoyne enters, then Hanna Kennedy.

83BURGOYNE (seeing Melvil).

84Ah, Melvil!

85MELVIL (embracing him). Burgoyne!

86BURGOYNE (to Margaret Curle). Bring us a glass of wine for

87Our Lady. Quickly!

88(Curle goes off.)

89MELVIL. Is the Queen not well?

90BURGOYNE. She believes herself strong and she will not eat, but

91Hard struggle awaits her. Let no one say

92Fear blanched her cheek, when it was Nature’s weakness.

93MELVIL (to the Nurse, who enters). Will she see me?

94KENNEDY. She’ll be here right away. —

95You look about, see these magnificent things?

96In life we suffered need, in death we have plenty.

Scene Four

97As above. Two other waiting women enter, dressed in mourning. Seeing Melvil, they burst into tears.

98MELVIL. What a reunion! Gertrude! Rosamond!

99[2250] SECOND ATTENDANT. She sent us out, to speak with God alone.

100(Two more waiting women enter, in mourning and expressing deep grief.)

Scene Five

101Margaret Curle returns. She carries a golden cup of wine, sets it on the table, and supports herself on a chair.

102MELVIL. What is it, Mistress?

103CURLE. Oh, God!

104BURGOYNE. What is wrong?

105CURLE. Oh, what I saw!

106MELVIL. Be calm. Tell us what it is.

107CURLE. As I came up the grand stair with this wine cup,

108The door sprang open in the hall. Oh, God!

109MELVIL. You saw what?

110CURLE. Walls draped in black. Before them

111A scaffold hung in black rose from the floor.

112A block, a cushion, both black, a gleaming axe,

113The room of men with greedy, blood-thirsty looks.

114THE WOMEN. God bless our Lady!

115MELVIL. Steady now! She is coming.

Scene Six

  • 67 The Lamb of God: a medallion representing a lamb holding a victory banner.

116As above. Mary. She is dressed in festive white, an Agnus Dei67 hangs on a chain at her neck, a rosary at her belt. She carries a Crucifix and, in her hair, a diadem. Her long black veil is thrown back. At her entrance all present step back to both sides, with expressions of pain. Melvil instinctively sinks to his knees.

117MARY (looking about, poised and calm).

118[2260] Why do you weep? Why grieve? Be joyful with me.

119The end of all my sorrow is here at last,

120My fetters fall, my prison doors swing open,

121And my soul mounts toward freedom on angels’ wings.

122When I was in the power of my proud rival,

123Suffering disgrace, what a great queen is spared—

124That was the proper time to weep for me.

125Beneficent and healing, Death now approaches,

126That grave friend. With his dusky wings he will cover

127Base pain. Last fate ennobles fallen mankind.

128[2270] I feel the crown on my head, pride in my soul!

129(Advancing a few steps)

130What? Melvil here? Not thus, brave Knight! Stand up!

131You’ve come to your Queen’s triumph, not her death.

132I had not hoped to know such happiness:

133My history will not rest in enemies’ hands,

134One friend, of my faith witnesses my death.

135Tell me, Knight, how you fared in this hostile land

136Since they took you away from me.

137MELVIL. I suffered

138No want but care for you, whom I could not serve.

139MARY. And Didier, my old chamberlain? He sleeps an

140[2280] Eternal sleep? He was advanced in years.

  • 68 Didier Siflard was a witness at the execution.

141MELVIL. He’s not so blessed. He lives to mourn your youth.68

142MARY. Had I but lived to embrace my loved kinsmen!

143I die among strangers, see your tears only.

144Last wishes for my own I lay in your hands.

  • 69 The King of France.

145I bless the Most Christian King, my brother,69

146The royal house of France, my uncle the Cardinal,

147And Henry Guise, my cousin. I bless the Pope,

148Vicar of Christ, who blesses me, and the

  • 70 The King of Spain.

149Catholic King,70 who wished to be my savior.

150[2290] They all are named in my will and testament,

151They will not scorn my gifts, however poor.

152(Turning to her servants)

153You I commend all to my brother in France.

154He’ll give you a new country. Honor my last

155Request: Do not remain in England, let

156The Briton not feed on your sorrow. (Showing her Crucifix) By

157The Savior, promise me not to remain in

158This wretched land.

159MELVIL (touching the Crucifix). I swear in the name of all.

160MARY. What I possessed once I give to you all. My

161Last will be honored. What I wear to my death

162[2300] Is yours, too. Grant me once more to enjoy

163An earthly brilliance on my way to Heaven!

164(To the Attendants)

165To you, my Alix, Gertrude, Rosamond,

166My pearls and my clothes. Young, you love fine things.

167You, Margaret, have next claim upon my bounty.

168I leave you behind unhappiest of all.

169My will shows I do not impose your husband’s

170Guilt on you. You, my Hanna, find no charm

171In gold or stones. Your treasure is my memory.

172This cloth is yours. I’ve worked it for you with my

173[2310] Own hands in hours of sorrow, woven my tears

174Into it. Bind my eyes with this when it’s time.

175I would receive this at the last from my Hanna.

176KENNEDY. Oh, Melvil, I can’t bear it!

177MARY. Come, one and all!

178Come and receive my last farewell.

179(She extends her hands. One after another they kneel and kiss the offered hand, weeping.)


181Margaret, farewell. Alix, goodbye. My thanks,

182Burgoyne, for faithful service all these years.

183Gertrude, your lips burn. Much loved and much hated

184I was. Your glowing heart, Gertrude, demands love.

185A worthy husband seal your happiness.

186[2320] Berta, chaste bride of Heaven, take your vows soon!

187The goods of this world deceive. Learn from your Queen.

188No more! Farewell! Farewell! Forever farewell!

189(She turns away. All except Melvil go off.)

Scene Seven

190Mary. Melvil.

191MARY. All temporal things are now in order. I hope

192To leave this world as debtor to no man. But

193One thing weighs on my soul, holds it earthbound.

194MELVIL. Tell a true friend. And lighten your burdened heart.

195MARY. I stand at the edge of Eternity

196And have not reconciled the Holy One yet.

197A priest of my Church is denied me. I

198[2330] Refuse the service of another. I would

199Die faithful to my sole redeeming Church.

200MELVIL. For Heaven the wish is as good as the deed.

201Tyranny binds the hands but not the heart.

202MARY. Melvil, the heart alone is not enough.

203Faith needs a token. God thus became flesh,

204Invisible gifts in the visible.

205The Universal Church, the Catholic Church,

206Builds a great ladder heavenward, for faith

207Strengthens faith where ten thousands kneel to pray,

208[2340] Coals become flame and the winged spirit takes flight.

209Happy who gather in the House of the Lord!

210The bishop in white vestments stands at the altar,

211Where candles flicker, incense rises, bells sound.

212He takes the chalice, blesses it, proclaims

213The wonder of the bread and the wine, and

214The faithful people, believing, drop to their knees

215Before God present. I alone am shut out!

216MELVIL. You are received and God is present. Trust him.

217For a dry rod can put forth green shoots and the

218[2350] One who struck water from the rock can prepare

219An altar in your prison, turn this earthly

  • 71 The references are: Numbers 17, 8; Exodus 17, 5-7 and Numbers 20, 2-13.

220Vessel into a holy chalice for you.71

221(He takes up the wine cup from the table.)

222MARY. I understand you. The Redeemer said:

223When two are gathered in my name, I am

  • 72 Matthew 18, 20.

224Present among you.72 What consecrates a priest? A

225Pure heart and spotless life. Thus you are a priest

226Sent me by God to give me comfort. To

227You would I make my last confession and learn

228From your mouth of forgiveness and salvation.

229[2360] MELVIL. Then know, my Queen, that God can also perform

230A miracle to comfort you. You err:

231Here is a priest and God is present here, too.

232(He uncovers his head and presents a Host in a golden vessel.)

233I am a priest. To hear your last confession

234And give you peace now on your way to death, I

235Have taken holy orders and I bring you

236This Host sent by the Holy Father, who blessed it.

237MARY. God’s joy is given me on the threshold of death!

238Like the apostle whom the angel led

  • 73 Acts 5, 17-19.

239From prison, whom no lock and no sword held—73

240[2370] He strides through closed gates and stands shining in jail—

241I am surprised by Heaven’s herald when

242All earthly rescuers have failed me and foundered.

243And you, my servant once, are now God’s and

244His holy mouth. Your knee bent once before me,

245I now bend mine before you. (She kneels before him.)

246MELVIL (making the sign of the Cross). In the name of

247The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost!

248Mary, Queen, have you well examined your heart?

249And swear to confess truth before the true God?

250MARY. My heart is open before Him and you.

251[2380] MELVIL. What sin does conscience reproach you since you

252Were reconciled last with your God?

253MARY. My heart was filled with envious hate and wish

254For revenge on my rival. I hoped God would

255Forgive me and myself could not forgive her.

256MELVIL. Do you rue it and wish to die reconciled?

257MARY. As surely as I hope God will forgive me.

258MELVIL. What other sin does your heart accuse you of?

259MARY. Oh, not by hate alone, by sinful love

260I have offended highest God yet more.

261[2390] My empty heart was drawn to a man who

  • 74 This is Leicester.

262Deceived me shamelessly and deserted me.74

263MELVIL. Do you rue it? And has your heart turned away?

264MARY. My hardest struggle. The last bond is broken.

265MELVIL. What other guilt does conscience yet reproach you?

266MARY. An early blood guilt, long ago confessed,

267Returns with terrors like none known before,

268Now that I settle my accounts before dying.

269Darnley, my husband, I worked to have murdered,

270Then gave my seducer my hand in marriage.

271[2400] I have atoned with proper penalties, but

272It gnaws at my soul and gives me no peace.

273MELVIL. Your heart accuses no sin not yet confessed?

274MARY. You now know everything that burdens my heart.

275MELVIL. Think of the nearness of all-knowing God!

276Think of the penalties for sins not confessed.

277That is the sin of eternal death. Committed

278Against the Holy Spirit, it condemns you.

279MARY. Then let eternal mercy grant me victory

280In the last struggle. I have hidden nothing.

281[2410] MELVIL. You would conceal from God the crime of which

282All men accuse you? Nothing here of your part

283In Babington’s and Parry’s high treason?

284You die a temporal death for this deed. Would

285You also die eternal death for it?

286MARY. I shall appear in the presence of God

287Before the minute hand has turned a full round,

288And I repeat: I have confessed all things.

289MELVIL. The heart deceives. Have you evaded the word

290While the will took part in the crime? His eye,

291[2420] Which sees the deepest things, will not be deceived.

292MARY. I called all princes, charged them to free me

293Of unworthy bonds. Never by intention

294Or deed did I attempt the life of my rival!

295MELVIL. Your scribes both gave false witness, you would say?

296MARY. It is as I have told you. God be their judge!

297MELVIL. You climb the scaffold believing you are guiltless?

298MARY. God finds me worthy to atone early crime by

  • 75 Thus Mary announces her full reconciliation with God.

299Dying, this last, a death I have not deserved.75

300MELVIL (making the sign of the Cross).

301Go now, repent. Blood can redeem blood crime.

302[2430] You erred of weakness. Mortal weakness does not

303Follow the soul into death’s transfiguration.

304By the power vested in me to loose and to bind

305I grant you remission of all your sins.

306May coming events accord with your faith.

307(He offers her the Host.)

308This is the Body given for you. Take, eat.

309(He lifts the chalice from the table, consecrates it in silent prayer and offers it to her.)

310This is the Blood shed for you.

  • 76 As Melvil explains, the privilege of the chalice is reserved.

311(She hesitates with a gesture of refusal.)76

312Take it. Accept!

313The Pope extends this favor, gives you in death

314The priest’s privilege and the anointed king’s.

315(She receives the chalice.)

316Just as your earthly body now is joined to God,

317[2440] Just so you join eternal Godliness in Heaven,

318Where there is no guilt, where there is no weeping.

319(He sets down the chalice. A noise at the door. He covers his head and goes to answer. Mary kneels still in silent devotion.)

320MELVIL (returning). A hard test lies before you. Are you strong

321Enough to conquer all hate, all bitterness?

322MARY. I fear no lapse. I’ve given both to God.

323MELVIL. Prepare yourself to receive Lords Leicester and Burghley.

Scene Eight

324As above. Burghley. Leicester and Paulet.

325Leicester remains at a distance and does not look up. Burghley, noticing his state, places himself between Leicester and the Queen.

326BURGHLEY. I am here, Lady Stuart, to receive

327Your last orders.

328MARY. I thank you.

329BURGHLEY. It is the wish of

330My Queen that nothing meet be denied you.

331MARY. My testament names my last wishes. I

332[2450] Have laid it in Knight Paulet’s hands and ask

333That it be executed faithfully.

334PAULET. You may depend on it.

335MARY. I bid you to release my servants unharmed

336To France or Scotland, as they require to go.

337BURGHLEY. It shall be as you wish.

338MARY. Since my body

339Is not to lie in hallowed ground, I ask that

340This faithful servant (indicating Melvil) bring my heart to my friends in

341France. It was ever there!

342BURGHLEY. That, too, shall be done.

343Have you yet other—

344MARY. To the Queen of England

345[2460] A sister’s greetings. Tell her I forgive her

346My death with all my heart and rue and regret my

347Hot words of yesterday. God keep her and grant her

348A happy reign!

349BURGHLEY. Have you not reconsidered?

350Will you still not accept the deacon’s attendance?

351MARY. I have been reconciled with God. Knight Paulet!

352Guiltless, I’ve greatly pained you, robbed your comfort

353In old age. I hope you will not think of me

354With hatred.

355PAULET (gives her his hand). God be with you! Go in peace!

Scene Nine

356As above. Hanna Kennedy and the Queen’s other women enter, showing horror; the Sheriff follows, carrying a white staff; behind them, through the open door, one sees armed Guards.

357MARY. What is it, Hanna? — Ah, yes. It’s time. The sheriff

358[2470] Comes now to lead us to death. Now we must part.

359(Her women cling to her, weeping.)

360Farewell! Farewell! (To Melvil) You, sir, and my Hanna shall

361Go with me on this last walk. You, my Lord,

362Would not deny me this last favor, I hope.

363BURGHLEY. I’ve no authority.

364MARY. You would deny me

365This last? Respect my sex, sir. Who is to render

366Me this last service? Never would my sister

367Intend our sex insulted by men’s rough hands!

368BURGHLEY. No woman at the block! Her wailing—

369MARY. There

370Will be no wailing. You, my Lord, would not

371[2480] Remove me in death from my nurse. Her arms brought

372Me into life, her hand lead me into death.

373PAULET (to Burghley). Permit it.

374BURGHLEY. So be it.

375MARY. Now I have nothing

376More in this world— (She raises the Crucifix and kisses it.)

377My Savior! My Redeemer!

378As you spread your arms on the Cross, now

379Open them wide and receive me in grace.

380(She turns to go and her eye falls on Earl Leicester, who has looked up at her departure. Mary shudders, her knees give way, and she is about to fall when Leicester catches her. She gazes at him long and steadily; he cannot meet her gaze; finally she speaks.)

381You keep your word, Lord Leicester, you who promised

382Your arm on which to lead me from my prison.

383(He stands as if destroyed. She continues softly)

384Not only freedom would I credit your hand.

385You were to make my freedom precious to me.

386[2490] And now on the way out of this world, tempted

387No more by earthly longing, I admit,

388With no shame, weakness I have overcome.

389Farewell. Live happy, too, if you are able!

390Your fortune was to sue for two queens; one,

391A loving heart, you spurned, to win a proud one.

392Kneel at the feet of your Elizabeth!

393May your reward not become your punishment.

394Farewell! Now I have nothing more in this world!

395(She goes off, led by the Sheriff, Melvil and her Nurse at her side. Burghley and Paulet follow; the others, grieving, follow her with their eyes until she is out of sight. They then go off through two other doors.)

Scene Ten

396Leicester alone

397And I still live! Endure yet to live on!

398[2500] This roof does not fall? No abyss opens?

399What have I not lost! What divine happiness!

400She goes, pure spirit now. I stay behind, damned.

401And what of my resolve to stifle my heart?

402To see her head fall with a steady gaze?

403Must she, in death, catch me again in love’s toils?

404Wretch! You have no more claim to womanish feelings!

405There’ll be no love on your path anymore!

406Armor your breast with steel, your brow be a rock!

407Would you not lose the prize of this shameful deed,

408[2510] You must hold to it boldly and complete it.

409Silence, soft feelings! Turn to stone, you eyes!

410I shall see her fall, I will be witness.

411(He strides toward the door Mary went out, then stops.)

412No use. Hellish dread holds me. I cannot look.

413Listen! What was that? They are down there already,

414Beneath my feet. Yes. I hear voices. Away from

415This house of death!

416(He wants to go out by another door and finds it locked.)

417What binds me to this floor?

418Must I hear what I cannot bear to see?

419The deacon’s voice, he cautions her, she breaks in,

420She prays in a loud voice, a steady, loud voice.

421[2520] Stillness and silence. Only sobbing—the women.

422She’s being disrobed. The stool is placed. She kneels.

423(He speaks these last words with mounting anxiety, then stops. One sees him start and shudder, then sink to the floor. A murmur of voices rises from below and lasts long.)

424Elizabeth’s room in Act Four

Scene Eleven

425Elizabeth enters from the side, visibly uneasy.

  • 77 It is late in a day that began before dawn.

426No one here. Still no word. Will evening not come?77

427A torment, waiting this way. Has it happened?

428Has it not? Both fill me with dread. I daren’t ask.

429No sign of Leicester, none of Burghley either.

430If they’ve left London, then the arrow’s in flight.

431Cost it my realm, I’ve cannot stop it. — Who’s there?

Scene Twelve

432Elizabeth. A Page.

433ELIZABETH. You come back all alone? Where are their lordships?

434PAGE. My Lord Earl Leicester and the Lord High Treasurer—

435[2530] ELIZABETH (in suspense). Where are they?

436PAGE. They are not in London.


438Where are they then?

439PAGE. That no one knew to tell me.

440It’s said that they left London before dawn,

441In a great hurry and quite secretly.

442ELIZABETH (exclaiming). I am Queen of England! (Pacing up and down) Go and call—

443No. Stay here. — She is dead! At last I have space

444On earth. Why do I tremble? Why so anxious?

445The grave hides it. Who dares say I did it? (To the Page)

446Are you still here? My scribe shall come this instant.

447Send for Earl Shrewsbury. — Here he is himself!

448(The Page goes off.)

Scene Thirteen

449Elizabeth. Earl Shrewsbury.

450[2540] ELIZABETH. Welcome, my Lord. What brings you here so late?

451SHREWSBURY. Great Queen, my worried heart, concerned for your fame,

452Compelled me to the Tower today, where

  • 78 The episode is not historical.

453Mary’s scribes Curle and Nau are held.78 The Guard

454Refused me entry. Only threats brought me in.

455God! What a sight! Curle lay, his hair wild, his eyes

456Crazed. Hardly has he seen me, he grasps my knees,

457Demands to know his Queen’s fate. Rumor had reached him.

458When I confirmed his witness had condemned her,

459He fell on Nau, to throttle him, then turned his

460[2550] Rage on himself, beat his breast, cursed them both. His

461Witness was false, he said. The letters he’d sworn

462Were true—they were false. He’d written words he

463Never heard spoken. Nau had led him to it.

464He rushed to the sill, cried into the street,

465So that a great crowd gathered: He was the Queen’s

466Scribe, had accused her falsely, was a villain.

467ELIZABETH. You said he’d lost his mind. All this proves nothing.

468SHREWSBURY. It proves the more. Oh, Queen, use caution. Order

469A new inquiry into everything.

470[2560] ELIZABETH. I shall. Because you wish it, not because

471I doubt the peers who tried her. To assure you

472We renew inquiry. Good that there’s still time.

Scene Fourteen

473Davison to join the others

474ELIZABETH. The warrant, sir, that I put into your hand—

475Where is it?

476DAVISON (utterly astonished). Warrant?

477ELIZABETH. That I gave you to

478Keep yesterday—

479DAVISON. Gave me to keep?

480ELIZABETH. The people

481Clamored for me to sign. I did its will.

482I did so under duress and placed the sheet

483In your hand—to gain time. You know what I said.

484SHREWSBURY. Return it, sir. The matter has changed. Inquiry

485[2570] Must be reopened.

486DAVISON. Reopened? Merciful God!

487ELIZABETH. Don’t take so long. Where is the sheet?

488DAVISON (despairing). I am lost!

489As good as dead!

490ELIZABETH (breaking in). Let me not think, sir—

491DAVISON. I’m lost!

492I do not have it anymore.

493ELIZABETH. What’s this?


495DAVISON. Burghley has it. Since yesterday.

496ELIZABETH. You wretch!

497Is that how you obey me? Did I not

498Command you strictly to keep it?

499DAVISON. You did not,

500My Queen.

501ELIZABETH. You call me a liar, do you, you rogue?

502When did I tell you to give Burghley the sheet?

503DAVISON. Not in clear words, but—

504ELIZABETH. Good-for-Nothing! You dare

505[2580] Interpret my words? Woe betide you if this

506Ends in disaster. You shall pay with your life.

507Earl Shrewsbury, you see how my name is misused!

508SHREWSBURY. I see—oh, God!

509ELIZABETH. What is it you’re saying?


511The squire has acted without your knowledge, he must

512Be called before a court of peers. He has

513Exposed your name to the contempt of all time.

Last Scene

514As above. Burghley. Then Kent.

515BURGHLEY (drops to one knee before the Queen).

516Long live my royal Mistress, Queen of England!

517May all foes of this Isle end like this Stuart!

518(Shrewsbury covers his face. Davison wrings his hands.)

519ELIZABETH. Tell me, my Lord. Did you have warrant from me?

520[2590] BURGHLEY. No, Mistress. I had it from Davison here.

521ELIZABETH. Davison gave it to you in my name?

522BURGHLEY. No! He did not—

523ELIZABETH. You executed it

524Not knowing my will? It was just, the world

525Cannot blame us. But you had no right to

526Encroach upon my royal kindness. You are

527Banned from our presence. (To Davison) Worse awaits you, who

528Exceeded your brief and betrayed a trust.

529To the Tower! He’ll be tried for his life.

530My noble Talbot, you alone I find just

531[2600] Among in my counsel. Be my guide and my friend.

532SHREWSBURY. Queen, do not ban your most loyal friends. Do not

533Throw into prison those who acted for you,

534Who now keep silent for you. — From me, however,

535Receive the Seal you entrusted me twelve years.

536ELIZABETH (stricken). No, Shrewsbury. You would not desert me now—

537SHREWSBURY. Pardon me. I am old and this right hand is

538Too straight and too stiff to seal your deeds to come.

539ELIZABETH. The man who rescued me—

540SHREWSBURY. I did but little,

541Could not save your nobler part. Live, rule content!

542[2610] Your enemy is dead. From now on you have nothing

543More you must fear and nothing you need respect. (He goes off.)

544ELIZABETH (to Earl Kent, who enters).

545Earl Leicester come here!

546KENT. His Lordship begs your pardon.

547He is at sea and on his way to France.

548(She forces herself and stands calm.)

549The curtain falls.


66 The action has come full circle.

67 The Lamb of God: a medallion representing a lamb holding a victory banner.

68 Didier Siflard was a witness at the execution.

69 The King of France.

70 The King of Spain.

71 The references are: Numbers 17, 8; Exodus 17, 5-7 and Numbers 20, 2-13.

72 Matthew 18, 20.

73 Acts 5, 17-19.

74 This is Leicester.

75 Thus Mary announces her full reconciliation with God.

76 As Melvil explains, the privilege of the chalice is reserved.

77 It is late in a day that began before dawn.

78 The episode is not historical.

Table des illustrations

Légende William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, late 1580s. Attributed to the Workshop of Marcus Gheeraerts, the Younger. Wikimedia, public domain,​wiki/​File:William_Cecil_Lord_Burghley_Gheeraerts_Workshop.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 38k


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