The songs she loved in early years-the songs

of gay Navarre ;


The songs perchance that erst
gallant Chatelar ; *

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They half beguiled her of her cares, they
soothed her into smiles,

70 They won her thoughts from bigot zeal fierce domestic broils :


But hark! the tramp of armed men! the
Douglas battle-cry!


They come !-they come !-and lo! the scowl
of Ruthven's* hollow eye!

And swords are drawn, and daggers gleam, and
tears and words are vain-

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Douglas, James Douglas, Earl of Morton,

The ruffian steel is in his heart-the faithful was a leading accom

Rizzio's slain !

75 Then Mary Stuart dashed aside the tears that
trickling fell:

"Now for my father's arm!" she said; "my
woman's heart farewell!"

The scene was changed. It was a lake with
one small lonely isle;

And there, within the prison-walls of its baro-
nial pile,

Stern men stood menacing* their queen, till
she should stoop to sign.

80 The traitorous scroll* that snatched the crown
from her ancestral line.

plice in the murder of Rizzio. In 1572 he became Regent,

and was beheaded in 1581, as being found

accessory to the mur

der of Darnley. Ruthven (Riven), a Scotch lord, who, with Lord Lindsay, conveyed Mary to Lochleven Castle in

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Traitorous scroll, the nobles required Mary. on pain of death, to

"My lords!-my lords!" the captive said, sign a document re

"were I but once more free,

With ten good knights on yonder shore to

my cause and me,

breeze that blows,


That parchment would I scatter wide to every

And once more reign a Stuart Queen o'er my


remorseless foes!"

85 A red spot burned upon her cheek-streamed
her rich tresses down,

She wrote the words-she stood erect-a Queen
without a crown!

The scene was changed. A royal host * a royal
banner bore,

And the faithful of the land stood round their
smiling Queen once more.

signing the crown in favour of her son.

Remorseless, pitiless.

A royal host, Mary having escaped from rallied round her 6000 men,


She was totally defeated at Langside, near Glasgow.

She stayed her steed upon a hill-she saw

them marching by

She heard their shouts-she read success in 90

every flashing eye.

Tumult, uproar, great The tumult* of the strife begins-it roars-it


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Symmetry, regula

dies away;

And Mary's troops and banners now, and
courtiers-where are they?

Scattered and strewn, and flying far, defence-
less and undone ;-

Alas! to think what she has lost, and all that
guilt has won!—

Away!* away! thy gallant steed must act no 95
laggard's part;

Yet vain his speed-for thou dost bear the
arrow in thy heart!

The scene was changed. Beside the block * a
sullen headsman stood,

And gleamed the broad axe in his hand, that
soon must drip with blood.

With slow and steady step there came a Lady
through the hall,

And breathless silence chained the lips and 100
touched the hearts of all.


knew that queenly form again, though
blighted was its bloom;


I saw that grief had decked it out—an offering

for the tomb!

I knew the eye, though faint its light, that
once so brightly shone ;

I knew the voice, though feeble now, that
thrilled with every tone;

I knew the ringlets, almost gray, once threads 105
of living gold!

I knew that bounding grace of step-that
symmetry* of mould!

[vent isle, rity, beautiful ap- Even now I see her far away, in that calm conI hear her chant her vesper hymn, I mark her


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holy smile,

Even now I see her bursting forth upon the

bridal morn,


A new star in the firmament,* to light and glory 110
Alas! the change!—she placed her foot upon

a triple throne,*

And on the scaffold now she stands-beside

the block-alone!

The little dog that licks her hand, the last of
all the crowd

Who sunned themselves beneath her glance
and round her footsteps bowed!—

115 Her neck is bared-the blow is struck-the
soul is passed away!

The bright, the beautiful, is now—a bleeding
piece of clay!


The dog is moaning piteously; and, as it
gurgles o'er,

Laps the warm blood that trickling runs un-
heeded to the floor!

The blood of beauty, wealth, and power-the
heart-blood of a Queen,-

120 The noblest of the Stuart race-the fairest
earth hath seen,—

Lapped by a dog! Go think of it, in silence
and alone;

Then weigh against a grain of sand the glories
of a throne!

Piteously, sadly,
Laps, drinks or licks

up with the tongue.





VITAL spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, oh, quit this mortal frame !
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying;
Oh, the pain, the bliss* of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,*
And let me languish into life!

Hark! they whisper-angels say,
"Sister spirit, come away!"
What is this absorbs me quite;
Steals my senses, shuts my sight;
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be-death?

The world recedes!* it disappears!
Heaven opens to my eyes!-my ears
With sounds seraphic *_ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?

O Death! where is thy sting?

Vital, that which gives life.

Bliss, happiness, pleasure.

Strife, struggling for victory.

Absorbs, takes up one's entire attention.

Recedes, fades from sight, retires.

Seraphic, angelic, pure, sublime.


THOMAS HOOD (1798–1845) was born in London. He was a great humourist and poet. Apprenticed to an engraver in his youth, he soon left business for literature, and delighted the world for many years with his wonderful humour and wit. He was buried at Kensal Green, with the epitaph chosen by himself, "He sang the Song of the Shirt."-Other works: Whims and Oddities, The Bridge of Sighs, The Dream of Eugene Aram, &c.

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WITH fingers weary and worn,

With eyelids heavy and red,


A woman sat, in unwomanly* rags,
Plying her needle and thread-

In poverty, hunger, and dirt,

And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
She sang the "Song of the Shirt!"

"Work! work! work!

While the cock is crowing aloof! *
And work-work—work,

Till the stars shine through the roof!
It's oh to be a slave

Along with the barbarous Turk,*
Where woman has never a soul to save,
If this is Christian work!


Till the brain begins to swim;

Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
Seam, and gusset,* and band,

Band, and gusset, and seam,
Till over the buttons I fall asleep,
And sew
* them on in a dream!

"O Men, with Sisters dear!

O Men, with Mothers and Wives!
It is not linen you're wearing out,
But human creatures' lives!

In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
Sewing at once, with a double thread,
A Shroud as well as a Shirt.

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*The Song of the Shirt. This beautiful poem appeared first in the Christmas number of Punch for 1843; it ran like wildfire, and caused a great sensation throughout the country. It served to draw attention to the needlewomen, and it made Hood famous.

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