A Royal Nightingale - Poem by Sheena Blackhall
Born as her sire prepared to die
Shipped to the shores of Catholic France
Wed and widowed by eighteen years
Mary, fashioned for love and dance.
Claimed her throne in a cold country
Velvet dress and a cross of gold
Faced John Knox and his bigotry
Papist heretic he would scold
Darnley married her, sired a king.
Profligate pup, by plot and knife
Spilled her favourite's blood, and paid
For perfidy with his own sour life.
Went to a masque, like a crimson flame
Wooed by the man that killed her Lord
Three short months and she was his wife
Till the ties were severed by flight and sword
High white ruff, hooped farthingale
Crossed the Solway, her need laid bare
Caught and caged like a nightingale
In barren Elizabeth's silken snare.
Twenty years as a prisoner
Closely watched in a living tomb
'In manus tuas, Domini
Confide spiritum meum. '
Laid her graceful neck on the block
Thoughts on more than a kingdom, winning
Dressed in her martyr's robes of red
In her end, was her beginning.
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