Lament of Mary Queen of Scots, on The Eve of a New Year
by William Wordsworth
Smile of the Moon!---for I so name
That silent greeting from above;
A gentle flash of light that came
From her whom drooping captives love;
Or art thou of still higher birth?
Thou that didst part the clouds of earth,
My torpor to reprove!
Bright boon of pitying Heaven!---alas,
I may not trust thy placid cheer!
Pondering that Time tonight will pass
The threshold of another year;
For years to me are sad and dull;
My very moments are too full
Of hopelessness and fear.
And yet, the soul-awakening gleam,
That struck perchance the farthest cone
Of Scotland's rocky wilds, did seem
To visit me, and me alone;
Me, unapproached by any friend,
Save those who to my sorrow lend
Tears due unto their own.
To night the church-tower bells will ring
Through these wide realms a festire peal;
To the new year a welcoming;
A tuneful offering for the weal
Of happy millions lulled in deep;
While I am forced to watch and weep,
By wounds that may not heal.
Born all too high, by wedlock raised
Still higher—to be cast thus low!
Would that mine eyes had never gazed
On aught of more ambitious show
Than the sweet flowerets of the fields
---It is my royal state that yields
This bitterness of woe.
Yet how?---for I, if there be truth
In the world's voice, was passing fair;
And beauty, for confiding youth,
Those shocks of passion can prepare
That kill the bloom before its time;
And blanch, without the owner's crime,
The most resplendent hair.
Unblest distinction! showered on me
To bind a lingering life in chains:
All that could quit my grasp, or flee,
Is gone;---but not the subtle stains
Fixed in the spirit; for even here
Can I be proud that jealous fear
Of what I was remains.
A Woman rules my prison's key;
A sister Queen, against the bent
O£ law and holiest sympathy,
Detains me, doubtful of the event;
Great God, who feel'st for my distress,
My thoughts are all that I possess,
O keep them innocent!
Farewell desire of human aid,
Which abject mortals vainly court!
By friends deceived, by foes betrayed,
Of fears the prey, of hopes the sport;
Nought but the world-redeeming Cross
Is able to support my loss,
My burthen to support.
Hark! the death-note of the year
Sounded by the castle-clock!
From her sunk eyes a stagnant tear
Stole forth, unsettled by the shock;
But oft the woods renewed their green,
Ere the tired head of Scotland's Queen
Reposed upon the block!