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Amores Britannici

Epistles Historical and Gallant, In English Heroic Verse: From several of The Most Illustrious Personages of their Times. In Imitation of the Heroidum Epistolae of Ovid. With Notes explaining the Most Material Passages in every History [by John Oldmixon]

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Mary Queen of the Scots, had, during her Marriage with Francis the Dauphin, Son to the French King Henry II. pretended She was Heiress to the Crown of England, as descending from Margaret Daughter to Henry VII. King of England, by James IV. King of Scotland and that Queen Elizabeth was illegitimate. This and her Attempts to raise a Rebellion, and being accus'd of Babington's Conspiracy against the Life of the Queen, were the Cause of her Death at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, where She was beheaded after a long Imprisonment. The Duke of Norfolk suffer'd for Misprision of her Treasons, supplying her with Money to send to the Scots, who invaded our Borders, and endeavouring to marry her against the Queens Consent. What their Fates were, will be better seen in the Duke's Epistle, and Queen Mary's Answer.

Duke of Norfolk, to Mary Queen of the Scots.

At last our Foes, illustrious Queen, succeed,
And Norfolk sentenc'd, must to morrow bleed.


All vile Submission, I for life despise,
My Soul preparing for her Native Skies.
Great, like my Actions, shall my Death appear,
Who dauntless, oft have met him in the War.
Let bloody States-men, from his presence fly,
Who live by Treason, must with Horror die.
Let Burleigh tremble, when his Name he hears,
To me familiar, and below my Fears.
T'wou'd please the Traytor, and the Cruel Queen,
Were the least Terror, in my Sufferings seen.
But Innocent and wrong'd, my Heart disdains,
By Fear, to shew that I deserve my Chains.
To Court the curst Contriver of my shame,
And stain the Honours of our Princely Name,
No—Let him Howard, like the rest devour,
I dare his Malice, and defie his Power.
What can I hope, from an Ungrateful Queen?
To Cringe like Cecill, I must be as mean.


Cast in a Mould, as Crooked as his mind,

The Lord Burleigh was not the honestest, nor the best shap'd Man of his time.

In Spite to Nature, he destroys his kind;
Such Servants, ever may such Sovereigns find.
Vain of her Wisdom, every fawning Slave,
Who flatters her in this, insults the Brave.
Cowards and Hypocrites her Pow'r maintain,
The famous Pillars of her Virgin Reign:
Whose virtue is their Wealth, whose God their gain.
To these, shall Norfolk for a Pardon bow,
Sunk in his Spirit, as in Fortune low?
Shall I to Leicester, in distress apply,
Confess my Guilt, and own I dread to die.
Shall I his Vallour, or his Wit Commend,
Or praise him for his zeal to serve his Friend.
Must I to Cecill, tell my mournful Tale,
My Gold, will sooner, than my Grief prevail.
To Moreton—Curse him—must I make my Plaint,

The Earl of Moreton, a great Enemy of the Scots Queen.

Pray him to mediate as my Guardian Saint.


Approve the Murder of his Lord, and swear,
The States are Loyal, and his Zeal sincere.

The States of Scotland, set up James VI. of Scotland, her Son, under the Government of Murray.

'Tis thought by some, that Moreton was concern'd in the Death of the Lord Darnly, the Queen of the Scots first Scottish Husband, but by others, with more reason, that Earl Bothwell, who got after into the Queens Bed, turn'd out the other.

The Senate with Petitions, shall I vex,
And stile their Mistress, fairest of her Sex.
Tell her She's Beauteous, Merciful and Young,
And own her Title, in Maria's Wrong.
If my false Tongue, my Love and Faith denies,
Witness,—Whoever hears me, that it lies,
If, from my Fathers, I so far decline,
May Moreton's Death, and Cecill's Fate be mine.
In either World, Perdition be my Lot,
Tormented in the next, in this forgot.
What better from a Court, cou'd I expect,
That acts, as Burleigh pleases to direct?
How can a Subject, of his Rage complain,
Whose Hands, Divinity it self profane.
Gods! is it thus, the Nations shou'd adore,
The rightful Heiress to the Soveraign Pow'r.
Thus—that the People, their Allegiance pay,
With such Devotion, as to Heaven they pray.


Stand of.—Ye Traytors! Let the Queen be free,
And Execute your Cruelty on Me.
Hide her—Ye Angels! with your peaceful Wings,
Protect the sacred Majesty of Kings.
Howe'er of Me, my Fortune may dispose,
Oh save Maria, and prevent her Foes.
To whom shou'd she account, but You, ye Pow'rs,
At whose Tribunal shou'd She stand, but yours?

The Doctrine still taught by the ambitious and loose part of the Clergy, that Kings are accountable to none but Heaven, and 'tis without a President, they tell you of Kings being brought to a Bar. Forgetting that Henry III. of France, was summon'd to a Tryal by the Parliament of Paris, under the Protection of the League for the Death of the Duke of Guise, and Cardinal Lorrain, and condemn'd, if he did not appear to answer the Charge in such a time. The whole Process was on record, till Henry IV ordered it to be raz'd out of the Register. Perifixe Histoire de Henry le Grand.

Where Justice infinite, with Mercy reigns,
And Innocence like hers, the promis'd Crown obtains.
Loose Her—Ye Impious! 'tis a Queen you bind,
The Greatest, Best and Fairest of her kind.
Her Beauty might from Tygers, Pity draw,
Her Eyes, all Insolence, but Cecill's awe.
Whom wou'd you bring to your Illegal Bar?
You madly judge your selves, in judging her.
Ye Monarchs! See how they affront the Throne,
Assert her Rights, and vindicate your own.


In Her, the Rebels wound the Royal Name,
The same your Rank, your Wrongs may be the same.
Her Suff'rings, shou'd the neighb'ring Crowns alarm,
France, and all Europe, to revenge her Arm.
Victorious Guise, the Princes of Lorrain,
The Sturdy German, and Confederate Spain.
To save a Sovereign, or revenge appear,
For Faith and Monarchy, are struck in her.
No Succour should she want, were Howard free,
Nor Hosts nor Heroes, but have all in me.
If Earth and Hell, against Maria rose,
Norfolk alone, their fury would oppose.
Thro' Troops of Rebels, to her aid I'd fly,
Or bravely rescue her, or bravely die.
Who tamely on a Scaffold, now must Bleed,
And forfeit, for suspected Crimes, my Head.
Tho what is Death, (The worst our Foes can do,)
To Thinking, how it then may fare with You?


Death would be welcome, were my Queen secure,
The shame, and unconcern'd, I should endure.
Soon will the Pain, the Terror soon be o'er,
And scarce Maria's Friendship, bless me more.
My Soul with pleasure, to her Seat would fly,
On Angels Wings, and sing of you on high.
Long may your People, in your Reign be blest,
Your Charms, your Piety, by all confest.
England, when she who envys you is gone,
Transported, may advance you to her Throne
Like me who loves you, wou'd his Death prefer,
To Life, if dying, he might see you there.
To you were Fortune, she to me were Kind.
For all my wishes, are in yours confin'd.
Hear—Hear me Heaven! the Lovely Fair defend,
On Heav'n she only must for Help depend.
The Listning God has heard my earnest Pray'r,
And in Imperial Robes, presents the Fair.
My Mind distemper'd, what it hopes, believes.
And Love, my Senses, with the Charm deceives.


The Clouds are scatter'd, and a Golden Ray,
Breaks fiercely forth, to gild the promis'd Day.
The Monarch, mounted on her Throne appears,
Her Dames around her, and her Loyal Peers.
Joy in each Sex, in every Age, is seen,
While Crouds, with honest Shouts, salute the Queen
She Smiles—Oh whither wou'd my Fancies rove,
On me She smiles,—And all the rest is Love.
The Joy, too Furious, I can scarce contain,
To Madness, it transports my working Brain.
Come Cecill, Moreton, with your Ruffians come,
Least Rapture kills me, and prevents my Doom.
The Splendor dazles, and confounds my Sight,
I dream of Day, but wake in horrid Night.
The Scene is shifted, and the Vision flies,
And Ghastly Forms, and less Delusion rise.
Behold, the Royal Excellence is laid,
By Guards, surrounded on a sordid Bed,
And thence, in solemn Pomp, to Death she's led.


Away—Ye rude Companions of Despair,
Away—Ye Gloomy Thoughts, to Native Air,
They hate the Saint, but durst not hurt the Fair.
In vain, Alass! to sooth my Grief I strive,
Maria is too great, too good to live.
A shining Host of happy Spirits wait,
To guide her to a new, a better State.
No Tyrants there, nor Traytors can molest,
Your Reign Triumphant, and Immortal Rest.
Amid the Thrones, I shall behold you first,
Your Foes, to Darkness, and Perdition curst.
Oh Thou! whose Mercy's boundless as thy Pow'r
Forgive this Fury, in my dying Hour.
Let my whole Soul attend its sudden Flight,
Short be our Passage, and our Burthen light.
Enlarge our Patience, and increase our Zeal,
Blest, in thy Presence, let us ever dwell.
Till there again we meet, Illustrious Queen! Farewel.


Mary Queen of the Scots, to the Duke of Norfolk.

How shall I write Thee, how my Grief express,
My Pity, will the Pains I sooth, encrease.
With Horror, Howard, will my Letter see,
For all his Troubles are deriv'd from me.
From me, his Infamy and Prison came,
A Traytor's Sentence, and a hated Name.
His Zeal to serve me, has his House undone,
First, of his Peers; and second, to the Throne.
Thy Fate, Unrighteous, will their Honours wast,
And Norfolk, Greatest of his Name, be last.
Their mighty Actions, be in thine forgot,
And this, which shou'd adorn their Annals, blot.
'Tis thus with Heroes, when the Statesmen rise,
For Vice, is Virtue then, and Virtue, Vice.


Hadst thou like these, my Royal Claim disown'd,
Betray'd my Friendship, and my Fortune shun'd.
Great still, and Happy, thou like these hadst been,
The Fav'rite Hero of the Virgin Queen.
Still Great, tho better in a Grave for Me,
Proud Leicester might have charm'd her less than Thee.
Far from thy Soul, this dreadful Image drive,
And little as thou canst, to hate me, strive.
If by my Ruin, I cou'd ransom thine,
Our Foes wou'd most have been disturb'd with mine.
By endless Terror, and Remorse pursu'd,
Their Guilt will on themselves, revenge my Blood.
My Soul at Liberty will wing its way,
To the blest Regions of Eternal Day.
An earthly Crown, contented, I shall leave,
Another there, a brighter to receive.
With Thrones, Dominions, and the Saints to reign,
To know no Danger, and to feel no Pain.


And what in Death wou'd terrible appear,
Or what cou'd tempt my wandring Wishes here.
The World, her Empires, and her Wealth I scorn,
For other Ends, and other Tryals born.
With Shame and Torture, I shou'd choose to dye,
For such my God endur'd, and such shou'd I.
No Vile insulting, nor Reproach shou'd move,
My Soul preparing for its Flight above.
Were Howard safe, transported, I wou'd soar,
Beyond all Envy, and descend no more.
My Fortunes sink him whom my Love wou'd bless,
And sure such Friendship can be nothing less
What by this kind Confession wilt thou gain,
It comes too late, and sooner had been vain.
From Scotland banish'd, and deny'd the Throne,
My Love had ruin'd Thee, as soon as known.
Poor and Imprison'd, I cou'd ill reward,
The Vows you made, and I with Pleasure heard,


Had I been free, to give to whom I pleas'd,
The Crowns, the Rebels, and my Rival siez'd.
As Darnly once, so Norfolk shou'd have sat,
On Alban's Throne, and rul'd the Factious State.
The Realm obedient, wou'd have own'd her Lord,
And fear'd thy Valour, and thy Form ador'd.
Thy Native England to thy Yoke had bow'd,
Thy Arms have dreaded, and my Claim allow'd.
Oh Norfolk! see thy Wishes do not stray,
But keep thee safer, tho a rougher way.
For Death approaching, shou'd we thus prepare,
To hug the Trifles we are leaving here.
These golden Vanities we keep in view,
And for false Glories, we despise the True.
In Scales ill Ballanc'd, we our Losses try,
They wou'd weigh lighter, were we fit to die.
For Nature wou'd her present Goods possess,
And slights a future Crown for this she sees.


The doubtful Change she meditates in Tears,
And feign with that wou'd part, might this be Hers.
Not thus with me—to Heavens Decrees Resign'd,
By my past Follies, I've improv'd my Mind.
Fair was the promise of my youthful Pride,
To Empire born, and mighty Kings ally'd.
France early saw me in her Dauphin's Arms,

Her first Husband was Francis the Dauphin, and after Francis II, the French King. He died young.

As rich in Fortune, as in Native Charms.
My self a Queen, my Husband's Hopes were more
And Europe jealous of our growing Power.
These Visions vanish'd when the Prince was dead
And Darnly mounted to my widow'd Bed.

Her Second was the Lord Darnly.

Love then with better Joys my Bliss encreas'd,
Of all in Darnly, I cou'd wish possess'd.
His horrid Murder chang'd the gaudy Scene,
And now Maria is no more a Queen.

Earl Bothwell her third, forc'd to fly to Sweden, to escape the Fury of the People, who wou'd revenge the Death of the Lord Darnly, laid to his Charge.

Driv'n from my House, and from my Kingdom forc'd.
From him who lov'd me, and I Lov'd divorc'd.


Young as I was, and then unus'd to Care,
I fled for Safety, and I found it here.
For safe in Death, my Soul will be at ease,
And find what Scotland had deny'd me, Peace,
Oh Norfolk! other ways they might have try'd,
As well for them in private, I had dy'd.
Daggers or Poyson wou'd have done the deed,
And Queens but seldom on a Scaffold bleed.
The Pomp of Tryals will not hide their Guilt,
Nor Justice be deceiv'd, where Blood is spilt.
Less hurt in dying, than an injur'd Name,
To justifie their Sentence, they defame.

Some were so sawcy as to murmur, as if she knew of the Attempt on her 2d Husband, but they gave no order Reason for't, than because her 3d was suppos'd to be the Assassin.

Oh woudst thou think it to my Charge they lay,
Such Crimes as Innocence abhors to say.
My Husband murder'd, by the Slaves I hir'd,

Gifford the Priest confess'd the Scots Queen, was not His, and Babington's Conspiracy. She was a Prisoner 18 Years or more.

My Rival's Death, they swear I next conspir'd.
Gifford with Moreton, and our Foes combin'd,
Declares, with Babington, and him I joynd,
To kill their Queen, consented and design'd.


Elisa gone to sieze the Brittish Crown,
To Thee the Treason he discovers known.
Oh Horror! how shall we our Foes forgive,
'Tis hard—but this we must, if we wou'd live.
If Mercy from our God, we hope to find,
To those who wrong us, we shou'd be as kind.
Our God, who ne'er the Penitent refus'd,
Wo dy'd to save us, was like us abus'd.
A Prison humbles, and Affliction tames,
From Passion and Revenge our Hearts reclaims,
And purifies our Souls as Metal in the Flames,
The Words, which, reigning had been Death to hear,
Since grown familiar, I with Patience bear.
Chains in a Minute, will improve us more,
Than Books or Lessons cou'd in Years before.
Monarchs, Instructions from their Slaves despise,
And think 'tis Vulgar, to be Learn'd or Wise.
With Books, as Children with their Toys they play,
Affect to read, as Hypocrites to pray.


A shew of Learning, and they need no more,
To make their Wisdom dreaded like their Pow'r.
With little reading, for too much is dull,
A King's a Scholar, and his Slave a Fool.
They look on Morals, as below their State,
Nor study to be better, till too late.
If Twenty tedious Winters they had spent,
In loathsome Solitude, and wretched Want.
Books then, and Virtue, they like me wou'd find,
The best Companions for a sickly Mind.
Kings, with Confusion, in my Fate may see,
No Prince so mighty, but may fall like me.
Once I was Happy, and while Happy, thought,
A Monarch never cou'd so low be brought.
Now, what is Mystery to them, I know,
I ne'er had mounted, but by being low.
Of Foes no longer, nor of Death afraid,
My Passage easie, by my Hopes is made,
Attending Glories, that will never fade,


True—Nature thinks 'tis hard to leave a Crown
That Heav'n hereafter, may with ease be won.
Love tells me Norfolk's Doom is too severe,
Nor yet wou'd be content to miss him there.
Oh cou'dst thou leave it in a gentler way,
'Twere Cruel in this lower World to stay,
And our bright Meeting in the next Delay.