A Poem For Saturday


“Unfinished Sonnet” by Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542-1587):

O you High Gods, have pity, and let me find
Somehow some incontestable way to prove
(So that he must believe in it) my love
And this unwavering constancy of mind!
Alas, he rules already with no let
A body and a heart which must endure
Pain and dishonor and worse things yet.

For him I would account as nothing those
Whom I named friends, and put my faith in foes:
For him I’d let the round world perish, I
Who have hazarded both conscience and good name,
And, to advance him, happily would die. . . .
What’s left to prove my love always the same?

(Painting of Mary, Queen of Scots in “white mourning” attire, circa 1559–1560, by François Clouet via Wikimedia Commons)