“Mary, Queen of Scots” by Samantha Townsend

Assuming the throne at six days of age,

My life spared by a wizened palace page.

The only legitimate to the throne of the Scots,

Inbred disdain of the Huguenots.

Betrothed at six months, Providence sets the stage.

Before my first birthday, crowned infant Queen

The idea of a woman regent: men found obscene.

Power-hungry nobles with designs for control

Domination of religion the focus of the whole.

An infant scapegoat keeps their bloody hands clean.

Educated formally in the French Court,

Tutored, primarily, how a Queen will comport.

My first marriage at age ten lasted but a year,

An infection of the ear or poison, I fear!

The safety of Scotland is now my only resort.

Confounded, I felt at my arrival home,

Discovering my countrymen had forsaken Rome.

My nemesis Elizabeth hatched a plot

A ‘lover’ to bring my power to naught.

A conspiracy to gain both life and loam.

Tenaciously, my illegitimate brother rejected,

So, to the dungeon I had him subjected.

Providentially, a male heir was sired

Life answered to the babe’s every desire.

Spousal betrayal left us unprotected.

Penitently, I released my brother from jail,

The murder attempt of my husband did not prevail.

False accusations erupted through the ranks,

Elizabeth conspired a victory for the Franks.

Cruel intentions toward me she did assail.

Yet another betrothal – my men quite varied.

Shocked to discover he was already married!

To a life of solitude my heart is resigned

Nineteen years in a prison tower I am confined.

The ’membrance of my son with me is carried.

My son’s being raised Protestant! Or so the gossip talks

My only son, being raised under the tutelage of John Knox!

Oh, how my soul fears Knox’s prayers

I’d rather look to dead saints as soothsayers.

Myself confined, while that traitor to God walks!

Charged with plotting ’gainst my half-sister Queen,

A death sentence granted to me it would seem.

Seized by Elizabeth and put under her ‘care’

Praying to a god who seemingly is not there.

Betrayed, in the end, I now face the guillotine.