Mary Stuart

Sonnet written at Fotheringay Castle

Contributor: Professor Rosalind Smith

Date: 1587

Material: MSS

Source: The Bodleian Libraries, The University of Oxford, MS. Add c. 92, fol.24r.

Permissions: The Bodleian Libraries, The University of Oxford.

Images Transcription Translation








Que suis ie helas et de quoy sert ma vie

Je n suis fois qun corps priue de cueur

vn ombre vayn vn obiect de mal heur

Qui na plus rien que de mourir enuie

Plus ne portez o enemis danuie

a qui na plus lesprit a la grandeur

Ja consomme dexsessiue doulleur

Vottre ire en brief ce voirr assouie

Et vous amys qui mauez temi chere

Souuenez vous que sans heur sans santay

Je ne scaurois au dun bon oeuure fayre

Souhatez donc fin de calamitay

Et que sa bas estant asses punie

Jaye mapart en la ioye infinie






What am I, Alas, and what use is my life?

I am at once only a body deprived of a heart,

A vain shadow, an object of misfortune

Who no longer has anything in life, but to die.

No longer, O enemies, be envious

Of one who no longer has the disposition for greatness,

Being consumed with extreme sorrow.

Your anger, in brief, finds me abandoned.

And you, friends, who have been so dear to me,

Consider that, without luck, distressed,

I am not capable of doing anything good,

And so wish for an end to my calamity,

And that, having been punished enough here,

I may have a share in everlasting joy.