Beyond the Hills of Dream

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

In Holyrood

1897


 

I STAND in Edinburgh, in Holyrood,
Where Scotland’s Mary flaunted; iron Knox came,
With cavernous eyes and words of prophet-flame,
And broke her soul as bonds of brittle wood:—
And all stern Scotland’s evil and her good,
5

Her austere ghosts, her souls of fiery shame,
Her adamantine passions none could tame,
Arise anew and drip in Rizzio’s blood. 

Here in these walls, these guilty corridors,
Beside1 that bed where Elizabeth’s eyes look down;—

10
Across the centuries with their fading band
Of angry years of Presbyterian frown,—
I only know these tears2 of weird remorse;
The woman rules. All else is shifting sand.

 

  1. In Queen Mary's bedroom in Holyrood, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth hangs on the wall above the bed. [back]
  2. It is said that Knox, during this memorable interview, made the Queen weep. [back]