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Friedrich Schiller: Maria Stuart

Mary Stuart's last letter to Henry III, King of France


  Monsieur mon beau - frere, estant par la permission de Dieu (she wrote in French as that was preferred by her).
Royal brother, having by God's will for my sins I think, thrown myself into the power of the Queen my cousin, at whose hands I have suffered much for almost twenty years. I have finally been condemned to death by her and her Estates. I have asked for my papers, which they have taken away, in order that I might make my will, but I have been unable to recover anything of use to me, or even get leave either to make my will freely or to have my body conveyed after my death, as I would wish, to your kingdom where I had honour to be queen, your sister and old ally.
Tonight, after dinner, I have been advised of my sentence: I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning. I have not had time to give you a full account of everything that has happened, but if you will listen to my doctor and my other unfortunate servants, you will learn the truth, and how, thanks be to God, I scorn death and vow that I meet it innocent of any crime, even if I were their subject. The Catholic faith and the assertion of my God-given right to the English throne are the two issues on which I am condemned.
The bearer of this letter and his companions, most of them your subjects, will testify to my conduct at my last hour. It remains for me to beg your most Christian Majesty, my brother-in-law and old ally, who have always protested your love for me, to give proof now of your goodness on all these points; firstly by charity, in paying my unfortunate servants the wages due to them - this is a burden on my conscience that only you can relieve; further, by having prayers offered to God for a queen who has borne the title Most Christian Queen of France, and who dies a Catholic, stripped of all her possessions.
I have taken the liberty of sending you two precious stones, talismans against illness, trusting you will enjoy good health and a long and happy life. Accept them from your loving sister-in-law, who, as she dies, bears witness of her warm feelings for you. Give instructions if it please you, that for my soul's sake part of what you owe me should be paid, and that for the sake of Jesus Christ, to whom I shall pray for you tomorrow as I die, I be left enough to found a memorial mass and give the customary alms.

Wednesday at two in the morning,

Your most moving and most true sister,

Marie R. Queen of Scotland.

(zit. n. Court Theatre Chicago, 16.07.02)

 

 
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