Willoughby has been taken here as the representative of the great age of British naval adventure and exploration.
Arzina is placed near the western headland of the White Sea, east of the Waranger Fiord, and west of Nova Zembla and the mouth of the Petchora.
May 16: 1568
Blow from the North, thou bitter North wind,
Blow over the western bay,
Where Nith and Eden and Esk run in
And fight with the salt sea spray,
And the sun shines high through the sailing sky
In the freshness of blue Mid-may.
Blow North-North-West, and hollow the sails
Of a Queen who slips over the sea
As a hare from the hounds; and her covert afar;
And now she can only flee;
And death before and the sisterly shore
That smiles perfidiously.
O Mid-may freshness about her cheek
And piercing her poor attire,
The sting of defeat thou canst not allay,
The fever of heart and the fire,
The death-despair for the days that were,
And famine of vain desire!
—On Holyrood stairs an iron-heel’d
Came up in the gloaming hour:
And iron fingers have bursten the bar
Of the palace innermost bower:
And fiend-like on her the Douglas and Ker
And spectral Ruthven glower.
She hears the shriek as the Morton horde
Hurry the victim beneath;
And she feels their dead man’s grasp on her skirt
In the frenzy-terror of death;
And the dastard King at her bosom cling
With a serpent’s poison-breath.
O fair girl Queen, well weep for the friend
To his faith too faithful and thee;
For a brother’s hypocrite tears; for the flight
To the Castle set by the sea;—
Where thy father’s tomb lay and gaped in the gloom
’Twere better for thee to be!
O better at rest where the crooning dove
May sing requiem o’er thy bed,
Sweet Robin aflame with love’s sign on his breast
With quick light footstep tread;
While over the sod the Birds of God
Their guardian feathers outspread!
Too womanly sweet, too womanly frail,
Alone in thy faith and thy need;
In the homeless home, in the poisonous air
Of spite and libel and greed;
Mid perfidy’s net thy pathway is set,
And thy feet in the pitfalls bleed.
—O lightnings, not lightnings of Heaven,
Through the desolate House in the Field!
Craft that the Fiend had envied in vain;
Till the terrible Day unreveal’d,—
Till the Angels rejoice at the Verdict-voice,
And Mary’s pardon is seal’d!
As a bird from the mesh of the fowler freed
With wild wing shatters the air,
From shelter to shelter, betray’d, she flees,
Or lured to some treacherous lair,
And the vulture-cry of the enemy nigh,
And the heavens dark with despair!
Bright lily of France, by the storm stricken low,
A sunbeam thou seest through the shade
Where Order and Peace are throned ’neath the smile
Of a royal sisterly Maid:—
For hope in the breast of the girl has her nest,
Ever trusting, and ever betray’d.