Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
The Tragic Mary (1890)
Bothwell’s Soliloquy (Act IV, Scene 5)
By Michael Field (Katherine Harris Bradley) (1846–1914)
(BOTHWELL rises and stands straight up without the least motion.)

Bothwell.  THIS woman! Somewhere she has pledged my soul;
We have drunk wine together on some bare,
Brown hill of chaos, while the wanton lights,
Young meteors flaming lawless through the heaven
Peered at our rampant revel. We were one        5
Before the stars were broken to their spheres;
Part of the huge, unsevered element
When day and darkness hugged. I know that far
Below the rise of rivers, underneath
The sowing of the mine’s unfathomed seed,        10
There was this sunken bond. She flings me now
Contempt, my lass! my lass! What should we find
In woman but the lavish side of God,
Before the thought of judgment crippled Him,
When He was soft, creative, fostering, free?        15
Contempt, contempt! Night’s stinging moments spin,
And stir me to an act: the regicides
With their dismaying weapons shall have done
By far less intimate irreverence
On majesty than I in person dare.        20
Hell will be puzzled what to do with such
As I shall show myself, it has no code
That can entangle me, no quarter builded
That might immure my unimagined courage,
No flames to equal mine. The royal witch,        25
She sought to disenchant me in the guise
Of formal coldness, she the beauty, she
The madding, unfoiled beauty. How the air
Dreads me, I breathe on lion-like! She has said
She needs no convoy! I will furnish one:        30
She must with me the merry, downward way,
Where demons cackle. I will meet my bride
At Foulsbrigg with an army. This contempt
Is an infectious plague!      [Exit by outside door.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.