Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: The Mirror for Magistrates (Selection)
  • Editors: Michael Best, Sarah Milligan, Joey Takeda

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Authors: William Baldwin, John Higgins
    Editors: Michael Best, Sarah Milligan, Joey Takeda
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Mirror for Magistrates (Selection)

    The soldiers gathered from each quarter of the land,
    Came at the length to know the king, his mind and will,
    Who did commit them to my father's aged hand,
    145And I likewise of love and reverent mere goodwill
    Desired my king, he would not take it ill,
    If I departed for a space withal,
    To take a part, or ease my father's thrall.
    This had, I parted with my father from my fere,
    150We came to Britain with our royal camp to fight;
    And manly fought so long our enemies vanquished were
    By martial feats, and force by subjects' sword and might.
    The British kings were fain to yield our right,
    And so my father well this realm did guide
    155Three years in peace, and after that he died.
    Then I at Leircester in Janus' temple made,
    His tomb and buried there his kingly regal corpse,
    As sundry times in life before he often bade;
    For of our father's will we then did greatly force;
    160We had of conscience eke so much remorse
    That we supposed those children's lives too ill,
    Which break their father's testament and will.
    And I was queen the kingdom after still to hold,
    Till five years past I did this island guide.
    165I had the Britons at what beck and bay I would,
    Till that my loving king, mine Aganippus, died.
    But then my seat it faltered on each side;
    Two churlish imps began with me to jar,
    And for my crown waged with me mortal war.
    170The one hight Morgan, th'elder son of Gonerell
    My sister, and that other Conidagus hight
    My sister Ragan's son that loved me never well;
    Both nephews mine, yet would against me, Cordel, fight
    Because I loved always that seemed right;
    175Therefore they hated me, and did pursue,
    Their aunt and queen as she had been a ewe.