Internet Shakespeare Editions

Authors: William Baldwin, John Higgins
Editors: Michael Best, Sarah Milligan, Joey Takeda
Not Peer Reviewed

The Mirror for Magistrates (Selection)

This Morgan was that time the Prince of Albany,
And Conidagus King of Cornwall and of Wales;
Both which at once provided their artillery,
180To work me woeful woe, and mine adherents bales:
What need I fill thine ears with longer tales?
They did prevail by might and power so fast
That I was taken prisoner at last.
In spiteful sort they usèd then my captive corse,
185No favor showed to me, extinct was mine estate.
Of kindred, princess blood, or peer was no remorse,
But as an abject vile and worse they did me hate.
To lie in darksome dungeon was my fate,
As t'were a thief, mine answers to abide,
190Gainst right and justice, under jailor's guide.
For liberty at length I sued, to subjects were,
But they kept me in prison close devoid of trust,
If I might once escape, they were in dread and fear,
Their fawning friends with me would prove untrue and just.
195They told me take it patiently I must,
And be contented that I had my life
Sith with their mothers I began the strife.
Whereby I saw might nothing me prevail to pray,
Or plead, or prove, defend, excuse or pardon crave.
200They heard me not, despised my plaints, sought my decay,
I might no law, nor love, nor right, nor justice have,
No friends, no faith, nor pity could me save;
But I was from all hope of license barred,
Condemned my cause like never to be heard.
205Was ever lady in such woeful wreckful woe,
Deprived of princely power, bereft of liberty,
Deprived in all these worldly pomps, her pleasures fro,
And brought from wealth, to need, distress, and misery?
From palace proud in prison poor to lie;
210From kingdoms twain to dungeon one, no more;
From ladies waiting, unto vermin store.