Internet Shakespeare Editions

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  • 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
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    The Mirror for Magistrates (Selection)

    God grant a mortal strife between them both may fall,
    That one the other may without remorse destroy.
    That Conidagus may his cousin Morgan thrall
    250Because he first decreased my wealth, bereft my joy.
    I pray you gods he never be a roy.
    But caitiff may be paid with such a friend
    As shortly may him bring to sudden end.
    Farewell my realm of France, farewell, adieu.
    255Adieu mes nobles tous, and England now farewell.
    Farewell mesdames my ladies, car je suis perdue,
    Il me faut aller, Desespoir m'a donné conseil
    De me tuer, no more your queen, farewell.
    My nephews me oppress with main and might,
    260A captive poor, 'gainst justice all and right.
    And therewithal the sight did fail my dazzling eyne,
    I nothing saw save sole Despair bade me dispatch,
    Whom I beheld, she caught the knife from me I ween,
    And by her elbow carrion Death for me did watch.
    265"Come on," quoth I, "thou hast a goodly catch,"
    And therewithal Despair the stroke did strike
    Whereby I died, a damnèd creature like.
    Which I, alas, lament; bid those alive beware:
    Let not the loss of goods or honor them constrain
    270To play the fools and take such careful cark and care,
    Or to despair for any prison pine or pain.
    If they be guiltless let them so remain;
    Far greater folly is it for to kill
    Themselves despairing, than is any ill.
    275Sith first thereby their enemies have that they desire,
    By which they prove to deadly foes unawares a friend;
    And next they cannot live to former bliss t'aspire
    If God do bring their foes in time to sudden end;
    They lastly, as the damnèd wretches, send
    280Their souls to hell, whenas they undertake
    To kill a corpse, which God did lively make.