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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Elizabeth's Poems

Elizabeth was a very educated woman, and took great pleasure in reading and writing poetry. While imprisoned in the Tower of London and other places such as Woodstock during Mary's tumultous reign, she spent a great deal of time not only worrying about her fate (as her poems reveal), but also writing. Below are few of her poems written during her imprisonment:

Much suspected by me,
Nothing proved can be,
Quoth E
LIZABETH prisoner.

The above couplet was written on the window in Elizabeth's jail/bedroom at Woodstock. She wrote on the window by engraving it with a diamond ring she was wearing. Elizabeth was questioned often about her feelings toward Mary, Catholicism, and whether Elizabeth had taken part in any of the plots against Mary. However, Elizabeth was always successful at indirectly answering questions and so Mary and her supporters were never able to find Elizabeth guilty of any wrongdoing. The one below was also written at Woodstock, but on a wall.

O FORTUNE! how thy restless wavering State
Hath fraught with Cares my troubled Wit!
Witness this present Prison whither Fate
Hath borne me, and the Joys I quit.
Thou causedest the Guilty to be loosed
From Bands, wherewith are Innocents inclosed;
Causing the Guiltless to be strait reserved,
And freeing those that Death had well deserved:
But by her Envy can be nothing wrought,
So God send to my Foes all they have thought.
A.D. M.D.LV.

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