Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mary, Queen of Scots Crosses the Solway Firth for England

Continuing with yesterday's subject, Mary Queen of Scots, on May 16, 1568, Mary crossed the Solway Firth to England.  Her escape from Lochleven Castle to her exile in England is the subject matter for Scott's "The Abbot":

"You hear," said Queen Mary, gently unloosing her robe from the Abbot's grasp, "that we exercise full liberty of choice in leaving this shore; and, questionless, the choice will remain free to us in going to France, or returning to our own dominions, as we shall determine--Besides, it is too late--Your blessing, Father, and God speed thee!"

"May He have mercy on thee, Princess, and speed thee also!" said the Abbot, retreating. "But my soul tells me I look on thee for the last time!" The sails were hoisted, the oars were plied, the vessel went freshly on her way through the firth, which divides the shores of Cumberland from those of Galloway; but not till the vessel diminished to the size of a child's frigate, did the doubtful, and dejected, and dismissed followers of the Queen cease to linger on the sands; and long, long could they discern the kerchief of Mary, as she waved the oft-repeated signal of adieu to her faithful adherents, and to the shores of Scotland..."

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