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On Monsieur's Departure -- Queen Elizabeth I

Guest poem submitted by Abhishek:
(Poem #1662) On Monsieur's Departure
 I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
 I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
 I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
 I seem stark mute but inwardly to prate.
 I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned.
 Since from myself another self I turned.

 My care is like my shadow in the sun,
 Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
 Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
 His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
 No means I find to rid him from my breast,
 Till by the end of things it be supprest.

 Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
 For I am soft and made of melting snow;
 Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
 Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
 Or let me live with some more sweet content,
 Or die and so forget what love ere meant.
-- Queen Elizabeth I
Adding to the list of 'Q's in the minstrels, this poem is probably one of
Queen Elizabeth's most well known... and also perhaps her most human and
poignant one. It is said to have been written around the time when Francis,
Duke of Alencon, tired of the politics of a royal match, gave up his suit
and returned to France. Elizabeth was known to be very fond of her French
suitor, calling him her 'little frog', and even announcing in 1581 that she
would marry him. It would be her last suit, and the aging Queen realized
that. Some argue however that the poem was written with Robert Dudley
('Sweet Robin'), the Earl of Leicester in mind -- someone whom Elizabeth
apparently loved her entire life but couldn't marry due to political and
personal compulsions.

Elizabeth still remains one of the biggest enigmas of history. A women who
was passionate yet repressed, strong yet confused, regal yet human, one of
the most powerful women in history who was forever haunted by the murder of
her mother (by her father of all the people!), a Queen who had the
self-avowed "heart of a King", a woman who always searched for love yet
spurned marriage ("I will have here but one mistress and no master").
Despite it all, this poem lays out her heart for all to see. And like all
great poetry it reaches beyond the confines of its circumstances. It talks
about the (self-imposed?) contradictions of adult life. We all grow and make
choices in life... the conflict often altering us forever. For isn't it the
great Bard who said, "Anything that is mended is but patched"? And with all
these patches on our souls, haven't many of us yearned for the purity of
being... of freedom, of love, of death?

A list of Queen Elizabeth's suitors:
http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Documents/suitors_of_queen_elizabeth.htm

Life of Elizabeth (check out the link to her works):
http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/eliza.htm

Another good site:
http://www.elizabethi.org/uk/

Abhishek.

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