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The Words And Behaviour Of The Lady Jane Upon The Scaffold

The next victim was the amiable lady Jane Gray, who, by her acceptance
of the crown at the earnest solicitations of her friends, incurred the
implacable resentment of the bloody Mary. When she first mounted the
scaffold, she spake to the spectators in this manner: Good people, I am
come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact
against the queen's highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto
by me: but, touching the procurement and desire thereof by me, or on my
behalf, I do wash my hands thereof in innocency before God, and the face
of you, good christian people, this day: and therewith she wrung her
hands, wherein she had her book. Then said she, I pray you all, good
christian people, to bear me witness, that I die a good christian woman,
and that I do look to be saved by no other mean, but only by the mercy
of God in the blood of his only Son Jesus Christ: and I confess, that
when I did know the word of God, I neglected the same, loved myself and
the world, and therefore this plague and punishment is happily and
worthily happened unto me for my sins; and yet I thank God, that of his
goodness he hath thus given me a time and a respite to repent and now,
good people, while I am alive, I pray you assist me with your prayers.
And then, kneeling down, she turned to Feckenham, saying, Shall I say
this psalm? and he said, Yea. Then she said the psalm of Miserere mei
Deus, in English, in a most devout manner throughout to the end; and
then she stood up, and gave her maid, Mrs. Ellen, her gloves and
handkerchief, and her book to Mr. Bruges; and then she untied her gown,
and the executioner pressed upon her to help her off with it: but she,
desiring him to let her alone, turned towards her two gentlewomen, who
helped her off therewith, and also with her frowes, paaft, and
neckerchief, giving to her a fair handkerchief to put about her eyes.

Then the executioner kneeled down, and asked her forgiveness whom she
forgave most willingly. Then he desired her to stand upon the straw,
which doing, she saw the block. Then she said, I pray you despatch me
quickly. Then she kneeled down, saying, Will you take it off before I
lay me down? And the executioner said, No madam. Then she tied a
handkerchief about her eyes, and feeling for the block, she said, What
shall I do? Where is it? Where is it? One of the standers-by guiding her
thereunto, she laid her head upon the block, and then stretched forth
her body, and said, Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and so
finished her life, in the year of our Lord 1554, the 12th day of
February, about the 17th year of her age.

Thus died the Lady Jane; and on the same day the lord Guilford, her
husband, one of the duke of Northumberland's sons, was likewise
beheaded, two innocents in comparison of them that sat upon them. For
they were both very young, and ignorantly accepted that which others had
contrived, and by open proclamation consented to take from others, and
give to them.

Touching the condemnation of this pious lady, it is to be noted, that
Judge Morgan, who gave sentence against her, soon after he had condemned
her, fell mad, and in his raving cried out continually, to have the lady
Jane taken away from him, and so he ended his life.

On the 21st day of the same month, Henry, duke of Suffolk, was beheaded
on Tower-hill, the fourth day after his condemnation: about which time
many gentlemen and yeomen were condemned, whereof some were executed at
London, and some in the country. In the number of whom was the lord
Thomas Gray, brother to the said duke, being apprehended not long after
in North-Wales, and executed for the same. Sir Nicholas Throgmorton,
also, very narrowly escaped.

Next: John Rogers Vicar Of St Sepulchre's And Reader Of St Paul's London

Previous: Persecutions In England During The Reign Of Queen Mary

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