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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 19

Lament of Anne Boleyn on the Eve of Her Execution

By Anne Boleyn (c.1500–1536)

  • Second wife of Henry VIII. She was beheaded on May 19, 1536.

  • DEFILED is my name full sore,

    Through cruel spite and false report,

    That I may say, for evermore,

    Farewell my joy! adieu comfort!

    For wrongfully ye judge of me,

    Unto my fame a mortal wound;

    Say what ye list, it will not be,

    Ye seek for that cannot be found.

    O death! rock me on sleep!

    Bring me a quiet rest;

    Let pass my very guiltless ghost

    Out of my careful breast;

    Toll on the passing bell,

    Ring out the doleful knell,

    Let the sound my death tell,

    For I must die,

    There is no remedy,

    For now I die.

    My pains who can express?

    Alas! they are so strong

    My dolour will not suffer strength

    My life for to prolong.

    Alone in prison strong,

    I wail my destiny,

    No worth this cruel hap that I

    Should taste this misery.

    Farewell my pleasures past,

    Welcome my present pain;

    I feel my torments so increase,

    That life cannot remain.

    Cease now the passing bell,

    Rung is my doleful knell,

    For the sound my death doth tell;

    Death doth draw nigh.

    Sound my end dolefully,

    For now I die.