Friday 14 October 2011


At home they're treated with cool respect
his wife and children four,
but when he wears judicial wig
he's a gentleman no more.

Then he's the great Lord Chancellor,
the most brutal England has known,
as he reigns over the Bloody Assize
striking terror right to the bone.

Haughty and sadistic, he gazes down
from his throne-like bench on high,
anticipating the pleasure to come
as they lead the prisoner by.

But he cannot prove her alleged crime
so he bullies a petrified jury,
forcing them to acknowledge her guilt
or themselves bear the brunt of his fury.

So this frail old widow is condemned
through gross perversion of laws,
to be bound to the stake and burned alive.
How he relishes controlling death's jaws.

It makes him feel important, almighty,
to possess the power to slay.
I swear he believes himself a God,
but inside the devil holds sway.

I'm so grateful I wasn't alive
in the year of sixteen-eighty-five!


  1. So enjoyed this Ygraine. Your history poems are always intriguing to me and all the better after I do the background research upon which you write.
    Poor Lady Lisle! Beheaded!

  2. I suppose in those days if you didn't like someone you could just cast aspersions and hail her to be a witch to be rid of her :) Great poem Ygraine.

  3. Hi Gnome, I really appreciate the fact that you are interested enough to do some background research!! I do believe there was a serious miscarriage of justice here, and things like that incense me until I simply have to put pen to paper. I suppose at least she was spared the terrible agony of burning alive, thanks to those fearless individuals who campaigned on her behalf. I believe she was innocent.

  4. Hi Rose, I agree, it was a terrible injustice. Dame Alice sheltered John Hickes at her home in Ringwood, believing him to be a victim of government persecution, when in fact he was a supporter of Monmouth at the Battle of Sedgemoor. A deeply moving true story :(

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