The waterman, with muffled oars, drew near – as midnight tolled.
His passenger was huddled as in fear – against the river’s cold.
The Tower’s silent walls loomed dark
lit only by the single guiding spark
to Water Gate.
The sentry took the bow when it was sighted – and tied the rope.
The passenger drew breath and then alighted – without much hope.
She led the way, with weariness, despair,
up the cold and unforgiving stair
to meet her fate.
In solid ranks the guard of honour formed – beyond belief.
That this lone lady, to whom their hearts had warmed – was now a thief.
Guilty, by royal oath, of deadly treason.
Her crime. To bear a daughter, not a son,
as Head of State.
The escort party marched up cobbled path – their queen between.
They halted at a door, she gave a laugh – to cure the scene
and entered in, into her prison cell,
to languish there, lost in a private hell,
and there to wait.
She waited there until that fateful day –
when roused from slumber by a mighty knock,
she hurried to prepare, to dress, to pray
for guidance how to act, in state of shock.
The Constable and Tower Priest came in
to comfort her and purge her soul of sin,
to wipe the slate.
Anne walked with dignity on to the green.
The breeze was chill.
She gazed upon her subjects as a queen.
The crowds fell still.
She knelt to pray.
“I need to say
I bear no ill to any one of you.
Loyal subjects all, we have to do
our duty to His Majesty.
It is the same for you – as is for me.”
She paused. The sword was raised up high,
its blade reflecting sunlight from the sky.
“But hold! My pardon, it will come!