Re-Reading a Quatrain by Mary Queen of Scots

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Contributing both to work on Mary Queen of Scots’ poetry in particular, and to the growing field of early modern women’s marginalia more broadly, in this article I draw renewed attention to an overlooked autograph copy of a quatrain by Mary Queen of Scots (Si ce Lieu est) in Sheffield, Guild of St George, MS R.3546. Mary’s verse appears here below an image of Christ’s wounded heart and opposite an image of a priest celebrating the Eucharist. In the first half of the article I discuss the manuscript’s provenance and association with female members of Mary’s family, and I also assess the poem’s editorial history and critical heritage. I then propose a new translation and offer original readings of Mary’s self-consciously meta-textual wordplay. Most significantly, I make a case for reading the importance of Si ce Lieu est – like other examples of Mary’s poetry – not just in isolation but very much alongside the visual material it accompanies.


Original languageEnglish
JournalRenaissance Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Nov 2021