Chidiock Tichborne Poems

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Chidiock Tichborne
Chidiock (Charles) Tichborne (1558–September 20, 1586) is remembered as an English conspirator and poet. He was born in Southampton in 1558 to Roman Catholic parents. Given the recent succession of Elizabeth I to the throne over Mary I, he was allowed to freely practice his religion for most of his early life. However in 1570 the Queen was excommunicated by the Pope for her support of the Protestant religion and in retaliation ended her tolerance of the Catholic Church. Catholicism was made illegal, and Roman Catholics were once more banned by law from practicing their religion. Tower of London, Traitor's GateIn 1583, Tichborne and his father were arrested and questioned concerning the use of "popish relics." Though they were released without charge, records suggest that this was not the last time they were to be questioned by the authorities over their religion. In June 1586, Tichborne agreed to take part in the Babington Plot to murder Queen Elizabeth and replace her with the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots who was next in line to the throne. The plot was foiled by Sir Francis Walsingham using double agents, most notably Robert Poley who was later witness to the murder of Christopher Marlowe, and though most of the conspirators fled, Tichborne had an injured leg and was forced to remain in London. On August 14 he was arrested and he was later tried and sentenced to death in Westminster Hall. While in custody in the Tower of London on September 19 (the eve of his execution), Tichborne wrote to his wife Agnes. The letter contained three stanzas of poetry that is his only known piece of work, Tichborne's Elegy, also known by its first line My Prime of Youth is but a Frost of Cares. The poem is a dark look at a life cut short and is a favourite of many scholars to this day. On September 20, 1586, Tichborne was executed with Anthony Babington, John Ballard, and four other conspirators. They were disembowelled while still alive on specially erected gallows in St Giles Field, London as a warning to other would-be conspirators; however, when the Queen heard reports of these particularly gruesome executions, she gave orders that the remaining seven conspirators were to be allowed to hang until 'quite dead' before being disembowelled.

on the eve of his execution
My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop ... [read poem]
my prime of youth is but a frost of cares
My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop ... [read poem]
O generation of the thoroughly smug
and thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen pi... [read poem]
envoi (1919)
Go, dumb-born book,
Tell her that sang me once that song of Lawes:
Hadst thou but song... [read poem]
in a station of the metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

the garden
Like a skein of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in Kensingto... [read poem]
the river-merchant's wife: a letter
While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling ... [read poem]
fan-piece, for her imperial lord
O fan of white silk,
clear as frost on the grass-blade,

You also are laid aside.

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