Dame Eleanor Cobham leaving for the Isle of Man

"Another notable English prisoner in Peel Castle was Eleanor Cobham, the wife of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, sentenced to perpetual imprisonment for witchcraft by King Henry VI. of England—vide Shakespeare, ‘Henry VI.,’ Part II., Act II., Scene 3, Hall of Justice." ("From King Orry to Queen Victoria", 1899, Chapter 6).

Walk not so fast, my lady, though your feet
are torn and bloodied by the flinty street.
Although you wish the bitter penance over,
at this hard journey's end you will discover
you're walking out of history, and Shakespeare,
to languish in a very little sphere;
your world contracted to the boy that brings
your daily bread, and little creeping things
to be your courtiers in your dripping cell.
So be not over-eager, gentle Nell,
to quit the buzzing brightly coloured scene,
but make your dainty exit like a queen
who goes, and would not go, but knows she must,
to twilight, then to darkness, then to dust.




David Callin