THAT MEMORABLE SCENE

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At the eastern end of the Banqueting House –

which the deposed tyrant Charles Stuart had had

the architect Inigo Jones design

with its Rubens ceiling centre piece –

wooden steps were constructed from the stone floor

to the window sill, and wide enough so that

the condemned and two soldiers might climb abreast.

The scaffold was built against the outside wall,

and level with the sill so the long windows

could be opened like a pair of doors.

The platform extended almost half way

across the street so that all could clearly see

what it meant to kill a king, to be

no longer bound subjects but free citizens.

 

On that January Tuesday the poet,

Andrew Marvell, attended the beheading:

 

He nothing common did or mean

Upon that memorable scene,

But with his keener eye

The axe’s edge did try;

Nor call’d the gods with vulgar spite

To vindicate his helpless right,

But bowed his comely head

Down as upon a bed.

 

Charles’s head was severed with one blow.

It was lifted by its hair and shown

to the crowd, as custom dictated,

by the masked executioner, who threw it

to the soldiers below.

 

 

 

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By Posted on 2 Comments

At the eastern end of the Banqueting House – which the deposed ...