O Death Rock Me Asleep

A video about whether Anne Boleyn did write the poem “O Death Rock Me Asleep” on her last night in the Tower of London:-

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3 thoughts on “O Death Rock Me Asleep”

  1. Marie Dockery says:

    Do you have any written sources about this poem and whether Anne wrote it or not?

  2. George Wordsworth says:

    One of my two poems after having visited the Tower of London this June (the other one being an imagination of Guy Fawkes speaking to his interrogator). Note that I added the title ‘O death rock me asleep’ just after I finished my poem, without prior knowledge of the existence of this old poem.

    Gone, it’s all gone! My family, my privileges, my fame!
    O death rock me asleep! How much I wish it never happened to my name!
    From a humble Maid of Honour to my predecessor,
    To become myself the Queen Consort of England;
    My attempts to be virtuous is well founded on quick sand
    Once I was crowned with all the glories, pomp and power!

    Young Mary, please forgive me for my sins against you,
    And may God witness my belated repentance with words so few.
    Once I laughed in my heart about the fall of Cardinal Wolsey,
    Whom I thought was full of sanctimony.
    Alas! His self reflection serves as a stark warning,
    Which I didn’t take heed of, bringing my undoing!

    To my dearest daughter Elizabeth, take care!
    I’ll always be your aid in spirit, though my death is near.
    Obey your father, for whom a son I tried to bear,
    Yet I must be unworthy, and in God do I fear.
    Help me ease my anger and make me content,
    With Thomas Cromwell whose treachery is so clear!
    Oh you noble ravens, my only friends, may you send
    Away my sorrow, like a dream that evaporates into thin air.

    Written on 2nd August 2017

  3. Tim Ochala-Greenough says:

    The document Martin is looking at in the video as a source is, I believe, early 17th century, bound into an earlier source, and has been the subject of study for decades. It sits among poems by Richard Edwards and is quite likely from a play c. 1565. The Boleyn connection was totally conjectural, made by an anonymous 19th century ‘historian’ .
    Even then it was regarded as rather fanciful. Boleyn is also frequently credited with the music (there are two different later – not Henrican – settings, anon. in the manuscripts. The consort song as a musical genre didn’t appear until around 1560.
    The earliest source of the poem is in fact in a ms held in the US, which doesn’t say ‘I die’.
    Hope I’ve helped a bit.

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