Tomorrow I shall die.
I beg you, please do not cry for me, because I am content. My faith is strong, and I know that after my death I shall be in Heaven. I have less than a day left to me on this earth, and on this my final night of life my thoughts must turn to the manner of my leaving this world. When I was first imprisoned, I must confess that I did fear death, but now I am reconciled to my fate and am not afraid to die, or of the swordsman who will end my life. They have told me that there will be no pain, and my lIttle neck will be easily cut through. The only matter on my mind now is that I should make a good end, and that by my last words I must do all that I can to ensure my daughter is protected. Her father must hate her now, as he hates me, but I must not give him cause to hate her more. When I come to make my final speech, to say my last words, I must be gracious, acknowledging the King’s kindness towards me, and my own faults, because this is the only way that I can think of to spare my daughter from the same harsh treatment at Henry’s hands that poor Mary has endured.
I know what I want to say, but I dare not say it. If I were completely free to speak my mind, then these would be my last words.
‘Good Christian people, I have come here to die. I have been falsely condemned, but God who knows the secrets of men’s hearts knows that I am innocent. It is before him that I shall shortly appear, and I shall do so in the full knowledge that I have confessed my sins here on earth, and thus shall enter Heaven with a pure heart. God shall bring every secret thing into judgement, and I have no doubt that in time my innocency will be known throughout all of Christendom. I say to the King that I forgive him for what he has done to me and ask that he examine his own conscience and confess his sins while there is still time. Even though he has done this wrong to me, I do not wish any evil to befall him, or his wicked counsellors that have so ill-advised him, but rather that he and those who serve him have a long and happy life. I pray that he will be kind to Elizabeth, our daughter and always treat her well, and not use her for his own ends as some Kings are wont to do. With my last words I urge you to pray for her, as she will live her life without a mother, and to pray for me as I leave this world.’
I cannot say these words. I will condemn my daughter to a terrible life if I proclaim my innocence so openly from the scaffold. Instead, I must speak words which are more complimentary to Henry. I must acknowledge his kindness towards me, and acknowledge that I have offended the King’s Grace, and ask forgiveness of him, and of all the world. It does not matter that I have not done the things which they say I have, the only thing that matters is that I say what is expected of me, and that I do not protest against my fate.
It will be so difficult for me not to speak my mind! It makes me so sad to think that I must stand on the scaffold tomorrow, and be unable to say what is really in my heart. I must think of Elizabeth though, and of her future, because I have none here on this earth. On this, the last night of my life, I must prepare myself for death. God, who knows all things, will know that tomorrow I must say what is expected of me. I shall spend tonight in prayer, and shall pour out my heart to God, who knows my true thoughts.