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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

London Tower

The Murder of the Young Princes

By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

THE TYRANNOUS and bloody act is done;

The most arch deed of piteous massacre

That ever yet this land was guilty of.

Dighton and Forrest whom I did suborn

To do this piece of ruthless butchery,

Albeit they were fleshéd villains, bloody dogs,

Melting with tenderness and mild compassion,

Wept like to children, in their death’s sad story.

“O thus,” quoth Dighton, “lay the gentle babes.—

“Thus, thus,” quoth Forrest, “girdling one another

Within their alabaster innocent arms;

Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,

Which, in their summer beauty, kissed each other.

A book of prayers on their pillow lay;

Which once,” quoth Forrest, “almost changed my mind;

But, oh! the Devil—“there the villain stopped;

When Dighton thus told on,—“We smotheréd

The most replenished sweet work of Nature,

That, from the prime creation, e’er she framed.”

Hence both are gone with conscience and remorse;

They could not speak; and so I left them both,

To bear this tidings to the bloody King.