Mary Queen of Scots has continued to fascinate since her execution in 1587. Plays, operas, and endless studies have been written about the glamorous Stuart queen who seemed to have everything in her favour, except for good advisers and a sense of self-preservation.

She was a poet, in several languages, and had the great French writer Ronsard as her mentor. Brought up in France and briefly its queen, she inspired the 19th-century French poet Pierre Jean de Beranger to articulate her sadness in leaving her adopted country for Scotland when she was widowed.

Here are the opening verses of his celebrated poem.


Adieu, charmant pays de France

Que je dois tant chérir!

Berceau de mon heureuse enfance,

Adieu! Te quitter c'est mourir!

Toi que j'adoptai pour patrie

Et d'où je crois me voir bannir,

Entends les adieux de Marie,

France, et garde son souvenir.

Le vent souffle, on quitte la plage,

Et peu touché de mes sanglots,

Dieu, pour me rendre à ton rivage,

Dieu n'a point soulevé les flots!


Farewell, charming country of France

Which is so dear to me

Cradle of my happy infancy,

To leave you makes me mourn

You, whom I have adopted for homeland

And from where I think myself banished

Hear the farewell of Marie,

France, and guard her memory.

The wind blows, people leave the beach,

And little touched by my sobs,

God to return me to your shore

God, has hardly raised up the waves.