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Why did you not offer to stay my hand, • When you 'saw' me wax so wood ?

* For I have slain the bravest sir knight, That ever rode on a steed

1; So have I done the fairest lady, "That ever did woman's deed.

A

grave, a grave, (lord Barnard cried,) • To put these lovers in ; * But lay my lady o' th’ upper hand,

For she came o' th' better kin.'

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BALLAD VIII.

FAIR ROSAMOND.

When as king Henry rul'd this land,

The second of that name,
Besides the queen, he dearly lov'd

A fair and comely dame :
Most peerless was her beauty found,

Her favour, and her face ;
A sweeter creature in this world

Did never prince embrace.

Her crisped locks like threads of gold

Appear'd to each man's sight;
Her sparkling eyes, like orient pearls,
Did cast a heavenly light :

S2

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The blood within her crystal cheeks

Did such a colour drive, As if the lily and the rose

For mastership did strive.

Yea Rosamond, fair Rosamond,

Her name was called so;
To whom dame Eleanor, our queen,

Was known a deadly foe.
The king therefore, for her defence

Against the furious queen,
At Woodstock builded such a bower,

The like was never seen.

Most curiously that bower was built,

Of stone and timber strong, One hundred and fifty doors

Did to this bower belong ;
And they so cunningly contriv'd

With turnings round about,
That none, but with a clew of thread,

Could enter in or out.

And, for his love and lady's sake,

That was so fair and bright,
The keeping of this bower he gave

Unto a valiant knight.
But Fortune, that doth often frown

Where she before did smile,
The king's delight, the lady's joy,

Full soon she did beguile.

2

For why, the king's ungracious son,

Whom he did high advance, Against his father raised wars,

Within the realm of France. But yet before our comely king

The English land forsook, Of Rosamond, his lady fair,

His farewell thus he took :

My Rosamond, my only Rose,

That pleasest best mine eye, "The fairest flower in all the world

* To feed my fantasy ; * The flower of my affected heart,

- Whose sweetness doth excell: My royal Rose, a thousand times

I bid thee now farewell !

For I must leave my fairest flower,

My sweetest Rose, a space ; And cross the seas to famous France,

- Proud rebels to abase. • But yet, my Rose, be sure thou shalt

My coming shortly see ; And in my heart, when hence I am, • I'll bear my Rose with me.'

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When Rosamond, that lady bright,

Did hear the king say so,
The sorrow of her grieved heart

Her outward looks did show;
And from her clear and crystal eyes

Tears gushed out apace,

Which, like the silver-pearled dew,

Ran down her comely face.

Her lips, erst like the coral red,

Did wax both wan and pale,
And, for the sorrow she conceiv'd,

Her vital spirits did fail ;
And falling down all in a swoon,

Before king Henry's face,
Full oft he in his princely arms

Her body did embrace :

And twenty times, with watery eyes,

He kiss'd her tender cheek, Until he had reviv'd again

Her senses mild and meek. * Why grieves my Rose, my sweetest Rose ?'

The king did often say :Because, (quoth she) to bloody wars • My lord must pass away.

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* But since your grace, on foreign coasts,

Among your foes unkind, Must go to hazard life and limb,

Why should I stay behind ? Nay, rather, let me, like a page,

* Your sword and target bear; * That on my breast the blows may light,

“That should offend you there.

Or let me, in your royal tent,

• Prepare your bed at night; And with sweet baths refresh your grace, * At your return from fight.

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So I your presence may enjoy,

'No toil I will refuse ; * But wanting you, my life is death :

" Which doth true love abuse.'

• Content thyself, my dearest love ;

Thy rest at home shall be ; • In England's sweet and pleasant soil ;

For travel fits not thee. - Fair ladies brook not bloody wars ;

Sweet peace their pleasures breed; • The nourisher of hearts content,

• Which fancy first did feed.

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• My Rose shall rest in Woodstock-bower,

"With music's sweet delight; Whilst I, among the piercing pikes,

Against my foes do fight.
My Rose in robes of pearl and gold,

With diamonds richly dight,
Shall dance the galliards of my love,
• While I my foes do smite.

And you, sir Thomas, whom I trust

* To be my love's defence, Be careful of my gallant Rose,

When I am parted hence.' And therewithal he fetch'd a sigh,

As though his heart would break; And Rosamond, for very grief,

Not one plain word could speak.

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