"It had been gude for my wife, father, To me she'd born a son; He would have got my land an' rents, 35 Where they lie out an' in.
"It had been gude for my wife, father, To me she'd born an heir; He would have got my land an' rents, Where they lie fine an' fair." 40
The steeds they strave into their stables, The boys could'nt get them bound; The hounds lay howling on the leech, 'Cause their master was behind.
"I dreamed a dream since late yestreen, 45 I wish it may be good, That our chamber was full of swine, An' our bed full of blood.
"I saw a woman come from the West, Full sore wringing her hands, 50 And aye she cried, 'Ohon alas!
My good lord's broken bands.'
"As she came by my good lord's bower, Saw mony black steeds an' brown; I'm feared it be mony unco lords 55 Havin' my love from town."
As she came by my gude lord's bower, Saw mony black steeds an' grey; "I'm feared its mony unco lords Havin' my love to the clay." 60
THE SPANISH VIRGIN.
From Percy's _Reliques_, iii. 316.
The three following pieces are here inserted merely as specimens of a class of tales, horrible in their incidents but feeble in their execution, of which whole dreary volumes were printed and read about two centuries ago. They were all of them, probably, founded on Italian novels.
"The subject of this ballad is taken from a folio collection of tragical stories, entitled, _The Theatre of God's Judgments, by Dr. Beard and Dr.
Taylor_, 1642. Pt. 2, p. 89. The text is given (with corrections) from two copies; one of them in black-letter in the Pepys Collection. In this every stanza is accompanied with the following distich by way of burden:
Oh jealousie! thou art nurst in hell: Depart from hence, and therein dwell."
All tender hearts, that ake to hear Of those that suffer wrong; All you that never shed a tear, Give heed unto my song.
Fair Isabella's tragedy 5 My tale doth far exceed: Alas, that so much cruelty In female hearts should breed!
In Spain a lady liv'd of late, Who was of high degree; 10 Whose wayward temper did create Much woe and misery.
Strange jealousies so filled her head With many a vain surmize, She thought her lord had wrong'd her bed, 15 And did her love despise.
A gentlewoman passing fair Did on this lady wait; With bravest dames she might compare; Her beauty was compleat. 20
Her lady cast a jealous eye Upon this gentle maid, And taxt her with disloyaltye, And did her oft upbraid.
In silence still this maiden meek 25 Her bitter taunts would bear, While oft adown her lovely cheek Would steal the falling tear.
In vain in humble sort she strove Her fury to disarm; 30 As well the meekness of the dove The bloody hawke might charm.
Her lord, of humour light and gay, And innocent the while, As oft as she came in his way, 35 Would on the damsell smile.
And oft before his lady's face, As thinking her her friend, He would the maiden's modest grace And comeliness commend. 40
All which incens'd his lady so, She burnt with wrath extreame; At length the fire that long did glow, Burst forth into a flame.
For on a day it so befell, 45 When he was gone from home, The lady all with rage did swell, And to the damsell come.
And charging her with great offence And many a grievous fault, 50 She bade her servants drag her thence, Into a dismal vault,
That lay beneath the common-shore,-- A dungeon dark and deep, Where they were wont, in days of yore, 55 Offenders great to keep.
There never light of chearful day Dispers'd the hideous gloom; But dank and noisome vapours play Around the wretched room: 60
And adders, snakes, and toads therein, As afterwards was known, Long in this loathsome vault had bin, And were to monsters grown.
Into this foul and fearful place, 65 The fair one innocent Was cast, before her lady's face; Her malice to content.
This maid no sooner enter'd is, But strait, alas! she hears 70 The toads to croak, and snakes to hiss: Then grievously she fears.
Soon from their holes the vipers creep, And fiercely her assail, Which makes the damsel sorely weep, 75 And her sad fate bewail.
With her fair hands she strives in vain Her body to defend; With shrieks and cries she doth complain, But all is to no end. 80
A servant listning near the door, Struck with her doleful noise, Strait ran his lady to implore; But she'll not hear his voice.
With bleeding heart he goes agen 85 To mark the maiden's groans; And plainly hears, within the den, How she herself bemoans.
Again he to his lady hies, With all the haste he may; 90 She into furious passion flies, And orders him away.
Still back again does he return To hear her tender cries; The virgin now had ceas'd to mourn, 95 Which fill'd him with surprize.
In grief, and horror, and affright, He listens at the walls But finding all was silent quite, He to his lady calls. 100
"Too sure, O lady," now quoth he, "Your cruelty hath sped; Make haste, for shame, and come and see; I fear the virgin's dead."
She starts to hear her sudden fate, 105 And does with torches run; But all her haste was now too late, For death his worst had done.
The door being open'd, strait they found The virgin stretch'd along; 110 Two dreadful snakes had wrapt her round, Which her to death had stung.
One round her legs, her thighs, her waist, Had twin'd his fatal wreath; The other close her neck embrac'd, 115 And stopt her gentle breath.
The snakes being from her body thrust, Their bellies were so fill'd, That with excess of blood they burst, Thus with their prey were kill'd. 120
The wicked lady, at this sight, With horror strait ran mad; So raving dy'd, as was most right, 'Cause she no pity had.
Let me advise you, ladies all, 125 Of jealousy beware: It causeth many a one to fall, And is the devil's snare.
THE LADY ISABELLA'S TRAGEDY.