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With eager, sudden, well-aim'd spring,
Thus to his folly and his pride
THE dews of summer night did fall;
And many an oak that grew thereby.
Now nought was heard beneath the skies, The sounds of busy life were still,
Save an unhappy lady's sighs,
That issued from that lonely pile.
"Leicester!" she cried, "is this thy love That thou so oft hast sworn to me, To leave me in this lonely grove, Immur'd in shameful privity?
"No more thou com'st with lover's speed Thy once beloved bride to see; But be she 'live, or be she dead,
I fear, stern earl, 's the same to thee.
'Not so the usage I receiv'd
When happy in my father's hall: No faithless husband then me griev'd, No chilling fears did me appal.
"I rose up with the cheerful morn,
No lark more blithe, no flow'r more gay; And like the bird that haunts the thorn, So merrily sung the livelong day.
If that my beauty is but small,
Amongst court ladies all despis❜d · Why didst thou rend it from that hall, Where, scornful earl, it well was priz'd?
And when you first to me made suit,
How fair I was, you oft would say: And, proud of conquest, pluck'd the fruit Then left the blossom to decay.
"Yes, now neglected and despis'd,
The rose is pale, the lily 's dead;
But he that once their charms so priz'd,
"For, know, when sick'ning grief doth prey, And tender love's repaid with scorn,
The sweetest beauty will decay
What flow'ret can endure the storm?
"At court, I'm told, is beauty's throne,
Then, earl, why did'st thou leave the beds
"Mong rural beauties I was one;
Among the fields wild flow'rs are fair : Some country-swain might me have won, And thought my beauty passing rare.
"But, Leicester-or I much am wrong— Or 'tis not beauty lures thy vows; Rather ambition's gilded crown
Makes thee forget thy humble spouse.
"Then, Leicester, why, again I plead(The injur'd surely may repine),— Why didst thou wed a country-maid, When some fair princess might be thine?
Why didst thou praise my humble charms,
"The village-maidens of the plain Salute me lowly as I go;
Envious they mark my silken train, Nor think a countess can have woe.
"The simple nymphs! they little know How far more happy's their estate; To smile for joy-than sigh for woe; To be content-than to be great.
"How far less blest am I than them! Daily to pine and waste with care! Like the poor plant, that from its stem Divided feels the chilling air.
Nor, cruel earl, can I enjoy
The humble charms of solitude: Your minions proud my peace destroy, By sullen frowns, or prating rude.
"Last night, as sad I chanc'd to stray,
The village death-bell smote my ear: They wink'd aside, and seem'd to say, Countess, prepare, thy end is near !'
"And now, while happy peasants sleep, Here I sit lonely and forlorn; No one to soothe me as I weep,
Save Philomel on yonder thorn.
"My spirits flag, my hopes decay Still that dread death-bell smites my ear; And many a boding seems to say
'Countess, prepare, thy end is near!""
Thus, sore and sad, that lady griev❜d,
And ere the dawn of day appear'd
The death-bell thrice was heard to ring;
The mastiff howl'd at village-door;
And in that manor now no more