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We fret, we fume, would shift our skins,
Would quarrel with our lot;
Thy care is, under polished tins,
To serve the hot-and-hot;
To come and go, and come again,
Returning like the pewit,
And watched by silent gentlemen,
That trifle with the cruet.

Live long, ere from thy topmost head
The thick-set hazel dies;

Long, ere the hateful crow shall tread
The corners of thine eyes;

Live long, nor feel in head or chest
Our changeful equinoxes,

Till mellow Death, like some late guest,
Shall call thee from the boxes.

But when he calls, and thou shalt cease
To pace the gritted floor,
And, laying down an unctuous lease
Of life, shalt earn no more:

No carved cross-bones, the types of Death,
Shall show thee past to Heaven;
But carved cross-pipes, and, underneath,
A pint-pot, neatly graven.


Ir was the time when lilies blow,
And clouds are highest up in air,
Lord Ronald brought a lily-white doe
To give his cousin, Lady Clare.

I trow they did not part in scorn:
Lovers long-betrothed were they :
They two will wed the morrow morn;
God's blessing on the day!

"He does not love me for my birth,

Nor for my lands so broad and fair; He loves me for my own true worth, And that is well," said Lady Clare.

In there came old Alice the nurse, Said, "Who was this that went from thee?" "It was my cousin," said Lady Clare, "To-morrow he weds with me."

"O God be thanked!" said Alice the nurse, "That all comes round so just and fair: Lord Ronald is heir of all your lands, And you are not the Lady Clare."

“Are ye out of your mind, my nurse, my nurse?"

Said Lady Clare, "that ye speak so wild?" "As God's above," said Alice the nurse,

"I speak the truth: you are my child.

"The old Earl's daughter died at my breast;
I speak the truth as I live by bread!
I buried her like my own sweet child,
And put my child in her stead."

"Falsely, falsely have ye done,

O mother," she said, "if this be true,
To keep the best man under the sun
So many years from his due."

Nay now, my child," said Alice the nurse, "But keep the secret for your life, And all you have will be Lord Ronald's, When you are man and wife."

"If I'm a beggar born,” she said,

"I will speak out, for I dare not lie. Pull off, pull off the brooch of gold,

And fling the diamond necklace by.”


"Nay now, my child,” said Alice the nurse,
"But keep the secret all ye can.'
She said "Not so: but I will know

If there be any faith in man."

"Nay now, what faith?" said Alice the nurse, “The man will cleave unto his right." “And he shall have it," the lady replied, Though I should die to-night.”


"Yet give one kiss to your mother dear!
Alas, my child, I sinned for thee.”
"O mother, mother, mother," she said,
"So strange it seems to me.

"Yet here's a kiss for my mother dear,
My mother dear, if this be so,
And lay your hand upon my head,
And bless me, mother, ere I go."

She clad herself in a russet gown,
She was no longer Lady Clare:
She went by dale, and she went by down,
With a single rose in her hair.

The lily-white doe Lord Ronald had brought
Leapt up from where she lay,
Dropt her head in the maiden's hand,
And followed her all the way.

Down stept Lord Ronald from his tower:

"O Lady Clare, you shame your worth! Why come you drest like a village maid, That are the flower of the earth?"

"If I come drest like a village maid,
I am but as my fortunes are:
I am a beggar born,” she said,
"And not the Lady Clare.”

"Play me no tricks," said Lord Ronald,
“For I am yours in word and deed.
Play me no tricks," said Lord Ronald,
"Your riddle is hard to read."

O and proudly stood she up!

Her heart within her did not fail : She looked into Lord Ronald's eyes, And told him all her nurse's tale.

He laughed a laugh of merry scorn:

He turned and kissed her where she stood: "If you are not the heiress born,

And I," said he, "the next in blood

"If you are not the heiress born,

And I," said he, "the lawful heir, We two will wed to-morrow morn,

And you shall still be Lady Clare."

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In her ear he whispers gayly,

"If my heart by signs can tell,
Maiden, I have watched thee daily,

And I think thou lov'st me well."
She replies, in accents fainter,

"There is none I love like thee."
He is but a landscape-painter,

And a village maiden she.
He to lips, that fondly falter,

Presses his without reproof;
Leads her to the village altar,

And they leave her father's roof. "I can make no marriage present; Little can I give my wife.

VOL. I. 16

Love will make our cottage pleasant,
And I love thee more than life."
They by parks and lodges going

See the lordly castles stand:
Summer woods, about them blowing,
Made a murmur in the land.
From deep thought himself he rouses,
Says to her that loves him well,
"Let us see these handsome houses
Where the wealthy nobles dwell."
So she goes by him attended,

Hears him lovingly converse,
Sees whatever fair and splendid

Lay betwixt his home and hers; Parks with oak and chestnut shady,

Parks and ordered gardens great, Ancient homes of lord and lady,

Built for pleasure and for state.
All he shows her makes him dearer:
Evermore she seems to gaze
On that cottage growing nearer,

Where they twain will spend their days. O but she will love him truly!

He shall have a cheerful home; She will order all things duly,

When beneath his roof they come. Thus her heart rejoices greatly,

Till a gateway she discerns With armorial bearings stately,

And beneath the gate she turns; Sees a mansion more majestic

Than all those she saw before;
Many a gallant gay domestic

Bows before him at the door.
And they speak in gentle murmur,
When they answer to his call,
While he treads with footstep firmer,
Leading on from hall to hall.

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