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Full text of "The life and death of fair Rosamond, concubine to King Henry II ; to which is added The lass o' Gowrie"

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Concubine to Kinn Henry II. 





Fair Rosamond. 

When as King Henry rul'd this land 

The second of that name ; 
Besides the queen lie lov d dear, 

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

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

Could never prince embrace. 
Her crisped locks like threads of gold, 

Appeared to each man's sight, 
Her comely eyes like oriem pearl, 

Did cast a heavenly light 
The blood within her crystal cheek?, 

Did feii eh a colour drive, 
As though the lilv and the rose, 

For mastership did strive. 
Fiar Rosamond, fair Rosamond, 

Her name was called so. 
To whom darne Eleanor our queen, 

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

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

The like was never seen, 
Most curiously the bower was built, 

Of stone and timber strong, 
An hundred and fifty door/, ' 

Did to this bower bciotig 


And they so cunningly contrived, 

With turnings round about, 
That none without a clue of thread, 

Could enter in our out. 
Now for his love, and lady's sake, 

Who was both fair and bright : 
The keeping of the bower he gave-, 

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

W here it before did smile, 
The kings delight, the lady's joy, 

Full soon she did beguile. 
For why the kings ungracious sop, 

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

Within the realms ot France, 
Rut vet before our gracious king, 

The English land forsook, 
Of Rosamond his lady fair, 

His farewell thus lie took, 
My Rosamond, my only Rose, 

v\ ho pleaseth best mine eye, 
The fairest flower in all the work!, 

To feed my phantasy. 
The flower of my afflicted heart, 

Why sweetness doth excel ; 
My royal Rose an hundred nines, 

I bid you now farewell. 
For I must leave ray fairest rose, 

My sweetest rose apace, 
And cross the ocean into France, 

Proud rebels to debase. 


But still my rose, be sure thou shave, 

My coming shortly see, 
And in my heart, when hence I am, 

I 11 bear my rose with me. 
When Rosamond, the lady bright, 

Did hear the king say so, 
The sorrows of it so grieved her, 

Her outward looks did show. 
And from her clear and crystal eye?, 

The tears gushed out apace, 
W hich like the silver. pearl dew, 

Kan down h.r comely face, 
And falling down into a swoon, 

Before King Henry's face : 
Full oft within his princely arms, 

Her body did embrace. 
And twenty times with watery eyes, 

He kissed her tender cheek, 
Until she had revived again, * 

Her spirit mild and meek, 
Why grieves my rose? my swe- . Ust Kosc, 

The king did often say, 
Because said she, to blood\ wars, 

My Lord must pass away. 
But since your Grace in foreign parts 

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

Why must I stay behind. 
Nay, rather let me like a page, 
Thy sword and target bear, 
That on my breast the blow may light; 
That should offend my dear. 


lit roe in your royal tent, 

Prepare your bed at night, 
And with sweet baths refresh your hear 

As you return from fight. 
So I vour presence may enjoy, 

No. toil I will refuse ; 
Bui wanting you ray life is death, 

Which doth true love abuse. 
Content thyself, my dearest love, 

Thy rest at home shall be, 
]n England's sweet and pleasant court, 

For travels iit not thee. 
Fair ladies brook- not bloody war?, 
Sweet peace their pleasure Breed, 
The nourisher of hiarts content. 

Whose fancy first did feed. 
My rose shall rest in Woodstock bo Wei*, 

With music's sweet delight, 
While I among the piercing pikes, 

Against my foes do fight. 
jVl y rose in robes of pearl and -Old, 
With diamonds rich and bright, 
Shall dance the galliards of my love, 

While I my foes do smite. 
And you Sir '1, whom I trust, 

To be my love s defence ; 
Be careful of my gallant rose, 

*\ hen I am parted hence. 
And here withal he fetcheda sigh, 

As though his heart should bieak, 
And Rosamond for very grief, 
Not one plain word could speak. 


And at ibeir patting, well they might, 

In heart be g itvtil sore. 
Alter that day, fail Rosamond, 

The kit g did ne'er see more, 
For when his grace pass'd ihe seas, 

And into France was gone, 
Queen Eleanor with envious heart, 

To Woodstock came anon. 
And forth she calls the trusty knight, 

VV he kept this curious bower, 
And with a clue of twisted thread, 

Come from this famous flower. 
But when they had wounded him, 

The queen his thread did get, 
And went were Lady Rosamond, 

Was like a lady set. 
Rut when the queen with stedfast eyes, 

Beheld hi r lovely face. 
She was amazed in her mind, 

At such exceeding grace. 
Cast oft' said she these fine wrought robes, 

That rich and costly be. 
And drink you up this deadly draught, 

Which I have brought to the©. 
Rut presently upon her knees, 

Fair Rosamond did fall, 
And pardon of the queen she cried 

For her offences all 
Take pity on my youthful years 

Fair Rosamond did say 
And let me not with poison strong. 

Re forced for to die, 


I will renounce my sinful life, 

And in some cloister hide; 
Gr else be banished if you pkase, 

To range the world so wide, 
And sure the fault which I have done 

I was forced thereunto. 
Preserve my life, and punish me, 

As you think fit to do. 
And with these words her lily hands, 

She rung full often there, 
And down along her comely face, 

Proceeded many a tear. 
But nothing could this furious queen. 

Herewith appeased be, 
The cup of deadly poison strong, 

Which she held on her knee, 
She- gave this comely dame to ui ink, 

W ho took it from her hand, 
Av^d from her bended knees arose, 

And on her feet did stand ; 
Then casting up her eyes to heav\i, 

She did for mercy call, 
And drinking up the poison strong, 

She lost her life withal. 
And when that death through every limb, 

Had done its greatest spite, 
Her chiefest foes could but confess, 

She was a glorious sight. 
Her body then they did entomb, 

When life was fled away, 
At ^Voodstoek near to Oxford town, 

As may be seen this day ? 


The Lass o' Gowrie. 

Twas on a simmer's afternoon, 
A wee before the sun gacd down, 
My lassie, wi 4 a braw new gown, 
Came o'er the hills to Gowrie. 

The rosebud ting'd wi morning showers, 
Bloomed fresh within the sunny bowery 
But Kilty was the fairest flower, 
That ever bloom'd in Gowrie. 

T had na thought to do berwrang. 
But round her waist my arms I Hang, 
And said, my lassie will ye gang 
To view the Carse o' Gowrie. 

Til tak ye to my father's ha 4 , 
In yon green field beside the shaw, 
And rnak ye lady o* them a', 
The brawest wife in Gowrie. 

Saft kisses on lu r lips I laid, 
The blush upon her eheek twm spread, 
She whispcr'o modestly and said, 
I'll gang you to Gowrie. 

The auld folk soon gaed their consent, 
And to .Mess John we quickly went, 
Wha tied us to our hearts content, 
Anil now she's Lady Gowrie. 

V I N 1 9.