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The famous Earl of Leicester, Queen Elizabeth's favourite, was early married to the unfortunate subject of the following poem, by name Amy Robsart. After his advancement at Court, his former love to his Countess was changed into hatred, as he considered her as the only bar to his ambitious project of marrying Queen Elizabeth. Accordingly, far from bringing her to Court, he confined her in an ancient Gothic building in Berkshire, upon his manor of Cumnor, which had formerly been an Abbey. From this dreary solitude she disappeared so very unaccountably, and her husband's account of her death seemed so suspicious, that it was generally believed she was there murdered. The particulars which led to these suspicions may be found in a book called Leicester's Commonwealth, well known to book-collectors, and supposed to be written by Parsons the Jesuit.



This beautiful ballad was written by William Julius Mickle, the translator of the Lusiad, and published in Evan's Ancient Ballads. The Author of Waverley's admiration of the ballad induced him to found, on the same incidents, the popular Romance of Kenilworth.

THE dews of night did falle,

The moone (sweet regente of the sky,)
Silvered the walls of Cumnor Halle,

And many an oake that grew therebye.

Now noughte was hearde beneathe the skies,
(The soundes of busye life were stille,)
Save an unhappie ladie's sighes

That issued from that lonely pile.

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Leicester,' shee cried,' is thys thy love
That thou so oft has sworne to mee,

To leave mee in this lonely grove,
Immured in shameful privitie?'

No more thou com'st with lover's speede,
Thy once-beloved bryde to see ;

But bee she alive, or bee she deade,

I feare (sterne earle's) the same to thee.

Not such the usage I received,

When happye in my father's halle;
No faithlesse husbande then me grieved;
No chilling fears did me appalle.

I rose up with the cheerful morne,

No lark more blithe, no flower more gaye; And, like the bird that hauntes the thorne, So merrillie sung the live-long daye.

Say that my beautye is but smalle,

Among court ladies all despised, Why didst thou rend it from that halle, Where (scornful earle,) it well was prizede?

And when

you first to mee made suite,

How fayre I was, you oft woulde saye! And, proude of conquest-plucked the fruite, Then lefte the blossom to decaye.

Yes, now neglected and despised,
The rose is pale-the lily's deade
But hee that once their charms so prized,
Is sure the cause those charms are fledde.

For knowe, when sickening griefè doth preye, And tender love's repay'd with scorne,

The sweetest beautye will decaye ;
What flow'ret can endure the storme?

At Court I'm tolde is beautye's throne,
Where everye lady's passing rare:
The eastern flowers, that shame the sun,
Are not so glowing-not so fair.

Then, earle, why didst thou leave those bedds,
Where roses and where lilys vie,

To seek a primrose, whose pale shades
Must sicken when those gaudes are bye?

'Mong rural beauties I was one,

Among the fields wild flowers are faire ; Some countrye swayne might mee have won, And thoughte my beautie passing rare.

But, Leicester, (or I much am wronge,)
Or 'tis not beautye fires thy vowes;
Rather ambition's gilded crowne

Makes thee forget thy humble spouse.

Then, Leicester, why, again I pleade,

(The injured surelie may repyne,) Why didst thou wed a countrye maide, When some fair princesse might be thyne ?

Why didst thou praise my humble charmes,
And, oh! then leave them to decaye?
Why didst thou win me to thy armes,
Then leave me to mourne the live-long daye?

The village maidens of the plaine
Salute me lowly as I goe;
Envious, they marke my
silken trayne,
Nor think a countesse can have woe.

The simple nymphs! they little knowe,
How far more happy's their estate,
To smile for joye-than sigh for woe,➡--
To be contente, than to be greate

How fare lesse bleste am I than them?
Dailye to pyne and waste with care!
Like the poor plante, that from its stem
Divided-feels the chilling ayre?

Nor (cruel earle !) can I enjoye

The humble charms of solitude;
Your minions proude my peace destroye,
By sullen frownes, or pratings rude.

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