Kenilworth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 550 pages of information about Kenilworth.

     “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 despised,
     The rose is pale, the lily’s dead;
     But he that once their charms so prized,
     Is sure the cause those charms are fled.

     “For know, when sick’ning grief doth prey,
     And tender love’s repaid with scorn,
     The sweetest beauty will decay,—­
     What floweret can endure the storm?

     “At court, I’m told, is beauty’s throne,
     Where every lady’s passing rare,
     That Eastern flowers, that shame the sun,
     Are not so glowing, not so fair.

     “Then, Earl, why didst thou leave the beds
     Where roses and where lilies vie,
     To seek a primrose, whose pale shades
     Must sicken when those gauds are by?

     “’Mong rural beauties I was one,
     Among the fields wild flowers 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 injured surely may repine)—­
     Why didst thou wed a country maid,
     When some fair princess might be thine?

     “Why didst thou praise my hum’ble charms,
     And, oh! then leave them to decay? 
     Why didst thou win me to thy arms,
     Then leave to mourn the livelong day?

     “The village maidens of the plain
     Salute me lowly as they 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 pratings rude.

     “Last night, as sad I chanced to stray,
     The village death-bell smote my ear;
     They wink’d aside, and seemed 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!’”

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Project Gutenberg
Kenilworth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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