“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
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?
beauties I was one,
Among the fields wild flowers are fair;
Some country swain might me have won,
And thought my beauty passing rare.
(or I much am wrong),
Or ’tis not beauty lures thy vows;
Rather ambition’s gilded crown
Makes thee forget thy humble spouse.
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
Still that dread death-bell smites my ear;
And many a boding seems to say,
‘Countess, prepare, thy end is near!’”