Because you were so good and pure
He bound you with his ring:
The neighbours call you good and pure,
Call me an outcast thing.
Even so I sit and howl in dust,
You sit in gold and sing: 30
Now which of us has tenderer heart?
You had the stronger wing.
O cousin Kate, my love was true,
Your love was writ in sand:
If he had fooled not me but you,
If you stood where I stand,
He’d not have won me with his love
Nor bought me with his land;
I would have spit into his face
And not have taken his hand. 40
Yet I’ve a gift you have not got,
And seem not like to get:
For all your clothes and wedding-ring
I’ve little doubt you fret.
My fair-haired son, my shame, my pride,
Cling closer, closer yet:
Your father would give lands for one
To wear his coronet.
’Now did you mark a falcon,
Sister dear, sister dear,
Flying toward my window
In the morning cool and clear?
With jingling bells about her neck,
But what beneath her wing?
It may have been a ribbon,
Or it may have been a ring.’—
’I marked a falcon swooping
At the break of day; 10
And for your love, my sister dove,
I ’frayed the thief away.’—
’Or did you spy a ruddy hound,
Sister fair and tall,
Went snuffing round my garden bound,
Or crouched by my bower wall?
With a silken leash about his neck;
But in his mouth may be
A chain of gold and silver links,
Or a letter writ to me.’— 20
’I heard a hound, highborn sister,
Stood baying at the moon;
I rose and drove him from your wall
Lest you should wake too soon.’—
’Or did you meet a pretty page
Sat swinging on the gate;
Sat whistling whistling like a bird,
Or may be slept too late;
With eaglets broidered on his cap,
And eaglets on his glove? 30
If you had turned his pockets out,
You had found some pledge of love.’—
’I met him at this daybreak,
Scarce the east was red:
Lest the creaking gate should anger you,
I packed him home to bed.’—
’Oh patience, sister. Did you see
A young man tall and strong,
Swift-footed to uphold the right
And to uproot the wrong, 40
Come home across the desolate sea
To woo me for his wife?
And in his heart my heart is locked,
And in his life my life.’—
’I met a nameless man, sister,
Hard by your chamber door:
I said: Her husband loves her much.
And yet she loves him more.’—