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And you, sir Thomas, whom I truste
To bee my loves defence;
When I am parted hence.'
And therewithall he fetcht a sigh,
As though his heart would breake; And Rosamonde, for very griefe,
Not one plaine word could speake.
And at their parting well they mighte
In heart he grieved sore:
The king did see no more.
· For when his grace had past the seas,
And into France was gone;
To Woodstocke came anone.
And forth she calles this trustye knighte,
In an unhappy houre;
Came from this famous bower.
And when that they had wounded him,
The queene this thread did gette,
Was like an angell sette.
But when the queene with stedfast eye
Beheld her beauteous face,
At her exceeding grace.
*Cast off from thee those robes,' she said,
“That riche and costlye bee; And drinke thou up this deadlve draught.
Which I have brought to thee.'
Then presentlye upon her knees
Sweet Rosamonde did falle;
For her offences all.
• Take pitty on my youthfull yeares,'
Faire Rosamonde did crye;
Enforcèd bee to dye.
I will renounce my sinfull life,
And in some cloyster bide;
To range the world soe wide.
And for the fault which I have done,
Though I was forc'd theretoe, Preserve my life, and punish mee,
As you thinke meet to doe.?
And with these words, her lillie handes
She wrunge full often there; And downe along her lovely face
Did trickle many a teare.
But nothing could this furious queene
Therewith appeased bee;
As she knelt on her knee,
Shee gave this comelye dame to drinke;
Who tooke it in her hand,
And on her feet did stand:
And casting up her eyes to heaven,
Shee did for mercye calle;
Her life she lost withalle.
And when that death through everye limbe
Had showde its greatest spite,
Shee was a glorious wight.
Her body then they did entomb,
When life was fled away,
As may be seene this day.
QUEEN ELEANOR’S CONFESSION. • Eleanor, the daughter and heiress of William duke of Guienne, and count of Poictou, had been married sixteen years to Louis VII. king of France, and had attended him in a croisade, which that monarch commanded against the infidels; but having lost the affections of her husband, and even fallen under some suspicions of gallantry with a handsome Saracen, Louis, more delicate than politic, procured a divorce from her, and restored her those rich provinces, which by her marriage she had annexed to the crown of France. The young count of Anjou, afterwards Henry II. king of England, tho' at that time but in his nineteenth year, neither discouraged by the disparity of age, nor by the reports of Eleanor's gallantry, made such successful courtship to that princess, that he married her six weeks after her divorce, and got possession of all her dominions as a dowery. A marriage thus founded upon interest was not likely to be very happy: it happened accordingly. Eleanor, who had disgusted her first husband by her gallantries, was no less offensive to her second by her jealousy: thus carrying to extremity, in the different parts of her life, every circumstance of female weakness. She had several sons by Henry, whom she spirited up to rebel against him; and endeavouring to escape to them disguised in man's appearel in 1173, she was discovered and thrown into a confinement, which seems to have continued till the death of her husband in 1189. She however survived him many years : dying in 1204, in the sixth year of the reign of her youngest son, John.' See Hume's Hist. 4to. Vol. I. pp. 260, 307. Speed, Stow, &c.
It is needless to observe, that the following ballad (given, with some corrections, from an old printed copy) is altogether fabulous ; whatever gallantries Eleanor encouraged in the time of her first husband, none are imputed to her in that of her second.
QUEENE Elianor was a sicke woman,
And afraid that she should dye: -
To speke with her speedilye.
The king calld downe his nobles all,
The king cabe two, by threeze the queene,
• Earl marshall, Ile goe shrive the queene,
And thou shalt wend with mee.'
• A boone, a boone;' quoth earl marshall,
And fell on his bended knee;
No harme therof may bee.'
Ile pawne my landes,' the king then cryd,
‘My sceptre, crowne, and all, That whatsoere queen Elianor sayes
No harme thereof shall fall.
Do thou put on a fryars coat,
And Ile put on another;
Like fryar and his brother.'
Thus both attired then they goe:
When they came to Whitehall,
And the torches did lighte them all.
When that they came before the queene
They fell on their bended knee;
Are you two fryars of France,' she sayd,
*As I suppose you bee? But if you are two Englishe fryars,
You shall hang on the gallowes tree.'
“We are two fryars of France,' they sayd,
As you suppose we bee,
Sith we came from the sea.'
“The first vile thing that ever I did
I will to you unfolde;
Beneath this cloth of golde.
• Thats a vile sinne,' then sayd the king;
May God forgive it thee!' • Amen, amen,' quoth earl marshall;
With a heavye heart spake hee.
• The next vile thing that ever I did,
To you Ile not denye,
To poison king Henrè.'