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When long she had been wrong'd, and sought
The foresayd meanes in vaine, She rideth to the simple graunge
But with a slender traine.
She lighteth, entreth, greets them well,
And then did looke about her : The guiltie houshold knowing her,
Did wish themselves without her; Yet, for she looked merily,
The lesse they did misdoubt her.
When she had seen the beauteous wench
(Then blushing fairnes fairer) Such beauty made the countesse hold
Them both excus'd the rather.
Who would not bite at such a bait?
Thought she: and who (though loth) So poore a wench, but gold might tempt?
Sweet errors lead them both.
Scarse one in twenty that had bragg'd
Of proffer’d gold denied,
But, tenne to one, had lied.
Thus thought she: and she thus declares
Her cause of coming thether ;
My lord, oft hunting in these partes,
Through travel, night or wether.
Hath often lodged in your
house; I thanke
for the same; For why ? it doth him jolly ease
To lie so neare his game.
But, for you have not furniture
Beseeming such a guest,
To see his lodging drest.
With that two sumpters were discharg'd,
In which were hangings brave,
And al such turn should have,
When all was handsomly dispos’d,
them to have care That nothing hap in their default,
That might his health impair :
And, Damsell, quoth shee, for it seemes
This houshold is but three, And for thy parents age, that this
Shall chiefely rest on thee;
Do me that good, else would to God
He hither come no more.
So tooke she horse, and ere she went
Bestowed gould good store.
Full little thought the countie that
His countesse had done so; Who now return'd from far affaires
Did to his sweet-heart go.
No sooner sat he foote within
The late deformed cote,
His wondring eies did note.
But when he knew those goods to be
His proper goods; though late, Scarce taking leave, he home returnes
The matter to debate.
The countesse was a-bed, and he
With her his lodging tooke; Sir, welcome home (quoth shee); this night 165
For you I did not looke.
Then did he question her of such
His stuffe bestowed soe.
Your love and lodging knowe:
Your love to be a proper wench,
Your lodging nothing lesse;
I held it for your health, the house
More decently to dresse.
Well wot I, notwithstanding her,
Your lordship loveth me;
By quiet, then brawles, “you' see.
Then for my duty, your delight,
And to retaine your favour,
Expect your wonted 'haviour.
Her patience, witte and answer wrought
His gentle teares to fall :
Amend, sweet wife, I shall :
Her husband may' recall.
Dowsabell. The following stanzas were written by Michael Drayton, a poet of some eminence in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I.* They are inserted in one of his Pastorals, the first edition of which bears this whimsical title. “Idea. The Shepheards Garland fashioned
* He was born in 1563, and died in 1631.—Bing. Brit.
in nine Eglogs. Rowlands sacrifice to the nine muses. Lond. 1593, 4to.” They are inscribed with the author's name at length, “ To the noble and valerous gentleman master Robert Dudley,” &c. It is very remarkable, that when Drayton reprinted them in the first folio edition of his works, 1619, he had given those Eclogues so thorough a revisal, that there is hardly a line to be found the same as in the old edition. This poem had received the fewest corrections, and therefore is chiefly given from the ancient copy, where it is thus introduced by one of his shepherds :
Listen to mee, my lovely shepheards joye,
And thou shalt heare, with mirth and mickle glee,
My toothles grandame oft hath tolde to me. The author has professedly imitated the style and metre of some of the old metrical romances; particularly that of Sir Isenbras, * (alluded to in v. 3,) as the reader may judge from the following specimen:
Lordynges, lysten, and you shal here, &c.
Ye shall well heare of a knight,
And doughtye of his dede :
10 Man nobler then he was
Lyved none with breade.
right was he :
20 For he gave them golde and fee, &c. This ancient legend was printed in black letter, 4to.,
* As also Chaucer's Rhyme of Sir Topas, v. 6.