The High-born Ladye

In vain all the Knights to the Underwald wooed her,
Tho' brightest of maidens, the proudest was she;
Brave chieftains they sought, and young minstrels they sued her,
But worthy were none of the high-born Ladye.

" Whosoever I wed, " said this maid, so excelling,
" That Knight must the conqueror of conquerors be;
" He must place me in halls fit for monarchs to dwell in; —
" None else shall be Lord of the high-born Ladye! "

Thus spoke the proud damsel, with scorn looking round her
On Knights and on Nobles of highest degree;
Who humbly and hopelessly left as they found her,
And worshipt at distance the high-born Ladye.

At length came a Knight, from a far land to woo her,
With plumes on his helm like the foam of the sea;
His visor was down — but, with voice that thrilled thro' her,
He whispered his vows to the high-born Ladye.

" Proud maiden! I come with high spousals to grace thee,
" In me the great conqueror of conquerors see;
" Enthroned in a hall fit for monarchs I 'll place thee,
" And mine thou 'rt for ever, thou high-born Ladye! "

The maiden she smiled, and in jewels arrayed her,
Of thrones and tiaras already dreamt she;
And proud was the step, as her bridegroom conveyed her
In pomp to his home, of that highborn Ladye.

" But whither, " she, starting, exclaims, " have you led me?
" Here's naught but a tomb and a dark cypress tree;
" Is this the bright palace in which thou wouldst wed me? "
With scorn in her glance said the high-born Ladye.

" 'T is the home, " he replied, " of earth's loftiest creatures " —
Then lifted his helm for the fair one to see;
But she sunk on the ground — 't was a skeleton's features,
And Death was the Lord of the high-born Ladye!
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