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Of King Edward the third, and the faire Countesse of Salisbury, setting forth her constancy and endlesse glory

When as King Edward the third did liue,
that valiant King:
Dauid of Scotland to rebell,
did then begin.
The towne of Barwicke suddenly from vs he wonne:
And burnt New-castle to the ground,
thus strife begun.
To Rosbury Castle marcht he then,
and by the force of warlike men,
Besieg’d therein a gallant faire Lady,
while that her husband was in France,
His countries honour to aduance,
the noble and fameous Earle of Salisbury.
Braue Sir William Montague,
rode then in post:
Who declard vnto the King,
the Scottish mens hoast.
Who like a Lyon in his rage,
did straight way prepare
For to deliuer that faire Lady,
from wofull care:
But when the Scottishmen did heare say,
Edward our King was come that day:
They raised their siege, and ran away with speed,
So when that he did thither come
With warlike Trumpet, Fife and Drum,
none but a gallant Lady did him meet.
Whom when he did with greedy eyes
behold and see:
Her peerlesse beauty straight inthrald
his Maiestie.
And euer the longer that he look’t
the more he might:
For in her onely beauty was,
his hearts delight.
And humbly then vpon her knee,
she thankt his royall Maiestie,
That he had driuen danger from her Gate.
Lady (quoth he) stand vp in peace,
Although my warre doth now increase,
Lord keepe (quoth she) all hurt from your estate.
Now is the King full sad in soule,
and wot not why?
All for the loue of the faire Countesse
of Salisbury.
She little knowing his cause of Griefe,
did come to see:
Wherfore his Highnesse sate alone
so heauily,
I haue beene wrong’d, fair Dame (quoth he)
since I came hither vnto thee.
No, God forbid my Soueraigne (she said)
if I were worthy for to know
The cause and ground of this your woe,
you should be helpt if it did lye in me.
Sweare to performe thy words to me
thou Lady gay:
To thee the sorrow of my heart,
I will bewray.
I sweare by all the Saints in heauen,
I will (quoth she):
And let my Lord haue no mistrust
at all in me.
Then take thy selfe aside (he said)
for why thy beauty hath betraid,
Wounding a King with thy bright shining eye,
If thou do then some mercy show:
Thou shalt expell a Princes woe:
so shall I liue, or else in sorrow die.
You haue your wish, my Soueraigne Lord,
effectually:
Take all the loue that I can giue
your Maiestie.
But in thy beauty all my ioys
haue their abode:
Take then my beauty from my
face my gracious Lord.
Didst thou not swear to grant my will:
all that I may I will fulfill.
Then for my loue let thy true loue be seene:
My Lord, your speech I might reproue,
You cannot giue to me your loue,
for that belongs vnto your Queene.
But I suppose your Grace did this,
only to try
Whether a wanton tale might tempt
Dame Salisbury.
Nor from your selfe therfore my Liege,
my steps do stray:
But from your tempting wanton tale,
I go my way.
O turne againe thou Lady bright,
come vnto me my harts delight.
Gone is the comfort of my pensiue heart:
Here comes the Earle of Warwicke he,
The Father of this faire Lady:
my mind to him I meane for to impart.
Why is my Lord and Soueraigne King
so grieu’d in mind:
Because that I haue lost the thing
I cannot find.
What thing is that, my gracious Lord
which you haue lost?
It is my heart which is neare dead,
betwixt fire and frost.
Curst be that fire and frost too,
that causeth this your highnesse woo,
O Warwick, thou dost wrong me very sore,
it is thy daughter noble Earle:
That heauen bright lampe that peereles pearle
which kils my heart, yet do I her adore.
If that be all (my gracious King:)
that workes your griefe,
I will perswade that scomefull Dame
to yeeld reliefe:
Neuer shall she my daughter be,
if she refuse.
The loue and fauour of a King
may her excuse.
Thus wise Warwicke went his way,
and quite contrary he did say:
When as he did the beauteous Countesse meet,
well met my daughter deare (quoth he)
A message I must do to thee:
Our royall King most kindly doth thee greet
The King will die, lest thou to him
do grant thy loue:
To loue the King my husbands loue
I should remoue,
It is right charitie to loue,
my daughter deare:
But not true loue so charitable
for to appeare.
His greatnesse may beare out the shame,
But his kingdome cannot buy out the blame,
he craues thy loue that may bereaue thy life.
It is my dutie to moue this,
But not my honestie to yeeld, I wis:
I meane to die a true vnspotted wife.
Now hast thou spoken my daughter deare,
as I would haue:
Chastitie beares a golden name
vnto her graue.
And when vnto thy wedded Lord
thou prouest vntrue:
Then let my bitter curses still
thy soule pursue.
Then with a smiling chea}e go thou
as right and reason doth allow.
Yet shew the King thou bearest no strumpets mind
I go deare father with a trice
and by a slight of fine deuice:
Ile cause the King confesse that I am kind.
Here comes the Lady of my life
the King did say:
My father bids me, Soueraigne Lord
your will obay:
And I consent, if you will grant
one boone to me.
I grant it thee, my Lady faire,
whatere it be.
My husband is aliue you know,
first let me kill him, ere I go.
And at your command I wil for euer be.
Thy husband now in France doth rest:
No, no he lyes within my brest,
and being so nie, he will my falsehood see.
With that she started from the King,
and tooke hir knife:
And desperately she sought to rid
her selfe of life.
The King vpstarted from his chaire,
her hand to stay,
O noble King you haue broke your word
with me this day.
Thou shalt not do this deed (quoth he)
then neuer will I ly with thee.
No, liue thou still, and let me beare the blame,
Liue in honour and high estate
With thy true Lord and wedded mate:
I neuer will attempt this suit againe.

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Of King Edward the third, and the faire Countesse of Salisbury, setting forth her constancy and endlesse glory - THOMAS DELONEY