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“Nay now, my child,” said Alice the nurse,

“But keep the secret for your life, And all you have will be Lord Ronald's,

When you are man and wife.”

“ If I'm a beggar born,” she said,

“I will speak out, for I dare not lie. Pull off, pull off, the brooch of gold,

And fling the diamond necklace by.”

“Nay now, my child,” said Alice the nurse,

“But keep the secret all ye can.” She said “ Not so : but I will know

If there be any faith in man.”

“Nay now, what faith ? ” said Alice the nurse,

“ The man will cleave unto his right.” “ And he shall have it,” the lady replied,

“ Though I should die to-night.”

“ Yet give one kiss to your mother dear !

Alas, my child, I sinn'd for thee." “O mother, mother, mother,” she said,

“ So strange it seems to me.

“Yet here is a kiss for my mother dear,

My mother dear, if this be so, And lay your hand upon my head,

And bless me, mother, ere I go.”

She clad herself in a russet gown,

She was no longer Lady Clare : She went by dale, and she went by down,

With a single rose in her hair.

Down stept Lord Ronald from his tower :

“O Lady Clare, you shame your worth ! Why come you drest like a village maid,

That are the flower of the earth ?”

“If I come drest like a village maid,

I am but as my fortunes are : I am a beggar born,” she said,

“ And not the Lady Clare.”

“ Play me no tricks," said Lord Ronald,

“For I am yours in word and in deed. Play me no tricks,” said Lord Ronald,

“ Your riddle is hard to read.”

O and proudly stood she up !

Her heart within her did not fail : She look’d into Lord Ronald's eyes,

And told him all her nurse's tale.

He laugh'd a laugh of merry scorn :

He turn'd, and kiss'd her where she stood : “ If you are not the heiress born,

And I,” said he, “ the next in blood

“ If you are not the heiress born,

And I,” said he," the lawful heir, We two will wed to-morrow morn,

And you shall still be Lady Clare.”


In her ear he whispers gaily,

“ If my heart by signs can tell, Maiden, I have watch'd thee daily,

And I think thou lov’st me well.” She replies, in accents fainter,

“ There is none I love like thee.” He is but a landscape-painter,

And a village maiden she. He to lips, that fondly falter,

Presses his without reproof ; Leads her to the village altar,

And they leave her father's roof. “I can make no marriage present ;

Little can I give my wife. Love will make our cottage pleasant,

And I love thee more than life.”

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