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Given from two ancient copies, one in black-print, in the Pepys Collection, the other in the Editor's folio MS. Each of these contained a stanza not found in the other. What seemed the best readings were selected from both.
This song is quoted as very popular in Walton's Compleat Angler, chap. 2. It is more ancient than the ballad of Robin Good-FELLOW printed below, which yet is supposed to have been written by Ben Jonson.
As at noone Dulcina rested
In her sweete and shady bower,
But from her looke
A wounde he tooke
The nymph he prayes.
Wherto shee sayes,
But in vayne shee did conjure him
To depart her presence soe;
And but one to bid him goe:
Where lipps invite,
And eyes delight,
What boots, she say,
He demands what time for pleasure
Can there be more fit than now:
He sayes, the sight
In Venus' playes
Makes bold, shee sayes;
But what promise or profession
From his hands could purchase scope?
Or for the sight
Of lingering night
Though ne'er soe faire
Her speeches were,
How, at last, agreed these lovers ?
Shee was fayre, and he was young :
Did shee consent,
Or he relent;
Left he her a mayd,
Or not; she sayd
THE LADY ISABELLA'S TRAGEDY.
This ballad is given from an old black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection, collated with another in the British Museum, H. 263. folio. It is there intitled, “The “ Lady Isabella's Tragedy, or the Step-Mother's Cruelty:
being a relation of a lamentable and cruel murther, “committed on the body of the lady Isabella, the only
daughter of a noble Duke, &c. To the tune of, The Lady's Fall.” To some copies are annexe eight more modern stanzas, intitled, “ The Dutchess's and “ Cook's Lamentation."
Here was a lord of worthy fame,
Of gentrye by his side.
And while he did in chase remaine,
To see both sport and playe;
Unto the church to praye.
This lord he had a daughter deare,
Whose beauty shone so bright,
of many a lord and knight.
Fair Isabella was she call'd,
A creature faire was shee; She was her fathers only joye;
shall after see.
Therefore her cruel step-mother
her so much,
Her malice it was such.
She bargain'd with the master-cook,
To take her life awaye :
Go home, sweet daughter, I thee praye,
Go hasten presentlie;
These wordes that I tell thee.
And bid him dresse to dinner streight
That faire and milk-white doe,
There's none so faire to showe.
This ladye fearing of no harme,
Obey'd her mothers will;
Her pleasure to fulfill,