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The subject of this ballad is taken from a folio collection of tragical stories, intitled, “ The theatre of God's judgments, by Dr. Beard and Dr. Taylor, 1642." Pt. 2. p. 89.-The text is given (with corrections) from two copies ; one of them in black-letter in the Pepys collection. In this every stanza is accompanied with the following distich by way of burden:

“ Oh jealousie! thou art nurst in hell :

Depart from hence, and therein dwell."

All tender hearts, that ake to hear
Of those that suffer

wrong ;
All you, that never shed a tear,

Give heed unto my song.


Fair Isabella's tragedy

My tale doth far exceed :
Alas, that so much cruelty

In female hearts should breed !


In Spain a lady liv'd of late,

Who was of high degree;
Whose wayward temper did create

Much woe and misery.


Strange jealousies so fill'd her head

With many a vain surmize,
She thought her lord had wrong'd her bed,

And did her love despise.


A gentlewoman passing fair

Did on this lady wait;
With bravest dames she might compare ;

Her beauty was compleat.


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Her lady cast a jealous eye

Upon this gentle maid;
And taxt her with disloyaltye ;

And did her oft upbraid.

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And oft before his lady's face,

As thinking her her friend,
He would the maiden's modest grace

And comeliness commend.


All which incens'd his lady so,

She burnt with wrath extreame; At length the fire that long did glow,

Burst forth into a flame.


For on a day it so befell,

When he was gone from home, The lady all with rage did swell,

And to the damsell come.


And charging her with great offence,

And many a grievous fault;
She bade her servants drag her thence,

Into a dismal vault,

That lay beneath the common-shore :

A dungeon dark and deep :
Where they were wont, in days of yore,

Offenders great to keep.


There never light of chearful day

Dispers’d the hideous gloom;
But dank and noisome vapours play

Around the wretched room :

60 And

And adders, snakes, and toads therein,

As afterwards was known,
Long in this loathsome vault had bin,

And were to monsters grown.


Into this foul and fearful place,

The fair one innocent
Was cast, before her lady's face ;

Her malice to content.


This maid no sooner enter'd is,

But strait, alas ! she hears
The toads to croak, and snakes to hiss :

Then grievously she fears.

Soon from their holes the vipers creep,

And fiercely her assail :
Which makes the damsel sorely weep,

And her sad fate bewail.


With her fair hands she strives in vain

Her body to defend :
With shrieks and cries she doth complain,

But all is to no end.

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A servant listning near the door,

Struck with her doleful noise, Strait ran his lacly to implore ;

But she'll not hear his voice.


With bleeding heart he goes agen

To mark the maiden's groans ; And plainly hears, within the den,

How she herself bemoans.


Again he to his lady hies

With all the haste he may : She into furious passion flies,

And orders him away.

Still back again does he return

To hear her tender cries;
The virgin now had ceas'd to mourn;

Which fill'd him with surprize.


In grief, and horror, and affright,

He listens at the walls ;
But finding all was silent quite,

He to his lady calls.


Too sure, O lady, now quoth he,

Your cruelty hath sped;
Make hast, for shame, and come and see ;

I fear the virgin's dead.


She starts to hear her sudden fate,

And does with torches run :
But all her haste was now too late,

For death his worst had done.


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