The Lady

Caroline Clive

There was an ancient dwelling-place,
The home of English Squires;
An ancient Lady dwelt therein,
She had it from her Sires.

Her purse was fill'd with gold I trow,
Her house with household store;
And when the neighbours' pelf wax'd low,
They came to her for more.

She gave her gold, she sought the sick,
And ask'd them of their harm;
Forth walking with her Bible-book,
Her basket on her arm.

She lov'd them all, and they lov'd her
With good old loyalty;
And when she wax'd so faint and old,
They griev'd that she must die.

"Alack!" they cried, "we'll pray for her,
That she may come about;
She's been a friend for fifty years,
We cannot do without."

But yet the good old Lady died,
And woe was all her land;
They put the shroud about her face,
And rosemary in her hand.

They plac'd her in her own old hall,
The Servants stood around;
The Church-bells, as they bore her forth,
Toll'd out a heavy sound.

Old folks and young were come to see,
Of tears there was no lack;
The Tenants walk'd behind in pairs,
Each in a suit of black.

They laid her in her father's vault,
'Mid coffins many a one;
The Parson said his holy words,
And they made fast the stone.

That stone will never more be rais'd,
Now she has got her place;
That childless Lady was the last
Of her old name and race.

This ballad has been set to music by the Chevalier Neukomm,
under the title of "The Old English Lady."

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