Percy's Reliques - The Bride's Burial

The Bride's Burial

            From two ancient copies in black-letter: one in the Pepys Collection; the other in the British Museum. To the tune of The Lady's Fall.

COME mourne, come mourne with mee,
You loyall lovers all;
Lament my loss in weeds of woe,
Whom griping grief doth thrall.

Like to the drooping vine,
Cut by the gardener's knife,
Even so my heart with sorrow slaine,
Doth bleede for my sweet wife.

By death, that grislye ghost,
My turtle dove is slaine,
And I am left, unhappy man,
To spend my dayes in paine.

Her beauty late so bright,
Like roses in their prime,
Is wasted like the mountain snowe,
Before warme Phoebus' shine.

Her faire red colour'd cheeks
Now pale and wan; her eyes,
That late did shine like crystal stars,
Alas! their light it dies:

Her prettye lilly hands,
With fingers long and small,
In colour like the earthly claye,
Yea, cold and stiff withal!.

When as the morning-star
Her golden gates hath spred,
And that the glittering sun arose
Forth from fair Thetis' bed;

Then did my love awake,
Most like a lilly-flower,
And as the lovely queene of heaven,
So shone shee in her bower.

Attired was shee then
Like Flora in her pride,
Like one of bright Diana's nymphs,
So look'd my loving bride.

And as fair Helens face
Did Grecian dames besmirche,
So did my dear exceed in sight
All virgins in the church.

When we had knitt the knott
Of holy wedlock-band,
Like alabaster joyn'd to jett,
So stood we hand in hand:

Then lo! a chilling cold
Strucke every vital part,
And griping grief, like pangs of death,
Seiz'd on my true love's heart.

Down in a swoon she fell,
As cold as any stone;
Like Venus picture lacking life,
So was my love brought home.

At length her rosye red,
Throughout her comely face,
As Phoebus beames with watry cloudes
Was cover'd for a space.

When with a grievous groane,
And voice both hoarse and drye,
"Farewell," quoth she, "my loving friend,
For I this daye must dye:

"The messenger of God
With golden trumpe I see,
With manye other angels more,
Which sound and call for mee.

"Instead of musicke sweet,
Go toll my passing-bell;
And with sweet flowers strew my grave,
That in my chamber smell.

"Strip off my bride's arraye,
My corke shoes from my feet;
And, gentle mother, be not coye
To bring my winding-sheet.

"My wedding dinner drest,
Bestowe upon the poor,
And on the hungry, needy, maimde,
Now craving at the door.

"Instead of virgins yong,
My bride-bed for to see,
Go cause some cunning carpenter,
To make a chest for mee.

"My bride laces of silk
Bestowd, for maidens meet,
May fitly serve, when I am dead,
To tye my hands and feet.

"And thou, my lover true,
My husband and my friend,
Let me intreat thee here to staye,
Until my life doth end.

"Now leave to talk of love,
And humblye on your knee,
Direct your prayers unto God:
But mourne no more for mee.

"In love as we have livde,
In love let us depart;
And I, in token of my love,
Do kiss thee with my heart.

"O staunch those bootless teares,
Thy weeping 'tis in vaine;
I am not lost, for wee in heaven
Shall one daye meet againe."

With that shee turn'd aside,
As one dispos'd to sleep,
And like a lamb departed life
Whose friends did sorely weep.

Her true love seeing this,
Did fetch a grievous groane,
As tho' his heart would burst in twaine,
And thus he made his moane:

"O darke and dismal daye,
A daye of grief and care,
That hath bereft the sun so bright,
Whose beams refresht the air.

"Now woe unto the world,
And all that therein dwell,
O that I were with thee in heaven,
For here I live in hell!"

And now this lover lives
A discontented life,
Whose bride was brought unto the grave
A maiden and a wife.

A garland fresh and faire
Of lillies there was made
In sign of her virginitye,
And on her coffin laid.

Six maidens all in white,
Did beare her to the ground:
The bells did ring in solemn sort,
And made a dolefull sound.

In earth they laid her then,
For hungry wormes a preye;
So shall the fairest face alive
At length be brought to claye.

 

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