Percy's Reliques - Lucy and Colin.

Lucy and Colin.

            This ballad was written by Thomas Tickell, Esq. the celebrated friend of Mr. Addison, and Editor of his works. He was son of a clergyman in the north of England; had his education at Queen's College, Oxon; was under-secretary to Mr. Addison and Mr. Craggs, when successively secretaries of state; and was lastly (in June 1724) appointed secretary to the Lords Justices in Ireland, which place he held till his death in 1740. He acquired Mr. Addison's patronage by a poem in praise of the opera of Rosamond, written while he was at the university.

            It is a tradition in Ireland that this song was written at Castletown, in the county of Kildare, at the request of the then Mrs. Conolly; probably on some event recent in that neighbourhood.

OF Leinster, fam'd for maidens fair,
Bright Lucy was the grace;
Nor e'er did Liffy's limpid stream
Reflect so fair a face.

Till luckless love and pining care
Impair'd her rosy hue,
Her coral lip and damask cheek,
And eyes of glossy blue.

Oh have you seen a lily pale,
When beating rains descend?
So droop'd the slow-consuming maid;
Her life now near its end.

By Lucy warn'd, of flattering swains
Take heed, ye easy fair;
Of vengeance due to broken vows,
Ye perjur'd swains, beware.

Three times, all in the dead of night,
A bell was heard to ring;
And at her window, shrieking thrice,
The raven flap'd his wing.

Too well the love-lorn maiden knew
That solemn boding sound;
And thus, in dying words, bespoke
The virgins weeping round;

"I hear a voice you cannot hear,
Which says, I must not stay;
I see a hand you cannot see,
Which beckons me away.

"By a false heart, and broken vows,
In early youth I die.
Am I to blame, because his bride
Is thrice as rich as I?

"Ah, Colin! give not her thy vows;
Vows due to me alone;
Nor thou, fond maid, receive his kiss,
Nor think him all thy own.

"To-morrow in the church to wed,
Impatient, both prepare;
But know, fond maid, and know, false man,
That Lucy will be there.

"Then, bear my corse, ye comrades, bear,
The bridegroom blithe to meet;
He in his wedding-trim so gay,
I in my winding-sheet."

She spoke, she died: her corse was borne,
The bridegroom blithe to meet;
He in his wedding-trim so gay,
She in her winding-sheet.

Then what were perjur'd Colin's thoughts?
How were those nuptials kept?
The bride-men flock'd round
Lucy dead, And all the village wept.

Confusion, shame, remorse, despair,
At once his bosom swell;
The damps of death bedew'd his brow,
He shook, he groan'd, he fell.

From the vain bride (ah! bride no more),
The varying crimson fled,
When stretch'd before her rival's corse,
She saw her husband dead.

Then to his Lucy's new-made grave,
Convey'd by trembling swains,
One mould with her, beneath one sod,
For ever now remains.

Oft at their grave the constant hind
And plighted maid are seen;
With garlands gay, and true-love knots,
They deck the sacred green.

But, swain forsworn, whoe'er thou art,
This hallow'd spot forbear;
Remember Colin's dreadful fate,
And fear to meet him there.

 

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