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Thus did he remain
In wasteful great expences, Till it bred his pain,
And consum'd him quite. When his lands were spent,
Troubled in his senses, Then he did repent Of his late lewd life;
For relief he hies,
For relief he flies To them on whom he spent his gold;
They do him deny,
They do him defy, They will not once his face behold.
Being thus distressed,
Being thus oppressed, In the fields that night he lay;
Which the harlot knowing,
Through her malice growing, Sought to take his life away.
A young and proper lad
They had slain in secret For the gold he had ;
Whom they did convey, By a ruffian lewd,
To that place directly, Where the youthful knight Fast a sleeping lay;
The bloody dagger, then,
Wherewith they kill'd the man, Hard by the knight he likewise laid;
Sprinkling him with blood,
As he thought it good, And then no longer there he stay'd.
The knight, being so abused,
Was forthwith accused For this murder which was done;
And he was condemned
That had not offended, Shameful death he might not shun.
When the lady bright
Understood the matter, That her wedded knight
Was condemned to die, To the king she went
With all the speed that might be, Where she did lament Her hard destiny. " Noble king," quoth she, "Pity take on me,
And pardon my poor husband's life;
Else I am undone,
With my little son, Let mercy mitigate this grief." " Lady fair, content thee,
Soon thou wouldst repent thee If he should be saved so;
Sore he hath abus'd thee,
Sore he hath misus'd thee, Therefore, lady, let him go."
" O, my liege," quoth she,
" Grant your gracious favour; Dear he is to me,
Though he did me wrong." The king replied again, With a stem behaviour, " A subject he hath slain,
Die, he shall, ere long: Except thou canst find Any one so kind That will die and set him free." " Noble king," she said, "Glad am I apaid, That same person will I be. I will suffer duly, I will suffer truly, For my love and husband's sake." The king thereat amazed, Though he her beauty praised, [take. He bade from thence they should her
It was the king's command,
On the morrow after, She should out of hand To the scaffold go; Her husband was
To bear the sword before her; He must, eke alas !
Give the deadly blow.
He refus'd the deed,
She bade him to proceed With a thousand kisses sweet.
In this woeful case
They did both embrace; Which mov'd the ruffians in that place
Straight for to discover
This concealed murder; Whereby the lady saved was.
The harlot then was hanged,
As she well deserved : This did virtue bring to pass.