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250 ANCIENT PORTUGUESE BALLADS.
" That I should kill an innocent, who's never done a wrong, Such deadly treason would o'erwhelm my soul with shame
and sin. The life of earth in punishment to justice would belong, And in the life beyond the grave no pardon could I win."
" The[Countess is a burden here, and therefore must she die ; In that gilt basin bring her head, all dripping with its gore." Count Yanno left the cruel king, his soul in agony, And followed the dark page, whose arms the fatal basin bore.
The page was clad in mourning garb, the Count in sad array, As if in pain of parting breath his heart with anguish
swelled, The Countess ran to meet him, as she saw him far away ; Her husband and her little child in one embrace she held.
" Well come — well come, Count, for my joy ; " but not a
word he said, He mounted slowly up the steps, and locked and barred the
door ; Then bade the wondering servants the supper table spread: The household marveled at a mien they 'd never seen before,
They did not touch the food or wine, but sat in sad unrest. The tears welled from Count Yanno's eyes ; he bent to kiss
the child, That to his mother's warm, soft breast his rosy lips had prest: The infant turned to meet the kiss, and like an angel smiled.
To see that mingled smile and kiss, her heart in sobs broke
out, The echoes of her bursting grief filled all the lofty room :