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ANCIENT PORTUGUESE BALLADS. 273
And grant a grave in holy ground His body to lie in."
The Portuguese ballads, which relate to domestic tragedies, without reference to historic events, are numerous, and very frequently of a high order of merit. They have the characteristics of folk-poetry in their dramatic interjections and irregularities, but often have a consistency and strength not found in the more romantic ballads. The Death-Bed Marriage is a specimen of this class.
THE DEATH-BED MARRIAGE.
From the frontier of Castille the bitter news has flown, The brave Dom Juan is dying ; how his dear love will moan ; Three doctors grave were summoned, the most renowned for
skill, If they to life restore him gold will their purses fill.
The youngest two declared that the malady was slight; But when the elder entered he saw with clearer light. To the dying man he said, " You 've but three hours to live, To solemn thoughts and duties that short time you should give.
" One will serve to make your will, and purge your burdened
soul, One is for the sacrament, the church's sacred dole ; The third and last shall serve you, while tolls the passing bell To see your best beloved, and say a last farewell."
While these sad words gave warning, fair Isabel stood by. He turned to look upon her, with death mist in his eye.