Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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And being dead, their crowns they left
Unto the next of kin: Thus have you seen the fall of pride,
And disobedient sin.
The celebrated mistress of Henry the Second was daughter to Walter Clifford, a baron of Herefordshire. She bore the king two sons, one of them while he was still Duke of Normandy. Before her death she retired to the convent of Godstow, and there she was buried; but Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, not courtly enough to distinguish between royal and vulgar im­moralities, caused her body to be removed, and interred in the common cemetery, "lest Christian religion should grow in contempt."
The story of Queen Eleanor's poisoning her rival is not confirmed by the old writers, though they men­tion the labyrinth. All the romance in Rosamond's history appears to be the offspring of popular fancy. Percy has collected the principal passages from the chronicles in his preface to the ballad.
Fair Rosamond is the work of Thomas Deloney, a well-known ballad-maker who died about 1600. Our copy is the earliest that is known, and is taken from Deloney's Strange Histories, ed. of 1607, as reprinted by the Percy Society, vol. iii. p. 54. The same is found in the Crown Garland of Golden Roses, ed. 1659 (Per. Soc. vol. vi. p. 12), and in the Garland of Good Will, ed. 1678 (Per. Soc. vol xxx. p. 1.):