By William Shenstone (1714-1763) , “The Princess Elizabeth. A ballad, alluding to a story recorded of her when she was prisoner at Woodstock, 1554.”
Will you hear how once repining
Great Eliza captive lay?
Each ambitious thought resigning,
Foe to riches, pomp, and sway.
While the nymphs and swains delighted
Tript around in all their pride,
Envying joys by others slighted,
Thus the royal maiden cried:
"Bred on plains, or born in valleys,
Who would bid those scenes adieu?
Stranger to the arts of malice,
Who would ever courts pursue?
"Malice never taught to treasure,
Censure never taught to bear;
Love is all the shepherd's pleasure;
Love is all the damsel's care.
"How can they of humble station
Vainly blame the powers above?
Or accuse the dispensation
Which allows them all to love?
"Love, like air, is widely given;
Power nor chance can these restrain;
Truest, noblest gifts of Heaven!
Only purest on the plain!
"Peers can no such charms discover,
All in stars and garters drest,
As on Sundays does the lover
With his nosegay on his breast.
"Pinks and roses in profusion,
Said to fade when Chloe's near;
Fops may use the same allusion,
But the shepherd is sincere.
"Hark to yonder milkmaid singing
Cheerily o'er the brimming pail,
Cowslips all around are springing,
Sweetly paint the golden vale.
"Never yet did courtly maiden
Move so sprightly, look so fair:
Never breast with jewels laden
Pour a song so void of care.
"Would indulgent Heaven had granted
Me some rural damsel's part!
All the empire I had wanted
Then had been my shepherd's heart.
"Then, with him, o'er hills and mountains,
Free from fetters, might I rove,
Fearless taste the crystal fountains,
Peaceful sleep beneath the grove.
"Rustics had been more forgiving,
Partial to my virgin bloom;
None had envied me when living;
None had triumph'd o'er my tomb." . .