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Cousin Kate

Written by: Christina Rossetti | Biography
 | Quotes (8) |
 I was a cottage maiden 
Hardened by sun and air 
Contented with my cottage mates, 
Not mindful I was fair. 
Why did a great lord find me out, 
And praise my flaxen hair? 
Why did a great lord find me out, 
To fill my heart with care?

He lured me to his palace home - 
Woe's me for joy thereof- 
To lead a shameless shameful life, 
His plaything and his love. 
He wore me like a silken knot, 
He changed me like a glove; 
So now I moan, an unclean thing, 
Who might have been a dove.

O Lady kate, my cousin Kate, 
You grew more fair than I: 
He saw you at your father's gate, 
Chose you, and cast me by. 
He watched your steps along the lane, 
Your work among the rye; 
He lifted you from mean estate 
To sit with him on high.

Because you were so good and pure 
He bound you with his ring: 
The neighbors call you good and pure, 
Call me an outcast thing. 
Even so I sit and howl in dust, 
You sit in gold and sing: 
Now which of us has tenderer heart? 
You had the stronger wing.

O cousin Kate, my love was true, 
Your love was writ in sand: 
If he had fooled not me but you, 
If you stood where I stand, 
He'd not have won me with his love 
Nor bought me with his land; 
I would have spit into his face 
And not have taken his hand.

Yet I've a gift you have not got, 
And seem not like to get: 
For all your clothes and wedding-ring 
I've little doubt you fret. 
My fair-haired son, my shame, my pride, 
Cling closer, closer yet: 
Your father would give his lands for one 
To wear his coronet.



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