CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

DONNA VIOLETTA.

A SPANISH BALLAD (NOT IN LOCKHART’S COLLECTION.)




I.


Lythe and listen, ladies gay, and gentle gallants, listen:
In Donna Violetta’s eyes the pearly tear-drops glisten,
The hour has come—the Priest has come—have come the             bridemaids three,
The groomsman’s there, but ah the groom, alas! and where is             he?
Full sadly sighed that mother sage, “It is provoking, really—

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What can the good knight mean or plead to justify his delay?”
And red and pale alternate turned the bride, as wore the morning,
And there she stood amid a crowd, half sorrowing, half scorning.


II.


At last outspoke the best bridesmaid, as on the time-piece             glancing,
Her black eye fir’d, and her small foot beneath her robe kept

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            dancing:

“If I were you, sweet coz,” she said, “I’d die before I’d let a
Man put ring, who first put slight, upon me, Violetta!” [Page 86]
And out bespoke the groomsman gay, a dapper little fellow,
Who, though ’twas early in the day, was slightly touched or             mellow:
“My lands are full as broad as his, my name is full as noble,

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And, as true knight, I cannot see a lady fair in trouble—
So, lovely mourner, list to me, and cease those sad tears             shedding,
Accept the hand I offer thee, and let’s not mar the wedding.”


III.


The lady sighed, the lady smiled, then placed her fingers taper
Upon the gallant groomsman’s arm, who forthwith cut a caper—

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The vows were said, the prayers were read—the wedded pair
            departed
About the time the former swain had from his lodgings started—
Don Sluggard entered by one gate as they drove out the other,
And where he should have found the bride he only found her             mother.
“His Costumier was slow,” he said, “his horses wanted baiting,

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And therefore he—unhappily—had kept the ladies waiting.”             [Page 87]

IV.


Ye ladies fair, and gallants gay—true lovers prone to quarrel—
I pray you heed the rhyme you read, and meditate the moral:
Full many a hopeful suitor’s doom beside this has been dated
From that dark hour when first he left his lady fair belated—

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All other sins may be forgiven to the repentant lover,
But this alone in vain he may endeavour to recover.
So should you have a youthful friend—a friend that you regard, oh!
Oh! teach him, teach him to beware, the doom of Don Sluggardo!
[Page 88]