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  • Title: John Warner: Albion's England (Selection)
  • Editor: Andrew Griffin

  • Copyright Queen's Men Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: John Warner
    Editor: Andrew Griffin
    Not Peer Reviewed

    John Warner: Albion's England (Selection)

    About a thirty years and five did Leir rule this land,
    1When, doting on his daughters three, with them he fell in hand
    To tell how much they loved him. The eldest did esteem
    Her life inferior to her love, so did the second deem,
    The youngest said her love was such as did a child behoove,
    5And that how much himself was worth, so much she him did love.
    The foremost two did please him well, the youngest did not so.
    Upon the Prince of Albany the first he did bestow,
    The middle on the Cornish prince: their dowry was his throne
    At his decease. Cordella's part was very small, or none,
    10Yet for her form, and virtuous life, a noble Gallian king
    Did her, un-dowed, for his queen into his country bring.
    Her sisters sick of father's health, their husbands by consent
    Did join in arms. From Leir so by force the scepter went,
    Yet, for they promise pensions large, he rather was content.
    15In Albany the quondam king at eldest daughter's court
    Was settled scarce, when she repines, and lessens still his port.
    His second daughter then, he thought, would show herself more kind,
    To whom, he going, for a while did frank allowance find.
    Ere long, abridging almost all, she keepeth him so low,
    20That of the two bads, for better's choice he back again did go.
    But Gonorill at his return, not only did attempt
    Her father's death, but openly did hold him in contempt.
    His aged eyes pour out their tears, when holding up his hands,
    He said: "O God, who so thou art, that my good hap withstands,
    25Prolong not life, defer not death, myself I over-live,
    When those that owe to me their lives to me my death would give.
    Thou town, whose walls rose of my wealth, stand evermore to tell
    Thy founder's fall, and warn that none do fall as Leir fell.
    Bid none affy in friends, for say, his children wrought his wrack:
    30Yea those that were to him most dear did loathe and let him lack.
    Cordella, well Cordella said, she loved as a childe:
    But sweeter words we seek than sooth, and so are men beguiled.
    She only rests untried yet, but what may I expect
    From her, to whom I nothing gave, when these do me reject.
    35Then die, nay, try, the rule may fail, and nature may ascend,
    Nor are they ever surest friends, on whom we most do spend."
    He ships himself to Gallia then, but maketh known before
    Unto Cordella his estate, who rueth him so poor,
    And kept his there arrival close, till she provided had
    40To furnish him in every want. Of him her king was glad,
    And nobly entertained him; the Queen, with tears among,
    (Her duty done) conferreth with her father of his wrong.
    Such duty, bounty, kindness, and increasing love, he found
    In that his daughter and her lord, for sorrows more abound
    45For this unkindly using her, then for the others crime.
    And king-like thus in Agamps' court did Leir dwell, till time
    The noble king his son-in-law transports an army great,
    Of forcy Gauls, possessing him of dispossessed seat,
    To whom Cordella did succeed, not reigning long in quite.
    50Not how her nephews war with her and one of them slew th'other
    Shall followe: but I will disclose a most tyrannous mother.