Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 5/Rosamond, queen of the Lombards
ROSAMOND, QUEEN OF THE LOMBARDS.
Her long black hair came curling down
Above her shoulders bare,
Upon her brow a jewelled crown,—
And o’er her violet eyes a frown,
She sate those bearded lords among,
Scorning the Lombard swine,
While they, with burly battle song,
Drained down, with clamours loud and long,
The dark Falernian wine.
The king in wrath hath started up:
Grim grew his face and red,
“By the bleeding Rood! but thou shalt sup
The good wine from thy master’s cup,
Made of thy father’s head.”
The king’s red face grew pale with ire,
He smote upon the board:
“Pour up the wine which flames like fire,
And drink damnation to thy sire,
And glory to thy lord!
“Thy sire is rotting in his grave,
Thy sire, my beaten hound,
And thou art but my leman-slave,
The whitest-bosomed toy I have,
My lady Rosamond!”
She raised the scull-cup to her lips,
Queenlike she gazed around,
Across her heart a shadow slips—
“Ah me! how sharp the memory grips
Of wild Lord Cunimond!”
Smiling, she touched it, bubbling fresh,
Like the broth of a wizard’s charm.—
That night she caught him in her mesh,
And slew him, gorged with wine and flesh,
With her ivory-moulded arm.
So sharply to his false heart sped
The knife of Rosamond:
With his wild eyes all blurred with red,
Within the dwellings of the dead,
He met Lord Cunimond!