Meanwhile Sir Nicholas Hiklebrand
Had brought with him from the Holy Land
A couple of bears—Oh, that was grand!
He tamed the bears, and they loved him true:
Whatever he told them they would do—
Hark! 'tis the town-clock striking two!
Among the maidens of low degree
The poorest of all was Cicely—
A shabbier girl could hardly be.
"Oh, I should like to see the feast,
But my frock is old, my shoes are pieced,
My hair is rough!"—(It never was greased.)
The clock struck three! She durst not go!
But she heard the band, and, to see the show,
Crept after the people that went in a row.
When Cicely came to the castle gate,
The porter exclaimed, "Miss Shaggypate,
The hall is full, and you come too late!"
Just then the music made a din,
Flute, and cymbal, and culverin,
And Cicely, with a squeeze, got in.
Oh, what a sight! Full fifty score
Of dames that Cicely knew, and more,
Filling the hall from dais to door!
The dresses were like a garden bed,
Green and gold, and blue and red—
Poor Cicely thought of her tossy head!
She heard the singing—she heard the clatter—
Clang of flagon and clink of platter—
But, oh, the feast was no such matter!
For she saw Sir Nicholas himself,
Raised on a dais just like a shelf.
And fell in love with him—shabby elf!
Her heart beat quick; aside she stepped:
Under the tapestry she crept,
Tousling her tossy hair, and wept!
Her cheeks were wet, her eyes were red.
"Who makes that noise?" the ladies said;
"Turn out that girl with the shaggy head!"