1784 - 1859
King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day, as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
The nobles fill'd the benches, and the ladies in their pride,
And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sigh'd:
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
Ramp'd and roar'd the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
With wallowing might and stifled roar they roll'd on one another,
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."
De Lorge's love o'erheard the king, a beauteous lively dame
With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seem'd the same;
She thought, the count my lover is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I'll drop my glove to prove his love; great glory shall be mine.
She dropp'd her glove to prove his love, then look'd at him and smiled;
He bow'd and in a moment leap'd among the lions wild:
The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regain'd the place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"By God ! " Said Francis, "rightly done ! " And he rose from where he sat;
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."
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