Christina Rossetti: Cousin Kate

Cousin Kate

I was a cottage maiden   Hardened by sun and air, Contented with my cottage mates,   Not mindful I was fair. Why did a great lord find me out,   And praise my flaxen hair? Why did a great lord find me out   To fill my heart with care?
He lured me to his palace home—   Woe's me for joy thereof— To lead a shameless shameful life,   His plaything and his love. He wore me like a silken knot,   He changed me like a glove; So now I moan, an unclean thing,   Who might have been a dove.
O Lady Kate, my cousin Kate,   You grew more fair than I: He saw you at your father's gate,   Chose you, and cast me by. He watched your steps along the lane,   Your work among the rye; He lifted you from mean estate   To sit with him on high.
Because you were so good and pure   He bound you with his ring: The neighbours call you good and pure,   Call me an outcast thing. Even so I sit and howl in dust,   You sit in gold and sing: Now which of us has tenderer heart?   You had the stronger wing.
O cousin Kate, my love was true,   Your love was writ in sand: If he had fooled not me but you,   If you stood where I stand, He'd not have won me with his love   Nor bought me with his land; I would have spit into his face   And not have taken his hand. 
Yet I've a gift you have not got,   And seem not like to get: For all your clothes and wedding-ring   I've little doubt you fret. My fair-haired son, my shame, my pride,   Cling closer, closer yet: Your father would give lands for one   To wear his coronet.