Page 260 POEM I Met a Motley Fool By Robin of Gilwell The other day I met a motley fool I'

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Page 260 POEM I Met a Motley Fool By: Robin of Gilwell The other day I met a motley fool; I've never known another mind so slow. To live with so few wits seems rather cruel. I thought perhaps to teach him what I know. At Tournament his schooling was begun. I showed him how each fighter there behaved: Each blow not called, each movement badly done. He said, "They look so chivalrous and brave!" We wandered to the ladies in the stands. I pointed out each flaw that I could see, Big hips, uneven face, or dirty hands. He said, "They all look beautiful to me!" To live with so few wits seems rather cruel, And yet . . . I wish that I were such a fool. Page 261 SONG Song of Ansteorra By: Valeria Richila Navarro The song of Ansteorra One song, One heart, One Star No matter where my path may lead My heart is with the Star. So long ago before I knew The Star did e'er exist There was a dream within my heart Of place so heaven kissed. I searched not with my eye or head But solely with my heart Waiting 'till I found the place Where all my dreams could start. Nothing knew I of kingdoms far Yet I walked a different pace. For I felt the pulse within my soul That led me to this place. The song of Ansteorra One song, One heart, One Star No matter where my path may lead My heart is with the Star. Page 262 POEM The Winner of the List By: Robin of Gilwell Answer quickly now, who won the list? For he's the only one that we'll remember When we discuss the tourney in December: Who had the fastest sword, the strongest wrist? Answer quickly now, who won the list? As all the fighters gather round to pay Their tribute to the man who won that day With heavy shield and mighty mailed fist. As we applaud the victor's strength and daring There is another fighter whom we've missed. But never fear for him! He's long past caring, Off in his tent, caressed and loved and kissed By the one whose favor he was bearing; So answer quickly now, who won the list? Page 263 POEM Out to Make a Name By: Robin of Gilwell He was a young man out to make a name, A swordsman bold, a monumental pest. By rank and title, he was unimpressed; Be you king or serf, 'twas all the same. He was a young man, out to make his name. At every word he took imagined slight; Another challenge found, another fight, Another chance to win another game. But as the years went by he settled down. He's well-respected now, with rank and fame. A man of reputation and renown, A well-deserved rest is his chief aim. But he's become a target, to be found By all the young men out to make a name. Page 264 POEM Who Are Those Crazy People? By: Robin of Gilwell On weekends, when we all go out to play There's always someone laughing at our clothes. "Oh, look! They're wearing tunics, lace, and hose! Who are those crazy people, anyway?" That's what the people always seem to say, "My God! That fellow's carrying a sword!" "They call themselves 'milady' and 'milord!" "Who are those crazy people, anyway?" But when my eyes meet theirs, it always seems As if their soul is withering away. They live a life that has no gallant dreams, No noble deeds to brighten up their day; And a silent voice from deep within me screams, "Who are those crazy people, anyway?" Page 265 POEM Enough to Spare By: Tadhg Liath of Duncairn The poor folk gathered, with a humble air -- The lord's son bade his men drive them away; Until the lord's hand did their action stay -- "My son," he smiled, "We have enough to spare." The road-sick beggars were a loathsome pair -- The merchant and his son, well-groomed and clean; The father threw a coin, with noble mien -- "My son," he smiled, "We have enough to spare." The peasant boy was sullen, full of fire -- His father's face was worn, and lined with care; "Respect your betters," said the aged sire -- "Defer to them, mind not the haughty stare; "Yield them all the honor they require, My son," he smiled, "We have enough to spare!" Page 266 POEM Robin's Song By: Robin of Gilwell Give me a sword and a battle to fight, A chivalrous code so I'll know what is right, A tournament field with banners displayed, And a favor to wear that my own lady made. Let me trust to the strength of my own good right arm And my skill and my wits to protect me from harm. Let me face a great warrior, courageous and grim Who will treat me with honor as I will to him. Then on the field of honor we'll meet We'll be gracious in victory, brave in defeat And then I'll be truly alive. Give me a lady, most lovely and fair With the bluest of eyes and most golden of hair Whose honor is true, who stands forthright and pure Her wisdom is great and her virtue is sure. Let her standards be high, taking only the best And, Lord, give me strength to survive such a test! We will each give the other the love in our hearts To love, honor and cherish 'til death do us part I will keep and protect you the rest of my life And I'll proudly and joyously call you my wife And we will be truly alive. Give me a barony, noble and strong Who need a good baron to lead them along A land rich with traditions, as strong as the oak Peopled with gentle and courteous folk With pride in their manner and joy in their hearts Land of fighting and heraldry, science and arts Who need only guidance and somewhere to go And I'll lead you to glory and help you to grow In court I'll be gentle. In war I'll be grim And then I'll be truly alive. (continued) Page 267 Robin's Song POEM (continued) Give me a Queen to defend and protect With an honor and grace I can always respect Let her rule with nobility, wisdom and charm And woe unto any who offer her harm. And give me a King, a great powerful lord Whose wisdom is matched by the strength of his sword A generous King and a chivalrous knight With a passion for justice, for doing what's right My love and allegiance I'll swear to you both And spend all of my life living up to that oath So I can be truly alive. Give me my students, depending on me To help them become what they're hoping to be My cadets, who must learn how to handle their swords New heralds to teach about rank and awards Young bards to encourage, to teach how to write And my ward I must train to be always polite. Show me your youth, your excitement and fire And let me look to you to remind and inspire I remember my youth, and the help I had then And the lessons I learned I will pass on again So I'll remain truly alive. Give me an audience, listening well To the poems that I write and the stories I tell The great deeds that I speak of, the dreams that I weave And the love that I offer for all to believe Please, give me your smiles, your support and your ears Let me bring you to laughter or drive you to tears Let our hearts beat together as each understands What binds us all here in these magical lands Let mine be the voice that can banish all care Full of fire and glory and passion to share And now I am truly alive. Page 268 POEM The Queen's Champion Retires By: Robin of Gilwell North to the Barony of Eldern Hills Queen Rowan went, to choose a champion bold A courtier with proven martial skills With wrists of iron, and yet a heart of gold. Don Dupre was chosen, for his strength Was proven on the duelling field that day. Full many fights he fought, until at length There were no fighters left to bar his way. He served Queen Rowan as long as she was Queen And he was there for Queen Rebekka, too. His tongue was gentle, his blade was ever keen To give the Queen the honor she is due. His duty done, he steps aside today; Forget him not -- Christian Richard Dupre! Page 269 SONG The Scottsman Well, a Scotsman clad in kilt left the bar one evening fair, And one could tell by how he walked that he'd drunk more than his share. He fumbled round until he could no longer keep his feet, And he stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street. CHORUS - repeat after every verse Ring-ding-diddle-iddle-I-dee-oh, Ring-dy-diddly-I-oh, (last line of previous verse). About that time two young & lovely girls just happened by. One says to the other with a twinkle in her eye, "See yon sleeping Scotsman, so strong and handsome built, "I wonder if it's true what they don't wear beneath their kilt." They crept up on that sleeping Scotsman quiet as could be, Lifted up his kilt about an inch so they could see. And there, behold for them to view, beneath his Scottish skirt, Was nothin' more than God had graced him with upon his birth. They marveled for a moment, then one said, "We must be gone. "Let's leave a present for our friend before we move along." As a gift they left a blue silk ribbon tied into a bow. Around the bonny star the Scotsmans kilt did lift & show. Well,the Scotsman woke to nature's call & stumbled to a tree. Behind a bush he lifts his kilt & gawks at what he sees. And in a startled vioce he says to what's before his eyes, "Oh, lad I don't know where ye've been but I seň ye've won first prize." Page 270 SONG Woman's Revenge I was dressed in men's fine clothing on the day that we first met, Now I wear a woman's skirt and you don't know me yet. You took from me my land and home, my honour, pride and more. Once I played the Gentleman, Now I can play the whore. CHORUS - repeat after each verse Now It's curtsy, smile & Flatter, play the maiden, not the man. I'll use deceit & weakness as a cunning woman can. It was long ago in battle that I stood at your right hand, Proud to bare my sword for you & to defend our land. But power was a lure too bright & before the day was through, You sacrificed the men who swore their loyalty to you. Well power is its own reward, but doesn't slavery bind? You're the lap-dog of the tyrrant that deduced you from your kind. And though you thought we all were dead, well I survived that day, To work against the crown through you, it's a deadly game I play. I speak to you of treachery, I put treason in your mind, You too could wear the crown my friend, If only for a time. And when you pull the tyrannt down, then you shall be mine neat, You'll know the secret of my past when my vengence is complete. CHORUS- repeat twice at end. Page 271 The Man Who Wouldn't Die SONG By: Sir Cipriano De Alvarez (I found this in a collection by Mistress Sir Trude. Get a copy!) I've armored up a thousand times for country and for king And many's the tale that I could tell or song that I could sing. I've fought in Beltane's driving rain And struggled for each breath At salt wars and Oleno where We damn near froze to death I've had my share of bruises and I've watched the arrows fly But the strangest thing that I've ever seen Was the man who would not die He stood a towering seven feet A gaint among men His armour was of twelve guage steel His hide it was of ten From a lond most far away he came Their champion and King And many crafty ways he had To make your helmet ring The battle lines they soon were joined And much to my suprise I was locked in single combat with The man who wouldn't die We circled round a time or two Then I opened up the show With an underhanded wrist shot which Is still my favorite blow He didn't even try to block Just brought that greatsword down And split my helm completely from The chin up to the crown And though my sword was still entrapped In the dent made in his side "What a mighty knight" his people cheered "Is the man who wouldn't die" Full four and twenty fighters fell Before his awesome might And though many blows did land it seems That every one was light (continued) The Man Who Wouldn't Die (continued) Page 272 SONG The battle soon was over and By God's own blood he went Off to the sides to doff his gear And hammer out the dent's The second battle soon began And I took another try Bearing a sword named "Rhino's Bane" For the Man who would not die For "Rhino's Bane" was a special blade Immortal for the oow And if he had not felt those blows He'd Damn Well Feel One Now! Three feet of rattan I center drilled Then hollowed out the head And filled that hole with six or maybe seven pounds of lead A single shot was all I'd get I raised that sword on high And buried it within the helm of the man who would not die He didn't even bat an eye Just calmly struck me down And then went on the clear the field Of squires, Knights and crown I pondered why this man was not A'stretched out on the dirt I guess a head shot does no good with nothing there to hurt The third engagement was delayed To give the chiurgeon's time To pry the sword from out the head Of the man who would not die A battle deep within the woods Was the last fight of the day And the men remaining on my side Went on their knees to pray "Oh Lord, If you care for us Allow your moon to fall Upon this man for that would be The only blow he'd call" The Man Who Wouldn't Die (continued) Page 273 SONG But as we marched atop a hill A plan occurred which I Thought maybe could lead to the death of the man who would not die Upon the hill there lay a stone A full six feet in girth "Oh gather round my fighters bold We'll bring this man to earth!" Ten stalwart lads I need with me to Strike the final blow While the rest shall keep behemoth here occupied below And when he tries to fight you From up above will fly This boulder full upon the frame Of the man who would not die It happened just as I forsaw From out the woods he ran And stopped there right below us as According to the plan The men below fought bravely while The men above did strain To send that boulder from the hill Onto his alleged brain At last the stone it stirred to life And with a final pry We sent that boulder on it's way To the man who wouldn't die Knocking trees to left and right That fearsome missle sped And with a final bounce it came To rest upon his head His arms and legs were all that we Could see beneath the stone But when we came from atop the hill We heard our victim groan Astounded round him 'bout we stood As the day bled into night And heard him say one final time "My lords, that blow was light!" Page 274 SONG Boozin' (I found this in a collection by Mistress Sir Trude. Get a copy!) Oh, what are the joys of a single young man? * Why boozing, bloody well boozing! And what is he doing whenever he can? ** He's Boozing bloody well boozing! You may think I'm wrong, you may think I'm right I'm not going to argue, I know you can fight But what do you think we'll be doing tonight *** Why Boozing bloody well boozing! CHORUS: Boozing Boozing just you and I Boozing boozing when we are dry Some do it openly some on the sly But we all are bloody well boozing! And what are the jous of a poor married man * And what is he doing whenever he can ** He goes out a shoping, makes many a call He comes home at night and he gives his wife all But what brings him home hanging onto the wall *** CHORUS And what does the salvation army run down * And what are they banning in every town ** They stand on street corners they rave and they shout They shout about things they know nothing about But what are they doing when the lights are turned out *** Page 275 SONG Frantic SCA Words by .. Lady Brynna of Aelfstanbury Tune .. Harried Leisure Class (I found this in a collection by Mistress Sir Trude. Get a copy!) We Hurry To All These Events As If We're On A Quest And We're So Busy Having Fun That We've No Time To Rest Oh, There's Swords To Swing And Bows To String And New Garb To Display There Are So Many Things To Do When You're In The SCA No Time Have We For Sitting Back And Twiddling Our Toes For There's A War To Fight Next Week And We Just Have To Go For All The Knights Will Be There We Just Can't Stay Away We Have Our Feudal Obligations When We're In The SCA We're Going To Have Our Own Event In Just A Week Or Two The Autocrat's A Nervous Wreck And We Don't Know What To Do We Toil All Night With Frantic Haste And Sleep At Work The Next Day For We All Do Our Part When We're In The SCA So Much There Is We Have To Do There Is Simply Is No Way Were So Tired From Rushing About {Slowly Now} I'd Scarcely Call It Play We'll Be Peers Before We're Thirty If We Live To See That Day {Faster} But It'll Be A Lot Of Fun 'Cause We're In The SCA Page 276 SONG TRY A MINSTREL By: Andregor Starseeker Tune: unknown Don't follow a warrior with armour that shines His attention's for fighting first, second for wine You'll haul armour to please him and polish it fine When you want your reward, he'll be snoring like swine! CHORUS: But a minstrel is gentle, his touch it is light He knows how to entertain throughout the night! He's never too tired, or too bruised from a fight! A minstrel's quick tongue can make you feel right! Don't chase after a married man, 'twill soon make you tear You'll be stuck in the closet when his lady is near When the challenge is gone, you'll be dumped on your ear But a minstrel can help you restore your good cheer! Don't service a King, it's like fighting the air! With a Kingdom to rule, you're the -least- of his cares! His Throne and his glory won't be yours to share, And you're -dead- if you bring him an unscheduled heir! Don't sleep with the nobles, unless you've no pride, They've one place for a woman, and that is inside! From cooking and cleaning, you'll soon want to hide Till a minstrel does find you and away you will ride! Don't sleep with a Viking, let me tell you why: Their swords are all rusty, their bed's never dry, They'll leave for a year in the wink of an eye, And you know they're not lonely when docking time's nigh! Stay away from the rich men, they act just like boys You'll never be more than just one of their toys! They'll cast you aside if you make too much noise A minstrel's soft caring is the sweetest of joys! (Stolen from the Black Book of Locksley with Ioseph's permission. Get a copy of the Black Book of Locksley!) Page 277 POEM Missive in Verse By: Ioseph of Locksley (c) copyright 1974 W. J. Bethancourt III Being a missive in verse to James I Pt. I, King in the West, From the Whyte Bard of the kingdom of Atenveldt, sent in the hopes of his most sovereign majesty's seeing the Whyte Bard's Point and Reason. A King, upon His Royal Throne, in Majesty and Pomp Can make the Law, and hear it read, proclaimed by Herald's Trompe His Will is the Kingdom's Will, His Word, the Kingdom's Law Obeyed and loved by everyone, down to the last bourgeois. The people, on the other hand, who are the corner-stone of any Reign, have no real voice before the Royal Throne. And thus, it falls to lesser men to point out, in a Song, Where the Crown is doing Right...and where It's doing Wrong. And, if a Royal Counselor can tell the King: "Not so!" And speak up with impunity, and not expect a blow, And try to alter Royal Will in Curia, then why Cannot another voice at least be heard to testify? The Praise of Royal Counselors is cheap. Their Jobs depend Upon the King's most Royal Will..and, thus, they might pretend To praise and laud and glorify for fear of Favour's loss. ...and Kings then hear no truthful word unbound by flattering dross. We know that Kings are NEVER wrong...they're only "ill-advised," But, sometimes, error in Their Reign can win a Booby-Prize. A Bard MUST give this Prize, you see, and given it has been! Shall he then be frowned upon, or told that it's a Sin? Bards are BORN, not made by Kings. They call NO man "My Liege!" No Kingdom's Citizens are they; their Voice and Harp besiege The Ramparts of Stupidity...the Battlements of Wrong.... AND THAT'S THE REASON, MY LORD KING, FOR NASTY LITTLE SONGS! And, if a Bard is told to cease, and cannot speak his will, Who then shall approach the King to give the bitter pill? And if Bards sing of other Lands, in tones derogative, Suffer them to sing UNSCATHED: it's their Perogative. They're Citizens of Everywhere, the People's Voice, you see, And, Bard I am, and Bard I was, and EVERMORE shall be: -The Whyte Bard January, 1974 (Stolen from the Black Book of Locksley with Ioseph's permission. Get a copy of the Black Book of Locksley!) Page 278 POEM THE TENT-POTATO'S LAMENT By: Ioseph of Locksley copyright 1990 W. J. Bethancourt III I suppose that I could clank around In armour bright and cheery And fill myself with brewer's stuff And be a Coor's can, beery.... Or I could be a Herald loud And shout out ceremony And be all Pomp and Circumstance And full of sanctimony.... Perhaps, I'd be a Seneshal! And run the Worlde to suit me A spider in my web I'd sit, But someone would prob'ly shoot me! Hey! I could get into The Arts, And bitch about the fighters, Who beat each other up with sticks Those uncultured, nasty blighters! Or I could be a Mongol dark And for pillage never shirk And be a Menace to the Worlde... But it's just -too- much work! Perhaps to carry water At a War, could be my trade! Or even Scrivening at home... Or planning Viking Raids! Or I could be...oh, what the hell! (Why doesn't this surprise me?) I'll just sit, and bitch and gripe Till those -Peers- RECOGNIZE me..... (Stolen from the Black Book of Locksley with Ioseph's permission. Get a copy of the Black Book of Locksley!) Page 279 SONG I Sang My Song By: Ioseph of Locksley (c) copyright 1989 W. J. Bethancourt III I sang my song to that Crowned Head: he drank his wine, and softly said: "Give him a horse, and rings of Gold!" Such honour then did I behold! Now hear the tale that must be told: I sang my song to Common Folk who laughed and danced, and, cheering, said: "Take shelter here, the night is cold!" Such honour then did I behold! I slept in safety, in my cloak. I sang my song to Ladies Fair who smiled, and glanced like stars, and said: "Take but a kiss...." the rest's untold! Such honour then did I behold! to talk of it I do forswear! I sang my song to that Crowned Head he swilled his ale, and belched, and said: "Now a dirty song unfold!" Such....honour....then did I behold! My Morals' here, my Tale's been told! (Stolen from the Black Book of Locksley with Ioseph's permission. Get a copy of the Black Book of Locksley!) Page 280 POEM To Alaric Greythorn of Glen Mor "The Iceman Cometh" By: Rosario de Palermo 14 July A. S. XXVI When Inman donned crown number five A torrid Elfsea day, The Steppes contingent almost fried, For ice was far away. Good Alaric came to our relief With arms and foresight strong; His bags of ice gave us surcease, His price was but a song. Thank Alaric and Inman for sharing Wisdom with thoughtless rubes; Cold hands, warm heart, whether bearing A handful of crowns or cubes. Note: At the fifth coronation of His Grace Inman, Don Alaric kindly supplied the Steppes table with ice from his personal stores, thus sparing us the journey to get some. At that time, he remarked that we owed him a debt as a result; my part of that debt was to write a poem in his honor - Rosario. Page 281 To Eric the Carver POEM By: Rosario de Palermo 3 February A. S. XXV Honor and word-fame to Eric, rune-wise. From land of sun's rising came forth this carver Cunning in cut-craft, learned in that lore In handling horn for a haft or a hilt. Who schooled him in scribing? Meridien Angus, Student of Odin, source of that kenning. No master had pupil more skillful and clever, Making of measure the mead horn of mirth. Not fearful of fighting, he wields mace fairly, Leaves anger on list field when battle is broken, And turns not his heart against victor or vanquished. Good use he makes of the gifts of the gods, Honoring life through what life leaves behind Taking for payment no silver, no gold Only pride in his presents and praise of good men, These best indeed, for those who know value. Good Eric merits honor with a spirit that is pure, And laughing heart wide open, and fingers strong and sure. Page 282 SONG To Robin of Gilwell By: Rosario de Palermo 4 November A. S. XXV R ight fit for praise this man that I now sing; O ur land he bears on shoulders strong as oaks. B aron of the Steppes, all deeds of valor spring I nspired from his hands, like masterstrokes. N ow my poor tongue, find guidance from above O r heaven, or his lip where a mustache grows; F or jesting, singing, fighting, dancing, love G ive him more fame than any bard could show. I 've learned that this man, whose subjects honor him most L eads them in kind, by praising earns my praise; W ho sits not at table without seeking others to toast, E ndeavors to laud their deeds in every way: L et no man who does well e'er fear his wrath L et all men with good hearts follow his path. Page 283 POEM To Rowan Beatrice von Kampfer By: Rosario de Palermo 19 November A. S. XXV That bright blue day they came to fight for Ansteorra's crown, Few dreamed the name of who would wear the Blackstar upon brow. A duke and duchess came to claim the prize by right of arms; Each swore to reign beside the other, should one survive unharmed. Great Hector took the field like a reaper to a row He smote with brand on left and right; none stood before his blows. Fierce Rowan unleashed her might upon the worthies of the land Her blade struck like a shaft of fire, and all fell to her hand. When Inman and the Moor had fallen they stood there, man and wife, Each sworn to glorify the other, each sworn to take their life. Last of the list, they left the field - their shadows strode before - To seek some worthy counsel e'er that they would venture more. Would Rowan give the bards a chance to tell a novel tale, Or would her lord give up his sword, or would their spirits fail? At last the valiant pair returned, rearmed, retook the field; The people cheered to see their choice -- to fight, and not to yield. The first to take two out of three would gain the diadem "Salute the one whom you would make your subject" Giovanni charged them. When Rowan struck the first true blow the maids let loose a roar ('Twas not that they loved Hector less -- they loved the lady more). The second bout was Hector's, with a blow most passing fierce; The tension mounted then as all guessed who would fare the worse. Each eye fixated by the dance of strike and counterstroke, The only sound the ragged breath that snarled in their throats, Sir Rowan shattered leg and helm to astonish all the host. We subjects cheered to see her wear the crown, most fitting jewel Upon the brow of she by right of arms most fit to rule; And our brave Master Hector stood by the new sovreign's side As the hand that laid him low became the hand that raised him high. A strong new trunk for Ansteorra, strong limbs that will not fade, For our great land cannot but prosper in the rowan's shade. Page 284 POEM To the Honor of Rosenfeld By: Rosario de Palermo, Champion of Rosenfeld 23 March AS XXV Great Rosenfeld! All honor to that land Which bears the charge of petals spread apart In crimson glory, echoed in each heart That dwells within, and strengthened by each hand Which Fortune deigns to number in that band. With Fridhur and good One-Eye on my part 'Twould be no better way to make a start; No lack of strong hearts there to make a stand. Since far ports call me to another goal, I'll let these words serve you in my self's stead While I'm away. I have no fear of doom, For image of a home burns in my soul Where valiant deeds are cast in green and red Of leaf, and stem, and thorn, and bud, and bloom. Page 285 POEM To Lord Miesko, called William the Bear By: Rosario de Palermo 3 November A. S. XXV Hail Lord Miesko, great William the Bear! Full well in song he could his deeds rename. No man more furious gave sword and shield name, Yet ever gentle, courteous, and fair. Second champion of Steppes beyond compare -- Don Tivar was the first to earn that fame -- By him Kiami and Galen were tamed; The Bear gave his own cross as equal share. A raging bear he strode the Outlands field, And yet for Duchess Willow wove a heart; The last unbelted Ansteorran to yield, But ever grace and honor were his part; Awarded the Dragon's Tooth of the Midrealm, There is no better man now under helm. Note: This poem was composed in two hours at the Steppes Baronial Eistedfodd last November. The subject was drawn at random; at the time I did not know who Lord William was. - Rosario And a note from Stephen. Since this poem was written, William the Bear has received his belt and chain. And this poem is the only thing I have ever seen that would indicate that William has any name other than William. (Willy-Bear withstanding!) And since the previous note was written, the bear has been crowned King of Ansteorra! Page 286 POEM CASEY AT THE CROWN -- by Bertram of Bearington Copyright 1987 by Dave Schroeder At the recent crown the spectators were in an ugly mood, The bouts were rather boring -- nothing brutal, dumb, or crude, No one paid that much attention as the tourney lists played down, So it was all the more surprising who had reached the final round. Sir Percy was a shining star -- he sailed right through the field, Not a shot had grazed his helmet, not a tape-smear marred his shield, But the victor in the loser's list was quite a different sort, Mighty Casey, called "The Rhino," was three wins away from Court! Casey'd come from Outlands, or perhaps it was Caid, And on one thing all the fighters who had fought him were agreed, Like the fabled brontosaurus with its microscopic brain, It took Casey's nervous system several _weeks_ to notice pain. Short and squat and powerful the thick-skinned Casey stands, With his legs like redwood tree trunks and his arms like iron bands, In his rusted battered breastplate and his dented beaten helm, The people stared in shock to think that _he_ might rule the realm! The first bout of the final round is sword and shield -- they fight, And in less than thirty seconds Casey's killed the shining knight. A stunned and stony silence falls upon the gathered crowd For the thought of Casey as their king could _never_ be allowed. The second bout is Percy's choice -- "Try florentine," he calls, And it takes six solid cup-shots until Casey finally falls. The collective crowd assembled just lets out a thankful sigh, While storm-clouds gather overhead and darkness fills the sky. The third bout's fought with great sword -- when conflict does commence Sir Percy tries katana moves while Casey tries to fence, Once Casey's blade flies from his hand, twice more, then combat stops. A loss, by technicality, since Casey'd had three drops. (continued) Page 287 POEM CASEY AT THE CROWN - (continued) by Bertram of Bearington The fourth fight's back to sword and shield where Casey has few peers, Sir Percy goes down quickly -- helm shots ringing in his ears. The spectators are dumbstruck for _King Casey's_ spectre looms, While overhead in jet-black clouds the thunder rolls and booms. The final form is polearm which is Casey's favorite style, And Percy wasn't bad, but hadn't used it in a while, All watch in expectation as the herald shouts "Oyez!" The fighters tense in readiness, "Lay on!" the marshalls say. Sir Percy tried a subtle shot that proved a grave mistake, For it left a hole unguarded half as wide as Cooper's Lake, Now Mighty Casey plants his feet, sky high his glaive does go, And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow. Sir Percy proved a wise, just king -- a ruler of renown, But he never let us all forget 'bout Casey at the Crown. He often stops beside the grave when near it on a trip, And hears old Casey's ghostly voice reciting "Light! Glance! Tip!" O somewhere in these Laurel lands the sun is shining bright; Swords are swinging somewhere, and blows are _truly_ light. We never had _King_ Casey, 'cause his fighting got _too_ hot; So if _you_ get hit by lightning -- you had _better_ take the shot! Page 288 POEM Queen Elizabeth I, Poems by By: Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603 England) From: The Penquin Book of Women Poets Pages 128-129 One of the most famous monarchs of history, she headed a Court brilliant both politically and culturally. Great poets were her friends and it is no surprise that she herself sould have practised the art of poetry, just one of her many accomplishments. Only a very few poems survive that are known indisputably to be written by her. Written with a Diamond on Her Window at Woodstock Much suspected by me, Nothing proved can be, Quoth Elizabeth priso`er. ------------------------------------------------------ Written on a Wall at Woodstock Oh, fortune, thy wresting wavering state Hath fraught with cares my troubled wit, Whose witness this present prison late Could bear, where once joy's loan quit. Thou caused the quilty to be loosed From bands were innocents were inclosed, And caused the guiltless to be reserved, And freed those that death had well deserved. But all herein can be nothing wrought, So God send to my foes all they have thought. ------------------------------------------------------ Written in Her French Psalter No crooked leg, no bleared eye, No part deformed out of kind, Not yet so ugly half can be As is the inward suspicious mind. ------------------------------------------------------ The Doubt of Future Foes The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy, And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy; For falsehood now doth flow, and subjects' faith doth ebb, Which should not be if reason ruled or wisdom weaved the web. But clouds of joys untried do cloak aspiring minds, Which turn to rain of late repent by changed course of winds. The top of hope supposed the root upreared shall be, And fruitless all their grafted guile, as shortly ye shall see. The dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambition blinds, Shall be unsealed by worthy wights whose foresight falsehood finds. The daughter of debate that discord aye doth sow Shall reap no gain where former rule still peace hath taught to know. No foreign banished wight shall anchor in this port; Our realm brooks not seditious sects, let them elsewhere resort. My rusty sword through rest shall first his edge employ To poll their tops that seek such change or gape for future joy. Page 289 Liadan Laments Cuirithir POEM By Liadan (7th century, Ireland) From: The Penquin Book of Women Poets P 55-56 Liadan is said to have been an early seventh century poet who rejected her lover Cuirithir and became a nun. Repenting her decision later, she went to Cuirithir, but he meanwhile had become a monk and fled across the sea from her. The story, told in ninth century Irish, is preserved in sixteenth century manuscripts. Joyless what I have done: to torment my darling one? But for fear of the Lord of Heaven he would lie with me here. Not vain, it seemed, our choice, to seek Paradise through pain. I am Liadan, I loved Cuirithir as truly as they say. The short time I passed with him how sweet his company! The forest trees sighed music for us; and the flaring blue of seas. What folly to turn him against me who had treated me most gently No whim or scruple of mine should have come between Us, for above all others, without shame I declare him my heart's love. A roaring flame has consumed my heart; I will not live without him. (translated from Irish by John Montague) Page 290 STORY Our Lady's Juggler As told by Anatole France From: Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book p 59-62 Reprinted from Mother of Pearl, published by Dodd, Mead and co. (Note from Stephen. I've heard several versions of this story, and am told that it began in period. This is not by any means my favorite version, but it was given to me on disk, already typed in! You might look for a book called "The Clown of God" in you library's children's section for another version.) In the days of King Louis there was a poor juggler in France, a native of Compiegne, Barnaby by name, who went about from town to town performing feats of skill and strength. On fair days he would unfold an old worn-out carpet in the public square, and when by means of jovial address, which he had learned of a very ancient juggler, and which he never varied in the least, he had drawn together the children and loafers, he assumed extraordinary attitudes, and balanced a tin plate on the tip of his nose. At first the crowd would feign indifference. But when, supporting himself on his hands face downwards, he threw into the air six copper balls, which glittered in the sunshine, and caught them agin with his feet; or when throwing himsels backwards until his heels and the nape of the neck met, giving his body the form of a perfect wheel, he would juggle in this posture with a dozen knives, a murmur of admiration would escape the spectators, and pieces of money rain down upon the carpet. Nevertheless, like the majority of those who live by ther wits, Barnaby of Compiegne had a great struggle to make a living. Earning his bread in the sweat of his brow, he bore rather more than his share of the penalties consequent upon the misdoings of our father Adam. Again, he was unable to work as constantly as he would have been willing to do. The warmth of the sun and the broad daylignt were as necessary to enable him to display his brilliant parts as to the trees if flower and fruit should be expected of them. In winter time he was nothing more htan a tree stripped of its leaves, and as it were dead. The frozen ground was hard to the juggler, and, like the grasshopper of which Marie de France tells us, the inclement season caused him to suffer both cold and hunger. But as he was simple-natured he bore his ills patiently. (continued) Page 291 Our Lady's Juggler (continued) STORY He had never meditated on the origin of wealth, nor upon the inequality of human conditions. He believed firmly that if this life should prove hard, the life to come could not fail to redress the balance, and this hope upheld him. He did not resemble those thievish and miscreant Merry Andrews who sell their souls to the devil. He never blasphemed God's name; he lived uprightly, and although he had no wife of his own, he did not covet his neighbour's, since woman is ever the enemy of the strong man, as it appears by the history of Samson recorded in the Scriptures. In truth, his was not a nature much disposed to carnal delights, and it was a greater deprivation to him to forsake the tankard than the Hebe who bore it. For whilst not wanting in sobriety, he was fond of a drink when the weather waxed hot. He was a worthy man who feared God, and was very devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Never did he fail on entering a church to fall upon his knees before the image of the Mother of God, and offer up this prayer to her: "Blessed Lady, keep watch over mylife until it shall please God that I die, and when I am dead, ensure to me the possession of the joys of paradise." Now on a certain evening after a dreary wet day, as Barnaby pursued his road, sad and bent, carrying under his arm his balls and knives wrapped up in his old carpet, on the watch for some barn where, though he might not sup, he might sleep, he perceived on the road, going in the same direction as himself, a monk, whom he saluted courteously. And as they walked at the same rate they fell into conversation with one another. "Fellow traveller," said the monk, "how comes it about that you are clothed all in green? Is it perhaps in order to take the part of a jester in some mystery play?" "Not at all, good father," replied Barnaby. "Such as you see me, I am called Barnaby, and for my calling I am a juggler. There would be no pleasanter calling in the world if it would always provide one with daily bread." "Friend Barnaby," returned the monk, "be careful what you say. There is no calling more pleasant than the monastic life. Those who lead it are occupied with the praises of God, the Blessed Virgin, and the saints' and, indeed, the religious life is one ceaseless hymn to the Lord." (continued) Page 292 Our Lady's Juggler (continued) STORY Barnaby replied: "Good father, I own that I spoke like an ignorant man. Your calling cannot be in any respect compared to mine, and although there may be some merit in dancing with a penny balanced on a stick on the tim of one's nose, it is not a merit which comes within hail of your own. Gladly would I, like you, good father, sing my office day by day, and especially, the office of the most Holy Virgin, to whom I have vowed a singular devotion. In order to embrace the monastic life I would willingly abandon the art by which from Soissons to Beauvais I am well known in upwards of six hundred towns and villages." The monk was touched by the juggler's simplicity, and as he was not lacking in discernment, he at once recognized in Barnaby one of those men of whom it is said in the Scriptures: Peace on earth to men of good will. And for this reason replied: "Friend Barnaby, come with me, and I will have you admitted into the monastery of which I as Prior. He who guided St. Mary of Egypt in the desert set me upon you path to lead you into the way of salvation." It was in this manner, then, that Barnaby became a monk. In the monastery into which he was received the religious vied with one another in the worship of the Blessed Virgin, and in her honour each employed all the knowledge and all the skill which God had given him. The prior on his part wrote books dealing according to the rules of scholarship with the virtues of the Mother of God. Brother Maurice, with a deft hand copied out these treatises upon sheets of vellum. Brother Alexander adorned the leaves with delicate miniature paintings. Here were displayed the Queen of Heaven seated upon Solomon's throne, and while four lions were on gurard at her feet, around the nimbus which encircled her head hovered seven doves, which are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gifts namely of Fear, Piety, Knowledge, Strentgh, Counsel, Understanding, and Wisdom. For her companions she had six virgins with hair of gold, namely, Humility, Prudence, Seclusion, Submission, Virginity, and Obedience. At her feet were two little naked figures, perfectly white, in an attitude of supplication. These were souls imploring her all-powerful intercession for their soul's health, and we may be sure not imploring in vain. Upon another page facing this, Brother Alexander represented Eve, so that the Fall and the Redemption could be perceived at one and the same time - Eve the Wife abased, and Mary the Virgin exalted. (continued) Page 293 Our Lady's Juggler (continued) STORY Furthermore, to the marvel of the beholder, this book contained presentments of the Well of Living Waters, the Fountain, the Lily, the Moon, the Sun, and the Gardens enclosed of which the Song of Songs tells us, the Gate of Heaven and the City of God, and all these things were symbols of the Blessed Virgin. Brother Marbode was likewise one of the most lovin children of Mary. He spent all his days carving images in stone, so that his beard, his eybrows, and his hair were white with dust, and his eyes continually swollen and weeping; but his strength and cheerfulness were not diminshed, although he was now well gone in years, and it was clear that the Queen of Paradise still cherished her servant in his old age. Marbode represented her seated upon a throne, her brow encircled with an orb-shaped nimbus set with pearls. And he took care that hte folds of her dress should cover the feet of her, concerning whom the proper declared: My beloved is as a garden enclosed. Sometimes, too, he depicted her in the semblance of a child full of grace, and appearing to say, "Thou art my God, even from my mother's womb." In the priory, moreover, were poets who composed hymns in Latin, both in prose and verse, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and amongst the company was even a brother from Picarky who sang the miracles fo Our Lady in rhymed verse and in the vulgar tongue. Being a witness of this emulation in praise and the glorious harvest of their labours, Barnaby mourned his own ignorance and simplicity. "Alas!" he sighed, as he took his solitary walk in the little sheterless garden of the monastery, "wretched wight that I am, to be unable, like my brothers, worthily to praise the Holy Mother of God, to whom I have vowed my whole heart's affection. Alas! alas! I am but a rough man and unskilled in the arts, and I can render you in service, blessed Lady, neither edifying sermons, nor treatises set out in order according to rule, nor ingenious paintings, nor statues truthfully sculptured, nor verses whose march is measured to the beat of feet. No gift have I, alas!" After this fashion he groaned and gave himself up to sorrow. But one evening, when the monks were spending their hour of liberty in conversation, he heard one of them tell the tale of a religious man who could repeat nothing other than the Ave Maria. This poor man was despised for his ignorance; but after his death there issued forth from his mouth five roses in honour of the five letters of the name Mary (Marie), and thus his sanctity was made manifest. Whilst he listened to this narrative Barnaby marvelled yet once again at the loving kindness of hte Virging; but the lesson of that blessed death did not avail to console him, for his heart overflowed with zeal, and he longed to advance the glory of his Lady, who is in heaven. (continued) Page 294 Our Lady's Juggler (continued) STORY How to compass this he sought but could find no way, and day by day he became the more cast down, when one morning he awakened filled full with joy, hastened to the chapel, and remained there alone for more than an hour. After dinner he returned to the chapel once more. And, starting from that moment, he repaired daily to the chapel at such hours as it was deserted, and spent within it a good part it the time which the other monks devoted to the liberal and mechanical arts. His sadness vanished, nor did he any longer groan. A demeanour so strange awakened the curiosity of the monks. These began to ask one another for what purpose Brother Barnaby could be indulging so persistently in retreat. The prior, whose duty it is to let nothing escape him in the behaviour of his children in religion, resolved to keep a watch over Barnaby during his withdrawals to the chapel. One day, then, when he was shut up there after his custom, the prior, accompained by two of the older monks, went to discover through the chinks in the door what was going on within the chapel. They saw Barnaby before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, head downwards, with his feet in the air, and he was juggling with six balls of copper and a dozen knives. In honour of the Holy Mother of God he was performing those feats which aforetime had won him most renown. Not recognizing that the simple fellow was thus placing at the service of the Blessed Virgin his knowledge and skill, the two old monks exclaimed against the sacrilege. The prior was aware how stainless was Barnaby's soul, but he concluded that he had been seized with madness. They were all three preparing to lead him swiftly form the chapel, when they saw the Blessed Virgin descend the steps of the altar and advance to wipe away with a fold of her azure robe the sweat which was dropping from her juggler's forehead. Then the prior, falling upon his face upon the pavement, uttered these words - "Blessed are the simple-hearted, for they shall see God." "Amen!" responded the old brethern, and kissed the ground.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank