Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dour Médée

Journey of the Magi by Sassetta

“I cannot rid myself of dread,” Guy marked to Médée. “Upon a morning fair, while tending to the hares, I mark remarked unto myself and ere The Lord above me… something fateful.”

“The Lord is always listening, and making plans to trip us up if we don’t do what’s good,” replied sour Médée. He had blond hair and ruddy skin. His nose was red, boxed square upon the tip.  His eyes were pale, like light through stratic clouds. He smelled a little rancid, like a cut of pork bemaggotted. He was a young man, not much older then than Guytonnet; but kept he down a sour disposition in all things. Even in The Lord, this Médée held equal parts of fear and dread; if some love for our God abid within his heart, he kept it hid.

Guy stared dumbly then at Médée whilst on they trod from Alençon. His gauche gros orteil had started to complain to him, for as he walked, his sandal strap dug in beneath the thing. Guy hopped along a little and removed the brown, insulting leather espadrille.

“What’s your dread, specifically?” asked Médée, with mischief on his lips.

“Just about the time the troubles started, Médée. After Father had been laid to rest; I chanced to ruminate upon a fancy thought that passed, where I should like to aid in turning heathens there in other lands to God’s own truly lambs. And in this dream, I pictured us in valor-fields, and men there grasping sword and shield. And marry, Médée: God heard my dream and put us here!” 

No Father here to guide him. No Jean-Rémin to grant him any succor. No Archard’s snoring to bring Guy to sweet slumbering these nights. And far away from Florentin; as far as ever had he been. All to bring him discipline for this stray thought that morning when the coneygarth be in.

Médée offhandedly: “Good. I know now who to blame for this discomfort.”

Guytonnet, with sadness in this voice: “Tiens!

The word he said, Tiens, pricked Nesta’s ear. She turned about atop her Frisian to see who might have said the thing. For this, a saying she herself would use, rang true upon her ear and nary did abuse.

“Who says this thing? Tiens?” Asked Nesta of the men.

“It me, Dame Lady Knight,” reported Guytonnet.

“This pleases me to hear. My mama used the word in moments rueful,” she replied.

Guy was lost at this. He smiled and he nodded to the little dam who seemed to pick him out, a single raven from the flock. She turned back her attention to the road ahead, and smiled to herself. Mama, you are always near me, thought she then.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Ultima Thule

The men and dames took time to rest and eat upon the noontime. The sun today was very warm, and most the men decided then to put their feet into a little stream beside a meadow, home to sheep and also several palfreys. The water in the stream was very clear; both some soldiers and some monks walked up the bankment nearer to the Sarthe to take a drink. Others walked downstream a ways to let their bladders empty and their under-regions breathe.

Nesta and the monk named Guytonnet stood leaning on the wooden paling rail which held the livestock in. A pair of ewes came curiously up to them. Guy put his hand to them to sniff. One of the ewes took in his manalet and rand her tongue and teeth about it. He pulled it back away, enstartled, fearing that she’d bite, and Nesta laughed.  Guytonnet laughed too.

Sinalunga by Marc Dalessio

“You don’t sound like most any other person here around, m’lady,” Guytonnet observed. “Do you hail from far away?”

“Mmm. Le Mans. My papa is a man of some repute therein. And farther than that, if you care to know.”

“Farther than Le Mans?” Guytonnet could scarce imagine this. “Where father then?”

Nesta smiled with some mischief. “A land called Ultima Thule.[1] Where men wear pretty dresses and women have the tonsure shorn. And… we eat breakfast late at night and sup upon the morning crow!”

Guytonnet knew not this place. He stood dumb before her. “No wonder you wear trousers and you cover up your hear so strangely!” Then, “You raise up rabbits there? To eat?”

Nesta smiled and looked off to the distance then. “Oh, no. The rabbits there in Ultima Thule are far too large for men to raise! They’re bigger than a draft horse from Ardennes!”

“Then what would some ascetic monk like me take in for all his hassenpfeffer? Woulds’t thou have meat for men like me?”

“Of course we do. We dine on tiny horses. Also, tortoises in Thule are made of meat. It’s quite convenient, actually.” She couldn’t help but laugh a bit.

Guy caught on, “This is not true, is it? You’re joking! Very funny! Where could ever be a place where God might make a tortoise out of beef and rabbits bigger than a man! It makes no sense at all!” They laughed, and Nesta then appeared to bough her head a bit – but kept his gaze. She wished to win his fancy, mayhap did she then.

“Still,” said Guy, “I should rather like to see your Ultima Thule one day. Perhaps once we have gone to war and gotten back to Normandy.”

“Yes, after the war,” the dame agreed, in partly of a dream, reaching down to stroke the other ewe.

They stood in quiet for a lingering, and quite enjoyed it, both of them.

Guy asked, “What’s it like? To ride a courser, wearing armor, holding up your sword? To lowborn common folk it seems quite dreadful. I – I mean to say, it fills us up with dread to see the beasts, magnificent and horrible, and riders with such absolute control about them.

“But what does it feel like to be a knight?”

Nesta hadn’t thought about what commoners or monks might make of her; only nobles and the greater clergymen who orbited her uncle and her pa.

She shrugged. “Perhaps I’ll teach you how to ride. You have your armor now. We’ll make you colors and a crest and William can endow you up a knight.”

Again, Guy stood before her, dumb. “I have no palfrey, nor a courser.”

“I’ll get one for you.”


She dipped into her wee musette and pulled from it a golden coin.

“It’s quite dear,” he said. “What is it?”

“One livre caroligienne. 20 sous make up one livre, and twelve denier make up one sous.”

“That’s a lot of eggs,” said Guytonnet, impressed. “But will it trade in for a horse?”

Nesta laughed, “No! Not only one! I have enough though. I could buy a courser and the tack, and find a boy to mind it for you if I truly wanted to.”

Guytonnet could scarcely hold the thought to mind; it seemed to him far in excess of all the metal wealth he’d ever seen. “And do you have a lot of these in Thule?”

“Don’t you know nothing, monk? You foolish man! There ain’t no Thule! Not really! It’s all part the game we played! The land I come from is North Humberland, across the sea in England!

“I truly thought we done swack up[2] together, monk! Ain’t you ken me accent and me cheek, ye pretty to me? Me slurf,[3] me notches,[4] Ilka[5] dam meself like looking wacht’s from Umberland, in’t we?” She laughed. Guy scarcely understood her as she broke into her Anglish moot, but laughed he then along as well.

“Now let’s us pick you out a sturdy palfrey to take to you.”


“We can see some pretties in the meadow, non? Which trotter there will suit m’sieur to ride?”

Guyton could not tell if this was yet another poke at him. He was but a lowly monk, and never had a nobleman or woman spoke to him in such a manner. Nor had any in the Holy Church above him spoke to him like this in all his sixteen years. His lips involuntarily made up a little circle and he scratched his head. His tonsure had returned to Nature’s rule and covered up the top of him again.

Nesta pointed to a chestnut colt of thirteen hands and mane of black. “There. That one. You think?”

And then did Ludovi approach, and clucked at them. “It cannot be that one. For never shall a Benedictine, past or present, ride a horse of fauve.[6]

The horse just then bucked at its counterpart, and bit at it. In sport it seemed, but also there was some unrestfulness about this colt. Each of them could see.

Nesta turned to Ludovi and  said, “In Anglish we would call that color ‘fallow’ like the lonesome earth.”

Oui, mademoiselle chevalier.”

“Why won’t you ride a fallow colt?”

“For they are ferocious.  Les bête fauves is to say ferocity and wildness in animals.”

“One might wisheth for his mount to be thus, brother.”

Ludovi bowed before her in good deference to her station, for before he then explained to her the Norman view of horses of this gravid hue. “Of course, mademoiselle. One may wish for this. But also do we say about les chevaux fauves, or perhaps les chevaux ‘Fauvel’, that they betray their masters at the worst of times. They are, it is a little joke perhaps? They are sinful creatures, my dam.”

“That is a funny claim. How can a courser sin? It has no agency apart from what we lend to it. What kinds of sins are these that such a fallow horse should carry out?”

Flatterie, avarice, vilenie, variété, envie, et lâcheté.[7] Of these, the cowardice is damning most of all.”

Nesta well considered what the elder monk had said. “These do sound like the qualities a nag or hairy biter might he have. And these are qualities of every fallow steed?”

Non, mademoiselle. Only of those chevaux fauves that carry forth a Benedictine monk.”

“Then rather,” Nesta countered, “might those qualities endwell within the monk and not the beast?”

Ludovi was silent. Guytonnet was silent, too. They were astonished at this claim!

“Never mind,” said Nesta. “We shall claim a different-colored courser for you. Or perhaps we won’t!” She smiled as she said it with a star within her eye of black and turned and skipped away to join the fellows cooling off their feet.

[1] Latin: Metaphysical. A place beyond the known world.
[2] Swack up: to play a game together, to conspire.
[3] Torso.
[4] Cut of neck, chin and supper shoulders.
[5] Each, from ilk. In this case: “Each lady who looks like me is from Northumbria, isn’t she?”
[6] A color alternatively translated as chestnut, reddish-yellow, tawny or fawn.
[7] Flattery, avarice, depravity, fickleness, envy, cowardice.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

News Arrives Before the Invasion

It was upon this night exact, St. Johnsfeast Night, when Imogene would then receive the news she was a widow for a second time. The knight she had been cleven to by William’s good decree was slain upon the valor fields whilst chasing down Duke Conan, back a ways, on Kenelm’s Day. She asked the monks in Hyacynthe’s command what day this was, and found she it was in July: the seventeenth. Two months be gone he was and nary had she word! She wondered then about his son, a boy she cared about a goodly mint.  His name was given as Bealdo, and his age was but eleven years. His name was like his father’s. A blond boy was Bealdo, with broad shoulders and a caring heart. And fell she, found she, unto Hyacynthe, to give her comfort in her pallor-time whilst grieving for the fallen knight she had in mind.

Something else became that day: A Celtic man came visiting the camp at Valery. He dressed him in the manner of the Mid-lands and the North of England, very strange. But only one of all the retinue did recognize this wizened gill: the man in foreign manner and in dress, his name be Morth, and Nesta knew of him immediate.

“Cael Morth! Cael Morth! O happy day’s reunion!” Called she to the man, as came he on three legs from carriage down to camp. She ran to him.

He looked up at the girl – nay – woman so approachething at pace. He raised his flat, broad bonnet to her, to reveal his face. He smiled broadly, teeth somewhat intact, and limped a little faster to her countenance withacht.

“Níos mó is mó atá againn anois, [1] Nisty!” Exclaimed Cael Morth, dropping cane and opening the girl embrace. He tried to lift her Heavenward, but ten years’ time weighed down upon him, just as it had spurred the girl to blossom up. She had left him as an oak, but found him now again as but a reed, and felt the urge to lift him up instead; but did demure for all things in good time alone are called to need.

“Cael Morth! My dear tutor of Northumberland! They’ve raised me up to be a knight! I’m gone to win our homeland, pretty homeland back!”

“Tá deartháir an Godwinson tar éis a chaitheamh le Harald, leanbh. Is é seo a tháinig mé a rá leis an Diúc.”

“Harold’s brother, Tostig, joined with Harald Sigurdson? Yes, Master Cael, we tell the Duke alack!”

Breakfast outside William's tent

And rushing to Duke William’s tent, Dame Nesta then told William what it was that Cael had said (For Cael spoke only Gaelic and the Anglestongue, and nary did he speaketh any French, nor Norman, nor the tongue of Christian works.) Nesta breathlessly announced, “Baron Morth, he former of Bamburg in Northumbria, brings news perhaps be foul or be fair upon your ear. But either way, it cannot wait! I…”

Nesta stopped her elocution in mid-sentence, and she whitened up, as humors left her face. Behind the Duke a pace, with hawkish eye trained right down on the dame was William’s cousin: Odo of Bayeaux. 

[1] "The more the merrier are we now!"

Saturday, September 22, 2018


You may not be able to watch the games or understand the sport, but you can partake in a game called Scorigami, aka NFL Bingo!

From the doobly-doo:

"Scorigami is the art of achieving a final score in an NFL game that has never happened before. It is a term made up by Jon Bois, a concept perfected by Pete Carroll, and a goal that may not be completed before the heat death of the universe."

This is the enthusiastic and natty sports documentarian and storyteller Jon Bois, who is far better at his craft than should be reasonably allowed. 


And here's your own Scorigami board! Complete through Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season. The rest is up to you!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Reading these few posts, you might think I've got some hangup about stealing a young woman's virtue. Not so! In fact, I've put off writing these scenes as long as I could because they're as distasteful as they are necessary. It makes me ill to write them - literally turns my stomach over.

But they're in the book because the characters are showing me what happened.

Fear not: Unlike Nesta's first assailant, Odo, this fellow gets what's coming to him.

I couldn't find anything relevant that wasn't completely inappropriate, so here is a photograph of a woman walking on a road much like the one the soldiers and monks were using.

Sosthène, Ph'lippe, Médée, Almire, Ludovi and Tancrède were less encumbered than the soldiers, but also were they not as fit as men who trained for war like these. In any case, Apollo reached his highest when the troupe had trod about two leagues. They stopped to find relief behind the hedgerows. Nesta then directed all the men to leave the road and find their markings down the hill and out of sight of her. She needed them to take some time so she could also find relief, and disappeared she up the hill a bit behind the upclimbed hedge upon t’other side.

Once the sound of all the men trailed off to barely earshot distance there, she felt relaxed enough to find relief. But then, just then, some rustling within the bush behind her, near the road.

Her bantam rooster, made he Kekalek as warning bell, but nary-naught.

“Who’s there? Speak up when you are spoken to!” Nesta heard declench within her own refrain. She sounded scared and scared she might remain.

She turned about as quiet as she could and peered about. Nothing out of place appeared throughout. She breathed, and took a moment to get dressed again, wherethen a man beset upon her! Grabbed her by the ‘vices on her armor’s collar! Dashed her down upon the road! She found herself be dazed and gasping then, with riding trousers, down, and hampering her movementure.

She saw the man in full now: one of William’s men! A man who was her charge here in the bloody march to Alençon! And by the looks of him a Saxon born – a mercenary from a dark and foreign land!

Nesta found she had no voice to call out to the rest of them. The Saxon then removed his belt. She clawed about upon the ground. Her breath had still deserted her. She could not find a stone or hand of dirt to throw.

And then, deliberately, he did approach.

She found the strength to stand, and as she did, she emptied out the scabbard on her cheville gauche with all the subtle grace that she could manage.

At that last moment, right before he lunged at her, she saw that spirit of the Lord had fled his eye, and in its place was something quite demonic. He was not himself, this Saxon man – or, perhaps, he truly was himself about this moment.

Just as he came to vice her shoulders, dash her to the ground again and take her virtue from her, Nesta fell back from him to the ground deliberately. He tripped atop of her, and fell he on her dagger, stuck between his ribs! Her pretty dagger split his maille and bit within his ghastly, stinking flesh!

And then she saw within his eyes the shock and fear of death that all men feel when then their casement tastes of steel. Again was Nesta bled upon by men with passion turned to harm. He struggled, then he did, and so she turned the blade a bit. He gasped and cried! And then, another man came up the hill and grabbed the Saxon and pulled the villain off of her!

It was one the monks – the youngish one with blondish hair. The one named Guytonnet.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

"I Stabbed Him In the Leg."

Nesta, she not quite herself since ere the last night in Rouen, brachtèd up the subject she herself decided no one, naught but God, to tell. And yet, as well: “He came upon me, Imogene. In the night time of your absence from the castle there.”

“Who came upon you, Ness?”


“Odo? He my raptor with the silken sable mane? That man you mean to say?”


“Nay. You must have misconstrued. Did you take drink again belike the prior feast?”

“I—do not know, my dam. But know the thing a man wants when his civil case doth fall away from him.”

“I’ve never told you of that thing. How you could know of it?”

“He came and told me I to be the second Virgin Mother, and he visited to make me so. This spake he, Imogene.” The grim admission chilled her, for he’d said the same to her some years ago.

“No,” said Imogene, and firmly now. “It happened differently than this. This is what I warned about, my starling: keep strong drink away, for raise it passion of the loins, and take way acclivity of thought. I understand you must desire of our Bishop, as most every girl in Normandy would do--”

“—Desireth? Me to him? Imogene! He is a horrid man!” And Imogene reared back and slapped her charge in anger, for the second time about the Bishop Odo as the subject of correction.

They stopped and looked – each servant girl and woman, and the ladies Gen and Nesta there. Nesta’s mouth fell open and her eyes welled up. And Imogene’s as well did open and as well her eyes welled up, four wells for tears of inner wounds displayed.

Nesta stood and turned to one the girls, and thus commanded: “Dry me off and dress me once again. I wish to take a bracing walk about the outer curtain of your pitiful château.”

Imogene rose up as well, her heart near wracked too heavily to bear, and grabbed a servant-girl about the nape. “Girl. I wish to have a meal of honey, wine, and newly bread. Baguettes! Baguettes! Make sure the setting place is ready for me, down within the kitchen!” And with that, dame Imogene flung forth the waif and threw her bodily outside the little tent. “Make haste!” She shouted after her, and balled her fists up, showing those who knew her well her inner gravely insult, hearing word from Rouen of the scoundrel’s game; an insult to her heart from Heart of Normandy proclaimed.

“Dry me off and dress me once again."

Later on that languid afternoontime, Nesta sat against the curtain wall aside the gate, with knees drawn up and head bowed down, the seabreeze cooling her. Uncomfortable was she, inside and out. Imogene approached and was atop of her position ere before dame Nesta saw she had appeared. Imogene sat down before her there.

“Never trust a man of God when acting as a man of flesh,” she coolly said.

“Never did and never will,” did Nesta then reply, but never raised her head to meet her master’s eye.

“It’s time to make your homage to the Duke.”

“And over that, my homage given ere direct to him, a priest will minister to that transaction, I suppose?”

“He will.”

She looked at Imogene, “Then what’s it mean? This homage? If between my Lord and me, there’s God’s own man to make a mockery of freely given hand?”

“Perish,” Imogene then said, for second time this day. But here, in earnest did she grant. “These ways are the ways it’s done. You’re insolence will cost me. And cost you, of course. But when you spend your reputation of your own, it’s yours to spend. Ask not for usury against my own supply. You mind?”

“I mind you, Imogene. I’m sorry for the folly me of questioning.”

“Every man has place within the World. It is God put down the order of the Firmament,” she said, looking up at skies unrestful now. “Some have man makes himself the order from ere Chaos where before the Gods firm hand. I mean to say, they said it in Antiquity like that. You knowest this from history, my charge?”

“Aye, since I very small, Cael Morth and some the tutors back at Wolvesey taught me this and other things from back in ancient times. My favorite is Juno, wife of Jupiter, and patron of the peacock, of all women and of Rome. For she was clever, and she loved us, Imogene. She gives us of our agency deliver out a babe, and gives us the ability to learn and grow our intellect – whacht men may scoff! But also did she have the failings of a woman, stark reminder to us always to be guarded ‘gainst our own weak failings, inspext[1] to our sex.”

“My favorite,” said Imogene, “was Leda and the swan. For Leda, she seduced by Zeus when in disguise, bore him two children: Helen and Polydeuces; but also did she bear for Tyndarus two children: Castor and the girl named Clytemnestra. Four children, each a hero or a consort to a hero be. Two men: One the king of mighty Sparta, and the other God to Greeks. She changed the ancient world through holding good fidelity to motherhood, and thought she highly now, despite her virtue take’d in subterfuge.

“And now upon my afternoon in daydream wrought, and contemplating Odo and my heart, I feel a greater sistership to Leda than before.

“Now come with me and be presented to the Duke.”

And so she did. “Don’t you wish to know what thence transpired? When he came upon me, Imogene?”

“…No. Perhaps? I do not know.”

She spoke now not to Nesta, but herself. “For there is peace in letting that which will not change be also something one will never know. It’s done. There is no second act to play.

“But curious is she whose heart is twain: one side spurned by vile comedy, and one side t’ward his heart it doth remain. It’s worse to know than not to know, for half a heart beats firmer in our breast than none at all; however, God hast made from Adam woman to betray. And ere, within the matter of her heart, betray herself. It is our lot and pain.

“When men make feast of lamb, they are like wolves. They hunger, slaver, famished they of flesh. ‘Tis true of them, whichever were the lamb be food for stomachs or for loins. They have no high civility when the hunger in their case they feel for thee. They’re wolves.

“The lamb is slaughtered, dressed, and fed unto the wolf; the skin of her is tanned. The glover makes then iv’ry colored gloves from her, to separate the skin of precious youth from raunch and nast and slime. Tell me now, what purpose is the glove?”

Nesta tried to answer her, but Imogene was speaking t’er but naught.

“The glove protects the hands from fraudulence and base, and keeps good virtue good and whole, against poor custom and some down acclivities. But also from the touch of something greater: ere, good passion. Good passion dost it cloister off a woman from her wedded master.

In daydreams then, did Imogene continue thus to speak now to herself: “Why then, do we wish ours to keep the glover’s wrought between ourselves and hands most gentle, Imogene? Ah, Genny! Would but thought this raptor would take to us and together make a roost! And so dazzled by him, Sunna in the Eastern morningtide, mistook his claws for plumage of the crest. He rent me, Leda! Ach! He rent me!

“But were the child here before me, Leda, gloved before she were in hand? Or were she now made shewn the fallen world, the foul fallen dignity, and gobbled up her virtue by a predatory swan? Were she made a roustabout by artisan of basest infidelities? Woulds’t she be Medusa, laid to rape, and then admonished for her fall? And he, Bayeux of deviltry, there residing up within the girl ere now?  She pregnant? What to say! Oh, Imogene, would William think of me, should bring him up an ingénue, when lioness the promised be?”

Nesta shook her then and said, “he didn’t take my virtue, marm. I stabbed him in the leg.”

This woke Breton brains back from their murky reverie. “You stabbed him in the leg?!”

“But wee.” She shewed her mistress off the dagger in her boot. “It never leaves my ankle, for necessity of valor knows not proper season ell to roost.”

Imogene broke into shivering and tears, and held her Nesta tight. “This you tells’t me is good. ‘Tis good!”

“Have ye faith in me, my mistress.  Never shall a man me overcome!”

“He lives, you think?”

“He lives. It was a cut of admonition, not of deadly fell incision.”

And presently, the pair approached the donjon once again, and met Duke William in the garish-colorful great hall there at Caen.

[1] Inherent.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Fist Fight

William was enconsultating with a man, Ness knew not who he was. She elbowed him aside and raised a finger wagging up unto the Duke! “Now, tells’t me, Lord, what have thast done to rectify this grave offense against the house of Mortimer?!”

Men upon the drilling-grounds began to stop and stare thereat the spectacle. But Nesta could not feel their eyes upon her, for her cheeks had reddened up to welt from fear and insult ‘gainst her fair eld homeland wrought. Umber lost?

William said to her but naught. He met her gaze a moment, like him looking at a thing of nary but significance. A midge; a gnat; some fowl yet be dressed to cook.

“Lord, by what license dost thou yield my homeland and my right?” She did attempt again. But once again, with but a glance, he put the little woman in her place, upon a shelf perhaps, with toys at once outgrown. And once again, he turned to his companion and began to consultate.

She grabbed his riding jacket, made from worsted wool, maroon and gold, and  pulled, and tore it at the seam. The host assembled on the grounds let out a gasp in common then!

“Tells’t me, Lord William, you, you Bastard Duke, and make it good for all these men to hear it: By what right dost take thee up to rule above all Normandy?”

This by now hads’t won attentiveness from all the men, they drilling in the bailey. And won William’s mind as well.

He looked down at his sleeve, seam torn, held in her little manalet. He looked then at his other hand – his left. He flexed his fingers, as if working in a newly glove. And suddenly, made fist of it and struck Dame Nesta right across the mouth!

She reeled and hit the dirt. Her teeth were loose and nose had sprought!

“The left makes up the right, you scion of a house of faggot prigs. Arms and sword-craft, you - you glos poutonnier.[1] Mind your place, or I shall put you in it, little girl.”

She heaved upon the ground before assembled men.

Nesta tasted blood, and wiped some on her sleeve. Copper in the air spurred on her baser need. William turned away, reviewing all his men and shook out his left hand a bit in show so all who didn’t see should know what happened there. But just as he had brought his mind back to the consultation that he had, Nesta leapt upon his back and dug her fingers in his face about his cheek! She screeched, and knocked off his bycocket with a head-butt to his brain! Almost did she take him from his feet, she’d sprung with such ferocity!

He grabbed her off and growled, howled loud, so every man and woman in the castle heard the sound. Held her struggling within his iron hands above his head, and dashed her to the ground before him, right upon her back! She rolled and spun!

She turned up on her hands and knees, but then the Duke laid leather boot beneath her ribs, and something cracked. She prone upon her back collapsed. Ere, Nesta was now spent of her attack and could she breathe but nacht.

He slowly trod the several feet between the two and looked down at her, heaving at the stress and pain of mortal combat they betwain. Again, Duke William looked down at his broken sleeve, and tucked it in until the seamstress made it right again.

He stepped quite pointedly upon her pretty ankle. Once again, she at his mercy there.

“I yield, my Duke!” She coughed through broken lip. And off he stepped.

He bent low, hands on knees, and put his nose quite close to hers. He grabbed her by the nape, and lifted up her head a ways. And then he whispered in her ear, “Not what I shall do to keep your land. But what you shall do. What by right have you to rule that Umberland?” He dropped her head again, and crashed it to the dingy ground.

William called across the yard, “Take care of this. Put her into the donjon, there to flop it off.” He said some other things as men approached the scene, but Nesta couldn’t hear, nor see neh more.

[1] Fat scoundrel

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Longchamp's Soliloquy

Napoliyun du Longchamp


It is among the animals and plants
Upon the Earth, and dirt and pestilence;
And pestilent doth make the men who on
The land do longwise gashes meant to make.

Behind the ox, ten grooves each Spring, for far-
ther than the grooves an ox cannot his plough
To goodly bring. And rather he, the far-
mer, then play bones with Fate for fate of ox

And for his fam'ly's weal doth make, he stops
The ox, and pauses, in fair sunshine or foul rain,
And turns the beast about and then they
Do depart again.

                         Ten times in one arpent,
The grooves within his Mother Earth dost Ev'-
ry peasant make; ten rows for planting, and
Then do his fam'ly members tuck the seeds
And under do they go.

                                  The seeds to sleep,
And in so slumbering, push do they
With fingers down, and touch the thing which gives
Us gain within The hallowed Globe there what's
beneath this place.

                             And after three-score years,
The man doth follow aft the oxen and
Make grooves, and plant the seeds, and then repeat
It, does he pass to sweet relief, and ne'er
Has he re-act the dreary thing. Adieu!


The second of the three, mark: You,
Dear Nesta, as the world can plainly see,
Have done the second part of this, the sal-
ly from the part beginning, and ye to
The part which endeth all.

                                                  This part, I mean
To say, is that of steel and ringèd iron,
Aback of horses, bred to carry us
To valor; and then to our end. Take up
A banner, Nesta! That, though you high
-Born, and you ver’ly clever, have ye but
A single choice if ye intend to leave
To fated History your voice, like eld the sa-
gas of our ancestors did do.

                                                      It is
By sword, and not as other chance for you,
By cursèd cloth. The crown comes hard upon
The head of those do win it from a low-
ly state, but stowed with strain it comes by those
Betray the cornerstone of rulership:
Nobility. Ye noble or a beggar, Nesta dam?
Methinks the former-


                                          -And you’d better!



The third life’s path that Man can take, in this
Time through the dreary-vast, is by the cloth,
And pray for those whose souls would otherwise
Be lost. A life perhaps the better than
The one of many peasants, but still on
the narr’ and rapid straits to sluggish mis-
ery, inferior to those high-ups
Above the salt in Mother Church it be.

I did’st know a man who, rather let
He let his passion run amok, and make
For trouble infangthief and honor lost
Without, did still ensconce himself within
The sill and cloister of a monastery
On a hill, and ne’er did he r’appear.

For six and thirty years, an elder man,
His passion spent. And had he spent those years
In earnest passion for repent. Repent
-eth for me too, this man did do. Wore he
The sackcloth and applied the ashes too,
And he did nary speak to anyone
Unless good custom did it shew to them.

But naught he taketh feast on sumptuare,
Nor use he excess flavorments, nor salt.
But naught he take in recess with the men
At sport and play within the common room
Or court. But naught did he raise up his voice
In happy-frain, but only with the dirge,
His voice uplift remain.

And all this did
He do, give he his life to God anew,
and never misery eschew, for his
Bald passion other might endanger vir
-tue, reputation, of his fam and hearth!

So which be worse, the worsening of life
For virtue, or the missing man, nay, lad,
From family a-gathered round their perch
A-dreadful mourning he who lives but from
Them separates, for honor due?

In mine own case, did I put in the ground
Each of my sisters, young and eld, and two
My goodly brothers, they both eld of me,
And mother and my pa. Each did I give
A plot from our inheritance, in kind
For each the other, side-by-side, as life
They passionate would be, sleep in sleepy
sap-André’s fair Val aux Clercs stone chap-

          With windows made for they of paint-ed
glass, installed so that their mornings and
Their eventides are pretty, like shewed in
Our vineyard that they knew’d in times long past.

But for my passionate dear sir, his name
Roosts, stayeth sacrèd in me now, for now
I wish not his pellation say, and so
Dishonor lineage and hearth he wished
To hide it from, I do so keep it near
To me in all our years apart, and nar
Did he escape from this, my sacrèd
for him heart.

And those three are the thrace good pathways three
To sweet oblivion, oublitted every
Man in History, but precious few.

And though the sainted Church and St. Marié
Just down the lane a ways, I have to been good
To patron for the years, and done
My works and days for Her, I can’t abide
A God who would’st call what we had shared
‘Abomination,’ and did cleave him from
His good vocation and from mine, the flow-
er of our youth, sublime, and dwellest there
In cloister nary-fair, a vulture under