Thursday, March 31, 2016

What Honour’s Wrought

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, March AS 50 (2016)

My lady I have won for thee.
On the field of chivalry
I took no knee.
I frayed into the anarchy
Of battle’s plea
And there I won it all for thee,
My lady.

My lord you won it not for me.
I did not see chivalry;
I saw your glee;
You take more blows to fell than tree.
You took the key
Of my bount’ous heart’s love for thee;
So beastly.

My lady it was destiny
That drove my sword’s gluttony.
I took no knee
To show your honour’s dignity.
Could I foresee
That my actions were not worthy
My lady?

My lord you’ll find you must agree
That you acted shamefully—
I saw your glee.
You acted discourteously
For all to see
And brought great shame to thee and me
Forever be.

This bit of didactism is an estampida. The 12th century Provençal genre of the estampida (“uproar”) is related to the Old French estampie. It employed regular stanza structures (that is, all the stanzas looked the same) and a single-rhyme scheme. This poem is loosely based on an estimpida written by Raimbaut de Vaqueiras or Vaqueyras (fl. 1180 – 1207) known as “Kalenda maia” that was an exchange between a knight and his lady.

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