Saturday Poem - Lord Lovelace

I have managed a full year of Saturday Poems without using the same poet twice but I have always liked this one, so even though I shared When I Was A Boy a good few months ago, I decided to pick it.  I first read Lord Lovelace as a ten year-old and I was thrilled by the twist in the tale.  As with the last one of his I shared, there is such a fantastic simplicity to Causley's verse; it seems so effortless but yet it sticks in the mind long afterwards, in my case for decades!


John Lovelace - possible model for this man?
Lord Lovelace

Lord Lovelace rode home from the wars,
His wounds were black as ice,
While overhead the winter sun
Hung out its pale device.

The lance was tattered in his hand,
Sundered his axe and blade,
And in a bloody coat of war
Lord Lovelace was arrayed.

And he was sick and he was sore
But never sad was he,
And whistled bright as any bird
Upon an April tree.

‘Soon, soon,’ he cried, ‘at Lovelace Hall
Fair Ellen I shall greet,
And she with loving heart and hand
Will make my sharp wounds sweet.

‘And Young Jehan the serving-man
Will bring the wine and bread,
And with a yellow link will light
Us to the bridal bed.’

But when he got to Lovelace Hall
Burned were both wall and stack,
And in the stinking moat the tower
Had tumbled on its back.

And none welcomed Lord Lovelace home
Within the castle shell,
And ravaged was the land about
That Lord Lovelace knew well.

Long in his stirrups Lovelace stood
Before his broken door,
And slowly rode he down the hill
Back to the bitter war.

Nor mercy showed he from that day,
Nor tear fell from his eye,
And rich and poor both fearful were
When Black Lovelace rode by.

This tale is true that now I tell
To woman and to man,
As Fair Ellen is my wife’s name
And mine is Young Jehan.

Charles Causley

For the full archive of past Saturday poems, visit Poetry Please in the Features.

Thursday Picture - Book Jumble


Review: The Bookshop Book, Jen Campbell

The Books Are My Bag campaign has been championed in many different quarters and with a fair few wild hurrahs - I myself possess approximately three of the signature tote bags thanks to being in the right place at the right time at various junctures of the London Book Fair last year.  I have had a few glances at Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops but having got the gist, I did not feel tempted to read further.  The Books Are My Bag drive attempts to fight back against the Amazonification of book-buying and the rise of the Kindle - it is no surprise to anyone that I did not need persuading about this and that is probably why I have not gotten particularly excited by the campaign.  In my case, they are preaching to the choir.  Still, spotting a copy of The Bookshop Book, I decided to take a look and see if I could learn anything new.

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Harrowing Fictional Deaths

I always think that death is a hard thing to get right in fiction.  A fictional character is the creation of the author so it is the writer's choice to cause their deaths but this has to be forgotten if the reader is going to truly grieve.  Dickens was particularly bad at this, with numerous severely overcooked and protracted deathbed scenes where I usually just wished that whoever it was would just croak so we could all move on.  However, that being said, there are also numerous other imagined demises which have caught me off guard and left me slightly traumatised.  So in the spirit of misery loving company, I decided to share these here.  I confess the following, coming up with this week's list made my eyes distinctly watery.

Turning 500

I recently realised that I have published 500 posts on Girl with her Head in a Book.

Cue Twilight Zone theme tune.

I haven't really been celebrating my blogging anniversaries but I felt like this one was just too significant a milestone to pass by unremarked.

Girl with her Head in a Book in Numbers:

Age: 3 years 7 months
Blogger followers: 61
Facebook subscribers: 265
Twitter followers: 193
Page views yesterday: 369
Page views last month: 11,174
Page views since 2011: 183,701
Comments received: 992
Review requests: Many

Most viewed post: Katherine, Anya Seton vs Katherine Swnyford, Alison Weir
Most commented on post: Top Ten Dystopian Novels
Most shared post: The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne
Book Reviews: 276
Top Ten Tuesdays: 52
Saturday Poems: 53
Book Tubes: 7

Quote Of The Week


Saturday Poem - Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

It's April so I felt that I needed a poem that celebrates the season when the 'shoures soote'.  This is just an excerpt since this isn't really the right forum to paste in the entire of the Canterbury Tales.  I studied them for A level and then in my second year at university.  They're not for the faint-hearted but if you commit and get into the mind-set then they're well worth the work.

Prologue

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,

That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Geoffrey Chaucer

For the full archive of past Saturday poems, visit Poetry Please in the Features.