How Sire Gaddabout unto his nuptials came
After Goethe's "Ritter Kurts Brautfahrt"
Sire Gaddabout one spring-tide morn
his sturdy dappled steed did mount.
for he would wed the highly born
Maid Ethrelda Holyfount
He plucked his lute and sang an air,
but scarce a league was trod
than came a cry. "Beware, beware!
Here comes the knave, Sire Heaviplodde.
"Sire Heaviplodde, my mortal foe?
Seeks he this day a fight?
'Tis him or me a mortal blow
must soon dispatch to endless night."
Sir Heaviplodde in armor black
rode up to mock and jeer.
Then said he, holding high a a sack:
"Your head will serve as souvenir."
"Make good, black knight, your foolish boast,"
stern-faced Sire Gaddabout did cry,
"or by ye saints your wretched ghost
full soon the Stygian strait must ply."
The shields did clash, the horses snort,
the dust did fly, the swords did ring,
and, to cut a long tale short,
'twas Heaviplodde who knew death’s sting.
A fulsome wench with babe at breast
stood steadfast in the way.
Sire Gaddabout at her behest
stopped for to hear what she might say.
She raised her babe for him to see,
she cocked her head and with a sneer
said:" Knight at arms, remember me?
You left behind this souvenir."
On seeing this the knight did blush.
He bade his squire go fetch some beer.
Then said he to the young girl "Hush,
this bag of gold should help out, dear."
Past hill, past hamlet, wood and mire,
he rode with noble carriage.
Might even yet the fates conspire
to dash all hopes of marriage?
Who stood with visage grim and old
to guard the way before?
A man in black held up a scroll,
whereon were writ the debts of yore.
Not all the gold the knight did hold,
not lands, not herds, his dowry,
could e'er redeem his debts of old
accrued in youthful folly.
"I have sinned" the knight did weep,
"and mercy is my plea.
I must to church my pledge to keep
in holy matrimony."
The grim collector smiled and said:
"As bridegroom you today are free.
Your past is like a shadow fled.
What counts today is what shall be."
Copyright © Julian Scutts | Year Posted 2017
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