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Battle Poetry

Poster: edh@ascc01.ascc.lucent.com

Mistress Deirdre O'Siodhachain writes, in part,

> I am minded of several recent conversations with knights of my acquaintance.
>  I love their company dearly for their enthusiasm and wit.  And in my
> friendship with them I would never attribute any malice or ill will to them.
>  Still, I have heard them use expressions like "clubbing them like baby
> seals", "making him cry", or "send him to visit Uncle Dirt-Nap."

I admit that I am not a fighter, and if I err in my ignorance, I
pray that those who know this arena correct me.
I venture to guess that the knights who used those expressions had a
yearning to express something transcendant about their experience.
Further, I daresay that the abovementioned expressions were not a
succesful fulfillment of that poetic yearning.
I believe that fighters would do well to look to the classics of
the Period for ways to express themselves.

For example, here is a speech by the title character of "Beowolf"
(as translated by Burton Raffel (c) 1963):

  "What we did was what our hearts helped
  Our hands to perform; we came to fight
  With Grendel, our strength against his.  I wish
  I could show you, here in Herot, his corpse
  Stretched on this floor!  I twisted my fingers
  Around his claw, ripped and tore at it
  As hard as I could:  I meant to kill him
  Right here, hold him so tightly that his heart
  Would stop, would break, his life spill
  On this floor.  But God's will was against me,
  As hard as I held him he still pulled free
  And ran, escaped from this hall with the strength
  Fear had given him.  But he offered me his arm
  And his claw, saved his life yet left me
  That prize.  And paying even so willingly
  For his freedom he still fled with nothing
  But the end of his evil days, ran
  With death pressing at his back, pain
  Splitting his panicked heart, pulling him
  Step by step into hell.  Let him burn
  In torment, lying and trembling, waiting
  For the brightness of God to bring him his reward."

This is not the best example.  I wanted to quote something from
a translation of "Tirant Lo Blanc", a Catalonian romance about
a hero who fought in Crusades and winner-take-armor tourneys, but
I couldn't find my copy.

If anyone agrees that such passages would help lead to more
appropriate language in our Society, I urge you to post your
favorites here, that we might compile a list and circulate them, and
help send all mundane-sounding  battle metaphors to Uncle Dirt-Nap.

-- Alfredo
Alfredo el Bufon
Elvegast, Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia

Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, and
Charleton Heston in 'Soylents of the Lambs'.

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