Rejected Notes

From: Michael Cule (mikec@room3b.demon.co.uk)
Date: Sun 12 Jan 1997 - 19:40:20 EET


The following I wrote in imitation of the Seleric Verses after first hearing
them last summer. The series (which I have yet to continue) is supposed to be
'rejected notes' left behind by the compiler of the Composite History of
Dragon Pass and to show Argrath at various stages in his life.

Rejected Notes for the Composite History of Dragon Pass.

1: The Schoolmaster

Why, yes sir. I knew him.

You will forgive me that I do not rise
To greet you as I rightly should
The lesser scholar honouring the greater.
But our damp and windy hills are not kind
To aging bones.

See, my hands swell at the joints and
I can scarce hold quill to paper
For a quarter glass' span.
Ah well, it comes to us all.

But sit, sir, sit. Here by the fire.
We can be warm and talk of
My sometime pupil.
Why yes. I thank you. I will.

(The daughter of the house bustles by
and takes their orders. Mulled ale for
the old man. Small beer for the young.
Paper ready, pen poised. Listening.)

You have come far and sought long
I hope you feel no disappointment
With what you find.
For here's no Matter for a History.
Histories are not made in such lands as this.

Hard land, hard working.
For me as much as for the farmers.
As their harsh fields resist the plough
So the Minds of their young
Resist my teaching.

Poor earth for my seeds of wisdom
Thin soil indeed. The Kings of the Colymar
Are wise and generous
Honouring the Scholar God.

Two days a week in High Summer
And deep winter, when their hands
are not needed in the fields
The tribes children come to learning.

But what crops can I raise in the souls
Of ploughboys and Cowherds?

It has been a long time since I came here, sir.
A long time to keep the flame of Lady Truth
Burning clean and bright.
And I often think....

Yes.
Yes of course, sir.
You are, of course. Quite. Right.

Well, he sat in the corner of my classroom
Some seven summers and seven winters
I watched him grow in that corner
(The one by the window, sir
Since you ask)
>From scowling boy to scowling youth.

His face was never merry
And his penmanship never rose
Above the adequate.
(No, sir. I kept no samples.)
He took some slight interest in History
But seemed to think Cyphering beneath him

And then one day he was gone.
I don't recall the reason
If I ever knew it.
Nor did I enquire.
Having other burdens
And other fish to fry.

But I do recall not being surprised
His father was absent, dead or gone
And his mother
No better than she should be.

A surly boy and bound towards trouble
Hardly a suitable source for Histories.

Come, sir, your mug is empty. Allow me to...

More sir? I have no more.
No merry anecedotes to liven
Your list of Kings and battles.
He was but a Boy
And born to trouble
Quarrelling over imagined slights,
Too proud for his position,
Though with a growing vigour
That appealed to our country lasses
And brought still more trouble.

Are you sure, sir,
(I hardly dare venture to put it to you,
A scholar of your eminence)
That you have correctly identified your Great Subject?
The name is a common one,
Derived, as your own learning will tell you,
>From the great Liberator and Betrayer
Of the First Age.

In our degenerate times, it is born by
Ploughboys and Bullies. Ah Sir,
The Golden Age of the World
Is long gone from here.

Come let me buy you
A stoop of our local barley wine
One Golden grace left
In our Leaden Times.

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