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 Maitland poem

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whitehound
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PostSubject: Maitland poem   Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:49 am

The best poem I know of about Richard is one which I found in an anthology of work by new poets 30+ years ago.  It's by a Sarah Maitland and I believe this to be Sarah Maitland the novelist.  I've tried to contact her to confirm that she is the author of this poem and that it's OK to show it around, but Maitland is famously reclusive and I didn't get an answer.  So I hope that the author - whether she is the novelist or some other Sarah Maitland - will bear with me for reproducing it here.  It deserves to be seen.


SARAH MAITLAND:
BOSWORTH FIELD: EVE OF BATTLE
      Richard speaks

Evening:
      Looking back at history and bearing in mind the complexities of our family,
      I would say that it was not a poverty of royalty that ruined us
      But too many of us: Englishmen, you know, with proud hearts and Kingly blood;
      So that now a whoreson of a welshman shall rule us.
      A dignity will die with me, from now on Crowns will be plucked from bushes
      And sold for the price of armies.

Midnight:
      Do you remember how they loved me in the north, how the crowds all cheered
      That was to be king indeed.
      My brother was crowned with gold but I was a king in the borders
      When my soldiers laughed at my crooked salutes.  Oh we were friends and companions,
      But not this lot; Here they jeer secretly and they will not fight well to-morrow.
      They're merchants, these Londoners - need a banker not a king;
      They'll get one this time - which should I suppose content me, servant of my people.

Small hours:
      This seems a long night and rather cold.  You know just now
      I cannot well distinguish those I killed
      From those they say I killed.
      The women that I said I loved
      From those I loved;
      And my own son is dead.

Dawn:
      If it was not so cold this might be amusing,
      I mean to fight a battle you know you won't win.
      Well, laugh, damn you; I am still the King.
      Even God must be laughing it's his last chance you know.
      Laugh God, laugh now.  Your sacred oil burns on my brow
      But the flame will be put out and the welsh bastard will laugh last.
      Look God - see England arm for the last time.
      Rise Sun, and watch the Killing of the King.
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