Richard Coeur de Lion

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A poem by Richard Coeur de Lion was proposed for Delia to set to music for Poets in Prison. It is mentioned in a shortlist of poems Delia was thinking to use.[1]

Poem text


                      Richard Coeur de Lion

If captive wight attempt the tuneful strain,
  His voice, belike, full dolefully will sound;
Yet, to the end 'tis comfort to complain.
  Frieds have I store and promises abound;
Shame on th niggards since, these winters twain
Unransom'd, still i wear a tyrant's chain.

Full well they knew, my lords and nobles all,
  Of England, Normandy, Guienne, Poictou,
Ne'er did I slight my poorest vassal's call,
  But all, whom wealth would buy, from chains withdrew.
Not in reproach I speak, nor idly vain,
But I alone unpitied bear the chain.

My fate will show "the dungeon and the grave
  Alike repel our kindred and out friends."
Here am I left their paltry gold to save!
  Sad fate is mine, but worse their crime attends.
Their lord will die; their conscience shall remain,
And tell how long I wore the galling chain.

To those my frieds, lond loved and ever dear,
  To gentle Chaïll and kind Perserin,
Go forth, my song, and say, whate'er they hear,


  To them my heart was never false or vain.
Should they rebel - but no; their hearts disdain
With added weight to load the captive's chain.

Know then the youths of Anjou and Touraine,
  Those lusty bachelors, those airy lords,
That these vile walls their captive king retain?
  Sure they in aid will draw they loyal swords!
Alas! nor faith, nor valour, now remain;
Sighs are but wind, and I must bear my chain.


  1. DD103720: Shortlist of poems for Poets in Prison.