Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My New Background

Ever since my mom and brother discovered the possiblities with changing your blog look they have been anxious for me to follow suit. But we could not find the right background, until yesterday that is.

We were sitting at the local dance studio waiting for Bernie to get out of class. I had brought The Ballad of the White Horse (as usual). My mom, being rather bored, decided to read some of it out loud (we were sitting outside the studio). While thus engaged we realized that the illustrations of that book would be quite suitable for my blog.

The picture I chose is that of King Alfred dressed as a minstrel in the Danes camp about to sing his song (which I love). King Alfred was dressed in this poor attire to go about the country and see if his people would help him in overthrowing the Danes. It was on this journey that the famous story of Alfred and the cakes came about.

You see he had asked for dinner at a small cottage and the woman had consented if he watched her cakes that they would not burn, while she went to round up the sheep. He fell asleep on the job and when the old woman returned, she scolded him severly and likened his failing to watch the cakes to King Alfred's failure to watch the country. This along with the woman's assurance that her husband would help in an uprising, helped him a great deal in his decision to take the country back from the invaders.

Anyways back to his song, after many of the Danish lords sing their songs Alfred takes up the harp,

"When God put man in a garden
He girt him with a sword,
And sent him forth a free knight
That might betray his lord;

He brake Him and betrayed Him,
And fast and far he fell,
Till you and I may stretch our necks
and burn our beards in hell.

But though I lie on the floor of the world,
With the seven sins for rods,
I would rather fall with Adam
Than rise with all your gods." (305-310)

"What have the strong gods given?
Where have the glad gods led?
When Guthrum sits on a hero's throne
And asks if he is dead?

"Sirs I am but a nameless man,
A rhymster without a home
But since I come of the Wessex clay
And carry the cross of Rome

I will even answer the mighty earl
That asked of Wessex men
Why they be meek and monkish folk
That bow to the white lords broken yoke
What sign have we save blood and smoke?
Here is my answer then.

"That on you is fallen the shadow,
And not upon the Name;
That though we scatter and though we fly,
And you hang over us like the sky,
You are more tired of victory,
Than we are tired of shame." (330)

That thought you hunt the Christian man,
Like a hare on the hillside
The hare has still more heart to run
Than you have heart to ride

That though all lances split on you,
All swords be heaved in vain,
We have more lust again to lose
Than you to win again.

"Our monks go robed in rain and snow,
But the heart of flame therein,
But you go clothed in feasts and flames,
When all is ice within;

Nor shall all iron dooms make dumb
Men wondering ceaselessly,
If it be not better to fast for joy
Than feast for misery." (350-355)

"Therefore your end is on you,
Is on you and your kings,
Not for a fire in Ely fen,
Not that your gods are nine or ten,
But because it is only Christian men
Guard even heathen things.

For our God hath blessed creation,
Calling it good. I know
What spirit with whom you blindly band
Hath blessed destruction with his hand;
Yet by God's death the stars shall stand
And the small apples grow." (370-375)

Soon after, the Danes were put to flight by the determined Wessex Men led by King Alfred the Great. Although the untrustworthy Danes made trouble for long after, the peace to come would never have happened if it weren't for King Alfred.


arlawless said...

The new look's great!! :-)

Aunt Molly

Ria said...

Thanks, I love it,