David Lewis Paget
The Mock Wedding - Poem by David Lewis Paget
She lived there still, in the house on the hill
Though she hadn’t been seen for years,
The Lady Margaret Hermanville
She’d lived in a mist of tears,
Her wedding day had been bright and gay
When her groom arrived at the door,
The devious Baron Wűrrtenberg
With his soldiers, back from the war.
The wedding service was short and sweet
Was held by a priest defrocked,
Was hurried through from the point of view
Of all that the Baron mocked,
He’d only wanted her dowry then
But claimed he wanted her hand,
And with it the House of Hermanville
With a thousand acres of land.
She’d gone alone to her wedding bed
While the Baron caroused ‘til dawn,
And lay awake with a constant ache,
What had she done, so wrong?
He made his quarters down with his men
While she languished up in her room,
But sought an audience then with him
On the following afternoon.
‘Where is the love you promised me
When you came and begged for my hand?
I may be wed but I’m now in dread
That you wanted me for my land!
Prove to me you’ve a noble heart
That there’s more to you than a gun,
And take your bride, for my barren womb
Should be stirring now with your son.’
The Baron laughed, and waved her away
‘It’s enough that you have my ring,
You have the title of Wűrrtenberg,
Of my heart, not even a thing.
I have a frau in Bavaria
Will be coming to live here soon,
So get you away to the Servants Hall,
You and your barren womb.’
The Lady Margaret stood in shock,
A tear had formed at her eye,
Her face as pale as the clouds that formed
Above on an azure sky,
‘I’ll go and petition the Cardinal,
I’ll have this wedding annulled.’
‘You’ll not be leaving this house again, ’
He said, and her eyes had dulled.
A year went by and she sought some peace
Below in the Servants Hall,
While he went riding to fox and hounds
And didn’t see her at all,
His Gretchen came, to lord it above
At the feasts for his Men-at-Arms,
A flashy, rude, Bavarian trull
Who was loose with all of her charms.
The Baron watched her flirt with his men,
Grew angrier by the day,
He had her locked in an old sow’s pen
And sent all his men away,
He said, ‘You want to live like a pig
Then I’ll give you your heart’s desire,
He fed her truffles and day-old slop
And she slept on hay from the byre.
Back in the hall, he paced and paced
His echoing feet alone,
Began to think about Margaret
And thought that he might atone,
He heard the merriment down below
Drift up from the Servants Hall,
Went down the cavernous limestone steps
Where his wife was sat by the wall.
‘What’s this? ’ he said, as he wandered in,
His wife was seven months gone,
The servants gathered around her there
And her face, it fairly shone.
‘You’ll never guess who the father is,
It could have been one of two,
You sent me off with a barren womb
But the only Barren is you! ’
‘So pack your bags, you can leave us now,
You should have been more aware,
The deed of settlement that you signed
For my dowry said, ‘Beware! ’
The house and land wouldn’t pass to you
But devolve to my first born son,
It could have been yours, but now, you see
It belongs to my little one.’
My mother never married again,
I’m lord of all I can see,
A thousand acres of farming land
My mother bequeathed to me,
I’ve watched her cry and I’ve watched her mourn
That I’m not the son of a Lord,
I’m proudly the son of a working man
With a mother that I adored!
24 February 2014
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