Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Chained Tree


It happened in this wise, my friends,
Or so the legends run,
That the Earl of Shrewsbury
Cantered home, in 1821.

The Earl was a fine, upstanding man,
But his heart was hard as stone.
He viewed his servants much like dirt,
And worked them to the bone.

A storm was raging on that night
As he rode through Dimminsdale;
The lightning flashed, the thunder roared:
He was soaked by rain and hail.

He could scarcely see the road ahead
As he hurtled through the night.
And, suddenly, a shape loomed up!
A truly ghastly sight!

A Beggar stood there, drenched and wild,
Shouting above the din
'A penny for a Beggar, Sir!
You can see the state I'm in!'

The horse reared up, the Earl let loose
With a shout of rude surprise;
'Get out of my way, Old Beggar!
You blackguard! Damn your eyes!'

But still the Beggar stood his ground,
Though lashed by wind and rain;
'Just one penny, Master!
And I'll never ask again!

A penny for a glass of port
At the local hostelry!'
But the Earl in heartless fashion cried
'You felon! Leave me be!'

He whipped his horse into action;
It set off with one bound,
Leaving the Beggar sprawling
On the dank and muddy ground!

But, as the Earl sped fast away,
The Beggar loudly cursed;
'From this day forth, oh lordly Earl,
Prepare yourself for the worst!

In every storm, in future years,
Yon tree will lose a limb.
So look to your well-fed children,
For their futures will be grim!

I curse thee up, I curse thee down,
I curse thee low and high.
For every time a limb is lost,
One of your sons will die!'

And, sure enough, a mighty storm
Destroyed a limb from the tree
And, that very night, the eldest son,
Died, in great agony.

'Tie up the tree with chains of iron!'
The Earl was heard to cry!
'The tree must be protected
So no other child will die!'

And still one great chain can be seen
Though the tree shows signs of age,
Proof of a rich man's folly
And a Beggar's dreadful rage.

Yes, still the legend lingers on,
A dire and haunting tale,
And you'll see the chain on that fateful tree
As you pass through Dimminsdale.


Bear Naked said...

What an extraordinary tale and your ppoem is priceless.
Once again you have captured my imagination Brenda.

Bear((( )))

Mari Meehan said...

The photos make the story complete! Dimminsdale appears to be as I'd expect. The black and white of tree and chains lends just the proper chill!

Congratulations on 100. May you have hundreds more coming!

Raven said...

What a great poem and legend. Reminds me of The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. I always loved that poem. Loreena McKennet put it to music. Love it that way too.

Kat said...

Ooooooooooooh... That was a great poem. You took us thro' the episode in 1821.

Saw the 'chained tree' in PLUS. Looks scary :))))

Dimminsdale looks so lovely.

When I'm accosted by people asking for money, I see if they are really incapable of earning by working. If so, I give them, not because I am afraid of any curse, but because I read in a magazine Mother Theresa asking us to do so.

Kat said...

And to the question you had asked... "... My Hundredth Poem! I wonder how many to go!"

Congraaaaaaaats Brenda... What a terrific achievement. Amazing. I think you'll figure in the Guiness book of World Record - someday :))) I am going to celebrate it today, at home with a SWEET..!!!!

If Australian cricketers are famous for hitting centuries, you're no less..!!!

Wishing you many more centuries.



quilly said...

Ah, the relentless fear inspired by a curse, is much more punishment then the fulfillment of the curse would be!

Kat said...

Have come back to this poem again - you had then wondered.... My Hundredth Poem! I wonder how many to go!

The statistics department informs that you've crossed the "thousandth mark"....!!!

1012th as on 20 Aug 09 to be precise.

My heartiest congratulations at this amazing feat. The best part is you are not aware of it :))))

Anonymous said...

Excellent poem !!! I viewed the tree for the first time today.
Amazing. The wooded valley is beautiful. I walked up the steps to the tree. One large (and chained )branch has snapped and touches the ground beyond the root mass at the base of the trunk.
Thank you for your information and poem !!
Phill. Staffordshire.

Durward Discussion said...

That does truly capture the mood of The Highwayman. Thank you for taking part in Take This Tune

Barb said...

This caught me from the very first line and held me right to the end. Fantastic!!!! *applause* =)

Grandma said...

A very compelling tale. Here's to your next hundred poems.

Anonymous said...

The kind of poem to enthrall our children and grandchildren for many generations. This one's a keeper! It reminded me of Burns's Tam O'Shanter - not the story, but the power of your rhythm.

BTW You've done it again, Rinkly.

We're not supposed to post our links on the Monday prompt page - you'll need to post another link on Come One Come All on Friday.

Anonymous said...

Oh, nice storytelling, and it's got that proper popular ballad feel to it!

Linda said...

The tale and the rhythm of the poem made me want to read this aloud—wonderful

Mike Patrick said...

What can one say? Wonderful.

Unknown said...

feels like a classic

Anonymous said...

Ooooo that was so good! I wanted to turn off the lights and read it by a flickering fire!

Cathy said...

Brilliant. I too had look up the legend. Interesting read.

DJ Vorreyer said...

The narrative flows well - I would never attempt a t long rhyming narrative like this!

Deb said...

I'm with Donna!

Erin Davis said...

What a great ballad! Well excecuted in every way.