The Lord of Misrule

A brief digression: I entered a little on-line contest in March…

…and didn’t win.

Ah well, what was my loss I will now attempt to make your gain, by presenting failure as entertainment. Five verses, iambic octameter (that means “sixteen syllables per line”, read it duh-duh, duhduh, duh-duh, duh-duh… if you want to).

So. Here, have a rhyme.


The Lord of Misrule


They call the leader of the proud King’s entertainers “Prince of Fools”.
All year he pranks, and jokes, and sings; in nonsense rhyme evinces rules
And regal edicts, tumbling as courtiers mock–and all the while
His majesty laughs on, the bitter bumbling jester wears a smile.

Then when the year comes to a close, that season northerners call Yule,
The king, in action grandiose, names his pet man Lord of Misrule,
And freely gives all symbols of command to this ennobled clown–
But, as he abdicates the throne, he sees no grin beneath the crown.

With bells and costume cast aside, the buffoon makes himself a ghoul
Of retribution for their snide mistreatment. He gives leave for cruel
Fun and much merry-made abuse, his orders prompting howls and squirms:
The King an ass! The priest a whipping boy! The rich crawling like worms!

Then at his signal–as the King crawls, as the courtiers all drool
And fight each other for their turn to ride upon the royal mule–
The entertainers raise the gates, throw all doors wide, let in the world,
And as disorder reigns the banner of new order is unfurled.

This low court desecrates the high and, as his master’s body cools,
The jester contemplates his prize, the crown of gold and precious jewels.
Amidst the corpses, poor folk dance and reel and splash through bloody pools.
Come dawn, the wisest amongst them will kneel and hail him King.

Of fools.


2 thoughts on “The Lord of Misrule

  1. I seem to remember another lyrical ballad in the Hudson Chapbook concerning a hero? I hope you’ll do us all the honour of seeing that one too at some point. Excellent stuff 🙂

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