Shackled in stocks, the Fool, King Giles, sits sad
in hat of bells and face all gay with paint,
remembering his love without a taint,
and all the times they shared that made them glad.
One last performance now, before the crowd
of countrymen his cowardice had failed,
while Robert watched to punish those who wailed,
expecting them to curse their king out loud.
But Giles thinks only; soon it will be o’er.
Nothing could hold his soul to pace the world;
nor could he say wherever he’d be hurled –
sink into hell, or ride death’s waves with Noah.
One night alone he has to face his end;
then on the morrow, death his only friend.
“Father, I now confess a life made waste;
here as I face my end with great distaste,
now I no longer hide myself away
far from the seat of power, this one last day.
Surely, my Lord, you come to see right through
all that with Trefor you began to do.
How can I think that you will leave us here,
under Sir Robert’s thumb, deprived of cheer?
So, at the end of things, I still believe
that you will come to save, and not to grieve.
Ever my brother’s people wished to see
you at our head, and live by your decree.
Since you reject not one who seeks you out,
how can I yield this kingdom up to doubt?
Therefore, I now confess - I have been blind.
Since on a horse’s hoof I lost my mind,
I have pursued a path of cautious ways;
sadly I now repent those foolish days.
What did I gain by letting Robert rule?
Hating the violent way made me a fool.
Hard though I tried to make his heart content,
never a jot did Robert’s rage relent.
Hating us hotly, grievance long amassed -
Beast of Broceliande, upon us cast.
Fool that I was, I thought through force we’d die.
All of my hopes for peace revealed a lie.
Tyrants we tell the truth about ourselves
when we must count on boys who serve the Elves.
When on the day that Lionel lost his life,
elders requested me to lead, in strife
patience I counselled; yet, our long defeat
ever increased each day as Lionel’s seat
suffered Sir Robert’s presence. We empowered
him to create a kingdom many-towered.
Towered with tales of torture; years of woe
never to end, his tyranny; more so
did he repress us when we sought to please,
ever-increasing torment on our knees.
All we have learned is asking for the lash.
All my considered caution has been rash!
Father, forgive my people, raise them up;
take from their lips my sad and bitter cup.
When all my hope that Robert leave was stilled,
when the poor Fool who japed for him was killed,
lest some new jester die, I took his place -
so I could serve before Sir Robert’s face -
there to have hope of killing him in sleep,
only to find the hag had cursed him deep;
so that he ever wakes, but has no joy.
Thus could I not my ambush e’er employ.
Armoured he always, girt with sword and shield;
hat full of bells was all I had to wield.
Knives at the table oft I longed to plunge
into his hated heart with deadly lunge.
But, with his ready breastplate, sword and helm,
sooner he’d hope to drown in Durrinelm.
Thus do the foolish fail,
never to save their flocks.
Mumming while Robert mocks -
scorning the seas to sail.
Blocking Columba brave -
she would have saved my heart.
Ever I made my part
spurning the wood and wave.
Somewhere inside I’d keep
hope of one chance to do
deeds of a king, and true
shepherd of all my sheep.
If any lion or bear
ever crossed David’s sight,
then for his flock he’d fight;
fight as a slinger there.
One thing to turn my cheek,
when the cheek’s all my own;
other to throw the stone
when I defend the meek!
How I was fooled by fear!
What have my people borne?
Five crops a year of corn,
yet they get bread too dear
since all the harvest sails
over the sea away;
many the happy day
maybe they have in Wales!
Seeing my people starve,
suffering 'neath the lash,
I had no royal dash,
could not a kingdom carve.
Arthur we all revere;
ever he fights for You,
and to his people true;
always the poor he’ll hear.
So for this shattered kingdom, I accept
blame for the years of torture, harm, and hurt;
mine is the shame that Robert gave us dirt;
all for the kingly crown I should have kept.
Lost was my brother, when,
kind to the last, he fell;
over the ocean’s swell
came our oppressor then.
Lord, to Trefor be close tonight;
find a way to complete his fight!
If some help may my end now be,
let me die, but my folk be free!”