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Merlin intervenes

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“The Southern tribes of Britain
disputed Merlin’s powers;
they spent their time debating them
for many useless hours.

In time I heard they gibbered;
at last I lost my calm.
And so I meditated how
to cause them all alarm.

My childhood was in Ireland;
I learnt the lore of kings.
My mother in the convent there
obtained me many things.

Amongst the ancient writings,
I read how Rome had warred
with several Southern tribes of old
that all obeyed one lord.

The Romans thought them bonded
by stones they’d worshipped long;
and so they chose to cow them all
with mighty deeds of song.

To Stonehenge sent they legions,
and had them dig the plain
until the sacred Southern stones
were covered up again.

This so enraged the locals,
to fight till death they swore;
the Romans saw them coming, and
obliged them all the more.

One man alone escaped them,
and went to Erin’s isle;
before he died, he wrote of this,
in Latin filled with bile.

Thus I had read his story,
while I was just a boy;
and round it now I weaved a plan
to get malicious joy.

I ventured to the southmen,
and boldly told them all
that I would bring stone circles ringed
around them at my call.

And more than that, I’d make them
appear beneath the ground!
To prove it I demanded they
send diggers to the mound!

They loaded earth in wagons,
and with it made a hill,
until the circle stood laid bare,
and lo, it stands there still.

I threatened to bring others;
but now they feared me so,
they offered fifty golden torcs,
and begged of me to go.

I told them “Give me sixty;”
they did as they were told.
And thus I have impoverished them,
and left them without gold.

They asked me one thing only;
where did the stones come from?
And thinking of the convent,
I said ‘Ireland’, with aplomb!

Of course, then I was reckless,
and trifled with the truth;
or otherwise I would have lived
a very different youth.

So now they have a hillside,
and worthless standing stones;
they gave up all their gold for them,
and paid me for their moans!

But when the time for building
this causeway came around,
those torcs paid fully; now this work
will long years hence astound.”

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