In the tavern I drank to the good health of the landlord; my filthy companions lacking nothing but money, in good voice and robust desires we drank the night away. One of them, a priest of the priory drank the heartiest, to him I cried:

‘O holy man of God, will thou repenteth your sin? For thou will not get to Glorious Heaven the parlous state you are in!’

He balked and replied: ‘O filthy brigand you are no man of the Lord; I hear no challenge of my faith, pick up your sword!’

We drew rapiers and fought across table and patron. Kicking mugs of mead and screams of wench did accompany our dance across the Tavern. The landlord cried ‘No more! No more! You’re ruining my floor! With wine and mead: the cost I abhor!’

We ceased our fight with a shrug and a manly hug and resumed our drinking and merry making. The lowliest of our number, a beggar name Seed began to tell tales of his miserable creed:

‘O woe is the beggar, most bereft of them all; but for all that we lack, we are not held in thrall!’

‘A brawl! A brawl! I demand the rich fall!’ the beggar did cry over the hubbub and drink, to which I reposed: ‘A song! A song!’ and leaping on the table, with harp close to hand; I began sweet song of love to eyes which are closed:

‘O she does not see,

The wonder that is me!

For I am most fair,

and she adores brown hair!’

The cheers arose from the company I chose. They enjoyed the night until daybreak came fast. We walked the streets looking for ship to tie mast: the fat pockets of a business man. We came upon one in the street of the banks and took him to the nearest Tavern pushed along with great thanks. The guards were called! O what fate had befallen? This grand old company of mine.

The guard did arrest us and put me before assize. The Judge frowning from above did solemnly swear:

‘You brigands and braggarts are a plague of street maggots; how do you scoundrels possibly dare?’

I called him to order and demanded a duel, for satisfaction for insult is the only tool; to show the great their mistake.

The Judge called a second, a man of great girth and we fought until he had split my head in twain. Thrown out the assize and onto the street, my companions awoke aroused from their sleep. In the gutters they cheered and onward we made. For the day was still young and there were maidens to be played.



From The Rogues’ Gallery



© DJA 2016 All rights reserved.
 Cover: The Cardsharps by Michelangelo Caravaggio (Wiki commons)