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The new Normans..

I picked up a copy of Michael Wood's book In Search of England: Journeys into the English Past and he starts with
Norman and Saxon - Rudyard Kipling - which I will put in the extended part of this entry below.

It reads like good advice to our new European masters and the new Norman Yoke we suffer from.

NORMAN AND SAXON
(A.D. 1100)
Rudyard Kipling


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MY SON," said the Norman Baron, "I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for my share
When we conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:
"The Saxon is not like us Normans, His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, "This isn't fair dealings," my son, leave the Saxon alone.

"You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears,
But don't try that game on the Saxon; you'll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They'll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

"But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
Don't trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they're saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear 'em out if it takes you all day.

"They'll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark,
It's the sport not the rabbits they 're after (we 've plenty of game in the park).
Don't hang them or cut off their fingers. That's wasteful as well as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man-at-arms you can find.

"Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
Say `we,' `us' and `ours' when you're talking instead of `you fellows' and `I.'
Don't ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell 'em a lie!"

The Norman Yoke

Norman saw on English oak.
On English neck a Norman yoke;
Norman spoon to English dish,
And England ruled as Normans wish;
Blithe world in England never will be more,
Till England's rid of all the four. (Chapter XXVII)

Proverb recited by Wamba to De Bracy and Front-de-Boeuf. - Ivanhoe

Comments

Hello there,

I can't seem to find a contact email address for you. It suddenly struck me that there is an outside chance that you have not read the Fox's Prophecy and as someone who obviously enjoys prose etc I though you might like to read it.

I have made it available here.

Enjoy, or not as the case may be.

Many thanks for that, I have read it many times on a friend's wall - but never found a copy for myself.

And I have put an email address up on the title bar!

Cheers.

Tim

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