The King’s Hunt

In May 2006, our local group hosted a Crown Tournament. I wrote this piece as an expansion on the phrase, “The King is dead! Long live in the King!” It’s all about the idea of one king valiantly dying, but his kingdom shall go on.

The King’s Hunt
by Katherine Ashewode, “The Pocket Bard”
to the tune of “Henry Martin” (Child Ballad #250)
May 2006

The king had assembled the men of his court,
And on the king’s road they did ride
For to give merry chase in the wood all the day,
All the day, all the day,
To hunt the white hart with all honour and pride.

‘Twas getting on noon when the hart came in sight
And they chased it through hill and through dale
Till it leapt ‘cross a stream and emerged in a glade,
In a glade, in a glade,
And vanished beyond as the men lost its trail.

And there where the hart disappeared in the wood
Charged a monster both massive and fierce,
With razor-sharp claws and with tusks dripping blood,
Dripping blood, dripping blood,
Eager to shred and to rend and to pierce.

The king shut his visor and readied his shield
And strove to engage with his sword
And steel clanged on bone as they met with a crash,
With a crash, with a crash,
The king with a shout and the beast with a roar.

The king was a valiant fighter, ’tis true,
And he carved out great chunks from his foe,
But the beast dipped its head and it charged with its tusks
With its tusks, with its tusks,
And the king stumbled back with the force of the blow.

The king was sore wounded with blood in his mouth,
And he knew that he had but one shot,
And raising his sword he cried out, “Victory,
Victory, victory!”
The blow that he dealt killed the beast on the spot.

The men of the court gathered round their liege-lord,
But they saw that the king was near death.
But he beckoned his prince to come forth to his side,
To his side, to his side,
And named him his heir with his last dying breath.

The others assembled a bier for their king,
And with sharp sticks they skewered the beast,
And together they brought the pair back to the keep,
To the keep, to the keep,
Where ladies awaited the tournament feast.

The people were solemn inside the great hall,
When the beast and the bier led the train,
But began a great chorus of shouts, “Hail the king,
Hail the king, hail the king!
God bless his people and long may he reign!”

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