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The Geste of Duke Jocelyn   By: (1878-1952)

Book cover

First Page:




Jeffery Farnol

with illustrations in color by

Eric Pape

Copyright, 1920,


All rights reserved Published September, 1920

Norwood Press

Set up and electrotyped by J. S. Cushing Co. Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.

My GILLIAN, thou child that budding woman art For whom to day and yesterday lie far apart Already thou, my dear, dost longer dresses wear And bobbest in most strange, new fangled ways thy hair; Thou lookest on the world with eyes grown serious And rul'st thy father with a sway imperious Particularly as regards his socks and ties Insistent that each with the other harmonise. Instead of simple fairy tales that pleased of yore Romantic verse thou read'st and novels by the score And very oft I've known thee sigh and call them "stuff" Vowing of love romantic they've not half enough. Wherefore, like fond and doting parent, I Will strive this want romantic to supply. I'll write for thee a book of sighing lover Crammed with ROMANCE from cover unto cover; A book the like of which 't were hard to find Filled with ROMANCE of every sort and kind. I'll write it as the Gestours wrote of old, In prose, blank verse, and rhyme it shall be told. And GILLIAN Some day perhaps, my dear, when you are grown A portly dame with children of your own You'll gather all your troop about your knee And read to them this Geste I made for thee.


"Nobles of Brocelaunde, salute your Duchess Yolande"

They saw afar the town of Canalise

"Brave soldier, I do thank thee well!" she sighed

"Hush, poor Motley!" whispered the maid.

With mighty bound, bold Robin leaping came

The long blades whirled and flashed


Long, long ago when castles grim did frown, When massy wall and gate did 'fend each town; When mighty lords in armour bright were seen, And stealthy outlaws lurked amid the green And oft were hanged for poaching of the deer, Or, gasping, died upon a hunting spear; When barons bold did on their rights insist And hanged or burned all rogues who dared resist; When humble folk on life had no freehold And were in open market bought and sold; When grisly witches (lean and bony hags) Cast spells most dire yet, meantime, starved in rags; When kings did lightly a crusading fare And left their kingdoms to the devil's care At such a time there lived a noble knight Who sweet could sing and doughtily could fight, Whose lance thrust strong, whose long sword bit full deep With darting point or mighty two edged sweep. A duke was he, rich, powerful and yet Fate had on him a heavy burden set, For, while a youth, as he did hunt the boar, The savage beast his goodly steed did gore, And as the young duke thus defenceless lay, With cruel tusk had reft his looks away, Had marred his comely features and so mauled him That, 'hind his back, "The ugly Duke" folk called him

My daughter GILLIAN interposeth:

GILL: An ugly hero?

MYSELF: That is so.

GILL: An ugly hero, father? O, absurd! Whoever of an "ugly" hero heard?

MYSELF: I'll own, indeed, I've come across but few

GILL: But a duke and ugly! Father, this from you?

MYSELF: My duke is ugly, very, for good reason, As shall appear in due and proper season!

GILL: I'm sure no one will want to read him then, For "heroes" all should be most handsome men. So make him handsome, please, or he won't do.

MYSELF: By heaven, girl no, plain heroes are too few!

GILL: Then ev'ry one will leave him on the shelf!

MYSELF: Why, then, I'll read the poor fellow myself.

GILL: I won't!

MYSELF: Then don't! Though, I might say, since you're set on it, child, My duke was not so ugly when he smiled

GILL: Then make him smile as often as you can.

MYSELF: I might do that, 't is none so bad a plan.

GILL: And the lady she must be a lady fair.

MYSELF: My dear, she's beautiful beyond compare.

GILL: Why, then

MYSELF: My pen!

So here and now I do begin The tale of young Duke Jocelyn, For critics, schools, And cramping rules, Heedless and caring not a pin... Continue reading book >>

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