Treasure Island

David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

Falconridge


I never can look when I’m riding past
The ruin of Falconridge,
I turn the head of my horse away
When I cross the Narrows Bridge,
And I concentrate on the countryside,
Try not to think of Clair,
Or the simple stone where she lies alone
Beneath its towers there.

But now and then I will think again
Of her and her sister Ruth,
Of the happy days when we used to play
In the dim days of our youth,
We would picnic out in the meadows
And I would chase them over the bridge,
For a kiss or two, though I came to rue
The House of Falconridge!

For Ruth was the elder of the two
And should have been first in line,
She grew to a haughty damosel
So I wouldn’t make her mine,
But Clair was bubbly, full of fun
And she showed she really cared,
So I knew that she was the only one
From the love that we had shared.

‘You will not marry my sister Clair,
I must be the first one wed,
I’ll not be seen as unwanted, left
To cry alone in my bed.’
So Ruth petitioned her father that
He halt our marriage plans,
But he had shrugged off his daughter,
‘This affair is out of my hands! ’

The Banqueting Hall in Falconridge
Was decked with flags and flowers,
While Ruth went muttering her dismay
And hid in one of the towers,
She didn’t come out for the service
Though she did come out for the ball,
But sat and glowered at Clair, as we
Had danced our way round the hall.

Their father brought in the caterers
From the other side of the lake,
And they had wheeled in the greatest prize,
A huge five layered cake,
The tiny figures of bride and groom
Stood proudly on the top,
Then Ruth had suddenly come awake,
Leapt up and shouted, ‘Stop! ’

The guests had stared, and a sudden hush
Befell the Banqueting Hall,
As Ruth seized both the bride and the groom
And dashed them against the wall,
She seized the knife from the wedding cake
And screamed in a long, high note:
‘I hate you all at this wedding ball! ’
Then stabbed my Clair in the throat.

She ran right out of the Banqueting Hall,
I held poor Clair in my arms,
The blood poured over my wedding suit
As they called the Master-At-Arms,
She locked herself in the Northern Tower
And she lit a fire by the door,
Then ran right up to the topmost room,
Lay wailing, there on the floor.

The fire spread up through the Northern Tower
As Clair expired in my arms,
I couldn’t see through the veil of tears
How the guests had fled in alarm,
‘My love, my love, ’ she had sighed at last
‘I forgive my sister Ruth,
We shouldn’t have taken her place away,
We wronged her, that is the truth! ’

The fire raged, and burnt to a shell
The whole of Falconridge,
But Ruth they found, blackened and burned
As her flesh peeled off in strips,
She’s locked in one of the tower rooms
Will be locked in there for life,
With her claw-like hands and melted face
But it won’t bring back my wife!

I had a mirror placed by the door
She can see herself through the bars,
She has to suffer as I have done
By looking out on her scars,
And from the ruin of Falconridge
You may hear her cry, somehow,
When the Moon is over the Narrows Bridge:
‘Who will marry me now? ’

25 October 2013

Submitted: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Edited: Friday, October 25, 2013

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