Sunday, September 2, 2012

Seafaring Sunday: A Ballad for a Highwayman and a Corsair

Today's post has no particular reason, although it has a lovely rhyme. The poem below is, allegedly, the epitaph of a notorious highwayman name Claude Duval (or DuVall). Monsieur terrorized the highways and byways of Restoration England and was the swoon-worthy object of many a ladies' story. Duval was executed January 21, 1670 and remains a legend to this day.

His epitaph reminds me of another Frenchman - a Bordeaulaise, and therefor a countryman of mine, rather than a Norman - in an Anglo country: Jean Laffite. Both Jean and his brother Pierre were vilified by the English speaking Americans, much like Duval was in England. Also much like their Franco counterpart, they were swoon-worthy objects of ladies' stories. Of course, they had the upper hand on Duval; they were, after all, corsairs.

Here lies DuVall; Reader if male thou art,
Look to thy purse; if female, to thy heart.
Much havoc has he made to both; for all
Men he made to stand, and women he made to fall.
The second Conqueror of the Norman race,
Knights to arms did yield, and ladies to his face.
Old Tyburn's Glory; England's illustrious Thief,
DuVall the ladies' joy; DuVall the ladies' grief.

Header: Lafitte [sic] the Pirate by Paul Ashbrook c 1960 (resist that if you can, ladies)


Timmy! said...

It's the ladies that love it, Pauline...

Pauline said...

That is correct, Monsieur.