Thursday, 29 September 2011

Mother Mason's Fiddler

Kateverse folksong from a very late period, beyond which the history starts going round corners I can't follow. Also known as Callimby Wine and The Sailor's Dream; a completely garbled version called Clemmy Hopkins is popular in Starkady. A slow, deceptively mellow lament.

Mother Mason's Fiddler

Left my old mother a twelvemonth ago,
For to go fighting the Following Foe.
Look what I got, Ma, for fighting so fine -
Kazandry copper and Callimby wine!

How my young sweetheart was ardent and proud -
How my plumes waved, as she waved through the crowd!
What have I won for my sweet Clementine?
Kazandry copper and Callimby wine.

Bravely we stood off the Southron seaboard –
Treasure and honour to win with my lord.
Kazandry cannons, they done us up fine.
All is amended with Callimby wine.

Caliph's men saved me, but left me to beg
Round the Bazaar with a stump for a leg.
Old Mother Mason to me took a shine –
Lets me play fiddle for lodgings and wine.

Ma, oh my mammy, I'll never come home:
Save in these wine-dreams, no more can I roam.
Warn my sweet Clemmy she'll never be mine,
Save when I've copper for Callimby wine.

Brothers, oh brothers, take warning by me,
When ameers promise you glory at sea.
Coppers ain't worth mangled limbs and bent spine,
And my folk don’t know no Callimby wine!

Pity me, masters so free and so fine –
Kazandry copper for Callimby wine!

Callimby wine is the northern name for a spiced and addictive liquor, probably containing opiates, often used by Southron doctors to lessen the edge of pain, and by their patients to keep the world away. 'Callimby' is an upland realm many leagues south of coastal Kazandry, the largest and most famous city in the world.

The Following (of Kazander) is the mystically humanist faith of that culture, and resembles Islam about as closely as northern neo-Olympianism resembles Christianity, i.e. not a lot. It admits perforce that the Gods and Titans exist, but feels impelled not so much to worship them as - inspired by the Emperor Cassander's silencing of the oracles - to kick them up the bum.

'Mother Mason' is certainly a blunder for the Kazandrite name Maysun, which fully Occidentalized might be rendered Belle.

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