Friday, December 2, 2011

Charles of Orleans and Historical Fiction

Stephanie Mann discusses Charles of Orleans.
Charles, the Duke of Orleans was born on November 24, 1394. His father, Louis, the Duke of Orleans was assassinated by Jean sans Peur, the Duke of Burgundy. Jean's eponymous tower is a tourist sight in Paris today. Charles and his brothers swore an oath of vengeance against the house of Burgundy and this oath, according to Hella Haasse's extraordinary historical novel In a Dark Wood Wandering, dominated and directed his life.

Charles was a great poet and composed most of his poems while held a prisoner of war in England after the Battle of Agincourt for 24 years. When the English laid siege to Orleans--the occasion of St. Joan of Arc's great victory--it was a transgression of the contemporary military code, since its ruler was being held captive....

Here is an English translation of a rondel composed by Charles, the Duke of Orleans:

Strengthen, my Love, this castle of my heart,
And with some store of pleasure give me aid,
For Jealousy, with all them of his part,
Strong siege about the weary tower has laid.
Nay, if to break his bands thou art afraid,
Too weak to make his cruel force depart,
Strengthen at least this castle of my heart,
And with some store of pleasure give me aid.
Nay, let not Jealousy, for all his art
Be master, and the tower in ruin laid,
That still, ah Love! thy gracious rule obeyed.
Advance, and give me succour of thy part;
Strengthen, my Love, this castle of my heart.

(Read entire post.)


Stephanie A. Mann said...

Thank you for the post--"Trianon" is another great time-breaking novel: transports me to the historical era and draws me in to the struggles of the protagonist!

elena maria vidal said...

That is kind of you, Stephanie!