, humour, Lucey, poetry, Thomazine. Christmas

To PENTHESILEA the Amazonn Queen, on the Occasion of Her Slaying the King of The Tribe of Cynick

Fair queen! When thou shall slay thy foe
With fatal dart from amber eye
When thou with honour lays him low
To submit his sorry self, or die

When gently thou with slippered foot
Will press thine enemy’s neck
And make his heart thine arrow’s butt
And call him at thy beck

Thy CYNICK must love from afar
Without hope of return
As distant from thee as the star
To be forever spurned

I die,  pierced by Penthesilea’s lance-
No wit, no hope, no charm – no chance.

Attributed. John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1665)

Later evidence suggests the poem was written by the little-known Parliament!entarian poet Lucifer Pettitt in an attempt to discourage Wilmot’s unwanted attentions to his niece, Thomazine Russell, the “Penthesilea” of the poem.

Gray, humour, Lucey, poetry, politics, romance, Thomazine. writing, women

To His Coy Mistress, Some Lines After the Battle New-fought at NASEBY

Why court’st thou death instead of me?
Why, mistress, must thou prove thy worth
By putting all thy foes to flee
Despite the virtues of thy birth?
For lady, spurn me as you must
I know and love thy bravery
That’s never failed to keep thy trust
In th’face of the King’s knavery
Yet may I hope, my mistress gay,
My plea your fair ear reaches:
You dress yourself in fine array
And put on skirts instead of breeches?
I dare not test, lest what I find
Is frailer yet, a bubbled glass
That shatters in a changing wind
Or withers, like the mower’s grass
Yet, lady, your secret’s secure
– As yet is mine: that I am yours.
If you wondered what Luce was writing during A Wilderness of Sin….
Babbitt, Gray, Het, Lucey, poetry, ponderations, Russell, silliness

A Writer’s Lot Is Not A Happy One

Today, I cannot settle to writing.

There are too many little sub-plots going on in my head. I want to write the Putney Debates, where I know Hollie is going to lose his temper with the prosing and I know Russell will be hurt and humiliated. (I want to know where that one is headed, because I think there may be friendships broken at Putney, and they are characters I like.)

I want to write Ireton’s wedding, which may be done as a standalone just for fun, because Het will attend that (well, dear, you couldn’t expect poor little Bridget to stand up on her own in front of a room full of soldiers, could you?) Where Het goes the girls will go, and where the girls go there is often trouble, of the sort customarily engendered by toddlers.

I want to carry on with the start of the as-yet untitled Marston Moor book, which starts so horribly, and is likely to continue for a good three hundred-ish pages with brawl after brawl until the Gray/Russell dynamic sorts itself out to everyone’s satisfaction. Russell is taller than Gray and considerably madder. Gray is rougher than Russell. Neither of them will back down, and both of them have their little sore points on which they cannot bear to be baited, and both of them will continue to bait each other until they’ve worked out who’s top dog. Russell’s a half-mad Puritan with a drink problem. (He drinks because it hurts, and it doesn’t stop hurting, so he doesn’t stop drinking. All too logical. She says ruefully.) Gray is an enigmatic little bugger with a chip on his shoulder who can’t stand authority and doesn’t take orders. You might wonder at this point how come Gray hasn’t yet been shot or disciplined for his rebellion and there is an answer to that…

And of course it’s such a lovely sunny day that I find myself sitting in the garden with a sprig of rosemary in my fingers, snuffing at the scent of clean linen and rosemary and fresh air. Thinking that even in the mini Ice Age of the 17th century, even in the middle of a civil war, surely Hollie must have got a bit of time off for good behaviour. Time to skulk off somewhere by himself for an hour with a pen and a bit of paper, and find himself a nice tree to lean up against and write letters home to his wife. (He has a habit of gnawing the end of his pen when he’s thinking, and as Luce has pointed out, if it causes him that much internal anguish to set pen to paper, it can’t be good for him and he ought to stop doing it.)
It won’t be the good-humoured Blossom that’s snuffing the back of his neck at this point, the velvety muzzle exploring Hollie’s collar will still be Tyburn’s. But I think for the morning, we can leave Captain Babbitt sprawling in the grass trying to edit his recent exploits so as not to scare his good lady, and sending his best love to his daughters. Luce is reading the poetry of Catullus, to the amusement of the rest of the troop.
(This one shuts ’em up somewhat. Um. Girly? Sorry, Luce, no offence, mate…)

And Russell? He’s doing – absolutely – nothing. And he’s enjoying it.

Lucey, poetry, present, Rupert, silliness

WORLD POETRY DAY – the posh poet goes for it….


O shagg’d cavalier! No more to begg,
To fetch, or steal a bone –
The noblest of Prince Rupert’s trayne
Doth lie here overthrown.

For all thy pride and high degree
Brave Cur, now thou hast had it
Cut down in thy prime of life
By, likely, Hollie Babbitt.

Yet, Boye, mind well, thou proudest Dogg
That ever tupped a bitch
The paths of glory do but lead
Into a Yorkshire ditch.

Babbitt, Bristol, Cromwell, Essex, Fairfax, Gray, Het, history,, humour, Lucey, new books, poetry, politics, sad bits, South West campaign, Toogood, Venning

The New One….. Babbitt #3 Out in May!


June 1645

Shattered after their defeat at the bloody battle of Naseby, the King’s troops are in disarray, their last hope a loyal Royalist hardcore in the West Country.

Parliamentarian Colonel Hollie Babbitt’s troop of cavalry are always in disarray, so he has a degree of sympathy.

But certain members of the troop are hiding a secret, after Naseby – a secret that left the brutal sadist Captain Chedglow dead, Hapless Russell invalided out in Essex under the watchful eye of Het Babbitt, and posh poet Pettitt and fierce, enigmatic Trooper Gray locked in a most unlikely alliance. And they’re not telling.

Hollie’s too busy wrestling with his own conscience to pay too much mind to the internal politics of his troop, though. The Army of Parliament might be winning the war, but their soldiers aren’t seeing much of the benefits, and there are voices within the Army starting to make petition for the common soldier. And Hollie – partisan, cynical Hollie, who’s fought alongside both Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax, who’s always claimed his loyalties lay with himself first and foremost – is beginning to wonder if perhaps he should lend his distinctive Lancashire voice to those petitions. Which is going to make him about as popular as the bloody flux, with Parliament.

Love, in both likely and unlikely places. Death. War. Bubonic plague. Blood. Politics. Intrigue. Transvestite Huguenots, and bad poetry.

Who said the Roundheads were the dreary side?

Babbitt, Gray, humour, Lucey, poetry, ponderations

Pettitt’s Poetry Corner: A Young Officer Looks Back on a Singularly Undistinguished Career

 – with annotations by Col. Hollie Babbitt, literary critic of no renown whatever
When first my wond’ring eyes did turn
On SOMERSET‘s streams and rills
On Bristol’s many marvels
On GLASTONB’RY‘s famed hill
The flat wolds of LINCOLNSHIRE
The busy town of Leeds

The barren wastes of LANCASHIRE  (watch itt, Pettyt, I am stille yr commandeing officer – HTB)
Which yet gives us good cheese           


Twas then I first did comprehend
The beauty of this isle
For having come from ESSEX
A march of many a mile
I have seen many wonders
And many varied scenes
Of inns and streets and lovely fields

In many a different green


For now I am come home again
And by the LORD’s grace whole
‘Tis not, I find, a palace
That yet exalts my soul
But ’tis a humble cottage
With a welcome at the gate
With loving and with friendship

Where my dear MIST’RESS waits.  (thatt must bee a diffrent maistress than the one I mett – HTB)           

 For near or far where’er I roam
Where my love lies, is my home.

Gray, humour, Lucey, poetry

Pettitt’s Poetry Corner – A Sonnet to His Mistress Gray’s Left Eyebrow

Upon the event of being challenged by Mistress Gray to produce lines to her particular request.

More lush than fashionable beauty’s brow
And scorning false pretence
Arched like the ancient SCYTHIAN’s bow
At thy lover’s want of sense
Thy scorn conceals a woman’s heart
Most passionate and warm
But pleasure at the poet’s art
Moves not thy shapely form
‘Tis not my love you’d turn away
Or spurn beneath your feet
You’d take your faithful Lucey, GRAY
Without the literary conceit.
Remember, when you next make fun

Without my verse I am struck dumb.

Cornet Lucifer Pettitt, the most junior officer of Babbitt’s Troop of Horse, is a young man of many parts.
The miracle is that most of them are still attached.