a collection of literature from poets, bards, songwriters, and skalds in the SCA

Advice to a Prince

Short Description: 
We must imagine that Richard the Lionhearted has just returned from being ransomed from the Moors and is confronting his brother, John, in front of the populace. John knows his life rests in Richard’s hands. Richard is of a mind to spare John’s life but not without an object lesson, to both John and his people.
Richard begins his soliloquy musing on the concept of advice. He opens his comments to John with a reminder that he was chosen king for a reason and goes on to demonstrate that he knows very well what John was doing while his “back was turned”, as it were. He concludes with his advice, which is essentially to make sure that someone you trust guards your back.
Poem (Canso): 

Who better to advise a Prince than King?
Advice, my friends, is simply no small thing
To give or take without reflecting first.
“Put not your trust in Princes,” I have heard
And I, of three to hand, the one to choose
I thought the choice no greatly complex thing
As strongest, I should win, the others lose.
Two sides there are to every win, it seems;
My brother John did lose the crown to me
Astride my horse, I rode on my crusade
While John remained at home and liberty.
I have heard stories, friends, of our Prince John
His ways, his deeds, his means, and how he used
The whole of England, thinking me safe dead
And he a king by more than just the name.
How he, in all his wisdom, taxed the gentry
And when they could not bear it taxed the poor
And when they did not have it tried them greatly
And hounded them with fire and with sword.
Thus John, whilst seeming loyal, took my land
And people ground he down ‘neath royal hand
For he was e’er a cruel, scheming wretch.
I see I trusted wrongly. My advice?
Mark you, and heed my words forever more;
If you e’er must needs leave and ride to war,
Leave someone trustworthy to guard your door.
Lest you also be played falsely
And may come home never more.