On Bended Knee
by T. A. Fry
Were I on bended knee,
And you upon a throne?
What would you decree?
What would I bemoan?
Have we any choice?
Is there any sense?
Not by human voice.
Nor by recompense.
by William Shakespeare
That god forbid, that made me first your slave,
I should in thought control your times of pleasure,
Or at your hand th’ account of hours to crave,
Being your vassal bound to stay your leisure.
O let me suffer, being at your beck,
Th’ imprisoned absence of your liberty;
And patience tame to sufferance bide each check,
Without accusing you of injury.
Be where you list, your charter is so strong
That you yourself may privilege your time
To what you will; to you it doth belong
Yourself to pardon of self-doing crime.
I am to wait, though waiting so be hell,
Not blame your pleasure, be it ill or well
Happy Twelfth Night! Depending on how you start counting the 12 days of Christmas, it was either yesterday or today and marks the end of the holidays and the beginning of Epiphany. It’s time to take down festive decorations and settle in to the pleasant gloom of January. Twelfth Night has lost some of its relevance, but my Mother honored the tradition of taking down her Christmas tree on twelfth night.
Historically Twelfth night was an excuse for a party. Few of us are waking up to bake a cake with a pea and bean inside and invite friends over to drink wassail, but it sounds like the kind of silliness we need right now as a distraction from Trumpism. Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night with the intention of it being performed on Twelfth Night. A comedy with serious themes on love and service. Sounds like life….
In case you are inspired to throw a Twelfth Night shindig this evening, here’s a delicious wassail recipe. Serve it hot with a slice of cake.
By Robert Herrick
NOW, now the mirth comes
With the cake full of plums,
Where bean’s the king of the sport here;
Beside we must know,
The pea also
Must revel, as queen, in the court here.
Begin then to choose,
This night as ye use,
Who shall for the present delight here,
Be a king by the lot,
And who shall not
Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here.
Which known, let us make
Joy-sops with the cake ;
And let not a man then be seen here,
Who unurg’d will not drink
To the base from the brink
A health to the king and queen here.
Next crown a bowl full
With gentle lamb’s wool :
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of ale too ;
And thus ye must do
To make the wassail a swinger.
Give then to the king
And queen wassailing :
And though with ale ye be whet here,
Yet part from hence
As free from offence
As when ye innocent met here.
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