The Impresario (part seventeen)
“How long ago,” the seer begins
“Though not so many days have passed
And yet, how long ago it seems…” The Dauphin interrupts.
“Vraiment! For a great, tedious time, Pierre, you have been talking.
See, Tortu has gone to sleep!”
“My old master, him I’d told you of (Pierre disdains to answer this)
Unfaithful priest, had spied me at my sport.
I had fleeced his flock beforehand; his shearings fallen short.
Alors! There is no maddened mind so haunted
As that sees visions of others’ trickery—
I mean, the trickster schooled himself in nuance
But, my master did not merely watch me
I’d caught him, though he’d thought my eyes were closed,
Ferreting round my pallet
When in a frenzy sought my sack of gold
That I kept safe under the small of my back
He drew a knife…I know the sound it makes
And so I’d seized the old man by the throat
And so I came to stand, hands bound
And saw no mercy in the hangman’s hooded eyes
But this, my bon voyage, had drawn a lively crowd
They would have their fun…I vowed, friends, I’d have mine
Yes, I knew the art, I pointed with my chin
There stood a sturdy burgess of the town
Well…every married rich man’s vice is one
I made to fall into a fit and then
Spoke in a voice all windy like the tomb.”
“I dare suppose,” the Dauphin says, “a voice much like your own.”
“However, when by name I had assigned the sins of two or three
It came into my thoughts as had my good saint counselled me.
Speak not another word, Pierre!”
He eyes the Dauphin; the Dauphin holds his tongue
“Ah! I told my audience. It fades.
And now, tant pis, some agony I cannot tell, awaits
that one whose name starts with the letter A.”
(2017, Stephanie Foster)